Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Adding and Subtracting

Many Christian groups believe that the heavens are closed and the Bible is sealed. At the end of the Book of Revelations is this prophecy, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev. 22: 18-19). However, it seems John was rather careful to specify that this warning was to apply to "the words or the book of this prophecy." It seems clear that John is referring to his Book or Revelations rather than the many books and many prophecies of the Bible.

Other scriptures in the Bible say the same thing as Rev 22 but the books and prophecies following are not considered additions and subtractions. Two passages in Deuteromony read: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deut. 4: 2) and "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it" (Deut. 12: 32).

The Bible and Book of Mormon teach that God has a pattern for revealing his Word. Amos says, "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3: 7). God's word is revealed through prophets, and it is through prophets that he has always added to his own word. Jeremiah 36:1-4, 23 tells the story of King Jehoiakim who burns the words written by Jeremiah. The Lord then commanded Jeremiah to restore these words,"Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words" (Jeremiah 36:27-32). http://farms.byu.edu/questionday.php?id=2

It is ironic that mainstream Christianity is excited about the Dead Sea Scrolls but not the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates and contain the writings of ancient prophets from a branch of scattered Israel. The Bible foretold the scattering and the eventual gathering of the tribes of Israel. The Book of Mormon is the writings of the branch of Joseph, the tribe of Ephraim. God reveals to Ezekial that he would command prophets of the tribe of Judah to write and also prophets of the tribe of Ephraim (Ezek. 37: 16). Then when the house of Israel would be gathered and restored in the Last Days, the records from both tribes would come together as well, "Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand (Ezek. 37: 16, 19).

The story of Joseph in Egypt is a type and shadow of events in the Last Days. Joseph had several dreams involving sheaves of corn and stars. Joseph told his brothers, "your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf" and "behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me." Ofended, Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave to Egyptian merchants. In Egypt, Joseph became interpreted Pharoah's dream and was able to save his family from the famine.

A spiritual famine has been foretold in the Bible. Amos prophecies, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it" (Amos 8: 11). The coming forth of the Book of Mormon, a record of a branch of Joseph, was prepared by God to save the rest of the house of Israel from the spiritual famine in these the Last Days.

However, the best proof that the Book of Mormon does not add or subtract to the Bible is its fruit. The Bible teaches that in the Last Days there would be many false prophets. If there are false prophets than there must be true prophets. Revelations tells us that there will be prophets in Jeruselem, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy" (Rev. 11: 3). But how to tell the true from the false? The Bible teaches the key: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7: 16, 20).

So, are the prophets in the Book of Mormon true prophets? Was Joseph Smith a true prophet?Are the members the Church of Jesus Christ guity of adding to the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the Ordinances of the Temple. etc? If we are, then we should be suffering the plagues which John promises. Mormon's aren't perfect, but science and the media seems to come out with article after article extolling our health and family values. Because of our belief in direct revelation, Mormons have been generally saved from the plagues of poverty, smoking, drugs, drinking, gang violence, divorce, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, etc. It seems clear that Mormons enjoy the excellent fruit of true gospel living. It's ironic that the very scripture that is used to discredit the Book of Mormon has become the best scripture to prove its truth.

The truth is that The Book of Mormon is another testament that Jesus is the Christ, and that only through his grace can we be saved. I invite everyone to read, ponder, and pray about its message. The Book of Mormon and Bible promise that anyone can know at it is the word of God, like the Bible, through prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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