Many Christians and Jews believe that the Bible teaches that the temple in Jerusalem will be built again. This temple is referred to as the 3rd Temple after the Temple of Solomon and the Temple of Zarubabel which was built after the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.
Zech. 6: 12-13, 15 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. . . And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.
Hag. 1: 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that God has restored the 3rd Temple to the Gentiles already and after the temple is established and restored to the Gentiles and all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, that the temple will then go again to the Jews; "And the last shall be first and the first shall be last."
Luke 13:28-30 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
Many claim that no where in Bible does it say that a temple would be built in America but that the temple is only given to one nation, one kindred, one tongue, and one people. But John in Revelations says that the everlasting gospel and covenant would be extended to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples and not just Israel. And that includes the temple.
Isaiah prophesies about Egypt in the last days in Chapter 19. But as one reads over all of Isaiah's prophesies about Egypt and how Isaiah warns Israel not to trust in the chariots of Egypt and then compares Isaiah's Egypt to modern geo-politics, the Egypt of the Last Days becomes a symbolic term referring to the United States of America. So, knowing that the modern USA fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah's Egypt, those following prophesy really stands out.
Isa 19:19-21, 24-25 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. . . In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
According to Isaiah, God promises that an alter to the Lord or temple will be established in Egypt in the Last Days and that Egyptians or Americans will know the Lord in that day be a blessed people with Israel.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Many Christians and Jews believe that the Bible teaches that the temple in Jerusalem will be built again. This temple is referred to as the 3rd Temple after the Temple of Solomon and the Temple of Zarubabel which was built after the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Ezekiel 37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones alive? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. The Lord uses the reality of the resurrection as an allegory of the gathering of Israel in the Last Days.
The Bible is both literal and figurative. There will be an actual physical resurrection and there will be a literal restoration of the house of Israel and restoration of the 12 tribes.
15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 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. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
Ephraim and Judah represent the lead tribes of the northern and southern kingdoms respectively, and Ephraim represents the Gentiles who are brought into or adopted into the Abrahamic covenant just as Ephraim was adopted by Abraham and made the birthright son after Joseph. Ephraim represents the Gentiles in another ways as the Samaritans who declared descendency from Ephraim had mixed blood with the Gentiles.The restoration of the House of Israel (restoration of the covenant, church, temple) would be accompanied by the restoration an bringing together of 2 records; the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim. Both records of scripture would serve to clarify doctrine and point the House of Israel to a true belief about God and Christ. Isaiah 29 also talks about a book coming forth and calls this God's "Marvelous Work and a Wonder."
Isa 29:14,24 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. . . They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and cone king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
Ephraim and Judah will be restored to their lands. Judah is given the Land of Israel as an everlasting inheritance and according to the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles who are adopted into the tribe of Ephraim are given America as their inheritance.Remember there is a parallel between Abraham and Joseph in Egypt and America in the Last Days. Joseph is sold into Egypt and delivered from jail by receiving a vision and being able to interpret Pharaoh's dream and preparing Egypt for the famine or tribulation to come (Sealing of the forehead). Then we see how Joseph or the Gentiles prove to be the salvation of the rest of the family of Abraham by saving them from the famine or apostasy (Amos 8:11).
In the last days the Gentiles who first receive the restored everlasting covenant and gospel will dispense it to the rest of Israel. And we see that Abraham dwelt in Egypt before Israel was miraculously restored to their lands of inheritance many years later with Moses. Similarly, the Jews who have been in America have been and will be miraculously restored to Israel after a long 40-year sojourn in the wilderness because of disobedience.
Interesting how Israel has the Sea of Galilee flowing into the Dead Sea via the Jordan River and in Salt Lake City we have Utah Lake flowing into the Great Salt Lake via another Jordan River.And there will be a political as well as religious unification. And they will have one belief in Christ who is their shepherd and they will be sanctified and cleansed and not just declared clean, but be made clean in actual fact.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
As part of the restoration, God will establish His everlasting covenant with the church and establish the 3rd Temple. But the 3rd Temple will not be like Solomon's or Zarubabbel's. The 3rd Temple will not administer the Law of Moses and the covenant of Justification, but will administer the covenant of sanctification, consecration, and the promise of perfection. The 3rd Temple will be not be after the Levitical Priesthood but will be a Christian temple after the order of the Melchesidek Priesthood. And this temple will not just be given to one Land, and one tribe, and one nation. But the 3rd Temple and covenant will be given according to John in Revelations to every kindred, nation, tongue and people.
And after the everlasting temple has been established to every kindred, nation, tongue and people, then it will be restored to Israel; and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. This is why it is fulfillment of prophecy that the 3rd Temple be built not just in Israel but many of the same temple built all over the Earth and then finally in Israel itself. When Christ initially came he came only to the House of Israel, and then it was revealed with Cornelius that the gospel was to go to the Gentiles. But after the restoration, the gospel would then first go to the Gentiles and then last to the Jews.
Luke 12:28-30 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first (Gentiles), and there are first which shall be last (Jews).
Isaiah 11:12-13 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
Malachi says the sons of Levi will offer an offering in righteousness again. But this offering will be of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and will be the offering of their whole souls in the higher and everlasting covenant of consecration. Animal sacrifice is not a offering in righteousness. Animal sacrifice is an offering in sin, to be declared clean and justified.The offering that the Levites will make one day is the higher and everlasting covenant which promises sanctification. Note the language that Christ promises to purify and purge sin from us like silver and gold. The new model, purpose and covenant of the restored temple is sanctification.
Mal. 3: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Many claim that the temple will only be restored to the Jews. But doesn't Christ say that all things would be restored; first to the Gentile and then to the Jews "and the first will be last and the last will be first" (Luke 12:28-30). Why would God only restore the temple to the Jews when He promised to restore His fullness to the Gentiles? Did God say He would withhold part of His gospel and kingdom from the Gentiles? No, there is nothing about Christ's gospel that He is holding in reserve for just the Jews that He hasn't made available to all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples. This includes the temple.
Acts 3:19-21 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Eph. 1: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eventially there will be no more temple, when the work and purpose of the Temple is complete and the sanctification of the people is compelete. John says after the Millennium there is no temple there but Christ is the temple. So, that day will come. But it is not yet.
Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands.
Solomons temple and Zerubbabel's temple were built by they hand of God and not of man. When God commands a temple to be built He authorizes and ordains priesthood holders to act in His name. Whatever these servants of God do in the name of the Lord it is as if God has done it Himself with His own hand.
Hag. 1: 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
When Christ came to the Earth, the Jews didn't recognize their Messiah because they had misinterpreted the scriptures and were looking for a different Savior. In the same way many Gentiles believe in the restoration of God's temple but do not recognize that it has already been restored because they are looking for a different temple than the one prophesied in the Bible.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Bible makes many predictions about certain events that would happen in the Last Days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. One of these is the prediction of the coming of what the Bible calls the "antichrist." The Bible doesn't give a lot of details about what the "antichrist" is. Consequently there has been a great amount of speculation on the matter. Some believe that this prophecy has already been fulfilled, while others feel that it will yet be fulfilled in the future. Some believe that the "antichrist" will be a certain individual that rises to power in the Last Days, while others speculate that this term refers to an anti-Christian philosophy or doctrine, or is just another term for Satan. In actual fact, all these prophecies like all prophecies in the Bible have multiple fulfillment. That is why the Bible is so valuable. The themes repeat themselves in history and in our personal lives over and over again. And just as the prophecy of an "antichrist" and an apostasy was fulfilled in the time of Christ, it will be fulfilled again in the Last Days.
So, just what does the Bible say about the "antichrist?"
1 Jn. 2: 18, 22 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. . . . Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 Jn. 4: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 Jn. 1: 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2 Thes. 2: 2-3 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Pet. 2: 1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying [that] the Lord bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Matt 24:2,29,34 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: . . . Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
According to the Bible the the antichrist and the apostasy had already come and been revealed according to John. Christ said that all the prophesies in Matt. 24 would be fulfilled in that generation. According to John, the "antichrist" was the gnostic doctrine that denied that God had actually come to Earth in the flesh. And it was upon this and other similar false doctrines that many Saints fell away from the church and the church itself fell into a complete apostasy.
Christ spoke of this great apostasy that would follow the appearance of the "antichrist." When Jesus Christ spoke of the stones of the temple not being left upon one another; He was speaking also about the principles and doctrine and church. When Christ speaks of the Sun, Moon, and stars not giving light; Jesus Christ is referring to the cessation of heavenly light and revelation from heaven.
However, just like the prophesies of Isaiah, Christ's words have multiple fulfillment. So, while all these prophecies have been fulfilled during the generation of Christ, they will all be fulfilled again in the Last Days. The prophecy of the "antichirst" applied to the tribulation of the Early Church, and will apply as well to the tribulation in the Last Days. So, there will be an anti-Christ in the last days. But, who or what has not been revealed.
According to the Book of Mormon, which is also a type of the Last Days, the people who believed in the second coming of Christ were rounded up and were to be killed by the the non-believers when the time came for Christ to be born. These people didn't believe that God would actually come in the flesh. Antichrists of the Book of Mormon like Sharem and Korihor contended that to them the idea of God coming to Earth in the flesh and talking upon Himself the form of a man was the "effect of a frenzied [and deranged] mind." A Book of Mormon prophet, Samuel the Lamanite" prophesied about the sign of Christ's birth. When the unbelievers thought the time had passed for the prophesy to be fulfilled, they threatened to kill all the believers.
3 Nephi 1:5-9 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite. And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain. And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass. But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain. Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
So, according to the Bible we can expect there will be many who deny that Christ will come again to the Earth. I am sure there are many now who think anyone who believes and expects such things suffers from a "deranged mind." Whether there will be an actual person who serves as a ringleader, I can't say. But, the Bible does give a bit more detail about the circumstances leading up to the Second Coming.
According to several passages in the Bible, there may arise an issue regarding Christ delaying His coming. It seems there have been several Christian groups who have tried to predict the time of the Second Coming despite the Bible saying "no man knoweth the hour." Maybe there will be some of this attitude after 2012 comes and goes? Isn't this when the Maya think the world is supposed to end? And I am sure there will be those who like in the days of the Apostles will deny that Jesus Christ will literally and physically come back to the Earth. Maybe some will say that this is all supposed to be taken figuratively.
Matt. 24: 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
Luke 12: 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
Ex. 32: 1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
What is interesting is that the Bible seems to present Moses' descent from the mountain as a type and shadow of the Second Coming. So, while Moses is up in the mount speaking with God, the people waiting below loose patience, murmur, and then fall into sin. Isaiah alludes to this perception of the people, that God delays His coming, when he says that there are many vain men in Israel who ask that God "hasten his work" and show them a sign before they will believe.
However, on the other hand, it is interesting that while some will falsely claim that Christ delays His coming, Christ says if He doesn't hasten His coming in the Last Days, all flesh would be destroyed.
Isa. 5: 19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!
Isa. 60: 22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.
Jer. 1: 12 Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
Jer. 17: 15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now.
Matt. 24: 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
It is interesting how these delaying and hastening scriptures refer to the Last Days and how Moses is a type of the Last Days and the Second Coming of Christ. In the same way, Aaron may represent the anti-Christ.
Barnabas the Apostle who was a companion of Paul also refers to the prophecy of the "antichrist." What is interesting is that Barnabas also says the "antichrist" is at hand and the prophecy is being fulfilled then. Barnabas makes a direct comparison of this doctrine and Moses coming down from the mount after receiving the Law. And he talks about how the principle of this teaching can be applied on an individual and personal level.
The Epistle of Barnabas the Apostle.
Chapter 4. Antichrist is at hand: let us therefore avoid Jewish errors
It therefore behoves us, who inquire much concerning events at hand, to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch says, For for this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved may hasten; and He will come to the inheritance. And the prophet also speaks thus: Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the kings. In like manner Daniel says concerning the same, And I beheld the fourth beast, wicked and powerful, and more savage than all the beasts of the earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of them a little budding horn, and how it subdued under one three of the great horns. You ought therefore to understand. And this also I further beg of you, as being one of you, and loving you both individually and collectively more than my own soul, to take heed now to yourselves, and not to be like some, adding largely to your sins, and saying, The covenant is both theirs and ours. But they thus finally lost it, after Moses had already received it. For the Scripture says, And Moses was fasting in the mount forty days and forty nights, and received the covenant from the Lord, tables of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Lord; Exodus 31:18, Exodus 34:28 but turning away to idols, they lost it. For the Lord speaks thus to Moses: Moses go down quickly; for the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt have transgressed. Exodus 32:7; Deuteronomy 9:12 And Moses understood [the meaning of God], and cast the two tables out of his hands; and their covenant was broken, in order that the covenant of the beloved Jesus might be sealed upon our heart, in the hope which flows from believing in Him. Now, being desirous to write many things to you, not as your teacher, but as becomes one who loves you, I have taken care not to fail to write to you from what I myself possess, with a view to your purification. We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becomes the sons of God. That the Black One may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as if you were already [fully] justified; but coming together in one place, make common inquiry concerning what tends to your general welfare. For the Scripture says, Woe to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5:21 Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God, and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances. The Lord will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when you reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, Many are called, but few are chosen.
Barnabas alludes to the story of Moses in the Mountain, and the people saying that Moses delays his coming so they lose the covenant by turning to worship idols and abandoning God after they had just witnessed His great glory and power. Then God tells Moses to hasten down to the people
Ex 32:7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them:
It is interesting how these delaying and hastening scriptures refer to the Last Days and how Moses is a type of the Last Days and the Second Coming of Christ. Aaron may represent the anti-Christ, or a Judas, or a Lucifer in a way. Aaron was high in authority and stature next to Moses but gave into the people and feared the people more than God and made them the golden calf they cried out for. Will there be the rejection of a Christian doctrine (gay marriage?) that will cause some to fall away from the truth, or will some of the elect of God be caught "resting at our ease" when the Savior comes?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jesus Christ has given us the commandment to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. But, how can we comply with this seeming impossible command? Can God really help us overcome the lustful desires of the flesh? Can a man really reach a state of perfection in this world? This article will explain how the temple or the house of the Lord is a blessing given by the grace of God to overcome all temptation and completely sanctify and perfect His people.
Gen. 18: 14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord?
Luke 1: 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Rom. 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Matt. 19: 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
1 Jn. 4: 15-17 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
The purpose and covenant of the temple was not originally to sanctify and perfect God's people. Paul says that the Law of Moses did not perfect but only inspired faith in Jesus Christ and justification of sin but not sanctification.
Heb. 7: 11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? . . . For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Gal 3: 24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
In the Law of Moses and the OT Temple, a believer was continually reminded of thier sinful nature and need for sanctification by Jesus Christ. Every year Israel continually needed to sacrifice sheep and goats for a remission of the sins of the people. But these continual ordinances didn't change the people. These OT temple ordinances didn't sanctify and perfect but pointed to Christ who would restore a higher and everlasting covenant and priesthood. And it is this higher and everlasting covenant which does promise to sanctify and perfect us.
Heb 7:12;24 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Heb 6:1-3 Therefore [not] leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. . . Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
Ezek 37:26-29 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Ezekiel talks about the restoration of the temple in the Last Days. However, this restored temple or sanctuary would not administer the same old Law of Moses, but would offer the higher and everlasting covenant to God's people. What is the new and everlasting covenant of the restored temple? Christ answers this for us while talking to the rich young man inviting him to sell all that he has, give the money to the poor, and come and follow him. We also read that the NT saints received and lived this this very same covenant. The NT in Acts describes the Saints living what is known as the "Law of Consecration" or "the United Order" with "all things in common" (Acts 2: 44, Acts 4: 32, Acts 4: 35, 37, Acts 5: 2).
Matt 19: 16-21 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
This invitation of Jesus Christ to the rich young man is the everlasting covenant. And it is this everlasting covenant of the restored temple that promises to sanctify and perfect God's people. The purpose of the everlasting covenant and Christ's atonement is not to simply sweep our sins under the rug. Christ's atonement is not only grace but also transformative power to change us, purify us like silver, turn us away from sin and change our heart such that we have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually. You and I rightly admit that we are not completely sanctified yet. However, the Melchizedek priesthood temple has been given to help us complete the process of sanctification "in this world" and in the Millennium.
While we are not fully sanctified and perfected at the moment we accept Christ, we do become fully justified. Justification means that God acquits us from judgment through the merits and mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. This Justification makes it possible for us to receive the Holy Ghost. If we were not justified, the Holy Ghost couldn't dwell in us at all because He cannot dwell in unholy temples. But that doesn't mean we are sanctified and perfect. However, through the transformative power of the Spirit and grace of Christ the Holy Ghost will begin to change us. And as we receive a greater portion of the Holy Ghost and grow from grace to grace; the light and love of Christ will grow in us until the perfect day. That perfect day may not be realized until the end of the Millennium but begins in this world.
How does the Christian temple, the higher covenant or the "sealing in the forehead" spoken of by John in Revelations help the believer become perfected in Christ and sanctified?
#1. The restored temple covenant reveals to man who God is, who we are, and our relationship to God. When a person has a spiritual realization of the true nature of God, and that we are all spiritual children of God with infinite potential; the light of this knowledge and eternal possibility makes the enticings of sin pale in comparison.
#2. The temple provides an eternal prospective as it reveals to us the stages of the plan of salvation including the pre-existence, creation, the fall, the millennium, judgment and hope of eternal life. By going through the progression of the plan of salvation and understanding where our lives fit into eternity, we realize our true purpose to accept Christ and His word. Again when we see how short life is in perspective of the whole of eternity, sin loses any attractiveness.
#3. The Christian temple is a space set aside as holy and pure from the world. As a quiet and reverent place set aside, a person is enabled to enjoy and experience the light and power of the Holy Ghost and the infinite love of Jesus Christ. As we feel the pure love of Christ for us, we are strengthened against sin. And as a result, the allure of any brief pleasure that comes from sin pales in comparison to a taste of eternal glory and happiness.
The eternal perspective of the temple is why the scriptures refer to the temple as the "Mountain of the Lords House." The restored temple or "Mountain of the Lord's House" gives us an eternal perspective of who God is, who we are in God's eyes, our relationship to God, our eternal and infinite potential, the majesty of God's power and creation, God's mercy in sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ, and our important and individual role and calling in God's plan.
Ps. 24:3-4 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. Ps. 93:5 For “holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever”.
Isa. 2: 2-3 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Isa. 56: 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Ezek. 20: 40 For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
There is a wonderful scriptural example of how receiving the covenant of sanctification protects against sin and endows the believer with power against the tempations of Satan. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Genesis in the Bible and restored an account of Moses experience on the Mountain when God appeared to him.
Moses 1:1-11 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain, And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth. And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all. And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered. And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.
So, as Moses communed with God, God impressed several things to Moses. God revealed to Moses who He is, that God is a divine, perfect, and exalted being. God communicated to Moses that Moses is a son of God and was created in His image. He also taught Moses about the power of God by showing Moses the majesty of creation. And God revealed to Moses about His infinite love and mercy by showing Moses that He would send His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to save the world. And God revealed to Moses his important work and calling in God's plan.
As a side note, I do think it is interesting that Moses would say "Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." This becomes significant when you remember that Moses grew up as a son of Pharaoh. Prior to this experience, Pharaoh, Moses and all of Egypt considered Pharaoh to be a god. But after this experience, all the wealth, fame, and glory of the Egyptian Empire was nothing in comparison to the glory and majesty of the One True and Living God. This knowledge served to strengthen Moses for the experience that would follow.
Moses 1:12-25 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely? Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten. And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me. And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan. And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not. And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men. And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son; And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.
Because Moses knew who God was, who he was, the majesty of creation, the great mercy and love of God's Plan of Salvation, Moses could resist sin and temptation. However, he still required continued help of the Holy Ghost. We see how Satan tried to elicit fear and doubt in the power of God by showing Moses the suffering and pain of war, disease, and hell; but Moses was still able to overcome and trust in God's love. By the power of the Holy Ghost Moses said to Satan:
"Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely? Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me?"
So, despite Satan's attempts to get us to doubt God's mercy, grace, love and power; the restored temple and everlasting covenant promises us that we can be sanctified and perfected in Christ by knowing who God is, who we are, God's power, love, and mercy, and our individual calling and purpose in God's plan. Possessing and knowing these truths empowers us against sin by making sin pale in comparison to the majesty, love, and eternal glory of God and the promise of Eternal Life. This is the great purpose of the restored temple.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Rev. 5: 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.