Monday, March 16, 2009

Continuing Revelation

LDS believe in continuing revelation, prophets and scripture. However, Christ did foretell that His church would not be left one doctrinal stone upon another and that the spiritual sun, moon, and stars would cease to give their light in that generation.

Mark 13:1-2, 24-25,30 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. . . But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, . . . Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

This prophecy was fulfilled with the Great Apostasy and the Dark Ages that followed the martyrdom of the Apostles and Saints. And this is what necessitated a restoration of prophets in the Last Days as foretold by Daniel the prophet it Dan 2 and why John saw another angel with the everlasting gospel to deliver to all nations in the Last Days (not another gospel but yes another angel).

Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Rev. 14: 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

However, many Evangelicals in reaction to Catholicism and Papal authority claim there is to be no more priesthood and Christ speaking His word through any other mediator. All revelation comes to the believer from Christ Himself through His Word by the Holy Ghost and not any other man or claimed religious authority according to Heb 1:1.

Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

However, does the Bible back this doctrinal claim? No. Of course, believers through the Holy Ghost can receive direct revelation, but Heb 1:1 was never meant to do away completely with continued prophets, priesthood, revelation, and scripture? Accordingly, I will list what I think are several examples of how the Bible runs contrary to the popular Evangelical belief and supports the LDS doctrine that prophets, priesthood, revelation, and scripture were meant to continue after a foretold apostasy and restoration.

1. Matt 28:6-7 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Here we witness the fact of Christ's resurrection revealed by an angel to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary by angels. And then these women are charged to reveal this news to the Apostles. Why didn't Christ just reveal the news personally? Why go from angels, to women, to the Apostles? Maybe the rules don't start until after the ascension.

2. Acts 1: 9-11 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

This revelation at the ascension of Christ was given by one of two angels present at the Ascension of Christ and not Christ Himself. If only Christ has the authority to give revelation, by what authority do these angel's speak and reveal information of Christ's Second Coming? And, the more that 500 present, not everyone present were of the 12 Apostles. Again, here is another example of others speaking for Christ.

3. The Gospel of Mark
John Mark the Evangelist was believed to be a companion of Peter, Paul and Barnabas. But John Mark wasn't one of the original 12 Apostles. By what authority does he have to record the word of God. Why wouldn't Jesus only have His word recorded by His Apostles who were the special eye-witnesses of His life and teachings? Mark could have served as a scribe for Peter, but it seems Peter knew how to write just fine from his own epistles. And Mark never gives credit to Peter or Paul as being the source of his information.

4. The Gospel of Luke and Acts
Again, Luke the Evangelist is credited for writing two books in the New Testament. Luke was a disciple of Paul and it is believed that he was one of the Seventy. Maybe Luke was Paul's scribe? But why would Paul need a scribe when he seemed to be such a prolific writer himself. And why wouldn't Luke give Paul the credit. Again, Luke seems to violate the revelation and scripture only through Christ and His 12 Apostles rule. It seems to me that Luke would need to have some authority to write God's word.

Acts proves also to be problematic to the no revelation theory. Not only was Acts written by Luke, but Acts isn't even about Christ, Acts is all about the travels and ministry, and teachings of the Apostles themselves. It seems to me if Heb 1:1 is saying that Christ's word is all-sufficient, then why would Luke bother to discuss the travels and business of the Apostles.

5. Epistles of the Apostles
A good portion of the New Testament is filled with a collection of letters from the Paul and other Apostles to various Christian Churches and other "pastoral epistles" written to ordained Bishops like Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. And It seems to me that if the Apostles had believed in this Evangelical interpretation of Heb 1:1, the New Testament would contain letters from the Apostles which only stated: "your situation reminds me of the words that Christ that he gave us while alive" and not Paul's opinion on what qualities would make a good Bishop or Deacon.

6. The Revelation
The Book of Revelation does start out by saying it is given by Jesus Christ. But in Chapter 1 verse 1, John points out that the revelation was "sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." So, again, we have important scriptural information being transmitted by Christ but through an angelic intermediary and not Christ directly. At one point John falls down and worships the angelic minister and is corrected:

Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

7: The Two Witnesses
Rev 11: 3,7-8 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. . . And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city

It is clearly revealed to John that in the streets of Jerusalem in the Last Days there will be two witnesses who will be prophets who will have power to call down fire from heaven and cause plagues, drought and famine.

Rev 11: 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Now, some Biblical scholars speculate that these new prophets won't be new but they will be Elijah and Moses or John Himself who some believe to have been taken from the Earth or still living on the Earth without having tasted death.

But the interesting point here that I think excludes Elijah, Moses, or John is that eventually they do die. So, I am not sure how someone like Elijah who was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire is going to end up dead during the battle of Armageddon and then resurrected the 3rd day after their bodies are paraded around the streets. But either way, whether these are new prophets or old prophets, their part in the plan seems to violate the rule that Christ is our only mediator rule that is interpreted to exclude continuing prophets, priesthood, revelation and scripture.

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