Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Restitution of All Things

Q1. "Proof of scripture in New Testament where Mormon church was established?"
Q2. "Proof of the establishment of the doctrine?"

Q3. "Proof of the Prophet Joesph Smith in the bible?"
Q4. "Proof of where Mormons gave biblical authority to have bishops, a prophet, and apostles?"

Great questions. I will support my answers with the Bible but please understand that other churches and Pastors will likely disagree with my interpretation of both the meaning and context of these verses. I have friends of many different Christian denominations and non-denominations. Every one of us desire to accept the whole Bible and not to be picker-and-chooser. However, while we all love the Bible, we can disagree about Bible interpretation as well as Bible context. My friends of other faiths interpret the Bible relying on a background of their faith tradition and what clergy have said about the Bible. After many centuries, there is a lot to choose from. LDS benefit because we interpret the Bible through the lens of the restoration and modern Prophets and Apostles. Where many opinions on the Bible exist, the Prophet can go to God for clarification on context and meaning. And that is why in addition to studying the Bible, the Bible tells us to rely upon the Holy Spirit, which was the gift of comfort given by Jesus Christ which He promised would "guide us into all truth", and "testify of [Him]", Therefore, If we really want to know the truth, the Bible tells us to knock, seek, and to "ask of God" in prayer (James 1:5). Only God can prove it to you.

All 4 questions are really derivations of the same question. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restored church and not a branch off the Catholic church or a Protestant Church. Therefore, one way to address all these questions would be to show where the Bible demonstrates that the original Church of Jesus Christ fell into an Apostasy and therefore needed restoring. LDS interpret the following scriptures from the Bible to foretell that along with the crucifixion of Christ, and the destruction of the Jewish Temple, there would also be a rejection of true Christian authority.

1. Restitution of All Things. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible foretells through allegory and prophetic pronouncement of a future falling away and restoration in the Last Days. After reviewing many of these prophecies of the apostasy and restoration from the time of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, down to Jesus Christ; Peter sums it all up when he commands all men to repent and be converted to Christ who would not return until after the apostasy and restoration or " times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Peter says clearly Christs Second Coming will not occur until there is a "time of restitution of all things". Similarly, Paul says Christs Second Coming will not occur until there is a "falling away first". Why would Peter and Paul speak of a falling way and a restitution if the covenant and authority given by Christ would continue uninterrupted? It seems clear enough here that there would be no need of a future refreshing and restitution of all things, if there wasn't first an apostasy or falling away of all things.

Acts 3: 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when times the of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 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. . . 24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

Just as Peter said, the Old and New Testaments contain many prophecies and allegories to a great future falling away or spiritual famine as well as an spiritual restoration before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The following paragraphs will attempt to highlight where the prophets in the Bible have foretold the Apostasy and Restoration just as Peter said. Take special note of key words like "prevail", "overcome", "flood", and "famine." as they are a clue that different scriptures are related.

2. Cain kills Able. One of the first stories of the Bible is the tragic story of the sorrow of Adam and Eve over Cain murdering his brother Able. But not long after, Adam and Eve rejoiced again with the birth of Seth. The death of Able and the birth of Seth serves as a type and allegory of the Great Apostasy following the Death of Christ and the Restoration before Christ's Second Coming. Like Cain and Able, Wickedness prevailed at first, but Righteousness was restored and will overcome in the end.
3. Noah and the Flood. God cleanses the Earth because of the wickedness of humanity and then re-established His covenant with Noah and his family. Again, wickedness prevailed at first, but righteousness was restored and would overcome in the end.
4. Abraham leaves Babylon. Abraham realizes that he was brought up in an apostate and idolatrous religion and leaves Babylon and is led to find the restored truth with Melchezidek, the High Priest and King of Salem.
5. Joseph is sold into Egypt. The older sons of Jacob lost out on the birthright and rights to the priesthood authority because of sin. Joseph, a younger brother received this birthright which made the other 11 brothers very jealous and resulted in their selling Joseph into Egypt. Many years later, the whole family of Jacob is forced to go to Egypt and are saved from the famine by Joseph. The House of Israel being saved by Joseph during a physical famine foreshadows the House of Israel in the Last Days being saved by another Joseph during a future spiritual famine.
6. Moses leaves Egypt. Moses is lead out of Egypt and is led to the tent of Jethro the High Priest of Midian where the truth of God was restored.
7. Moses and Aaron at Horeb. The Bible tells us an important story about Moses receiving that 10 commandments. God at that time wanted to give Israel the full gospel covenant, and God invited all the Elders of Israel up into the mountain. But the Elders refused, and told Moses "You go and speak for us". While Moses was away, the Elders became impatient and gave Aaron all their gold so that he could make them a false God to worship. Likewise, before the Second Coming, people will say Christ delayeth his return and some will give of their money to support false religion. False religion allows people to go through the motions of religion without expectations of repentance.
8. Eli and Samuel. Peter makes particular mention of this story. 1 Samuel 2-3 tells the story of Eli the High Priest of Israel. Eli's sons rejected the Lord due to being guilty of fornication. Consequently, the Lord withdrew the rights of the priesthood from the house of Eli and later bestowed the honor of High Priest and the blessings of the priesthood upon Samuel. However, for a time, the Bible says that the heavens were closed until the calling of Samuel who was just a young boy. Just like the days of Eli and Samuel, before the Last Days, there was a Great Apostasy were there was no "open visions" until God called another boy prophet by the name of Joseph Smith.

1 Sam 3:1 "And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision."

9. Elijah and the Famine. Elijah confronts king Ahab and Jezebel who promote the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth in Israel. Jezebel orders the killing of all Jewish Priests but Obadiah hides away 100 priests. Elijah calls down the a famine as punishment which lasts 3 1/2 years (Apostasy). During that time he is fed by the Widow of Zarephath. At the end of the drought Elijah calls down fire from heaven to consume the offering and convince the Israelites by a mightly manifestation of the power of God (Restoration).
10. Isaiah's Marvelous Work. Isaiah 29 speaks of a marvelous work and a wonder in the Last Days. Here, God says that he has covered or taken away prophets and seers from the people. All people are in a deep sleep or apostasy, but in the Last Days God will restore the truth through a book that will come out of the ground as voice out of the dust. That book is the Book of Mormon. Isaiah says that through the message of this book, those that erred in spirit will finally come to understand and learn true doctrine.

Isa 29:10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. . . 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. . . 24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

11. Book of Jeremiah. The whole Book of Jeremiah is about the Apostasy of the Jews at the time preceding the Babylonian Captivity, but it also describes and foretells the future Apostasy and spiritual captivity following the death of Christ and His Apostles. The literal apostasy and captivity of the Jews and Jerusalem becomes an allegory of the future spiritual captivity, falling away and apostasy of the Christian Church. Just as Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the Jews were scattered among many nations, so we see much of the Christian world scattered among various denominations and non-denominations. But God promises He will have compassion on His people and restore them again to the truth.

Jer 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Jer 9: 4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: . . . they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth:. . . 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen ,
Jer 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard. . . 15 And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.
Jer 16:16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

12. Stick of Joseph. Ezekiel is told that in the Last Days when all the 12 tribes of the House of Israel (not just Judah) are restored to their Promised Land, that the tribes will have 2 records of scripture called the "stick of Joseph" and the "stick of Judah". Ezekiel is told that prior to this Israel will be in great apostasy, but that through the unification of these records, the House of Israel which is the True Christian Church would finally be restored, sanctified, unified and purified. The "Stick of Judah" is the Bible, and the "Stick of Joseph" is the Book of Mormon.

Ezek. 37: 16, 19 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: . . .19 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. (see Ezek 16-28).

13. The Beast. Daniel 7 and John in Revelation foretell of a terrible beast (Roman Empire), that would arise and persecute, overcome, prevail against, and kill the saints. Daniel says that this same kingdom would change the times and the laws of the true gospel and religion (Apostasy) but in the end all dominion would be given to the people of God (Restoration). The Beast would be given a mouth that would blaspheme God, His word (Christ), His tabernacle (Christ's Body, Physicality of God, Church, and Temple), and persecute the Saints. This story is the story of what is called the Abomination of Desolation. Scripture has multiple fulfillment so this likely also applies to End-Times and the Anti-Christ.

Dan 7:21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; . . . 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (= 3 1/2 year famine or Apostasy).

Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (= 3 1/2 year apostasy). 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

14. Amos Foretells a Spiritual Famine. Amos says that before the Last Days a spiritual famine would come. But unlike the day of Abraham, and Moses who were led to the truth, this time, the truth would not be found anywhere on the Earth.

Amos 8: 11 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: 12 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.

15. Destruction of the Temple. Christ foretells that the Sun would dim, the moon would turn red, and the stars would fall from the sky meaning that all sources of heavenly light, revelation, and knowledge would cease. Christ also said of the temple (His body, His church) ;that not one stone would be left upon another (Apostasy). While the individual stones remained there wasn't a fully put together Christian church during the time of the Dark Ages that contained the cohesive whole and fullness of the truth of Christ's Church built upon a foundation of prophets and apostles; Christ being the chief cornerstone. But in the end, Christ says destroy this body and I will raise it up again the 3rd Day (Restoration). Also, remember that Christ said all this would be fulfilled at least once in that generation.

Matt 24: 2 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. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet. . . 29 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: . . . 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

16. Church Built on the Rock. Matthew tells us a story about Peter's witness and testimony that Jesus is the Christ. We are taught that Peter received this witness by revelation and not scientific proof (flesh and blood). Jesus Christ promised that upon the rock of personal revelation and priesthood authority and keys, the gates of Hell would never prevail. Christ also promised to always be with His church. But, this promise doesn't mean that the people of the Church would alway stay with Christ. While Satan has no power against the church built upon revelation and Apostles and Prophets. Satan was able to prevail for a season when the people rejected revelation and the authority of the Apostles and Prophets.

Matt 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

17. Jewish Exorcists Overcome. Later on in the Bible Luke tells the story in Acts that a son of Jewish priest attempted to invoke the name of Jesus to cast out evil spirits. But the evil spirits did not recognize the authority or faith of these Jews despite their using the name of Jesus. Consequently, Luke says that these Jews were overcome and Satan prevailed against them. If we reject the true Christian authority of Christ, then we will be left spiritually naked and wounded.

Acts 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

18. Priesthood Authority. The New Testament teaches us about how priesthood authority is transmitted. LDS accept the doctrine of a priesthood of all believers where all members can enjoy the blessings of the priesthood instead of just the birthright son or one tribe. However, LDS also accept that the priesthood still must be transmitted by being called by God and by receiving the laying on of hands by someone who has that authority. Being called by God means a person is appointed by a divinely appointed hierarchy instead of volunteering himself or being elected. When the Apostles and Prophets were killed, that authority was lost despite God calling others as Apostles like James the Brother of Jesus, Paul, Matthias, and Barnabas. After the authority was finally lost, the priesthood was restored again when Peter James and John appeared to Joseph Smith and laid their hands on his head. In the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is the same Apostles, Prophets, Bishops, Elders, and Deacons as in the Original Christian Church.

Eph 4: 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
John 15: 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
Heb 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
1 Tim. 4: 14 Neglect not the giftt hat is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

19. Paul foretells the Falling Away. Paul warns that Christ Second Coming would not occur until there was a great falling away first. The word for falling away in Greek is "apostasia" or Apostasy.

2 Thes. 2: 3 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;

20. Gainsaying of Korah. Paul speaks of apostasy and authority using several Old Testament examples in His letters to Jude and Titus. So, we shouldn't think that just because a story is in the OT it no longer applies. The story of Core or Korah is very interesting when it comes to authority. Korah was a Levite but was not a son of Aaron. Korah was jealous of Aaron and believed he could lead Israel as well as or better then Aaron. Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron and in response, God caused the earth to opened and swallow Korah and his followers. Paul warns us in several places that there would be false priests and false prophets who will practice "gainsaying," "priestcraft", and "vain talking" for "filthy lucre". Priest craft or Gainsaying involves appointing yourself or being elected as a pastor, making it a career or "craft", and preaching for money. Conversely, local LDS leadership and teachers are always called from the top down and serve in Christ's Church as an unpaid volunteer.

Jude 1: 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
Titus 1: 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

21. Woman fleeing into the wilderness. John tells the Early Saints a cryptic story that Satan would persecute and prevail against a woman (true church). However, John says the woman would be carried safely away into the wilderness during a period of spiritual famine until coming forth again to overcome at last. That coming forth would be accompanied by another angel who would delay the tribulation and bring the seal of God and restore the everlasting gospel of Christ. So, while the Beast is marking his people, God is sealing the elect in the forehead in preparation for the tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ. So, this restoration is not another gospel, but its the same gospel brought by another angel. This other angel is Moroni who revealed the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith. Moroni is the angel on top of the LDS temples.

Rev 12: 6 And the woman (true church) fled into the wilderness (apostasy), where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days (3 1/2 year famine).. . . 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman (Book of Mormon), and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
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,
Rev. 7: 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Some say it just isn't possible that God would allow His Church to fall into Apostasy. But. just as Christ allowed evil men to kill his body and he raised it from the dead on the third day; Jesus Christ allowed evil men to at first prevail against his church and temple. Now with the restoration of all things in this the dispensation of the fullness of times, God will overcome by restoring the plain and precious truths to the Bible with the Book of Mormon, and has restored his church with 12 Apostles and a prophet, and the proper priesthood keys and authority.

Now, the question remains, was there an Apostasy and was there a Restoration. The way God has given to know this is by the Book of Mormon. We are invited to read it, ponder its message (focus on what is it saying), and then pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true. If you pray with faith, believing in Christ, you are promised a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon by the Holy Spirit. There is no other way. Sure, It would be great to have smoking gun proof of the resurrection of Christ and of Nephites in America , but God has given that some questions can only be answered by prayer and learning to listen to the Holy Ghost. And that is done on purpose.

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