Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Purpose of Repentance

A friend of mine questioned the LDS concept and understanding of repentance. He misunderstood our doctrine to mean that we somehow thought we could pay for our own sins. This is absolutely incorrect. Only Jesus Christ can pay for sins in this world which will result in Eternal Life.

Repentance involves 5 steps:
1. acknowledging sin
2. feeling godly sorrow for sin
3. making restitution if possible
4. asking God for forgiveness
5. forsaking the sin.

Again, the steps of repentance are not about paying for your own sins. Repentance is the process of accepting Christ after you knowingly rejected Him by your sinful actions.

2 Cor. 13: 5-7 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Titus 1: 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Examine yourself, is Christ in you? Do your works deny Him?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grace and Works

Some Christians criticize the LDS church for believing that water baptism, communion of the Lord's Supper, and LDS temple ritual are necessary to show our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Our critics claim that salvation is by grace alone and by nothing that we can do. However, LDS temple rites or baptism or communion do not deny grace. Its by the grace of God that we receive these ordinances. But that ordinances are required to show our acceptance of Christ does not destroy grace but shows that faith without works is dead just like works without faith is dead. Salvation by grace is not the issue. Ordinances demonstrate that faith and works are intergrally related and not mutually exclusive. There is no dichotomy between faith and works.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Beast and Its Image

The following presents a very interesting interpretation of the following scripture:

Rev. 14:9-11 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

John is using 3 symbols here. The first is the beast, the second is the image of the beast, and the third in the mark of the Beast. Now John warns us that the true believers are not to worship the beast or its image. Now we know from Daniel that the 7-headed, 10-horned beast is Rome. In the last days it would represent the Catholic Church. In Daniel 7, Daniel comments that Rome at the time of Christ would fight against the Saints, wear them out, and prevail against them. Also, that the Roman Empire would seek to pervert the doctrine by changing the times and laws of the gospel. We see this happen after Emperor Constantine makes Catholicism the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Dan 7 :21, 25 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; . . . 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.

So, the Beast is Rome and the Catholic Church today. But what does the image represent? The image is the Protestantism and Evangelicalism. Protestant churches broke off from the Catholic Church because many recognized that the teachings of the church did not fit what the Bible taught. Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation which produced the many Protestant Denominations and Non-Denominations didn't fall far from the tree. And John likens these churches to an image of the original.

Lastly we have the mark of the Beast which both those who worship the Beast (Catholic Church) or its image (Protestantism and Evangelicalism) take upon themselves. Thinking about what Catholicism and Protestantism have in common, only one doctrine comes to mind. That common aspect is their belief in the Trinity Doctrine and the Nicene Creed which stems from the First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. According to this article, belief in the Trinity Doctrine is the Mark of the Beast.

What is wrong with the Trinity Doctrine and the Nicene Creed? The Nicene Creed only has one word and concept that is not from the Bible. That word is "Homousios" and it means that Heavenly Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are of one undivided substance. And that little addition causes all sorts of problems when it comes to a proper understanding of the true nature of God, the relationship of the Father and the Son, and man's relationship to God.

When it comes to the Nicene Creed and the Trinity Doctine, I only take exception with the word "Homousios" meaning the Father and Son are One undivided substance. The LDS understanding is very close to the Trinity Doctrine. But remember a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump. Latter-Day Saints proclaim the divinity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God. According to the LDS Godhead: God is 3 Persons, 3 Personages, and 1 God. The Following scriptures illustrate how the Bible teaches that God the Father and God the Son are One God in purpose but 2 distinct personages as Joseph Smith saw in the First Vision.

John 14: 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Jesus Christ who is God and who is with the Father says the Father is greater then Himself.

Acts 7: 55-56 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Stephen sees Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of the Father.

Gen. 1: 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

God the Father and the Son converse about the creation of man.

Gen. 3: 22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

God the Father and the Son note that man has come to know good as they do suggesting that God is speaking to an intelligent being who is numerically distinct from Himself according to Justin Martyr to Trypho.

Matt. 26: 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus Christ expresses that his will is distinct, separate but unified with the Father

Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Father is perfect and complete alone. The separation of Jesus Christ from the Father does not diminish the Father.

Matt. 3: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

At the Baptism of Jesus Christ, the heavens open and the voice of Heavenly Father is heard separate from the Son.

John 17: 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Christ prays to the Father that His Apostles may be one and unified in purpose as He is one and unified with the Father.

The Fall

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Simplified Scripture Timeline

4000 BCE Adam (930 yrs.)
---------- Seth (912 yrs.)
3500 BCE Enoch (365 yrs.)
---------- Methuselah (969 yrs.) "his death shall bring"
3000 BCE Noah (950 yrs.)
---------- Flood (1656 yrs. after creation)
---------- Tower of Babel (1757 to 1996 yrs. after creation )
2000 BCE Abraham (175 yrs.)
1500 BCE Moses (120 yrs.)
1000 BCE David
500 BCE Ezra and Haggai
---------- Second Temple
0 Jesus Christ
1000 CE Dark Ages and Apostasy
1500 CE Martin Luther
1800 CE Joseph Smith
2000 CE Millennium

Apocalyptic Christ

Matt 24 1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: . . . . 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.

Jesus Christ is criticized by many scholars for being the first Apocalyptic. Christ seems to be predicting the end of the world when He says that all these prophecies would be fulfilled in that generation. And these same critics point to a long tradition of many Christians who have similarly foretold that the end of the world was going to occur in their generation but were mistaken. The problem here is not with Christ's words, but our mistaken interpretation. Christ is not foretelling the end of the world, but the end of His church. That the devil would be given power to overcome the Saints. Rev. 13: 7, Dan 7:25.

Dan 7:25 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.
Rev. 11: 7 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.
Rev. 13: 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.

The 2 witnesses in Jerusalem are a type of Christ and a type of the apostasy and restoration of Christ's church. They give their testimony, and then they are overcome and killed and their bodies are paraded around the streets for 3 days and then they resurrect and overcome the armies.

1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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.

The temple was completely destroyed and the Church of Christ was not left with one doctrinal stone upon another

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Titus the "little horn" after the 10 horns or Roman Emperors was responsible for destroying Jerusalem, the temple, crucifying thousands of Jews around the walls of the city and carrying the treasures of the temple to Rome. Then after all manner of plagues were unleashed on the Roman Empire (Mount Vesuvius, another fire in Rome, earthquakes), Titus had Christians fed to wild animals in the newly constructed Roman Colosseum.

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:

All spiritual light and revelation and prophets ceased during the Great Apostasy resulting in the Dark Ages. That said, these revelations are a type of the Last Days and will have multiple fulfillment and will be fulfilled again but have already been fully fulfilled once.

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.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Marriage And Civil Rights

History of Same-Sex Marriage Law in California
In 2000, 61% of California voters approved a ballot measure, Proposition 22, that said "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." From February 12 to March 11, under the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, officials of the City and County of San Francisco issued marriage licenses to approximately 4,000 same-sex couples, in apparent defiance of state law.

The California Assembly voted on September 6, 2005 to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, making the state's legislature the first in the nation to deliberately approve same-sex marriages. However, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed this bill on September 29, 2005 and again vetoed another similar bill approving same-sex marriage in October 14, 2007.

May 16, 2008 the California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage and Proposition 22 with a 4-3 ruling declaring that the state Constitution protects a fundamental "right to marry" that extends equally to same-sex couples.

Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition passed in the November 4, 2008, general election. It changed the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples. The measure added a new section (7.5) to Article I, which reads: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The proposition did not affect domestic partnerships in California.

Today in California the Supreme Court of California is hearing arguments regarding Proposition 8. The court plans to consider the following issues: "(1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution? (2) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution? (3) If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?"

Marriage And Civil Rights
Those against traditional marriage and against Proposition 8 argue that the issue of same-sex marriage is the "civil rights issue of our time." However, the issue of declaring same-sex couples married has nothing to do with preserving civil rights at all. Instead, the approval of same-sex legislation would prove to take away the rights of children, citizens, and institutions which support traditional marriage.

First, no one who supports traditional marriage is for limiting the rights of same-sex couples to live together. Civil unions for same-sex couples are already recognized across the country. So-called "domestic partners" are entitled to all the tax, insurance, medical, banking and inheritance benefits that any traditionally married person is entitled too already. Knowing this, one wonders why the same-sex marriage community is still pushing. Somehow, this is supposed to be a civil rights issue, but same-sex couples already have all the same civil rights that "married" couples have.

I imagine the same-sex marriage proponents wonder why traditionalist bother reserving the declaration of "marriage" only for heterosexual couples. The reason why supporters of traditional marriage want to preserve the title for heterosexual couples only is because marriage is a an act of government. Government allows private institutions like churches to marry people. The fear is that if same-sex marriage is approved then churches may not be allowed to marry heterosexual couples if they do not also marry same-sex couples. You think that is crazy talk? Well the same issues are going on with medical schools, hospitals, doctors and pharmacists who want to assists with and/or deliver babies but do not want to teach, offer or assist with abortions.

Another reason why traditionalists oppose same-sex marriage is because state governments determine school curriculum. Therefore it is likely that same-sex marriage would be taught as equal with traditional marriage. That would constitute a huge culture change in American, the consequences of which are unknown. In short, the majority of Judeo-Christianity opposes homosexuality and we as a people would like to preserve our right to oppose and discourage this lifestyle.

Homosexuality, Genetics, and Choice
At the core of this controversy is the the question of whether homosexuality is genetic or a lifestyle choice. I hope to recognize the false dichotomy here. Yes, there is a genetic component here. It is well known that if you mess with fruit fly genes you can make usually heterosexual fruit flies, well, "fruity." So, yes same-sex attraction does have a genetic component to it. Scientists debate endlessly about how much nature and how much nurture influences this. But there is one issue here that makes the issue of same-sex attraction different than skin color. And that issues is what makes humans different than animals. That is, that even though we may have an appetite or an instinct, unlike animals, humans have the power to choose another behavior. And that is what makes same-sex attraction different than skin color. No matter how hard a person tires, you cannot change their skin color. But despite a genetic disposition for same-sex attraction, homosexuality is a choice.

Rights of Children
If there are any civil rights being trampled on in all of this, it is the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Marriage is the union of a man and a women for the purpose of raising children. Children have a God-given right and are entitled to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father. With this as the basis for the definition of marriage, it is clear that same-sex marriage would be a violation of the civil rights of children raised in an unhealthy psycho-social environment. Unfortunately, since the sexual revolution and the explosion of children born to single mothers, our country has been guilty of violating the civil rights of children for several decades. And, our society has been suffering the consequences of illegitimacy, broken homes, ignorance, and poverty.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Second Temples and Types

Today in church my Biblical Hebrew Scholar friend made several insightful comment about the historical background of Haggai. One part of his comment was that the revelation of Haggai to Zerubbabel was the second time God had commanded the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

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.

The first time God had commanded His temple be rebuilt after the captivity was through Ezra during the reign of King Cyrus of Persia.

Ezra 1: 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

But Ezra was unsuccessful in completing the work of the Temple during the reign of King Cyrus and the days of Ezra. The Samaritans offered to help to build the temple then hindered its progress.

Ezra 4: 4-5 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. . . . Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

However, from Ezra 9 we find out that the it was probably the sin of Israel for intermarrying with the Canaanites and adopting their pagan practices that resulted in their failure. So God gives a second decree to build the temple through King Darius and the prophet Haggai. This time the the Jews are given more freedom to build the temple and the Second Temple of Zerubbabel was completed.

There seems to be a interesting pattern here and with the construction of the first temple. With the first temple, King David was not permitted to build the temple. But that honor was given to King Solomon. Since, many Bible stories are an allegory predicting future events at the time of Christ and the Last Days. King David is a type of Christ and would represent Christ. And the temple which represents Christs body also is synonymous with Christ's Church and Kingdom. If we see the story in this light, the story foretells that Christ would not fully establish His Church and Kingdom in His lifetime, but at a future date. And we know that this is what happened. The Church of Christ fell into apostasy and Christ restored His Church through the prophet Joseph Smith just as Daniel predicts in Dan 2 when he says that God would establish an everlasting kingdom during the days of the kings represented by the feet of iron mixed with clay on the Image (not Roman times but the Last Days).

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.

Again, when the Temple is commanded to be rebuilt by King Cyrus. Ezra is unsuccessful. The reasons for this failure are instructive. But upon the second decree by King Darius, and revelation to Haggai, Zarubbabel is successful and the Lord accept His Holy House. Again, this initial failure represents that the Saints of the Church of Christ would be unsuccessful in establishing the Kingdom of God during the time of Christ, but that the Everlasting Kingdom that Daniel speaks of and the everlasting gospel which John says will be brought by "another angel" would occur after a second decree in the Last Days.

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,

In addition to applying to the Last Days, these events are an allegory for the time of Christ and have multiple fulfillment. We see that Christ was born during the time of the second temple. And again, if we look to the future, we see this pattern repeat itself with the building of the temple in Jackson County Missouri and Zion. If you read D&C 101, you can read an allegory about the LDS Saint's failure to build the temple in Zion and that this temple and the blessings of Zion would have to wait for a future date and a second decree and commandment from God. And it will again be this Second Temple in Zion where Christ will "suddenly come" during Christ's Second Coming.

D&C 101: 43-50 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion. A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees; And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard. Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower. And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower? And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace? Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things. And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.

LDS Doctrine Q&A

The following is an interestesting post with my responses on supposed inconsistencies in LDS Doctrine which uses a similar tactic that atheists use against Evangelicals using the Bible.

Is God An Exalted Man?
NO! "Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things." Alma 18:28. BOM
YES! "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's, the Son also..." D&C 130:22
NO! "God is a Spirit.", John 4:24 ; God is not a man.", Num. 23:19 God has an eternal Spriit and an eternal glorified body.

[Ammon was building on common beliefs. It was the Lamanites who thought of God as a The Great Spirit.]

Are The Father, Son And The Holy Ghost One God?
YES! "Which Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal."D&C 20:28
NO! ..."Father, Son, and Holy Ghost comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God...a plurality of Gods exists." M.D. , pps. 576,577.
YES! "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one." 1 John 5:7

[LDS Godhead = 3 Persons, 3 Beings, 1 God
Evangelical Trinity = 3 Persons, 1 Being, 1 God

LDS explain how 3 beings can be 1 God because they are 1 in purpose. Evangelicals have difficulty explaining how 3 Persons can be 1 God other than saying its a mystery.]

Is God Eternal?
YES! "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." Moroni 8:18 BoM
NO! "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea.." M. D. p.321
YES! "The eternal God is thy refuge." Deut. 33:27

[Yes, God is self-existing and never had a beginning. God is a dynamic being always increasing in glory. God is not increasing in power or knowledge but increases in glory through the progression of His creations. The progression of His children adds to His glory but God remains all-powerful and all-knowing.]

Does God Change?
NO! "There is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God." D&C 20:17
YES! "We believe in a God who is Himself progressive,...whose perfection consists in eternal advancement.." Articles of Faith, p.430
NO! "For I am the LORD, I change not." Mal. 3:6
NO! "God is Spirit.", John 4:24 ; God is not a man.", Num. 23:19

[God is not static but unchanging in that God is always dynamically increasing in glory.]

Is There A Plurality Of Gods?
NO! "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one,""..and whoso shall declare more or less that this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil." 3 Nephi 11:27,40 BOM
YES! "These three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who...are gods."M.D. p.576,77
NO! "I am He. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Isaiah 43:10

[There is only 1 God. There will only ever be 1 God. The 1 True God will always be the only 1 True God over us and we under Him. There may be other beings called gods, but they are not worthy of worship. ]

Can Men Be Gods?
NO! "Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No." Alma 11:28,29 BOM
YES! "Then shall they (those resurrected) be gods, because they have no end." D&C 132:20
NO! "Thus saith the Lord...besides me there is no God." Isa.44:6

[The children of God will be called the sons of God, heirs of God, and be worthy to be called gods. Heirs of exaltation and eternal life will be blessed by God to participate in Gods work of creation. Heirs of eternal life and exaltation on God's right hand will be the managers as opposed to angels on God's left hand who will be the doers. (see Heb 1:1-14)]

Did God Create Man?
YES! "And I, God, created man in mine own image." Moses 2:27 P.G.P.)
NO! "Man was also in the beginning with God"..."For man is spirit." D&C 93:29,33
YES! "And the LORD God formed man..." Genesis 2:7

[God formed man's spirit and brought it into being (not brought into existence) as a spirit child of our Heavenly Father. But that spirit although formed and brought into being is self-existent and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.]

Can God Be Seen?
NO! "For without this (the authority of the Priesthood) no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live. D&C 84:22 (J.Smith did not have Priesthood when he claimed to see God.)
YES! "And he (Moses) saw God face to face, and he talked with him...Moses could endure his presence." Moses 1:2, P.G.P.
NO! "No man hath seen God at any time...the only begotten Son...hath declared him." John 1:18

[Yes, but only through spiritual eyes and after being transfigured or changed by the power of the Holy Ghost and through the mercy of the atonement of Jesus Christ.]

Is Jesus The One True God?
YES! "Blessed be the name of the Most High God. And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus and did worship him. 3 Nephi 11:17 BOM
NO! "Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage...three distinct personages and three gods." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith by J.F. Smith, page 370)
YES! "Now unto the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the ONLY wise God..." (Speaking of Jesus Christ) 1 Timothy 1:17

[LDS Godhead = 3 Persons, 3 Beings, 1 God
Evangelical Trinity = 3 Persons, 1 Being, 1 God

LDS explain how 3 beings can be 1 God because they are 1 in purpose. Evangelicals have difficulty explaining how 3 Persons can be 1 God other than saying its a mystery.]

Is Jesus Christ Eternal?
YES! "..from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ." D&C 39:1
NO! "Christ, the Firstborn, was the mightiest of all the spirit children of the Father." M.D. p.590 YES! "whose goings forth have been...from everlasting." Micah 5:2

[Jesus is self-existent, Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is 1 God with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Jesus is the I AM THAT I AM or the "self-existent of self-existent."]

Was Jesus Born Of A Virgin?
YES! "And behold, he shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem (!)...she being a virgin." Alma 7:10 BOM
NO! "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers." M.D.p.547
YES! "When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child." Matthew 1:18

[Yes, "Mormon Doctrine" is not mormon doctrine. Jesus Christ was begotten by our Heavenly Father but there is no mention of mechanism. There are lots of ways humans can achieve conception without sex, I am sure God knows a few other ways too.]

Is Jesus The Way To Salvation?
YES! "Behold, Jesus Christ is the name...there is none other name whereby man can be saved." D&C 18:23
NO! "the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds the keys of salvation for all men now living..." M.D. p.411
YES! " mediator between God and men, the man, Jesus Christ." 1 Timothy 2:5

[Jesus Christ gave the keys and ordinances for baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. So, by receiving these ordinances which are Christ-given, we show we accept Christ.]

Does Christ's Blood Cleanse Us From All Sin?
YES! "..salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." Mosiah 3:18 BOM
NO! "..for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail." (for atonement of sins) M.D. p.93
YES! "...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin." 1 John 1:7

[The blood of Christ will not cover those who refuse to repent and reject Christ by their works.

Titus 1: 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.]

Is Salvation By Grace, Not Works?
YES! "And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour, is just and true." D&C 20:30
NO! "That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins..." D&C 76:52
YES! "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God; Not of works..." Eph. 2:8,9

[Both, Grace without works is dead just as works without faith is dead. But even the works are done by the power of Christ in us and are a manifestation of Christ's grace over us and our saved state. If we are not improving, repenting, and doing good works daily maybe we are not saved. Christ's atonement is both grace and transformative power, that will empower us to reject sin, and purify us like silver and sanctify us. The atonement is both justification and sanctification.]

Is There Salvation After Death?
NO! "For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death...the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked." Alma 34:35 BOM
YES! " relation to the dead...For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation...that they without us cannot be made perfect." D&C 128:15
NO! "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement." Hebrews 9:27

[There are no second chances. But everyone will get a fair first chance.

D&C 137: 7-8 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; ]

IS Hell Everlasting Destruction?
YES! "yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them." Alma 5:7 BOM
NO! "Whosoever, therefore receives God's punishment receives eternal punishment, whether it is endured one hour, one day, one week, one year or an age." Plan of Salvation p.30 (Pamphlet Distributed by Elders)
YES! "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night. Revelation 14:11"

[Those that go to hell and endure eternal punishment with Satan until the second resurrection when the unjust will also be resurrected and stand before God to be judged. They will have paid for their own sins in hell to that point. But, if they accept that it was Christ who saved them then they will receive a degree of salvation but will suffer eternal loss and regret and separation from the Father in a lower degree of glory or having received a lower reward because they were not valiant. Salvation without Exaltation is still Damnation.

Acts 24: 15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

1 Cor. 3: 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Rev. 20: 5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Heb. 11: 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

1 Pet. 3: 19 By which also he (Christ) went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Rom. 10: 9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.]