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Home Book of Mormon THE CHURCHES OF GOD

THE CHURCHES OF GOD

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We know about the church Jesus established in Palestine, but is that the only church of Christ? He told His disciples, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:16). Who were these other sheep? Most Biblical scholars today feel that Jesus was referring to the Gentiles when He made this statement, but the scriptures tell a different story.

Matthew 10:5-6 "These 12 Jesus sent forth, and commanded them,saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

One day as Jesus came to the coasts of Tyre and Sidom, "Behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word.(pretty strange knowing the love and kindness of Jesus) And his disciples came and besought him saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24, italics added).

This woman was not of the house of Israel. She was a Canaanite. Even though she acknowledged Him as the Lord, the Son of David, and beseeched him with tears on behalf of her ill daughter, yet "he answered her not a word." And the reason he didn't answer her is because he was sent to preach only to those who were of the house of Israel. Also  when she said:" Then came she and worshipped him saying, Lord help me. Bu He answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Pretty strong here but the only reason was: He wanted point out the real reason of his mission and the answer of the woman shows us that she didn't take offense, surely she knew the doctrine and accepted it. Therefore, the "other sheep" He had to visit, and who would actually hear his voice had to be from the house of Israel. Notice, there is no record of even one Gentile. let alone a whole fold of Gentiles ever hearing Christ's voice preaching the gospel. Furthermore, these other sheep had to be lost. But where in the Bible does it talk about Christ going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?  You could also read Acts 11:18.

So at this point easily arise the question: who they are those lost sheeps?

Micah 4:1,6-7

"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains and it shall be exalted above the hills.... It is interesting because we know through this verse that it is referring to the last days and also it is speaking about the Temple, and the description fit very well to the countryside of Utah, where the Temple is.verse 6 "In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that haltheh, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth even for ever. The remnant are the Jews, they always were in Palestine at the time of Christ, I guess you already know who they are the second one.

Zephaniah 3:19-20 " Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out, and I will get them praise and fame In every Land where they have been put to shame. At the time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eye, saith the Lord."

even here we have 3 kind of sheeps. What the book of Mormon is saying about this important topic? let's read 3 Nephi 15:11-24

"And now it come to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, He said unto those 12 whom He had chosen. Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph. and behold, this is the land of your inheritance: and the father hath given it unto you. And not at any time hath the Father given me the commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem. Neither at any time hath the Father give me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land. This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them: That other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one sheperd. And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them. But verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it's because of their iniquity that they know not of you. And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them. And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said:" Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.............

In the Bible we learn that ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were taken captive by the Assyrians and carried to the north country. To this day they have not come back. Therefore, it is safe to presume that they are lost sheep belonging to the house of Israel. And then there was the remnant of the tribe of Joseph, which ran over the wall and became the people of the Book of Mormon. As far as the Jews in Palestine are concerned, they too were lost sheep from the house of Israel. In their record they tell of an event where Jesus Christ appeared to them after His resurrection and they heard His voice. More than that, the Book of Mormon tells us that while with them Jesus established a second church, after the same manner of the one He built in Jerusalem.

However, His work was not yet finished. He told the people in America, "Verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet have heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a command from the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that they may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them" (3 Nephi 16:1-3). Although we have no record of this visit, we can safely assume that He also established a church among these other lost sheep who belonged to the house of Israel, which would then bring the total number of churches to at least three.

But which wilderness was it that had been prepared for the church?

"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle,

 

Wings

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. 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. And the earth helped the woman,( do you remember Peleg?) and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:13-17).

In every age, the devil, "that old serpent" has always persecuted the church which tries to bring forth the gospel to mankind. But the church was given "two wings" like that of a great eagle. What does that mean? Isaiah talked about "the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" (Isaiah 18:1). As discussed earlier, this was the continent of North and South America. Truly this continent look like the wings of a great eagle. Furthermore, it was a wilderness.

Also, in John's vision he saw "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. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth." In the days of Peleg the earth was divided, thereby literally swallowing a large amount of water. This separated the wilderness of America from the wilderness of the Middle East, thereby preventing Satan from attacking this church by using the Roman Empire. The waters acted as a wall or barrier which protected the church which was hidden from the face of the serpent where it was nourished in the wilderness for "a time and times and half a time".

How long is a time, and times and a half time? We don't really know because the scriptures don't clearly tell us. But if a "time" is equal to 100 year, then "times" would be 200 years and "a half time" would be 50 years. If that is the case then that would be equal to 350 years. According the the time line given in the Book of Mormon, Christ established his church among the Nephite people after His resurrection, which would place the event at 34 A.D. The final battle at the hill Cumorah which completely annihilated the Nephites took place at 385 A.D. It was at that time when the enemies of Christ fully destroyed the church which Jesus had established. The difference between 34 A.D. and 385 A.D. is 349 years. It is possible that the time line of the book of Mormon could be off by one year.

However, before that great battle, "the dragon was wroth with the woman (the church in Palestine), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." The remnant spoken of here refers to the saints who lived under the Roman Empire's thumb. During this period of persecution the church which was hidden in the wilderness was safe from Satan's attacks for a time. However, when the times had ended, eventually the dragon also made war with this remnant of the seed of the church.

Yet there was still one more church left - the one Christ established among the ten lost tribes of Israel. What happened to them? We don't know -- yet.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 10:50  

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