The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Authority and church

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According to what the Bible tells us, Jesus established His own church (Matthew 16:18). In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul explains what this church consisted of. He wrote, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Note the order of priority: The apostles are listed first. And the reason for this is because they hold the keys of the kingdom. As such, they receive revelation for the church as they are guided by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Paul further explained to the Ephesians in 4:11-13 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Again we see that the apostles are listed first, and we are also instructed as to the purpose of these positions. If this was necessary back in the days of Peter and Paul, and this was the way Jesus organized His Church, it is obvious that this same organization needs to remain until we all come in the unity of faith and measure up to the full stature of Christ. Since this has not happened yet, it is equally obvious that we still need to have this same organization in the church today.

But what is an apostle, and how do they help us to come to a unity of the faith and measure up to Christ? To answer that question, let me ask two others questions. What is a prophet? And how does someone get their authority to become a prophet?

The primary function of a prophet is to foretell the future. A carefully study of the prophets found in the Bible shows that their prophecies of future events is what eventually became viewed as scripture. Certainly no definition of the term "prophet" which excludes the predicting of future events can be considered valid in the light of the scriptures.

Key passages from the Old Testament clearly define the role of the prophets as foretellers of future events and insist that fulfillment of his prophecies is the proof that a man is truly called from God  (see Jeremiah 28:9, Ezekiel 33:33 , and Acts 3:24 Acts 3:18). In most cases, a prophet prefaces his remarks by saying, "Thus saith the Lord." When he does, he is, in effect, declaring his authority for the things he says.

Having defined what a prophet is, we need now to define what the word "authority" means and how a person receives authority from God. Webster's dictionary defines the word "authority" as: "legal power, warrant, testimony, rule, precedent, influence derived from office or character, credit, credibility; in Con. the Magistracy or body of justices." According to Webster's College Dictionary it says: "1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues; the right to control, command, or determine. 2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization. 3. a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency."

The Bible gives us a little more information about how one receives this authority. In Hebrews 5:4 it reads, "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as [was] Aaron." In Exodus 28:1 we read, "AND take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, [even] Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons."

The Bible tells us that man doesn't take it upon himself to speak in the name of God. Instead, it is God who authorizes men to act for Him. In 2 Chronicles 26:18 we read of an incident where the king himself was forbidden to perform a priestly act. "And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, [It appertaineth] not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither [shall it be] for thine honour from the LORD God.

Since Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi, He did not hold the Levitical priesthood. But did He have authority to speak in the name of God? Let's look at what the scriptures tell us. In Matthew 7:29 it says of Jesus, "For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes." We also read, "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things." (Matthew 21:23-24). "And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine [is] this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him." (Mark 1:27).

Where and how did Jesus received His authority? In John 5:27 it tells us that it was God, the Father who gave Him this authority. "And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." In Psalms 2:7 we read, "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee," and in Psalms 110:4 we read, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Paul quoted both of these scripture when he wrote in Hebrews 5:5,6 "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

Since these verses of scriptures tell us that God was talking to His Son, we need to make sure that Jesus was the Son whom God was talking about. Let's look at what the scriptures say. Speaking about Jesus at the time He was baptized, "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). When Jesus was high up in a mountain with three of His apostles "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Hear ye him" (Matthew 17:5). Here we learn that not only did God declare that Jesus was His Son, but we also see that God gave Him His authority in front of witnesses.

The Bible continues by saying, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying],  I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard [it], said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes."

On two other important occasions Jesus clearly demonstrated His authority.  In John 11:40-45 we read,  "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said [it], that they may believe that thou hast sent me. He said this before to do the miracle. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him."

But this wasn't the only time that Jesus demonstrated His authority. In another occasion "he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. the scribes were offended." This [man] blasphemeth." In verses 6 and 8 Jesus pointed out "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house... But when the multitudes saw [it], they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men" (Matthew 9:1,2).

As we see, the scriptures clearly testifies that God Himself gave His personal reassurance that Jesus was indeed His Son and that He gave him His power and authority. The apostles likewise received the same authority from Jesus. Paul stated, "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed" (2 Corinthians 10:8).

Even in the Old Testament times this idea was very well understood. In 1 Kings 17:1 we read, "AND Elijah the Tishbite, [who was] of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, [As] the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." Since only God can control the weather, when he said, "according to my word" this showed that the power of his authority had come from God.

Later on, he showed his authority again when he challenged the prophets of Baal. "Then said Elijah unto the people, I, [even] I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets [are] four hundred and fifty men" (1 Kings 18:22). "Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay [it] on wood, and put  no fire [under]: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire [under]. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed [it], and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But [there was] no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he [is] a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, [or] peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. When he was to leave he gave his mantel to Elisha.and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him." 1 Kings 18:23-27

It was Jesus who said on this topic. Mark 16:17 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues." Then is pretty clear that these things should be still in force in the Christian churches today and for the Moslems the questions are:" Did Muhammad receive and show this authority? Not at all. Jesus is declared from God Himself to be a son of Him, Muhammad denied it. Jesus established a church in which prophets are peculiar and prophets are supposed to prophecy. Muhammad didn't build any church an best of all denied that prophets should be in force after him. He was the last prophet, according to his word, but what he prophesied? Nothing!. The signs mentioned from Jesus never followed him and his followers. I know why. Do you?

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 08:03  

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