docbible.net

The Bible and the Book of Mormon

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home LDS Writers Consistency in God's plan

Consistency in God's plan

E-mail Print PDF
User Rating: / 0
PoorBest 

Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest mind of this century, was almost obsessed with simplicity. He insisted on only using one soap for washing and shaving because anything more was a waste. It was his love of the simple and the desire to define the bare bones of natures framework that lead him to the greatest theories of all time. His harmonization of the laws of magnetism and electricity stunned the world and his theory of relativity revolutionized modern science. Einstein marveled at the exactness and order by which nature was arranged and his belief in God led him to remark that "what interests me most is whether God has any choice in the creation of the world". This statement has had a big influence on me and I realized that while God may have a choice, because He is perfect He will do things the best possible way. Perfection demands a measure of order, reliability and of course consistency.

Image14When I started university I began in Physic’s, like Einstein I too was attracted by the exactness of nature. However I didn't pursue a career in Physics, although I found it fascinating and still do. I began to learn that the things that made my life interesting and worthwhile were people centered. So I swapped my science degree to Psychology, which lay on the other end of the science spectrum. In Psychology it doesn't take you long to realize that the most interesting things about people can’t be tested objectively in a lab, and although we might share common experiences, we are effected in different ways.

This leads to a great dilemma: While the things that have little bearing on how we live our lives can be quantified and tested objectively, the things that regulate our relationships with others are qualitative and for the most part, subjective. Religion is one of those things.

We are challenged to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. So how do you go about proving that a system of beliefs is true? The answer is you can’t! Proof (although a very absolute sounding word) is very subjective. What will convince you will be different from what will convince me, and even then you will generally not believe things you don’t want to believe. As Dale Carnegie wrote, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

Think about the difficulties of proving that our own Christianity is true. While the people, places, events and timings may be somewhat verified, our belief stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a miraculous event for which there are only a handful of witnesses and even less that give a written account. Yet we believe, because we have had an experience with the Spirit of God, which makes the Atonement effective in our lives. This knowledge is the most subjective, but because it is the most personal, it is also the most useful. Being an analytical person, I think this is where I have struggled with religion. But it has to be this way, You can not be motivated enough to do anything about the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless you have had an experience that reaches to the inner most part of yourself. That experience doesn’t happen in a lab, nor can you predict it. It happens on a personal basis at an individual level, and most often in quiet moments. This is where the greatest Miracles happen, not to the body but to the soul, within the heart and mind of a person, bringing with it joy, peace, gratitude and especially love. It is this for which John in the New Testament wrote, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32).

In fact if the gospel could be proven our choices would be based on obligation rather that commitment. Which I think would defeat the whole purpose of why we are here. Still, it is important for us to look for truth and the Scriptures have given us guidelines as to where to look and how to recognize it when we come across it.

As Einstein was able to show harmony with the laws and organization that govern the physical universe, we should expect consistency in the laws and organization that govern our spiritual existence. If consistency and order apply to nature then the same should be true of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible asserts this assumption. Hebrews 13:8, states "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." And Ephesians 4:5 states "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism". We can count on Christ to be consistent, and if He is consistent then so is His church, His doctrine and His practice! The Gospel has to be both externally consistent (from age to age the principles have to be the same) and internally consistent (doctrines and practices must complement).

Furthermore the doctrines of Gospel of Jesus Christ also have to be simple and universal, it must be possible to bless and reconcile every member of the human race even the very least capable. Otherwise God could not be consistent.

As this book unfolds I will attempt to show some of the basic doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the light of consistency with the Gospel throughout history. Moreover I hope to show the practical everyday blessings which these teachings bring, because these truths will bless the lives of the people that live them. As Jesus stated in Matthew 7:16-20 "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

So with all that in mind, this book will not try to prove or disprove any practice. If anything this book is designed to develop an understanding of the Latter Day Saint’s perspective of Christianity. To show by looking at consistencies that this perspective is not only possible but also highly likely. As a missionary tool, I hope that this will lead you to more serious investigation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As a person, I hope that this will lead you to a greater love and understanding of Gospel of Jesus Christ. With all the access that we have to information in this age, we often forget that the purpose of this knowledge is to better ourselves and our relationship with others. As King Solomon wrote "Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)

The Organization of the Church.

Church of Jesus Christ - 1st Century AD
Church of Israel - 1500 BC
Church of the Hebrews - 2000 BC
The Church after the Flood - 2500 BC
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - 1830 AD

The last several centuries has seen Christianity explode into thousands of Churches worldwide. Since freedom of Religion was vigorously fought for in the 15th Century, people have been able to interpret the scriptures for themselves. This has lead to the creation of thousands of Christian Churches worldwide, as people have sought for truth. The sheer number of Churches produced, is a testament to the difficulty in achieving consistency with the writings of the Bible.

At the same time many people have lost faith in the existence of a structured Church. With examples of imperfect church leaders, and doctrines changing with prevailing public beliefs, many have burned the bridge between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an organization that supports it. The first century church, established by Christ and perpetuated by his apostles, has been written off as merely a vehicle to give us the New Testament writings. Belonging to a living church is a luxury of history.

But what if the New Testament Church wasn’t merely an interesting quirk, but consistent with the way the Lord has always dealt with his children. What difference would it make to us? What if we knew that the same organization exists today?

Galatians 3:8 tells us that the Gospel was preached to Abraham. Moses continually gave the Israelites symbols of the Savior. Isaiah preached to the Jews great revelations of the coming of the Messiah. Therefore it is practical that Christianity existed from the very beginning, it is just that we only started calling it Christianity after Jesus Christ. If this is so we should find consistencies in the organization of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the history of the Old Testament as well as the New.

This chapter will endeavor to highlight the organization of the First Century Christian Church, then mirror it to other examples in the Old Testament and eventually promote the possibility of such an organization existing in modern times.

The Church of Jesus Christ - 1st Century AD

Image9

First Presidency

When Jesus organized his church in the first century, he did it in a very systematic way. First he called Peter, who came to be the chief apostle, and earthly leader of this newly formed church. Peter showed himself a leader early, as he walked on the water with the Lord, and took the lead in conversations with the Savior. He was the first to recognize Jesus as the Christ, and the Lord told him that he would be instrumental in building His Church and gave him the keys to enact the powers of heaven. It wasn't until after Christ's Ascension that he began to take on the calling for which he had been tutored. Receiving revelation on behalf of the whole church.

After Peter, the brothers James and John, were called to the apostleship. These three were set apart from the rest of the apostles, and were privy to the greatest of all miracles and events relating to the Savior. These included Christ's transfiguration on the Mount, the raising of the damsel from the dead, and his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 14:28-29
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

Matthew 16:16-19
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: 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: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 4:18-22
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 17:1-2
1 AND after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Mark 5:35-43
35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was [of the age] of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

Mark 14:32-34
32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

Twelve Apostles

After the calling of the three and also Andrew who was Peter's brother, he called another eight men to act in the apostleship and to make up the "Twelve". The story of their callings were not included in the New Testament, but they are announced in several gospels. The twelve also had a special relationship to the saviour, and were with him throughout his ministry, and especially important in events such as the last supper. So important was this twelve that when Judas had proven unworthy and killed himself, another was chosen to take his place. We know from New Testament writings that at least another three apostles were called, Barnabas, Paul, and James the Lords brother. This was possibly to make a body of twelve, as the three stood out separate as the Chief and presiding apostles.

Matthew 10:2-4
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;
4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Acts 1:23-26
23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 14:14
14 [Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of], they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

Galatians 1:19
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

Seventy

After the apostles, Jesus called "Seventy" who were chosen to travel and preach the message of Jesus. These were given great power and authority to perform the miracles of Christ.

Luke 10:1
1 AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Luke 10:17-19
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Other Offices

Although the Gospels do not mention Christ calling and giving authority to any other group, Paul tells of the church being built on the foundation of prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ being the Chief cornerstone. He goes on to say there were prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to help perfect the saints and keep them from heeding any corrupt doctrine. Paul's writings tell us of Bishops, Deacons, Elders and the Presbytery. Such was the network of people in authority to spread the gospel and to help every member of this new Church.

Ephesians 2:19-20
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];

Ephesians 4:11-12
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Speaking of this New Church, Peter in his General epistle remarked, that the church would be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation and a peculiar people.

1 Peter 2:9
9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the
praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

But was this a "New Church"?

Dr Alfred Edersheim states that both the Twelve and the Seventy in Christ's time mirrored the time of Moses

Dr Alfred Edersheim Jesus Christ the Messiah Volume 2 Chapter 5
With all their similarity, there are notable differences between the Mission of the Twelve and this of 'the other Seventy.' Let it be noted, that the former is recorded by the three Evangelists, so that there could have been no confusion on the part of St. Luke. [b St. Matt. x. 5 &c.; St. Mark vi. 7 &c.; St. Luke ix 1 &c.] But the mission of the Twelve was on their appointment to the Apostolate; it was evangelistic and missionary; and it was in confirmation and manifestation of the 'power and authority' given to them. We regard it, therefore, as symbolical of the Apostolate just instituted, with its work and authority. On the other hand, no power or authority was formally conferred on the Seventy, their mission being only temporary, and, indeed, for one definite purpose; its primary object was to prepare for the coming of the Master in the places to which they were sent; and their selection was from the wider circle of disciples, the number being now Seventy instead of Twelve. Even these two numbers, as well as the difference in the functions of the two classes of messengers, seem to indicate that the Twelve symbolized the princes of the tribes of Israel, while the Seventy were the symbolical representatives of these tribes, like the seventy elders appointed to assist Moses.

When the Children of Israel had gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Lord organized them, and set up his covenant with them. Through Moses the Lord let them know that they would be a "peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation".

Exodus 19:5-6
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

The Church of Israel - 1500 BC

Image10

First Presidency

The Israelites were a nation and a church all rolled up in one. Moses was established as the Prophet and Leader of the Children of Israel, and was supported by Aaron and Hur. These two counselors were relied on for guidance in Moses absence and symbolically gave physical support, when Israel fought Amalek.

Exodus 24:14
14 And [Moses] said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur [are] with you:if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

Exodus 17:8-13
8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 But Moses' hands [were] heavy; and they took a stone, and put [it] under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Twelve Princes (Apostles)

The word Apostle is a Greek word and so is not mentioned in the Old Testament. However Exodus and Numbers show that their was a body of Twelve that presided over each of the tribes of Israel. They were called the Princes and were named individually. Along with Moses, and the Seventy Elders, the "Nobles of the Children of Israel" were also mentioned as seeing the Lord. These Nobles must have been very important, and must have at least included these Twelve Princes. They seem to have had a similar responsibility given to them as the New testament Apostles to Judge the twelve tribes. It is also interesting to note that this body of twelve went on to support Joshua in the land of Canaan.

Numbers 1:16-17
16 These [were] the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.
17 ¶ And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by [their] names:

Numbers 1:44
44 These [are] those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, [being] twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers.

Exodus 24:11
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

Matthew 19:28
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Joshua 9:15
15 ¶ And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.

Seventy

Moses was instructed by the Lord to call Seventy Elders from among the Children of Israel to ease his burden. These men were brought to the tabernacle, and as the spirit and authority was taken off Moses and put on them, they prophesied. Even those called who were not in attendance at the tabernacle also received the spirit. These Seventy were privileged to see the Lord along with Moses, Aaron and the Chief priests.

Numbers 11:16-17, 24-30
16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which [is] upon thee, and will put [it] upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear [it] not thyself alone.
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that [was] upon him, and gave [it] unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, [that], when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two [of the] men in the camp, the name of the one [was] Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they [were] of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, [one] of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, [and] that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
30 And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.

Exodus 24:9-10
9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and [there was] under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in [his] clearness.

Other Callings

Other callings in the church (Israel) were probably presided over by the Levites or the Sons of Aaron in the offices of teacher, priest and high priest. Also their were others called from among every tribe to provide judgment. Jetrho, Moses father in law, advised him to chose honest men to Judge the people both in great numbers and in very small personal groups. In this way each member of the church of Israel would be taken care of and Moses could attend to the affairs of the whole body.

Exodus 18: 16-26
16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make [them] know the statutes of God, and his laws.
17 And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest [is] not good.
18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that [is] with thee: for this thing [is] too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [such] over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, [that] every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear [the burden] with thee.
23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee [so], then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
26 And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

Other Similarities

Revelation

Revelation for the whole church was given to the head apostle or prophet of the time. Moses received revelation for Israel and was held to be the predominant authority by the Lord. In a contention with Aaron and Miriam, the lord let them know that Moses was in charge. Likewise although Paul had already been preaching to the Gentiles until Peter received revelation on the subject it was not an official doctrine of the New Testament Church. Moses received direct revelation to matters pertaining to Israel, Likewise Peter got direct revelation to matters of the church in Jerusalem.

Numbers 12:1-15
1 AND Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard [it].
3 (Now the man Moses [was] very meek, above all the men which [were] upon the face of the earth.)
4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.
5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood [in] the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses [is] not so, who [is] faithful in all mine house.
8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam [became] leprous, [white] as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, [she was] leprous.
11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.
13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in [again].
15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in [again].

Numbers 9:7-10
7 And those men said unto him, We [are] defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or [be] in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto the LORD.

Acts 15: 4-11
4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.
6 ¶ And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 16:4-5
4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Continuation

These Church Organizations were designed to continue. When Israel passed into the land of Canaan after there 40 year sojourn in the wilderness, it was Joshua who lead them. Through revelation the mantle and authority that was upon Moses was bestowed on Joshua. Likewise in the New Testament, after Judas suicide, the Apostles gained revelation as to whom would fill his position in the Twelve. In these ways the Gospel organization was intended to endure, provide lasting guidance and especially an avenue of revelation for the Church.

Numbers 27:15-23
15 ¶ And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom [is] the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
20 And thou shalt put [some] of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask [counsel] for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, [both] he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:9
9 ¶ And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Acts 1:23-26
23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Other Evidences Of Churches Set up In the past.

With these two powerful examples of God setting up his Church among his covenant people, we should be able to find other examples prior to Moses. The problem we have is that information in the book of Genesis is very brief and so any indications are only really speculations.

The Church of the Hebrews - 2000 BC

Image11

One such indication is that of Ishmael and the promises given to him. Ishmael had twelve sons, whom the Lord described as Twelve Princes, and was told that he was going to be a great nation. Couple that with the promise that his Father Abraham had with the Lord that his descendants would have the Gospel, and we have a great nation, and a covenant people presided over by twelve princes. It sounds very familiar. You could go so far as to suggest a three man family presidency made up of the prophet Abraham and his two sons. This presumption is given weight by the fact that Jethro, Moses father in law, was a priest of Midian yet was not of the lineage of Jacob (Israel). He must have received his priesthood from a complementary church organization operating prior to the Church of Israel.

The Church after the Flood - 2500 BC

Image12

Likewise it is interesting to note that Noah, along with his two blessed sons, Shem and Japheth, Also make up one of these "family" presidencies of three. What is even more interesting is that Shem and Japeheth between them had twelve sons. This presumption is also given weight by the fact that Abraham gave tithes, and took sacraments from the High Priest Melchizedek. Obviously he received his priesthood from a complementary church organization operating prior to the Church of the Hebrews.

While we know that both Noah and Abraham were prophets, because of limited information, a church organization such as in the time of Moses or Jesus is only conjecture. However it fascinating to see these patterns of three and twelve where righteous men make covenants with God. If we had more information it would be wonderful to compare how Enoch organized his city, or Adam organized his family. I think that it would be the same.

Genesis 17:20
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Genesis 25:16
16 These [are] the sons of Ishmael, and these [are] their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

Exodus 18:1,12
1 WHEN Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, [and] that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
12 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God.

Genesis 10:1-2
1 NOW these [are] the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

Genesis 10:21-22
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born.
22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

Genesis 14:18-20
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

So what is the point of all these consistencies? It shows that it is quite likely that this is the way the Lord has always dealt with His people, and gives us a measure of confidence that this is the way that He will deal with us today. You cannot also escape the obvious quorum of three, God the Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. It is quite likely that God presides in the universe with a body of twelve and seventy also, maybe more. This thought makes statements in the New Testament such as "the Kingdom of Heaven is come upon you" a physical reality. In other words in joining the church you are literally becoming a member of the Organization (Kingdom) of Heaven on the earth. The Lord’s prayer and plea "that it be done on earth as it is in Heaven" takes on a whole new meaning. Maybe this is not just the way God deals with us, but a divine principle of the universe, indeed one of the bare bones of natures framework that Einstein worked so hard to discover.

Apostasy

But why the need for all these restorations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It seems that the consistencies reach to the cycles of human nature. The scriptures are full of examples of Covenants being made - blessings being bestowed - pride in success - disregard for the truth - captivity - humility - repentance - and then covenants. This cycle happens on an individual and national basis. Israel as a nation had great blessings in Egypt, but pride led them to captivity. In their humility and repentance the Lord brought them out of Egypt. In the desert they made covenants and were blessed with great lands of plenty. These patterns continued throughout the history of the Old Testament. By the time of Christ there had been a great apostasy and the only option was to create a New Covenant (testament). This began with the Lord taking a lowly fisherman as he had done with a humble shepherd millennia before and providing spiritual liberty for the people.

The coming of the Messiah was a well prophesied event, and so was the preceding spiritual darkness that would contrast this great Gospel light. Amos prophesied of a famine, not of food or water but of hearing the word of God. His words were echoed by the first Century Church leaders who talked of a falling away from the truth, and preachers teaching lies for money. Indeed by the turn of the first Century all of the original apostles had been killed, and by the 4th century the priesthood was no longer available. The world plunged into the "Dark Ages". It wasn’t until the fifteen hundreds with Wycliffs translation of the Bible for the common person, and Luther’s Revolt did religious freedom become a possibility. People such as Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Edward VI pioneered the reformation and founded the churches which backbone the Protestant movement.

Still none of this was a restoration. I believe even these great men did not think it so. They merely believed, that what they were preaching was better than what they themselves had been taught. They were probably looking forward to the time when the prophesies of Daniel would be fulfilled, the rock cut without mans hands would roll throughout the world, and the times of refreshing spoken of in Acts would bring the restitution of all things. Maybe they even recognized their part in preparing this restoration. Certainly they thought they were doing a great service.

Daniel 2:28, 44-45
28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
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.
45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Acts 3:19-21
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times 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.

By the eighteen hundreds North America began to be the hub of religious excitement. It was here that a fourteen year old boy called Joseph Smith caused an unusual amount of controversy. The Young Joseph had been musing over the idea of joining one of the many churches proselyting in the area. In his confusion he came across the passage in James which stated that if any lacked wisdom, to ask of God. Knowing that this was an important decision, he was able to ask with great faith. His humble prayer was met with a Godly manifestation, in the which Christ appeared to him and called him to a great work.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - 1830 AD

Following many spiritual experiences the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was reorganized on April 6th 1830. It wasn't long before a Presidency of Three was organized with Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, Followed by a council of twelve Apostles. Later from a group known as assistants to the twelve, were a quorum of Seventy established. Through this divinely appointed body the revelation, doctrine and leadership of the church continued to this day. "That we be no more tossed to and fro by every wind and slight of doctrine".

What a marvelous blessing to have this consistency in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Another consistency to do with the Church Organization, is how it is received! When Jesus established his church, many recognized and followed the sweet simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But there were also a great more that saw this new religion as a threat to their existence. Especially threatened were the ecclesiastical leaders of the time, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These held to the religion of there forefathers, they could not see that there had been an apostasy from the teachings of Moses, they could not see that the Church of Jesus Christ was a restoration of the Church of Israel, maybe they didn't want to. They had gained prominence and wealth, from instructing religion to the people. Their pride did not allow them to give up their livelihood for the truth. So how did they react? While the New Testament doesn't give us all the details, it gives us enough that we can see that being a member of this church was far from easy. It began with mocking the leaders and their followers, but as the multitudes got bigger, the Pharisees and Sadducees challenged the doctrine, circulated rumors, and lies, distorted the truth and slandered the leaders of the church. This soon lead to violent attacks, beatings, burnings, stonings and secret murders. I am sure that even well meaning Jews circulated anti-Christian material as there friends and family investigated the church.

The ultimate example of this was the Savior, who was mocked, ridiculed, beaten and eventually condemned to death, by the very people that should have been in the best position to recognize him as the Messiah. It is kind of ironic. But how often do we not recognize the Savior in the people that we meet and the belief's that they hold. I think we are all guilty of being ignorant, prejudging and even attacking others because their belief’s differ from our own. I often contemplate, if I had been born during New Testament times, would I have recognized the truths that Jesus taught and be willing to give up my livelihood and even my life?

I don't think human nature has changed any since then, there are still many examples of such treatment of people because of their religious beliefs. Certainly the nineteenth century was a period of much persecution for the Latter Day Saints. Even in a land that prides itself on religious freedom, there were frequent threats of expulsion, extermination and murder. As the church mirrored its New Testament counterpart in organization structure, it did so also in its persecution.

to see the homepage of the writer go to http://www.consistency.cjb.net/

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 08:38  

site info

Members : 12886
Content : 381
Web Links : 6
Content View Hits : 740323

Who is online

We have 27 guests online

Adam's progenitors

Massimo Franceschini Adam's progenitors?

Secret paradise

Massimo Franceschini Secret Paradise

Hidden truths in the Bible. Volume 1

Hidden truths in the Bible. Volume 1