Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Everyone knows about the recent $700,000,000,000 economic bailout, and I think all would agree that we could use a little of it. Suppose, then, that I use my computer skills to draft a check for myself. After all, I'm a citizen of the United States of America. And I'm not asking for much; $70,000 would be just enough to get me out of debt. But we all know that if I tried to cash that check, instead of giving me the money, the government would give me a new set of clothes: a bright-orange jumpsuit. Why? Because I do not have the authority to act in the name of the United States of America. The power to write checks and spend money belongs to the United States Treasury and other duly commissioned officers.
The same principle applies to the acts which men purport to do in the name of God. God will not honor the acts of man as His own unless He first authorized them.

The authority that God has given to man to act in His name is called the Priesthood. And to the presiding bearer of the Priesthood, God gives the Keys of the Kingdom, or in other words, the Keys of the Priesthood. The presiding bearer of the Priesthood is the President of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Adam was the first man, prophet, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ. God taught him that through Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. God also gave Adam the priesthood or authority to act in God's name. Adam received commandments from God, such as the law of sacrifice, for Adam, Eve, and their children to obey. Adam and Eve accepted these teachings, obeyed the commandments, and taught their children to do the same. Some of their children, like Abel, listened and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. But others, like Cain, rejected Adam and Eve's teachings.
Those who rejected Adam and Eve's teachings cut themselves off from the Priesthood and its Keys and fell into what is called apostasy. Apostasy is when we are separated from the truth and light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But because God loves His children, even those who do not listen to Him, He called another prophet, Enoch, to teach them of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. Enoch also received the Priesthood and its keys. When God calls a prophet, gives him the Priesthood and its Keys, and sends him to teach the Gospel to a people who are in apostasy, this is called a restoration. Enoch succeeded in bringing many to the knowledge of God's Plan of Happiness. He established the city of Zion, and they obtained heaven.
After Enoch, the world again fell into apostasy, but God called another prophet, Noah, who restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ for those who survived the flood.
The process of apostasy and restoration continued for thousands of years. God would call prophets who held the Priesthood and its Keys such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph of Egypt, Elijah, Elias, and so forth, and those prophets and their teachings would be rejected.

When Jesus Christ was born, the world was again in apostasy. Jesus was a prophet, but He was also more than a prophet. He was the Son of God. Through Him, God restored the truths of the Plan of Salvation. Jesus established His Church, paid the price of sin, and was resurrected.

But as you know, the world eventually rejected Jesus and His apostles, and it fell into apostasy. That is, no one held the authority to act in the name of God. No one held the Priesthood or its Keys.

So what would God do? The same thing He did whenever His children fell into apostasy anciently. God called a prophet to restore the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Priesthood.

In the early nineteenth century, a young boy in upstate New York wondered which church to join. His name was Joseph Smith. The many churches in his area said that it didn't matter which church you joined, as long as you accepted Jesus. But Joseph recognized that the several churches' good-will disappeared once people joined separate churches. The different churches fought over the meaning of the Bible and how to be saved.

Joseph was so confused that he turned to the Bible himself. One day, Joseph read James 1:5 which says if anyone lacks wisdom, he can ask God, and God will give him the wisdom he seeks. Joseph decided that if anyone lacked wisdom, it was him and decided that he would ask God which church to join.

On the morning of a spring day in 1820, Joseph, then fourteen years-old, went to a grove of trees and knelt to pray. As he prayed, he felt Satan attack him. He could not speak and feared that he would be destroyed. Joseph called out to God, and in the moment that he thought Satan would overcome him, Joseph saw a pillar of light above the brightness of the sun. And the light descended upon him. In the light, Joseph saw two Men standing above him in the air. One of them spoke, calling Joseph by name and pointing to the other, "This is my Beloved Son, hear Him!"

In response to Joseph's prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him!
Among other things, Jesus taught Joseph that no church on the earth had the fulness of His Gospel, and through Joseph, Jesus would establish the fulness of His Gospel and His Church on the Earth again.

Joseph was called to be a prophet. Later, he would translate the Book of Mormon from ancient plates written by prophets who lived on the American continent. Joseph also received the Priesthood and its Keys through the angelic visitations of John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Moses, Elias, and Elijah. Because Joseph was a prophet and held the Priesthood and its Keys, he had the authority to act in the name of God. He taught of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. He also restored the Church of Jesus Christ as it had existed anciently.

What God did through Joseph Smith was the same thing He had done whenever His children had fallen into apostasy: He restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, and the Priesthood and its Keys through a prophet.

To read Joseph Smith's own account of what happened click here.


Anonymous said...

I found a Wonderful site on Isaiah!
The site has free lessons on every chapter.
Very well done and in the author’s own voice.
Every Isaiah Chapter has the Analytical Commentary of Isaiah. Enjoy this personable verse-by-verse commentary of Isaiah by well-known Hebrew scholar Avraham Gileadi.

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“It is my testimony that this man has been brought forward and trained at this time to help those inside the Church into Isaiah, and those outside the Church, Jew and Gentile, through Isaiah into the Church” —Arthur Henry King, author, former BYU professor and London
Temple President.

“Dr. Gileadi has achieved a major breakthrough in the investigation of a book of such complexity and importance as the Book of Isaiah”—Professor David Noel Freedman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Dr. Gileadi’s work will render obsolete almost all the speculations of Isaiah scholars over the last one hundred years . . . enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line . . . opening new avenues of approach for others to follow”—Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

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understanding of Judeo-Christian religion, lifting it to heights hitherto known only to prophets and saints”—Arie Noot, corporate executive, Edmond, Oklahoma.

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“Gileadi is the only scholar I know who has been able to express the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in relation to the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth”—Daniel Rona, Israeli tour guide, Jerusalem, Israel.

“Dr. Gileadi has clearly demonstrated his mastery of the Book of Isaiah and of the scholarly literature dealing with it”—Professor Ronald Youngblood, Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego, California.

“Avraham Gileadi’s books and tapes take the casual observer of Isaiah’s words and transform him into an enlightened and lifelong student of the Word of God”—Allan and Nancy Pratt, LDS mission president, Toulouse, France.

“Dr. Gileadi has awakened a whole new depth of my understanding of Isaiah’s prophetic message. His books and tapes illuminate the urgent relevance of Isaiah’s writings to our own day”—Becky Douglas, supervisor and sponsor of three orphanages in India, Atlanta, Georgia.

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“Gileadi has uncovered an amazing message written in a divine code by the prophet–poet Isaiah. This will give comfort, hope, and joy to masses of people as they cope with the perplexing events now unfolding before their eyes”—Fenton Tobler, thirty years elementary school principle, Las Vegas, Nevada.

We are the Dall family said...

I stumbled apon your site while looking for idea's for a talk I have to give on Sunday. My topic is Restoration of the gospel and I really do not want people to fall asleep during my talk while I read scriptures. I really loved your analogy of the $700,000,000,000 economic bailout. If you could help me with some other ideas, I would appricate it.