Religion / End Times

Topics related to theology.
Navigator
Posts: 775
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Restoration of Truth thru a Prophet

Post by Navigator »

I would like to answer the question you just asked first, and then get at Chiliasm later today and tomorrow.

So the question is about "Who has authority from God"? I agree that this question is CRUCIAL to religion, as it is fundamentally important to be able to distinguish between someone who is voicing their personal opinions and beliefs (as Luther stated he was doing) versus someone who is speaking on God's behalf.

Those that speak on God's behalf are his prophets. Whenever God has something to tell the human race, he tells a prophet who then disseminates the message. People do not get to self-select to be prophets. God calls THEM. He gives them the authority to act in his name (they thus hold the keys of God's priesthood).

Prophets are not just in the Old Testament. Peter and the other Apostles of the New Testament also received revelation and guidance directly from God.

I believe that after the Apostles of the New Testament died off that revelation from God ceased and that the authority to act in God's name was taken from the earth due to the wickedness of people. I would refer to this period as the Dark Ages / the Great Apostacy.

The Great Apostasy

After the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people persecuted the Apostles and Church members and killed many of them. With the death of the Apostles, priesthood keys and the presiding priesthood authority were taken from the earth. The Apostles had kept the doctrine of the gospel pure and maintained the order and standard of worthiness for Church members. Without the Apostles, over time the doctrine was corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Without revelation and priesthood authority, people relied on human wisdom to interpret the scriptures and the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. False ideas were taught as truth. Much of the knowledge of the true character and nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost. Important parts of the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost became distorted or forgotten. The priesthood authority given to Christ’s Apostles was no longer present on the earth. This apostasy eventually led to the emergence of many churches.

After centuries of spiritual darkness, truth-seeking men and women protested against current religious practices. They recognized that much of the doctrine and many of the ordinances of the gospel had been changed or lost. They sought for greater spiritual light, and many spoke of the need for a restoration of truth. None of these people claimed, however, that God had called them to be a prophet. Instead, they tried to reform teachings and practices that they believed had been changed or corrupted. Their efforts led to the organization of many Protestant churches. This Reformation resulted in an increased emphasis on religious freedom, which opened the way for the final Restoration.

The Savior’s Apostles foretold this universal apostasy. They also foretold that the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church would be restored once more upon the earth.

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith

When the circumstances were right, Heavenly Father once again reached out to His children in love. He called a young man named Joseph Smith as a prophet. Through him the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.

Joseph Smith lived in the United States, which was perhaps the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time. It was at a time of great religious excitement in the eastern United States. His family members were deeply religious and constantly sought for truth. But many ministers claimed to have the true gospel. Joseph desired “to know which of all the sects was right”. The Bible taught there was “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Joseph attended different churches, but he remained confused about which church he should join. He later wrote:

“So great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was … to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. … In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?”

As Joseph sought truth among the different faiths, he turned to the Bible for guidance. He read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Because of this passage, Joseph decided to ask God what he should do. In the spring of 1820 he went to a nearby grove of trees and knelt in prayer. We have four different accounts of what followed, recorded by him or scribes under his direction. In one account, he described his experience:

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”.

In this vision God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told Joseph not to join any of the churches, for they “were all wrong” and “all their creeds were an abomination.” He stated, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof”. Even though many good people believed in Christ and tried to understand and teach His gospel, they did not have the fulness of truth or the priesthood authority to baptize and perform other saving ordinances. They had inherited a state of apostasy as each generation was influenced by what the previous one passed on, including changes in the doctrine and in ordinances such as baptism. As God had done with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and other prophets, He called Joseph Smith to be a prophet through whom the fulness of the gospel was restored to the earth.

After the appearance of the Father and the Son, other heavenly messengers, or angels, were sent to Joseph Smith and his associate Oliver Cowdery. John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. Peter, James, and John (three of Christ’s original Apostles) appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring the same authority given to Christ’s Apostles anciently. With this priesthood authority, Joseph Smith was directed to organize the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth. Through him, Jesus Christ called twelve Apostles.

The time in which we live is referred to by Bible prophets as the last days, the latter days, or the dispensation of the fulness of times. It is the period of time just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is the final dispensation. This is why the Church is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A living prophet directs the Church today. This prophet, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Knowing that doubt, disbelief, and misinformation would remain after centuries of darkness, our loving Heavenly Father brought forth an ancient volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible, which contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. This volume of holy scripture provides convincing evidence that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. This record is the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith was directed by a heavenly messenger named Moroni to a hill where golden plates had lain hidden for centuries. These golden plates contained the writings of prophets giving an account of God’s dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Joseph Smith translated the contents of these plates by the power of God. The prophets in the Book of Mormon knew about the mission of the Savior and taught His gospel. After His Resurrection, Christ appeared to these people. He taught them His gospel and established His Church. The Book of Mormon proves that “God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:11). In order to know that the Book of Mormon is true, a person must read it and ponder and pray about it. The honest seeker of truth will soon come to feel that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

Reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon are critical for an enduring conversion. Those who begin reading the Book of Mormon for the first time take important steps toward coming to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that the true Church has been restored to the earth.

Pray to Know the Truth through the Holy Ghost

This message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is either true or it is not. We can know that it is true by the power of the Holy Ghost, as promised in Moroni 10:3–5. Consistent study of the scriptures (particularly the Book of Mormon), regular church attendance, and sincere prayer help us feel the power of the Holy Ghost and discover truth. After reading and pondering the message of the Book of Mormon, any who desire to know the truth must ask our Heavenly Father in prayer in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true.

Because God is our Father and we are His children, He will help us recognize truth. When we pray with faith, sincerity, and real intent—a commitment to act on the answers we receive—God will answer our questions, guide our lives, and help us make good decisions.

When we pray, we address our Heavenly Father. We thank Him for our blessings and ask to know that the message of the Book of Mormon is true. No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer.

In answer to our prayers, the Holy Ghost will teach us truth through our feelings and thoughts. Feelings that come from the Holy Ghost are powerful, but they are also usually gentle and quiet. As we begin to feel that what we are learning is true, we will desire to know all that we can about the Restoration.

Knowing that the Book of Mormon is true leads to a knowledge that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through him.

Prayer
• Address our Heavenly Father (“Our Father in Heaven, …”).
• Express the feelings of your heart (gratitude, questions, requests to confirm that the Book of Mormon is true, and so on).
• Close (“In the name of Jesus Christ, amen”).

Cool Breeze
Posts: 2317
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:19 pm

Re: Religion / End Times

Post by Cool Breeze »

Ok, since there is no need for me to deconstruct, I'll leave your answer as is. Others can recognize the interesting positions you all have. As well as your skipping the St. Nicholas and Joseph Smith part.

Let's get to the chiliasm part, then. That might worry me more, because I can perceive you have many good traits otherwise. Will there be an earthly reign of Christ? Is that not what the "jews" (and perhaps others) are looking for?

Navigator
Posts: 775
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Christ's Personal Reign on Earth

Post by Navigator »

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (of which I am a member) does believe in Christ personally reigning on the Earth for a period of approximately a thousand years. This period is called “the Millenium”.

Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of the Restoration of Truth, was asked to explain the basics of the Church’s beliefs, in response to a newspaper reporters question. He wrote what we call the Articles of Faith, 13 very direct and clear statements on the Church’s theology.

Number 10 speaks directly to the Millenium (and a bit more):
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=10#p10

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal gglory.

I would also point out these specific Biblical references to the Millenium
Zechariah 14:4–9
Daniel 7:27
Revelation 20:1–3
Isaiah 11:1–9
Revelation 20:7–10


But let me go further in explaining more details regarding this belief

People on the Earth during the Millennium

A thousand years of peace, love, and joy will begin on the earth at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This thousand-year period is called the Millennium. The scriptures and the prophets help us understand what it will be like to live on the earth during the Millennium.

Because of the destruction of the wicked at the Savior’s Second Coming, only righteous people will live on the earth at the beginning of the Millennium. They will be those who have lived virtuous and honest lives. These people will inherit either the terrestrial or celestial kingdom. (see my posts on the other Theology thread about these eternal kingdoms)

During the Millennium, mortals will still live on earth, and they will continue to have children as we do now.

People will still have their agency, and for a time many will be free to continue with their religions and ideas. Eventually everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is the Savior.

Conditions during the Millennium

Satan Bound

During the Millennium, Satan will be bound. This means he will not have power to tempt those who are living at that time. The “children shall grow up without sin unto salvation” “Because of the righteousness of [the Lord’s] people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth”

Peace on the Earth

During the Millennium, there will be no war. People will live in peace and harmony together. Things that have been used for war will be turned to useful purposes. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

Righteous Government

The Lord will be king over all the earth, and all mankind literally under his sovereignty, and every nation under the heavens will have to acknowledge his authority, and bow to his scepter. Those who serve him in righteousness will have communications with God, and with Jesus; will have the ministering of angels, and will know the past, the present, and the future; and other people, who may not yield full obedience to his laws, nor be fully instructed in his covenants, will, nevertheless, have to yield full obedience to his government. For it will be the reign of God upon the earth, and he will enforce his laws, and command that obedience from the nations of the world which is legitimately his right

No Death

During the Millennium, there will be no death as we know it. When people have lived to an old age, they will not die and be buried. Instead, they will be changed from their mortal condition to an immortal condition in “the twinkling of an eye.”

All Things Revealed

Some truths have not yet been revealed to us. All things will be revealed during the Millennium. The Lord said He will “reveal all things—things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven”

Other Millennial Activities

In many ways, life will be much as it is now, except that everything will be done in righteousness. People will eat and drink and will wear clothing. People will continue to plant and harvest crops and build houses (see Isaiah 65:21).

One Final Struggle after the Millennium

At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be set free for a short time. Some people will turn away from Heavenly Father. Satan will gather his armies, and Michael (Adam) will gather the hosts of heaven. In this great struggle, Satan and his followers will be cast out forever. The earth will be changed into a celestial kingdom.

Cool Breeze
Posts: 2317
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:19 pm

Re: Religion / End Times

Post by Cool Breeze »

Since you can get emotional about this topic, I'll leave the analysis of the specifics of what you stated since it was clear. Anyone with a cursory study in the orthodox teachings will see these and know the differences. Let me ask you though, how will you discern the antichrist/man of sin? Why on the American continent? A commonality I see is that you, along with modern evangelical/zionist protestants, believe that "Israel" is tribal and not the Israel of God (the church, as St. Paul states clearly). It might even be worse if you think "Israel" is actually this country that currently exists, founded in 1948.

Thanks, I find this very interesting and informative.

Navigator
Posts: 775
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Re: Religion / End Times

Post by Navigator »

Thank for treating this discussion as an exchange of ideas.

I will answer you in a couple of days. I am having surgery tomorrow, and will be out a few days. It is nothing too serious, but I probably won't feel like typing a lot till closer to the end of the week. I know you will understand.

Cool Breeze
Posts: 2317
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:19 pm

Re: Religion / End Times

Post by Cool Breeze »

Navigator wrote:
Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:51 pm
Thank for treating this discussion as an exchange of ideas.

I will answer you in a couple of days. I am having surgery tomorrow, and will be out a few days. It is nothing too serious, but I probably won't feel like typing a lot till closer to the end of the week. I know you will understand.
Best wishes to you and skill and care to your doctor, that you may come out well from your operation. Chat soon.

Navigator
Posts: 775
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Re: Religion / End Times

Post by Navigator »

I think I am finally on the mend after my latest procedure. I am trying to be more active here. Put a post on the main board which I thought was a more important use of my time/effort than our discussion here, though I do like this discussion and am greateful for your respectfulness of it.

I can try to answer your previous questions one by one.

The Church of Jesus Christ does not do much in teaching how to identify the Anti-Christ, as this is probably seen as unnecessary for those who are already trying to shun evil.

But I have read a FANTASTIC translation of Isaiah (and our scriptures are replete with pleas to people to study Isaiah) that can provide the clues you are looking for. Based on these, I do not believe that the AntiChrist is some shadowy figure. I think he will be very out in the open, just like Hitler or Stalin.

The Isaiah translation can be found here (use the Apocalyptic Commentary):
https://www.isaiahexplained.com/commentary/1

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