Tag Archives: Revelation

Little Known Propaganda: 9 – Inner Feeling

20 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

FACT #9. To the Mormon, the ultimate test that Mormonism is true is an “inner feeling.”

Mormons often refer to this feeling as a “burning in the bosom.” They believe their scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) gives the best test for determining truth. This test reads:

“…study it out in your mind; then you must ask me [the Lord] if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall FEEL that it is right.”

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

I can only speak to my experience, but the witness of the Holy Ghost is hardly a simple feeling. It is a direct communication from the Spirit of God to our spirit. It is communication on a spiritual level, which is an incredibly powerful witness. As the spirit and the body are joined in this mortal life the power of this communication if literally felt. This can be emotional, but in my experience, is more frequently a physical sensation. The description of a burning the bosom is not a metaphor, but an attempt to explain that when one feels the witness of the Holy Ghost they will literally feel a physical sensation of warmth fill their body. They will also frequently feel an emotional reaction of true joy or contentment or satisfaction, but rarely is there an emotional reaction without the physical sensation.

However, both of these are incidental to the true communication that is taking place. This communication cannot be explained, nor can it be truly understood unless it is experienced. To even attempt to explain it is impossible, and so the only descriptions that are given are those of the physical and emotional reactions to it.

So, to trivialize the communication of the spirit by referring to it as merely some emotional thing is to show ones ignorance as to what it really is.

Now, let us look at the references given and the evidence from the Bible.

You may note that the reference from the Doctrine and Covenants above tells us that we must study things out before God will reveal anything to us. The reason for this is that we are intelligent beings who have the ability to detect contradictions and can, by our own diligence, discover some bad philosophies and spirits.

However, he also expects us to seek His confirmation of our conclusions. Why? Because while we have the ability to discern things ourselves, we are also very gullible and have the tendency to set reasoning aside in favor of that which pleases us. So, to make sure that we are right we need God to confirm it to us.

However, we do not simply rely on these impressions, because we know that Satan can deceive, especially when we leave ourselves vulnerable to his influence.

There was the story in the early church of a woman who was visited by an angel. Now, the woman’s husband had been called to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, but the angel told the woman that he must not go more than a hundred miles from home or he would die. In telling this story Joseph Smith asked “How…was this known to be a bad angel?” He then answered the question “By…his contradicting a former revelation.” The woman, from her thoughts and feelings, had been deceived. But the deception was discovered through a careful examination of previous revelation, for God will not contradict himself. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 214)

Now let us consider the Biblical evidence. This is only a small sampling, but it gets the point across.

Let us look at Luke 24: 32. This is the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I am sure most people are familiar with it. Two disciples are walking to Emmaus a few days after the crucifixion. They are troubled by Christ’s death, and as they are talking about it they are met by a stranger. When they tell the stranger the reason for their troubles he begins to teach them the scriptures and how it all was going according to plan. Then, when they stopped to eat the stranger blessed the bread, revealed himself to be Christ, and disappeared. The two disciples are astonished and they look to each other and exclaim “DID NOT OUR HEART BURN WITHIN US, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures.

On this please note that they reasoned they should have known it was Christ because of how they felt. It wasn’t because of what He said, or His knowledge of the scriptures. It was how they felt because of his presence and because of his teachings.  And notice how they describe how their hearts burned within them.

This goes right along with Luke 4: 32. Here we have Christ preaching in Capernaum. Luke tells us that when the people heard it “they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” It was not what he taught that astonished them, but the sense of power that was in his words. In fact, the exact doctrine that he taught it not even mentioned. It seems that the power that his words held was of greater significance to Luke’s audience than the exact words.

Then we have a similar event happening on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2: 37. Peter has just preached a sermon, and the gift of tongues was manifest in a powerful way. As a result some three thousand were received by baptism into the church (see verse 41). What was it that so moved these people? Was it the eloquence of Peter’s words? Was it how well he expounded the scriptures? Was it any of the so called tests that people put forward today? No. Luke tells us that “when they heard this, they were PRICKED IN THEIR HEART, and said…what shall we do?” Again, it is the feeling that they had in response to the preaching that so touched them and convinced them of the truth of what they were hearing.

Now, let us briefly look at 2 Timothy 2: 15 in context (verse 11-16).

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

So, after listing the good doctrine that Timothy should be teaching, Paul warns Timothy to ‘strive not about words’ or to avoid arguments over trivial matters. He also latter warns against ‘vain babblings’ or vain disputations which have no real purpose. Rather, he is to learn the truth so that he is able to put down false doctrine and ‘rightly divide’ or teach the truth.

So, this passage has nothing to do with gaining a testimony or personal revelation. It is, rather, an exhortation to learn the truth before you try to teach it. This is the same message that God gives us in Doctrine and Covenants 11: 21, when He tells Hyrum “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed…” Hyrum, like Timothy, had already been converted and had a testimony of the gospel. So, the counsel given is what to do to prepare to teach after you have already received.

Little Known Propaganda: 5 – God man and man God

1 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4

 

FACT #5. Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim: “God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643[pg 229 in the pdf link, halfway down the second column)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught: “…you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346 [pg 346 on pdf link)

The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing: “… I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

 

There are a few things to understand about LDS doctrine regarding this.

First, one must understand that the LDS use the word God in three different ways.

  1. The supreme authority that we worship; a title used only in reference to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  2. Any being that lives in an exalted state, possessing all good attributes in their fullest and most perfect sense.
  3. The entities that false religions worship as gods are called gods, but do not fall into either of the first two definitions.

 

So, while we believe we have the potential to become gods, we mean this with reference to the second definition. We believe that we can possess all the same power and attributes that our Heavenly Father possesses. Thus we will gain the power to create; we will gain the power to have spirit children and have them progress through mortality to exaltation; we will have all knowledge and power that is possible to have.

However, what we will never have is the authority to rule in heaven, and thus we will never be a God in reference to the first definition. That distinction belongs only to the three members of the Godhead.

There are a number of Biblical verses that we believe support this doctrine.

Gen. 3:2, Ps. 82:6, Matt. 5:48, John 10:34, Acts 17:29, Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 4:7, Eph. 4:13, 1 Jn. 3:2, Rev. 3:21

This is not a comprehensive list, but the ones that are clearer and together they illustrate the point.

 

As to God being an exalted man, that is also in the Bible, but let us just consider what the doctrine actually says.

First, as it says in Acts 17: 29, we are the offspring of God. We are not merely something he decided to create one day. We are his literal children, sons and daughters of God, and (as Paul says in Galatians 4: 7) if we are sons and daughters then we are heirs of God. An heir inherits what his Father has, and, in this case, that is perfection and exaltation.

When we understand our relationship with Heavenly Father then it becomes a simple matter to see the nature of God. As we are his children, and the scriptures say that all things reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1), then it becomes simple reason to believe that God is also a man, as we would be after His kind.

 

Now, this is not to say that we are the same as God. After all, you would not say that a baby is the same as a fully grown man. The difference in ability, knowledge, and intelligence that is apparent between a baby and their father is comparable to the difference between us and God. Just as a baby must grow through experience and life to become an adult like their father, so to must we grow through experience and life to become a god like our Heavenly Father. And, just as no child can replace their father, we cannot replace God. Actually, a son can become a father, which then elevates his father to a grandfather, thus bringing greater glory to him. The same is true of us and God; when we become gods we only bring greater glory to our Heavenly Father.

 

Christ said in John 5: 19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

If Jesus could only do what the Father had done before him, then it follows that the Father was born into a mortal world, just as the Son was. It is also logical that the Father was the savior of that world, just as Christ was the savior of ours. This is taught by Joseph Smith in the same sermon that the author cites above. Joseph Smith taught “The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 346 on pdf link)

 

In all honesty, no one in the church really understands what happened before this earth. The full truth has not been revealed, and so we generally don’t talk about it much. God was once a man, just as we are. That is about the extent of the doctrine.

 

As to the verse from Isaiah, I wrote a post about the “First and the Last” some time ago which explains this verse.

The Revelation of John – chapter 18: Babylon Is Fallen, Is Fallen

19 Jan

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore, Kings

Chapter 18

Chapter 17 described Babylon. This chapter now describes the judgments that God has decreed against her.

Verse 1 

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

John sees another angel. Honestly, I have lost count as to how many angels John has seen in his vision. Obviously the events of the last days will bring all of God’s servants into the actions. While we are given no indication as to who this new angel is, their power and glory indicates one who holds a very high position of authority in heaven.

Verses 2-3

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication…

The angel announces the fall of Babylon, and explains the reason for it. The final fate of Babylon is to be a foul and evil place, where only devils dwell. The reason for this is the corruption that was described in chapter 17. Verse three is very reminiscent of that chapter. Notice here that Kings, and merchants have partaken of this corruption, meaning political and economic groups.

Verses 4-6

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins…For her sins have reached unto heaven…Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works…

I believe the voice is the voice of God, though it is not identified as such. God issued a similar call to the saints today. “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean…gather ye out from among the nations…from one end of heaven to the other…Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness…” (D&C 133: 5, 7, 14)

The admonition to double unto her according to her works rinds me of the Law of Moses and the restitution that it required for many crimes. This could be God calling his people, not only to abandon the evil of Babylon, but to condemn it in others.

Verses 7-8

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day…and she shall be utterly burned with fire… 

The pride of Babylon, or the culture of corruption, will cause the judgments to come swiftly against her. In one day does not literally mean 24 hours, but rather a very brief period of time. Notice also that Babylon will be burned. This is common imagery for the events of the last days. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares the tares are burned. In D&C 64: 24 the Lord says that all the proud and those who remain in Babylon will be burned. And of course, the wicked will be burned at the second coming.

Verses 9-19

And the kings of the earth…shall bewail her, and lament for her…Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!…And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…The merchants of these things…and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city…for in one hour is she made desolate.

Here we read that all those who partook of the wickedness of Babylon and supported the culture of corruption will mourn its destruction. Both the kings and the merchants mourn (including seafaring merchants), again showing how pervasive the culture had become. Verses 12-14 give a long list of merchandise that is basically all encompassing of every fine thing that could represent the pride of the world.

President Harold B. Lee warned “we are going through some of the severest tests today and we don’t realize perhaps the severity of the tests that we’re going through. … Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any test that we’ve ever had” (“First Presidency Devotional” [unpublished Christmas devotional for Church employees, Dec. 13, 1973], 4–5

Among the list of goods included are “slaves and the souls of men.” If we take this literally we see a reference to human trafficking (slavery). We also see an allusion to the practice in many religions of promising salvation for money, or the trafficking in souls. This reference can also be seen as a symbol of the addictive nature of the corruption of Babylon, causing men to be slaves to it, both body and soul.

Verse 20

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 

Those who are aligned with God and heaven has suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon, but now they can rejoice, for God has brought vengeance against her.

Verses 21-23

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down…And the voice of…musicians…shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman…And the light of a candle…and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more…for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Another angel, this one of great strength, now declares that all those things that made Babylon enticing no longer exist. The culture, the industry, community, the families; all are gone.

Verse 24 

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The only thing that is now found in Babylon is the guilt that she carries for the death and persecutions of the saints and the prophets.

The Revelation of John – chapter 17: The Kings of the Earth

9 Dec

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore

Chapter 17

Verse 9

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Most take this to refer to Rome, which was known as the city built on seven hills. I think that God was drawing on this imagery when the Angel gave this interpretation, but I think there is more to the meaning. In other prophecies the Lord uses the idea of a mountain to mean governments, or organizations (see Isaiah 2: 2, Ezekiel 17: 22, Micah 4: 1, and 2 Nephi 12: 2), and I think the same thing is being done here. The heads are seven kingdoms, or nations, that have been the center for this culture of corruption throughout the earth’s history.

 

Verse 10

And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

Verse nine told us there were seven kingdoms, which is confirmed here in that there are seven kings. Those who see this as Rome see these kings are Roman emperors, but let us take a wider view, as we did in verse nine.

Let us consider that at the time that John is writing five of these kingdoms have already fallen, and John is living in the time of the sixth. John lived during the Roman empire, so we can conclude that Rome is the sixth kingdom, and the Emperor (as a title and position) is the ‘one that is.’

So, what are the five that have fallen? Looking back in history, there are five great empires that have basically ruled the known world, and each was a seat of great corruption. These five, in chronological order, are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. So, these are the five that are fallen.

However, the seventh had not yet come when John wrote this vision. Here there is no real indication of what it is, except that it would “continue a short space.” To make any comment as to what or who this seventh kingdom is would be pure speculation.

I am inclined to think it is the Holy Roman Empire which held power for only a brief time, and was a center for all forms of corruption. This could also represent the entire feudal state of the middle ages. This is just my opinion, however.

 

Verse 11

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Now we see that there are actually eight kings. The seven heads represent seven kings, but the beast itself is an eighth, which comes out of the seven, or is born of them. Again, to try and say what this king is would be speculation.

In my opinion it does not represent a political kingdom, or nation, but a worldwide organization the works within many governments. It comes out of the other seven, as it is conceived and born as a reaction to the feudal state. It is the beast because it is inspired and directed by Satan. It is the final great secret combination that Moroni warned us of in Ether chapter 8. It seeks to overthrow the freedom of all people. It does so, not by conquest and subjugation, but through temptation and corruption, and so it supports the great whore Babylon.

 

Verses 12-13

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

What these kings are is again a matter of speculation. I believe they are organizations that either have, or will join with the beast. These are groups that formed for their own ends, but to increase their power and influence they seek out the eighth king and support him in his wickedness and partake of the cup that Babylon carries, full of abominations and filthiness. I will not speculate as to what these organizations are; only that by themselves they never grew powerful enough to be likened unto kingdoms.

 

Verse 14

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Besides the general corruption and wickedness associated with Babylon the ten kings without kingdoms will actively fight against God, against the church of God, and against the people of God. They will specifically target the saints in an attempt to destroy them and drive Christ and the gospel from the earth.

But there is comfort here, for God will overcome. Christ is Lord of lords, and King of kings. He will overcome all his enemies. Those who follow him and called and chosen, and so will triumph with Christ.

 

Verse 15

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

This shows that the entire world has taken part in the corruptions and wickedness of Babylon, to the point that the people themselves support the culture.

 

Verse 16-17

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

These verses explain the self destructive nature of the culture of violence and corruption. They support the culture of corruption, but will eventually turn on it as such a culture cannot be sustained. I do not believe that this has happened yet, but will soon. When it does the ten kings will become fully aligned with the great organization that is the beast. This is the final judgment against the corruption of the last days.

This gathering of the evil organizations into the beast sounds very much like the gathering of armies and the wars that John spoke of in chapter 9 and chapter 11.

 

Verse 18

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

This last verse merely reinforces the identity of the woman as the culture of corruption that holds power over all the governments of the earth.

The Revelation of John Chapter 17: The Great Whore

9 Dec

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues

Chapter 17

Chapters 17 and 18 describe the downfall of Babylon. This was listed as part of the seventh plague in chapter 16, but is given greater detail here.

Chapter 17 gives a fair description of Babylon, using some great imagery and symbolism. I will present this chapter in two parts, as my comments are rather extensive.

 

Verses 1-2 tell us what John is about to see. One of the seven angels from chapter 16 comes to John and says he will show John “the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

In this there are a few things to note. Babylon is the great whore, or the most corrupt of the earth. This also establishes Babylon as a woman. She sitteth on many waters, or is supported by all the peoples of the earth (see verse 15). Kings have had relationships with her, and the people are intoxicated with the corruption that she represents; this is a testament to the great social and political power the whore has over people.

This is to set up what comes next, so keep it in mind.

 

Verse 3

…I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

There is some dispute as to the meaning of the beast in this verse. It is reminiscent of the beast in chapter 13 of revelation, as both have seven heads and ten horns. As that beast represents a number of earthly kingdoms this beast may also represent those same kingdoms, and their moral corruption. However, there is also some speculation that it represents only Rome, which was built on seven hills, and certain emperors of the first century AD. In either case it is likely also a general commentary on all corrupt governments and organizations. However, just as verse 15 gives an interpretation of the water in verse 1, there is an interpretation of this beast later in the chapter. When we get to that I will explain what my belief is regarding the beast.

 

Verse 4

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

This verse describes the woman. Her clothes show her to be wealthy and powerful. The cup conveys the idea that all the wickedness that she represents is internalized, or becomes a part of those who partake. This is the wine on which the people are drunk (verse 2).

 

Verse 5

And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.

The names here written show the various corruptions and immoralities that Babylon engages in.

  • Mystery speaks of secret combinations, such as the drug lords, mafia, and even local gangs.
  • Babylon the Great refers to the corruptions of governments and political organizations.
  • Mother of Harlots shows that this great wickedness is the source of other organizations and corruptions around the world.
  • Abominations of the Earth refers to a general culture that embraces evil and wickedness.

 

Verse 6

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The corrupt of the earth have always been hostile to the saints of God, and John is here seeing that this pervasive culture of corruption is responsible for the deaths of many of the saints. Babylon the great will always thirst for the blood of the righteous.

It also says here that John ‘wondered with great admiration.’ An alternate Greek translation renders the word admiration as astonishment. John sees the power and influence of Babylon and is amazed at just how far the people have fallen into wickedness and how this culture of sex, greed, and violence has gotten such a hold on the hearts of men.

 

Verse 7

…Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her…

Here the angel begins to explain the meaning of the images John has seen.

 

Verse 8

The beast that thou sawest…shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life…when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

There are a few things to note here.

  1. The beast comes from the bottomless pit, or has its origin in Hell. This indicates that the power that upholds the beast is Satan.
  2. The beast goes into perdition, which tells us of the eventual triumph of God over Satan, who is cast into hell.
  3. Note the description that it was, is not, and yet is. This shows us two things. That this culture of evil is a reoccurring thing throughout the earth’s history, and that it is a temporary influence on men. There have been cities and nations that have embodied the decadence of Babylon in all eras, but all have fallen to the judgments of God. The great Babylon of the last days will suffer the same fate.

This concludes the first half of the chapter. The rest of the chapter continues the interpretation of the symbols.

What Was Witnessed

28 Nov

This is a video that I put together just for the fun of it. It is compiled from a number of videos at LDS.org, and is intended to be a kind of music video for the Hymn “What Was Witnessed In The Heavens,” the eleventh hymn in the LDS hymn book. I Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

False Prophecies: Earth Tremble, Sun Hidden

10 Nov

This is a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

See also False Prophecies, Temple

Doctrine and Covenants 88: 87

This is referenced less frequently than others, but is still common. It is among those listed at CARM.

This prophecy belongs to a group of prophecies that are dependent on unspecified timelines. They use phrases such as “not many days” or “nigh at hand” or other similar phrases. Critics of Joseph Smith try to impose the shortest possible timeline on such prophecies so they can claim that they are false and unfulfilled. The same critics seem to ignore similar prophecies in the Bible.

So, let us look at this prophecy.

For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.

Critics point out that the Earth has not trembled as described, the sun has not been hidden, the moon is not blood, and stars have not fallen.

At CARM they go so far as to calculate how many days have passed since this revelation was recorded. Their calculations are a bit outdated, so I will provide up to date calculations, to give you an idea of their claim.

It has been nearly 182 years since the revelation was recorded (will be exactly 182 years on the 27 of December this year).

182 years = 2,184 months = 9,497 weeks = 66,476 days

So, the conclusion is that since so many days have passed that this has to be a false prophecy. Seems logical, but it is trying to impose a man-made timeline on God, which is never a good idea.

Let us look at a few passages in the Bible that use similar language.

 

Isaiah 13: 6, 9, 13

Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty…For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine…Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

 

Joel 2: 1-10

BLOW ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand…The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

 

Joel 3: 14-16

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

 

You may notice that all three of these prophecies speak of the same events as D&C 88: 87; Sun, moon and stars hiding their light and the earth and heavens shaking or trembling. Now, Isaiah prophecies from 740-701 BC; Joel is a little harder to date, and may have prophesied as late 550 BC. So, let us use the latest dates for each and see how long it has been since these prophecies were given.

Isaiah: 2,765 years = 33,180 months = 144,274 weeks = 1,011,990 days.

Joel: 2,565 years = 30,780 months = 133,838 weeks = 936,687 days.

These numbers are based on our modern calendar, but they illustrate the point. If the words penned by Joseph Smith are overdue for fulfillment than surely the words of these two prophets are as well. Joseph Smith penned his words 66,476 days ago. Joel penned his 870,211 days before Joseph Smith, and Isaiah penned his 75,303 days before Joel (945,514 days before Joseph Smith). So, if Joseph Smith is a false prophet because of his words than we must also conclude that Isaiah and Joel are also false prophets.