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GRAPES FROM THORNS AND FIGS FROM THISTLES

SALVATION OF THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

 BORN AGAIN – REGENERATION

HAPPINESS AND HUMAN LEGISLATION

EFFECTS OF UNBELIEF, REBELLION AND APOSTASY

OPINION VS REVELATION

RELIGION OF THE ANCIENTS
SOCIAL RELATIONS

THE WALKING DEAD

GIVE ME TRUTH OR I AM DEAD

ONLY FEW SAVED

CIRCLE OF LIFE AND LOVE

GRAPES FROM THORNS AND FIGS FROM THISTLES

“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt,

and its fruit corrupt. A tree is known by its fruit.” JESUS CHRIST

This rule has often been applied to the mor­al conduct of individual professors, but we now propose to apply it to religious systems, and churches; for if a tree is known by its fruit, churches and systems may also be known by their fruits.

On all sides we turn our eyes we behold the christian world (so called) divided into sects and parties–all differing from each other, and all professing to be the church of Christ. Hence the inquiring mind often meets with extreme difficulty in endeavoring to ascertain the right from the wrong.

All the Protestant world agree that the Ro­man Catholic, or mother church, is so corrupt, and so far apostatized from the truth, that a ref­ormation was not only needed, but absolutely necessary. Many of them even go so far as to say that she is the “mother of harlots”—the woman upon the “scarlet colored beast Anti-Christ”—“The man of sin,” &c. Indeed, her principles are so abominably wicked, and so manifestly corrupt, that the thinking mind is almost forced to the above conclusions.

But still the Roman Catholic religion was the national religion of England for many hundred years. She built the ancient chapels where the Protestants now worship. Under her authority the country was divided into parishes, bishop­rics, &c. All the officers and ordinances were administered by her. She ordained the bish­ops and clergy, and she christened the entire population, from generation to generation. At length in the reign of Henry the 8th, the au­thorities of England and most of her population became Protestants, they were excommunicat­ed from the communion of the mother church and withdrew from her fellowship.

At length after many bloody struggles the church of England was established in her pres­ent form. But still she professed to retain the priesthood and ordinances which she had re­ceived from the Catholic or mother church–that is, her bishops and clergy claim no new commission from heaven, and her members were not christened anew.

Now comes the application of our text. If the mother church was a good tree, why should Protestant England leave her communion? If, on the other hand, she was a bad tree, how could her priesthood and ordinances be good?

Question.–From whence did the Protestant church derive her authority as to offices, ordinances, and christenings?

Answer.–From the Catholics.

Q.–Was the Catholic church a good tree or a bad one?

A.–She was a bad one–so says Protestant­ism.

Q.–“Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles “–can a bad tree produce a good stock or branch ?

A.–“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt: a tree is known by its fruit.”

Now, according to the plainest rules of logic, if the Catholic church was anti-christian, then her christening, or baptism, and her priesthood was not of heaven, but of men. God neither recognized the Catholic church as his church [Page 138/726]–her ministers as his ministers, or her ordin­ances as his ordinances. Then, as a matter of course, the Protestants were without a chris­tian ministry, and without a christian baptism, when they first dissented from the Catholics. Therefore their only alternative would have been to have received a new commission by revelation from heaven; and consequently a new baptism. That is, all the Protestant peo­ple, both clergy and laymen, should have been considered as unbaptized, until they were ad­ministered to by Protestants, who had been commissioned by new revelation.

The fact of her having retained her baptism and her priesthood, which she received, while Catholic establishes the point beyond contro­versy, that she is a stock or branch of the old tree. And by so doing she virtually ac­knowledges the tree from which she grew to be a good tree, or herself a bad one.

If then, the Catholic church is considered a “thorn” or “thistle,” the Protestant church cannot be considered a fig or grape.

These same remarks will in all their force apply to Methodism, in all its branches, and to other systems which have derived their priest­hood and ordinances from the mother church. If the Catholics are false, then Protestantism has no foundation. Luther derived his author­ity from the Catholics. Wesley derived his authority and baptism from the established church, and so did his followers.

We might trace this matter from one branch of reformers or dissenters to another, in all their various sects, from the early dawn of the pretended reformation down to the smallest sprig or branch, of which the great tree of corrupt christianity, or anti-christianity is com­posed; but we forbear. Suffice it to say, that the same rule will apply to all, except such as can absolutely claim authority by revelation from God.

Hence churchmen, Methodists, and Protestants in general deny in the plainest terms, the possibility of any revelation later than the Bible.  Hence if you inquire of them what they have against the principles of the Latter Day Saints the answer is, “they are deluded because they admit of new revelation.”

Now the very Moment they (the Protestants) take this stand, they deprive themselves of every claim to authority from God, in ministering holy things, unless it is derived from the mother of abominations.

“No man taketh this ministry upon himself (says Paul) but him who is called of God, as was Aaron.” It is plain, that Aaron was called by revelation. One of the prophets in reproving the corruption of the priesthood says as fol­lows:–“The priest’s lips should keep knowl­edge, and receive the law at his (God’s) month.” Revelation is inseparably connected with the priesthood, as an unchanging principle from all eternity to all eternity. Where there is no gift of revelation there can be no priest­hood, and where there is no priesthood there can be no ordinances of God, and where there are no ordinances of God there can be no church of God. All doctrine, ordinances, gifts, and blessings pertaining to the church of God, spring from an inspired priesthood as directly as a stream flows from a fountain, or as fruit is produced from a tree. As well might man at­tempt to produce apples or figs independent of a tree, as to expect a church of Christ to be in existence without apostles, prophets, &c., to administer the ordinances and blessings thereof.

Since the great apostasy from primitive christianity, all the reformers of which we have any knowledge have fallen into this one inconsist­ency, viz., of patching new cloth on to old garments; and thus the rent has been made worse. For instance, the Protestants have sought a reformation in doctrine without a new ­commission and new administration of ordinan­ces. The Wesleyans sought a reformation in practice without a reformation of doctrine.–­The Irvingites sought to graft the gifts of the spirit on to a corrupt church, without a change of ordinances, or priesthood. The Rev. Alex­ander Campbell has attempted to restore the ordinances without the priesthood, or gifts of the spirit. The Friends or Quakers have con­sidered both priesthood and ordinances as of [Page 139/727] no use, and that the spirit itself is sufficient, &c., &c. Thus all the attempts at reformation have failed to produce the desired effect; ages have rolled away, and the rent is still made worse, or the new wine has burst the old bot­tles; and thus bottles and wine have been lost or destroyed.

At length the full time had arrived for the great restoration of all things to commence, for the great and last dispensation to be ushered into the world. The Lord uttered his voice from the heavens, an holy angel came forth and re­stored the priesthood and apostleship, and hence has arisen the church of the saints; new (new to this generation) in priesthood, new in ordinances, new in spirit, gifts and blessings. It claims no affinity with the “mother of harlots or any of her daughters.” It denies the ordi­nances and priesthood which have grown out of her roots. In short it is a new “tree “–­new “fruits,— new cloth,” and “new gar­ments, new “wine, and “new bottles”–“new leaven” and a “new lump,” “a new covenant” and spirit; and may it roll on till we have a new heaven and a new earth, that we may dwell forever in the new Jerusalem, while old things pass away, and all things are made new, even so. Amen.

SALVATION OF THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

“He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.” Mark xvi. 16. This is a declaration that came from the lips of Jesus, the Messiah. The declaration is so plain that nothing could make it more so–so positive that nothing could make it more positive than those who believed and were baptized were in a state of salvation. While, on the other hand, those who believed not and were not baptized were shut out from God’s kingdom, and, therefore, were not in a state of salvation, consequently damned. Christ says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. And when he putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.” John x. 1, 2, 4.
By this figure we understand that all men are out of the sheepfold, or place of safety, or salvation, naturally; and that in order to get in they have to fellow the shepherd of the sheep, and he goes in through the door. The same idea is carried out in the assertion of the Apostle, when he says, “The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that it might have mercy upon all.” We understand also by this that all men are in a lost or fallen state; that they are not natural heirs of salvation, but are made so by adoption, the principles of which are revealed in the gospel. Then the gospel was given to save men, and not to damn them, as many vainly suppose. But men being in a lost, fallen, or damned state, the gospel was revealed to redeem and save men from that state.–Hence the Savior said: “He that believeth not shall be damned.” But how long shall an unbelieving person be damned? The answer is, just so long as he continues to be unbelieving. But can he ever be saved? Yes, just as soon as he believes and is baptized he is an heir of salvation.
 
But if, as many suppose, the gospel damns men, as well as saves them, I think that every rational being will say that it would have been far better for mankind if their great author had never instituted in this world the law of the gospel. Why? Because not one person in a million of all the great Adamic family have ever heard the gospel preached in the flesh; and of those who have, not one per¬son out of a thousand have ever obeyed it. Consequently the great mass of mankind have gene to hell, simply because of the gospel; and, according to the most popular theories of the age, must forever remain there.
 
“That when they’ve been there
Ten thousand times ten thousand years,
Add to them all the leaves upon the trees,
And the sands upon the shore,
Then add to them ten thousand times ten thousand more,
The time is just begun.”
 
But, says one, the millions of which you speak that have never heard the gospel, and dying without law, will be judged without law, and will be saved. Then I would ask, would it not have been better not to have had the gospel preached at all to the thousand, and thereby had not only the one, but also the nine hundred ninety and nine saved?
 
But I must confess that “I have not so learned Christ,” neither so understand the gospel, but have understood that the gospel was given “that all men might come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved,” and not that the heathen should be saved because they did not hear the gospel; neither that thousands should be damned because they did hear it. But I understand that all men are aliens and foreigners to the household of faith; that no man is naturally by birth an heir of salvation, but that all men alike are made heirs of salvation through obedience to the gospel; and that whenever a person yields obedience to the gospel, he becomes an heir of salvation, whether it be to-morrow, next week, next year, or fifty years from now, or whether it is done while he is living here in the flesh, or whether it is done after he loaves the body, and goes into the world of spirits.
 
But, says one, I always understood that this life was a probation, a place to prepare for the life to come. True it is that this life is a time to prepare for the life to come. Yet I presume that no person will say there is no preparation after this life. For St. Paul tells us that “God will judge all men according to my gospel.” Then how can God judge all men by the law of the gospel, and do it in righteousness? For it certainly would be unrighteous to judge men by a law they knew not of. And I have before shown that but a small part of mankind ever hear the gospel in the flesh. Peter says: “For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” 1 Peter iv. 6.
 
In fact, we find, while looking through the Old Testament, as well as the New, that the great work of preaching the gospel and of salvation is to be carried on among the nations of the dead, as well as the living. Even one portion of the great mission of Jesus Christ was to preach the gospel to the dead, or the spirits of the dead in prison. For the prophet, speaking concerning him, says: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Isa. lxi. 1.
 
And Peter records the fulfillment of the last clause, by saying “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved.” 1 Peter iii. 18, 19, 20.
Here Peter not only tells when Christ done this, but tells who he preached to; that it was when he was put to death in the flesh, [Page 130/718] while his body lay in the tomb; that then he went to the place called prison, where the spirits of those who were swept off by the flood in the days of Noah were preserved, and there preached to them the gospel. But for what purpose? To save them, of course. Not to damn them. For they, like the living, are damned until they obey the gospel. But how shall they obey the gospel? “For they go down to the pit wherein there is no water,” as one of the prophets says, for them to be baptized in. The prophet Obadiah says that “saviors shall come upon mount Zion.” i. 21. What is a savior? It is one that does for another what the other cannot do for himself. And that is, to be baptized for one that is dead. For the dead can hear and believe, yet they cannot be baptized. But a living friend can stand as proxy, and be baptized for and in behalf of the dead. Thus he becomes his savior.
 
By this time I think we shall be able to understand what St. Paul meant when, after bringing up one evidence after another in proof of the resurrection of the body, he finally hangs the subject on this one point: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” 1 Cor. xv. 29. It had become an institution in the church to be baptized for the dead, that they might come forth in the first resurrection. For Paul, in the same chapter, declares those who were Christ’s at his coming should rise first from the grave.–And Paul continues the subject by saying that Christ should continue to reign until all enemies are subdued. And John the Revelator declares that the first resurrection takes place one thousand years before the last. And Paul and John both agree that those who are Christ’s come forth in the first resurrection. But when the last resurrection is brought to pass, we find by reading the account of it that many of them that come forth at that time have their names written in the book of life. Hence we come to the conclusion that, although peace is restored to the earth at the first resurrection, and the reconciliation of all the living is accomplished, yet Christ continues his work among the dead, that he may finally reconcile, subdue and put all enemies under his feet, and save all the work of his hands except those whose names are not written in the book of life, who are the sons of perdition, who have once been enlightened and have tasted the good word of life and the powers of the world to come, of whom Paul said, “it was impossible to renew them again, they having crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6.
BORN AGAIN – REGENERATION

REGENERATION.

 

This is a subject which has called the attention of all Christendom, from the first to the last of all the sects on earth. Some have supposed the “new birth” to be a change of heart. Others that it is to be converted. While others make a distinction between conversion and the new birth; that to be converted or change our prin­ciples is one thing, and to be born again is another. But, first, I would, in order to understand the subject, ask, what is regenera­tion? What is it to be generated? To be generated is to be be­gotten and brought forth into the world. To be regenerated is to be begotten the second time. Hence arose the question with Nicodemus when Jesus said to him, “except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God,” “how can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his moth­er’s womb?” This appeared to be marvelous in the eyes of a rul­er of the Jews, but Jesus solves the problem, that as man was born of woman in order to come into this world, even so man must be born of the water and the spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God. John iii. 5.

We read in the first chapt. of John, 11th, 12th and 13th verses, that as many as received Christ, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. By this it appears that they had power to become the sons of God, by receiving Christ and being born of God; that is, of the water and the spirit, upon the same principle that one by being born of woman becomes the son of man. We find also in the 19th chapt. and 28th verse of Matt. Christ promises to his twelve Apostles that they should sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, because they had followed him in the regeneration. But, says one, this re­generation was the regeneration of the heart–a regeneration from sin. Then, according to this, Christ must have been a sinner, and been regenerated from sin; otherwise his disciples could not have followed him, for they could not have followed him in traveling where Christ had not been. But in the regeneration of water they could have followed, for as “he went down into the water and came up out of the water,” even so they could go down into the water and come out again, and thus not only have their hearts regenerated, but also their whole bodies and spirits. But, says the objector, if Christ meant that a man should be buried in the water and come [Page 87/675] forth out of it in order to be born of water, how is it that a man is born of the spirit? I answer, upon the very same principle that he is born of water, that is, to be enveloped in the spirit and come forth out of it. Christ says, “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whether it goeth; so is every one that is born of the spirit.”–John iii. 8. We read in the 2d chapt. of Acts 1st and 2d verses concerning the Apostles receiving the holy Ghost, “they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as the rushing of a mighty wind’ and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost,” &c.

By this we learn that the Holy Ghost comes like a breeze of the wind; that as the wind comes upon us and passes off again, we cannot tell from whence it comes, neither do we know where it goes, yet we feel the refreshing. We breathe the air, which seems pure, and our bodies are enveloped in the same. And, to use the ancient mode of expression, we would say we were born of the wind. So it is with the Holy Ghost. When the Apostles receiv­ed it, it not only filled them, but all the house where they were, so that not only the Apostles, but the whole number who were with them were not only filled with the Holy Ghost, but baptized with it. Hence we discover the truth and propriety of the Savior’s say­ing, “except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” By passing through these two elements (if we may call spirit an element) we enter the kingdom of God, (or his church,) and until we have passed through both we are not born of God. Therefore, although we might have been born of wa­ter, we are not sons of God. For, says Paul, except we have the spirit of Christ, we are none of his. Consequently it takes both the water and spirit for the door into Christ’s church, and also to make a perfect baptism. Hence, says Paul, “there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” Eph. iv. 6. S. P. BACON.

(Gospel Herald, July 26, 1849)

 
HAPPINESS AND HUMAN LEGISLATION

CAN UNIVERSAL HAPPINESS BE INTRODUCED BY HUMAN LEGISLATION?

A brief glance at the history of the world will convince any one of sound mind that it cannot. It will show that misery is increas­ing instead of happiness. And that happiness has never been enjoy­ed except by those who were governed by the authority of God.­ We find whenever the children of Israel yielded implicit obedience to the laws of God, they enjoyed happiness and prosperity, such as were not known to the surrounding nations. But we nowhere find that implicit obedience to human laws ever produced the like results. The laws of man, like himself, are imperfect and depraved; but the laws of God, like their author, are “holy, just and good.” That the reader may have an idea of the utter hopelessness of introducing universal happiness by human legislation, we will give a synopical history of Gentile domination, beginning with the

Babylonian Dynasty.–Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was in possession of universal dominion. Dan. ii. 37. 38. In the pride of his heart, as he walks in his palace, he exclaims, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? The same hour he is driven to dwell seven years with the beasts. This les­son brought this haughty monarch to acknowledge the power of God, and his goodness toward him, and is restored to his kingdom. From Dan. v. 17, 31, we learn the fate of that dynasty, and the rea­son of its overthrow. It progressed in wealth, pride and majesty until God overturned it, and gave the diadem to

The medo-Persian Dynasty.–Its rulers were inferior to those of Babylon, and its laws more oppressive, and its acts exceedingly cruel and blood-thirsty. Nations were conquered, despoiled and reduced to servitude. Its cup is soon full, the nation is overturned, and the diadem passes over to the

Grecian Dynasty.–Under the domination of the third Gentile family, a new era in human legislation begins to dawn–one mark­ed by the spread of liberal principles. Literature and science are carried to a high degree of perfection. Fresh hopes spring up in all hearts, as they fondly anticipate the speedy introduction of the golden age. The laws enacted by this dynasty were unequal, be­ing at times oppressive. The superior polish of the Grecian made every human defect the more glaring, and taught mankind one im­portant lesson, that the world has no self-renovating power. Mark the character of those states: in youth, crafty and energetic; in manhood, rigorous and extremely selfish; in old age, superstitious, voluptuous, fickle-minded, and grossly deficient in acts of philan­thropy. Without God, its downward course speedily ended in the transfer of the diadem to the

Roman Dynasty.–The long history of the fourth monarchy is one of repeated experiment in legislation. Every form of government is, in turn, adopted. No civil body ever put forth more untiring efforts to establish a universal brotherhood. The nations which they conquered, merely became tributary. They used all methods to se­cure the affections of their prostrate enemies. They extended their citizenship to all countries. To be able to say, “I am a Roman citizen,” was esteemed by all an exalted privilege. Even an apostle thought it not improper, on one occasion, to claim its privileges. In the days of Augustus and Trajan, the Roman empire was in the zenith of human grandeur. Did that government, however, ad­vance and purify the character of our race? After a struggle of eleven centuries, what are its laws? More oppressive than at first–its subjects corrupted, and shorn of wealth and happiness.

At the age of two thousand years of toil and change, that dynasty arrives at–“midnight!” Although the gospel has elevated those obedient to its requisitions, yet unaided human legislation has for 4,000 years been moving in the downward scale of progression. We are aware that such statements will be considered by some untrue. The last half century has excited in the minds of many the hope of a glorious triumph of enlightened, liberal principles. That such hopes are delusive will appear from the following extract, from Macauley’s History of England:­–

“All around us the world is convulsed by the agency of nations; governments which seemed lately like to stand for ages, have been on a sudden shaken and overthrown. The proudest capitals of western Europe have streamed with civil blood. All evil passions, the thirst of gain, thirst of vengeance, the antipathy of class to class, of race to race, have broken loose from the control of divine and human laws. Fear and anxiety have clouded the face and de­pressed the hearts of millions. Trade has been suspended, and in­dustry paralyzed; the rich have become poor, and the poor poorer. Doctrines hostile to all sciences, to all arts, to all industry; doc­trines which, if carried into effect, would, in thirty years, undo all that thirty centuries have done for mankind–and would make the fairest provinces of France or Germany as savage as Guiana or Patagonia, have been avowed from the tribune, and defended by the sword. Europe has been threatened with subjugation by barbari­ans compared with whom, the barbarians who marched under Attilla or Alboin, were enlightened and humane. The truest friends of the people have, with deep sorrow, owned that interests more pre­cious than any political privileges, were in jeopardy, and that it might be necessary to sacrifice even liberty, to save civilization.”

The doctrine of the progressive improvement of mankind, through the agency of human legislation, is contrary to the plain teachings of the word of God. The Bible contains a condensed history of all the leading civil dominions, to the establishment of the everlasting kingdom of God. That history was given in symbols to Daniel and John. Their names, order and relative importance are clearly given. That order fixes the character of human progression.

THE IMAGE, Dan. ii. 31, 45.–An inspired outline of the history of Gentile domination is brought to view in the metal-clay image. It is the “Almanac of Prophecy.” The nations have a human embodiment

  1. The head of gold–the most honorable member of the body—symbolizes [Page 78/666] the Babylonian rulers, the first in order, honor and wealth.
  2. The breasts and arms of silver denotes the second body of rul­ers, inferior to the former, in wealth and legislative ability.
  3. The belly and sides of brass represent a third dynasty, inferior to the second, as shown from the selection of a metal of less value for its symbol.
  4. The legs of iron denote strength–intimating the character of the undivided fourth monarchy.
  5. The iron and clay of the feet and toes symbolize a mixed race of rulers–divided and weak.

The order of national legislative progression is gold–silver–brass–iron–clay–from gold to clay. National progression is not therefore along the ascending scale of human perfectibility, but on the descending scale of universal corruption. The same great truth is taught by the symbols of the 7th of Daniel. The nations of the earth, being incapable of self-renovation, are broken in pieces and consumed by the kingdom of God. Dan. ii. 44. “And the saints of the most high shall take the kingdom and possess it forev­er, even forever and ever.” May God hasten it in his time.–Amen.

EFFECTS OF UNBELIEF, REBELLION AND APOSTASY
(Including the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 AD)
(From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 4, June 28, 1849)
 
When we take a retrospective view of the Church in this dispensation, we discover that many have begun in this work and have run well for a season and then turned back to the beggarly elements of the world. Sometimes we have thought more have done so in this dispensation than in any other. Upon reflection, however, we have come to the conclusion that it was the same in all former dispensations. We recollect reading somewhere that Noah was a preacher of righteousness a hundred and twenty years. It is exceedingly improbable that he preached all this time without making some converts. The probability is that numbers believed, but like many in our day turned back because the Lord did not hasten his work, that they might see it. Noah believed God, and endured unto the end in keeping his commandments, and by so doing saved himself and his household, but the fearful and unbelieving were destroyed by the flood.
 
In the Mosaic dispensation we have many examples of unbelief and rebellion and their consequences, one or two of which we will call to the reader’s remembrance. When Moses, the man of God, went up into the mount to receive the two tables of stone, on which were commandments written by the finger of God, the people, in sight of the smoking of Sinai by the glory of the Lord, turned back in their hearts into Egypt, and said unto Aaron, “make us gods to go before us; for as for this Moses, the man which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” Aaron made them a calf, and they worshiped it, and said, “these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” For this act of idolatry the Lord said unto Moses, “I have seen this people and behold it is a stiffnecked people: now, therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation.” But by the supplication of Moses the Lord repented him of the evil he thought to do unto his people, nevertheless they did not go unpunished; for by the command of Moses the children of Levi slew of the people about three thousand men, and “the Lord plagued the people because they worshiped the calf which Aaron made.”
 
On another occasion, when the spies which had been sent to spy out the land by the command of God returned, and reported, saying, “the land through which we have gone to search, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers and so were we in their sight.” They murmured against Moses and Aaron, and said, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or, would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Num. xiv. 2 to 4.
The Lord was wroth with them, and said, “I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of thee (Moses) a greater nation and mightier than they.” But Moses importuned the Lord to spare them, and he done so. Yet he suffered them not to go unpunished; for he said unto them, by the mouth of his servant Moses, “As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spo¬ken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upwards, which have murmured against me, doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me, in this wilderness they shall he consumed, and there they shall die. Num. xiv. 28 to 35.”
 
What a lesson to us to be faithful in keeping the commandments of God in all things! They might, if it had not been for this act of rebellion, gone into the immediate possession of the land of Canaan. And had it not been for this and several other acts of rebellion, they would have been established and governed by a celestial law, and made a nation of kings and priests. But instead of this they were established and governed under a law of curse, and only one tribe chosen for priests, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins for all the others. We might well say, with Paul, “Let us, therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”–Heb. iv. 1, 2.
 
About fifteen centuries afterwards, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, “came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” testifying also of one who should come after him, mightier than he, whose shoes he was not worthy to bear. Afterwards came Jesus, who was called the Christ, or, in other words, the anointed, of whom the angel Gabriel said, “he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. Luke viii. 1.
 
He chose twelve Apostles, “and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And lie sent them to preach [Page 66/654] the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” He appointed seventy also, and sent them two by two before his face, into every city and place whither he himself would come, and commanded them to say unto the people, “The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.–But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, “Even the very dust of your city which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you.—But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not , go your ways out into the streets of the same, and and say, “Even the very dust of your city which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: withstanding, BE YE SURE OF THIS, THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS COME NIGH UNTO YOU. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.” Luke x. 9, 10, 11, 12. By the foregoing we discover that the main object of Christ, the lawful heir to the throne of David, was to prepare the people for the reception of the kingdom of God, and it was for this purpose that he sent his disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
 
When he was asked of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, the conclusion of his answer was “Behold the king of God is within you,” or, according to the marginal reading, behold the kingdom of God is among you. That is, that the king and all the prerogatives and blessings pertaining to the kingdom was in their midst. There was nothing lacking, only for the people to receive it. But because he did not come with that pomp and splendor which they expected, they rejected him. Nevertheless, it appears from the history, that he made considerable stir amongst the people, for we find the chief priests and Pharisees saying, “if we let him alone all men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”
How blinding is the spirit of apostasy. They were willing to barter away the kingdom of God for the protection of a Gentile power. Jesus, at times, had large numbers of followers, but when he said anything they could not exactly understand, they would turn back and go no more with him, as will appear by the following instance: “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who call hear it? From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John vi. 53, 60, 66.
 
Notwithstanding Christ and his Apostles labored faithfully to establish the kingdom of God, they failed because of the unbelief of the people. It was said unto them that “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” And Christ, in the agony of his soul, said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.–For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matt. xxiii. 37, 38, 39. They rejected their king, the Lord of glory, and brought him before Pilate, the governor, and accused him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Ceasar, saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” But failing to sustain a charge against him, Pilate was minded to set him at liberty. But the people cried out, “crucify him; crucify him.”–Pilate remonstrated. But the chief priests and people were instant with loud voices requiring that he might be crucified, and they prevailed. Pilate, to satisfy the public clamor, gave sentence as they required, washing his hands as a testimony that he was “innocent of the blood of this just person.” “Then all the people answered and said, his blood be upon us and our children.” The Lord took them at their word.
 
They were given over to destruction. The temple was to be thrown down till there was not one stone left upon another. All the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom they slew between the temple and the altar, was to come upon them.–They were to be destroyed by the pestilence, the famine and the sword, and those left of the sword, the famine and the pestilence, were to be taken captives among all nations. And Jerusalem was to be trodden down till the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. That all these things came upon them will clearly appear from the following extracts from the writings of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, concerning the besieging and taking of Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian:¬-
 
“So now Titus’ banks were advanced a great way, notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into the valleys to gather food. Some of these were, indeed, fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine; but the greater part of these were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations; for they could not hope to escape away, together with their wives and children, without the knowledge of the seditious; nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers on their account; nay, the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out: so nothing remained but that when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy; and when they were going to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves for fear of being punished; as after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy: so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies.” Book v. chap. xi. sec. 1.
 
“And, indeed, why do I relate these particular calamities? while Manneus, the son of Lazarus, came running to Titus at this very time, and told him that there had been carried out through that one gate, which was entrusted to his care, no fewer than a hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan,] when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz.] This was itself a prodigious multitude: and though this man was not himself set as a governor at that gate, yet was he appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out, and so was obliged of necessity to number them, while the rest were buried with relations; though all their burial was but this, to bring them away, and cast them out of the city. After this man there ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens, and told him the entire number of the poor that were dead, and that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates; though still the number of the rest could not be discovered: and they told him farther, that, when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses on heaps in very large houses, and shut them up therein; as also that a medimnus of wheat was sold for a talent, and that when a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, by reason the city was all walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress as to search the common shores and old dung¬ hills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there; and what they of old could not endure so much as to see, they now used for food. When the Romans barely heard all this, they commiserated [Page 67/655] their case; while the seditious, who saw it also, did not repent, but suffered the same distress to come upon themselves; for they were blinded by that fate which was already coming upon the city, and upon themselves also.” Book v. chap. xiii. sec. 7.
“Now of those that perished by famine in the city the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day.–Moreover, their hunger was intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they, at length, abstain from girdles and shoes, and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some, and some gathered up fibers, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachma.] But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things? while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or barbarians. It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. I had, indeed, willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age; and, besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time.” Book vi. chap. iii. sec. 3.
 
“There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan; her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezub, which signifies the House of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem, with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion; and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with any thing but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing, and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, ‘O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition?–As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are the seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a byword to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.’ As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one-half of him, and kept the other half by her, concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately, if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that ‘she had saved a very fine portion of it for them;’ and withal uncovered what was left of her son.¬–Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, ‘This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing.¬ Come, eat of this food, for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother: but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one-half, let the rest be reserved for me also.’ ” Book vi. chap. iii. sec. 4.
 
“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon: although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them: for upon Titus retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning in the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried only by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty in affliction required, and ran together to prevent it: and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.” Book vi. chap. iv. sec. v.
 
“Now, the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war, was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; is was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were, indeed, of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem,] but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which at the very first occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly.” Book vi. chap. ix. sec. 3.
 
We have often heard people say, “if we hid lived in the days of Christ and his Apostles, we would not have done as those wicked Jews.” But the Lord is proving them liars. He is sending forth his prophets and Apostles unto the Gentiles in this generation, as he sent them to the Jews in that generation, preaching the fullness of the everlasting gospel, calling upon them to repent, for the hour of God’s judgment is come, they at the same time proving the divinity of their missions by testimony that is incontrovertible, yet few will believe, and those few are very unfaithful. Now what will be the consequences if they will not repent? Will God be more merciful to them than he was to his own covenant people? Nay, verily. Hear it, O ye Gentiles, if ye will not repent and obey the gospel of the Son of God, all those calamities which have come upon the Jews will come upon you, and God will put all the curses upon you which he his put upon them for rejecting his servants, and ye will perish by famine, by pestilence, and by the sword, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among we flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cutoff.” Micah v. 8, 9. G. W.

OPINION VS REVELATION

OPINIONS VS REVELATION

Possibly the greatest error among sectarian Christians is taking the word of man before the word of God. “7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8) “21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5) How? “20 To the law and to the testimony [revelation]: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8)

“Opinions, where we have the word of the Lord, are worth nothing. Since the days of the Savior, they have strangely divided men into almost as many sects, as the number of the name of the beast that John saw. All men have a right to their opinions, but to adopt them for rules of faith and worship, is wrong, and may finally leave the souls of them that receive them for spiritual guides, in the telestial kingdom.” (Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p. 69)

GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUTH. The medium of all truth is REVELATION. “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3)

“10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1)

The following is a letter of James J. Strang published in the Gospel Herald, Feb. 28, 1850.

Baltimore, Md., Jan. 31st, 1850.
DEAR FRANK:–Some time since I read an article in the Herald, which, though in the main sound, contained a very great error in the interpretation of this scripture: “No prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2d Peter i. 20. The writer interprets the word `private’ as synonymous with `secret,’ which is not the case. Had Peter intended to express that sense he would have used the word secret, and thus expressed his idea, instead of leaving it to be guessed out. The word private does not mean secret. We call that private property which belongs to individuals, public which belongs to the State, town, church or some municipality.

Those are private men who are engaged in their business, public who are doing official duty as public officers. An act of Legislature concerning the public at large is always spoken of as a public act, but an act to change a name, grant a divorce, or charter a private company, is denominated a private act. When a lawyer or judge expresses an opinion on a legal or judicial question in his private conversation, we speak of it as his private opinion; but if the lawyer, on the consultation of a client, or the judge in deciding the cause expresses one, we speak of it as his professional, official or public opinion.

All law is made by public authority, and not by the authority of mere private persons; and so all law is interpreted by public authority, rather than by that of mere private persons. And because the law was made by the Legislature, a public body elected for that purpose, it is interpreted by judges, also public officers, appointed to be its public interpreters.
Peter most aptly expresses this truth concerning the law of God in saying that “no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation,” 2d Peter, i. 20, and in the next verse gives the reason for it, because the prophecies themselves were given by public authority. “For the prophecy came not by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Who are these holy men of God ? The prophets of old, whom God placed in authority above people, princes and kings. And they spake not by private authority: not by the will of man; not as individuals who consider their opinions as good as any other person’s merely; but they spoke by public authority; by the will of God, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, which spirit they had in them as one of the gifts of their calling; not merely for their own edification, but for the office work of their ministry; given to them by prophecy and the putting on of hands.

These prophecies being thus given by public authority were the subjects of interpretation by the public authority established in the same government. That is, they were the subjects of public or authorized interpretation. Jesus Christ, Peter, Paul and others were appointed, and qualified of God by the gift that was given them for the work of their several ministries, to interpret them. But rebellious Jews then, as sectarians and rebellious saints now wrested them from their true interpretation, to their own destruction.

All laws are written to be understood, and to be understood by all who are subjected to [Page 298/886] them. But all experience has shown that language is so imperfect that it fails to express ideas with perfect certainty, and that every law is differently construed by different persons. Consequently questions are continually arising concerning private rights, depending upon the intent and meaning of public laws. Each party giving his private interpretation, prepares to litigate with these who are of a different opinion, and therefore claim opposing rights. But as law is not of private interpretation, they bring it to the decision of a magistrate, a public officer, who gives a public interpretation; that is, an interpretation by authority of the law, and thus decides the right. And though some private citizen of equal talent and learning with the public officer, or even of greater, should give a different interpretation, no good citizen thinks of saying that the interpretation of Mr. Strong, given in his private capacity, is as good as that of Judge Whiton, embodied in his decision as a Judge. They obey the mandate of Judge Whiton as a public interpreter and administrator of the law, whatever one or many of the private citizens may say to the contrary. “The children of this world” have learned that that which is spoken by authority is interpreted by authority.
Well did Christ say, “They are wiser than the children of light,” for they, poor souls, often think that their private interpretations are better than all the wisdom that God has placed in the church. They will tell us with great gravity that they will not believe anything as doctrine, or do anything as duty, unless we can give them a satisfactory reason for it. But though they have no respect for the PRIESTHOOD which GOD has placed in the CHURCH, they have an abundance of it for the officers whom the people have placed in the State. For if a Gentile constable summonses them as jurors, or appraisers, they do not answer him that they are not satisfied of the duty and necessity of doing so, and therefore will not go. So if the Judge charges them that the true intent and meaning of the law is thus and thus, they do not answer him that they understand it otherwise, and will not reard his charge and decisions unless he shows satisfactory reasons to them.

But they respect the authority of an official decision above a thousand private interpretations. How strange that all their respect should be reserved for Gentile authority, which God has not set up, and will destroy. This conduct is the more inexcusable for the reason that the officers of the State have no special gift bestowed on them for the work of their offices, but are selected, and with very little wisdom too, in reference to the qualifications they already possess. Whereas the ministers of God’s law are selected in the wisdom of God, to be the keepers, interpreters and administrators of his law, and have gifts given them from God expressly for the office work of their ministry.¬ 1st Tim. iv. 14. 2d Tim. i. 6. Luke xxiv. 49.

Those who associate with the household of faith, and forsake not the assembling of themselves together, cannot fail of an enlightened understanding of the law of God. Leaving those who have been cast out to be unto them as heathen men, they avoid the corrupting influence of evil communications. Having themselves the gift of God’s spirit, and having shepherds, teachers and ministers appointed of God, upon whom he has bestowed more abundantly of the same spirit, for the direction of all, they seldom find themselves in the wrong way; and as often as they begin to deviate from the road in which God would have them walk, they are curbed by a gentle and unchafing hand to ways of truth. Like the members of a well regulated family, all looking to the father as the common head, and the mother as his chief assistant; or a peaceable and prosperous nation, where litigation, turmoil and rebellion are unknown, every man honoring the sovereign and respecting the judges, and therefore never at a loss for his duty. Such a community never wrangle about the interpretation of the law.

But those who keep company with traitors, and discuss constitutional rights and legal interpretations with rebels, or, lifted up in pride, think they are just as able to dictate the affairs of State as the public officers who have, them [Page 299/887] in charge, are forever involving themselves in strife, frequently in disgrace and punishment. If by any means they obtain influence over large communities, they bring commotions, rebellions and all the miseries of internal strife and civil war; not infrequently ending their career in banishment or blood; and sometimes causing most desirable privileges to be taken away from provinces and nations, as the only means of preserving stable government.

So, too, those who forsake the assembly of the saints to keep company with heathens, sectarians and the enemies of the church, and discuss constitutional questions with traitors, rebels, heady, high minded men and apostates, instead of looking to God’s ministers, bring upon themselves all the curses written in the book of God’s law, and upon all who are so miserable as to follow them everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

I know the hackneyed objection to this rule, that it reduces a man to a child, or a cypher.” But I believe that in the State no man is yet reduced to a child or a cypher, by the fact that he cannot setup his private interpretation of the law as an excuse for rebelling against Judges, disobeying the mandates of officers. It seems to leave every man the privilege of exercising his judgment freely, and bring into exercise the most excellent talent. But it cures man of the pride of opinion that makes himself the standard of all wisdom. It teaches man that the base things of this world, which God has chosen, he has exalted above those that men honor, and that the gifts of his spirit, which he gives to all his saints for their edification, and more abundantly to those he has chosen to hold the keys of his kingdom, for the work of their ministry, are to be preferred above all natural talent and scholastic learning. It most effectually cures us of man-worship, by showing us that no man’s real and lasting greatness is his own; that it is the grace of God bestowed upon him for the work whereunto God has chosen him. Truly and sincerely, JAMES J. STRANG.

RELIGION OF THE ANCIENTS
Added July 30, 2016
Gospel Herald, Vol. 4. Oct. 11, 1849

It has been supposed by many of our modern theologians that the ancients knew very little about religion; that if they possessed any infor­mation of a God, it was only in dark similitude; in forms and ceremonies, in uncertain­ties and shadows; that the antediluvians lived in a day of darkness, or, rather, in the gloom of night; that the patriarchs lived in the dawn of day, before the sun had made its appearance above the horizon; that the Mosaic dispensa­tion might be compared to the sun’s first rising on the world; that the time when our Savior made his appearance among men, and the gos­pel was preached by the Apostles, was like the sun rising in majesty, dispelling the mist that brooded over the earth, and causing creation to rejoice; but that we are living in a day when sol has reached the meridian of his glory ; in “the blaze of gospel day.”

These views are by no means uncommon, and yet it always has appeared singular to us that men in this day and age of the world, when sectarianism has torn to pieces the religious world, and men’s views on this subject are split up into ten thousand pieces, that they should arrogate more to themselves than what our Savior and his Apostles enjoyed, when the church was in its primitive glory; whilst they were under the teaching of our Lord, and in­spired Apostles; before corruption or false doc­trine had obtained power in the christian church: and we can only account for it upon the principle that “ignorance is the mother of superstition;” and that in them the words of the Apostle are fulfilled: “Professing to be wise, they become fools.”

True religion is of divine origin; it emanates from God. It teaches us what is his will; what our privileges are, and what our duty is tow­ards him, and to each other. It teaches us to “love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.” If we possess any knowledge of God, we must have received it from God; for, according to the words of the Savior, “no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son does reveal him.” Since religion is of divine origin, we can only obtain from God a true knowledge of his mind, his purposes, and de­signs, and what mode of worship will be ac­ceptable to him. And if we have no means of coming to God ourselves, we can receive no knowledge of God, but what is conveyed either by tradition or writing. And since priestcraft has prevailed in different ages, and errors in translation and transposition are likely to ensue, it must follow as a natural consequence that those who are nearest the fountain will be the most likely to partake of the purest streams.

And it must be obvious to every understand­ing mind that all correct intelligence proceeds from God, and that the more frequent inter­course a man has with the Lord the more communications he has from the Almighty, and the more frequent God’s revelations are to him the more he will know of the purposes and de­signs of his heavenly Father, and, consequently, of true religion. This being the case, it will not be necessary for us to inquire whether a man lived in the Adamic dispensation, the dis­pensation of Noah, of the Patriarchs, of Moses, of our Savior, or in the present dispensation, to know who had the most light, possessed the greatest privileges, or had the most religion, but to inquire who drew the nearest to God, who received the most frequent communications from him, and to whom did he most abundant­ly reveal his will, whether in this generation or any other. If these questions can be satisfac­torily answered, we shall not find much diffi­culty in ascertaining who possesses the most knowledge of God and godliness, and who has the most religion.

If we turn our attention to the present reli­gious world, what do we see? Men holding communion with God, and receiving revela­tions from God? Verily nay! The heavens to them have become brass, and God’s mouth is closed. Nay, worse; the idea of revelation is scouted by them, and those who would believe in it are branded as impostors; and they virtu­ally cut themselves off from all communication with, or from God, and can know nothing of or [Page 141/729] about God, “but what they know naturally, as brute beasts,” as saith the Apostle. What sort of a spectacle does the christian church present at the present? Torn, and split up, divided, and disjointed by the fiery seal of religious big­ots, and hypocritical partisans, it presents a picture of ruin and desolation, like a forest torn by a mighty tempest, or uprooted by a furious whirlwind, that once stood in grandeur and majesty, and its beautiful foliage was admired by every observer; but now its withered leaves, its broken boughs, and shattered limbs, are the sad memorials of its overthrow and destruction.

Or like some ancient palace that stood proud­ly aloof from other inferior buildings, magnificently adorned with all the beauty of ancient architecture; its towers, and columns, and statuary, and beauty, was the pride of princes, and its strength and fortresses bid defiance to the hand of the desolater; but the revolutions of ages have despoiled the noble edifice: the corroding hand of time has destroyed its beauty, and all that is left of its former magnificence is here and there a few broken fragments, that very imperfectly show to the inquiring travel­er the ruins of its former splendor and ancient glory.

So stood the church, once indeed beautiful, pure and intelligent; clothed with the power and spirit of God; endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost; possessed of prophets, Apos­tles, pastors, teachers, helps, governments, tongues, interpretations, gifts, visions, and the ministering of angels; having the heavens open­ed, the purposes of God unfolded, the future destiny of man made known, and “life and im­mortality brought to light.”

Basking in the beams of eternal truth, and holding communications with God and angels, it stood proudly erect, in the strength of Israel’s God; it was sustained by the mighty hand of Jehovah, and was indeed “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;” but ah! alas! a change has come over the dream; the flower has been nipt in the bud; its glory has departed; the deadly influence of heresy has penetrated to its very vitals.

The withering power of priestcraft has dis­robed it of its beauty; and disjointed by secta­rian strife and schismatic influence, it lays in broken fragments, scattered, rent and disjoint­ed, with nothing to point out its original but the shattered remnants of its ancient glory, on which are scarcely traceable any of the marks of its former magnificence, or original grandeur. And how can it be otherwise? When men are destitute of revelations from God, and absolute­ly deny the principle?

Perhaps some may think that the above is an overstrained picture, but we think not; and let those who think differently examine the subject, and they will find that none of the above mentioned things, which constituted the beauty and glory of the christian church, are now to be found: no apostles, no prophets, no pastors, teachers, or evangelists, that even pro­fess to be inspired; no gifts of healing, no tongues, or interpretations; no visions, no rev­elations, or ministering of angels; but all they now possess, as a substitute, is, the dogmas of men, the wild theories of theologians, and the opinion of divines; all doubt and uncertainty, without the least particle of a knowledge of God, the order of his church, or his will con­cerning them.

If we turn our attention from the religious world to that of the infidel, we shall find a body of men vainly striving to find happiness in cre­ated good, in morality and in social society, but without a knowledge of God. Turn we our attention for a moment to Fourierism, which however laudable in its attempts to ameliorate the condition of man, and out of the broken, chaotic, disordered mass of society that now exists, bring about a social order which shall pro­mote universal peace and happiness; it must fail in its attempts; it has no other religion than that which is above described; it has not the materials to construct such an edifice as it con­templates; and science without God will never make men permanently happy.

What a deplorable aspect the world of man­kind presents at the present time, especially on [Page 142/730] our continent, torn to pieces with dissension about religion and politics, tossed on the bil­lows of uncertainty, both religiously and politi­cally, men scarcely know which way to steer to shun the various rocks that threaten destruc­tion on every hand.

With several hundred different religions, all clashing and in commotion, the speculative theories of Miller, with his wild enthusiasm; the deceptive pretensions of Mesmerism; the poison of Infidelity; the plans of Fourier, and the ten thousand other notions that are del­uging the earth, and cracking the human brain, render it indeed necessary that God should again speak and point out the way of salvation and happiness with certainty to the human fam­ily, and bid the “dire commotion cease.”

With this state of things, shall we glory in our religion, and say that we are living in the “blaze of gospel day?” Vain pretension! Idle boast! Let us rather hide our heads in shame, and “stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein;” then should we indeed find rest to our souls. Jer. vi. 16.

If we turn our attention to the ancients, we shall find that their religion was founded upon a very different basis. If they worshiped God, it was because they were instructed by him to do so. If they kept any law, or observed any ordinances, it was because the Lord command­ed them to do it. Their religion was taught them by the Lord. And if they possessed any knowledge of God, any wisdom or intelligence, if they were made acquainted with his purpo­ses and designs, it was through revelation. And if God had not unveiled himself to them, they must have remained eternally in the dark, and ignorant of the principles of truth. Under the tuition of Jehovah they were taught the truths of heaven, unadulterated by the foolish dogmas of men, or the corrupting influences of priest­craft. Thus being taught of God, and amen­able to him for their conduct, and their teach­ing being the teaching of heaven and proceed­ing from God, their adherence to his precepts was their eternal salvation. They knew no other guide, and, following his directions, they were safe.

What a contrast there is between ancient and modern religion. Men boast of their religion, of their intelligence, of their knowledge of God, and of his will and purposes, and he has never spoken to them, nor given a revelation for eighteen hundred years, and they believe he never will do so again. While Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets walked with God, had the ministering of angels, the visions of heaven unfolded, and the purposes of God developed; saw and conversed with Jeho­vah, gazed on the glories of the eternal world, and wrote and prophesied of events that should transpire through all succeeding ages. If this generation possess any knowledge of God, they obtained it through what the ancients have written and spoken; and yet our modern relig­ionists profess to be wise, enlightened and in­telligent, and think that the ancients were in the dark. O consistency, whither hast thou fled!

We must necessarily conclude from the above that “every good and perfect gift proceeds from the Father of Lights,” through the medium of revelation, and if we cannot obtain revelations from him we must remain eternally in the dark in regard to true religion, God, angels, heav­en, hell, the purposes of Jehovah, or anything connected with salvation; and instead of obtaining true intelligence from God, shall be obliged to wander in the uncertain mazes of sectarianism, and of false religion and philoso­phy; ignorant of God, and of the plan of salva­tion, groping in midnight gloom, and when we leave this world be obliged to take a leap in the dark.”

SOCIAL RELATIONS

LDS were severally persecuted because of their faithful life style. The following article is from Zion’s Reveille—the recognized church journal under the prophet James J. Strang.

 SOCIAL RELATIONS

INTRODUCTION.

The social relations seem to be a subject of much speculation in this age, among almost all people. Among the various theories for ameliorating their condition doubtless more injury is being done than good, yet the subject will not rest.

We have so often spoken and written on the subject, and so uni­formly expressed the same opinions, and our conduct has so per­fectly accorded with one teachings, that it cannot be necessary to again repeat our words in order to be understood. But in order that the subject may be properly presented to all the saints, we are about to present them with a series of articles on the subject, for the purpose of briefly expounding the scriptural doctrine of the social relations.

No. 1. PRIMITIVE STATE.

In the creation of man the present dominion of man over woman did not exist.

Gen. i. 26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth.

27. So God created man in his own image: in the image of God created he him; MALE and FEMALE created he them.

28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; have DOMINION over the FISH of the sea, and over the FOWL of the air, and over EVERY LIVING THING that moveth upon the earth.

29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit off a tree yielding seed; to you shall be for meat.”

Here is no distinction between man and woman. It was they that were created in the image of God, and it was to them that God gave dominion. Not to the man, but to THEM; the man and the woman. The man alone did not hold dominion OVER WOMAN, BEAST, &c., but man and woman held dominion over beasts, birds and fish­es, &c.

Gen. ii. 5, “And there was not a man to till the ground.

7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of tile ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a liv­ing soul.

15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the gar­den of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.

18. And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him a help meet for him.

20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field: but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.

21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in instead thereof.

23. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, cause she was taken out of man.”

These references especially the words help meet, have been sup­posed to imply an original inferiority in woman; but for what reason, we are at a loss to know. The fact that man was first created, and that he is invariably first named, shows truly that he took PRECEDENCE to the woman, but not that he HELD DOMINION over her, just as the apostle or elder first ordained takes precedence to those subsequently ordained, though he does not hold dominion over them:  The word “help” is applied to an assistant, but not necessarily to a subject; but the word “meet” joined with it fixes its meaning as one fit, suitable or equal. Woman was created for man because none of the other animals were fit, suitable or equal. But woman was made “meet,” fit, suitable and equal.

How came woman subject to man! ANS. BY TRANSGRESSION.

Gen. iii. 6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be de­sired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

14. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shall thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and be­tween thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE.”

Woman, having been given man not as a subject, but as a help meet, took upon herself to receive counsel from the serpent and to act upon it without consulting her husband: and the Lord God said, “because thou halt done this, THY HUSBAND SHALL RULE OVER THEE.” This is the BEGINNING of the dominion of man over woman. In the restitution of all things, will not the woman be restored?

The punishment was particularly appropriate to the circumstances of her crime. Her fault was not merely that she ate of the forbidden fruit, but more especially that she acted without counsel of him with whom she was one flesh. Not content with being equal, she acted as though lord of all. The appropriate punishment was taking away her equality and making her husband lord over her. “Thy husband shall RULE over thee.” If sin brought her into subjection, will not freedom from sin bring her out from subjection? Then in the purified and immortal state will she not be equal unto him, he merely retaining the original precedence without the dominion?

The sum of the matter is, “BY TRANSGRESSION MADE SUBJECT, and BY OBEDIENCE and PURIFICATION REDEEMED from SUBJECTION.”

SOCIAL RELATION’S.

NO. 2. RELATION OF MAN TO GOD AND TO ANIMALS.

The animals were created previous to man, and the purpose of God in the creation of MAN was that HE should hold dominion over them. In other words, Jehovah having created ALL, was ruler or LORD of all. But he required others as inferior officers to execute his authority and power over them. For THIS purpose he created man.

Gen. i. 21, “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cat­tle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth af­ter his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26. Arid God said, Let us make man in our image, after our like­ness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth.

27. So God created man in his own image: in the image of God created he him; MALE and FEMALE created he them.

28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; & have DOMINION over the FISH of the sea, and over the FOWL of the air, and over

EVERY LIVING THING that moveth upon the earth.”

Man was created in the IMAGE of GOD; that is, in his person he was made like UNTO God, not only because it was not consonant with the dignity of God that he should be represented by an inferior creature, but more especially that being LIKE UNTO GOD all the living creatures might RECOGNIZE HIM AS THEIR LORD. But like them he was made male and female, that he might increase as they increased; so that there should be men enough to hold DOMINION over the beasts. True, we are not informed in the above quotation when the law of procreation was put upon the beasts and cattle. But as this was made a law unto all the living creatures in the waters, and unto all fowl immediately on their creation, and as we have never found any of the beasts or cattle without that law, we can only conclude that this law was put upon them from the creation.

Hence, the necessity that it be put on man also from the creation, that he might keep up with them in his increase, and thus be quali­fied to exercise his dominion.

Not only was man made like his creator that he might be a fit rep­resentation of him, and that all living creatures might fear him and submit to his dominion, but his employment was like that of his maker’s.

Gen. ii. 8, “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden.

15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.”

 SOCIAL RELATIONS

No.3. PROCREATION.

Many have supposed that the law of procreation was not put upon men till after the fall, and that it was the consequence of the fall.­–Some have even gone so far as to say that the act of generation was “eating the forbidden fruit.” Such notions, though advanced by some of the most learned Doctors of Divinity, show gross ignorance of the scriptures and the character of God. The first thing which God commanded man (male and female) to do was, to “be fruitful raid multiply,” and the first thing he commanded them not to do was,

Gen. ii. 17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

So if man could not procreate till after eating of the tree of knowledge of pod and evil, then God put upon him a law which he could only fulfill by wicked means. And it the act of generation was partaking of the forbidden fruit, then God both commanded and for­bade the very same act. We know of no text in the Bible which has ever been quoted to sustain either of these theories; but the fol­lowing from the Book of Mormon has been so construed:‑

2d Nephi, i. 4, “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created, must have re­mained in the same state which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery:  Doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell, that men might be.”

It is most true, as here asserted, that if Adam had not transgressed, they (the man and woman) would have had no children; for the woman would have been cast out of the Garden to die, and the man would have remained in it to till it, and would have eaten of the tree of life and lived forever; and even during the life of the woman the cherubims, with flaming sword turning every way, would have kept guard between them. (Gen. iii. 22, 23, 24. Equally true it is that “if Adam had not transgressed, all things which were created (beasts, birds, fishes anti creeping things) must have remained in the same state in which they were, after they were created;” “they would have remained in a state of innocence;” for the transgression of Eve brought no curse upon them. She merely brought it upon herself.

Gen. iii. 16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

But Adam brought not only a curse on himself, but also on all the earth, insomuch that it ever after brings forth unwholesome plants.

Gen. iii. 17, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast heark­ened unto the voice of thy wife, and last eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”

And by means of this curse on Adam and on the earth for his sin, (making the food of all animals unwholesome,) misery and death came also on them. Romans viii. 20, 21, 22, 23.

If any one ask, why so much difference in the consequence of Adam’s transgression and Eve’s? we answer in the words of Paul,–

1 Tim. ii. 14, “And Adam was not deceived; but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression.

In other words, Eve having been deceived and induced to eat of the forbidden fruit, by means of which she not only brought death on herself, but a change in her nature and an inevitable separation from her husband, precluding the possibility of being fruitful and multiplying. Adam, who was not deceived, chose with a full knowl­edge of the consequences to eat with her and share her fate, that he might beget children, and THUS ONLY HE FELL THAT MEN MIGHT BE.

 

SOCIAL RELATIONS.

No. 4. BINATE MARRIAGES.

 The first marriages among men were binate. Adam had but one wife.

Gen. ii. 23, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”

iii. 20, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

All scripture mentions Adam’s wife in the singular,‑-wife, not wives. We have no account of the creation of any other woman be­sides Eve, and here we are told expressly that she was the MOTHER OF ALL.

The scriptures do not show a single case of polygamy previous to the flood, and but one case of bigamy, to wit: that of Lamech, a descendent of CAIN. Gen. iv. 19.

Gen. v. gives the generations of Adam, in the patriarchal or priestly line, down to the flood, without an intimation that any one of them had more than one wife. The fact that Lamech had two wives, standing out of the order as it does and without a parallel on the record, certainly marks it as an extraordinary event, and its ori­gin in the family of CAIN does not commend it to a favorable consideration.

The proportions of the sexes are a law of themselves which, in matters of this kind, it would be hardly possible to overcome. Not only was man originally created one male and one female, but in the succession of births that proportion has ever been kept up.

The mass of mankind are about equally qualified for marriage.­ So that if it is desirable to any considerable extent, it is almost universally desirable. But with the ever existing proportion of males and females as they come into the world, if some men have many wives others must have none, which would be manifest im­propriety and injustice.

Published July 16, 2016
Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion
Samuel270@aol.com

THE WALKING DEAD

Understanding our being is essential to avoid being counted among the WALKING DEAD. In the beginning of this creation God organized the spirit of Jesus. Jesus then organized the spirits of all living things in this creation. “1 In the beginning [of this creation] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him [Jesus]; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) “14… These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 3) Once a spirit is organized, it is eternal from that point on. Please bear with me when I give some important background information.

The spirits of man are often referred to as stars in scripture. Jesus was the bright and morning star—the first of this creation. “16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Rev. 22) In mortal life, Jesus was of the seed Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the house of David through his father Joseph. Genealogy in the Bible is only counted through the male line; as the seed of man is carried only through the male line. “1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of ABRAHAM. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat JUDAS and his brethren… 6 And Jesse begat DAVID the king…16 And Jacob begat JOSEPH the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matt. 1)

After the organization of the spirit of Jesus, came the organization of all other spirits for this creation. The first command given to man–even before his physical creation–was to marry and bear children. “24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2) Jesus noted this command: “5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matt. 19) They become one flesh through their children. All other unions are rebellion against God. This has been an important rule in Israel and some other nations. Barrenness is considered one of the worst things that could happen to a woman in Israel.

The first spirits organized by Jesus are called morning stars. “4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding… 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38) The sons of God were those who were loyal to Jesus during our spiritual estate.

During this spiritual estate (before Adam’s physical body was prepared), Satan rebelled against God. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14)

The penalty for this rebellion—with a third of the host of heaven that followed him–was to be cast down; never to have a physical body throughout eternity. Imagine: spending eternity as a ghost. The judgments of God can be very severe. When man departed from the will of God 1,656 years after the fall of Adam, all but eight souls were destroyed by water. When Sodom and Ghomorrah rebelled against the law of God for only man and woman to be joined, they were destroyed. The Supreme Court declared destruction of this country by making a new law. Does man never learn from history? Or, does he think that God’s arm is shortened. All will soon learn. There is coming destruction even worse than in the days of Noah. Jesus said, “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [Israel] those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24) Fire goeth before: famine followeth after; and the pestilence shall waste them. There are hundreds of Bible passages to prove what is in the near future. “19 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isa. 13)

Let us go back to the beginning. After the earth was prepared for man, God created a perfect physical body—immortal—for Adam. Then, He placed the spirit of Adam—the breath of man—into this physical body and man became a living soul—spirit and body united. “7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2) Then the body of Eve was prepared and the spirit of Eve was placed in her body–the same as with Adam.

There was a tree in the Garden of Eden by which they could eat and remain immortal: the tree of life. Another tree–called the tree of good and evil–they were forbidden to eat. Why? Because it would change the chemistry of their bodies, blood would flow in their veins, and they would become mortal. “17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2) Adam was not deceived. He preferred to eat of the forbidden fruit and become mortal than to lose his wife. What man who is bonded with his wife would not sacrifice his life for her? “8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet. 3) All of mankind from Adam to Noah died within a thousand years. Adam lived 930 years. Methuselah lived the longest at 950 years. Noah’s father Lamech was 182 years old when Noah’s father was born. Adam knew the first born sons from the fall to Lamech. Adam died just 126 years before Noah was born. Consider how easy it was for the knowledge of truth to be passed from generation to generation. Noah knew the first born sons to Abraham. Abraham spent 37 years in the instruction of Noah and his son Shem.

We have seen that the creation of man was in two parts. The first was spiritual; and the second was union with his physical body. This is why there are two accounts of the creation of Adam. The spirit of man is eternal from the time it was organized. The physical or tabernacle of man WILL DIE. This mortal existence is like a snap of the fingers compared with eternity. Failure to understand eternity will cause one to put to much value on mortal life. “28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10) After death of the physical body, the spirit is taken back for judgment. “7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl 12)

There are two places prepared for spirits after death of the physical body: the bosom of Abraham for members of the Kingdom of God; and the spirits in prison (hell) for all others. Those with the spirits in prison cannot go outside the prison. “26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.” (Luke 16) The only way out of the spirits in prison is through obedience to the gospel. After the death of Jesus’ mortal body, He opened a dispensation to the spirits in prison (hell) some of which had been waiting since the days of Adam. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” (1 Pet. 3)

Those who failed to obey the gospel in mortal life were THE WALKING DEAD in their time. All who fail to obey the gospel in mortal life ARE THE WALKING DEAD. They are spiritually dead to the extent that they have no hope of the best resurrection and the celestial glory. Jesus said, “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14) These mansions are glories. “40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” (1 Cor. 15) This resurrected body is of incorruptible material and is therefore immortal. There is to be two major resurrections beginning about 2,000 years after the death of Jesus. The first is the resurrection of the just. These are those that followed the will of God in mortal life, obeyed the gospel, and endured faithful to the end of mortal life.

“4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20)

No one can be “blessed and holy” without obeying the gospel. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [gentile].” (Rom. 1) “22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. 3) “56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Cor. 15) Those who do not obey the gospel and law of God are THE WALKING DEAD OF TODAY. They have no hope of inheriting the earth and the celestial glory in the first resurrection. They also have no hope of escaping the desolation that is on our doorstep. Jesus is to return “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thess. 1:8-10)

We have been given a free moral agency to believe whatever we desire. God does not change and His laws are eternal. “6 For I am the LORD, I change not ; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3) God will not make us do anything; and Satan cannot. Satan can, though, use his experience with mortal man to tempt him with the delights of the flesh and rather than in obedience to the will of God. Man never seems to learn from history. Since the days of Adam man has turned away from God and chose the will of man.

Most of mankind never hears the gospel in mortal life. Why is this? They were not loyal to Jesus in the time when Satan rebelled against God. A third of the host of heaven followed Satan and was cast down with him to never have a physical body. After the Millennium they will never have association with mankind for eternity. It is likely that a third or more just sat on the fence–just as man does today. Only about ten percent of man is independence thinkers. The rest are simply followers. This happened in the days of Noah where only eight souls survived. It happened in Sodom and Gomorrah where only Lot and his daughters barely survived. All the great civilization of man—not of God—have been destroyed. Consider Persia, Greece, Babylon, Ancient Egypt, Rome, and others. They were the WALKING DEAD in their day. Only Israel and the few gentiles called of God are to become the people of God once again. “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Jer. 32) What of the gentiles? “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [also gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad)

Since the promises of eternal life were given only to Abraham and his seed, it follows that a gentile must be adopted into his seed to receive the same promises. How is this possible? “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek [gentile], there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3)

Today we have history repeating itself. What country today is founded on the laws of God? Which one has been organized through communication with God? Soon, there will be a worldwide destruction because man has separated himself from God. Why does God not speak with them? “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)

WHO ARE THE WALKING DEAD OF TODAY? They are the same as in times past. They know not God and obey not the gospel. In 324 AD, the un-baptized, pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine, adopted pagan doctrines into the Christian church. He was a loyal follower of the sun god. In place of the living God of Jacob, he made the Trinitarian god of paganism the god of now so called “Christians.” He adopted the virgin birth doctrine of paganism in place of Jesus who was the seed of Abraham and House of David.

“It [Plate V] represents the Virgin and Child precisely as she used to be represented in Egypt, in India, in Assyria, Babylonia, Phoenicia, and Etruria.” (Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism with an Essay on Ball Worship, on the Assyrian Sacred Grove and other Allied Symbols, Thomas Inman, p. 7) “The Christian trinity is of Egyptian origin, and is as surely pagan doctrine as the belief in martyrs and virgins, gods and demigods, and other forms of faith which deface the greater part of modern religions.” (Ibid., p. 13)

The Church of England in the “Homily Against Peril of Idolatry,” first published about the middle of the sixteenth century, admitted of the great Christian apostasy. “So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom– a horrible and most dreadful thing to think– have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more.”

There is a principle of truth pertaining to the gospel that has been lost among sectarian churches today. By sectarian, I mean all churches that were organized without communication or authority from God. The foundation creed of the Catholic Church states: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” This is certainly not a church of God. All Catholics, Protestants, and even Evangelicals accept this error. Evangelicals—having no authority from God—can only preach that salvation is by faith alone. They completely ignore the true God and the gospel of Christ. This is a god and gospel invented in the minds of man. “7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8)

Worse, some claim these false doctrines are of God–when God had no part inventing them. Some believe all that is necessary for salvation is to accept Jesus as their savior. True, we must accept Jesus; but, that is only one part of the gospel. “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord , shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Jesus, Matt. 7) “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2) “9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15)

This mortal life is only one phase in our eternal lives. First, we were organized as spirits. Second, our spirit was united with a mortal body and became a living soul. Third, the physical body will die; and the spirit will be taken back to Jesus for judgment. Those who fail to obey the gospel of Christ will be taken to the spirits in prison (hell); because they have no rights in the Kingdom of God. Fourth, as spirits we will await our resurrection. Fifth, our spirit will be united with an immortal physical body in either the first resurrection of the just, or the second resurrection of all others. Mortal life is like a snap of the fingers compared with eternity.

If there is no hope after death, how many billions will be cast off forever into everlasting punishment? Nonsense! The gospel was not preached to the dead from the days of Adam to the mortal death of Jesus. While His mortal body lay in the grave, Jesus went to the spirits in prison (hell) to open a dispensation of the gospel to them. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which [in the spirit] also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3) Why? “6 For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 4) Is it any wonder that Jesus warned about following such false prophets (teachers)? “15 Beware of false prophets [preachers], which come to you in sheep’s clothing [as ministers of God], but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7)

WHAT IS THE HOPE OF THE WALKING DEAD SHOUD THEY DIE? After death, they will receive the gospel in the spirit; and be judged like men in the flesh. This is why the ordinance of baptism of the dead is administered any time there is a prophet on the earth. It was administered by the Apostles of Jesus, Joseph Smith and James J. Strang. Sectarian Christians—having no communication with God—have no knowledge of truth and would leave their dead to everlasting punishment. Not so with God and the Church of Christ. They are able to accept the gospel in the spirit, be baptized for the dead, and inherit the earth with those that accept the gospel in the flesh. Their glory, though, will not be the same. Those who obey the gospel in the flesh have the opportunity to inherit the earth in the celestial glory—glory like the sun. Those who obey the gospel in the spirit also inherit the earth; but, in the terrestrial glory—glory like the moon. Those with the spirits in prison that still do not accept the gospel, remain dead spiritually, will be resurrected into the telestial glory—like the stars—on planets with other men like themselves. Hope is still not lost. Those who inherit the terrestrial glory will administer to them; and if they turn to God and obey the gospel, they can progress to the terrestrial glory. Those in the terrestrial glory are administered to by the celestial; and will be able to change themselves and enter the celestial glory. Only those who desire to be filthy still are lost forever; although they will have an immortal physical body. Punishment is not a lake of fire and brimstone; but, an inheritance equal to their works during both the spiritual estate and the mortal estate. Remorse can be the worst punishment of all.

Knowledge of God was lost completely for 1,260 years beginning when the Bishop of Rome thought to stand as God on the earth. When we take this time—570 AD—and add the 1,260 years, we get 1830. On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ by direct revelation and association with God and Jesus. Knowledge of God and authority to administer the gospel was again on the earth. Unfortunately, when the saints failed to live by the commandments given to them, Joseph was taken—murdered by a gang of ruffians with protection of the Governor of Illinois.

The same hour that Joseph died, James J. Strang—in Burlington, Wisconsin—claimed to have been ordained to the same authority as Joseph under the hands of angel(s)—the only source of authority when lost. James, though, was 400 miles distant and could have no knowledge of Joseph’s death; except by angelic administration. The saints again failed to abide in the laws given to them; and James was taken. Two apostate Strangites with the help of the US Government—the captain of the US Steamer Michigan—were able to shoot James on the dock. He was returned to Voree—near Burlington—where he died. The saints were driven from their inheritance given to them by God; and were scattered.

THE PATH TO SALVATION FOR THE WALKING DEAD IS ON THE EARTH. Those who were loyal during their spiritual estate have the opportunity to hear the gospel in mortality. “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [for-ordained us] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1) There is no predestination. That would prevent us from having a free moral agency and mean that we have no choices in life. Those who receive authority from God in mortality received that for-ordination in the spirit. “4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1)

Only those who receive the Melchisedec Priesthood, have authority from God to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. Before Jesus could begin His mission, He had to obey the gospel. He went to John the Baptist—a Priest of the Levitical Priesthood—who held authority from God to baptize with water. “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [because He received the Melchisedec Priesthood], and with fire [the Holy Spirit].” (Matt. 3) Jesus was to receive the higher Melchisedec Priesthood. Before Jesus began His mission He was ordained by the Father to the highest office in the Melchisedec Priesthood–like Moses and others before Him. “11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt. 4) What did they administer? “4 And no man taketh this honour [of the priesthood] unto himself [as man does], but he that is called of God, as was Aaron [by the spirit of revelation to Moses]. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) “17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 5)

When Jesus restored the Kingdom of God, He did so with all of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Only an officer holding this priesthood holds authority from God to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)

Divine authority, though, continues to this day. James had ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve Apostles, who ordained Samuel Martin a high priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a high priest, who ordained me an elder of the Melchisedec Priesthood with authority to administer all the saving ordinances of the gospel. Having a legitimate claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood, I hold authority from God to baptize you with water and the Spirit; and administer the holy Eucharist. Without receiving these, there are only the walking dead. No faith, no baptism, and no hope of a better resurrection.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AMONG THE WALKING DEAD. The gate into the Kingdom of Heaven is open. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7) You could be counted among these few and have hope of a better resurrection.

FROM W. W. PHELPS TO JOSEPH SMITH: THE PROPHET.
GO WITH ME.

Go with me, will you go to the saints that have died,-
To the next, better world, where the righteous reside;
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be|
In the joys of a vast paradise? Go with me.

Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;
Where the union is one, and the years never fail;
Not a heart can conceive, nor a nat’ral eye see
What the Lord has prepar’d for the just. Go with me.

Go with me where there is no destruction or war;
Neither tyrants, or sland’rers, or nations ajar;
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,
the life is eternal with God. Go with me.

Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love,
And the glory of God do eternally be?-
Death, the wages of sin, is not there. Go with me.
Nauvoo, January, 1843.

DON’T BE COUNTED AMONT THE WALKING DEAD
WILL YOU GO WITH ME?

Samuel E. West
Senior elder in Zion
Samuel270@aol.com
April 2, 2016

GIVE ME TRUTH
OR I AM DEAD

“Give me Liberty, or give me death!” are the famous words of Patrick Henry at the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. We are spirits united with a physical, mortal body. The spirits of mankind were organized while the earth was being prepared. “1 In the beginning [of this creation] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1) “10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Ps. 25)
Truth is indivisible. When there are two conflicting ideas, both can be wrong; but, only one can be right. We are told: “21 Prove all [spiritual] things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5) Truth is not a weakly child–it is strong and fears no investigation.
History and Theology give us the truth of our existence before Adam walked the earth and for six thousand years of mortal life. Theology is that REVEALED SCIENCE which treats of the being of God, His will towards us, and man’s responsibility toward God and his fellow man. History has been greatly affected by the interaction between God and man. Such a complex and perfect body as ours cannot progress to this state by natural consequence. Man could not even develop an articulate language. It had to come from a superior intelligence.
Very early after the fall of Adam and Eve, man divided into the sons of God and the sons of man. The first recognized the importance of God in their lives and lived according to His laws. The other chose to live according to their worldly pleasures. This continued only until the Great Flood. Millions must have said “why upon us.”–and died. Only the family of Noah was loyal to God. There were only eight souls that escaped the great flood. But, man does not learn from history and repeats the same errors.
There will soon to be a great destruction far worse than anything that has happened before. “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24) “Fire goeth before, famine followeth after, and pestilence shall waste them.” (God)
The men of Sodom and Gomorrah took their rebellion against God to the limit; and every man, woman, and child were destroyed. Only Lot and his family survived. Now, the Supreme Court has sealed the fall of this country for the same reason as Sodom was destroyed. Man seems to refuse learning from history and theology.
The world has once again turned against God. The fastest growing group in the US is those without any religious ties. It is no wonder because they were told that God is a mystery. Yet, Jesus advised us: “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17) God has spoken through His prophets throughout history. For 4,000 years the gospel was never taken to the gentiles. There were no prophets of God from the time Israel was taken captive in Egypt to the 400 year captivity spoken of by Moses was fulfilled. Then God called Moses as a prophet and lawgiver. When they rebelled against God while Moses was on the mountain, they were grievously punished. The higher Melchisedec Priesthood—which carries the everlasting covenant–was taken from among them generally and they were placed under a temporal law so severe that only Jesus could live without breaking a single one. That law was fulfilled when Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood.
When the Jews turned away from God about 400 years before Jesus, Malachi was the last prophet; and God no longer spoke to them. Why is God silent so many times? “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)
When the Jews had Jesus crucified it was a most severe rebellion against God. The priesthood and gospel was taken from them and given to the Gentiles; although it was an open dispensation and the Jews still had an active part. The gentiles soon turned from God and returned to their pagan doctrines. “7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thess. 2) By the early fourth century, the un-baptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine, was able to complete the conversion of Christianity to paganism except for a very few. He changed the true and living God of Israel into the Trinitarian nonentity of paganism. He changed the identity of Jesus from the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the House of David into a demigod the same as pagans worshipped. He changed the holy Sabbath into “the venerable day of the sun.” The Church of England admitted of this apostasy in the Homily Against Peril of Idolatry. “So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom–an horrible and most dreadful thing to think–have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more.”
When God opened a new dispensation of the priesthood and gospel through Joseph Smith, He once again spoke to man. When the saints failed to live by all the laws given to them, Joseph was taken. The dispensation was continued through James J. Strang. The people did not learn from their own history and once again lived for their own personal desires, James was taken, and the people scattered.
This fulfilled the prophecy given to Micah. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion [church in America], unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem [July 8, 1850]. 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee [James was murdered with the help of the US Government]? is thy counsellor perished [L. D. Hickey was the last of the apostles and Lloyd Flanders was the last high priest}? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion [church in America], like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Micah 4) There is hope for this very small remnant.
Through the grace of God a portion of the Melchisedec Priesthood remains: the office of elder. James ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve, who ordained Samuel Martin a high priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a high priest, who ordained Samuel E. West an elder on July 8, 1956. John Hajicek was also properly called and ordained an elder. The gate into the Kingdom of God is still open; but, because of the iniquities of the people God no longer speaks to man directly—only through the Holy Spirit. Where there is no revelation, truth is lost and spiritual death reigns. He has no hope after death.
Like Patrick Henry, John and I would prefer to stand alone with truth than to follow the world on the path to destruction and hell. I feel very blessed to have been called to serve the Lord in this dark time. John Hajicek serves with me together with those that we have ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood.
What is this a dark time? “3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3) “19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. 20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?” (Jer. 16)
The pagan Christian church organized by Constantine envelopes all of Christianity except this one. How can we tell? First, they worship a pagan god that was invented in the mind of man. The first and greatest law is: “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 37) Knowledge of God has fled from them. Second, they have no authority to neither preach the gospel nor administer its saving ordinances. Jesus taught that only an officer of the Melchisedec Priesthood has authority from God to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) Has all the Christian churches come “unto a perfect man”?
Others say “why are there so few that claim only they have authority from God”? Only those of this faith have been called of God and ordained as required by God. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) Aaron was called through a revelation given to Moses who held a higher office.
These false prophets (priests) of today claim authority was given them by the Great Commission. “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16) Almost anything can be proved by the Bible by taking things out of context. They fail to read the preceding verse. “14 Afterward he appeared unto THE ELEVEN [not the world] as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” This commission was ONLY to the eleven apostles and those ordained by them.
They say the rule of being called of God and ordained by one holding that priesthood must have changed after Jesus. NO! “22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1) Apostle Paul told his son: “14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4) Aaron was called of God through a revelation given to Moses. Jesus was called and ordained directly by the Father. The ecclesiastic historian Mosheim identified that the office of high priest (evangelist) remained for at least a couple centuries after Jesus. It is not known how long the office of elder remained. When a man—Bishop of Rome–in 570 AD claimed to stand at the head of the entire Christian church—and as God on earth—he began a new reign of what would be called popes without any authority from God. The Reformation did not restore divine authority. If the Catholic Church was true, Martin Luther was cut off. If the Catholic Church was wrong, he could not receive any authority from it. The world was left desolate of authority from God for 1,260 years (see Rev. 12, 13.) Exactly 1,260 years later, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830.
The whole of the Christian religion remains in the same cloak of darkness. No prophet. Not a word from God. The prophet Isaiah wrote that in these days there would be only a very small remnant left of the Kingdom of God remaining. “8 And the daughter of Zion [this people] is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 8) Jesus made it very clear that only a few would be left. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7) “8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18) “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [Israel] those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24) Gentiles who are properly baptized are adopted into the seed of Abraham. “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3) Why don’t sectarian Christian ministers teach principle? They even have trouble recognizing Jesus as a Jew. They are anti-Christ as they are never called of God and ordained according to His law. “Christ” interpreted means anointed or ordained. These ministers called by the voice of man—who never receive a proper ordination—are simply anti-Christ. This calling by man had already begun in the days of Jesus. “18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2)
The prophet James J. Strang wrote in 1856, “23. Paul assures us that the coming of Christ shall be ‘in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.’ (2 Thess. 1:8, 9) Isaiah says, the earth shall be made empty, and few men left. (Isa. 24:1, 3, 6) Those days are days of vengeance, when Christ shall tread the wine press of the wrath of God, and the blood shall flow unto the horses’ bridles. (Rev. 14:20) As those times are approaching, the judgment is pronounced on Babylon, ‘Reward her as she hath rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works.’ (Id., 18:6) Then shall the Saints execute vengeance on the heathen [gentile]. (Ps. 149:6, 7)” (Book of the Law, p. 213)
YES, THERE IS ONLY A VERY SMALL REMNANT THAT REMAINS. This is a bold testimony of the truth that we embrace. The Bible testifies in numerous places concerning only a very small remnant remaining in the last days. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Jesus, Matt. 7)“13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Jesus, Matt. 24)
Jesus told us: “26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man…28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Matt. 24) In the days of Noah there were only eight souls that survived. In the days of Lot, only Lot and his two daughters survived.
HERE IS THE VERY FEW. “44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes… 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Jesus, Luke 6) “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2) “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord , shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7)
What is the will of our Father? “1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth.” (Deut. 28) “31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 22) “10 If ye keep my commandments , ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (Jesus, John 15)
What of the others? “15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. 28) “16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentiles] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah) Sudden destruction is promised on the earth in this generation.
The gospel is a law of God. Failure to abide in the laws of God in this generation brings certain death. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [gentile].” (Rom. 1)
Jesus will return “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)
This could be your last warning. Jesus is to return in this generation. “24 And they [Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled…32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21) This prophecy was fulfilled after the six-day war in 1967. “2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. 5)
“9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isa. 13) “1 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; 2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” (Joel 2)
My prayers are for all that hear this message. Open your hearts and minds like a little child. Prove all things. Eternal life can be yours. The gate into the Kingdom of Heaven is open. You can be among the very small remnant that will be caught up to meet our Savior; and live a thousand years on the earth as an immortal being when the earth is restored and peace reigns. “6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom]: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11)
Yours in truth and in life,
Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion
Samuel270@aol.com

ONLY FEW SAVED

By Apostle John E. Page

When we pore over the sacred volume, called “the Holy Bible,” we are very much interested with the interest with which the in

spired prophets have foretold future events: then when we pore over the pages of profane history, detailing to us the events that have past, as we see such an unjarring harmony existing between the things foretold and the events that have transpired in the past history of the world, we are doubly astonished that any person of even common intelligence should be in any degree skeptical to the scriptures. The 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, alone, contains matter enough foretelling events that should take place in future (from the days of Moses) with Israel of such a nature that if fulfilled, as we now find they have been in the past history of that people, to forever fix our faith on a sure basis that Moses was a prophet of the living and true God. Moses told Israel that, on certain conditions, they should be “left few in number, and be scattered among all nations and kingdoms of the earth.” the condition in which we now find them.

There is one particular worthy the notice of the candid Bible reader, which is this, -Every event that is foretold by the prophets that has been fulfilled has taken place just in time to perfectly harmonize with the events that had past and the events that were yet to transpire in future, and that too in a LITERAL sense.

We give a few specimen examples–when the time came for the things to transpire with the kings of Israel that the Lord told the prophet Samuel, I Sam.. viii., so it took place with those kings as the Lord had said. When the time came for the house of Israel to be captivated by the Assyrians, so it took place, as the Lord had said by the prophets. When the time came for the house of Judah to be captivated by the Chaldeans of Babylon, so it transpired. When the 70 years of bondage were fully accomplished, and the time came for the Jews to return and build Jerusalem, so it took place, as the Lord had said by the prophets. When Daniel’s 70 weeks had nearly come to a close, and the time came that the “Messiah should be cut off,” so it happened. But preparatory to that event, the 53d chapter of Isaiah must also be fulfilled to the literal letter of the word concerning the Messiah.

When the time came for Titus, the son of Vespasian of Rome, to captivate the Jews and prepare the way for the scattering of the Jews among all nations in the four corners of the earth, so we find them scattered at this day; and we pity the person who has audacity and ignorance enough to say that they (the Jews) will not be gathered from the four corners of the earth to the land of Palestine, as the prophets have foretold in a literal sense.

One thing demands our most serious attention. Which is this in every identical ease, in time past when the time had fully come for any great and important event to transpire with old Israel or the ancient christian church, there were only few, very few indeed who were prepared in their faith and looking for the event to bid it a hearty welcome, as fulfilling the word of the Lord as spoken by the prophets, who “spoke as they were moved by the holy ghost.”

While the great mass of the people being filled with the spirit of self-conceit, were always prepared to cry out delusion! delusion!! and raise the hue and cry against him who pleaded the word of the Lord to the letter. But the man that had the faculty to spiritualize or cut or carve the word down to a signification that best suited the popular taste of the people, and make it signify something congenial to the speculative interest of the great mass, he was the man that was worthy of their attention and support.

But still the potent arm of the Lord has thus far sustained the veracity of his word, being neither flattered or bribed to forfeit his word- has borne it out triumphantly through every emergency to the confounding of the proud skeptic and the rebellions of the wicked.

When the time came that the cup of iniquity of the antediluvians was full to the brim, the flood was sent to destroy the people and show them that God was not to be mocked with impunity, and “only few, that is eight souls, were saved.”

When Sodom, Gomorrah, Adnia and Zeboim were fully ripe with wickedness, God showed them that his potent arm still lived, and rained a storm of fire and brimstone on the cities and destroyed them all except Lot and his two daughters -few indeed. Unless the doctrine of universal salvation is true in that case, the sin of Sodom only the better and quicker prepared the great mass of the people for a sudden transport to heaven in a chariot of flaming fire and brimstone; while the prophet Lot and his two daughters were worthy of the administration of the angels of God, yet being not so well prepared for the sudden exit, were left to be more fully prepared to enjoy the favor which had just been rained down on their neighbors.

We call the attention of our readers to the history of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus of Rome, as given by Flavius Josephus, Book vi., of “the Jewish war.” In this war and the captivity of the Jews in the year A. D. 70, was fulfilled the prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Moses and all the rest of the sacred writers foretold that event. Some millions of Jews perished in the siege, and Jerusalem has been trodden down of the gentiles from that day to this. Who can read the history of the Roman war with the Jews and not be constrained to cry out in his heart, oh man! or oh nation!! what art thou when thou hast lost favor with thy God and left to thyself! Surely, then, thy destruction is inevitable.

Will our contemporaries, the “Universalists,” tell us that the antediluvians, the Sodomites, the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem, and all those nations spoken of in the xxxi. and xxxii. chapters of Ezekiel, were immediately transported to the heaven of bliss and unsullied glory, when, by the bosom of God’s judgments, they were cut off by wholesale from the face of the earth? We now leave the past and take a look into future time, leaving ourself to be dictated entirely by the sacred volume, (the Bible.) Isaiah xxiv. We are told that “the earth shall be burned, and few men left.” ¬Malachi iv. 1. We are told that the “proud and all that do wickedly shall be burned up; that they shall not be left neither root or branch.” Surely such an event has not yet transpired. Malachi intimates that there are some “righteous” left. Isaiah says they are “few.” Paul says this shall take place when the “Lord shall descend in flaming tire.” 2 Thes. ii. 7, 8, also 1 Thes. iv. 14, 15, I6, 17. If, then, the Lord Jesus is to “take vengeance on all that do not obey his gospel,” we ask where is that people on the earth that embrace in the theory of their faith the gospel as Jesus Christ preached it? We, fearless of successful contradiction, say emphatically, and we really mean what we say, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church on earth that receives the gospel theory in all its doctrine and principles, as Jesus and the apostles preached it. Leaving every person to form his own practical character, with the theory of the true gospel in his hand. Isaiah has told us that the reason why the earth is to be burned and few men left, was, because the inhabitants of the earth had “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant,” (gospel.)

Who, that is sincere, candid and reads his Bible with care, and has his eyes open to the events that take place in the religious community, but what can see that unless the God of heaven bursts the veil and covering that is now cast over the understanding of all nations of the religious world, that this and all future generations are lost! lost!! lost!!! to all intents and purposes equal to the antediluvians, Sodomites or the Jews who were destroyed at Jerusalem. Yes, Jesus said, “as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so should it be in the days of his coming.”

When we compare the sayings of the prophets with past events, we find too much evidence of the truth of the prophets to prove infidel to them; and as the 28th chapter of Deut. has proved true with Israel, we are warranted to believe that the ten first verses of the 30th chapter will also prove true in connection therewith to the “full destruction of all nations but Israel.” Read Jer. xxx. 10, 11, also xlvi. 27, 28. And this is to be effected by the same “curses” that ancienty fell on Israel as delineated in Deut., 28th chapter.

O thou proud gentile! dost thou not know that thou hast the same God to deal with that the Jews have? Take heed, then, that thou dost not fall by the same example of unbelief that the Jews did.

Thou gentile, “thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” If the Jews fell through apostacy, so wilt thou if thou dost not repent. As the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, so mayest thou; the same God will judge thee. JOHN E. PAGE.

Zions Reveille, Aug. 5, 1847, p. 134

CIRCLE OF LIFE AND LOVE

Love has been called a many splendored thing; and so it is. It would take a volume just to define everything called love. For this discussion only true spiritual love will be considered. That is, love that goes beyond the limits of time and space. When, say when two people are separated, if their love is true it will not be limited by distance. War is a great destroyer of simple love—thus there were many “Dear John” letters. Beyond the limit of time is ETERNITY—love that is not affected by the death of one. It is like a circle without an end. Most people never think beyond this mortal existence because they limit their frame of reference. My grandmother saw things from the covered wagon to the jet plane. When she was young, she could not understand flight because her frame of reference was limited. Many limit their frame of reference, knowledge, and understanding by not seeking beyond their current frame of reference.

The human mind cannot fully appreciate eternity. Who can imagine anything without a beginning? But, if there was a beginning, before that was nothing—so there could be no beginning. Eternity also continues without end. It is written in scripture: “God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to the mathematician.” When our spirit was organized, we came into existence. We had a beginning, but not an end; as our spirit is eternal.

SPACE is another thing beyond the comprehension of the mortal brain. Astronomers have identified all of space that we know of as the universe. Light travels at the speed of about 186,000 miles per second. The distance light travels in a year is called a light year. With our best telescopes we can see about 14.5 billion light years into space. In fact, we are looking at things as they were 14.5 billion years ago—long before our solar system and the earth existed.

Time and space can have neither a beginning nor an end. Some believe that the universe had a beginning that started with a big bang. How imaginative. This hypothesis—if true—would prove there is a God. Newton’s first law of motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force. If an outside force acted on this small piece of matter, it could have been nothing other than a superior intelligence with enormous power. Again, space is like a circle without beginning and without an end.

Our galaxy is a little easier to comprehend. It is only 100,000 thousand light years across. Part of it can be viewed on a clear dark night: the Milky Way. Other dots of light that we see as stars are actually galaxies.

Now, let’s consider human life. Some think there is no superior being: God. Anyone who pursues this question will come to the inevitable conclusion that nothing would exist as we know it without a superior intelligence and power guiding all things. There are many perfections of God that most men never learn. Let it suffice that He has immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresent, and is one. “There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow.”

Unlike God, man did have a beginning. That beginning was the organization of the spirit of Jesus; and through Jesus was the organization of our spirits and all things in this creation. “1 In the beginning [of this creation] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) Genesis one and part of two is the story of the spiritual creation. “5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” (Gen. 2)

Through the love of God and Jesus we came into existence. “26 And God said, Let us [God and Jesus] make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1) “…in our image” means that we look like God; even though our bodies have devolved over the millennia. Look in the mirror and you will see an image similar to God. The Bible tells of God walking in the Garden of Eden, of sharing a meal with Abraham, of wrestling with Jacob, and as a familiar friend of Moses. Moses was even allowed to see the back parts of God in all His glory. “23 And I [God] will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Ex. 33)

“…after our likeness” means that we were first organized as spirits. Spirits are of extremely fine material that is incorruptible—that is eternal. “31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Gen. 1) God said this phase of our creation “was very good” because our existence as spirits is eternal. God is also a spirit and has a body similar to ours. Our true identity is our spirit as it is eternal. The memory of our spiritual estate has been blocked in our mind so we can make choices without influence of that time.

Satan rebelled against God during our estate as spirits while the earth was being prepared. He thought to stand in Jesus’ stead. All violations of law have consequences; just as if you put your hand on a hot stove you will be burned. Since this rebellion was done in the presence of God, the consequences were especially severe. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning [one of the first spirits]! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14)

Satan’s rebellion against—and in the presence of–God caused him–and a third of the host of heaven that followed him—to never have physical bodies. Those who followed the laws of this spiritual estate, and honored Jesus, were foreordained to hear the gospel of Christ in mortal life; and have the opportunity to inherit the earth at the resurrection. “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [foreordained] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1)

Satan must have thought that he won over man. Alas, he actually did man a favor. Now the rest of the spirits could have physical bodies. His doom and separation from all mankind was certain. “15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head [foreordained sacrifice of Jesus that brought a resurrection and an eternal living soul to all], and thou shalt bruise his heel [through mortality].” (Gen. 3) “19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many [not all] be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5)

The physical creation of Adam is told in Chapter two. “7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2) Many have been confused about the two “creations” of Adam. The first was the organization of his spirit. The second was the creation of his physical body. When his spirit was joined with his physical body, he became a living soul. The same was true of Eve. “23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2) The law on marriage was the first law given to man in the Bible. “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1)

Their physical bodies were so pure that they would have lived forever. They were warned they could partake of every fruit in the garden but one. “17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2) A day with God is as a thousand years with man. Eve first partook of the forbidden fruit; and Adam followed–not willing to lose his wife. Now blood flowed in their veins and they became mortal and the lifetime of man was limited to less than one thousand years. In the days of Noah, that lifetime was considerably reduced; and has continued to change over time.

HERE IS THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

Man was organized first as a spirit, then as a living soul, then as a mortal, then death, and finally the resurrection as an eternal living soul. “10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Tim. 4) All men will receive an immortal physical body at their resurrection; but their inheritance in eternity first depends on whether they knew God and obeyed the gospel.

After the last resurrection of man “…the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) Who can imagine the severity of such punishment: to be a ghost for eternity. There cannot be existence without laws. Some are temporal: if you put your hand on a hot stove you will get burned. Others are spiritual; and will affect us in eternity. “16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6) The laws of God existed before this creation; and will continue forever—worlds without end.

Before we can understand our existence, it is necessary to understand God. Any who believe there is no God, has not looked about them—and at them. Look in the mirror and ask yourself how such perfection came into being. Nothing can progress toward perfection without an outside intelligent force acting on it. Natural evolution—without control—would not exist—much less evolve into perfection. Everything in nature has a purpose and each is perfect in their own place. There are many parts of nature that evolved together. It would be impossible for a bird and a flower to evolve together without a superior intelligence at work. Which came first the bee or the flower? Neither can exist without the other. Volumes could be written on all of the evidence of the existence of God. Man could not have developed his own articulate language. There is nothing in language that coincides with what it represents. The word dog has no relationship with a dog; and so on.

At death, the spirit is taken back to Jesus for judgment. “7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12) In this phase of our eternal lives, we live in the spirit either with Jesus in the bosom of Abraham, or with the spirits in prison (erroneously called hell) to await the resurrection. The determinate is whether we knew God, obeyed the gospel, and lived according to the laws of God while in mortal life. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [gentile].” (Rom. 1)

Man has always preferred to take the easiest path when confronted with a difficult decision. Most likely, only about ten percent of the spirits followed Jesus when Satan rebelled. So, these are the few to hear the gospel in the flesh and be “saved” in the first resurrection and inherit the earth at that time. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate [the gospel]: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7) It is requisite to live according to the laws of this probationary life or estate to inherit the best after death. Those who do not know God and don’t obey the gospel during this life are taken to the spirits in prison (erroneously called hell). Jesus will soon return “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)

The final phase of our lives begins at the resurrection when our spirit is united with an immortal physical body and becomes an eternal living soul. Since there are two types of men: (1) those who worshipped the true and living God of Israel, obeyed the gospel, and endured faithful in mortal life; and (2) all others. “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21) The idea of a “lake with fire and brimstone” is an adaptation from paganism. Fire would have no effect on a spirit. The only ones to suffer the second death will be the sons of perdition.

The first resurrection will include only members of the Kingdom of God who have obeyed the gospel–believers. “6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20) After this Sabbath of Creation—Millennium—comes the second resurrection of those who failed to know God and obey the gospel. Knowing God is not a casual relationship. “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22)

The earth will be restored to its paradisiacal glory; as it was in the days when Adam first walked on the earth. Here is a thousand years of complete peace. “6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11)

After the thousand years comes second resurrection. Then Satan will be loosed for a short season and all mortality will cease. Here is the final phase in the circle of life. Man will again have an immortal physical body; as was Adam and Eve’s before the fall. “4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21)

Jesus noted: “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14) What are these mansions? “40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [mortality]; it is raised in incorruption [immortality].” (1 Cor. 15) Note the considerable difference between the highest—celestial glory–and the lowest—telestial glory.

The earth will be the inheritance of the celestial and terrestrial glories. It is reserved at this time for those who kept both the temporal [thou shalt not kill] and spiritual [gospel] laws during mortal life. It is not written where those of the telestial glory will reside. As it is telestial, it must be some distance from the earth. Since they did not obey the gospel of Christ, they cannot share in the forgiveness of sins. They must be judged by their works in the flesh. “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20) The cycle of life is complete.

THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND LOVE BEGINS WITH GOD

Love is the first and great principle in life. God is central in the cycle of life and love. It was through the love of God that this creation came into existence. “8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4) It was through the love of God that allowed Jesus to endure the most terrible death. “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3)

Love is a two way street. “30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12) This second greatest of the Ten Commandments has been lost to our current Bible; but, it was not lost in the days of Jesus or to the Book of the Law of the Lord. If all mankind lived by these two laws, love and happiness would permeate their lives and there would be no poverty and no wars.

The greatest love and happiness comes through the family. It is the basis of our very existence. The law of God requires man to “…leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) Man and woman become one through their children. Since love is the foundation of life, the law of God requires: “When thou takest a wife, thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who loveth thee.” Not so in the law of man. Sodomy and all many other social degradation is the law of the land in the US. Adam so loved his wife that he gave up immortal life for a mortal life of suffering. Every loving father is greatly blessed through his children. His children then owe him their love and honor. “Honor they father and mother; give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts….” (Book of the Law of the Lord) This honor included the same love that God gave to man, husband and wife should give to each other, the love parents should give to their children, the love children should give to their parents, and the love all of mankind should give to each other. The law of God does not provide for man to hate each other. “44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect [in love], even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Jesus, Matt. 5)

When there is violation of the laws of God, there will be judgment—whether in this life or in eternity. The telestial glory is waiting for these that take no thought of sin. “Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.” (James J. Strang)

Marriage in the Kingdom of God is for eternity; as their love must be for eternity. Adam and Eve were immortal when they were married, so they had to be married for time and eternity. Those married by one holding authority from God are joined in life, the resurrection, and forever. Those married by the law of man are married “until death do you part.” Consider those who truly loved each other in mortal life; but, are separated by death. What does this say about the authority of other churches? The marriage bond is so important that if one should violate the faithfulness required, there is great punishment. This is one of the Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Fornication is a lesser form of adultery. It is violation of the celibate bed; as adultery is violation of the marriage bed.

Sexual relationship of a married person outside of marriage breaks the spiritual marriage bond. “32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Jesus, Matt. 5) Yet divorce is common in our society today. Cohabitation is becoming the norm today. Both are extremely evil in the sight of God; and are destructive to society. About half of those who cohabit have children out of wedlock—bastards. If they truly loved one another–as required by the law of God–they would marry. These evils are causing an illegitimate birth rate of nearly fifty percent in the US; and over seventy percent in one segment of society.

Love should permeate every relationship in life. This is the circle of life and love. We came into existence through God’s love. We must love Him with all our hearts. Love must dominate between husband and wife. Through this love comes loving children. And the circle of life and love begins again.

Love should be the foundation of all society. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4) “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jesus, John 15)

No loving father would leave his children without guidance and instruction. When man fails to learn—or be taught—laws that govern life, love will not guide his life. Children are to “…give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts.” (Book of the Law of the Lord) It is unimaginable that God—as our Father–would create man and put him on this earth without giving him laws to guide his life and prepare him for eternity. The plan laws of God for this creation are the same for all creations; and existed long before this creation. “9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46) “6 Whereupon are the foundations [of the earth] thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars [first organized spirits] sang together, and all the sons of God [those who followed the will of God against Satan] shouted for joy?” (Job 38) “12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1) Followers of Jesus—that receive the Holy Spirit—become saints and sons of God. In these latter days they are known as Latter Day Saints.

Catholicity would have us believe that if we fail to follow their religion in this life that we will perish everlastingly. The foundation creed of the Catholic Church—followed by her daughters—states: “Whosever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” Not so! All men must hear the gospel either in this life or in the spirit after death. Jesus went in the spirit to the spirits in prison during the three days that his body lay in the grave to open a dispensation of the gospel to them. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3) Why did He preach the gospel to the spirits in prison? “6 For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 6)

The gospel is a law that must be obeyed whether in life or in the spirit. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3) Since a spirit cannot be baptized, there must be a proxy. “29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15) Why do all churches except this one never baptize for their dead? They have no authority from God. Joseph Smith and James J. Strang both opened dispensation from God to baptize for the dead.

Before the fall, man was given simple laws. After the fall, Adam was ordained to the highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood: a prophet and Lawgiver. Man was given the laws or terms of this mortal existence. Soon after Adam and Eve had children and they married, there was a division among man. Some followed the laws of God and were known as the sons of God. Many turned away from God to follow their own desires. These became known as the sons of man. “1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Gen. 6) These sons of man continued to live by their own will–and departed from the laws of God–until their iniquity was ripe and they were destroyed in the days of Noah.

Man has known from the earliest time that his soul is comprised of both spirit and a physical body; and has believed that at death the spirit returns to Him who organized it. The Bible gives a four thousand year history of God’s dealings with man. Why does He no longer speak to man? The answer is always the same. “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)

There is a greater witness of the existence of God than anything else on the earth. God spoke with Adam as a familiar friend. He spoke with the first born sons of Adam to Noah. Only by the warning given Noah could man have known of the coming destruction by water. Not one prophecy given by a prophet of God has ever failed; as God has a perfect knowledge. Noah preached of the coming flood and the necessity of living according to the will of God—but they would not. Only eight souls were saved from the flood. Millions must have thought: why upon us; and died.

Josephus tells of the Book of the Prophecies of Adam that was still extant in his day. Adam wrote of destruction by water and another by fire. The story of the flood is found in the writings of every nation on earth. God spoke again to the first born sons to Abraham. God actually visited with Abraham and feasted with him. He wrestled with Jacob, and was a familiar friend with Moses. God made a covenant with Abraham that only those of his seed—through Isaac and Jacob–would receive the great blessing to know God, obey the gospel, and understand His laws. Israel was the elect of God; and will be again soon. “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Jer. 32) There are no promises to gentiles. Only those that obey the gospel will be counted among His elect. “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3) The rest will be lost. “16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentile] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah)

God’s plan for the “salvation” of man—to inherit the best in the resurrection and eternity—includes knowing God, obeying the gospel, and living by the will and law of God. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1) No other people in the history of man have a written record of the association of God with them. After Israel was taken captive in Egypt for 400 years, there is no further record of their association with God until Moses. Only through the power of God were they able to escape their captors. Israel was so mesmerized by escaping the angel of death, they still honor that day with the Passover. Israel over the last 2,000 years has maintained its identity even though scattered and persecuted by every nation they lived. Every nation that has turned from God has been destroyed? What happened to ancient Egypt? What happened to Persia, Babylon, and ancient Rome? The Supreme Court has sealed the fate of this nation by violating the same laws as Sodom and Gomorrah. Society, the economy and debt, the legislative system, the administrative system, the judicial system, and politics in general have become a disgrace. Politicians and the Supreme Court have guaranteed that the system will fail.

God spoke with Israel after Moses until about 400 years before Jesus, due to their evil ways. Jesus was foreordained as a spirit to be our Savior. This was promised from Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testament. The existence of Jesus is beyond doubt. We have the testimony of the Apostles of Jesus; and then a history of those who followed Him. Millions have sacrificed their lives for abiding in the will of God. When the Christians turned pagan again, God no longer spoke with them.

God promised in the last days that He would speak once again with man and establish His kingdom over the whole earth. “27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” (Joel 2; see Acts 2) “17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” (Isa. 45)

A most horrible destruction is promised upon the earth: “5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24) Jesus told of time almost on our doorstep: “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24)

No one can be saved in the Kingdom of God without the administration of one of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) God once again spoke to man through Joseph Smith and James J. Strang; and gave His laws for their salvation. There were up to 200,000 that received a witness by revelation from God of the restoration of the gospel.

Yet the leaders of sectarian Christian churches claimed there was to be no more revelation. God did not speak to them because of their false doctrines. When the un-baptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine organized his universal (catholic) church, he adopted the pagan gods and pagan doctrines into his new church. Take just two examples. What is the most important law given to man? “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22)

No one can love God without a correct understanding of the attributes, character, and perfections of God. “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jesus, John 17) The true and living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was converted into the pagan Trinity. The foundation creed of this doctrine noted: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.” No wonder they call Him a mystery. It is a greater mystery how anyone follows such a falsehood. It is no wonder the fastest growing group in the US are of no religion. If I was to tell of a land more wonderful than you can imagine, would not ask me to explain this to you? What would be your answer if I told you that I could not tell you because it was a mystery? The most important law ever given to man; and it’s a mystery? Was it simply a coincidence that all of the prophets of God gave the same witness? Or that Joseph Smith and James J. Strang should give the same witness concerning God; and give their lives to seal their testimony. Jesus, the Apostles, and thousands of former day saints gave their lives as a testimony.

One insertion in the Bible by Constantine converted Jesus from the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the House of David into the bastard son of a ghost. Joseph and Mary were betrothed—marriage without the ceremony. It would be similar to getting engaged today; except then a betrothal granted all the rights and obligations of marriage. Joseph and Mary came together the day they were betrothed. Had Mary actually been impregnated by a ghost, Jesus would not be of the seed of Abraham; and could not be the Messiah. The seed of man is carried only in the male line. This is why all genealogy is given through the male line. “9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” (Heb. 7) A ghost, though, cannot impregnate a physical being. If true, no woman could know who the father of her children was; because Satan’s followers—spirits or ghosts—could impregnate any woman at will.

Had God not spoken again to man through Joseph Smith, all of Christendom would be ignorant of the truth. Since they have not known God nor obeyed the true gospel of Christ, when Jesus returns it will be “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)

Volumes could be written on the existence of God and the fact that He has always spoke to man except when man was no longer worthy. I do not condemn anyone for not believing the mystery doctrines of catholicity. There is no escaping the fact that God does exist; and that He has left us with a wondrous legacy of His will, laws, and association with man.

Now back to THE CIRCLE OF LOVE. God is the source of all love through the organization of our spirit. Through His love, Jesus was brought into existence to bring love to all. “1 In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) “20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5)

Here is a circle of love from God to Jesus; and through God and Jesus to us. Love is the foundation upon which life is built. “8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (John 4) This love requires guidance and correction. “12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Prov. 3) “6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12)

Each of us is faced with decisions in mortal life; even as we were faced with the decision to follow God during our spiritual estate. The punishment for those that followed Satan was more severe than any can imagine. It was easy for Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others to know God; as they were witnesses of Him and His will.

This is the most important decision you will ever make in mortal life. You have seen how the circle of life and love revolves around God. You have learned the importance of being a member of the Kingdom of God; and of entering the only gate into the kingdom. You could be a saint and son of God, inherit the best after death in the bosom of Abraham rather than the spirits in prison to await your resurrection at the beginning of the Sabbath of Creation, live and reign with Jesus and all believers for a thousand years while the earth is in its paradisiacal glory, and then inherit the earth with God and Jesus forever.

Apostle W. W. Phelps wrote Joseph Smith:

Go with me, will you go to the saints that have died,
To the next, better world, where the righteous reside;
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be.
In the joys of a vast paradise? Go with me.

Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;
Where the union is one, and the years never fail;
Not a heart can conceive, nor a natural eye see
What the Lord has prepared for the just. Go with me.

Go with me where there is no destruction or war;
Niether tyrants, or slanderers, or nations ajar;
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,
And the life is eternal with God. Go with me.

Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love,
And the glory of God, do eternally be?
Death, the wages of sin, is not there. Go with me.

Times and Seasons, Vol. 4, Feb. 1, 1843.

I ASK OF YOU:

Will you go with me to the city of God: the New Jerusalem;
Where righteousness, peace, and happiness reign?
Will you go with me to the inheritance of the righteous;
In a city of gold where God and Jesus are the light and the temple thereof?

Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion
Samuel270@aol.com
June 10, 2016

Love has been called a many splendored thing; and so it is. It would take a volume just to define everything called love. For this discussion only true spiritual love will be considered. That is, love that goes beyond the limits of time and space. When, say when two people are separated, if their love is true it will not be limited by distance. War is a great destroyer of simple love—thus there were many “Dear John” letters. Beyond the limit of time is ETERNITY—love that is not affected by the death of one. It is like a circle without an end. Most people never think beyond this mortal existence because they limit their frame of reference. My grandmother saw things from the covered wagon to the jet plane. When she was young, she could not understand flight because her frame of reference was limited. Many limit their frame of reference, knowledge, and understanding by not seeking beyond their current frame of reference.

The human mind cannot fully appreciate eternity. Who can imagine anything without a beginning? But, if there was a beginning, before that was nothing—so there could be no beginning. Eternity also continues without end. It is written in scripture: “God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to the mathematician.” When our spirit was organized, we came into existence. We had a beginning, but not an end; as our spirit is eternal.

SPACE is another thing beyond the comprehension of the mortal brain. Astronomers have identified all of space that we know of as the universe. Light travels at the speed of about 186,000 miles per second. The distance light travels in a year is called a light year. With our best telescopes we can see about 14.5 billion light years into space. In fact, we are looking at things as they were 14.5 billion years ago—long before our solar system and the earth existed.

Time and space can have neither a beginning nor an end. Some believe that the universe had a beginning that started with a big bang. How imaginative. This hypothesis—if true—would prove there is a God. Newton’s first law of motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force. If an outside force acted on this small piece of matter, it could have been nothing other than a superior intelligence with enormous power. Again, space is like a circle without beginning and without an end.

Our galaxy is a little easier to comprehend. It is only 100,000 thousand light years across. Part of it can be viewed on a clear dark night: the Milky Way. Other dots of light that we see as stars are actually galaxies.

Now, let’s consider human life. Some think there is no superior being: God. Anyone who pursues this question will come to the inevitable conclusion that nothing would exist as we know it without a superior intelligence and power guiding all things. There are many perfections of God that most men never learn. Let it suffice that He has immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresent, and is one. “There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow.”

Unlike God, man did have a beginning. That beginning was the organization of the spirit of Jesus; and through Jesus was the organization of our spirits and all things in this creation. “1 In the beginning [of this creation] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) Genesis one and part of two is the story of the spiritual creation. “5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” (Gen. 2)

Through the love of God and Jesus we came into existence. “26 And God said, Let us [God and Jesus] make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1) “…in our image” means that we look like God; even though our bodies have devolved over the millennia. Look in the mirror and you will see an image similar to God. The Bible tells of God walking in the Garden of Eden, of sharing a meal with Abraham, of wrestling with Jacob, and as a familiar friend of Moses. Moses was even allowed to see the back parts of God in all His glory. “23 And I [God] will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Ex. 33)

“…after our likeness” means that we were first organized as spirits. Spirits are of extremely fine material that is incorruptible—that is eternal. “31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Gen. 1) God said this phase of our creation “was very good” because our existence as spirits is eternal. God is also a spirit and has a body similar to ours. Our true identity is our spirit as it is eternal. The memory of our spiritual estate has been blocked in our mind so we can make choices without influence of that time.

Satan rebelled against God during our estate as spirits while the earth was being prepared. He thought to stand in Jesus’ stead. All violations of law have consequences; just as if you put your hand on a hot stove you will be burned. Since this rebellion was done in the presence of God, the consequences were especially severe. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning [one of the first spirits]! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14)

Satan’s rebellion against—and in the presence of–God caused him–and a third of the host of heaven that followed him—to never have physical bodies. Those who followed the laws of this spiritual estate, and honored Jesus, were foreordained to hear the gospel of Christ in mortal life; and have the opportunity to inherit the earth at the resurrection. “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [foreordained] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1)

Satan must have thought that he won over man. Alas, he actually did man a favor. Now the rest of the spirits could have physical bodies. His doom and separation from all mankind was certain. “15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head [foreordained sacrifice of Jesus that brought a resurrection and an eternal living soul to all], and thou shalt bruise his heel [through mortality].” (Gen. 3) “19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many [not all] be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5)

The physical creation of Adam is told in Chapter two. “7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2) Many have been confused about the two “creations” of Adam. The first was the organization of his spirit. The second was the creation of his physical body. When his spirit was joined with his physical body, he became a living soul. The same was true of Eve. “23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2) The law on marriage was the first law given to man in the Bible. “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1)

Their physical bodies were so pure that they would have lived forever. They were warned they could partake of every fruit in the garden but one. “17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2) A day with God is as a thousand years with man. Eve first partook of the forbidden fruit; and Adam followed–not willing to lose his wife. Now blood flowed in their veins and they became mortal and the lifetime of man was limited to less than one thousand years. In the days of Noah, that lifetime was considerably reduced; and has continued to change over time.

HERE IS THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

Man was organized first as a spirit, then as a living soul, then as a mortal, then death, and finally the resurrection as an eternal living soul. “10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Tim. 4) All men will receive an immortal physical body at their resurrection; but their inheritance in eternity first depends on whether they knew God and obeyed the gospel.

After the last resurrection of man “…the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) Who can imagine the severity of such punishment: to be a ghost for eternity. There cannot be existence without laws. Some are temporal: if you put your hand on a hot stove you will get burned. Others are spiritual; and will affect us in eternity. “16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6) The laws of God existed before this creation; and will continue forever—worlds without end.

Before we can understand our existence, it is necessary to understand God. Any who believe there is no God, has not looked about them—and at them. Look in the mirror and ask yourself how such perfection came into being. Nothing can progress toward perfection without an outside intelligent force acting on it. Natural evolution—without control—would not exist—much less evolve into perfection. Everything in nature has a purpose and each is perfect in their own place. There are many parts of nature that evolved together. It would be impossible for a bird and a flower to evolve together without a superior intelligence at work. Which came first the bee or the flower? Neither can exist without the other. Volumes could be written on all of the evidence of the existence of God. Man could not have developed his own articulate language. There is nothing in language that coincides with what it represents. The word dog has no relationship with a dog; and so on.

At death, the spirit is taken back to Jesus for judgment. “7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12) In this phase of our eternal lives, we live in the spirit either with Jesus in the bosom of Abraham, or with the spirits in prison (erroneously called hell) to await the resurrection. The determinate is whether we knew God, obeyed the gospel, and lived according to the laws of God while in mortal life. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [gentile].” (Rom. 1)

Man has always preferred to take the easiest path when confronted with a difficult decision. Most likely, only about ten percent of the spirits followed Jesus when Satan rebelled. So, these are the few to hear the gospel in the flesh and be “saved” in the first resurrection and inherit the earth at that time. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate [the gospel]: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7) It is requisite to live according to the laws of this probationary life or estate to inherit the best after death. Those who do not know God and don’t obey the gospel during this life are taken to the spirits in prison (erroneously called hell). Jesus will soon return “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)

The final phase of our lives begins at the resurrection when our spirit is united with an immortal physical body and becomes an eternal living soul. Since there are two types of men: (1) those who worshipped the true and living God of Israel, obeyed the gospel, and endured faithful in mortal life; and (2) all others. “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21) The idea of a “lake with fire and brimstone” is an adaptation from paganism. Fire would have no effect on a spirit. The only ones to suffer the second death will be the sons of perdition.

The first resurrection will include only members of the Kingdom of God who have obeyed the gospel–believers. “6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20) After this Sabbath of Creation—Millennium—comes the second resurrection of those who failed to know God and obey the gospel. Knowing God is not a casual relationship. “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22)

The earth will be restored to its paradisiacal glory; as it was in the days when Adam first walked on the earth. Here is a thousand years of complete peace. “6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11)

After the thousand years comes second resurrection. Then Satan will be loosed for a short season and all mortality will cease. Here is the final phase in the circle of life. Man will again have an immortal physical body; as was Adam and Eve’s before the fall. “4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21)

Jesus noted: “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14) What are these mansions? “40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [mortality]; it is raised in incorruption [immortality].” (1 Cor. 15) Note the considerable difference between the highest—celestial glory–and the lowest—telestial glory.

The earth will be the inheritance of the celestial and terrestrial glories. It is reserved at this time for those who kept both the temporal [thou shalt not kill] and spiritual [gospel] laws during mortal life. It is not written where those of the telestial glory will reside. As it is telestial, it must be some distance from the earth. Since they did not obey the gospel of Christ, they cannot share in the forgiveness of sins. They must be judged by their works in the flesh. “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20) The cycle of life is complete.

THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND LOVE BEGINS WITH GOD

Love is the first and great principle in life. God is central in the cycle of life and love. It was through the love of God that this creation came into existence. “8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4) It was through the love of God that allowed Jesus to endure the most terrible death. “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3)

Love is a two way street. “30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12) This second greatest of the Ten Commandments has been lost to our current Bible; but, it was not lost in the days of Jesus or to the Book of the Law of the Lord. If all mankind lived by these two laws, love and happiness would permeate their lives and there would be no poverty and no wars.

The greatest love and happiness comes through the family. It is the basis of our very existence. The law of God requires man to “…leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) Man and woman become one through their children. Since love is the foundation of life, the law of God requires: “When thou takest a wife, thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who loveth thee.” Not so in the law of man. Sodomy and all many other social degradation is the law of the land in the US. Adam so loved his wife that he gave up immortal life for a mortal life of suffering. Every loving father is greatly blessed through his children. His children then owe him their love and honor. “Honor they father and mother; give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts….” (Book of the Law of the Lord) This honor included the same love that God gave to man, husband and wife should give to each other, the love parents should give to their children, the love children should give to their parents, and the love all of mankind should give to each other. The law of God does not provide for man to hate each other. “44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect [in love], even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Jesus, Matt. 5)

When there is violation of the laws of God, there will be judgment—whether in this life or in eternity. The telestial glory is waiting for these that take no thought of sin. “Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.” (James J. Strang)

Marriage in the Kingdom of God is for eternity; as their love must be for eternity. Adam and Eve were immortal when they were married, so they had to be married for time and eternity. Those married by one holding authority from God are joined in life, the resurrection, and forever. Those married by the law of man are married “until death do you part.” Consider those who truly loved each other in mortal life; but, are separated by death. What does this say about the authority of other churches? The marriage bond is so important that if one should violate the faithfulness required, there is great punishment. This is one of the Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Fornication is a lesser form of adultery. It is violation of the celibate bed; as adultery is violation of the marriage bed.

Sexual relationship of a married person outside of marriage breaks the spiritual marriage bond. “32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Jesus, Matt. 5) Yet divorce is common in our society today. Cohabitation is becoming the norm today. Both are extremely evil in the sight of God; and are destructive to society. About half of those who cohabit have children out of wedlock—bastards. If they truly loved one another–as required by the law of God–they would marry. These evils are causing an illegitimate birth rate of nearly fifty percent in the US; and over seventy percent in one segment of society.

Love should permeate every relationship in life. This is the circle of life and love. We came into existence through God’s love. We must love Him with all our hearts. Love must dominate between husband and wife. Through this love comes loving children. And the circle of life and love begins again.

Love should be the foundation of all society. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4) “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jesus, John 15)

No loving father would leave his children without guidance and instruction. When man fails to learn—or be taught—laws that govern life, love will not guide his life. Children are to “…give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts.” (Book of the Law of the Lord) It is unimaginable that God—as our Father–would create man and put him on this earth without giving him laws to guide his life and prepare him for eternity. The plan laws of God for this creation are the same for all creations; and existed long before this creation. “9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46) “6 Whereupon are the foundations [of the earth] thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars [first organized spirits] sang together, and all the sons of God [those who followed the will of God against Satan] shouted for joy?” (Job 38) “12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1) Followers of Jesus—that receive the Holy Spirit—become saints and sons of God. In these latter days they are known as Latter Day Saints.

Catholicity would have us believe that if we fail to follow their religion in this life that we will perish everlastingly. The foundation creed of the Catholic Church—followed by her daughters—states: “Whosever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” Not so! All men must hear the gospel either in this life or in the spirit after death. Jesus went in the spirit to the spirits in prison during the three days that his body lay in the grave to open a dispensation of the gospel to them. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3) Why did He preach the gospel to the spirits in prison? “6 For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 6)

The gospel is a law that must be obeyed whether in life or in the spirit. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3) Since a spirit cannot be baptized, there must be a proxy. “29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15) Why do all churches except this one never baptize for their dead? They have no authority from God. Joseph Smith and James J. Strang both opened dispensation from God to baptize for the dead.

Before the fall, man was given simple laws. After the fall, Adam was ordained to the highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood: a prophet and Lawgiver. Man was given the laws or terms of this mortal existence. Soon after Adam and Eve had children and they married, there was a division among man. Some followed the laws of God and were known as the sons of God. Many turned away from God to follow their own desires. These became known as the sons of man. “1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Gen. 6) These sons of man continued to live by their own will–and departed from the laws of God–until their iniquity was ripe and they were destroyed in the days of Noah.

Man has known from the earliest time that his soul is comprised of both spirit and a physical body; and has believed that at death the spirit returns to Him who organized it. The Bible gives a four thousand year history of God’s dealings with man. Why does He no longer speak to man? The answer is always the same. “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)

There is a greater witness of the existence of God than anything else on the earth. God spoke with Adam as a familiar friend. He spoke with the first born sons of Adam to Noah. Only by the warning given Noah could man have known of the coming destruction by water. Not one prophecy given by a prophet of God has ever failed; as God has a perfect knowledge. Noah preached of the coming flood and the necessity of living according to the will of God—but they would not. Only eight souls were saved from the flood. Millions must have thought: why upon us; and died.

Josephus tells of the Book of the Prophecies of Adam that was still extant in his day. Adam wrote of destruction by water and another by fire. The story of the flood is found in the writings of every nation on earth. God spoke again to the first born sons to Abraham. God actually visited with Abraham and feasted with him. He wrestled with Jacob, and was a familiar friend with Moses. God made a covenant with Abraham that only those of his seed—through Isaac and Jacob–would receive the great blessing to know God, obey the gospel, and understand His laws. Israel was the elect of God; and will be again soon. “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Jer. 32) There are no promises to gentiles. Only those that obey the gospel will be counted among His elect. “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3) The rest will be lost. “16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentile] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah)

God’s plan for the “salvation” of man—to inherit the best in the resurrection and eternity—includes knowing God, obeying the gospel, and living by the will and law of God. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1) No other people in the history of man have a written record of the association of God with them. After Israel was taken captive in Egypt for 400 years, there is no further record of their association with God until Moses. Only through the power of God were they able to escape their captors. Israel was so mesmerized by escaping the angel of death, they still honor that day with the Passover. Israel over the last 2,000 years has maintained its identity even though scattered and persecuted by every nation they lived. Every nation that has turned from God has been destroyed? What happened to ancient Egypt? What happened to Persia, Babylon, and ancient Rome? The Supreme Court has sealed the fate of this nation by violating the same laws as Sodom and Gomorrah. Society, the economy and debt, the legislative system, the administrative system, the judicial system, and politics in general have become a disgrace. Politicians and the Supreme Court have guaranteed that the system will fail.

God spoke with Israel after Moses until about 400 years before Jesus, due to their evil ways. Jesus was foreordained as a spirit to be our Savior. This was promised from Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testament. The existence of Jesus is beyond doubt. We have the testimony of the Apostles of Jesus; and then a history of those who followed Him. Millions have sacrificed their lives for abiding in the will of God. When the Christians turned pagan again, God no longer spoke with them.

God promised in the last days that He would speak once again with man and establish His kingdom over the whole earth. “27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” (Joel 2; see Acts 2) “17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” (Isa. 45)

A most horrible destruction is promised upon the earth: “5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24) Jesus told of time almost on our doorstep: “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24)

No one can be saved in the Kingdom of God without the administration of one of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) God once again spoke to man through Joseph Smith and James J. Strang; and gave His laws for their salvation. There were up to 200,000 that received a witness by revelation from God of the restoration of the gospel.

Yet the leaders of sectarian Christian churches claimed there was to be no more revelation. God did not speak to them because of their false doctrines. When the un-baptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine organized his universal (catholic) church, he adopted the pagan gods and pagan doctrines into his new church. Take just two examples. What is the most important law given to man? “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22)

No one can love God without a correct understanding of the attributes, character, and perfections of God. “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jesus, John 17) The true and living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was converted into the pagan Trinity. The foundation creed of this doctrine noted: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.” No wonder they call Him a mystery. It is a greater mystery how anyone follows such a falsehood. It is no wonder the fastest growing group in the US are of no religion. If I was to tell of a land more wonderful than you can imagine, would not ask me to explain this to you? What would be your answer if I told you that I could not tell you because it was a mystery? The most important law ever given to man; and it’s a mystery? Was it simply a coincidence that all of the prophets of God gave the same witness? Or that Joseph Smith and James J. Strang should give the same witness concerning God; and give their lives to seal their testimony. Jesus, the Apostles, and thousands of former day saints gave their lives as a testimony.

One insertion in the Bible by Constantine converted Jesus from the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the House of David into the bastard son of a ghost. Joseph and Mary were betrothed—marriage without the ceremony. It would be similar to getting engaged today; except then a betrothal granted all the rights and obligations of marriage. Joseph and Mary came together the day they were betrothed. Had Mary actually been impregnated by a ghost, Jesus would not be of the seed of Abraham; and could not be the Messiah. The seed of man is carried only in the male line. This is why all genealogy is given through the male line. “9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” (Heb. 7) A ghost, though, cannot impregnate a physical being. If true, no woman could know who the father of her children was; because Satan’s followers—spirits or ghosts—could impregnate any woman at will.

Had God not spoken again to man through Joseph Smith, all of Christendom would be ignorant of the truth. Since they have not known God nor obeyed the true gospel of Christ, when Jesus returns it will be “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)

Volumes could be written on the existence of God and the fact that He has always spoke to man except when man was no longer worthy. I do not condemn anyone for not believing the mystery doctrines of catholicity. There is no escaping the fact that God does exist; and that He has left us with a wondrous legacy of His will, laws, and association with man.

Now back to THE CIRCLE OF LOVE. God is the source of all love through the organization of our spirit. Through His love, Jesus was brought into existence to bring love to all. “1 In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) “20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5)

Here is a circle of love from God to Jesus; and through God and Jesus to us. Love is the foundation upon which life is built. “8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (John 4) This love requires guidance and correction. “12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Prov. 3) “6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12)

Each of us is faced with decisions in mortal life; even as we were faced with the decision to follow God during our spiritual estate. The punishment for those that followed Satan was more severe than any can imagine. It was easy for Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others to know God; as they were witnesses of Him and His will.

This is the most important decision you will ever make in mortal life. You have seen how the circle of life and love revolves around God. You have learned the importance of being a member of the Kingdom of God; and of entering the only gate into the kingdom. You could be a saint and son of God, inherit the best after death in the bosom of Abraham rather than the spirits in prison to await your resurrection at the beginning of the Sabbath of Creation, live and reign with Jesus and all believers for a thousand years while the earth is in its paradisiacal glory, and then inherit the earth with God and Jesus forever.

Apostle W. W. Phelps wrote Joseph Smith:

Go with me, will you go to the saints that have died,
To the next, better world, where the righteous reside;
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be.
In the joys of a vast paradise? Go with me.

Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;
Where the union is one, and the years never fail;
Not a heart can conceive, nor a natural eye see
What the Lord has prepared for the just. Go with me.

Go with me where there is no destruction or war;
Niether tyrants, or slanderers, or nations ajar;
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,
And the life is eternal with God. Go with me.

Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love,
And the glory of God, do eternally be?
Death, the wages of sin, is not there. Go with me.

Times and Seasons, Vol. 4, Feb. 1, 1843.

I ASK OF YOU:

Will you go with me to the city of God: the New Jerusalem;
Where righteousness, peace, and happiness reign?
Will you go with me to the inheritance of the righteous;
In a city of gold where God and Jesus are the light and the temple thereof?

Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion
Samuel270@aol.com
June 10, 2016