True and Living God
It is essential to have a correct understanding of God and Jesus. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3). In other words, there is no salvation without this understanding. 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” (2 Thess. 1:8). Jesus was called and ordained under the hands of God (Heb. 5:5).
There is only one God. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isa. 46:9). “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Cor. 8:6). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
God alone is perfect. He alone has omnipresence and can be anywhere at any time. Jesus’ jurisdiction is over this creation. God alone has omnipotence. He alone is all-powerful, with supreme power over the whole universe. Jesus received His power and authority from Him. “I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).
God alone has omniscience. He alone possesses all knowledge. In the flesh, Jesus began as a helpless infant. Only God knows the time of Jesus’ return. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).
God alone is one. He has no fellow. Jesus is subject to Him.
God alone exists in eternity. There are worlds without end in the universe. God is without beginning or end. God alone is supreme over all creations. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isa. 46:9). “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:29, 32).
God spoke to Adam as a Prophet of God. He continued to speak with man for ten generations to Noah, whose father knew Adam, and to Abraham, who lived with Noah for 39 years. God covenanted with Abraham; “he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also” (Rom. 4:11).
And to Joshua. Israel evidently fell away, and God did not speak to them again for 400 years to Moses. God spoke with Prophets again until Malachi, about 400 years before Jesus.
Every civilization on earth has known of God, but—without association/revelation—none can know God. A child separated from its mother at birth can know of its mother but can never know its mother without association. By studying the Bible, we can come to a correct understanding of the attributes, character, and perfections of God. We can only know God through personal revelation. When Jesus asked Peter who He was, His answer was: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17). “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). No revelation, no faith, no salvation.
Does God have a name? Yes, but it is incommunicable to all except very few like Moses. “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (Ex. 3:15).
What does God look like? Some believe God is only a spirit. Our primary existence is a spirit united with flesh to become living souls. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). There are angels that are only spirits (Heb. 1:14). Yet Abraham and Lot mistook them for men (Gen. 18:5). We were created in the image and likeness of God. Can any deny that Adam knew God?
Many tell us God is incomprehensible. Which God is incomprehensible, the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost? “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:2-3). Or, is it the Trinity itself which is the mystery—Mystery, Babylon the Great?
The first and great principle of God and life is love. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8) Adam was not deceived; but his love for Eve was so deep that he ate and became mortal with her. God founded his government on love. “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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39). No one can love God without knowing Him.
Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments. “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. This is the first and great commandment. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-38,40) This second greatest law has been lost to the “Christian” Ten Commandments. It is evident these were given to Adam as Cain violated this second greatest law in addition to the law “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13)
God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that He is so from everlasting to everlasting. God is without change, and there is no variableness with Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His course is on eternal round. He is a God of truth and cannot lie. He is no respecter of persons but judges all by the same perfect, eternal law. His laws—including the Gospel, salvation, and eternal life—can never change.
There is a great difference between knowing of God and knowing God. A person can only feel infatuation (an attraction) towards Him. No one can know God without direct association or revelation from Him—like Gospel faith. Peter was only able to know Jesus through a direct revelation from God (Matt. 16:15). A child separated from its mother at birth can only know of its mother but can never know its mother without personal association.
The Bible gives an account of God from Adam to John—the last Prophet. The Gospel only went to Gentiles after the Jews rejected it. In less than 70 years, they returned to idolatry, as recorded by John. “And it was given unto him [Satan] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7).
Abraham mistook God for a man and dined with him (Gen. 18). Jacob wrestled with God, saw Him face-to-face, and prevailed (Gen. 32). Moses knew God as a familiar friend and conversed with Him face-to-face. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Ex. 33:11). After God placed him in the cleft of a rock—He allowed Moses to see Him in His glory—except His face. (Ex. 33:22-23). No mortal man can look upon the face of God in all His glory and live.
He existed before this creation and has a physical body. “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob…” (Ex. 6:3) Jesus did not have a physical body until 4,000 years after Adam. Abraham lived 2,000 years after Adam. Abraham mistook God for a man, invited Him into his tent, and dined with Him and two angels. “And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat” (Gen. 18:8). Abraham’s grandson Jacob knew God personally. After wrestling with Him, he told of seeing Him face-to-face. “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Gen. 32:30).
God never had a people he recognized as His own without a Prophet at the head. Adam was first. Can any doubt that Adam—who walked with God—had a correct understanding of God? Adam lived 930 years after the Fall. Noah’s father knew Adam. Can any deny that Noah knew God, as he had a personal relationship with Him? Abraham lived with Noah for 39 years. Can any deny that Abraham knew God? God made him the father of all who believes. “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe” (Rom. 4:11).
Moses saw God face-to-face and knew Him as a familiar friend. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Ex. 33:11). Moses, Aaron, and 70 elders saw God. “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:9-10).
Except for 400 years in Egypt and 400 years between Malachi and Jesus, God communicated directly with His people. Jesus restored that relationship (Heb. 5:5). “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He [God] hath anointed [ordained] me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised [in prison]” (Luke 4:18). “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:22).
After the Jews rejected the Gospel, it was taken to the Gentiles. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:19) Gentiles had been raised on paganism for 2,000 years since Nimrod, the king of Babylon who invented the Trinity and worshipped the sun god. Abraham left Babylon and followed the true and living God. Gentiles began returning to paganism even during the days of the Apostles. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thess. 2:7). Revelation and knowledge of God ceased after the Apostles.
First, Satan destroyed the Church of Christ (Rev. 12). Then he made war with the priesthood/authority of God “which have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). “…testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). Finally, he made “war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). Shortly after the Apostles, Gentiles returned to paganism and the Trinitarian god of Babylon. There was great confusion among the churches (see The Life of Jesus, Craveri). “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33). They could not even decide about the nature of God.
The noted ecclesiastical historian Mosheim wrote of the fourth century, “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4).
The unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine consolidated Rome with the establishment of a state religion. This was accomplished in 325 A.D. He assembled the bishops, stood at the head (even thou he wasn’t even a Christian), and organized his new Catholic Church. He was a loyal follower of the sun god. “As seen in Constantine’s originating piety, that supreme deity would have been associated with the sun, and pagans would have recognized, with reason, their own solar cult in such Christian practices as orienting churches to the east, worshipping on ‘sun day,’ and celebrating the birth of the deity at the winter solstice [Dec. 25]” (Constantine’s Sword, p. 183). There is only one Sabbath, and it was lost. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant” (Ex. 31:16). Where the Sabbath is not, Christianity is not.
The Church of England wrote: “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.”
Gentiles were given one last opportunity in the latter days of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times to know God and obey the Gospel. “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6).
The Gospel was returned to Gentiles through Joseph Smith and James J. Strang—both prophets of God. Joseph was ordained as a Prophet in June 1829 by angelic ordination. For the first time since the Apostles, true knowledge of God was returned to Gentiles. He taught, “The Father, and the Son are persons of Tabernacle; and the Holy Ghost a spirit.” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 926, Edited by Joseph Smith)
Joseph was murdered in Carthage, IL, on June 27, 1844, with the help of the governor of Illinois. The same hour Joseph was killed, James J. Strang—400 miles away—was ordained under the hands of angels to the Prophetic Office as his successor. He taught the true and living God the same as Joseph.
James wrote concerning the Trinity: “20. It is no wonder that those who preach this doctrine declare it a mystery. It is a greater mystery, that men have been found to believe it. Well did John the Revelator name the Church in which it originated, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth. (Rev. xvii, 5.) … 25. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ye shall not bow down to the God of Babylon, for the God who spoke in Sinai, said, “Thou shalt not bow down unto, nor adore anything that thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.”
“26. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not the offspring of adultery; nor was he born of woman; he was not carried about in a nurse’s arms, nor dependent on his mother’s milk for sustenance; he never died, nor did he cry to himself, and find no helper.” (Matt. xxvii, 46. Mark xv, 34.). Eternal ages are but pulsations in his lifetime, and his might is omnipotence.”
Like Joseph before him, James was destined to seal his testimony with his blood. On June 16, 1856, with the help of the captain of the USS Michigan, James was mortally shot. He was taken back to Voree where he died on July 9.
Only a few of the converted gentiles are to remain to be counted with Israel when they become the people of God. “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion [saints 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 [spiritual] Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Mic. 4:10)
Look about you today. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Gentiles were given two opportunities to know God and obey the Gospel. They rejected both and returned to fables rather than truth. “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” (Jer. 16:19).
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 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. 24:5-6).
Now, the Gospel is to return to Israel. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:16). Promises in the Bible are now for Israel. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea” (Isa. 11:11).
“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. 32:37-32).
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23).
While we wait for the Kingdom of God to return to Israel, it is still open through the few Gentiles which were to remain. Jesus told us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [obey its laws]; and all these things [including salvation] shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). The Prophet James J. Strang ordained L. D. Hickey as one of the twelve Apostles. L. D. Hickey ordained Samuel Martin as a high priest; Samuel ordained Lloyd Flanders as a high priest; and Lloyd then ordained Samuel E. West as an elder on July 8, 1956.
“For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the gentile drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been” (Obad. 1:16). 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” (2 Thess. 1:8).
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15).
The True God
The Book of the Law of the Lord
2. Man, being in the likeness of God’s person, they all recognize him as their Lord, and fear him as a God. And notwithstanding his degeneracy, he has retained so much of the divine likeness, that beasts, birds, and fishes, fear him, and his power is over them as a mighty one. It is diminished as he has departed from the likeness and perfections of his Creator: and that spirit of rebellion, which man has received so redundantly, he has communicated to them also, that they rebel against him, as he rebels against God. Yet the fear of man is on them continually; and his dominion is over them throughout the earth.
3. God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend; and walked with Enoch, who was faithful unto him in the midst of a corrupt race: he communed with Noah, the father of a new world; and covenanted by his own oath, with Abraham the faithful.
4. He commanded a fiery law, with a voice of thunder, in Sinai: the earth quaked at the tread of his foot: the rustling of his garment was as low thunder; and his voice as a mighty thunderbolt: the beaming of his face was as the sun in the morning; and the flash of his eye as the fierce lightning. The nations trembled at his presence; and the tribes said, Not unto us; not unto us, Oh Lord God, but unto Moses, be thy voice known.
5. For they heard the voice of God, as the voice of a trumpet; and as loud thunder: and they saw the lightning: and the mountain smoking; and they felt the earth tremble; and they fled far away, crying, Not unto us; not unto us: but unto Moses, declare thy law, Oh God, and we will obey his voice, and live, for, who shall abide in thy presence?
6. His word was made known to the Prophets, and his sacraments were established in Israel. Kings ruled in his glorious name; and the nations who forgot him were destroyed.
7. He hath appointed everlasting life in the Lord Jesus; and given the keys of death and of hell unto him who alone among mortals, hath kept his glorious word in all things. He hath chosen him the firstborn among many brethren; for he is the first begotten of the dead, and hath the keys of the resurrection, and of life forevermore.
8. He maketh his Apostles the witnesses of his Law, unto the nations; and of his gospel unto every kindred, and tongue, and people. His word is among men; and the revelation of his power, in the midst of the earth.
9. The Lord our God is glorious in his perfections; there is none like him. The gods of the heathen have no voice: neither do they see nor understand. The god of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Churches, before whom all her daughters bow down, is naught; he is as wind, and vanity; he can neither be seen nor heard, nor felt; he hath no dwelling place: where shall any abide with him? Passionless, is he and can neither love the good, nor hate the evil: who shall adore him, or fear him?
10. Without members and parts; he cannot hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. Neither can he speak, nor come unto those that worship him, nor smite the disobedient and rebellious. Handless, footless, mouthless, eyeless, and earless; a shapeless chaos, conceived in the imagination of the vain: ye shall not fear him, nor bow down unto him, nor adore him.
12. God alone hath immortality. Adam, the first of men, the Ancient of Days, the great Prince; Abraham, to whom God gave an everlasting possession; David, whose throne was established as the days of heaven, forever; all died. Enoch, who walked with God, and was not found, because God took him; and Elijah, who ascended to the throne of God, in his own fiery chariot shall return to the earth to sleep with their fathers. The change which is sealed upon all the sons of Adam, shall come upon the faithful, who stand on the earth, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God, and obey not the Gospel. And he, the Prince of the Kings of the earth; who in the days to come, shall speak with the voice of a trumpet, and the dead shall hear his voice and live; died once, that he might live forevermore. He praised God, who alone hath immortality, that he would not leave him in the place of the dead: he preached the Gospel to the spirits in prison, and obtained the key of life everlasting: but God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to us: infinities, as units to the mathematician. Our God alone hath immortality. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
13. God alone hath omniscience. He clotheth himself in light as a robe: his ministers, who at midday, are as a flaming fire in the dark night, are blind before him; he apprehendeth the motion of the atom which floateth in the invisible element, and discerneth the speck in the centre of the star, which the light of the sun hath not reached since the day that the sons of God shouted for joy that the earth was created, as a mountain in the eye of mortals. He never sleepeth; his eye closeth not; and there is no darkness before him. Our God alone hath omniscience. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
14. God alone hath omnipotence. He looketh upon the nations, and they melt in the fury of his countenance: he frowneth, and the mountains dissolve to smoke; the vallies are consumed in the breath of his nostrils. He spoke, and worlds were created: he thought, and they were lost in space. Earthquakes are but the whisperings of his voice; the rustling of his attire causeth lightning and thunder; and with the shadow of his garment he blotteth out the sun. The Prince of the Kings of the earth; by whom the world was created; and who liveth and reigneth forever receiveth power from him, and rendereth it unto him. Who shall stand before him? Our God alone hath omnipotence. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
15. God alone is omnipresent. His presence filleth the immensity of space as a point. In the midst of the bottomless pit, is he; the pavilion of his feet, is the face of the earth: the stars, are his home: his breath, is fragrant odour to the blessed, in the highest heaven; and it enliveneth the crumbling frame of the dead. The rays of the sun, have not found his bourn; nor the light of the stars, the place he inhabiteth not. His rest outspeedeth the lightning; it leaveth the morning ray behind it; and his speed is more rapid than the thought of angels. Our God alone is omnipresent. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
16. God alone is one. There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow. A great King, is to him as the unseen spawn before the monsters of the deep; Methuselah, as the ephemera of a day: the most glorious spirit, is bodiless, and a breath. And the Lord Jesus, who created the earth, and redeemed it; whose kingdom filleth the earth, and the heavens; possesseth but a speck, amid the stars he made.