1. After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ,and after he was resurrected, he taught his Apostles for forty days. He said that he would be leaving them with the Holy Ghost, which is essential to have a necessary component of Christ's Gospel; revelation.We will discuss four examples of revelation in Christ's former church that he set up before he ascended back into heaven.
A. Act 1:5-8 Jesus tells his disciples not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the Holy Ghost to come upon them, and the Holy Ghost would be means for revelation. His disciples ask if he can make Israel his kingdom this day, his answer teaches us a vital part of God's workings with his children. He explains that it is never for them to know the times and the seasons in which the ,Lord will execute his power of the Priesthood, but only God decided the times for his purposes to come to pass. I invite you to ponder this scripture as we continue with the lesson.
B. Acts 1:20 There were only eleven apostles because Judas was dead, and we learn how important keepingi the same organization that Christ set up was, as the apostles prayed to receive revelation on whom they could call to be twelfth apostle.The called Mathias after being directed through revelation.
C. Saul was an evil man who was going about destroying the church of God, by putting Christ's disciples in prison. Saul heard a voice of Jesus asking him why he was destroying the church of God? Saul asked Jesus what he should do? The Savior said that he should go to Damascus and there Saul would be told what to do? Saul opened his eyes but he could not see. He was blind. His friends took him to Damascus. A disciple named Annias was told in a vision ( revelation ) to go to Saul. Annias had God's power of the Priesthood and he blessed Saul's sight to come back, Acts 9: 15-18 and not only was Saul healed but he was baptized and received the holy Ghost. He changed his name to Paul, and he was called to be an apostle by way of revelation. Acts 26:16-23
D. We have many Epistles that were written by Paul today in our Bible, including the books called Colossians, Philippians, Thessalonians. These are examples of revelation given to Apostles for the other apostles and members of the Christian church at the time.
I. Today our Apostles and Prophets have written similar letters to the entire world, and members of Christ's church. Two examples are the Proclamation to the World and the Living Christ.
II. Jesus Christ's former church had a Prophet that was Peter.
Mathew 16: 18-19 Jesus explains that Peter would be the " rock " of his church and would be given the KEYS to seal what is on earth in heaven.
2. Just as the Jesus reminded his disciples that it is not for anyone but God to determine what time and season his power would be on the earth, we read in Amos 8:11-12 the prophesy that there would be a time when God's Gospel on the earth could not be found. No one would have Christ's Gospel, only they would search, but could not find. We can see through this that IT CAN BE GOD's PATTERN to withhold his Gospel for a time to certain groups or everyone.
A. Acts 1: 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. Some times we can see that God's children are withheld from having the Gospel available to them, and sometimes withheld the Priesthood, and it is not for us to determine when or how...but only through Him and his revelation given to us.
B. Matt.10:5-6 For a millennium and a half Jesus Christ's law had gone to ISRAEL ONLY! Jesus himself with slight variations had never taught nor healed the Gentiles. During his ministry he restricted his apostles with this command: These twelve Jesus sent forth and commanded them saying, GO NOT INTO THE WAY OF THE GENTILES, AND INTO ANY CITY OF THE SAMARITANS ENTER YE NOT; but go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. After his resurrection however, Jesus issued a new decree and broadened the field of the Gospel preaching it to include all men. THIS CAME BY REVELATION given to Paul. ( Bruce R. Mconkie )
C. One reason the Gospel may have been taken from the earth is because of the dispute about the God Head. In 325 AD a council was held, this was called the Council of Niccea. This was put together by Constantine, the Roman Empire. about 1800 bishops, 1,000 from the east and 800 in the west gathered for the first time to discuss technical aspects of Christology. The main purpose was to resolve disagreements about the nature of of the Son and his relationship with the Father. Arius was an influencial religious leader at the time who knew that Christ was a separate entity from God the Father. His teachings were grounded in many scriptures like John 14: 28 Jesus Christ says;" You heard me, I am going to the Father and I am coming back to you, if you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." Luke 18:19 19 And Jesus said unto him, "Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." Matthew 26:39
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Arius was banished to Illyria and from this council came the Nicene Creed, and eventually anyone who refused to endorse the creed would be exiled. This was the first time that the power of the state gave council to the church. Although 331 Bibles were set into commission by Constantinople, it is not celar wether or not any books were omitted or changed.
3. What similarities do we see in the way that God works with his children whom are to be prophets receiving divine revelation as we see with the revelation we read about Joseph Smith having in The First Vision?
A. Old Testament; Exodus 24:9-13 Moses see's God with the Quorum of the Seventy at that time.
B. New Testament; Acts 7: 55-58 Before Stephen was stoned to death he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ standing next to him ( TWO PERSONAGES )
C. New Testament; Matthew 3: 16-17 As John the Baptist baptizes Jesus Christ the Holy Ghost was present in the form of a dove, and God the Father spoke and said, " This is my Beloved Son."
D. Joseph Smith said this of his experience seeing God the Father, and Jesus Christ; " I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun descended gradually upon me. No sooner than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound, when the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description standing about me in the air. one of them spake unto me calling me by name and pointing to the other said- This is my belived son. Hear him!
4. Revelation in the church today has been received since that day. Just like Saul, who became Paul, after a millenium and a half of the Gentiles not being taught the Gospel, he was told by revelation to take the Gospel to them. It was now time for the last dispensation, and just like Peter held the " KEYS " to seal what was on earth in heaven, our modern day prophet hold those same keys, and we have that Priesthood today to seal husbands and wives together for all eternity, in order that they may live in God's presence with each other, continuing the family unit. We now live in a time with modern technology that makes it easier for us to find our ancestors from thousands years past and seal them together as well. We can take them to be baptized as it speaks of in the scriptures when Paul is defending the truth of the ressurection. Corinthians 15:29; Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead. The work we do now in the modern Church of Jesus Christ is the same as the church that he set up while he was here on the earth. We have temples just like Moses had and was even so important that he was commanded to build a portable temple that they could take with them across the wilderness! Moses and Aaron took part in similar work that we do today in the temple. Exodus 40: 12-16 " And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation , and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon them the Holy Garments and anoint him, and sancitfy him; that he may minister unto me in the Priests office. " As well, the modern Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days has the largest group of missionaries in the world, voulenteering two years of their lives with out pay, and actually paying for the mission themselves because of divine REVELATION given to prophets, and living by the teachings and fulfillng the prophesy in Matthew 28:19 " Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost.
I know this is God's church on the earth so deeply that the elements of this lesson that I have prepared are written in my heart, and these scriptures have become part of who I am, and who I hope to become.
I am eternally grateful for my Savior that my Father who art in heaven has given me. I love them more than words could ever express, they are the way, the truth and the light...No man can receive true and complete happiness without abiding by the laws and teachings in the scriptures that they have blessed us with.
Let us not let their work be in vain. Let us show them through our daily actions that we know what they have left us. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.