Friday, April 23, 2021

All Is Vain

I've had some feedback about my last post with reason's why Prophet's and Apostles don't share the sacred things they are seeing and experiencing.

The reason given: "The members aren't worthy or aren't ready. Even Christ didn't share things with people who weren't ready. It would damn us if they did and we weren't prepared."

That answer should give one pause. If the masses of the church aren't ready or are unworthy to hear sacred things from those who lead them, then we are far worse off than we could have ever imagined. Why mention Zion or the Second Coming at General Conference if we would be utterly wasted at His coming? Those who are unable to hear a witness about someone who has conversed with Angels or the Lord would be terrified of Zion.

Moroni 7 tells us we should, at the very least, be having angels appear to us:
35 ...has the day of miracles ceased?

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

38 ...wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
Elder Holland spoke on Angels in his talk, "The Ministry of Angels" (Reference). He acknowledged that angels had appeared in ancient times to offer comfort and love and sometimes to warn, but that angels now are commonly humans doing good deeds among us. In contrast, the Lord tells us repeatedly in scripture that Angels are sent to fulfill the covenants of the Lord. Moroni 7 gives a very direct answer what Angels from the throne of God are called to do: 
31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants (covenant path) of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.
While I believe I have come into contact with humans who are acting angelically, I don't want to confuse the vital importance of receiving Angels and ministration from Heaven, with kind deeds of mortals. You can know that any person in authority who would teach that angels nowadays are commonly humans doing good deeds has not entertained Angels from the Throne of God. 

If it is true that we are unworthy or aren't ready to hear of visions, dreams, Angelic visitations or witnesses of the Savior, then it would follow that the message of General Conference then would entirely and consistently be centered around repentance. Yet at the conclusion of each General Conference I hear many people excitedly talking about how much "Zion" or "the Second Coming" was mentioned. But those who will be in Zion will of necessity need to have already conversed with Angels from the Throne of God, and the Savior. If we are unworthy or not ready - we are further from Zion and being prepared to receive Christ than we were in Joseph Smith's day where he and many other's openly shared dreams, visions, and visitations. 

Many people have told me that the number one thing they love about President Nelson was that his very first talk as the prophet of the church was to encourage Saints to receive their own revelation.

So my question is - what revelation are we allowed to receive?

In trying to better understand how Revelation is defined by the church I went to the church website and did a topical search. It says that the prophet receives revelation for the church but all members are able to receive revelation for their personal lives (Reference). The Church website acknowledges that you can receive revelation through dreams or visions or Angels but spends the majority of their definition of revelation teaching revelation as the still small voice. I do think that it is essential to learn to hear the still small voice because it leads to the greater light. And I also can't help but wonder what would happen if the church began to teach the necessity to receive angels, visions, dreams, and the Lord Himself for those on the covenant path.

Entertaining angels is an integral part of returning to the Father and is tied to Aaronic priesthood. The varying degrees of priesthood show our varying degrees of our relationship with Heaven. The Aaronic Priesthood is an association with Angels. Melchizedek is an association with Christ and with the Father. In your return to the presence of the Lord you will need to pass angels who stand as a cherubim and flaming sword, guarding the way of the Tree of Life, or in other words - the Lord's presence.

Are only males able to receive the ministering of angels?

The holy priesthood can be defined as our relationship with God, and God is no respecter of persons. Our relationship with Him is not gender-dependent. The Aaronic priesthood, or in other words - the ministering of angels, does not favor or contradistinguish. It is based on your faith alone, and is freely available to all men and women who have strong Faith and a firm mind in every form of Godliness.
26 And after that he (Christ) came men also were saved by faith in his name (faith is what saves men...not ceremonies. Ceremonies are designed to spark humble initiates with FAITH); and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. 
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. 

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. 

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants (Temple covenants are part of this) of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of Him. (Moroni 7)
This is why Elder Holland's talk concerned me. It seemed to give a modern focus which promoted the idea that Angels nowadays are commonly just really good humans. If we don't understand that the reception of literal Angels from the throne of God are part of the covenant path in our earthly return to the Father, then we have unbelief - and all is vain. 

Has the day of miracles ceased for you, or do angels appear and minister to you personally? Aaronic priesthood, which includes the ministering of angels, is a lower level of the priesthood. If an individual hasn't received the literal ministering of angels, how could they claim to hold the higher Melchizedek priesthood which brings you into the presence of God (D&C107)?

If we want the same promised blessings as the ancients will have, don't we need to do the same things they have done?

If we have not yet even entertained angels, then wouldn't higher declarations of being sealed eternally be hollow?
It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
— Lectures on Faith 6:8
I once shared my experience with the Lord with someone close to me and they accused me of being such a low person...why would the Lord come to me and not (they named the people they regarded with the highest spiritual esteem). I didn't respond because they weren't interested in my thoughts. But I can tell you why Angels will minister to you, and why Angels and the Lord will come to you (or won't come to you): If you don't know of a surety that you are saved in His Kingdom...if you don't know if He knows your name...if you don't know with certainty your own salvation, then you, like me, won't get off your knees until He tells you Himself your standing before Him.
Lectures on Faith 6: 4-6

"Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint....For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be offering an insult to the dignity of the Creator, were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life. But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God."
In Elder Holland's talk, "Lord, I believe" he said that he declared these words, like Peter, with the "more sure word of prophecy." And he encouraged any who are having their faith tested now, or later - to lean on his Elder Hollands words he said, "if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine." (link to 'Lord, I believe')

I have loved Elder Holland, but his words stunned me.

Religious faith has always been to place your TRUST in GOD. Elder Holland, with his Apostolic authority, is advising you that if you are struggling with your faith, then "lean on mine," or in other words, "trust in me." The prophet Jeremiah once said the opposite of that concept when he said: "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is." (17:5, 7)

As much as I have adored President Holland - I would say the opposite to you. Do not trust in the arm of flesh - worldly or spiritual. Do not lean on anyone's anything when it comes to your faith in Jesus Christ. I would say that if you are struggling in your faith -- hike a mountain or go in your closet - pray all day without ceasing, call out to the Lord day and night and wrestle with Him until He blesses you.

Lehi demonstrated what it is like to trust in the arm of flesh in his dream when he followed "a man" in white who lead him to a dark and dreary waste. Elder Holland mis-quotes Lehi and says that the "man in white" is "an angel" who leads Lehi to "salvation". (Reference)

Lehi is very careful about his words when he shares a vision or a dream. He let's you know when it is an "angel of the Lord" or "the spirit of the Lord". The Angel who had been with Lehi throughout other visions would frequently ask Lehi to look and testify. But in this case of the man in white - Lehi was careful to say it was a man "dressed in white". The man in white had the appearance of one who should be followed and even bid Lehi to, "follow him". 

What was the fruit of following the man in white? He was lead to a dark and dreary waste. This man was not an angel of the Lord.
1 Nephi 8:

5 And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.

6 And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.

7 And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

8 And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me...
The only reason I have been able to bear witness of Jesus Christ in a personal way, even amidst my lowly state, and the reason that others who who have devoted their entire lives to charitable service and are truly very worthy to entertain Angels and the Lord, yet have not received this witness for themselves, is for one reason - I asked and I believed. 

Ask and ye shall receive, Seek and ye shall find, Knock and it shall be opened unto you. 

Ask. And don't stop asking until He blesses you.

When any person gets to the point where they realize that salvation can't come through leaning on another's arm...when they get to the point where they realize that to stay in the boat doesn't help them to learn to trust Jesus and walk on water...when any person gets to the point where their soul truly hungers and thirsts for His flesh and His blood and they desire to be crucified with Him, then Angels cannot be stopped from ministering to them. It is the ancient story...the story as old as Adam and Eve when they are cast out of the garden and they build an altar and made sacrifices. Adam and Eve didn't stop crying out for God to hear the words of their mouth until an Angel from the throne of God came. Do not mistake this specific angel for a human who you hope will observe your life and return and report to the throne of God that you have been true and faithful. Only an Angel from heaven has the authority to do that (Moroni 7:31).

A devoted life to God, which includes crying out to Him and laying your will on the altar, gives the sign that you have been faithful and true to the covenant you made to God to return from your fallen state. When you do that, Angels (who stand as sentinels) can not be withheld from blessing you to begin your journey from the fall back to the Presence of God.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a youth in the church, they used to talk about "not living on borrowed light". Peter taught the saints to give heed to the apostles' words until the day-star arose in their own hearts.

    Apparently today the only acceptable topics for revelation are receiving the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the revelation that the leaders are leading them correctly. Brigham Young: “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are lead by him.”