Monday, 12 October 2015

What Does the Bible say about The Book of Mormon?

Another LDS Smith addition to the "What does the Bible say?" collection. This time, all about The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and some common rebuttals against open canon scripture addressed.

First, what do we believe?

"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." - Articles of Faith 1:9.

In other words, we believe in open canon scripture. Ancient Middle Eastern prophets received revelation from God, and recorded it in what we now know as The Holy Bible. Prophets from the ancient Americas received revelation from God, and recorded it in what we now know as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, and successive latter-day prophets, receive(d) revelation from God, and record(ed) it in what we now know as The Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as in other sacred records and documents.

Now isn't that a mouth full? In short, unlike most Christians, Latter-day Saints believe in scripture other than just the Bible.

But you cannot add or remove from the Bible!
Agreed, God's word is irrevocable. Now, let's assume that the Bible is free of crept-in error (2 Timothy 4:4). What does this statement really mean? Where does it really come from?

The answer: Revelation 22:18-19. Do not add or remove from that which God has revealed.

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." - Revelation 22:18-19, emphasis added.

I love these verses. And, in addressing its use as a rebuttal, I'm reminded of the words spoken by an MTC lecturer of min: "This is when you need to teach them English." Note the emphasis on this book; in other words, the book of Revelation - not the Bible, which actually means many books.

Deuteronomy 4:2 clarifies what is meant by the above verse, as it gives the same warning.

"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." - Deuteronomy 4:2.

If interpreted to mean 'no further scripture ever to be given', then no scripture proceeding Deuteronomy 4:2 can be considered (logic error). Rather, the verse warns against those who would change the commandments or revelations from God by either adding or removing from which God has already given.

For example, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) should not be altered to "Thou shalt not kill at night" (add) or "Thou shalt kill" (remove).

Nowhere does it say that God cannot or will not give more.

But the Bible is all we need!
Then why don't we use the Bible, and see what it has to say about the Book of Mormon?

"Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." - Genesis 11:9.

The Book of Ether, found in the Book of Mormon, is a record of the Jaredites, "[w]hich Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered" (Ether 1:33).

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:" - Genesis 49:22.

This verse requires the use of our spiritual ears, since it is a blessing from Jacob to Joseph. Joseph is a fruitful, many progenitors, bough, vineyard. The house of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord (see Isaiah 5:7, Jeremiah 12:10, Luke 20:9, and Mark 12:9), wherefrom scripture proceeds.

[W]hose branches run over the wall, like a tree branches off, so too would the tribe of Joseph, with some going out of the land (see Jacob 2:25, Alma 26:36, 1 Nephi 15:12, 1 Nephi 15:16, 1 Nephi 19:24, and 2 Nephi 3:4), wherefrom scripture could proceed.

See also Deuteronomy 33:16-17, using spiritual ears once more. Note the gathering of Israel, a primary duty of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The remainder of Joseph's blessing reads:
"The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." - Genesis 49:23-26.

Persecution against the accounts of the Book of Mormon was prophesied long before its arrival, but the Lord will strengthen, and bless, His people.

"Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." - Psalm 85:11.

The records from which the Book of Mormon were translated came, literally, from the earth, with all the blessings from heaven being fully restored (see Mormon 8:16, and Moses 7:62).

"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" - D&C 128:19.

"And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust,and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit,out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." - Isaiah 29:4.

Only The Book of Mormon can explain who the nation like unto Ariel is, and how it was brought low. Their voice shall whisper out of the dust (see Moroni 10:27), come forth out of the ground (see above analysis on Psalm 85:11), and shall be as one that has a familiar spirit.

"For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust. For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God." - 2 Nephi 26:16-17.

"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned,saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me,and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." - Isaiah 29:11-14.

"But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book:Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying:Read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them. And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God. And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed. Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it. Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee." - 2 Nephi 27:15-20.

“I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they w ere true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. “He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him,when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.” - Joseph Smith-History 1:64-65.

"And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity,and out of darkness." - Isaiah 29:18.

Literally, yes, the deaf have received its words, and the blind have seen its glory. Moreover, however, the hardhearted and obstinate will come to know, as have some, as many others have seen through the blazon obscurity of anti-Mormon literature.

And here comes some of my favourite Biblical prophecies:
"The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim,and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes." - Ezekiel 37:15-20.

The Lord instructed Judah to keep a record, and Joseph to do the same. Judah kept a record which now constitutes the Bible. Joseph, in the hand of Ephraim, kept a record which now constitutes The Book of Mormon. In the latter days, the Lord will bring them together as one.

"Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord." - 2 Nephi 3:12.

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." - John 10:16.

I don't know how much clearer the Saviour could have been. God speaks to all His children, not just some.

"This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them: That other sheep I have which are not of this fold;them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." - 3 Nephi 15:16-17, 21.

"And 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" - Revelation 14:6.

Moroni, an angel of God, appeared before Joseph Smith, standing in the air ("fly in the midst of heaven"), to tell him of The Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel that would be preached to 'them that dwell on earth' (missionary work).

There we have it, a series of Biblical prophecies concerning the coming forth of another witness of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 13:1, and Deuteronomy 19:15).

God thought it important. Who are we to say that it is not?

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