Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jehovah is God of the Old Testament

The true identity of God is seemingly a mystery pondered by the sages, theologians and philosophers throughout the ages. If only God could be known, understood and obeyed! What a different world this would be with that knowledge. The Muslims, Christians and Jews would be instantly united with true knowledge. Allah, Jesus Christ and Jehovah are one and the same Being! That is the great mystery.

Through the years I have had numerous conversations with friends not of our faith who have shared with me their concept of God. Of course, the elements of the confusing rationale of the "Trinity" almost invariably creep into those conversations, whether I have been talking to Catholics, Protestants or Jews. I have not had many conversations with Muslims, but gleaned great insight by visiting Egypt and Israel several years ago. It dawned on me then how simple it would be to unite the world with the true identity of the Godhead revealed to all.

On the other side of the religious divide stand the Mormons all alone in their conception of Deity. The Mormon notion of who comprises the Godhead comes to us from the revelations ("theophanies") of the Prophet Joseph Smith. An eyewitness account of the Deity is what is needed, and that need is supplied through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph. In simple and concise terms it is Joseph Smith who unravels the "mystery" of the true identity of God:

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." (D&C 130:22).

"Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth: these personages, according to Abraham's record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and god the third, the witness or Testator." (TPJS, 190).

The first Article of Faith states: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."

It is beyond me why people not familiar with Joseph Smith cannot grasp the power of his logic and rational thought content in his sermons and writings. It can only be for one reason -- they reject him without having studied him. His doctrine was not his own, not fashioned by his own pen and paper. Rather, it came from his firsthand and intimate association with the Father and the Son. All who came after him as successors to his priesthood keys corroborate his testimony.

It is much easier to believe Joseph, as he explained the true doctrine of Deity. He lived his life in ascendancy, meaning it was lived in a gradual crescendo as his death approached on June 27, 1844. Here are two samples as he enunciated clearly the doctrine of Deity, the first on June 11, 1843, and the second on June 16, 1844, in his final discourse to the saints in the grove, east of the Temple in Nauvoo, only days before his death. How one can accept the contorted teachings of all the so-called theologians in eons past without the same firsthand knowledge is simply mystifying to me:

"The Doctrine of the Godhead

"There is much said about God and the Godhead. The scriptures say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us there is but one living and true God, and the heaven of heavens could not contain him; for he took the liberty to go into other heavens. The teachers of the day say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and they are all in one body and one God. Jesus prayed that those that the Father had given him out of the world might be made one in them, as they were one [one in spirit, in mind, in purpose]. If I were to testify that the Christian world were wrong on this point, my testimony would be true.

"Peter and Stephen testify that they saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Any person that had seen the heavens opened knows that there are three personages in the heavens who hold the keys of power, and one presides over all.

"If any man attempts to refute what I am about to say, after I have made it plain, let him beware.

"The Son Does What the Father Did

"As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life and taken it again; so He has a body of His own; each one will be in His own body; and yet the sectarian world believe the body of the Son is identical with the Father's.

"Gods have an ascendancy over the angels, who are ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels, others are raised to become Gods.

"These things are revealed in the most holy places in a Temple prepared for that purpose. Many of the sects cry out, 'Oh, I have the testimony of Jesus; I have the spirit of God; but away with Joe Smith; he says he is a prophet; but there are to be no prophets or revelators in the last days.' Stop, sir! The Revelator says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; so by your own mouth you are condemned. But to the text. Why gather the people together in this place? For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews—to receive the ordinances, the blessings, and glories that God has in store for His Saints." (TPJS, 311-12).

"I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text [Revelation 1:6] for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.

"I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it? . . . (TPJS, 370).

"Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow -- three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization anyhow. 'Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for those that thou hast given me. . . that they may be one as we are. . .' I want to read the text to you myself -- 'I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.' The Greek shows that it should be agreed. 'Father, I pray for them which thou hast given me out of the world, . . . that they all may be agreed with us,' and all come to dwell in unity. . ." (TPJS, 372; cf. John 17:9-11, 20-21; also cf. The Words of Joseph Smith, 380).

Jehovah, derived from the Hebrew Yahweh, is the God of the Old Testament, and is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in his unembodied spirit form. He came to earth and took upon Himself the mortal body prepared by His Father and the virgin mother Mary. He was crucified, then resurrected on the morning of the third day, the first Sabbath, and someday He will return to earth as the promised Messiah in a glorious Second Coming to usher in His millennial reign for 1,000 years. Of these truths, I am a witness.

President Joseph Fielding Smith:

All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the law of Moses. The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27).

President Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose (First Presidency) also quoting Jesus as He is quoted by John:

In all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His father in power and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in which He was known as Jehovah; also during His embodiment in the flesh; and during His labors as a disembodied spirit in the realm of the dead; and since that period in His resurrected state. To the Jews He said: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30; see also 17:11, 22); yet He declared "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28); and further, "I am come in my Father's name" (John 5:43; see also 10:25). The same truth was declared by Christ Himself to the Nephites (see 3 Nephi 20:35 and 28:10), and has been reaffirmed by revelation in the present dispensation (D&C: 50:43). Thus the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father's name; and so far as power, authority and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the father. ("The Father and The Son; A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve," published by the Church in a pamphlet, June 30, 1916. Reprinted in Articles of Faith, 420-426. See also Messages of the First Presidency, 5:23-34).

President Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose (First Presidency), and The Council of the Twelve:

Jesus Christ the "Father" of Those Who Abide in His Gospel -- A third sense in which Jesus Christ is regarded as the "Father" has reference to the relationship between Him and those who accept His Gospel and thereby become heirs of eternal life. . . .

Salvation is attainable only through compliance with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel; and those who are thus saved become sons and daughters unto God in a distinctive sense. In a revelation given through Joseph the Prophet to Emma Smith the Lord Jesus addressed the woman as "My daughter," and said: "for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom" (D&C 25:1). In many instances the Lord has addressed men as His sons (e.g. D&C 9:1; 34:3; 121:7).

That by obedience to the Gospel men may become sons of God, both as sons of Jesus Christ, and, through Him, as sons of His Father, is set forth in many revelations given in the current dispensation. (ibid.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith, also quoting King Benjamin:

The Savior becomes our Father, in the sense in which this term is used in the scriptures, because he offers us life, eternal life, through atonement which he made for us. In the wonderful instruction given by King Benjamin we find this: "And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters."

So we become the children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, through our covenants of obedience to him. Because of his divine authority and sacrifice on the cross, we become spiritually begotten sons and daughters, and he is our Father.

Christ is also our Father because his Father has given him of his fulness; that is, he has received a fulness of the glory of the Father. This is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 93:1-5, 16-17, and also by Abinadi in the 15th chapter of Mosiah. Abinadi's statement that he is "the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God," harmonizes with the Lord's own words in Section 93 that he is the Father because he has received of the fulness of the Father. Christ says he is the Son because, "I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among sons of men." Abinadi expresses this truth by saying he is "the Son because of the flesh."

The Father has honored Christ by placing his name upon him, so that he can minister in and through that name as though he were the Father; and thus, so far as power and authority are concerned, his words and acts become and are those of the Father. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:29-30).

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