Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Priestcraft ?

Recently I became aware of a man holding “life-changing,” 3-day events promoting How to use "Spiritual Laws" to create measurable "Real World" Success. Pre-registration enrollment per single ticket is $650.00 USD for “General Admission”; $895.00 for “VIP Guest”; and $1,995.00 for “Diamond.” And apparently, at the events, a further commitment for $400.00 /month/person is encouraged in order to maximize success.

Some families are thrilled with the about-face of other family members after they have begun to put these “Spiritual Laws” into practice.

BUT, here are some questions to consider:
▪ Does motivation for obedience matter? In other words: are we following “spiritual laws” because God asks it of us? or are we doing it in pursuit of money or some other real-world agenda?1

▪ Would God be justified in asking: “When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?” (Old Testament | Isaiah 1:12)?

▪ Could impure motives be like offering “polluted bread upon mine altar” (Old Testament | Malachi 1:7)?

▪ Might an impure motivation warrant a rebuke similar to what Peter gave to one who sought to introduce money into spiritual matters, as in: “for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (New Testament | Acts 8:21)?

▪ What do the scriptures define as priestcraft?
He [God] commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:29)
▪ Is this but another variation on the “seed-faith theology” promulgated by many televangelists who equate “seed” (and harvest) with the giving of money to their ministries?2

▪ What clues about priorities, focus, and motivation are given when a man presents his qualifications to teach prosperity principles as:
◦ “became a millionaire by the time he was 30 years old”;
◦ created a process that “ helped him go from making $1,000 a week to making $1,000 an hour”;
◦ “being in the top 1% in the world of income producers.”
▪ Is “your Greatest Asset... YOU!” as this man asserts? or is it God and His uncorrupted truths?

▪ Could these scriptures have application to this man, his “spiritual laws” and all his evangelical cousins?
And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. (Book of Mormon | Alma 1:5)

Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines [motives?]; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor. (Book of Mormon | Alma 1:16)

HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Old Testament | Isaiah 55:1-3; see also Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:50)

Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:25)

Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance. Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other [without tiers or grades], and none are forbidden. He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a ommandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:27-31)

But it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church of God began to persecute those that did belong to the church of God, and had taken upon them the name of Christ. Yea, they did persecute them, and afflict them with all manner of words, and this because of their humility; because they were not proud in their own eyes, and because they did impart the word of God, one with another, without money and without price. (Book of Mormon | Alma 1:19-20)
▪ Who will most people blame and what will they abandon if these “spiritual laws” (outward performances??) don’t “create measurable ‘Real World’ Success” as they were hyped into expecting?
We live in a world rampant with deceiving and being deceived (yes, even—maybe especially—in God’s vineyard), so perhaps we should take to heart God’s warning:
And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds [and motives??]. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 33:4)
(All bold emphasis in quoted scripture above was made by this blogger.)
1. Consider the motives of Cain: see footnote one at http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2014/12/the-pity-ploy.html
2. See: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Televangelists (HBO) [LANGUAGE CAUTION] at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1xJAVZxXg (Time ~ 20:05 min.);
Seed Faith, part 1(Oral Roberts) with Benny Hinn at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saIqpKRAZIw (Time ~ 10:07 min.) [TRUTH CAUTION];
Seed and Faith with Rod Parsley & Cindy Trimm, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbshUsMYxZg (Time ~ 13:37 min.) [TRUTH CAUTION];
The Word of Faith Movement and the Cultic Renewal of Indulgences by J. Danny Hone at http://www.christianissues.com/roots.html

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Former Prophets ?!

Circa 2,300 years ago (in the first year of Darius1), O.T. Daniel, beloved2 of God and the recipient of several divine revelations, “set [his] face unto the Lord God, to seek [forgiveness and mercy] by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.”3 Daniel had just become aware of an approaching, prophetic event and he knew how far the people had strayed from (or become casual about) the words and will of God; how immersed he and they were in the ways of “Babylon”; and how unprepared they were to receive the promises.

About that time, Daniel was given visions of the end of days—OUR day—yet today, we Christians seem to spend our last days in déjà vu of those former days (which included Zechariah):
AND it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah … saying, Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain? And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: (Old Testament | Zechariah 7:1, 5-13).

Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD (Old Testament | Zechariah 1:4).
Are we, too, ignoring “the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets”? Do we imagine our “lifestyle” can go on forever as we continue laboring for money, shopping, studying or pursuing the philosophies of men, entertaining and being entertained, massaging our hearts and minds with superficial things, and so forth? Do we sport a “pre-trib rapture” mentality—thinking we are “good enough” to escape the “tribulation” described so graphically in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Daniel, Revelation, and numerous other places—despite clear warnings to the contrary?
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (New Testament | Revelation 6:9-10)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (New Testament | Revelation 20:4)

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (New Testament | Revelation 7:13-14)

And it was given unto him [the beast] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (New Testament | Revelation 13:7)

And in her [Babylon ~ v. 2] was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (New Testament | Revelation 18:24)

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; … And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Old Testament | Daniel 7:21, 25)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (New Testament | Matthew 24:29 - 31; see also Mark 13:24)

[See numerous other tribulation references at ftn 4.)
Perhaps we Christians need a severe turn-about toward Daniel's example of study, “prayer, supplication, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes,”[3] and watching for prophetic fulfillment.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (New Testament | Mark 13:35-37)
So what are we watching? Perhaps we could begin a daily diary; perhaps an hourly register; and ask: How much time am I giving to deep study of the word and will of God? how much in praising and thanking Him? how much to comprehending the prophecies and warnings of all “the former prophets”?

1. Darius, the son of Ahasuerus ~ Old Testament | Daniel 9:1. For info on Darius, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_the_Mede
2. Old Testament | Daniel 9:23; 10:11, 19.
3. Old Testament | Daniel 9:2-21 ~ In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. ¶ And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Old Testament | Daniel 9:2-21)
4. Tribulation:
New Testament | Revelation 17:6 [5] ~ And I saw the woman [MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH] drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
New Testament | Revelation 16:5-7 ~ And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Old Testament | Daniel 8:24 ~ And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 87:6-7 ~ And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 58:3-4 ~ Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand. (See also D&C 103:12)
New Testament | 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 ~ That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
New Testament | 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 ~ So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
New Testament | Revelation 1:9 ~ I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
New Testament | Revelation 2:10 ~ Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Book of Mormon | Jacob 7:26 ~ And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:10 ~ Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 27:28, 32 ~ Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. … And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 78:14-15 ~ That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world; That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion,
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 112:13 ~ And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.
Pearl of Great Price | JS-Matthew 1:18-21 ~ For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of their kingdom until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel. All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them. And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened. Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days
New Testament | Mark 13:13 ~ And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
New Testament | Acts 14:22 ~ Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 13:37 ~ And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 15:9 ~ Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 14:7 ~ And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:35-38 ~ And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory. Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full. Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul. And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 54:10 ~ And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:3 ~ And after the Messiah shall come there shall be signs given unto my people of his birth, and also of his death and resurrection; and great and terrible shall that day be unto the wicked, for they shall perish; and they perish because they cast out the prophets, and the saints, and stone them, and slay them; wherefore the cry of the blood of the saints shall ascend up to God from the ground against them. (See also numerous references in 3 Nephi 9 & 10.)
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 10:11-15 ~ And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets. And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared— And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness. And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. Behold, I say unto you, Yea, many have testified of these things at the coming of Christ, and were slain because they testified of these things.
Book of Mormon | Ether 8:22-23 ~ And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
New Testament | John 16:33 ~ These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.