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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mormon Theology no. 35 - God Stands Revealed or Remains Forever Unknown

God is a mystery to most peoples.  Many so-called Christians say the Latter-day Saints are a "cult" or Joseph Smith is a false prophet, yet they make no claim to knowing who God is, or how He is presented in the revelations.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does.  I will here elucidate three ways in which God reveals Himself to mankind.

Appearances of God
The first and most awe-inspiring way God reveals Himself to man is through personal visitations to Prophets and Apostles.  God revealed and made Himself known to Abraham in Genesis 17, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (verse 1)"  God stood at that time revealed because He showed His body to Abraham and talked with him as one does with a friend. 

"And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. . . . And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. (Ex. 33:9,11)"  God spoke to Moses face to face (thus also showing Moses His body) when Moses was in the Mount Sinai.

God also saw fit to reveal His Son to His Apostles shortly after His Son's resurrection.  "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (John 20:26-27)"  Jesus Christ stood revealed to His Apostles, but especially to Thomas; since Jesus literally stood revealed before Thomas and the rest of the eleven Apostles, doubt fled.

[April 6 1836 Kirtland Temple]

The Holy Ghost
  God is most often revealed to man through the ministration and whisperings of the Holy Ghost, as is seen in the book of Matthew.  "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not  revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt 16:17)"

"As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)"  The Holy Ghost here manifests God and His will for the Church of Jesus Christ in former days.

Not only does God make Himself known through the Holy Ghost, but in connection with that, through Scripture.  "But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record.  For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good. (Ether 4:11)"

Commandments
Throughout the Bible, God has revealed Himself and His will for His people through commandments.  When Moses was in the Mount Sinai, (as previously mentioned), He gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and the later on, He gave Moses the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, further explaining the meaning of God's laws.

God was first revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden.  It is written, "And the Lord God commanded the man . . .(Gen 2:16)"  God is revealed through commandments to Prophets, like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Christ, Peter, Paul, Nephi, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, etc.  When the commandments of God were heeded by Adam, God was then made known to Adam and his posterity.   

When Jesus was on Earth, he taught, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)"  He also taught a higher law to His followers, and taught them (although not fully explained in the Bible) the need for continual revelation through Prophets, even after His eventual death and Resurrection.

God was also revealed to Joseph Smith in 1820.  President Smith wrote, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son.  Hear Him! (JS-H 1:16-17)"

I know what I have said is true, and that as we keep the commandments of God given through the Prophet Thomas S. Monson, we will then know God's will further through the Holy Ghost, and then if we are worthy, have the privilege of having the face of God revealed to us.  In that name of Jesus Christ, amen!

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