Judeo-Christian Culture: Discipleship Definition

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Discipleship Definition

Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ

By Robert D. Hales

The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days.

What does it mean to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ? A disciple is one who has been baptized and is willing to take upon him or her the name of the Savior and follow Him. A disciple strives to become as He is by keeping His commandments in mortality, much the same as an apprentice seeks to become like his or her master.

Many people hear the word disciple and think it means only “follower.” But genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.

Listen to the Apostle Peter’s invitation to become a disciple of the Savior:

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”1

As you can see, weaving the spiritual tapestry of personal discipleship requires more than a single thread. In the Savior’s day, there were many who claimed to be righteous in one or another aspect of their lives. They practiced what I have called selective obedience. For example, they kept the commandment to refrain from work on the Sabbath yet criticized the Savior for healing on that holy day.2 They gave alms to the poor but offered only their excess—what they did not need for themselves.3 They fasted but only with long faces.4 They prayed but only to be seen of men.5 Jesus said, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”6 Such men and women may focus on mastering a specific attribute or action but do not necessarily become as He is in their hearts.

Of these, Jesus declared:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”7

The attributes of the Savior, as we perceive them, are not a script to be followed or list to be checked off. They are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more.

In 2 Peter and in Doctrine and Covenants section 4, we learn that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation. We measure our faith by what it leads us to do—by our obedience. “If ye will have faith in me,” the Lord promised, “ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”8 Faith is a catalyst. Without works, without virtuous living, our faith is without power to activate discipleship. Indeed, faith is dead.9

Virtue, Knowledge

And so, Peter explains, “add to your faith virtue.” This virtue is more than sexual purity. It is cleanliness and holiness in mind and body. Virtue is also power. As we faithfully live the gospel, we will have power to be virtuous in every thought, feeling, and action. Our minds become more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ.10 We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but also in who we are.

Peter continues, “Add to [your] virtue, knowledge.” As we live virtuous lives, we come to know our Heavenly Father and His Son in a special way. “If any man will do [the Father’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine.”11 This knowledge is personal testimony, born from personal experience. It is knowledge that transforms us so that our “light cleaveth unto [His] light” and our “virtue loveth [His] virtue.”12 By our virtuous living, we make the journey from “I believe” to the glorious destination of “I know.”

Temperance, Patience to Godliness

Peter exhorts us to add “to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience.” As temperate disciples, we live the gospel in a balanced and steady way. We do not “run faster than [we have] strength.”13 Day by day we move forward, undeterred by the refining challenges of mortality.

Being temperate in this way, we develop patience and trust in the Lord. We are able to rely on His design for our lives, even though we cannot see it with our own natural eyes.14 Therefore, we can “be still and know that [He is] God.”15 When faced with the storms of tribulation, we ask, “What wouldst Thou have me learn from this experience?” With His plan and purposes in our hearts, we move forward not only enduring all things but also enduring them patiently and well.16

This patience, Peter teaches, leads us to godliness. As the Father is patient with us, His children, we become patient with one another and ourselves. We delight in the agency of others and the opportunity it gives them to grow “line upon line,”17 “brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”18

From temperance to patience and from patience to godliness, our natures change. We gain the brotherly kindness that is a hallmark of all true disciples. Like the Good Samaritan, we cross the road to minister to whoever is in need, even if they are not within the circle of our friends.19 We bless them that curse us. We do good to those who despitefully use us.20 Is any attribute more godly or Christlike?

I testify that the efforts we make to become disciples of our Savior are truly added upon until we are “possessed” of His love.21 This love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”22

It is faith, hope, and charity that qualify us for the work of God.23 “And now abideth … these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”24

Brothers and sisters, now more than ever, we cannot be a “part-time disciple”! We cannot be a disciple on just one point of doctrine or another. The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ—including the ones we have talked about today—are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days.

As we earnestly strive to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, these characteristics will be interwoven, added upon, and interactively strengthened in us. There will be no disparity between the kindness we show our enemies and the kindness we bestow on our friends. We will be as honest when no one is looking as when others are watching. We will be as devoted to God in the public square as we are in our private closet.

I testify that everyone can be a disciple of the Savior. Discipleship is not constrained by age, gender, ethnic origin, or calling. Through our individual discipleship, we build up a collective strength to bless our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Now is the time to recommit ourselves to being His disciples with all diligence.

Brothers and sisters, we are all called to be disciples of our Savior. May He bless us in our eternal quest to become devoted and valiant disciples.

 

Easter Stories in Picture: Mission of Jesus Christ

Picture Gallery of Easter Stories: Mission of Jesus Christ

Christ-Triumphal-Entry-into-Jerusalem-Harry-AndersonTriumphal Entry

By Harry Anderson

King James Bible Verses

Luke 19: 37-38

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

 

 

Last Supper

Jesus-last-supperPeace-I-Leave-With-You-Walter-RanePeace I leave with you

By Walter Rane

 

Luke 22:19-20

19 ¶And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 

 

 

Gethsemane

Gethsemane-Adam-Abram-627013-By Adam Abram

Matthew 26:38-39

38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

 

The Greatest of AllJesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887

by Del Parson

 

 

 

 

 

Crucifixion

Crucifixion-Joseph-Harry-Anderson-209700By Harry Anderson

Matthew 27:22-24

 

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done?

24 ¶When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

 

Matthew 27:29-31

 

29 ¶And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Resurrection

Why-Weepest-Thou-David-McClellanWhy Weepest Thou?

By David McClellan

 

Matthew 28:5-6

5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

 

 

 

 

Resurrected-Christ-Wilson-Ong-212048Resurrected Christ

By Wilson Ong

 

Matthew 28:19-20

 

19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

American Family Association Issues at Hand: Planned Parenthood closings; Social Media linked to Depression

American Family Association Issues at Hand:

Planned Parenthood closings; Social Media linked to Depression

Planned Parenthood closes more centers

March 2017 – The American Life League annual survey shows that in 2016, 27 Planned Parenthood locations closed. The closings were offset with eight new centers, resulting in a net loss of 19.

“They’re now down to 624 facilities across the country from a high of 938,” said ALL executive director Jim Sedlak. “So they’ve lost one-third of the facilities.”

Although figures related to services provided by the abortion giant are not yet available for 2015 and 2016, the number of services provided in the six previous years (from 2009 to 2014) decreased significantly: 63% fewer cancer screenings, 56% fewer breast exams, 70% fewer Pap smear tests, and 30% fewer abortions.

In 2016, Planned Parenthood received over $553 million of taxpayer money from the federal government.

onenewsnow, 12/28/16; lifenews.com, 12/28/16

Fastest growing churches hold to literal interpretation of the Scripture

 

March 2017 – According to a five-year study published in Review of Religious Research, an internationally respected journal, the fastest growing churches are those that hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible, including teachings on heaven and hell.

“If we are talking solely about what belief system is more likely to lead to numerical growth among Protestant churches,” said David Haskell, lead researcher of the Canadian study, “the evidence suggests conservative Protestant theology is the clear winner.”

Clergy and worshippers in growing churches experienced greater participation in regular Bible reading and prayer.

Additionally, with respect to outsiders, an unwavering message with clear boundaries is a drawing factor.

theguardian.com, 11/17/16

Social media linked to depression

March 2017 –It has become cliché to see young people staring at their phones scrolling social media pages. But all that scrolling can have a negative effect on the way they see the world and themselves.

According to a 2016 study sponsored by the National Institute for Mental Health, social media can have a detrimental impact on the mental and emotional well-being of young adults.

The study polled 1,787 adults ages 19 to 32. Researchers inquired about time spent on social media, number of visits per week, and other related issues.

“It is human nature to compare ourselves to others,” said Mark Widdowson, a writer for the website Mashable. “Sometimes comparisons can be a way to inspire ourselves to improve in some way, but, more often than not – especially when someone is feeling down or is prone to depression – the comparisons become negative and erode self-esteem.”

onlinelibrary.wiley.com, 1/19/16; freeportpress.com, 5/4/16

Biblical History and United States Seal

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

keyRebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

Glenn Beck:

U.S. identified in Bible

‘Our entire history is directly tied to this moment’

KJV BibleRadio and television host Glenn Beck is now going public with his belief the United States is among the famous “Lost 10 Tribes of Israel,” and America today is suffering calamities just as ancient Israel did due to its disobedience to the laws of God.

Echoing the conclusions of some experts who have delved deeply into what’s known as the theory of “Anglo-Israelism” or “British-Israelism,” Beck took viewers of his TV show into a biblical history lesson dating back to the time after King David of the Old Testament, when the once united Kingdom of Israel became divided.

“Israel was split into two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom,” Beck explained.

Many people don’t realize that ancient Israel (the Northern Kingdom) actually went to war against the Jews (the Southern Kingdom of Judah) over many years. Four Books of the Bible, 1 and 2 Kings as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles, document the separate national histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Beck explained that eventually, God warned the rebellious northern kingdom to stop its sinning, or else face disaster.

“They’re warned, ‘You’re going to be taken by the Assyrians, and you’re gonna be taken into captivity,’” said Beck.

“Well, that’s exactly what happened. Judah remained, but the tribes in the north, they were taken and they went throughout the Assyrian empire. The Kingdom of Judah was not scattered. This is where the term ‘Jew’ comes from – Judah.”

Beck went on to note that when the Assyrians were finally defeated by other powers, they and the Israelite captives fled northward.

“And they fled out of captivity through the Caucuses Mountains,” he said. “The Caucusus Mountains are where you hear the word ‘Caucasian.’”

“What’s interesting is the Assyrians, who were very good, meticulous record-keepers, and who were just brutal [people], they settled in Italy and in the Germany area and the Russia area where facsism comes from. But the Israelites, the Lost 10 Tribes, they went north and they started to scatter [in another] direction, and they went to the coastlines, generally in the area where the Pilgrims came from. …

“All of Western Civilization is based on the laws of Israel. And our entire history is directly tied to this moment. Our Pilgrims thought they were completing the journey out of captivity.”

seal-of-the-president-of-the-united-statesimage: seal of the president]Beck believes the Statue of Liberty holding tablets is a more modern representation of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and he focused attention on the symbols on the both the presidential seal and the Great Seal of the United States.

On the presidential seal, he connected the artwork of sun rays, the moon and stars to one of the sons of Israel who had a famous dream in the Book of Genesis.

“When Joseph from the Bible is with his brothers, he tells his brothers that he had a dream. And he said, ‘I had a dream where the sun, the moon and the stars all bowed down to me,’” Beck explained.

He then noted the prominent theme of the number 13 on the seal.

“There’s strong symbolism with the number 13 being represented everywhere: 13 arrows, 13 stripes, 13 stars, 13 olives,” he said.

But is that figure merely a reflection of the 13 original American colonies?

“That’s what everyone will tell you, and that is one answer. But there is another one that many people believe,” Beck said.

“What else is 13? Twelve disciples surrounding Jesus, but more importantly, I think, the 12 tribes of Israel.”

As far as why 12 tribes of Israel would be represented by the number 13 and not 12, Beck stated, “The tribe of Joseph split into Manassah and Ephraim, and those were in northern Israel. That’s the northern kingdom of Israel. That’s the thirteen tribes.”

seal-of-the-united-states[image: United States Seal]As he examined the Great Seal of the U.S., Beck noted that above the eagle representing America, there are “13 stars in the shape of the Star of David.”

Surrounding the grouping of stars, he pointed out the artwork of clouds and light from “fire.”

“When Moses led his people out of Egypt, what did they follow during the day? A cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. That’s what this means,” he said.

He even unearthed the original proposed seal for the nation, which was promoted by Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

seal-of-the-united-states-original[image: original seal]Featuring the motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” the scene depicts the nation of Israel during its Exodus out of Egyptian slavery.

“Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea by a pillar of fire. Hello?” voiced Beck. “Look at the clouds around the fire in the center in exactly the same position as the eagle [seal].”

Beck noted it didn’t bother him if people didn’t believe the history lesson.

“I didn’t care a few years ago, but after 9/11, I promised I would find out what was going on,” he said.

“So what is it? We are nation that is based on Judeo-Christian values and the Bible. Period. You might not buy into the olives and the branches and everything else. It’s fact! It’s fact! But there’s no way to deny that the majority of our laws come directly from the Scriptures, right directly from Deuteronomy.”

Historian Steven M. Collins of Sioux Falls, S.D., has written several books on the subject, including “The ‘Lost’ Ten Tribes of Israel … Found” and “Israel’s Tribes Today.”

“It is such heartening news to me that Glenn Beck has seen this fundamental truth about which so many Christians are unaware,” Collins said after viewing Beck’s program.

“If the modern nations of the ten tribes of Israel came to widely recognize their true heritage as the biblical ‘house of Israel,’ it would revolutionize the self-perceptions of not only individuals but of nations as well. It would also verify the Holy Bible powerfully as the prophecies about the Israelites’ future after their exile from the Promised Land in the 8th century B.C. would be seen to be completely accurate and fulfilled. This would prove that the Bible is the Word of a Creator God as only an immortal Creator God could control the destinies of nations to make sure that biblical prophecies made millennia ago are being precisely fulfilled today.”

Collins says there is “overwhelming evidence” proving the modern nations of the 10 tribes of Israel are the Anglo-American, Scandinavian and many mainland European nations.

“It is gratifying to see that a well-known American media personality now has many of these important truths as well. Perhaps we are reaching the time when it is God’s will for this truth to become widely known in the modern nations. Such an awareness would revolutionize global geopolitics, to say the least.”

There are many who disagree with the theory.

Among them is Dr. Claude Mariottini, a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Ill.

Mariottini states, “The fact is that British-Israelism is based on a biased interpretation of the text, eisegesis, wishful thinking, and a lack of reliable historical evidence. The view that Great Britain and the United States of America are the lost tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh is just a myth.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/glenn-beck-u-s-is-lost-tribe-of-israel/#TEZQf4m56Fc6YLRi.99

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Ju•deo-Chris•tian

Definition of Judeo-Christian: A term worth defending

By Ed Vitagliano

We are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. Most evangelicals have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Our Judeo-Christian principles are under attack.

KJV BibleWe hear the term Judeo-Christian used quite frequently, but what does it mean? Here are a few ideas to consider regarding the term as used at American Family Association.

1. It does not refer primarily to Judaism.
Judaism itself can be a term that is frequently misunderstood. Usually, it refers to the religion of the Jewish people, rooted especially in the Law of Moses and the Old Testament.

Judaism also includes the more than 6,000 pages of commentary – developed over the last 2,000 years – incorporated in the Talmud, which explains the meaning of the Law.

2. It is not a term of religious equivalency.
Most Christians rightly examine the Old Testament as a source of religious teaching that informs their faith. Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:6.)

biblical-worldview2-christianHowever, using the term Judeo-Christian does not mean that Christianity and Judaism are viewed as equally valid faiths. The Bible is the Christian’s final authority on matters of faith, and the New Testament clearly teaches that Christianity supplanted Judaism as the revelation of God’s redemptive purposes in the earth. Hebrews 8:13 says that a New Covenant has been established through Christ, and thus God “has made the first [covenant] obsolete.”

As a result, the clarion call for this age is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ – and that call goes out to both Jew and Gentile alike.

3. It is a moral term.
Since Christianity flowed out of Old Testament Judaism, there is a perceived theological kinship between the Christian and the Jew that does not exist between, say, Christian and Muslim or Christian and Hindu.

As a result Christianity and Judaism share something – what Christians call the Old Testament. Paul, for example, gives great honor to the Jews – his own people – as those who “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; see also Acts 7:38; Romans 9:4.)

judeo-christian1It is here that Judeo-Christian begins to come into focus, for it is the equivalent of referring to the religious and moral principles shared by both Jew and Christian.

Those principles would include monotheism, religious law such as the Ten Commandments, ideas concerning the nature of man, biblical (as opposed to pagan) morality regarding human sexuality, marriage and family, the prophetic tradition of a holy people, the state subject to God Himself, etc.

Morality, of course, is not the same as religion. By “morality” we mean how men and women ought to live before a holy and just God, and how they ought to order their lives, families, communities, etc. People of different religions can share moral views; people who agree on morality can disagree on religion.

4. It is a cultural term.
judeo-christian2-10-commandmentsThese moral principles have become more important as they have increasingly come under attack, and so the term is used more and more in the context of the culture wars.

Judeo-Christian is therefore frequently used in contrast to those ideologies that have sought to overthrow the biblical view of marriage, for example, or the sanctity of human life.

Ironically, secularists who demand that America be cleansed of its Judeo-Christian heritage are simply advocating a return to pagan – or pre-Christian – views on these important issues.

Both Jews and Christians lived under such regimes, devoid of the law of God; and neither Jew nor Christian should ever want to return to those times of spiritual darkness.

That is why the battle to preserve Judeo-Christian values must continue in America.

Bible Story: Jesus’ Teaching of Good vs. Evil

Dinner Topics for Monday

Jesus’ Teaching: Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Bible Story: Learning about Good vs. Evil

keyoldHe answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. ~Matthew 13:37-39

wheattaresTares—The word denotes darnel grass, a poisonous weed, which, until it comes into ear, is similar in appearance to wheat. ~Bible Dictionary, 780, KJV

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-42

24 ¶Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

enemy-sowed-tares-bible-story28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Jesusinfield40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Doctrine and Covenants 38: 12

12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.

Doctrine and Covenants 86: 1-7

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:

2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;

bible13 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.

4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—

5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;

6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.

7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.

Prophetic Meanings of “Tares”

Note: Context here for references to the word “church” are not speaking of a specific building, location, or Christian denomination. Rather, “church” is depicted in a broader sense, meaning ideas, philosophies, teachings, or doctrines, and can be either true or false.

As opposed to the way of Jesus Christ, which is love, truth, and persuasion without compulsion, Satan’s way is hate and force. The “prophet” of Islam teaches that Allah wants them to force their “religion” upon the world. “Allah” commands his worshippers to kill all those who prefer the truth to lies, and who will not accept the Islamic “religion”. Given this as their doctrine, might we reasonably surmise that “Allah” is not really God, our loving Father? If “Allah” is not Heavenly Father, who do you think “Allah” is, really?  ~ C.A. Davidson

And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 88:94

 

Question: What did Jesus mean when He identified “tares” as the “church of the devil?”

Dallin H. Oaks

wolfsheep2It [Tares, or “church of the devil”]must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas. ~Dallin H. Oaks

Book of Mormon prophecies describe the “great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil” (1 Nephi 14:17). This “church” is prophesied to have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (1 Nephi 14:11). Called “most abominable above all other churches,” this church is also said to act “for the praise of the world” to bring “the saints of God . . . down into captivity” (1 Nephi 13:5, 9). Since no religious denomination — Christian or non-Christian — has ever had “dominion” over all nations of the earth or the potential to bring all the saints of God down into “captivity,” this great and abominable church must be something far more pervasive and widespread than a single “church” as we understand that term today.

It must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas.

In the Savior’s [post-resurrection] ministry among the Nephites [in ancient America], He warned against a church that “be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil” (3 Nephi 27:11). These warnings are not limited to religious organizations. In the circumstances of our day they include a multitude of secular philosophies and activities.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:65-66

65 Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;

66 While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.

U.S. Constitution Series 1: Founding Fathers and Cicero

U.S. Constitution Series 1:

Founding Fathers and Cicero

Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

keyWorldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson

5000leapFrom The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law

(Notes from pp. 37-47)

What is Natural Law?

The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.

The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Cicero

Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.

Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.

In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.

Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.

Internal and External Government

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel).  The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.

2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization.  Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.

Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity

All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law

ciceroCicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:

Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)

It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)

The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law

  • Unalienable rights
  • Unalienable duties
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited government
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
  • Right of contract
  • Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
  • Justice by reparation or paying for damages
  • Right to bear arms
  • No taxation without representation

Principle # 2:  Moral and Virtuous Leaders

Epic Literature: Story About Heroes

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Defining Moment

childrenlitreadingartEpic Literature— has the following features.
Broad scope in time, with nationalistic emphasis
Narrative motifs including warfare and rulership
Historical impulse, with allusions to key events in the life of a nation
Supernatural context
Plot with recurrent patterns or situations
Narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary  speech
~Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word, pp. 49-51

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

To a child learning to read, at first, those symbols loom on the page, defying understanding.  If you have stood before rock monuments or stelas in Central America, gazing at the hieroglyphs, you know how it feels.  Now that the dense jungle has been cleared away to reveal the remains of the Mayan civilization, that is only the first step.  Men and women have since dedicated their lives to learning the meaning of those glyphs.

Sometimes we feel that way about the Bible and other epic literature.  It’s like a whole different language.  It’s true— the written word, or literature, is in a different realm from the spoken word of our day.  And epic literature has special characteristics that set it in a class all by itself.  The first feature that creates a barrier for most of us is the diction, or choice of words.  Richard D. Rust, in his book Feasting on the Word, tells us that epic literature is “narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech.”

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “epic” as “otherwise called heroic. . . which narrates a story. . . in an elevated style. . . usually the achievements of some distinguished hero, and intended to form the morals and affect the mind with the love of virtue.  The end [or purpose] is to improve morals, and inspire a love of virtue, bravery and illustrious actions.”

If we as parents wish to give our children a foundation as firm as Rock, that will be remembered in the hearts of our children, and their children, and so on, we must develop teachings with staying power.

ScripturePoetry After thousands of years, the Bible remains the chief and most widely read of classic literature. What makes it an enduring best seller, past the peak of three weeks, six months, or even a year?  Why is it never really obsolete? Its language remains untouched by the jungle of our modern day semantics.   As we leave the mundane behind, and lead the way through that straight and narrow passage, past the language barrier, we begin an epic adventure with our families.  We begin to. . .

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for our family and youth.

Best of all, if we as parents faithfully train, or “direct the growth of” our children, we will watch them discover great truths and heaven-sent messages in the exalted diction of the word of God. Youth will rise to the noble standards in epic literature, and find the epic hero within themselves.

Epic Hero resize medThe following poem pays tribute to the hero of epic literature and presents a pattern for the successful quest to build good character. It invites the reader to discover the epic hero within you.

          Ode to the Epic Hero

Your epic quest begins at birth

To find your purpose here on earth.

Along the way your heart will learn

How good from evil to discern.

Moments in time will come to define

Trials of your soul, to test and refine.

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for families and youth—

To strengthen, protect, and to prepare

A way to escape the enemy’s snare.

faithjourney2The journey of life demands your part—

Courage, faith, and a willing heart.

You need not fall, though you may stumble,

For angels fail not to help the humble.

Your lone small flame may not seem bright,

Yet it reveals the way to greater light.

Day by day, big and little—

Answers await life’s every riddle.

Just when you think you can’t continue,

You’ll find the epic hero within you.

Honor and virtue will be your choice.

Return home triumphant, and rejoice.

~C.A.Davidson

Copyright © 2010 by Christine A. Davidson

Bible History: Epic Hero, Isaiah

Dinner Topics for Friday

A Moment on the Life and Times of the Epic Hero, Isaiah

When you understand a few things about this towering prophet and epic hero—Isaiah—it is easier than you think to liken his writings to your own life and times.

isaiah3When Lehi and his family departed for the New World in about 600 B.C., Jerusalem was ripe for destruction.  Isaiah’s fifty-year ministry came to a close almost one hundred years before that, but his far-reaching influence had barely begun. Not only was Isaiah a mighty prophet, but he was also a statesman, who served as adviser to four kings of Judah.

1. Under Uzziah, Judah was a strong military power.

2. Then King Jotham further fortified the nation.

3. King Ahaz was idolatrous; he engaged in human sacrifice of his own children.  In the political realm, he tried to appease the Assyrian terrorists by offering them tribute money from the treasures of the temple.

4. Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, tried to cleanse the land of his father’s idolatry.[1]

Meanwhile the powerful and brutal Assyrians had conquered the kingdom of Israel in the north, and moved upon Judah, putting Jerusalem under siege.  To safeguard the city’s water supply, Hezekiah constructed a conduit which still exists today.

As the Assyrians were themselves threatened by Egypt, Hezekiah sought an alliance with Egypt.  But Isaiah warned that Egypt could not be trusted, and prophesied of the Assyrian destruction and Judah’s future peace and prosperity.  Hezekiah remained steadfast and trusted in the Lord by following Isaiah’s counsel.  The prophecy was fulfilled, once. It will be fulfilled again, for Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Assyria was a prefiguring, or type, of the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming of Christ.

Thus were the times of Isaiah fraught with wars and contention, as were the times in ancient America, and as are events of our day.  The names of the main actors are different, but the scenes and drama are repeated throughout history.  Much of what Isaiah saw in his day is not unlike what we see in modern times.  These repeated patterns, or type-scenes, are the key to understanding Isaiah’s vast prophetic world view— a window to the future.

Isaiah Spoke of Five Eras

1. His own day. 

Consider his perspective.  Unlike many self-absorbed persons of our day, Isaiah knew that his grand and sweeping visions were “not about him.”  He did not get caught up in the tumultuous moment of his day, but was able to see the total picture.

isaiahlds2. Birth and ministry of Christ in the meridian of time.

Right in the middle of an interview with the wicked Ahaz, Isaiah by command of the Lord, gave the glorious prophecy of the birth of Christ that is famous throughout all Christendom.

3. The Last Days (our times.) 

Isaiah describes why we are losing our liberty, due to uninformed citizens. (Isaiah 5:13)  He vividly describes the corruption, evil, and immorality of our day …even Political Correctness. (Isaiah 5:20) In Isaiah 29, (2 Nephi27), the prophet saw ahead nearly 3,000 years and described in detail  the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the nineteenth century.

resurrected Christmed

4. The Second Coming.

Isaiah’s writings are fraught with prophecy regarding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to usher in the Millennium.

5. The Millenium.

Lamb and Lion resizeWMIsaiah saw world events as God sees them; he described them, in some ways like a journalist, but more as a poet, using breathtaking imagery.  Isaiah’s superb literary skills are worthy of his subject.  Isaiah’s work is the finest epic literature ever written.  But there is much more to it than that.

His writings are not a mere history, nor will casual perusal unlock the treasures therein.  To limit oneself to a hasty scan would be to walk thirsty past the wells of salvation.

The Savior regarded Isaiah so highly that He gave a commandment, to “search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.”(3 Ne. 23:1)

So how does one read Isaiah?

— Pray for the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Christ.

— Keep in mind that the overarching theme of Isaiah is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

— Remember Isaiah’s broad world view, which encompasses at least five different eras in the scriptural spectrum.  Look for the big picture, rather than dwelling on fragments that you may not fully understand.

— Search for themes. Do not try to read Isaiah chronologically.  Let each chapter stand alone, and find its theme.  Chapter headings give helpful clues.

— Research the footnotes.

isaiah4bibletext— Look for parallels, like reading today’s newspaper.

— Remember types and symbols. For example, Babylon means “the world.” The vineyard of the Lord means “Israel.”

— Savor the exquisite imagery. Ponder the themes and the layers of profound meaning.

— Liken the scriptures to yourself.  And liken them to the nations and the global scene.

— Be Patient. To plumb the depths of Isaiah’s inspired writing is a lifelong quest.

The Savior desires us to search the words of Isaiah (whose very name means “Jehovah saves”), for they expound the power of His Atonement and our rescue from the fallen state. Furthermore, Jesus knows there are blessings and treasures that await us if we but seek them. 

Isaiah knew this, too, when he said,

Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Copyright 2010 by C.A. Davidson


       [1]CES, 1981:Old Testament Student Manual, Religion 302, pp.131-135