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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Scriptural Thought: Rejecting the Prophets

To those who have been taught that we no longer need prophets, or that there were to be no prophets after Christ, below is one of many New Testament passages that I wish you would consider. And I especially hope it might give pause to those who delight in mocking and denouncing those whom we believe to be modern prophets called by the Lord. The passage is Matthew 23: 31-37, giving the words of Christ Himself on the topic of prophets and those who persecute them:
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. . . .

34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: . . .

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Christ prophesies that He will send more prophets, but some of them will be killed. He moans for Jerusalem because they persecute and kill His servants, the prophets, that He sends. The passage implies that divinely sent prophets play a role in God's effort to gather His people.

In this day of gathering, I am grateful that God once again has sent prophets to teach us the Gospel and lead us in the Lord's ways. How sad that they are reviled and persecuted, even driven from city to city as were Joseph Smith and the early Saints. How tragic that mobs stirred by religious bigots posing as ministers of God would even murder the Prophet Joseph Smith.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again a great thought Jeff. I have had a few discussions with friends of late on what our prophets have been saying of late. I always ask them the question: Is the prophet serious about what he says----or is he speaking empty rhetoric so he can fill the time at General Conference? Of course the answer is that he is serious. Therefore morality, debt, gossip, kindness etc. are things we need to work at. Yet so often we reject simple counsel.

I wonder when the General Authorities will mention Video Games? I heard today that some of our youth are having all night parties playing games rated "Mature Only".

Kurt said...

The Bible itself says there will be prophets in the last days, take a look at John's Revelation where its says two prophets will arise and be killed on the streets of Jerusalem.

AlexG said...

I wonder how is it that is more easy to accept prophets that have been dead for many centuries but not a modern day one. People would have no problem in accepting the parting of the Red Sea as a fact or the Universal Flood, but that God would raise a prophet in these days sounds completely bizarre. The argument is: 'Surely there cannot be more prophets after Jesus, and no Christian would follow modern day prophets. ' The scriptures that you quote Jeff prove that there would be more prophets, which happened in the New Testament times AFTER the Resurrection of the Lord. (Acts 11:26 -28). Quotting from Matthew 23 but a few verses earlier we find the Saviour stern judgement to those that reject modern day prophets, praising the long dead ones, but rejecting modern ones (vv 29 - 32). For those that do not accept Joseph Smith as a prophet because of his failings as a human, it would be interesting to see if they would have accepted Moses, being brought up in a pagan home and having murdered someone, or Jonah, turning away from the Lord's assignemt and later on getting angry with Him. Would they reject the Saviour for his repuration of a 'winebibber' (Matt. 11:19)? Who would be 'perfect' enough to be a 'real prophet'? If Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God, we can surely discard him and his teachings, but if he is one, then we stand in the same condemnation that the Saviour utilised to the Pharisees about rejecting modern day prophets.

In re:Anonymous. I recall Elder Ballard's October 2002 Conference Address counselling the youth that would serve missions: "Limiting the amount of time spent playing computer games. How many kills you can make in a minute with a computer game will have zero effect on your capacity to be a good missionary." President Hinckley (Oct. 2004) and Elder Oaks (Apr. 2005) have plainly spoke about pornography, regardless in which medium it is propagated. From these references I personally gather what conduct it is expected to me. I would like to have the Prophet and the Twelve speaking of other matters rather than 'OK, so you understand it plainly, DO NOT play videogames that have a sexual/abusive theme or have such acts depicted and/or suggested.' We have been warned.


AlexG

Barbara said...

Perhaps worse than the unbelievers that reject the idea of modern propehts, are we saints who do not read the Ensign, ponder conference talks, or change our lives according to counsel. We too often blithely go on with our daily lives with little thought or effort. Happy and secure in the knowledge that we are led by a living prophet, we neglect to follow as closely as we can.

Mike Parker said...

Anonymous wrote: I wonder when the General Authorities will mention Video Games? I heard today that some of our youth are having all night parties playing games rated "Mature Only".

Elder M. Russell Ballard has mentioned this on a number of occasions, if only briefly. For example, in his October 2002 address to young men, he said:

"It is far better to keep yourselves clean and pure and valiant by doing such simple things as ... limiting the amount of time spent playing computer games. How many kills you can make in a minute with a computer game will have zero effect on your capacity to be a good missionary."

Anonymous said...

Alex and Mike---

Thank you very much for reference to comments made by Elder Ballard.

I am going to mention this to the Stake President and include a copy of of the Conference comments.

The warning against video games needs to be sounded.

Anonymous said...

I found an earlier post on video games:
http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2005/01/mommy-i-think-it-would-be-fun-to-kill.html

I would call on all parents to rid their house of "M" rated video games!!!!

I understand that "HALO", rated M, comes with the purchase of an X-Box. If an R rated movie came with the purchase of a VCR would you keep the movie?

If a bottle of whiskey came with the purchase of a bicycle would you drink it?

Anonymous said...

Hey now, don't rag too hard on Halo. Of all the shoot em' up games to attack . . . It's so tame! No blood, no dismembering, hardly any gore. 95% of the time you aren't shooting at humans but crazy fantasy monsters. As soon as a church leader tells me not to play "M" rated computer games I will stop, but until then I will play the games (in moderation) that are entertaining to me. I don't have a lot of time, and when I do Mario Tennis just doesn't do it for me.

Mormanity said...

As I don my flame-resistant flak jacket, let me agree that Halo is tame compared to many, but Halo parties inevitably become multiplayer hunt and kill games, where you track down your peers and shoot them. Just doesn't seem like the thing Jesus would have us do. I struggle with this area - that's why I'm glad to have something unquestionably objectionable like GTA to rag on.

AlexG said...

Barbara:

In the August Ensign First Presidency Message, President Hinckley raises the challenge of (re)-reading the Book of Mormon. Perhaps it is a challenge, specially if you consider reading in one day Jacob 5 and another chapter (yet that would be easy with the first chapters of Moroni ;). I concurr with you in that 'following the prophet' is more than just proclaiming that there is one on the Earth, but to actually DO what the prophet teaches (avoid debt, pornography, live chaste lives, fiercely commiting to our spouse, if applicable, etc).

Sir Jon said...

Hi, everyone! Great blog, I love it!
Coming in as a convert from Methodism, I believe I can address a part of the reason that some reject the possibility of modern prophets.
In much of the Bible, we are warned of pride, of putting ourselves above others. We are counseled to be humble. (Matt 8:4, and 23:12) I believe that protestants (Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc.) have aversion to anyone elevating themselves to the privileged level of speaking with God directly, and then telling others what was said. I also believe that this is a reaction caused by the continuing reverberations of the reformation. Many of the protestant faiths were firmly grounded in the reformation and stacked against the Catholic church. The firm belief that NO ONE can come between you and God is an essential belief partly because of Catholic opposition.
I, as a Methodist, understood that communication with God was very personal, and that nobody could tell me what I believed was right or wrong. This is a good thing, and one which I still believe. However, I feel that many protestants fiercely protect this concept to the point of proclaiming blasphemy upon anyone who appears to approach this priviledged communication. This is understandable after centuries of having to talk to God through a Catholic priest.
I believe that my communication with God is still personal, and that no one can tell me what God and I have talked about. However, there are many times that God has definitely told me, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to use my human ears to listen to the prophet of the Lord, who is here for me to listen to. Also, when listening to or reading what the prophets have said, I can always ask if the things that I am receiving are true.
I am thankful for the Holy Spirit and the communication that I have with Him. I am also thankful for our modern day prophets and the wonderful things that they have to share. It is my prayer that all people may hear and understand what the prophets of God have to say, regardless of religion, through the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

What would be the difference between playing Halo and going out to paintball?

Sir Jon said...

Paintball hurts more.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Thank you.