Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"David, the Man of God"

Was reading in 2 Chronicles 8 last night, a randomly opened chapter, when I noticed an interesting reference to King David. This was written long after his death, in the context of describing the works of Solomon. In recalled a past order of "David the man of God." David could have been described in several ways, based on his history: "David, the murderer of Uriah the Hittite" or "David, the adulterous king" or "David, the polygamous poet" or "David, the prophet who fell." But the author of Chronicles leaves us with high respect for "David the man of God" in spite of his mortal weaknesses. Perhaps that's a reminder that we might do well to remember the best of what others have achieved. In terms of modern Church leaders, perhaps we would do well to respect "the Lord's anointed" and recognize good but imperfect men and women who seek to serve the Lord as men and women of God, in spite of their inevitable failings.

38 comments:

Georgia said...

Of course all men and women are imperfect. My concern is when an institution takes an imperfect act and claims that it is santioned by God.

No institution LDS, Catholic or other wants to bring attention to an imperfect act by one of their leaders but I think it would help outsiders to understand that while there is a love for the Lord in that Group they are willing to speak out when someone does something wrong.

I won't provide any examples because that will be a hot topic but Jeff provides several for David that you could transfer to others in many denominations.

A Pope will never say that a previous Pope was absolutely wrong about some just like a LDS Prophet or Apostle will not be critical of a previous Prophet or Apostle.

catholic defender said...

HI Jeff,

David is an interesting study. He's both a man of God, and a fallen figure. While I do not believe David was a prophet, he was actually chosen to be king of the Israelites, I do believe there are multiple lessons we can learn from David. First, David shows us a great deal about faith, and trust in the Lord. David and Goliath is a pretty good example. No way David beats Goliath without God's help. He's outmatched, and isn't a seasoned warrior. But he has one thing Goliath doesn't, faith in God. So the outcome is pretty much a given.

David also shows us how to be a leader. He becomes king with God's help. David's a charismatic leader who inspires his followers, and leads them to prosperity. All through God's help.

David also shows us how not to lead. Bathsheeba was a big mistake, and is an example of the human failings that we all have. This is also an example of how power can corrupt even the most well intentioned and Godly of people. Somewhere in the mix David forgot who he was and what he was all about. He started to believe his own hype more than God. So he falls, and he falls hard.

Lastly, David is an example of repentence and God's forgiveness; he shows us what we need to do when we fall. Since all of us will falter from time to time, we should keep in mind David's example. After David realizes his errant ways, David is truly sorry and repentent. He makes his penance with God, and God does forgive him. Some of the later Psalms are examples of David seeking God's forgiveness. David's story is an example of the love that God has for each of us, even when we falter into sin. Its also an example that even the most heinous of sins is forgivable if we are truly repentent. Just my two cents.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

Even tho David did his best to repent, he could not make restitution for the death of Uriah. As we know from modern prophets, David lost his exaltation, his eternal life. With that monumental choice, conspiring for the death of Bathsheeba's husband so he could have her.

There is a point from which no human can return - murder is that point. While David's repentance was sincere enough to qualify him for the Celestial Kingdom, he'll never qualify for an eternal increase. It is impossible to repent for the shedding of innocent blood. The formula for repentence is:

1. Feel real remorse. He obviously did.

2. Confess your sin. You can see that confession in the Old Testiment.

3. Ask for forgiveness. He begged for it.

4. Make restitution. Impossible. Nothing could restore what he took.

I feel for him. With one mistake (monumental as it was) he failed the test of mortality.

Tixon said...

@ anonymous at 3:03 pm, may 29

I'm never quite certain about that part. I feel like there should be still some way reach exaltation. I thought the only truly unforgivable sin was denying the Holy Ghost.

Isn't the point of the atonement to save us because we can't reach heaven with ANY amount of sin. I don't see why it could not apply to murder as well.

I don't think that it is impossible to repent just because you can't make restitution. If I burn down and destroy some one's home and belongings out of anger, everntually repented, but never had the means to replace or repair what I had damaged, would I be condemned?

There was one question asked to christians in general, and I have yet to know or understand the answer. It was how can a finite sin recieve infinite punishment. This is the main reason I feel that there should be some way to come back from even the worst of sins if it is actually sincerely done.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 3:03 PM -

You said "While David's repentance was sincere enough to qualify him for the Celestial Kingdom..."

Can you cite some authority to support this statement? The scriptures are replete with statements that murderers will receive a telestial, not a celestial, inheritance.

Mormanity said...

Wow, some great comments. Nicely expressed, Catholic Defender. Thank you! And Tixon, you raise a good point. Many of my most painful sins are ones where real restitution isn't possible (glad you taxpayers are covering the shortfall - sorry about your 401ks). I think it's safest to leave judgment to the Lord and let Him handle David fairly.

Ujlapana said...

WOW! God posts anonymously on Mormanity! Well I never!

Back to the OP--yes, we should look for the good in all people. Somebody leave a church that you cherish? Still a great person. Somebody you didn't vote for get elected? Still a great person. Great people make poor choices from time to time, so don't follow them blindly, but definitely assume they mean well before you assume the worst.

jackg said...

Jeff,

Thanks for tempering the comments of anonymous. It was greatly appreciated.


Catholic Defender,

Your comments on repentance and forgiveness were beautifully expressed. Considering the historical context, Psalm 51 is truly amazing as an example of a paradigm shift in this matter, especially verses 16 and 17. Your two cents were more like gold. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Peace and Grace!

Robert Boylan said...

What I find interesting is that such a title is bestowed upon David because of something that was instinsic within him, and not imputed to him, a la the legal fiction of Protestant theology . . .

John Jackson said...

As to whether murder is forgiveable, here's a quote worthy of thought. Speaking in General Conference, October 1995, President Boyd K. Packer said:

"Save for those who defect to perdition after having known a fulness, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness."

And, a little later in the same talk:

"I repeat, save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is is the promise of the atonement of Christ."

I, along with you and millions of others, have wondered whether David will be exalted. I have come close to tears, in hopes that he will. One cannot read the Old Testament without loving David.

I do hope reflecting on David's case is justifiable as it is in the scriptures, we are told to ponder the scriptures. I have not an opinion/conclusion as to whether he will be exalted, both because I don't see a definite answer in the scriptures and because the judgement yet lies ahead and God is the judge.

But I find cause to worry for David.

My understanding is that we will be judged by what we have become and what is in our hearts, so I consider on what signs there are that David's heart became clean of such sin later in his life.

I reflect on the story of Shimei.

"And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust." (2 Samuel 16:13)

How did David react to that? A little later, Shimei comes to David begging for forgiveness, "But Abisha the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed?" (2 Samuel 19:21)

But, David puts off the counsel of Abisha and tells Shimei he shall not die.

I find in that story hope that David had made his heart right, and was in better stance for the judgement.

But, alas, the story of Shimei is not over. Would that it ended right there, but it does not. At the very end of David life, he is giving directions to his son Solomon as to what to do on his behalf after he passes away.

And, he says:

"And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjaminite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mananaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood." (1 Kings 2:8-9)

And so was it written, and so was it done. Solomon had Shimei killed, executed. And it was done in the name of David. That was the last recorded act in the life of David.

We reflect again and again on the matter of Uriah the Hittite. I wonder if the matter of Shimei the Benjaminite is not as big, or bigger.

Was it, too, murder? I do not know. Was David justified? I do not know. God will judge. But, yes, I fear for the soul of David.

jackg said...

John Jackson,

Thank you for quoting an LDS leader on the matter to clear things up on the position of the Mormon Church. Your concern for another soul (David) is a mark of the LDS faith, and I can appreciate that.

Peace and Grace!

John Jackson said...

Peace and grace to you, Jackg, and the others who have commented. I've enjoyed all the thoughts, and Jeff's post.

I word searched "the man of God." It is exclusively an Old Testament term when the reference is to a specific person. Moses earns the title a notable number of times, and some little-known prophet named Shemaiah is among those who receive it.

I consider David to have been a man of God, even after the Bath-sheba/Uriah occurance.

In 1 Kings 11, after his death, we read that Solomon's heart was not perfect with God, "as was the heart of David his father" and Solomon went not fully after the Lord "as did David his father."

Whether that indicates David attained repentance for murder or whether it is just a statement on his overall life, perhaps we don't know, but it certainly is a ringing endorsement of his righteousness.

Generatons later, even righteous kings would not be considered as righteous as David. Amaziah, for example, "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father."

Of all the prophets, is there any other man who ever saw with such detail into the future events of the Savior's life and especially events from the final days and the death of the Savior?

I think none, at least none equals him in what has come down to us in the Old Testament.

"All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord: let him deliver him, seeing he delighteth in him." That is from Psalm 22:7-8. Compare it to Luke 23:35.

"They pierced my hands and my feet" and "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture" are also found is Psalm 22.

"He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken." (Psalm 34:20)

"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." (Psalm 41:9)

"They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." (Psalm 69:21)

"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." (Psalm 107:29)

Few other men prophecied such specific events from the final weeks of the Savior's life. You may find a few but there will not be many others than these:

"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6)

"He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foul of an ass." (Zechariah 9:9)

"And I took the thirty piece of silver, and cast them to the potter." (Zechariah 11:13)

"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd" in Zechariah 13:7 is reference to them coming with swords and staves to take Christ away for his trial. And that same verse says, "Smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered," which is fulfilled when his disciples forsook him and fled.

I quote the verses not from Psalms so you can see what specific fortelling of an event it takes to equal what David offered repeatedly in Psalms.

I consider him a prophet, even the prophet who saw more detailed events from the Savior's final week than did any other prophet we have record of.

Mormanity said...

Great comments! John Jackson, really appreciated the homework you did. It's an important reminder that we should not be too quick to demand perfection of men the Lord called as prophets.

Anonymous said...

I loved all of the comments about David. It was a needed reminder on the power of repentance and the subsequent forgiveness.

catholic defender said...

Great Comments All,

I want to add a few more. The discussion has been about the possibility of whether murder is forgiveable, and whether David was forgiven. I'll take the latter first.

Consider that at the time David fell, Christ had not yet come, and forgiveness as we now know it to be, was not necessarily available. But, regardless of our respective churches' theology on the subject, as far as I know all Christian Churches do tend to agree that Christ descended into hell and redeemed those souls for who forgiveness was not available before his coming. If that is the case, then it would stand to reason that if David had not been forgiven up to that point, then forgiveness was made available to him after Christ was crucified. That just seems to make sense. Additionally, it would seem that God did forgive David given that its David's lineage that's chosen for the birth of Christ, and David's city that's chosen for the place of Christ's birth. God was very disappointed in David, but did not cut off the blessings from him.

As for forgiveness of murderers, Christ's love extends to all, even to murderers. God's forgiveness extends to murderers as well as to everyone else. That said, murderers have a much more difficult time obtaining that forgiveness. Not because God cuts it off from them, but because someone who commits murder has cut themselves off from God so much, that its very difficult to go back to a Godly path. Consider that if you commit murder, on some level you may feel that you were justified in doing so. If that is the case, then how can you truly be sorry for your actions and truly seek repentence. The problem with forgiving a murderer isn't with God, its within the murderer's heart. God welcomes us all, but if your heart has that much hate, or anger, or justification, you can't seek out God's forgiveness. You can't even consider it. But, consider the two men hanging with Jesus on the cross. One is truly sorry for his actions and obtains forgiveness, the other does not. We don't know the crimes these men committed, but we do know they were hardened criminals. One is able to reach out for God's love, the other is not. Something to think about.

Catholic Defender

Bookslinger said...

CD,
The crux point from the LDS perspective is whether David had "the heavens open to him." IE, did he have a full and open vision of heaven or a face-to-face meeting with Jehovah?

That point of the question is important in LDS theology because according to the Doctrine and Covenants (section 132 I think), someone who has had that experience literally _knows_, and doesn't merely _believe_ any more.

And if they shed innocent blood _after_ that point, the scripture says they cannot obtain forgiveness for that shedding of innocent blood, and must pay/suffer for it on their own, and they lose their exaltation.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying, or using the wrong words, but the D&C makes some kind of distinction between someone who has had the heavens open to them and someone who hasn't.

Since he was a prophet, David may have been in the former category.

Verse 39 of Section 132 seems to make a pronouncement upon David. However, it isn't clear to me whether it means David will be in the Celestial Kingdom in a non-exalted position (there are 3 degrees in the Celestial Kingdom, only one of which is described as "exaltation"), or in Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom.

As Jeff and others have indicated, it's not for us to judge, but rather take the story of David as a warning that anyone can fall, that we need to watch and pray always and never let our guard down.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that no one has yet attempted to reconcile the concept of salvation in the celestial kingdom for David with the clear guidance on the matter for members of the Church found in D&C 42:18:

"And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come."

Are you saying that members of the modern church will be held to a higher standard than David was?

BTW - this is not Anon of 3:03 PM May 29.

Bookslinger said...

"And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come."

Are you saying that members of the modern church will be held to a higher standard than David was?

BTW - this is not Anon of 3:03 PM May 29.
No, I don't think anyone is saying that members of the modern church will be held to a higher standard than David.

The distinction is: whether or not someone has had the heavens opened to them in terms of "seeing God". There are several related expressions and events about that: calling-and-election-made-sure, receiving the 2nd Comforter.

The 2 items in discussion seems to be:

a) whether or not David had reached that point where _he_ was held to the higher standard. And...

b) what change in David's final status was caused by him arranging the deaths of Uriah and Shimei.

Neither point is applicable in general to all members of the modern church. A testimony wherein one says "I know that God lives" doesn't necessarily mean one is held to the higher standard in regards to shedding blood. According to the D&C, point a) is limited to those who've literally seen through the veil, or have had the veil removed and had open vision, not just a spirit-borne testimony of the Holy Ghost.

At least that's my understanding. And again, it's not for us to judge David, nor to use the example as a means of determining how much we could get away with. But rather, that we all need to "watch and pray always" and that no one is 100% absolutely guaranteeed exaltation if they sin against great light.

catholic defender said...

Hi All,

Not to criticize too much, but this LDS teaching on murder that was posted: "And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come;" seems a bit contradictory to Christ's message that forgiveness is available to us all, even the most egregious of sinners. Granted, murder is a big deal, but even someone who has allegedly seen God's face through the veil, and has a steadfast, unshakeable testimony of God and Christ's love, is subject to their own human failings. Because they are human and subject to fault, such a person is capable of great sin, even murder. We all suffer from anger, and biases...most of us don't act upon those, but in the right circumstance, even the most godly of men is capable of committing murder. Is it really your church's position that God cuts that person off from his forgiveness and salvation? That seems to contradict everything Christ taught about God.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Matt 1:1
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.Evidently the plan of salvation was wrought through the lineage of David. Why did the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit elect to uphold this line and even select the city of David - Bethlehem as the location for our Saviour's birth?

We seem to forget that there is only one Man who has never sinned - Jesus. Are there degrees for sin ? Is murder any less or greater than adultery? Is bearing false witness any less or greater a sin than idolatry. Is taking the name of the Lord God in vain any less or greater a sin than coveting ?

OK - so this could be seen as OT terminology - what about the NT in Matt 5:21-22? :
21Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. So to be angry with another human being is enough to be condemned in the judgment as brother in this scripture is not taken literally as a family member but another human being or earthly citizen. You do not need to spill any blood at all. David committed murder by thought process and carried it through in his actions. Can we too be guilty of 'thought murder' for that split second in any anger that we have ?

As human beings we prefer to see others on a kind of sinners scale so that we can try to calculate where we are on that same scale. It doesn't work like that unfortunately as judgment belongs only to God :

Isaiah 55:8,9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Thank God that He doesn't think like humans otherwise according to Anon earlier David is condemned for all time. Likewise I don't justify any of David's negative lifestyle choices, but I do uphold that God will judge David with the same righteous arm and standard by which I too will be judged.

And for a point that was raised that God is able to forgive any sinner who comes to repentance - yes He can, but only through the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son. Here will also be a point at which a line is drawn in the sand where an unrepentant sinner will be out there and facing the dire consequences of his own actions - the Bible is quite clear about this in Rev 22:12-15
12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.It is only my opinion, but I believe that David will not be kept outside the city with this pitiful group of people. He was the Lord's anointed and a much loved servant of God. For me it is interesting to note that in both the humanity of Moses and David, neither were permitted to achieve their earthly ambitions a) to step foot in the Promised Land and b) to build the Temple in Jerusalem. It seems that God limited their earthly path in anticipation for their journey with the rest of the resurrected saints to His kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate some comments on the following:
I am married to a man (in the temple) that many consider to be David-like. He is kind to others, generous, intelligent, speaks openly and regularly of his faith, and well respected. I know his funeral will be attended by thousands who love him.

But, like David, he has a problem with lust. In his life it takes the form of viewing pornography. It has been a problem throughout our marriage. He has tried to keep it from me, but I periodically find his "stash" and know that the problem persists. His responses to me range from "I don't mean to hurt you...I love you...I will never do it again." to "all men do this...it's not that bad....God understands...at least I don't have a girlfriend or go out drinking with the boys". I have forgiven him over and over during the course of our 30 year marriage, but this last time that I found the magazines he said "I'm doing the best I can". That's it. No apology. No promise to do better. He's not looking for my forgiveness anymore, he wants my acceptance.

I believe that God can and does forgive and can and will forgive my husband, but does that mean that I must forgive again and stay with him? I wonder about the women other people in David's life that were affected by his sins... how is their pain compensated. Sin is not committed in a vacuum. How does God forgive the sinner and not betray those that have been sinned against. My self-esteem is shot. I don't believe my husband anymore when he says he loves me. I don't think I want to be with him for eternity anymore.

I'm sorry if this is a bit off topic, but I know that my husband looks to David as evidence that "God understands" - And I am desperately looking for some answers and some peace.

jackg said...

Anonymous,

My heart goes out to you. I would just like to remind you that Jesus Christ gave you your value as a human being when He died on the cross for you. Unfortunately, as human beings, we look to other people or to doing "things" to find our self-worth. People and busyness will ultimately disappoint us, but Jesus Christ never will. I do want to validate your feelings of low self-esteem, however, because they are real--and they are painful. It sounds like you have a broken heart that is scarred from years of being the victim of someone else's sexual addiction. I just want to remind you that God binds up the broken hearted and gives healing.

I understand it is difficult to believe your husband when he tells you that he loves you and he's sorry and everything else he says. That is the consequence of his sin. He is responsible for you feeling that way. You're right--sin doesn't happen in a vacuum. There might be those who disagree with me, and who maybe think you are responsible for your own emotions. I really hope this doesn't turn into a debate about a difference of opinions and perspectives. I just want to reach out to you as a fellow human being and offer you compassion and empathy.

I work with men in addiction recovery, and understand the bondage of sexual addiction. It can be overcome, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. Now, when I say faith, I am not talking about something that is static, but about something vital that leads to action. It requires total surrender to our LORD Jesus Christ. Your husband has to realize that he on his own power cannot overcome this addiction, but needs the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. I hope this helps you to stay strong in your marriage and to continue to persevere in your struggle. I understand that you are tired--but don't give up hope in the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives. His work is the work of reconciliation, reconciling us to God and to each other. Remember that He sees you in your suffering and is present with you in your pain. I will be praying for you and your husband.

Peace and Grace!

Bookslinger said...

Catholic Defender:

Even the Bible talks about the unforgiveable sin, denying or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.

Most Christian religions/churches can't seem to pin down what denying or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit exactly is. Maybe the Bible is intentionally vague on it, or maybe it was taken out; we don't know.

LDS theology seems to define (or suggest) one instance of what that might include: shedding innocent blood (intentional murder) after having seen through the veil.

So please don't claim the LDS church is in contradiction to the Bible on this topic. The Savior himself said there is a category of sin that is unforgiveable. It's right there in the Bible.

However, we shouldn't dwell on it, and we shouldn't give people a "shopping list" of sins. And like President Packer said, it's not for us to judge individuals (neither as to the amount of light they have received or the degree of their sin, that's up to God). But we should take the scriptural lessons to heart so we stay as far away from sin as possible, and so we especially don't commit any grave errors, and so that we always live up to the light that has been given us. For unto whom much is given, much is required, Luke 12:47-48.

jackg said...

Bookslinger said, "But we should take the scriptural lessons to heart so we stay as far away from sin as possible, and so we especially don't commit any grave errors, and so that we always live up to the light that has been given us. For unto whom much is given, much is required, Luke 12:47-48."

I just want to say that agree whole-heartedly with this comment. I believe in being saved by grace, but not in cheap grace. We do take an active part in avoiding sin. The call to a Christian life is to be holy as God is holy, and to be perfect as He is perfect. We just have to understand what it means to be perfect and how that is accomplished. A man can choose NOT to sin in obedience to God.

Peace and Grace!

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Jackg – I like both of your most recent comments. To the point in question and also empathetic to the difficult marital problems as raised by 'anonymous'. I couldn’t think up a better counsel / wisdom for her situation.

However I do not completely agree with Bookslinger in his reply to Catholic Defender as you do.

On the one hand he seems to lean towards “LDS theology seems to define (or suggest)”, yet on the other later on he refers to “scriptural lessons” whilst previously asking us not to claim that “the LDS church is in contradiction to the Bible on this topic”.

The Bible is quite clear on the role of the Holy Spirit both in our lives and also as part of the GodHead. I could reel off many verses that give an overview to our rather limited perspective of our infinite God. Here are a few:


Luke 1:67
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

Luke 12:12
12For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

John 7:38,39
38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John15:26
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:7-14
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Romans 8:1-9 (verses1,2 &9 quoted)
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1 Cor 2:13,14
13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


So we can see clearly from these verses that the Holy Spirit / Holy Ghost / Comforter holds many responsibilities and functions for us as Christians. It seems that in summary the principal responsibility is to plead with the human conscience, convicting us of our sin and pointing the way to Jesus Christ. Once we have repented of our sin and accepted Jesus as our Saviour, our bodies then become the temple of the living God (2 Cor 6:16 - And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.) and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. What a responsibility we hold individually that the Holy Spirit can then shine forth and work with us and through us to bring others also closer to God !

catholic defender said...

HI Bookslinger,

I'll concede that the Bible does talk about the unforgiveable sin...that being denying or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is an area where our two churches don't agree. I say that because through my faith and church's teachings, its very clear what is being discussed as the unforgiveable sin. If one is taught of God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, knows that they exist, and then denies their very existence with that knowledge, that is the blasphemy that is being discussed in that passage. Its a complete an utter rejection of the truth after having learned the truth. From that point there's no turning back, which is what makes the sin unforgiveable. But not because God won't forgive the sin, but because the person who rejects the existence of God altogether, when they know that God exists, is incapable of truly repenting or even seeking that forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from a complete change of heart...a true rebirth. Someone who rejects God from their very soul, is incapable of seeking forgiveness. That's why the sin is unforgiveable.

Murder on the other hand is different. It isn't a rejection of the existence of God per se. Its a cutting off of oneself from God by virtue of our actions. The Bible does very clearly state talk about committing sin with our very thoughts. Yet how can we not become angry in our thoughts. We are human, and subject to fault. If to feel anger is akin to committing murder, is it really your position that such an action can not be forgiven? If that is really the case, then what is the point of any Christian faith. Christ's whole ministry is about forgiveness and healing. If that healing is unavailable to us because of the very thoughts we might have, then there's not much point to any of this.

I don't beleive that to be true. I prefer to believe in a God who has a purpose, and who is kind and merciful, and will not reject me because of my human failings, and who will forgive me when I sin and am truly sorry for my transgressions. I just don't believe that God quits on us, we do quit on him all the time. That's why Christ message and love is so important. Look at the Old Testament. The Jews were hot and cold toward God throughout. At times they just outright rejected him. But God never gave up on the Jews. He kept forgiving their transgressions and taking them back. Even after Christ's coming, he hasn't rejected the Jews. He still welcomes them back. That's a much more powerful example of God's forgiveness than any other.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

On the part regarding blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the Bible suggests nothing in connection regarding murder (either intentional or accidental). Any human conclusion to the contrary is pure speculation in speaking on behalf of God and nothing more. This in itself could be deemed blasphemy by the source of the speculation!

Bookslinger demonstrates a rather weak theological constitution in his claim " Most Christian religions/churches can't seem to pin down what denying or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit exactly is. Maybe the Bible is intentionally vague on it, or maybe it was taken out; we don't know." How can he speak for most Christian religions / churches when he claims not to point out the weaknesses of only LDS theology?

This is a very generalistic statement, but again the answer is in the Bible if one chooses to look. Firstly one must understand the question : 'What is blasphemy'?

This can be easily answered by the following verses :
John 10:28-33
28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and my Father are one. 31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Mark 14:62-64
62And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.


Blasphemy is all too often misrepresented by interpretation only as 'thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain' which is indeed the third of the 10 commandments. However in the Biblical time and context as described above, the term blasphemy was actually attributed to imposters claiming to be God and claiming to perform various actions as only God can. As you can read from the verse above this is what agitated the High Priest in the trial of Jesus so much that he tore his garments.

Blasphemy also does go further, beyond only a misrepresentation of God. It also encompasses a deeper dishonour to the Godhead as a unit which is described in the verses below.

Rev13:4-8

Matt12:31,32
31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Exodus 20:7

Leviticus 24:15,16


The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and as a result the Christian enters into a state of selflessness or self denial, because we can achieve nothing towards our eternal future of our own accord due to the burden of sin. Christians desire to be filled 100% with the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ their Saviour and have the Holy Spirit direct and lead their lives, so that by choice they can choose to follow. To ignore these promptings and to make a selfish choice, course of action and to directly go against the Holy Spirit is then to esteem self importance above that of the very nature of God, which is exactly the mirror of how the devil changed from his angelic status and fell from his heavenly status (Isaiah 14:12-14). Therefore there seems to be an internal warfare inside each one of us between our carnal and our Spiritual natures (Romans 7:7-25 and Romans 8:1-9). One leads to death and the other to life Eternal. Hmmm which one to choose ...?

Bookslinger said...

CD Wrote: "If one is taught of God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, knows that they exist, and then denies their very existence with that knowledge, that is the blasphemy that is being discussed in that passage. Its a complete an utter rejection of the truth after having learned the truth."

Being _taught_ of God does not mean that one necessarily _knows_ that God exists.

"Belief" is not equivalent to "knowledge". What is "knowledge" in this respect? How is it different than belief or faith?

That is where non-LDS christian religions are wishy-washy. The LDS church teaches that the unforgiveable sin may only occur after the heavens have literally been open to someone, and that person's knowledge then surpasses both belief and faith.

Second, what is "denying" ? "Rejecting" is a synonym, as you used it, CD; but again, what does it mean in this context? Is it merely verbal? If someone merely _says_ that they "deny the Holy Ghost" does that count? What if someone totally backslides and becomes apostate? Is that the same as "denying the Holy Ghost?" Yet backsliders and apostates who totally reject the gospel sometimes do come back to the faith, so that's not it either.

So what is the event or act that denies the Holy Ghost? And are they denying the Holy Ghost to others or to themselves? I still say that Christian religions are wishy-washy on it, not really defining it. And perhaps that's the way it should be, because the New Testament is unclear on the matter to start with.

Protestants don't believe in visions or having the heavens opened to normal people, or normal people having a direct open vision of God. So an absolute sure "knowledge" of God is impossible in the Protestant tradition. The creeds even state that God is unknowable, a mystery.

That is why Joseph Smith was branded a liar and heretic when he said he saw God the Father and the Son, just like Stephen the martyr. People said that was impossible.

Therefore, in the Protestant paradigm, knowing of yourself that God really exists is impossible. It's like saying you "know" it's going to rain. You may well be right. But in essence, you don't know. The most you can state is that you're extremely sure.

The LDS religion is the only one I know of that teaches that rank and file members actually have the possibility, in this life, through the atonement of Christ and complete repentance of all their sins, of becoming pure enough (sanctified) to the point where the veil is taken away, and they can converse with God and angels.

Only after the veil has been removed, does that person have the sure knowledge, other than Spirit-borne testimony, that God really exists. For up until the veil is actually removed, a person says "I know that God lives" only by the power of the Holy Ghost, having received a testimony of the Spirit. After a person has seen through the veil on their own, do they have first-hand knowledge.

My belief, my interpretation of scripture, is that only people in the latter category (having seen through the veil on their own) have the capability of committing an unpardonable sin.

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Bookslinger said "Being _taught_ of God does not mean that one necessarily _knows_ that God exists."

In the Biblical context, yes it does.
John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
1Thes 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.


These verses clearly prove that God taught directly. This happened both in days of old as through the prophets or directly by Jesus Christ who incidentally is also God, so it was easy for the people who received instruction to understand that God indeed does exist. Based on the testimonies in the Bible it is a an easy exercise to translate belief in God into a fact that God does exist. The Bible just helps and makes His character all the more easy to comprehend. Can you see God at work in nature, can you see His influence in a newborn baby, when you look up at the sky at night are you ever amazed ? Do you have an un-natural need to love ?

To know that God exists is part of our very being. It is only through our personal choices that we cut him out of our lives under terms of 'human knowledge, wisdom and understanding' claiming it is just a belief. To believe in anything else that replaces the God that I worship (evolution for example) takes far more faith than any Christian needs in Jesus Christ and is a demonstrative act of absolute apostasy !

Bookslinger, I know your comments to be profound and usually well thought out, but this time you have attacked mainstream Christianity as "wishy-washy" and directly and incorrectly labelled Protestantism as not being able to really 'know' God.

As a protestant, I can safely put you right. I know my heavenly Father that I pray to each time I pray. But I can only approach His throne of grace in the name of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. My heavenly Father often responds to my prayers. Sometimes He answers quickly, sometimes later, or much later. Sometimes if prayers have no bearing or Spiritual importance in my life, maybe I don't receive an answer at all. But He speaks to me and He is very REAL. I don’t need to see Him with my eyes to know He exists. That is why the vision of Joseph Smith was not accepted as truth in protestant circles nor I guess catholic ones either.

Please help me learn more LDS theology and values, as that is what you know, but do not claim to speak for mainstream Christianity or any other denomination unless you have all the facts pinned down. What you 'know' can never affect what I believe or understand to be true.
-
On the topic of the Holy Ghost (and speaking as a Protestant again) please read my previous comments and as below.

Hebrews 10:19-27 summarises everything excellently and proves that the only veil (singular) is in the heavenly Holy of Holies and that Jesus IS the only High Priest, because there can now be no other sacrifice made for sins.

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

So in the words of the above let me provoke you unto love!

Bookslinger said...

Seeing Through a Glass:

Apparently, you speak a different English language than most people.

NathanS said...

I guess I'm pitching in after the conversation is over again but I like the points of Catholic Defender and Seeing through a glass darkly. I am devoutly LDS and it seems to that these two have done as good a job of defending LDS doctrine as any of my fellow Latter-day Saints on this topic, though not necessarily perfectly or completely.

Doctrine and Covenants 132 says David lost his exaltation over the case of Uriah because he had been sealed by (a) prophet(s) in marriage by the authority to seal in heaven what they sealed on Earth, an authority that was subsequently lost in the Old Testament era.

Murder was forgivable to the many Anti-Nephi-Lehites. It is forgivable to millions more. But when one receives a covenant relationship with God wherein the highest keys of priesthood powers, rites, authorities, and representations of God are exercised in one's behalf, the solemn reality is that one has entered into a new realm of responsibility.

Early in the book of Acts, two are struck dead for their lies to Peter regarding the price for which they sold their property. There is no indication that God will not forgive them but the event indicates a seriousness in being in a covenant relationship that conditionally promises you more than a non-covenant relationship.

So it is with LDS who are sealed in the temple and perhaps all LDS.

David received a promise that his soul would not be left in hell. This is a blessing but some have said that to forgive is to give as before and David will not be given as he had the opportunity to be given before - not because he murdered but because he did it AFTER the the sealing powers had been exercised on him by highest priesthood authority.

Fellow LDS, beware. It is not judging David to recognize and believe what God has said on the topic. David lost his exaltation, per the word of God in D&C 132. Again, not for murder but for murder after the specified ordinance. And as another has pointed out, the whole membership may well be under the same peril because even though not all the membership have been "sealed," we have something the common Jews did not have: the administration of the Gift of The Holy Ghost.

catholic defender said...

Hi Bookslinger,

I'm not sure how much knowledge you have on Catholic Theology. I can assure you that while a great many Catholics can not articulate their knowledge of being able to see God, and live with him again, it is very much present in Catholic teachings and traditions. The LDS church does not have an exclusive teaching on this. In fact, if you look at the similarities between the faiths, many of the teachings that are supposedly exclusive to LDS, are not, the Catholics do hold some of those teachings as well. They just are not as mainstream, or they aren't phrased the same.

For example, the LDS church teaches that you are sealed for time and all eternity to your family. Would it surprise you to learn that many Catholics would find your sealing ceremony redundant, since we are promised reunification with our families after death. It isn't called the same, but it amounts to the same promise. The reason that I say that is that Jesus' teachings about marriage are really taken to heart..."what God has joined, let no man separate." That verse pretty much sums up the forever nature of marriage for Catholics. We just don't say we are sealed for time and all eternity. We don't have to because we know that if we follow our faith, and the teachings of our church...God won't separate us.

I can't speak for the protestants...quite frankly until I went to a public high school, I didn't even know everyone in the world wasn't catholic...so I won't. I can tell you that catholics, don't necessarily discount JS story as being implausible. We have a great many different saints in Catholic tradition that did recieve direct revelations from God, and from Mary. Your example of St Stephen, Catholics do believe that he saw Jesus, and that was why he was martyred. So most catholics would tend to see Joseph Smith's account as being a possibility, just not a probability. We don't believe him when he says he saw Jesus and God, not because its impossible, but because we don't find JS credible. That's the distinction.

I may not have written what I was trying to convey. When I was talking about knowledge of God, I wasn't talking about it in the sense of "I've been taught about God, now I know him." To truly know God, you do have to be taught about him, but to really know is to experience him in your heart. That's the rejection I'm talking about. Knowing of his existence to your very soul, and then rejecting him...that's the unforgiveable sin. This probably isn't the best example, and I don't like to use Hollywood films to make religious points, but this one seems to fit what I'm talking about. At the very beginning of the movie...Bram Stoker's Dracula..made in the 1990's, there is a scene where Vladimer finds his family dead, and he just goes on a rampage, cursing God...rejecting everything about God, and everything sacred and holy. That's the kind of rejection of God we're talking about...rejecting God past the point of no return. That is the unforgiveable sin.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Bookslinger,

I would like to know what part of my English language you don't understand? It seems to belittle your intellect to attempt sarcasm or facetiousness of your tainted reply in the light of a comprehensive, concise and Biblical response to your claims.

The verses quoted state 'taught of God' and clearly can be read in modern English (not olde worlde English) as 'taught by God'. There is a clear distinction between being taught by humans and being taught directly by God. Isn't that why Jesus came to earth, to demonstrate first hand to humans thr true character of God and not the picture of God that the Jewish authorities, all doubters, mockers, pagans and heathens had made Him out to be under direct influence from satan in order to deceive the masses. Whether you like it or not, Jesus WAS and still IS God !

-------------

Catholic Defender,

I like your basic Christian comments (if I can respectfully ignore the doctrinal Mary, saints and other tradition claims) as a protestant, but I think that your referral to a 1990's horror movie doesn't really do full justice to the Biblical comment in Matt 12:31
All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

This is a little more specific than your hollywood movie example of just going out on a rampage in anger and revenge against God - Did God cause the family to die - it sounds a bit stupid to claim this don't you think?

Would you say that when a man has calmed down and realised the consequences of his rash and sinful actions, he can not undergo reform ? I would argue that that IS still the responsibility of the Holy Spirit / Holy Ghost to prompt and to convict an individual of their wrongdoings.

Only if this prompting is ignored throughout a complete lifetime does the issue then become a case where forgiveness can not be offered. It can not be granted where it it not welcomed or desired. God is not a God who forces Himself upon an individual. We all have our own life choices to make with the help and influence of God's Spirit or without Him.

This is why for me in my humble opinion, David's eternal future is secure in His Saviour's hands.

catholic defender said...

Hi Seeing through a Glass,

I said that may not be the best example, but it was the best one I could come up with. Hollywood generally does a poor job conveying anything remotely christian oriented. I was using that example simply as a visual of the type of rejection it would take to be unforgiveable. Certainly someone could calm down and realize the error of cursing God and ask for forgiveness. But, if they don't, if they take the next step and reject all thats holy and good, then they may not come back to God. Ultimately it may come down to our actions and an exercise of our free will. If we continue on the path of rejection, it will become harder and harder to come back.

Like you, I don't believe the Holy Spirit leaves us. I think he's there prompting us all along, we just don't always listen. I don't think I would say that God forces himself upon an individual, but I do believe he makes himself known throughout our lives, and is always trying to get us to follow him. I do tend to think that David recieved God's forgiveness and is with him even now.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

jackg said...

seeing through...

I agree with your comment regarding forgiveness. One has to realize they have something of which to repent, and then ask for forgiveness before being forgiven. Too often, people forget that piece.

Peace and Grace!

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Catholic Defender,

Thanks for your additional comment.

Mostly I agree again, but with my own opinion that nothing positively Christian will come out of 'hollywood'. Hollywood and loosely and generally termed what it all stands for is mostly pagan and anti-Christian. Pretty much most of the blockbusters or weekly film releases break at least one of the 10 commandments in order to capture the viewer and whisk them into a fantasy zone. Can the sub-conscious create real influence or come back later in life to haunt with the visions witnessed. Is watching a violent murder 'on-screen' equal to being part of a real-life crime scene as a perpetrator or by-stander in the eyes of God. As one who sometimes watches choice movies (with attempted appropriate personal classification), I really struggle with this question. Could I watch it with Jesus..... etc etc? Maybe you see where my thinking is coming from ?

Taking the movie 'Dracula' as the generic example given - would it pass the litmus test with the following verses ? How many hollywood movies WOULD pass?
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.



Regarding David and your opinion that David is with God now, how do you read these following verses that are taken from the words of Peter in Acts 2:24-36 where it clearly says that he is not and that his sepulchre remained unopened?

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

catholic defender said...

Hi Seeing through a Glass,

Truthfully, I've never read this passage, and I am still digesting its meaning. I won't claim to be a great biblical scholar, I am not. My first reading of this passage is that it seems to contradict itself. On the one hand, there seems to be forgiveness for David, on the other, it would seem that he wasn't forgiven. I can tell you that I do not take the language literally, and I stand by my opinion and gut feelings that God has forgiven David and has taken him to be by his side.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Seeing through a glass, darkly said...

Hi Catholic Defender,

In the case of this passage taken from Acts chapter 2, please may I recommend that just to get an overview of the context that you read the New International Version. I don't hold to this translation as a study guide due to inaccuracies and scholarly opinion that seemingly has crept in, but it can still be used as a guide and basis to understand in plain English. The point that I made is still maintained in it's context in this translation.

Peter was speaking quite literally and you should take it as so. He was quoting from Psalms 16 and in speaking he requested permission to speak feely on this matter to the Jews who fully comprehended exactly what he was stating as fact.

Here is a scholarly commentary on the matter :
Acts 2:34 Is not ascended - Rather, “ascended not.” Peter’s argument is clear. David had died and been buried (see on v. 29). Therefore the statement of Ps. 16:10, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” (see on Acts 2:27), could not refer to him. Here is clear evidence that Peter believed that man does not ascend to heaven at death (cf. 1 Thess. 4:14–17; see on 2 Sam. 12:23; 22:6; Job 7:9).

David was correctly identified by Peter as a prophet who rightly applied the writing in Psalms 16 as a Messianic prophecy.

Unfortunately, gut feelings, opinions and tradition can never replace Truth and fact however much as I admire your confidence and defence of your denomination.