Book of Abraham – Part 3

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The original claim that the Book of Abraham had been translated from ancient egyptian papyri scrolls has been proven false when it was clearly shown that the scrolls where funeral text.

The Church allowed photographs of the papyrus to be published in the February 1968 edition of the Improvement Era magazine, along with an article explaining them.  Now that over a hundred years had passed since the book’s translation, there were many educated people both in and out of the LDS faith who understood the Egyptian language.

During this time, many articles ran in the Improvement Era from 1968 through 1970 regarding the translation.  However, the LDS experts completed work revealed – that not only did the papyri NOT contain the Book of Abraham – there was not even the slightest connection between their contents and Abraham. 

What was on them?

They were simply ordinary Egyptian funeral texts – prayers to pagan Egyptian gods – that had been buried with the mummies.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, LDS leaders extended the opportunity to several other non-LDS Egyptologists to examine and comment on the papyri.  Each one of them arrived at the same conclusion: the papyri were common funeral texts, all clearly dating 1500 years later than Abraham’s time – having no connection whatever with the biblical patriarch Abraham. 

What Joseph Smith claimed to be the Book of Abraham, was actually the Book of Breathings.  And, what was supposed to be the Book of Joseph of Egypt, was the Book of the Dead.  

Paul warns us that when we die, we will be judged not only by our actions and words – He will judge the secrets of men and women.  Romans 2:16 “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”    He’s talking about the hidden desires, secret lusts, unspoken passions, thoughts, and motives of all people.  The thoughts of the hearts.  And, only God through Jesus Christ can determine the human heart. 

Then Paul declares the status of all men, women and children.  Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  Wow!  How does that make you feel?  He is simply saying that man is universally evil.  Unprofitable – corrupt.  No one naturally seeks after God.  Our tendency is to seek our own interest.  We are born selfish.  The message is clear here – There has not been, nor will there ever be, anyone who is justified before God due to their good lives or their obedience to religious laws.  From Mother Teresa, to Ghandi, or the Dali Lama.  None!  Human corruption is universal.   Compared to the incomprehensible holiness of God who is eternal and unchangeable – how could any created human being ever be considered righteous for anything – especially when we consider the elements that hide within the human heart?  We are “unprofitable – there is none that doeth good – not one.”  This speaks of the failure of Man to DO good. 

This is the state of every person who lives and dies by laws, ordinances, and covenants.  We are totally screwed by our attempt to please God by any external approach – especially through religion.  And this is why Jesus was born, which allows Paul to describe the only solution to such a hopeless state.  Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”   Paul tells us in Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  There by the deeds (works) of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  Paul is describing here the state of all men and women when they each stand before God and attempt to justify their lives by virtue of having done good.  There is no justification before Holy God through our works of righteousness and obedience to laws and ordinances.  That is why my friends, we need to completely understand that you can not have salvation by anything other than through grace.  Salvation comes only by and through God’s goodness, His righteousness, and His shed blood, and nothing from us.  We can’t go to the foot of the Cross and tell Jesus “Thank you for what you’ve done for me by paying for my sins – but it wasn’t enough.  I need to add my good works to the atonement.”  Try justifying yourselves before God on judgment day.  I repeat what he said in verse 20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight.”  God’s Law is good, is righteous, is perfect.  We cannot get angry at God’s Law – for it comes from Him.  But the Law was a way for us to examine our hearts and to understand that we can’t keep the law perfectly.  The last part of verse 20 “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  It should be reasonably understood by believers that we are not saved by obedience to Law.  Gravitating towards the law, limits our freedom in Christ and puts us back into bondage under the law. 

Paul continues in Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”  It’s important to know that when Paul writes the sentence, “the righteousness of God” he is not speaking of an attribute of God – but instead how God makes Man righteous.  In other words we could read it this way, “But now, the way God makes man righteous without the law is made known.”  It was going to take a plan from God without including the law to save mankind.  That plan mentioned in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  How does that happen?  Jesus came and both fulfilled the law through perfect adherence to it and then magnified it in the lives of those who trusted and believed on Him.  Romans 3:22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”  But faith is a matter of choice on our part.  Nobody can be saved by works; and all are dependent on the mercy of God found through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Why in this way only?  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” 

Now Paul goes into greater detail saying, Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  That is the good news of the gospel – that we are “justified freely by his grace.”  It is an absolute, totally free, unconditional and underserved gift.  Free to us through believing.  But the cost and price, was the highest of anything to ever be purchased in eternity.  Christ redeemed us – He paid the ransom for us. 

Paul then adds, Romans 3:27 “Where is boasting then?  Is it excluded.  By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”   Where is the boasting? Jews? Mormons? Christians?  If it was by any works, at all, boasting would be in order.  But Paul adds “but by the law of faith” in the Son of God.  Then he concludes with this amazing statement in verse 28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  There is no other way.  To trifle with this doctrine is to truly present another Gospel – contrary to the biblical Gospel Paul is talking about.  A false gospel teaches that “people ought to do good works then saving faith will come.”  Doing good works in order to bring about salvation or saving faith is a tool centered in the flesh, not in faith.   

Then Paul ends chapter three by bringing us all the way back around full circle by saying, Romans 3:31 “Do we make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”  By what means does the justification of someone by faith establish the Law?  Here’s a great saying “Grace teaches us to say no to sin.”  Where the law reveals and exposes each of us to sin – grace teaches us to say no to it.  The moral law is embraced by those who are justified.  The Law is established in those who have been saved by grace through faith.  Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”  When Jesus was on earth he was approached by a lawyer, as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  To love – God and others – is the result of those who have come to faith.  It is by and through this action – love – that the Law is established in the lives of those who’ve experienced God’s mercy. 

There are Latter-day Saints who go to James chapter 2 to say, “faith without works is dead.”  But If we go to James chapter 2 beginning in verse 14, we can put it all into context.  I think we’ll find that James is talking about this very point that Paul makes here in Romans 3:31. James 2:14 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?  Can faith save him?”  He is saying, “What good is it if a man SAYS he has faith, but has not the works of LOVE?”  Then James goes on and gives us some illustrations in Verses 15 and 16.  Love is a verb.  God so LOVED the world He gave us His Son.  Jesus so LOVED the world He gave us His very life.  Then in verse 17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  James is saying the same thing as Paul is saying.  James continues in chapter 2:18-20 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”  Just as love without action or application is dead – so is faith without works.  There is no difference.

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Atonement – Part 4

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While Jesus was in the garden it says in Luke 22:43, God sent “an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”  What do you make of that?

In the garden, Jesus was preparing to face the most extreme and ultimate suffering imaginable – being separated from His Father on high.  Satan was not about to leave our Lord alone when He was about to embark on the only act that would overcome the devil and its powers, once and for all. 

THIS was the trial of the garden – Jesus overcoming the very natural temptation to let this cup pass.  It says in Matthew 26:39, 42-44 that Jesus prayed to have the human strength to endure the brutal beatings and torture of the cross. 

So, the moment Jesus relinquished Himself into the hands of sinful men, the atonement began?

Precisely!  The binding, the slapping, the spitting, the mockery, and the scourging – all fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5 “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…with His stripes we are healed.”  Therefore, the beatings, the torture, the fatigue, and humiliation all culminated in His crucifixion and death on the cross, which were all part of His atonement for our sins.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us that for our sins Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame.”

before Jesus was put upon that cross, only the most vile and abhorrent men hated by society hung there.  Anyone who was crucified was, seen as the lowest of low.

What you just described is a perfect picture of the state of our lives in sin.

It should disturb us when religious leaders, who call themselves prophets and apostles, distract our attention from Christ’s suffering atonement on the cross – causing people to focus on things that are not right or true. 

LDS Church leaders got their inspiration on this doctrine from two passages: Doctrine and Covenants 19:18 “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink.”  And in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:7    

For one thing – both passages were written or translated by Joseph Smith in 1829 to 1830.  During that time, Joseph Smith was still a monotheist.  That is why it is God himself who is suffering in those verses.  But the point I want to make is that neither reference mentions the Garden of Gethsemane.  

President Nelson in his October 2018 conference address said it was “In the Garden of Gethsemane” where Jesus suffered for the sins of the world.  Statements like his cause people to miss the cross, to see another Jesus, to discount the meaning of His suffering, and revise the truth of Jesus’ atoning work. 

It is what I call a twisting of the Scripture.  Think of it like this – If Satan can get people to take their eyes off the truth of the gospel and redirect them to something that is a lie – he has won a victory. 

If the LDS Church is really a restoration, why does the Mormon prophet and apostles create a new narrative for the New Testament?  Neither Jesus nor any author of the New Testament claims Gethsemane had anything to do with the atonement of Christ.  Instead there is an abundant number of references to the cross where Christ suffered and died to pay the debt for our sin.                            

The Bible stands on its own, testifying of exactly what his suffering and death on the cross accomplished.  Here are some passages I would like you to read when you have the time: 

Psalm 22:1, 6-8, 15-16;

Luke 9:23;

Romans 5:6-11;

Romans 6:6;

1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23;

1 Corinthians 2:2;

1 Corinthians 5:7;

1 Corinthians 15:3;

Galatians 3:13;

Galatians 6:14;

Ephesians 2:16;

Philippians 3:18;

Colossians 1:20-21;

Colossians 2:13-15;

Hebrews 2:14;

Hebrews 9:13-16;

Hebrews 12:2;

1 Peter 2:24;

Revelation 13:8

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Testing the Book of Mormon – Part 2

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The Book of Mormon claims to have a parallel timeline with the Bible.
But, when put to the test, does it hold true?

Lets look at the historical evidence.

Last time we met, I introduced the tests that proved the evidence for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon against – time, history and inspiration.
So, let’s begin these tests.

The Introduction of the Book of Mormon claims that it is comparable to, superior to, and in harmony with the Bible. If that is accurate, the timeline in the Book of Mormon should reflect the Bible’s timeline.

But it does not!

The first inconsistency is in regard to Christ’s atonement. The cross, which was where Christ shed his innocent blood for the sins of the world was a defining moment.

As stated in Hebrews 9:15-17, Jesus’ blood was not only operative for those who lived in Jesus’ day forward through today, and into the future, but it also was retroactive for those who lived faithfully before the atonement.
But it did not happen until the death of Christ in AD 33.

So, how does that effect the Book of Mormon?

In the Book of Mosiah 4:2 there is a crowd of people saying, “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

If you’ll look at the footnote, it says “about 124 B.C.”

How is it that they appealed to have Jesus’ blood applied to them if it had not yet been shed?

The second timeline discrepancy is in the establishment of the church. In Matthew 16:18, we find the very first usage of the word “church” in the Bible.

Jesus said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my CHURCH; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Notice, Jesus promised to establish His church in the FUTURE – meaning after His death and resurrection.

According to the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:17 says “And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church.”

What does it have for the date of that passage?
It says, “about 147 B.C.“

The New Testament says that in 32 AD the church didn’t even exist yet. It wouldn’t exist for about another year after the resurrection of Christ.
The Book of Mormon claims that even before Christ came to this earth, people were being added to the church. Which one is it?

Another discrepancy has to do with when and where the disciples of Jesus were named. The first time the Bible refers to “the church” is in Acts 2:47 after the day of Pentecost.

Eventually, they received a new name.
“And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:26

The FIRST, time disciples were ever called Christians was in Antioch, about 42 AD.

The Book of Mormon has a different story
Alma 46:15

“And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.”

“about 73 BC”

So, which one is it? The Bible – 42 AD or the Book of Mormon – 73 BC?

The Book of Mormon claims to be congruent with the Bible. But, when put to the test, does it hold true?

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Prediction of the Book of Mormon – Part 2

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In a, devotional address to LDS college students in September 2017, President Nelson said in, reference to Ezekiel 37,“When the bible and the triple combination were first bound in one book, we felt that this amazing prophecy had been fulfilled.  Now, most of you have all of those scriptures ‘bound as one’ in your telephone.”

He said, “My beloved brothers and sisters, we love the Holy Bible,” “It’s the word of God.  And we love the Book of Mormon… Indeed, it is ‘another testament of Jesus Christ.’  These two books are companions.  We hold them together – bound as one – as foretold long ago by prophets of God.”

President Nelson is referring specifically to Ezekiel 37:16-17, which says, “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

The LDS teach that these verses are speaking of two sticks which are the Bible or the stick of Judah, and the Book of Mormon or the stick of Joseph.  They believe these two records have now been joined together, constituting a complete fulfillment of a great prophecy spoken of in 2 Nephi 3:12.

Because Scripture interprets Scripture, we can learn what the “sticks” are.  The idea that the two sticks in Ezekiel 37:22 refer to the Bible and the Book of Mormon is made impossible by the verses that follow.  Verse 22 states, “I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”   Obviously the “sticks” are not the Bible and the Book of Mormon; they are two nations, or two kingdoms.

If the LDS prophets, are going to use specific verses as a proof text they had better know the background, setting and circumstances.

After Solomon died the nation of Israel split in two.  The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah and the Northern Kingdom was called Israel, or sometimes Ephraim.  In 722 B.C. Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria, and in 605 Judah was taken into exile by Babylon.

Ezekiel 37:18-28 clearly shows that the uniting of the “sticks” pictures God’s restoring and reuniting His people, once again, in the land as a single nation (Hosea 1:11).

Besides, wasn’t the Book of Mormon supposedly written on golden plates?  You can’t bind metal plates around a stick!

The Lord told Ezekiel precisely what to write on the two sticks, and it was not “the Bible” on one and the “Book of Mormon” on the other. If that was the case, then Ezekiel would be the author of the Book of Mormon.  Rather, he only wrote a few words.  He was told in Verse 16, to write upon the stick, for Judah, then take another and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim.

Many times, in Old Testament history, sticks, rods, and staffs were used by the children of Israel to write their tribe names and genealogy upon.  That is likely the case in Ezekiel 37.

Oh, and another problem: the Book of Mormon in Alma 10:3 claims to be the record of the descendants of Manasseh, NOT Ephraim.

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Prediction of the Book of Mormon – Part 1

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In a Deseret News article the Mormon prophet, President Russell M. Nelson invited young adults to study the Bible with Him.

Nelson said to those at the devotional that he is seeking to learn how the inspired Bible predicted the coming of the Book of Mormon.  He shared an experience he had with a Protestant minister who asked him if he believes in the Bible ?

Nelson said the minister expected him to say, “ ‘yes, as far as it is translated correctly,’ ”  but he didn’t.   Nelson said, “Yes, especially Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37.  Because they each foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.”

LDS teach that Isaiah 29:1-4 is predicting the coming of the Book of Mormon, which was translated from plates hidden in the ground by Moroni – coming as it did “out of the ground” to “whisper out of the dust” to people of our day.

But Isaiah isn’t talking about a literal book, much less one that would come forth in the future. If you read the entire chapter, it is obvious that God is speaking of the spiritual blindness of the people resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem. And being brought down to the ground, as if buried – Jerusalem would whisper.

Actually, Isaiah Chapter 29, verses 1 through 4, is a pronouncement of horrific judgment against Jerusalem in an attempt to get the nation of Judah to repent and return to God. This judgment was fulfilled in 700 B.C. Jerusalem had been humbled such that their speech was “out of the ground” or “low out of the dust.”

Mormons believe that Isaiah 29:4, where it talks about a “familiar spirit,” is a reference to the Book of Mormon being another witness of Jesus Christ.

It’s important to note: There are at least 15 Old Testament references to “familiar spirits” and all of them deal with

witchcraft

or

necromancy

  • Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27
  • 1 Samuel 28:3-9
  • 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24
  • 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
  • Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; 29:4

Therefore, when the Book of Mormon claims it has a familiar spirit, it is inadvertently claiming a relationship with the demonic. Familiar spirits are clearly rooted in occultism, and that’s why God condemns anything related to familiar spirits (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

If the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the word of God, why would God associate it with demonic forces?

The LDS strongly emphasize the “marvelous work and a wonder” spoken of in verse 14. They believe the Book of Mormon fits that description.

But, when read in context, the “marvelous work and a wonder” refers to God’s work of vengeance on the ungodly, not his blessing of the righteous. It will be a “wonder” because the wisdom of the wise will perish. God’s wonderful and marvelous works are not always positive in nature. Moses called God’s plagues in Deuteronomy Chapter 28 verse 59 “wonderful” and “great.” And those didn’t turn out so well for them.

I’m taken back by the remarks of President Nelson, who like many LDS leaders before him, ignore the key passages in Isaiah 29 that set the historical stage for what follows. No biblical scholar see’s Isaiah’s warning as a prediction regarding a future book.

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Seer Stone in the Hat

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How did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon?

Let’s have a look at this controversial topic.

A Mormon missionary will tell you that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from the Golden Plates, which were inscribed in ancient reformed Egyptian hieroglyphs. But according to David Whitmer, who was one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon,

“Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face … A piece of something resembling parchment would appear… One character at a time would appear, …, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear, Thus the Book of Mormons was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.”

MormonThink.com

This is the actual seer stone Joseph Smith used as released by the LDS church.


This is the seer stone that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon | LDS.org

So why don’t the Mormon Missionaries tell you this? Is it because it is a bit weird? A bit Crazy, perhaps!

The Church says that the Book of Mormon is of divine origins, and that Joseph Smith, or any other person, was incapable of inventing a document of such length and complexity.

Members of the LDS Church often say they believe in the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. They say “How could a young farm boy have written a long, complex, flawless religious text like the Book of Mormon? If Joseph could not have written the book on his own, his story of the golden plates and the angel must be true,” they say.

The first edition of the Book of Mormon, written in 1830 had many grammatical errors. This alone questions whether the text was written by man or translated divinely. There were also other errors in the early editions of the Book of Mormon such as changing the name of

King Benjamin

to

King Mosiah

or changing that

Mary was the ‘mother of God’

to

‘mother of the son of God’

Those are BIG differences.

Through the years there have been 3,913 changes to the first edition of Book of Mormon. This is the book Joseph called ‘the most correct book on earth’.

Really, the most correct book.

Then why did they make almost 4,000 changes?

Think about that.

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