We continue our comments on the manuscript sent to us by a Mormon called Stephen.(*) Click here to see the other articles in this series. You can also go to the Mormonism page to find all the articles that are in this refutation of Stephen’s document.
But, was the true Church always going to be on the earth?
No, just until Jesus comes again. We have seen the promise of Christ to keep His Church. I hope you don’t believe the end of the age has already come…
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:3,4) Paul predicted how many would turn from sound doctrine to ear-ticklers who spew out fluffy, ambiguous, and false doctrine. Since this was a personal letter from Paul to Timothy, were the Lord’s servants the only ones who understood the eventual loss of His word?
This passage does not say one word about any loss of any canonical Book. This talks about people like you who will refuse to listen to what is written in the Bible, but they will turn their ears to false prophets like Joseph Smith. Paul told Timothy that he should keep teaching the Word of God to oppose the poison of those times. This passage that Stephen quoted begins with a “for” which links this passage to the previous passage with a link of causality. Of course, Stephen didn’t care to tell you what comes before this verse, because that contradicts his view, so let’s read it together: “I testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, proclaim the word; be urgent in season [and] out of season, convict, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time shall be when they will not bear sound teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-3) Yeah, indeed, it’s proclaim the Word, and not add to the Word… Paul had already told Timothy a verse before this passage what he meant by “the word”: “But thou, abide in those things which thou hast learned, and [of which] thou hast been fully persuaded, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; and that from a child thou hast known the sacred letters, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which [is] in Christ Jesus. Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17) YES, it’s the Scripture, as we have seen before! In the last days people will refuse to obey God’s Word, the Bible, so true evangelists and bishops should teach the Scripture to oppose all that corruption.
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29,30) Paul not only warned the saints at Ephesus to beware of “grievous wolves” coming to destroy the flock—the Church of Christ, he also predicted how such turmoil would come from within. Did Paul only warn the Ephesians of an apostasy?
Yes, Paul warned the elders of Ephesus about apostasy. But what did he advise them to do in opposition to that? Did he tell them to wait for the false prophet Joseph Smith? Of course not… Look what he told them: “And now I commit you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build [you] up and give [to you] an inheritance among all the sanctified.” (Acts 20:32) The Word of His Grace is the Word of God! So Paul advised the elders to build themselves and their flock upon God’s Word. If the Word of God would be lost as Stephen hallucinates, then would Paul advise them to build themselves on such a weak ground?…
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (or ‘apostasy’ as rendered in the NIV) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; . . .” (2 Thes. 2:1-4) Paul knew the Second Coming of Christ would not come until there was a falling away first. Did this mean the Lord would leave us without any guidance, other than the Bible, until His Second Coming?
So this passage says the apostasy comes in the last days, while our friend Stephen imagines this to have happened and finished before Joseph Smith came… Maybe he thinks Joseph Smith is the Christ before whose coming the apostasy would happen?…
What guidance do you want other than the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to guide His saints? Do you want human guidance instead?…
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: . . .” (Rev. 14:6,7) John the Revelator had already seen the opening of the sixth seal—the commencement of the sixth millennium as Joseph Smith taught, after the Great Tribulation as ECs teach—in Revelation 6. John was given to see the foreordained 144,000 servants who were to lead “a great multitude, which no man could number” from—you guessed it—“all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” to serve the Lord day and night in His temple in Revelation 7. After the Lord revisits the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 14, He mentions this angel “having the everlasting gospel.” Why would this be necessary in the “End Times,” the last days of earth’s temporal existence prior to Christ’s Millennial Reign when we already have the Bible?
What are you imagining, Stephen? This passage is talking about the same Gospel that we have in the Bible, and not the false gospel of Mormons which is bad news rather than good news. Should I remind you that John is not the Revelator but the receiver of the revelation? I have already talked about this before. There is no sixth millennium in this text; Joseph Smith had surely eaten much before sleeping, therefore he saw that dream… We’re in the tribulations of the Millennium already, and the Gospel is being preached to all nations. The 144,000 are the remnant from Israel. The passage does not say that the 144,000 will lead the great multitude, but the same Book says: “and [he is] clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which [are] in the heaven followed him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen. And out of his mouth goes a sharp [two-edged] sword, that with it he might smite the nations; and he shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and he treads the wine-press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:13-15) As you see, it’s the Lamb, the Word of God, who leads the nations, including the remnant from Israel (i.e. the 144,000). The temple is destroyed; God has abolished the Old Covenant. Today the temple is the body of Jesus Christ, and the Church is one; there is not a superchurch formed of 144,000 elites leading another church formed of lesser creatures…
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things (or ‘until the time comes for God to restore everything’ in the NIV), which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21) Again, why the need for a “restitution of all things” if the fullness of “the everlasting gospel” were contained completely in the Bible?
Stephen, where are you reading these things?? This passage is talking about Peter preaching to the Jews. The Messiah had first come for them, so Peter tells them that they also (and first!) will receive the eternal life if they repent and turn to Christ who is now in Heaven until the time comes to finish everything and make the new heaven and the new earth. All was ruined the day Adam fell in sin; Christ has come to restore all things to God’s Glory; He will finish this after God makes His enemies a footstool for His feet: “Then the end, when he gives up the kingdom to him [who is] God and Father; when he shall have annulled all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25) He will give up the Kingdom to God; this is the restoration of all things. And this is not a matter of speculations, because the Lord Himself told us when this restoration of all things will happen: “And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he says [to me], Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:5) Making all things new means restoring all this creation to what it should have been without the Fall. Note that this verse comes four verses after this one: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea exists no more.” (Revelation 21:1) And the passage continues to explain how God will dwell with His people, which is the purpose of their creation: that they share in His Glory, i.e. in holiness forever, as we have seen. The times of refreshment are the times when we enter God’s rest. In the hard work under the sun in Middle East, men are said to be refreshed when they stop working and sit in the shadow and drink water and eat: this is refreshment and rest. God has promised to give this refreshment to the righteous: “And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, going out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that side, [the] tree of life, producing twelve fruits, in each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree for healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2) Although the Jews of Peter’s day would have this refreshment by the Spirit as soon as they repented, but the final rest would not come until the Day of the Lord: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:1-10) This is the rest, the final refreshment. For more about the present aspect of this rest, read our article The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.
As you see, in his interpretation of that passage in Acts, Stephen changed “restitution of all things” to mean “restitution of the Gospel“… This is the way the devil likes to interpret God’s Word in order to mislead people…
We sufficiently covered some of the unfortunate deficiencies of the Bible made because of careless treatment and or deterioration of original manuscripts and or by design.
You never did this, because the Bible is not corrupted. God kept His Word, just as He promised.
It is not my aim to expound deeply upon the Universal Apostasy of Christ’s Former-day Church or upon its Restoration in the Latter Days.
ALL the passages that we have seen above say that the apostasy will come in the latter days, while Stephen hallucinates that the apostasy has come in the former days…
Just watch how inconsistent he is, because he is deceived…
If you are interested in knowing more on this subject, I invite you to read chapters four through seven of A Marvelous Work and A Wonder by LeGrand Richards. This Gospel commentary can be found at any LDS bookstore. These chapters explain very well the Restoration and the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies concerning the Apostasy, the Restoration, and other Scriptures such as the Book of Mormon.
We have seen how the Apostle Paul advised us to be built on the Word of God, the Bible, in order to be safe from apostasy. So it’s not vain unorthodox human writings that we will turn to.
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ