Tuesday 7 January 2014

Choose the Right Jesus - A Challenge to Mormons comparing their Christology to that of the Bible

Knowing people is a fascinating part of life, seeing the different aspects, personalities, preferences quirks etc of people is always very interesting. It goes without saying that some people we only get to know to a very limited extent and some we really build relationships and maybe build a life together with.
The more important someone is to us the more likely we are going to know them better, that's again basic stuff, but leads right into looking at Jesus. Those who know Him to any extent know that He is the most significant, life changing person that ever existed.
In the Bible we see that eternal life comes from knowing Jesus.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
This is a massive issue, many people in the world today often think that if they just do their best in life and let the good things they do outweigh the bad then they will be okay. We see Jesus Himself speak to people here that were seemingly doing good things.
Matthew 7:21-23   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
If we do not truly know Jesus even good works that we do are nothing to Christ. Isaiah 64:6 says we are ALL unclean and our good works are like filthy rags to God. Knowing Jesus is what truly saves, not anything that we can do.
So who is this Jesus? This article is going to look at two areas.
1, The person of Jesus.
2, The Offices of Jesus.
So for number 1 We see that Biblically Jesus is completely and utterly God.
Colossians 1:16 says For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
All things created By Him and For Him.  We see that the Saviour is not only able to create, but the things that He creates are created for Him. We see this in Isaiah.
Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
We see that this old Testament God that created man for His glory, this Jesus in the New Testament created all things for Himself. If Jesus was not God He would be subject to the wrath of this Old Testament God as we see here:
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
In Philippians we see the amazing humility that this Jesus displayed in coming to earth and doing all that He did for us.
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus thought is not robbery to be equal with God. That is very significant. In the New Testament greek we see "Theos" as the word used to mean God, which is mostly by far referring to the Father. We see here then that Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal to the Father. This is because of His absolute glory and majesty before He came to the earth.
Consider this scene in Batman Begins.

Here we see Bruce Wayne trying to experience the Criminal world without ever actually becoming a criminal. He is caught robbing a warehouse but rightly claims he is no criminal because He actually owns the warehouse. He thought it not robbery to take items from it, this is the same with Jesus absolute equality with His Father. However in Mormonism we see a different story.
Also its worth noting that in the LDS Church it is taught that most of the references to God in the Old Testament are the pre human Jesus. It is taught that Jehovah is Jesus and Elohim is God the Father, here is a quote from a past Mormon Apostle James Talmage.
"It is to be remembered that the Personage most generally designated in the Old Testament as God or the Lord, is He who in the mortal state was known as Jesus Christ, and in the antemortal state as Jehovah" (Articles of Faith, 465-466).
However Biblically this seems to not be the case. In the Hebrew when it says Lord it is referring to Jehovah and when it says God it is referring to Elohim, with that in mind consider these verses.
  • "Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him" (Deut. 4:35).
  • "That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else" (1 Kings 8:60).
  • "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;" (Psalm 100:3).
  • "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zech. 13:9).
Here is a quote from 10th Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith showing something of the LDS view of the nature of Christ.
“CHRIST GAINED FULlNESS AFTER RESURRECTION. The Savior did not have a fullness at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given unto him both in heaven and in earth. Although he was a God, even the Son of God, with power and authority to create this earth and other earths, yet there were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection. In other words he had not received the fulness until he got a resurrected body, and the same is true with those who through faithfulness become sons of God. Our bodies are essential to the fulness and the continuation of the seeds forever” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:33). 
In Mormonism Jesus is another one of us. Just elevated initially because He was the firstborn of our heavenly parents. He had to go through the same plan of salvation that we all do, so that then what was lacking in Him could be made complete. This is not the Jesus of the Bible. This is actually not humility.
Ask yourself the question, if Jesus coming to the earth and carrying out the Atonement for us, brought upon Himself an eternity of honour and glory in His exaltation, where was the sacrifice in what He did on the earth? Was it not really an opportunity?
Jesus said unless you believe that I AM He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24) Do you really believe that Jesus is the great I am? The eternal glorious creator of all things who never needed anything, who never had need of anyone to give Him council, who is eternally glorious?
Or is He your elder brother, simply going through the same plan of salvation you are, and may one day be your equal, depending on how you live your life?
Secondly,  I want to focus on the Offices of Christ. Actually I am going to look at just one, that is his Priesthood.
In Old Testament times High Priests carried that role one person at a time until death, we see that stated in Hebrews.
Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
Old Testament High Priests daily offered sacrifices to seek to atone for the sins of themselves and Gods people. This was their most significant role. This role is now totally fulfilled and complete in Christ.
Hebrews 7:24-28   But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Jesus, because He will never die has the role of the High Priest forever. The primary role of the High Priest is done and that role is held eternally by Christ. There is no longer the need for human priests to mediate between God and man and here is why:
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Yet in Mormonism we see this:
Doctrine and Covenants 68:19
“But, as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provid- ed he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power, under the hands of the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood”
15th LDS President Gordon B Hinckley
“We have more than 18,000 bishops in the Church. Every one is a man who has been called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and set apart and ordained by the laying on of hands. Every one of them holds the keys of the presidency of his ward. Each is a high priest, the presiding high priest of his ward. Each carries tremen- dous responsibilities of stewardship. Each stands as a father to his people” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Shepherds of Israel,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2003, p. 60).
Biblically we see one high Priest, that person is Jesus, He carries that role forever like no one ever could. In Mormonism there are thousands of high Priests. An easy way to see the difference between a Mormon and a Christian is to ask who their high Priest is. The Mormon points to a man in their ward, the Christian points to Jesus.
go is enough
In the great commission we see Jesus say this, watch as this is massively significant!
Matthew 28:18-19  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto ME in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Jesus said all power is given to ME therefore go! Do you want to know why you NEVER see a Priesthood blessing referenced in the New Testament? Its because its not the power or authority of the priesthood that the Church needs, but rather it is the power and authority of Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 says Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
All things are upheld by His Word, by His word He calmed a storm (Mark 4:39), raised a dead man (John 11:43) forgave sin (Luke 5:20), healed the sick (Luke 5:24), and called Apostles (John 1:42) this Jesus word alone carried more power than any church governmental authority, He has all power and authority by vitrtue of His nature alone.
If you are in Jesus then all the power and authority you need is given unto you, because He has it, and has said GO. You are commissioned, equipped, and empowered by being in Christ.
Finally and most significantly, Salvation comes from His name and no other place. If you know and trust Christ your eternity is sealed in Him.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do you know this Jesus? Has He saved you to the uttermost? Is His authority in you? Do you look to Him for all you need or is it found in an organization? The answer will affect your eternity.
This post was originally wrote to tie in with a recent outreach to Mormons at their British Pageant at Chorley, to see how that went please see the updates here.

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