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What Is Jesus Really Like ?
Read now the words of modern day apostles and prophets as to the nature and being of Jesus Christ, whose servants they are.
Talmage, James E. Jesus the Christ. 15th ed., rev. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1977.
Preexistence And Foreordination of the Christ
We affirm, on the authority of Holy Scripture, that the Being who is known among men as Jesus of Nazareth, and by all who acknowledge His Godhood as Jesus the Christ, existed with the Father prior to birth in the flesh; and that in the preexistent state He was chosen and ordained to be the one and only Savior and Redeemer of the human race. Foreordination implies and comprises preexistence as an essential condition; therefore scriptures bearing upon the one are germane to the other; and consequently in this presentation no segregation of evidence as applying specifically to the preexistence of Christ or to His foreordination will be attempted.
John the Revelator beheld in vision some of the scenes that had been enacted in the spirit-world before the beginning of human history. He witnessed strife and contention between loyalty and rebellion, with the hosts defending the former led by Michael the archangel, and the rebellious forces captained by Satan, who is also called the devil, the serpent, and the dragon. We read: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels."
In this struggle between unembodied hosts the forces were unequally divided; Satan drew to his standard only a third part of the children of God, who are symbolized as the "stars of heaven"; the majority either fought with Michael, or at least refrained from active opposition, thus accomplishing the purpose of their "first estate"; while the angels who arrayed themselves on the side of Satan "kept not their first estate," and therefore rendered themselves ineligible for the glorious possibilities of an advanced condition or "second estate." The victory was with Michael and his angels; and Satan or Lucifer, theretofore a "son of the morning," was cast out of heaven, yea "he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." The prophet Isaiah, to whom these momentous occurrences had been revealed about eight centuries prior to the time of John's writings, laments with inspired pathos the fall of so great a one; and specifies selfish ambition as the occasion: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
Justification for citing these scriptures in connection with our present consideration will be found in the cause of the great contention -- the conditions that led to this war in heaven. It is plain from the words of Isaiah that Lucifer, already of exalted rank, sought to aggrandize himself without regard to the rights and agency of others. The matter is set forth, in words that none may misapprehend, in a revelation given to Moses and repeated through the first prophet of the present dispensation: "And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying -- Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me -- Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."
Thus it is shown that prior to the placing of man upon the earth, how long before we do not know, Christ and Satan, together with the hosts of the spirit-children of God, existed as intelligent individuals, possessing power and opportunity to choose the course they would pursue and the leaders whom they would follow and obey. In that great concourse of spirit-intelligences, the Father's plan, whereby His children would be advanced to their second estate, was submitted and doubtless discussed. The opportunity so placed within the reach of the spirits who were to be privileged to take bodies upon the earth was so transcendently glorious that those heavenly multitudes burst forth into song and shouted for joy
Satan's plan of compulsion, whereby all would be safely conducted through the career of mortality, bereft of freedom to act and agency to choose, so circumscribed that they would be compelled to do right -- that one soul would not be lost -- was rejected; and the humble offer of Jesus the Firstborn -- to assume mortality and live among men as their Exemplar and Teacher, observing the sanctity of man's agency but teaching men to use aright that divine heritage -- was accepted. The decision brought war, which resulted in the vanquishment of Satan and his angels, who were cast out and deprived of the boundless privileges incident to the mortal or second estate.
In that august council of the angels and the Gods, the Being who later was born in flesh as Mary's Son, Jesus, took prominent part, and there was He ordained of the Father to be the Savior of mankind. As to time, the term being used in the sense of all duration past, this is our earliest record of the Firstborn among the sons of God; to us who read, it marks the beginning of the written history of Jesus the Christ.
Taylor, John. Mediation and Atonement: An Examination into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Mediation and Atonement of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1882.
The Testimony of Jesus the Spirit of Prophecy—The Declarations of
the Ancient Servants of God—Extracts from the Writings and
Testimonies of Moses, Job, David, Isaiah, Zechariah, Micah and Hosea,
to be found in the Old Testament, with remarks.
In the chapter of Luke's Gospel, to which we have already referred, speaking of Jesus, it is written, "Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."
If this be taken in the fullest sense, and we know of no reason why it should not thus be received, there is a great principle developed, which is, that not only Moses, but all the Prophets, testified concerning the coming Redeemer. As elsewhere stated, this must have been the case, for we are told that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" and this being admitted, how could they have the spirit of prophecy, or be Prophets without having the testimony of Jesus? And we are told further that the Prophets sought "what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."—1 Peter, i, 11.
These scriptures evidently show that the testimony of Jesus was the very principle, essence, and power of the spirit of prophecy whereby the ancient prophets were inspired.
We find a great many statements corroborative of these facts in those portions of the writings and prophecies of the ancient servants of God, that have been handed down to us in the Old Testament, and from these testimonies we select a few to show how various and how detailed have been the inspired utterances regarding the life and death of the Messiah.
"The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; * * * And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."—Deut., 18:15, 17-19.
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."—Job, 19:25-27.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."—Psalm 2:1-12.
Jesus Christ is our elder brother. What a joy it is to know that in a coming day, when I have proven myself worthy, that I will kneel at His precious feet and as a modern day apostle of the Lord said, "bath them with my tears". He lives. Jesus Christ lives and is right now standing at the door knocking. I humbly invite you to open that door and ask him in to your life through membership in His Church. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Ask me questions directly. Ken
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