By Chris Layton
God’s Message to the Members of the Body of Christ Whose Faith Has Gone Under Cover.
“And after that they had tasted of the fruit, they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost” (1 Ne. 8:28)
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines “Credo” as a Latin word which means “I believe” It is an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group.
Far too often, we’ve been disappointed in what we believed or what we hoped for because God did not live up to our expectations. All along, however, we’ve been worshiping a false image of God, not as He is, but as we want Him to be in an image suited to our desires. That admission is hard for modern day Christians to swallow so from their shame, some fall into silence and sit idle, some become angry and walk away from Him. Their pride gets into the way and they cannot admit that perhaps their understanding was not quite so accurate after all. Because of this, we give up and that’s exactly what the adversary wants us to do but which we must not do. If he can get us to stop praying, stop searching and stop coming into the light of Christ, then he has won.
We’ve now come to the year 2018, so it’s been over 2000 years since the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and he told his disciples that He would return so we’ve been anticipating His coming with all the signs spoken of by the prophets as recorded in the scriptures. We’ve seen many signs of His coming with all the wars and tribulations among the nations. In our own lifetime we’ve seen the falling of the twin towers in New York in 2001, the financial disaster of 2008, the devastating effects of floods, fires, and earthquakes and all manner of natural calamities “but where is the Lord?” we ask. We wait, and we hope and yet the unbelievers, those who mock the true saints of God continually, including our own family, add to their numbers daily. It seems almost as if we’ve been abandoned by God at times but we haven’t. God has been with us all along. He has been revealing Himself to us all this time and showing us with great mercy and tenderness that the Kingdom of God has truly come. Imagine how frustrating it must be for Him every time He comes and his own don’t recognize Him. We simply cannot see it and because we cannot see it, many lose faith and fall away and immerse themselves in worldly pleasures and pursuits where there never seems to be enough, but those things never lead to the true happiness that we all seek.
Back to the fulfillment of the scriptures and among the major events testifying of the coming of Christ, the nation of Israel was born in 1967. Rabbi Schlomo Goren gave a prayer of thanksgiving which was broadcast to the entire country. It was a major prophetic fulfillment that the Jews would return to their homeland and it was a national day of celebration. No one could doubt but that the hand of the Lord was in this major event and the Christian world was energized and began again to look forward to the coming of the Messiah. To their dismay, as it seems, time and time again men would look for Him and would not find Him just as He prophesied from the book of John saying:
“Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” (John 7:34)
For thousands of years we’ve looked for Him, we’ve waited for Him and for His coming never seeing Him getting more and more disappointed and disillusioned (to the gleeful cheers of the adversary). Why can’t the body of Christ see Him?
The reason why I bring this up is because of the pattern that I see in the church. We begin with the spiritual revival or an awakening orchestrated by God and people get excited about the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The numbers in the churches begin to swell and spiritual fervor reaches an all time high. We set our sights on the Lord and His coming and we pray fervently asking for God’s favor to be upon us and we sacrifice and do the things that the Lord expects us to do but after a time, things just don’t seem to pan out the way we expected.
Then we move then into a state of what I would call “passive faith”. Passive faith is where we just go to church, pay our tithes, we basically go through the motions of typical Sunday worship service but our yearning, our reaching and deep desire begins to wane. Our attention begins to shift to other things. This is where the church falls into a state of passivity and spiritual darkness.
Eventually over time the church enters into a state of apathy i.e. people begin to forget to pray, they start doing things that they normally shouldn’t do on the Sabbath, they slip into old habits that are detrimental to them spiritually and over time they eventually completely rebel and lose faith.
“There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges, and aids to exaltations, and powers in the eternities of the Gods.” (Brigham Young April 8 1862 JD 10:32)
All this happens because they don’t see things happen as they had expected or hoped for. Things take a lot longer than we originally expect and when we live in this Telestial world, bad things can and do often happen that ruins our plans.
This is all part of the test to us, to see if we in spite of all the setbacks, will remain true and faithful to our God. Our perception may be that God doesn’t check in on us enough but in reality he’s been here with us all along. I like to think of Him as the captain of the ship who would be the first to board and the last to leave and this Earth is His vessel.
The Jews look for the messiah’s 1st coming, the modern day Christians look for his 2nd but Brigham Young testified:
“Jesus has been upon the earth a great many more times than you are aware of”. (Discourses of Brigham Young p.114)
Correlate that now with the book of Enoch that says that Adam’s transgression brought him the penalty of not only 1 day but five and a half days. That’s 5,500 years of time on probation with His children. The bible only tells us that God told Adam and Eve that they would die in the day that they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and their lives did come to an end just short of one biblical day. So what did Adam do for the rest of the 4,500 years of his probationary period? He worked out His salvation with fear and trembling through many probational experiences before His Father and God the same as we must all do.
That Jesus Christ is the “Second Adam” the second manifestation of God and the Holy Ghost or Witness Testator is the third. He came to redeem His children from the effects of the fall. In so doing He suffered with us for the same or similar things that so easily beset us. He himself is recorded in many instances in the bible as he learned to discern good from evil. He went from “grace to grace” or from one life to the next. He has suffered innumerable sufferings over the duration of this eternity and at His ultimate triumph in the Garden of Gethsemane, all the transcendent beauty of His divine nature came to perfection. He is worthy of our devotion and praise and worship. Without Him, we would have become subject forever to the effects of death and separation from God.
“And behold he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory, because of that which is to come.”(Hel 8:23)
“For he saith, I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8)
“And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. “ (Mosiah 15:1)
This is the testimony of the 3 manifestations of our Lord and our God with whom we as Brigham said “have to do”.
“And so it is written. The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit… The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45,47)
“And he said unto me, Knowest thou condescention of God?…. And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.” (1 Ne 11:16,18)
As far as we know and from what Brigham told us, what we’re really looking to is at minimum His 50th coming and most likely that’s a tremendous understatement. No one recognized Joseph Smith Jr for who he was when He came. The Millerites who were looking for Jesus’ return in 1844 certainly didn’t and yet they were so close, they could have reached out and touched Him. The Mormon’s didn’t. Most were so caught up in acquisition mode that they forgot the whole reason why they were placed in the privileged position they were.
“…then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?” (D&C 45:51)
It is Jesus’ closest friends that are asking Him why he has these wounds, they aren’t expecting to see them and it’s not until then that he really reveals to them who he truly is, saying:
“Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up, I am Jesus that was crucified, I am the Son of God. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities: then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.” (D&C 45:52-53)
So whom are these Jews? Those who are Jesus’ closest associates, His closest friends, His family and yet, seeing the wounds in his flesh they are surprised at what they see. The irony of it all is that we are his closest friends beloved brothers and sisters. We are the ones he came here for. We are the “apple of our Father’s eye” so to speak. Being in this Telestial world we’ve forgotten who we are and we can’t quite remember who our Father is either.
Jesus asked “Whom say ye that I am” and some said he was John the Baptist whom they knew was beheaded, some said Elias who was to come and so we have a family that He has come to save, to rescue from the dire effects of sin and death because there really is a hell waiting to receive them with its jaws wide open and all because they do not know Him, commit grievous sins and iniquities because they have joined themselves in the false traditions and fashions of this world and they chase after false and fallen gods as the Prophet Jeremiah said “committing adultery under every green tree” (Jeremiah 3:6)
To King David the Prophet Nathan foreshadowed the future which wasn’t limited to Absalom sleeping with his father David’s concubines, that was just a type and shadow of things to come. All of Israel would go whoring after other gods and the bride would become unfaithful and like David’s wife Michal, she would despise her Lord and King. The prophet Hosea also married a Harlot named Gomer by God’s command to demonstrate Israel’s proclivity for whoredom.
“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” (2 Samuel 12:11)
And so rather than jewels, which are a representation of His wives, the crown of thorns is placed on His head by the ruler of this world who found no fault in him that He might suffer with them after His perfect victory.
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4)
Who else but the treacherous Delilah could shear the mane of the lion of Dan?
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
“In the summer of 1862, President Brigham Young came through Dixie. The people were so glad to see him that they took every means in their power to make everything as comfortable for him as possible… The president stopped with us. He sat at the head of the table and had me sit down at his right. The President, when everything was ready, asked a blessing, then all began to eat. He asked for some buttermilk, then crumbled some bread in it and began to eat. He conversed freely on the situation of the Saints in the Mountains, and said that he dreaded the time when the Saints would become popular in the world; for he had seen in sorrow, in a dream, or in dreams, this people clothed in the fashions of Babylon until one could hardly tell a Saint from a black-leg. And he felt like shouting, “To your tents, O Israel”, because it was the only thing that could keep this people pure. “I know that my families court the ways of the world”, said he……!” (Brigham Young- Mosiah Hancock Journal, pg. 47)
What wounds our Lord is when His closest associates, His best friends deny Him, or hide their association with him as Peter did at His trial. They try to “blend in” with the world so they can’t be seen but that’s what Peter did and each time, he denied him until the cock crowed the third time. Now the church tries to blend in with the world and by so doing, they deny Him. They don’t want controversy, don’t want to stand out, don’t want to be “weird”. They are ashamed of Him because they have been according to their account, “disappointed” so many times. Now they just want to blend in and be nice and hope that people will discern their hidden spirituality and convert to them. Well it doesn’t work that way and it doesn’t win souls to Christ and all you become is another lukewarm Laodicean church and your monthly feasts and assemblies become nothing more than an abomination to God.
“Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:14-15)
God said that he would prefer that we be hot or cold because if we become lukewarm, he will spew us out of His mouth. If we’re out of His mouth, we’re technically out of the body of Christ. If we’re not in the body of Christ, where are we but in hell?
There are multitudes of “Christians” in hell and lots of “good people” there as well beloved brothers and sisters because they were lukewarm. They did not know God or His ways and they did not keep His commandments as they should because they thought that He is only a God of love. Not true. He is also a God of judgment and justice. There are multitudes in hell who cry for another chance to repent but once they are out of this world, there is no repentance once men are dead because God is not the God of the dead but of the living. Christ taught that men who walk in the night stumble because there is no light in them and in hell there is no light.
Now is the time to prepare to meet God and now is the time for us to demonstrate our faith by our works. We cannot sit idly by waiting for God to do something for us. He’s already done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He’s paid for our sins if we would repent and He has visited us and taught us time and time again but we cannot rely upon the merits of His atonement unless we obey His commandments. We must become even as He is holy and sanctified and consecrated being set apart from the world. What can we do to please God today that we might merit his favor. Do we ask Him? Or do we wait for Him to command us? The scriptures tells us that it is a slothful servant that must be commanded in all things. Shall we as a church take such a position to wait for the Lord our God to act? “Waiting” upon the Lord means “serving” not “sitting”. Surely such a course of slothfulness will bring upon us His anger and wrath.
How can others benefit from our light that we have received? How can we improve upon the talents that we have been given lest we be counted as an unprofitable servant? Isn’t it God’s divine desire to bring as many as will come to Him on conditions of repentance? How can we do this unless we put oil in our lamps and light it for all to see?
Have our churches become more of a social gathering place rather than a place of worship or learning?
The body of Christ is spending too much time feeding the flesh with the lusts of the world and too little time feeding the spirit which is waning into nothingness. People who see you, don’t even know if you are a member your faith is so hidden and I do not speak to all because there are few who have oil still in their lamps. Nevertheless, even they stumble because of priestcrafts which are among you.
“And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine (limited, or immodest) apparel, unto envying and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
For behold ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
O, ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the Name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies – because of the praise of the world?
We must be as a light which shines on a hill. Shall we take this light then and hide it under a bushel?
As my fellow Apostle Paul said:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)