Thursday, September 24, 2009
Prophets and Apostles
In the Teachings of Presidents of the Church of Joseph Smith for this year, there is a lesson, where it talks about the organization and purpose of the twelve apostles. Orson Pratt, who served in the quorum of the twelve apostles said this “ The Lord…directed that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles should be organized, whose business it would be to preach the Gospel to the nations, to the Gentiles first and then to the Jews. The Priesthood were called together after the building of the Kirtland Temple, and, in speaking of the twelve apostles, the Prophet Joseph Smith said they had received the Apostleship with all the powers pertaining to the same, just as the ancient apostles. “”
In the Bible Dictionary, says that Apostle means “ One Sent Forth” It was the title that Jesus gave to the twelve whom he chose and ordained, to be his closest disciples during his ministry on earth, and whom he sent forth to represent him after his ascension into heaven. The calling of an apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of his bodily resurrection from the dead.
In Ephesians 4: 11-13 “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of god, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
In Matthew 10:1-15 There were Six instructions that Christ gave to the twelve.
First he told them not to enter into the way of the Gentiles or into any of the cities of the Samaritans.
Second, to go the lost sheep of the House of Israel- which means to go and do missionary work unto the House of Israel, and preach of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ which is available now.
Third, to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, give to others what you have received.
Fourth, to not bring anything with you, the Lord will provide, also meaning that they had to trust in the Lord.
Fifth, wherever ye enter be a worthy person while you are there
Sixth, when ye go into a home, to say peace be to this house
Now what do these instructions have to do with Prophets and Apostles and Us? That Jesus Christ gave his authority to his Apostles, and as we receive them we receive Him, Jesus Christ.
In Doctrine and Covenants 1:14, 38 it says “ And the Arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles shall be cut off from among the people.” “ What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself. And though the heavens and the earth shall pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same”
In a talk given by M. Russell Ballard in 2001 said this “ These are difficult times, and the world’s cultural and sociological landmarks of propriety, honesty, integrity, and political correctness are constantly shifting. Just when we think we know the way to happiness and peace , some new ideology comes along which can lead us down a path that will only heighten our confusion and intensify our despair. At such times, we might well ask “ Is there one clear, unpolluted, unbiased voice that we can always count on? Is there a voice that will always give us clear directions to find our way in today’s troubled world?” the answer is YES. That voice is the voice of the living prophet and apostles.”
In 2 kings we know of the experience of Naaman, who was struck with leprosy and who eventually contacted the prophet Elisha, and was “instructed to go wash in the Jordan Seven times, and they flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” as it say in 2 kings 5 verse 10. At first Naaman was unwilling to follow Elisha’s counsel. He couldn’t understand the thing which he had been asked to do- to wash in the Jordan river seven times. In other words his pride and stubbornness , were keeping him from receiving the Lords blessing through his prophet. Thankfully, he finally went down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and it was clean” as it says in verse 14.What a humbling thing it must have been for Naaman to realize how close he came to allowing his pride and his unwillingness to listen to the counsel of the prophet to prevent him from receiving such a great cleansing blessing. And what a humbling thing it is to contemplate how many of us might miss out on great and promised blessings because we do not listen and then do the relatively simple things our prophet and apostles are telling us to do today.