Why was the temple veil torn in two after Christ’s crucifixion?

Why was the temple veil torn in two after Christ’s crucifixion?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Why was the temple veil rent in twain when Jesus was crucified?  I’ve heard evangelicals interpret it to mean that there is no longer a separation between God and man (and thus no need for temples anymore).  But obviously we don’t believe that.  So why did it really rip in twain?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Robert,

In Jesus the Christ, Elder James E. Talmage writes of this event:

But, most portentous of all in Judaistic minds, the veil of the temple which hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was rent from top to bottom, and the interior, which none but the high priest had been permitted to see, was thrown open to common gaze. It was the rending of Judaism, the consummation of the Mosaic dispensation, and the inauguration of Christianity under apostolic administration.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (most probably Paul) spends a great deal of time explaining, in Chapter 9, how the Jewish High Priest traditionally passed through the veil into the Holy of Holies annually to make atonement on behalf of the people; and then contrasted this tradition with how “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others . . .

but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. . . .

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”  Hebrews 9:24-28

Thus, at least one meaning of the rending of the temple veil seems to be that Christ, the great High Priest, had entered into God’s presence to make a great and last intercession on behalf of those who would follow Him.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Was Christ a tattle-tale?

Was Christ a tattle-tale?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

When Christ was a youth, was He a tattle-tale?  Since He could not “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”, did He always turn His friends or family members in when He saw them do something wrong?  Today, friends expect you to turn a “blind eye”, or cover for them when they’re doing something wrong.  I can’t see Christ doing that.  So did He always go and tell on people?  Would this not have made Him extremely unpopular?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

As you know, Christ was popular with some, as evidenced by the crowds that followed Him and the large crowd that listened to the Sermon on the Mount.  However, He was unpopular enough with others that He was put to death.

You asked specifically about His childhood.  On this point, James E. Talmedge in Jesus the Christ says:

“With hallowed silence do the inspired scribes honor the boyhood of their Lord; he who seeks to invent circumstances and to invest the life of Christ with fictitious additions, dishonors Him [referencing the spurious infancy gospels]. Read thoughtfully the attested truth concerning the childhood of the Christ: ‘And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.'” (Luke 2:40)

We do know that as a youth, Jesus rebuked adults (even His parents! Luke 2:49)  when warranted, and yet managed to “grow … in favor with God and man”.  (Luke 2:52 ) We can perhaps better understand how Jesus achieved this balance by studying His adult life. Although “all judgment has been given to the Son”  (John 5:27) He was selective in exercising it, reserving His harshest criticisms to those who created and sustained a carnal culture (Herod and the Pharisees) while at the same time showing kindness and gentleness with the woman at the well, (John 4:7-26),  the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-7) and the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22).

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

 

How many references in the Book of Mormon refer to the name of Jesus?

How many references in the Book of Mormon refer to the name of Jesus?

Question

 

Gramps,

How many references in the Book of Mormon refer to the name of Jesus besides “The Great I Am.”

Lynne

 

Answer

 

Dear Lynne,

Great question.  I don’t think the answer is written down anywhere, but I recall hearing that there are over 100. It’s not a search that one can simply do by checking a search engine.  Some of the Savior’s names are not obvious.  For example, if you study Christ’s names you will learn one in John 1:1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In the chapter heading it says: Christ is the Word of God.  So “Word of God” is one of His names.  Now consider 1 Nephi 11:25:

25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

Could this mean that Iron Rod is also one of Christ’s names?  We think of the “word of God” as being the scriptures, but what is the purpose of the scriptures if not to testify of Christ?   Christ wants to lead us to the fountain of living waters (Living Water is also one of His names), and to the tree of life.

This is just one of the wonderful mysteries to ponder as you search the Book of Mormon to learn more about Christ.  So you see, Lynne, even if I could list the references for you I wouldn’t because this is one of those situations where the joy is in the journey, and you will benefit so much more from seeking for the answer yourself than if someone were to tell you.

Now, go, search and feast on the words of Christ.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Is there significance in the napkin at Christ’s burial being folded?

Is there significance in the napkin at Christ’s burial being folded?

Question

 

Gramps,

I just read the part in the Bible where Jesus’ clothes were found by Peter and the napkin was laid separate from the rest of the clothes.  I went on line and it appears that it is a Christian belief that this was part of a Jewish tradition to indicate the master would be returning to the table and the servants were to wait for him to return before cleaning up.  Do you know of a source to prove this was a Jewish tradition?  I could not find one.

Dennis

 

Answer

 

Dear Dennis,

Sadly no.  It is a nice story, but several Jewish experts have said that they know of no such story.  Others have pointed out that  the translations of “napkin” and “folded” may not even be correct.

The good news is, of course, that we know even without this story, that Christ will return.  We look forward to that day with great anticipation.

It appears that the napkin story has been circulating since 2007.  Its popularity is likely due to not only to its reference of the Second Coming, but with the fascination of symbolism.  We are fortunate that there are many symbols used in the scriptures waiting to be discovered.  Deseret Book currently offers four books about symbolism to help us in our study of the scriptures.  They are:

The Lost Language of Symbolism by Alonzo Gaskill

Gospel Symbolism by Joseph Fielding McConkie

Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism by Donald W. Parry

Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration by Paul Thomas Smith and Matthew B. Brown

There are many treasures in the scriptures just waiting for us to discover them.

 

Gramps

 

**Painting by Walter Rane

 

 

How old was Mary when she gave birth to Jesus?

How old was Mary when she gave birth to Jesus?

Question

 

Gramps,

I was wondering how old Mary was when she gave birth to Jesus. I know that she was a young woman but my dad and I would like to know if it says anywhere how old she was.

Teleah

 

Answer

 

Dear Teleah,

Mary was probably somewhere between 12 and 14 when she gave birth to Jesus.

Our scriptures are silent on her age, but other sources relate stories of Mary’s childhood and betrothal to Joseph. One of these, The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (also called The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary) does not exist today. What we have is a Latin translation (attributed to Jerome (347-420 AD)) of a Hebrew text (attributed to Matthew). The trail is shaky, so generous scholars declare it to be a 4th century work. This text states that Mary was betrothed to Joseph while she was in “her fourteenth year” which places her at 13 (compare Joseph Smith’s First Vision in his “fifteenth year” where he is 14 years old), although I have seen some translations state she was 14.

An earlier source that provides an age is The Protovangelion of James (also called The Infancy Gospel of James). The earliest manuscript dates to the 3rd century, but textual analysis has placed the origin to mid- to late-2nd century AD (for comparison, the canonized infancy gospels date to 80-130 AD (Luke) and 80-100 AD (Matthew)). This text states that Mary was 12 when she was betrothed. As with Pseudo-Matthew, it places her in the temple, dedicated to the Lord, living there in the style of Samuel. She has to get married off because the priests are concerned “lest the holy place of the Lord our God be defiled” (8:3) with the onset of puberty (recall that the Law of Holiness required purification after giving birth (Leviticus 12:6 and Luke 2:22) and for menstruation (Lev. 15:19-30)).

This age narrative matches what we know of the period culture. Such engagements typically occurred when a woman was in her early teens (see Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament, by Holzapfel, Huntsman and Wayment, p. 137; and The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, in Richard Holzapfel, ed., p. 108). Geike paints for us the two variations of the betrothal ceremony that Joseph and Mary would have performed.

The betrothal was formally made with rejoicings in the house of the bride under a tent or slight canopy raised for the purpose. It was called the ‘making sacred’ as the bride thenceforth was sacred to her husband in the strictest sense. To make it legal, the bridegroom gave his betrothed a piece of money, or the worth of it, before witnesses, with the words, ‘Lo, thou art betrothed unto me,’ or by a formal writing in which similar words and the maiden’s name were given, and this in the same way was handed to her before witnesses” (Life and Words of Christ, vol. 1, page 99).

Edersheim adds the concluding blessing and the status of the betrothed:

[T]he whole being perhaps concluded by a benediction over the statutory cup of wine, which was tasted in turn by the betrothed. From that moment Mary was the betrothed wife of Joseph; their relationship as sacred, as if they had already been wedded. Any breach of it would be treated as adultery; nor could the band be dissolved except, as after marriage, by regular divorce” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 2, page 106).

We can then understand the shock when Joseph discovers his almost-wife is pregnant! The canonical account informs us that a divine manifestation assured Joseph that these events were sanctioned by God (Matthew 1:19-23). The apocryphal accounts mentioned above also deal with the fallout of the scandal that follows when an engaged couple are suddenly found to be pregnant before the marriage was publicly ratified. Mary and Joseph return to the temple to meet the accusation of a secret elopement (and possible adultery on Mary’s part). Participating in the ritual trial prescribed by God (Numbers 5:11-31) both Joseph and Mary were found blameless (Protovangelion 16). Like Joseph and Mary themselves, the community before whom they were betrothed also received a divine witness that the Lord found no fault in this couple.

Joseph then proceeded to formally take Mary as his young wife (either before or after Christ’s nativity, depending on your preference of Matt. 1:24-25 versus Luke 2:5). The betrothal period did not typically last for longer than a year for maidens (Edersheim, vol. 3, page 245), so Mary was probably no more than 15 at this point. Once again we turn to Edersheim to paint a scene.

On the evening of the actual marriage, the bride was led from her paternal home to that of her husband. First came the merry sounds of music; then they who distributed among the people wine and oil, and nuts among the children; next the bride, covered with the bridal veil, her long hair flowing, surrounded by her companinos, and led by ‘the friends of the bridegroom';, and ‘the children of the bridechamber.’ … Arrived at her new home, she was led to her husband. Some such formula as ‘Take her according to the Law of Moses and of Israel’ would be spoken, and the bride and bridegroom crowned with garlands. Then a formal legal instrument, called the Kethubah, was signed, which set forth [the legal obligations the husband has for his wife]. Then, after the prescribed washing of hands and benediction, the marriage-supper began — the cup being filled, and the solemn prayer of bridal benediction spoken over it. And so the feast lasts — it might be more than one day — … till at last ‘the friends of the bridegroom’ led the bridal pair to the Cheder and the Chuppah, or the bridal chamber and bed” (vol. 3, page 245).

Following Matthew’s account, at the end of these festivities, an exhausted but joyful Joseph and Mary simply went to sleep.

 

Gramps

 

 

When Christ visited the Americas, who were the 12 Apostles chosen?

When Christ visited the Americas, who were the 12 Apostles chosen?

Question

 

Gramps,

I heard in a talk by Elder Uchtdorf that when Jesus visited America after his resurrection, He chose his  Twelve Apostles. Who were they?

LD

 

Answer

 

LD,

Several years ago, I saw some beautiful artwork depicting the twelve Nephite disciples. It struck me at the time that there are probably, in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon plates, the gospels of Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, and others of the Nephite Twelve. As much as I love the “fifth gospel” contained in Third Nephi, I developed a deep yearning to read the words of the disciples whom Jesus ordained and commissioned among the Nephites. Most of us can probably name the majority of the biblical apostles of Jesus, but very few of us Latter-day Saints could name the apostles of the new world.

The information we have about them is sparse. We learn their names in the narrative of Third Nephi, when Jesus appeared to the Nephites the second time. Their names were Nephi, Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah. Among them, there were a number of brothers, which testifies of the power of families when it comes to faith. Nephi and Timothy were brothers. So were Mathonihah and Kumen (See 3 Nephi 19:4).

These were men of great faith. Nephi, we learn, had raised his brother from the dead. Take a moment and recall the early chapters of Third Nephi. That particular book shows the pattern in which we are living now. Secret combinations had threatened the freedom of the people. There was much wickedness and war was becoming all too frequent. There were dissenters (apostates) who lost their faith and then went among the Lamanites to stir up contention and persecution against those they once called “brother” and “sister.” Their government collapsed and the people formed up into tribes of partisans. Wickedness and violence were rampant. Then came the destruction at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion and the months of recovery that followed. These were men who came through that challenging period with their faith intact.

Some have questioned how there could be twelve apostles in Jerusalem and twelve in the Americas. Wouldn’t that make 24 apostles? It is important that we understand the differences in the nature of the callings of the Jerusalem Twelve and the Nephite Twelve. To Peter and his brethren, Jesus conferred the keys of the kingdom, which included the sealing authority (Matthew 16:19). Like our modern-day Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Jerusalem Twelve had the penultimate authority bestowed upon them. They presided over the Church in all of the world. Their commission was to go to all nations preaching the gospel. Their calling was also special in that they shall act as judges over the tribes of Israel in the last judgment. We read in Matthew 19:28:

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Scope of authority was different

Of the Nephite Twelve, the scope of their authority was different from, and subordinate to that of the Jerusalem Twelve:

1 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins (3 Nephi 12:1-2).

The Nephite Twelve were give authority to preside over the Nephite saints and perform gospel ordinances like baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament for them. They would also act as judges over them. We might think of them as twelve judges in Israel, a title by which we refer to our stake presidents and bishops.

27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am (3 Nephi 27:27).

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people… (3 Nephi 13:25).

In this capacity, they performed an important role in regulating and building up the Nephite Church after a period of apostasy and destruction.

 

Devote their lives to preaching the gospel

The Nephite Twelve were called upon to forsake worldly concerns and to devote their lives to preaching the gospel. As he did with the Jerusalem Twelve, the Lord made them special promises regarding their material needs as they served in their callings.

They were men who were filled with the Spirit. They were visionary men, seers, and revelators.

17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written (3 Nephi 26:17-18).

Acting as a Priesthood Council

The Nephite Twelve acted as a priesthood council, resolving disputes like the one that arose over the name of the Church.

1 And it came to pass that as the disciples of Jesus were journeying and were preaching the things which they had both heard and seen, and were baptizing in the name of Jesus, it came to pass that the disciples were gathered together and were united in mighty prayer and fasting.

2 And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in His name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?

3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter. (3 Nephi 27:1-3).

As mentioned earlier, they were very likely authors of scripture and their own gospels, as they were commanded by the Savior to do so.

23 Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden…

24 Write the works of this people, which shall be, even as hath been written, of that which hath been.

25 For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.

26 And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged.

We most often think of the Three Nephites, whose names we do not know. Mormon knew their names, but was forbidden to write them. They had ministered unto him and Moroni long after their mortal counterparts had died. Nephi recounts the marvelous moment when Jesus, like He had with his friends the Jerusalem Twelve, offered them their greatest dreams.

6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand. (3 Nephi 28:6-9)

When we finally get the opportunity to read of the ministries of the Nephite Twelve, it will be marvelous and inspiring. We get just a hint of their experiences from Mormon, who wrote:

18 But this much I know, according to the record which hath been given—they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching; baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost.

19 And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain.

20 And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.

21 And thrice they were cast into a furnace and received no harm.

22 And twice were they cast into a den of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts as a child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm.

23 And it came to pass that thus they did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus.  (3 Nephi 28:18-23)

Converted an entire people

In their lifetimes, the Nephite Twelve converted their entire people to the gospel and organized them into the United Order, wherein the members of the Church shared all property in common. Their ministries established nearly two centuries in which there was peace, justice, and equity among the people. In Fourth Nephi, we learn that the Three Nephites were still at work in their ministries over 200 years later, even as their people rejected the gospel and fell away. One false church that denied the Christ persecuted the believers and attempted unsuccessfully to kill the Three Nephites (4 Nephi 1:29-31). Then we learn the tantalizing truth that the Three Nephites who remained on earth in a translated state are among us still.

24 And now I, Mormon, make an end of speaking concerning these things for a time.

25 Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world.

26 But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.

27 And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.

28 They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.

29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them.

30 And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good.

31 Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ;

32 Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day (3 Nephi 28:1-9, 18-32).

After the first century of the Nephite golden era had finished, other disciples were ordained in their stead to watch over and lead the Church until the fourth generation fell away and rejected the gospel (See 4 Nephi 1:14). As wickedness expanded, the Three Nephites ministry became less public. Nevertheless, they did visit and strengthen Mormon and Moroni as they endured the hellish scenes of the Nephites’ last days.

10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

11 But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.

In a 1978 Ensign article, we find that the Three Nephites were among the messengers who appeared to and instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” (See Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith).

To conclude, the Nephite Twelve were apostolic witnesses of Jesus Christ, who ministered among their people and did marvelous works in the name of their Master, saving thousands of souls. Their calling and authority differed from the Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem, but they did a marvelous work and a wonder in their own way. Their works are recorded in scripture yet to be revealed. What a wonderful blessing it will be to be able to study their words and experiences when the Lord deems to bring forth those texts! And how cool is is that there are three of them still out there—today!

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

Have Prophets of the Church seen Jesus Christ in person?

Have Prophets of the Church seen Jesus Christ in person?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

We read in the Book of Mormon and the Bible that Christ appeared to His servants throughout history. Is there any evidence that all Prophets of the Church have seen Him in person?

Julia

 

Answer

 

Julia,

We have no way of knowing for certain, because it is not usually announced publicly when such a sacred event occurs. I have no issue with thinking that it is possible. I even think it could be quite likely. Especially given a quote from Oliver Cowdery to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that was kindly provided to me in research for this answer:

You have been indebted to other men in the first instance for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will, therefore, see the necessity of getting this testimony from Heaven.

“‘Never cease striving till you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief, and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hands upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the  same. If the Saviour in former days laid his hands on his disciples, why not in latter days?

In this example we see that it could be a mandatory part of becoming an Apostle. Once again, it would be a very sacred event, hence the reason we don’t hear about it when it occurs.

A related, and interesting thing to note, though, is that each of us has the opportunity to be visited by the Lord as we prove ourselves prepared for such an event. There is another event that is not discussed too often in the Church called ‘receiving the Second Comforter’. In short, when we reach such a point of righteousness, the Savior Jesus Christ himself will appear to us. The Bible Dictionary says this on the matter;

Two Comforters are spoken of. The first is the Holy Ghost (John 14:16–27; Moro. 8:26; D&C 21:9; 42:17; 90:11). The Second Comforter is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. “When any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him” (D&C 88:3–4; 130:3; HC 3:381). See also Holy Ghost.

Surely we don’t think that the privilege of seeing our Savior for ourselves would be restricted to the Prophets. All the blessings of righteous obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ are available to each and every one of us. Clearly this includes the visitation of Christ himself.

Now, I must remind you that such an event would clearly be a very sacred one, thus very unlikely to be discussed publicly. There are records of the then current Prophets of the Church seeing the Savior from time to time, but they are desperately rare. Should such events be made public simply because they have happened? I don’t think so. There are special and personal events that have taken place between my wife and me in public places, and with other family. Even those that are not spiritual in nature are events that I keep to myself because of the precious nature of them. They are dear to my heart and to tell them to the world lessens their value to me. Were I granted such an opportunity to see my Savior, I would hardly think to tell anyone outside my home, much less the world at large.

Having said that, an important question related to yours would be this; why would we need to know if Christ has appeared to all the Prophets since Joseph Smith’s first vision?

I can see the appeal of it, but the spiritual benefit of such knowledge is more difficult for me to grasp. For example, I have a firm testimony of Joseph Smith’s first vision. I also have a firm testimony that each and every prophet to follow Joseph Smith has been called of God to that position. I have a firm testimony that the revelations given to the Prophets have been, and continue to be the will of God given to us, to strengthen us and guide us back to His presence at the last day.

It surely would be wonderful to have accounts written that Christ still appears to his Prophets today, and as I said above, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if He does. At the same time, my faith in Christ, and my belief in His word does not require me to know whether or not He still does so.

 

Gramps

 

 

Was Jesus really a carpenter?

Was Jesus really a carpenter?

Question

 

Gramps,

Jesus is continually referred to as a “carpenter” (woodworker).  However, I find no reference to the Savior actually working with wood.  If anything, Christ was probably a mason, as nearly all of his references and parables seem to focus on rock, sand,  and firm foundations.  As such, I find “carpenter” to likely be a mistranslation during the organization of the Bible.

Your thoughts?

Bob

 

Answer

 

Hi Bob,

The New Testament refers to Joseph as a τέκτων (tektōn), which is normally translated in English as “carpenter.”  A more general translation would be a “builder” or “artisan.” Since this would have been the trade Jesus was brought up in, I love the idea that he was brought up as a “builder,” since of course he is the master Builder of his kingdom. As a “builder,” he would doubtless have been familiar with the general mechanical properties of sand and stone, and would likely have known by experience that houses built on sand are unsafe. (A good resource for such translation issues is the Blue Letter Bible.)

I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say that “carpenter” is a mistranslation. There are separate terms for “iron-worker” and “stone-worker” that were commonly used in ancient Koine Greek; we can assume that one of these terms would have been used to describe Joseph if it had been more fitting than “tektōn.” Translating between languages is a tricky business. Translating from an ancient language into a modern one is even more fraught with difficulty. So I’m happy to give the translators a pass for using this term, which is both accurate and reasonable in context. But privately, I like to think of Joseph and Jesus as “builders”.

 

Gramps

 

 

Is the idea of Christ having nails driven through his wrists unique to the LDS Church?

Is the idea of Christ having nails driven through his wrists unique to the LDS Church?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

While waiting in a hospital lobby today, I glanced through the March 2014 issue of “War Cry”, a magazine published by The Salvation Army.  The picture on the cover shows what appears to be Christ reaching out to a young woman.  Christ’s wrist has a wound on it.   Are there other churches that teach that Christ had nails driven through his wrists?  I always thought this was a unique LDS doctrine.

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

Archaeologists and historians are still in some dispute over whether crucified persons generally were tied to the cross or fastened by nails through either the hand or the wrist. Indisputably, our Lord was pierced as is attested in the gospels and by eye witnesses. As the practice of crucifixion fell out of favor, the knowledge of the particulars was lost from the public memory. By the middle ages, artwork of the crucifixion depicted the account as recorded in the Gospels – that is, Christ was nailed to the cross and carried the wound in his hands (see Luke 24:39-40, for instance). This tradition carried on until the 1930’s when Pierre Barbet crucified cadavers in the manner depicted in artwork. His conclusion was that the flesh and sinews of the hands could not bear the weight and proposed the wrist between the radius and ulna as a more practical placement of the nail (for more on Barbet’s thoughts on the mechanics of crucifixion, see Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus as Described by a Surgeon by Pierre Barbet, 1953). This doesn’t contradict the historical record because The Greek word for hand (cheir) in describing the Lord’s pierced hands includes the wrists. Compare this with Acts 12:7 which uses the same word to describe Pete’s chained hands. I’ve never seen shackles on hands. They are typically placed on wrists.

More recently, Barbet’s opinion has been challenged, most notably by Frederick T. Zugibe (see Pierre Barbet Revisited for his rebuttal decades later). Unfortunately, the conversation is an argument from both sides to vindicate the spurious shroud of Turin. Among historians and archaeologists, the debate continues (as shown by The National Geographic).  Since the mid-20th century, the world (and artists) has been given a different perspective on the details of crucifixion than the one held by former artists. As a result you will find modern depictions that show the traditional palm-piercing, as well as some that display a wrist-piercing.

While these studies can be very useful toward understanding the times in which our Lord lived and even in growing sympathies for the agony He suffered on the cross, disciples learn much more about Christ by being buried with Him in baptism, continuing on to receive the other saving ordinances, and obeying His commandments given through living oracles.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Why did Jesus need to be baptized?

Why did Jesus need to be baptized?

Question

Gramps,

Some say that Jesus was baptized just to set an example for the rest of us. Others say that even though he was perfect it was still required of him to be baptized. Although it did set a great example, I can’t understand why he actually needed to be baptized because he was the son of God and was perfect in every way.

Lee

 

Answer

Lee,

Let’s take a look at the Gospels in the New Testament and see what Jesus himself said about the matter;

In Matthew 3:15 we read

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

In this we can see that Jesus needed to display his humility before His Father. He had to demonstrate (or set an example) what is required of those who seek to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. At the same time, it was required of Him also. Had He not submitted to baptism, He would not have ‘fulfilled all righteousness’. Jesus and his life on this earth serve several important purposes. One of those purposes is to demonstrate what is needed in order to become everything He now is. Remember that we are likewise promised an inheritance at the Father’s hand should we also be as obedient.

The only difference between us and Jesus, in this matter, was that Jesus needed no Atonement, was not guilty of any sin. We, on the other hand, absolutely need the Atonement, for we are all guilty of sin. The glory of the Atonement is that as we prove ourselves. We may yet be granted “all that the father hath” because of the wondrous example set by our dear Savior Jesus Christ. He marked the way, without omitting a single step on the path. All we must do is follow in His steps. The Atonement will help us overcome our mortal frailties as we fight against them in this life. So long as we never give up the fight, but ‘finish the race’. Unimaginable blessings will await us after this life.

 

Gramps

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