Saturday, December 31, 2016

Malachi 3, part 3

Malachi 3:6-7

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

God is an unchangeable being; if he were changeable he would cease to be God.[1]  Therefore, what He commanded, taught, expounded and required at one time is true still today.[2] Covenants, blessings and promises He extended in one time period He will extend in ours.  We need to qualify ourselves; we need to be ready for the day when the covenants and ordinances are re-established. The Sons of Jacob are literal descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham.  As such they have a right to the blessings (and the curses) which stem from the covenant God established with Abraham.  In these verses Christ is warning them that they have ALL gone astray from His ordinances, even from the days of their fathers, Father Abraham, Father Isaac and Father Jacob/Israel, yet Christ continues to extend mercy unto them; He promises them that they will not be consumed if they will repent and return unto Him.[3]

The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost promised here (2 Nephi 31:17) is given without man’s involvement, comes from heaven, is promised by both the Father and the Son. It is a signal of redemption, purification and holiness. It is included in the “gate” for entering into God’s presence.  For God is a “consuming fire” and those who enter into that presence must be able to endure that fire. (Heb. 12: 29; see also Deu. 4: 24.)  Without the capacity to do so, a person would be consumed by the flames. (Lev. 10: 1-2.)[4]

Jesus Christ wants us to repent and turn and face him.  He is speaking to all of us, but primarily to the leaders of the churches that profess to know his name, those who have transgressed the laws and changed his everlasting ordinances.[5] By changing the ordinances the leaders have led people away from Christ.  Christ is extending the invitation to return to Him; His promise is that once we do so He will return to us.  This is referring to coming back into the literal presence of the Savior and is not limited to feeling His presence in your heart![6] How can we return unto Him?  Is it possible to know, understand and observe, in the correct manner as far as is revealed, the laws and ordinances contained in the scriptures so that we might return unto Him in order that He might return unto us?  Can we do so as an individual, outside of an organized religious institution? Does doing so require courage?  Does doing so require that we choose between the Lord and the leaders of our churches? Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;” this invitation is extended to every soul as God is no respecter of persons.[7] 

In Malachi 3:6-7 Christ explains that when this invitation is extended to the church leaders they will reply “Wherein shall we return?”  In their pride and loftiness church leaders presume that they are observing all the laws, rites and ordinances necessary for salvation. 

[1] Jehovah — The covenant or proper name of the God of Israel. It denotes the “Unchangeable One,” “the eternal I Am” (Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4)
[2] Doctrine and Covenants 20:17 By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them
[3] Snuffer, Denver “Abraham’s Sons”  April 15, 2014 Last night I was awakened by this: Did not Ishmael and Isaac mourn together and bury their father Abraham? Was not their father’s blood precious unto them both? Does not the blood of Abraham run in both Isaac and Ishmael? Does not the blood of Abraham run in both Esau and Jacob? Let Ishmael today find the blood of his father, Abraham, precious still. Let Isaac likewise today find the blood of his father, Abraham, precious again. For Abraham’s sake, let all the brothers who descend from Abraham now mourn when Abraham’s blood is spilled by any of his descendants. If Abraham’s sons do not find his blood to be precious still, there remains nothing between them but the shedding of Abraham’s blood. For all his sons who fail to find Abraham’s blood to be precious will be held to account by God, who will judge between the sons of Isaac and the sons of Ishmael, the sons of Esau and the sons of Jacob for father Abraham’s sake, with whom God covenanted. The sons of Abraham will not be permitted to continue this disregard of their common father’s blood without provoking God, who will soon judge between Abraham’s sons.
[4] Snuffer, Denver “2 Nephi 31:17” August 28, 2010
[5]Isaiah 24:5-6 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. (KJV)
[6] John 14:23 (KJV) and Doctrine and Covenants 130:3 The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.
[7] Acts 10:34-35: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (KJV)