Friday, December 23, 2016

God's Appointed Times- Now is the Time for Men to Prepare to Meet God

Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you— The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you. For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry-go ye out from Babylon, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord. (D&C 133:1-6)

Through the mouth of his Servant Joseph Smith, God has declared a curse of judgment upon the nations that forget God and upon all the ungodly. As a result the eyes of ungodly Nations and peoples shall see the revelation of  the arm of the Lord in the experiencing of these judgments to their destruction to their salvation.  Oh, The Greatness and the Mercy of our God, for even in the midst of judgment and calamities, he remembers his people both Gentile, Remnant, and Jews in giving them divine instructions to prepare them for the days ahead:

1. Set yourselves apart by gathering together
2. Be clean
3. Call our solemn assemblies
4. Speak often to one another
5. Call upon the name of the Lord


This revelation is especially significant to us as it is a prophetic instruction and fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Joel.  The prophet Joseph Smith recorded that when visited by the Angel Moroni it was declared, " He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in...." (JSH 1:41)  The words of Joel as found in the second chapter from the 28th verse to the last speak of the day are specifically significant:

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the and it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls."

The Lord is making a specific promise that he will pour out his Spirit on all flesh before the awful an dreadful Day of Judgment, but like his words to Joseph Smith a prophetic promise is given, "...and it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls."

Using an ancient pattern of teaching among the Israelites, Moroni draws upon the portion of words of the Prophet Joel to point us to the greater words of Joel that precede his quotation to fill in the greater things that describe the predicament of the Lord's people and his instructions on how to prepare for The Day of the Lord.


Like ancient Israel, our days are numbered. In the true prophetic call to repentance Joseph Smith fulfilled the prophecy of Joel in declaring this warning to both Leader and lay member:

"Hear this, you leaders of the people.
Listen, all who live in the land.
In all your history, has anything like this happened before?

Tell your children about it in the years to come,
and let your children tell their children.
Pass the story down from generation to generation."


"What the cutting locust left,
the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left,
the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left,
the destroying locust has eaten.

Awake, you drunkards, and weep,
and wail, all you drinkers of wine,
because of the sweet wine,
for it is cut off from your mouth.

For a nation has come up against my land,
powerful and beyond number;
its teeth are lions’ teeth,
and it has the fangs of a lioness.

It has laid waste my vine
and splintered my fig tree;
it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
their branches are made white."

A day of consumption has been decreed upon the covenant Land of Promise. Here the Prophet Joel draws upon Isaiah as a warning has been issued to the drunkards, "Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!

Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the land with his hand.

The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot;and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer:
when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand." (Isaiah 28:1-4)


Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth
for the bridegroom of her youth.

(We like Israel are called to be the bride of Christ- his called out assembly. In utter humility and submission, let us offer our sorrow and desire for our Messiah. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)

The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
from the house of the LORD.
The priests mourn,
the ministers of the LORD.

(We have or will be cut off from the ordinances (sacrament/temple ordinances) of the House of the Lord. Let the priesthood mourn- And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.)

The fields are destroyed,
the ground mourns,
because the grain is destroyed,
the wine dries up,
the oil languishes.

(The people of the land are destroyed, the land mourns, The Prosperity of the Land of Promise Dries up.  The desire for righteousness dries up and the spirit of the Lord pines with longing and desire.  And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.)

The Husbandmen of the field will dry up and be ashamed ;
Wail, O vine dressers,
for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field has perished.

The vine dries up;
the fig tree languishes.
Pomegranate, palm, and apple,
all the trees of the field are dried up,
and gladness (joy) dries up
from the children of man.

(Those leaders who were called to nourish and oversee of the people are dried up and will be ashamed. The first fruits of the latter-day harvest are dead, the tree that brought forth the figs grows feeble and weak, all the fruits and people of the field dry up in that the oil of gladness (the spirit of God) dries up from the children of men. And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.)

Dress yourselves in burlap and weep, you priests!
Wail, you who serve before the altar!
Come, spend the night in burlap,
you ministers of my God.
For there is no grain or wine
to offer at the Temple of your God.

(There is no harvest offering of people presented at the Temple of your God.)

Consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the LORD your God,
and cry out to the LORD.

(Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry-go ye out from Babylon, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord.)

Alas for the day!
For the day of the LORD is near,
and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

(And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;for ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted?)

Like Isaiah and Joel, The Prophet Joseph Smith declared a voice of warning and promise to those of us in these Latter-days.  Our situation is a sad one:

"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. 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 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? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?" (Mormon 8: 35-39)


While everyday should be observed in remembrance of God and his commandments, God has appointed solemn days for his people to present themselves as an offering of grain and wine before his Throne.  At these appointed times, his people were commanded to present themselves and call upon his name.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.

“These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations (solemn assembly), which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them....And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation (set apart assembly). You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations." (Leviticus 23 1-4, 21)

There are Seven specifically appointed times divided into Three Seasons of Observance:

Appointed Times of Observance:


1. Passover (Pesach)
2. Unleavened Bread (Chag Ha Matzah)
3. First Fruits (Ha Bikkurim)

4. Pentecost (Shavuot)

5. Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
6. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
7. Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Erroneously, many label these appointed times as the "Jewish Feasts", but these appointed times were given to all Israel including the gentiles who were numbered among the House of Israel.  non-Jewish Bible believers understand the festivals to be exclusively Jewish feasts. (Deuteronomy 16:10-11, 14-16).  These are the appointed time where in the King of Israel is the host of the assembly and where we are invited to present ourselves before him as his invited guests.  They are divine appointments and covenant rehearsals before God wherein we set ourselves apart, become clean in the waters of baptism and purified by the Holy Ghost, and call upon the name of God.  This same pattern is also displayed in the Book of Mormon by King Benjamin's people and the Solemn Assembly at the Temple in the Land of Bountiful in 3 Nephi.


 As we read the scriptures and hear sacred words quoted in our temples we hear the command given to “call (qara) upon the name of the Lord”.   When we hear these words spoken the first thing that usually comes to mind is to pray (palel).    In fact, the phrase “calling upon the name of the Lord” is best understood as covenant language that can be likened to a subject calling upon (or appealing to) the King who is the owner and ruler of everything.  Like Job who makes his appeal to God and the Court of Heaven, we are dealing with a covenant concept that has more in common with our modern court room and legal proceedings than our nightly dinner with Dad.

In Ancient Israel salvation is seen as drawing near or coming back into the presence of God from where we have fallen.  Because of our fallen state we cannot enter directly back into the presence of God because no unclean thing can reside in his presence.  In his mercy God is continually inviting us to come (boh) unto him by creating a place for him to come to. Calling upon the name of the Lord is similar to making a covenant/legal appeal to the throne of heaven. In calling upon his name we acknowledge our guilt before him and request his mercy and our desire to be one with him.

What is called the Mercy Seat or the Ark of the Covenant is literally the throne of God where his presence sits.  The Holy Place where the menorah, the horned altar, and the table of shew bread sits is his Throne room where the High Priest goes to offer up  appeals to Heaven and to inquire for further light and knowledge (instruction) from God to carry out his laws or to seek judgments and dispensations from the King of Kings based upon the needs of the people, the laws, and the terms of his covenant.  In fact words such as the “way”, the “truth”, and the “life, as well as the “gate”, etc. are all terms that draw upon this imagery of God’s throne room/ courtroom.


Has it ever occurred to you to take God at his word? If then God has commanded us to "Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye! by:

1. Set yourselves apart by gathering together
2. Be clean
3. Call our solemn assemblies
4. Speak often to one another
5. Call upon the name of the Lord

Then perhaps it is time we do not procrastinate the day of our repentance and fulfill the word of God by DOING exactly what he has commanded in preparation for the Day of Judgment to come.

"Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:31-32)

Friday, December 9, 2016



It can be a tremendous leap of faith to cross the gulf which separates the ways of the world to the strait and narrow path of a covenant walk with God.  The first step of this journey wherein we enter the gate to the city of God is represented by our belief in Messiah and entering into the waters of baptism- immersion in the waters of life.  In doing so, we come forth a new creature in God, but this new walk can feel a little intimidating and sometimes overwhelming.  How then do we walk?  What then should we do as we press forward to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life:

"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark." (2 Nephi 32:1-4)

In Israelite culture an angel is a messenger of God who comes to deliver the Words of God.  The Holy Ghost as the mind and life of God enters into us and in doing so brings us to a relationship of oneness with the creator.  True messengers or Angels speak by the power of God not only because they deliver his words in exactness, but because their message they deliver is meant to bring us into a state of oneness with God--his life, his character, and his attributes. In receiving the Holy Ghost (Ruach ha Kodesh) we become vessels of light that both receives the life and light of God to bestow upon others.  This connection is key as it changes us into vessels or fountains of living waters to both God and Man

"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." (2 Nephi 32:8-9)


Prayer can have dramatic effects in our inner and outer worlds. Through prayer we walk in the spirit of God and in doing so healing comes to the brokenhearted.  Through prayer deliverance comes to the captives and the blind receive their sight.  Through prayer the oppressed become the liberated.  It can change the course of mighty rivers and move mountains. It can and has changed the course of human events. Prayer can affect the consciousness of others.  It is not wishful thinking. True prayer is a union of  heart and the mind wherein streams of living waters flow out into all levels of the material and spiritual worlds of existence.  When one creates in this manner the images of the heart as they mirror the creator become manifest reality in our physical world.

The desires of the heart in oneness with God energizes that image so that as children of God we engage in co-creation with the Father of Lights. The greater the prayer of desire the stronger the spiritual creation.  Like a seed planted and nourished it brings forth after its own kind and the reality of the spiritual creation becomes the reality of our present existence. As this occurs the spiritual creation is birthed into this world even as all things were created by God spiritually before they were created physically thereby neutralizing all doubt, fear, and competitive creations.

Without the power of strong intent and desire the power of prayer is neutralized as it becomes empty words bouncing off the ceiling.  Prayer at that point becomes "vain repetition"  and is not “heard”. Prayer has to be fueled with true intent toward the oneness that comes from loving God and bestowing love upon others. Without this life giving oneness the offered prayer has not the strength to breath life in the physical world.

Our Western ideas of prayer come out of a Greek Mindset where prayer is often conducted in long discourses of words.  While words do have a place, in the Hebrew mind the words of a prayer are meant to evoke desire-- i.e., form the vessel.  Praying in Desire is one of the highest forms of prayer in that out of the desires of our hearts the often unspoken words ascend before the Throne of Heaven as a sweet incense.  Words without desire have no form or life and never ascend beyond the mouth of the supplicant. We can see this same principle being practiced by the Nephites in the very presence of Christ, "And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire." (3 Nephi 19: 24)

In the Israelite mind the physical world and the spiritual worlds are intertwined. A stirring of desire and action below creates a stirring of desire and action from Above to reach down and lift the one's offering the prayer like a Father who lifts his small child into his safe, loving, and protective arms.  Such an idea can be seen even among the scattered remnants of Israel abroad who recorded their teachings for their followers and descendants:

“One who prays must devote his heart to the meaning of the words that come forth from one’s mouth. One must imagine that the Shekhina [presence of God) stands opposite him. All extraneous thought must be removed so that ones’ thoughts and intent in prayer will be pure. One should imagine as if one is speaking to a king of flesh and blood before whom one’s words would be prepared and conscientious, G-d forbid to make a mistake. All the more so [should one be this careful] before the King, Who is the King of kings Who examines every thought. Thus was the way of the pious and the men of renown: they would meditate and direct their attention to their prayers until they reached the level of detachment from the physical world and the dominance of the power of mind...One must meditate upon those things that humble the heart, and direct [one’s heart] to his Heavenly Father.” (Shulkan Arukh, Orah Haim 98:1)

As we reach up declaring, "Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth." we stir the realm of the spiritual before the throne of heaven as all doubtful and random thoughts fall away as we bring our desires into oneness with God.  This idea of focus of mind and desire is what is known as singleness of heart.  By walking in the realm of oneness in desire, thought, and actions with God and his commandments one is speaking the language of God.  It is this kind of prayer engaged in daily practice that shakes the realms of the spirit and changes the course of events here in the material world.  This is how true miracles occur.

True miracles are created first spiritually by coming into union or oneness in desire and thought with God in the realm of the spirit only to be carried out by actions of faith in our world here below.  Prayer of this kind causes a union of heaven and earth and causes the hearts of men to be cleansed and raised like sweet incense rising before the throne of heaven.  This type of prayer is not a abstract thought or principle but an intentional act of creation everyday.  This is the secret to embracing the arms of redemption and the creation of a miraculous reality.  This is the secret to Israel's purpose and her preserving power as salt that preserves. No weapon forged by man can stand against a people who have come into oneness with God.

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t always know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26-27)