There is much speculation and zeal about the Gifts of the Spirit abroad in the world. At the same time, there is also much mis-information and many counterfeits. In a world where the evils of the rebellious watchers have been perpetuated and used to bring much of mankind under bondage, these desired gifts give the disciples of Messiah not only witnesses that the Kingdom of God is with them, but also the power to set the captive souls free.
We read stories of great healings, revelations from Heaven, the gift of tongues, the parting of seas, and the restoration of souls and desire the same experiences as the ancients. In fact the promise of the Messiah himself rings in our ears, "I am telling you the truth, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John14:12)
The sincere seeker of God (YHVH) looks to the many witnesses and miraculous events of deliverance recorded in the scriptures and yet in our modern society we look around and find these "greater works" almost non-existent. At the same time, the prophet Moroni calls us to remembrance of these mighty works:
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) is things which are hoped for (expected based on a promise) and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith (trusting loyalty).
For it was by faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
But because of the faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH).
Behold it was by faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) that they of old were called after the holy order of God.
Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.
For if there be no faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith( demonstrating trusting loyalty to YHVH).
Behold, it was the faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
Behold, it was the faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
Behold, it was the faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH), even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
And it was by faith (trusting loyalty to YHVH) that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith(demonstrating trusting loyalty to YHVH).
And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith( demonstrated trusting loyalty to YHVH); wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
And there were many whose faith (trust and loyalty to YHVH)was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad." (Ether 12:6-19)
THE GIFTS ARE GIVEN TO ENABLE US TO FULFILL THE GOD'S COMMANDMENTS
"And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief (infidelity and disloyalty). And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good (fulfills God's commandments or fulfills his Torah) among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good (fulfills God's commandments and his Torah), he shall work by the power and gifts of God." (Moroni 10:24-25)
Because we as individuals and as a people demonstrate infidelity and disloyalty to God (YHVH) by not properly interpreting, and guarding, and carrying out God's commandments as given in the Torah and the Sermon on the Mount, the gifts of God are withheld. Would a loving parent give his child a gift that would enable him to commit a crime that would them bring him under the penalty of law? Would you give your child a gift that would enable he or she to then attribute the gift to Satan or another False God like Baal?
The idea of wanting gifts from God (YHVH) while saying that his laws and commandments are done away or no longer need to be followed is like a married woman who desires the spiritual and financial blessings of being the wife to a man all the while having an affair with another man who is not her husband. This type of disloyalty and infidelity (i.e. unbelief) is like wanting to live in the Zion of God with all its attendant blessings and glories while at the same time keeping the law of a different King and a different Kingdom.
The Gifts of Spirit are given to an individual and to a people to enable them to fulfill (i.e. properly interpret, keep [heb. shamar-to guard], and carry out) God's Commandments. They are not given to satisfy the curiosity of the non-believer. They are not given to give credibility to an idol or a false authority system. They are given to enable those who fulfill God's commandments and those who seek to fulfill God's commandments the enabling power to carry them out. In Hebrew that which is "Good" is that which leads you to fulfill God's commandments. This same teaching was delivered by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts." (D&C 46:8-9)
In Hebrew to consume it upon our lusts is the desire to receive from God to covet it for ourselves. Rather than seeking to receive from God to bestow upon others, those who seek to consume the gifts of God upon their lusts seek from God for their own glory, reputation, position, and benefit.
"And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby. (D&C 46:10-12)
It seems strange to some that many of the laws revealed in the Torah of Moses seem to pertain to things that appear so mundane or "not so spiritual", but to God (YHVH) even that which appears temporal is spiritual. We are commanded to work and to provide for our families. Fulfilling this commandment is not consuming upon our lusts but carryout God's ordained directive to provide for our families, to generate a surplus, and to administer to those who stand in need. We are commanded to be clean physically and to eat clean foods. Fulfilling this commandment enables our bodies to function and work properly to carryout our daily responsibilities and to receive more of the Spirit of God. This is why God has revealed so many of his precious laws to us so that in teaching us his laws we may obtain the blessings. By obtaining the blessings from God (YHVH) we may then bestow upon our families and those who stand in need:
"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:20-21)
To obtain the blessings we seek we must have trusting loyalty to the giver (YHVH) and we must know the law upon which the blessing is predicated.
THE GIFT OF ANGELS:
"For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness." (Moroni 7:30)
By examining the laws and functions surrounding some of the various Gifts of God we will begin to understand how God administers to us. One such gift or blessing is the gift of the ministering of Angels. In Moroni 7:30 we are given a key to the ministration of angels, "For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness."
Over the years, I have heard just about every theory in Mormonism to explain this scripture each getting more and more complex with every explanation because people just can't seem to figure out why Angels have ceased to minister as in the ancient days. The complex doctrinal theories fall apart when compared to simplicity of the Hebrew scriptures. So let's take a look at Moroni 7:30 with our Israelite glasses on:
For behold - Listen and comprehend
they are subject unto him - true angels are servants of Messiah
to minister according to the word of his command - they deliver their message in strict accordance with Christ's instructions
showing themselves unto them of
strong faith - those whose desires and actions demonstrate trust and loyalty to God
firm (decisive) mind (will, intent)
in every form of godliness - In Hebrew godliness is equated with keeping God's commandments.
So if we put it all together in our modern vernacular it might read something like this:
"Listen and comprehend, true Messengers are servants of Messiah who are subordinate to the decrees and instructions of Messiah, to deliver their message in accordance to Messiah's Laws (Torah- Instructions), manifesting themselves to those whose mind and actions demonstrate trust and loyalty to God and who have a decisive will or intent to keep YHVH's commandments."
In other words: Angels come to teach the words of Christ to those who place their trust in and are loyal to him and whose goal is to fulfill his commandments in their every day lives.
The Principle Being Communicated
The principle that is being communicated is that the reason that Angels appear, or that Gifts are given, or that revelations are given is not to dazzle you with special effects, satisfy your vain curiosity, or give you the warm fuzzies. They are given for the express purpose of fulfilling and helping you to fulfill God's commandments (his laws and instructions). They are to give you instructions consistent with his laws that will lead you from a state of covenant alienation to covenant oneness with Christ. If a messenger or angel comes, or miracles are worked, and amazing signs are given, but they lead you away from fulfilling God's laws and commandments then you may know of a certainty those things were not from God.
A GREAT PROMISE:
Understanding this principle is of great importance because it leads us to one of the Greatest promises from God given in the Book of Mormon:
"And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you." (Moroni 7:26)
The concept of taking upon the name, asking in the name, calling upon the name is very foreign to our culture. We have been taught to believe that it is literally the vocal expression of saying "in the name of Jesus Christ" and while this is the outward expression of this principle, the Hebrew understanding of establishing God's name has to do with representing him accurately and you establishing his righteous dominion and kingdom in your home and the world around you.
In a Hebrew Mind, God in Moroni 7:26 is promising that whatever you ask of God that will establish or help you to fulfill his commandments and decrees with loyalty to him believing that you will receive- it will be done!
Like a righteous King he gives liberally to all those who seek assistance in keeping and enacting his commandments in their lives. It is not a promise to fulfill our lusts for wealth, status, power, etc, but a promise that if we are seeking to fulfill his commandments we may ask for his enabling power and instructions through Angels, Gifts of the Spirit, and frankly all that the Father has to go out and then take action to live and establish his Kingdom (laws, instructions, decrees, judgments, etc) on this earth and in our own lives---EVEN TO THE ASKING AND BECOMING HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS THROUGH CHRIST! What better blessing OR gift could you ask for?
DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER-ASCENDING A LITTLE HIGHER
It takes the higher to produce in this world what appears to be the miraculous. The natural laws of those kingdoms transacting at a transcendent level above those we think we know in this world. It is the level of experience that is referred to by the Israelite as the Sod level of learning. It is not something that can be communicated in a book or a manual but must be revealed to any man or woman by direct experience in the Councils of Heaven and the Assembly of the Firstborn. They are the Great and Marvelous things of God and the things which are often referred to as "not lawful to utter." But it only takes the stirring of desire in our hearts here, to stir the fires of these Celestial Worlds.
This ancient principle is demonstrated in the epic of the Prophets Nephi and Lehi who were imprisoned only to find themselves being surrounded by an angry mob of dissenting Nephites and Lamanites who sought to take away their lives:
"And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned. And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage. For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement.
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did stand forth and began to speak unto them, saying: Fear not, for behold, it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing, in the which is shown unto you that ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us.
And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth; but behold, they did not fall. And behold, they that were in the prison were Lamanites and Nephites who were dissenters.
And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them.
And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings." (Helaman 5: 22-29)
Here we see Nephi and Lehi, prophets who had ascended and descended between the worlds, acting as repairers of the breach and the connecting link to manifest the miraculous presence of God in the very presence of people who sought to murder them. The miraculous was not dependent upon the faith of the murderers, but the trusting loyalty of Nephi and Lehi. As Moroni said:
"Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost." (Ether 12:14)
We read of these miraculous experiences, but we do not experience these things among us today. Yet as we contemplate these things, we should also remember the words of Moroni that there were MANY who experienced these things:
"And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad." (Ether 12:19)
And the testimony of Alma regarding the Holy Order of God:
"Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish; Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.
Many is obviously more than one, two, or even twelve. In Hebraic thought as in our Modern mind set "exeedingly great many" means too numerable to count. In other words, every man or woman who chooses can be that connecting point or the repairer of the covenant breach. In repairing the breach of covenant we not only restore the conditions of holiness but the sacred space where Heaven can be revealed to man on earth and the miraculous restored:
"Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven." (JST Genesis 14: 26-32)
The Key To Being Ordained After This Order:
When we think the word ordained we often think of pictures of men laying their hands upon another to ordain them to an office or a specific mission. While this may be one type of physical ritual that communicates ordination, in Hebraic thought to be ordained is that something is decreed by the voice of God (YHVH). This is why this decree is given by the calling of his own voice and came not by man, nor the will of man, neither father nor mother (i.e. lineage), neither by beginning days or end of years (i.e. irrespective of age). It was these men and women who both resonated with and ascended between worlds who could manifest the miraculous powers of God, accordingly to his will (ie. to fulfill the commandments and decrees of God). These were the men and women who could, "put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers".
The Key To resonating with God (YHVH) and ascending and descending between worlds was hidden in a unique Hebrew poetic expression recorded in the Book of Helaman:
"Thus we may see
that YHVH is merciful unto all
who will in the sincerity of their hearts call upon his holy name
Yes thus we see
that the gate of heaven is open unto all
even to those
who will believe on the name of Yehoshua Mashiach
who is the Son of Elohiym
Yes we see
that whoever will may lay hold upon the word of Elohiym
which is quick and powerful
which shall divide asunder
all the cunning and the snares
and the wiles of the evil one
and lead the man of Mashiach
in a strait and narrow course
across that everlasting gulf of misery
which is prepared to engulf the wicked
and land their souls
yes their immortal souls
at the right hand of Elohiym
in the kingdom of heaven to sit down
with Avraham and Yitzchak and with Yacov
and with all our holy fathers
to go no more out"
(Voices from the Dust Volume 3, pg 16-17, Compare Helaman 3:27-30)
(Contemplative and Meditative Prayer like that which was taught in the Schools of the Prophets. The prayer of a Tzadokim like the Patriarch Lehi in 1 Nephi, or his son Nephi meditating and pondering over the things of YHVH in the 1st Book of Nephi)
2.Yes thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all even to those who will believe on the name of Yehoshua Mashiach.
(A disciple or prophet descending through the veil (the klipot, the gate, the wall, etc) before ascending. The Prophet Nephi slipping through the gates of Jerusalem to obtain the Record of the Jews or the Record of Heaven).
3. That whoever will may lay hold upon the word of Elohiym which is quick and powerful which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the evil one.
(The mists of darkness even as Father Lehi and his son Nephi encountered along their path to the Tree of Life. It is also Nephi after obtaining the records and then descending into the wilderness on their journey to the Land of Promise or Presence of God).
4. And lead the man of Mashiach in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked.
(The ascension between the world as we know it and the gulf that separates this world from the World of God and the Tree of Life. Even Nephi leaving the land of Bountiful in his ship and landing in the Promised Land).
5. And land their souls yes their immortal souls at the right hand of Elohiym in the kingdom of heaven to sit down with Avraham and Yitzchak and with Yacov and with all our holy fathers to go no more out.
(The right hand- the place of understanding and the ears through which wisdom is communicated. The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding. The arriving or ascending to the eternal worlds of God to commune with the assembly of the first born and to be vessels that carry the light of God from above to this world below. Nephi and his family reaching the Land of Promise).
To Be Continued.