101 prophecies (Interpretation)

WhyProphets.com
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The New Testament

Up to Matthew 16 - the foundations of the Church


Predictive prophecies are in red. Other prophecies (teachings) are in black.


56. The Old and New Testaments are, by definition, a testimony of the Mormon Church

The New Testament:
the word "Testament" comes from Latin words implying "three witnesses". (from the Latin Testis, a variant of Tri-stis, meaning a third party). The original use was in a legal setting where one person would say one thing, another would say something different, and the testimony of the third witness would establish the truth.

So, if there are testaments, there must be three of them.

"Another Testament of Jesus Christ" So where is the essential third witness? It is the Book of Mormon, subtitled "another testament of Jesus Christ".

This recalls 2 Corinthians 13:1: "in the mouths of two or two or three witnesses shall every word be established". The Bible is one witnesses that Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon is the other.

57. If you want to know the Biblical gospel, you have to come to the Mormons

The New Testament exists to preach the gospel. But what exactly is the gospel? The good news? Of what? We can guess, but are guesses good enough? Is the gospel Jesus' life story? Is it his doctrines? Is it his commandments? Is it his atonement? Is it the kingdom of God? There is evidence that it could be each of these things. The Bible is not clear on the matter. Is it the "god story" (its literal meaning)? If so, then what part - God's works are endless!

Must we leave our salvation to guesswork? Or must we become experts in everything to be certain? This would not matter if the gospel was not of such importance. But the gospel is what it is all about! The slightest vagueness allows human ideas to slip in and distort the truth. The Bible does not specify what the gospel is. Clearly something has been lost from the original teachings. The Book of Mormon restores this most essential teaching, and tells us exactly what the gospel is (see 3 Nephi 27)

58. If you want to know more about Christ, you have to come to the Mormons

Using the name of Jesus Christ. At its simplest, the New Testament is a witness to the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior of the world. If the true Christians are the ones who carry the name of Christ, then what do we say of the Mormons:

The Great Question for those investigating the church is, "do you want to know more about Christ?"

59. The gospel writers would have felt most at home among the Mormons

Matthew 1 and Luke 3 - tracing genealogy.

This was clearly very important to the early Christians. Just about the only modern church to continue this Biblical practice is the Mormon Church. Some people teach against it, quoting references to "vain genealogies". The Mormons are also against "vain" genealogies. Tracing genealogy has to have an important purpose.

We cannot reject the tracing of Genealogy unless we accept that either (a) Matthew and Luke were not good Christians, or (b) Jesus was not a good example in this. Mormons believe that Matthew and Luke were good Christians and that Jesus is an excellent example in every way.

60. The true church has to be restored by the ministering of angels

Matthew 1:20: In the Bible, important instruction was given by angels. For example, Mary was told by an angel that she would have the baby Jesus. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom after meeting with angels on the mount of transfiguration. The LDS church was also restored through actual angels - Biblically, a restoration of the truth cannot happen in any other way. Anyone who sets up a church without claiming to have been visited by angels can be dismissed at once as a fraud. How many of today's churches pass that test?

61. The Mormons have the clearest and most Biblical understanding of the nature of God

Matthew 3:16-17: the false doctrine of "three in one". Most churches teach that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one being, manifested in different ways at different times. But when Jesus was baptized, the voice of God was heard from the sky, and "the spirit of God descending like a dove" - all three divine personages were present, in different places, at the same time. This and other places (for example Acts 7:55-56, where the Father and the Son are seen side by side) indicate that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate personages. The Mormon Church has been almost alone in teaching this Biblical truth. But then the Mormons do have an advantage - Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in that great vision of 1820.

62. The world treats the Mormons today just like they did in New Testament times

Matthew 5:11: Jesus prophesied that people would revile and persecute and speak all manner of evil against his followers, "for my sake". And so it is. People attack the "Mormon" church and claim to do it in the name of Jesus! This prophecy is fulfilled every day, particularly on the World Wide Web. Jesus even said that people would kill his followers and think that they did God a service (John 16:2). That is exactly what happened with the prophet Joseph Smith - respectable people thought that he was blasphemous for what he taught, and did not shed any tears when he was killed by a mob in 1844.

For more details, see the Born Again Christian FAQs and how to answer questions for critics in the Bible.

63. The Lord's prayer foretells the Mormon Church

Matthew 6:10: "thy kingdom come". If the kingdom of God was brought once and for all by Palestine, why did Jesus teach us to pray to our Heavenly Father that "thy kingdom come"? Why were Christians praying for it to come for 2000 years if it was already here? What other church teaches that God's kingdom was to be restored at some period after the New Testament? (OK, technically the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that too, but they disqualify themselves on most of the other 101 points in this list). Exactly how God's kingdom was to come was already revealed by Daniel.

64. God has given you the test for true prophets!

Matthew 7:13-20: "by their fruits ye shall know them". This is probably the most significant prophecy of the Mormon church. You can discern between true and false prophets by their fruits. If you have the time, look into the social indices of areas with a high "Mormon" population - education, health, crime, life expectancy, poverty, etc. Or if you are looking for ecclesiastical fruits, look for the world's largest missionary group, or church growth, or any other index you care to mention. I cannot guarantee that the Mormons will score tops on everything, but taken overall the fruits are there for all to see. Personally, as someone who likes to study, I find the number of scientists per head of population or the correlation between education and church activity is particularly interesting.

65. How to be saved in the kingdom of God

Matthew 7:21-22: grace and works. "Not everyone that saith to me, "Lord, Lord", shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father". Yet most Protestant churches today teach that we should "believe and be saved" and that any mention of working for salvation is anathema. Of course Paul was right and we cannot earn our way into heaven, because the gap between our ability and our need is so enormous. But the Bible is clear that good works are required. The Mormon position is more Biblical than most, being neatly summed up in James 2:18. "Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works". For more about faith and works, see James chapter 2, or Paul's epistle to the Romans.

66. The Mormons have the apostolic authority!

Matthew 10: Jesus' church had twelve apostles. We see from Acts 1 that when one apostle dies, he is to be replaced. So Jesus' church should still have twelve apostles. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has twelve apostles, each of whom can trace his authority back, through the laying on of hands, to Jesus Christ. 8

67. Mormons get the criticisms that Jesus got

Matthew 11:18-19: outside criticisms of the church. No matter what you do, you cannot please some people. People rejected Jesus because he did not meet up with their impossible standards. It is the same today with the Mormon church. Some people will reject it no matter what.

For more examples of criticisms against Christ and his church, see the page on critics.

68. Mormons still get accused of blasphemy, just as Jesus was

Matthew 12:24: they accused the true church of having the power of Satan. The attacks on the New Testament church are the attacks on the Mormon Church, and vice versa. One of the most popular attacks on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a few years ago was a book and film called "the godmakers". It accused the Mormon Church of blasphemy, making people into gods, and of being inspired by Satan. In all these things it simply repeated the same charges made against the Church of Jesus Christ in earlier times:

69. The Mormon Church is built on the rock of revelation

Matthew 16:17-18: "upon this rock I will build my church". What was the rock? The verse in question was about revelation from God, so that is the rock. Some people say the rock was Peter, but Jesus made clear in verse 17 that his church was not built on flesh and blood. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the rock of revelation. Its authority comes from direct revelation, not from interpreting the Bible, or from political or intellectual ability. Note that revelation, "the word of God," means living revelation, not written texts (which Peter already had).

The "Gates of Hell" scripture exposed

Many times on this web site I have commented on a great denial that underpins all traditional Christian churches - the denial that the Great Apostasy ever happened, or that it had a deadly effect on the church. How do people ignore the evidence of history, logic, the spirit, and their own eyes? By appealing to this one scripture, and twisting it out of context. The entire shaky edifice of traditional Christian authority rests on this.

Matthew 16:18-19:
"...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Many Christians dearly want to believe that "the gates of hell" refers to trials of the church IN THIS LIFE, and hence this verse constitutes a promise that the church would survive intact and complete forever. But a Bible-based Christian cannot afford to just assume that what he wants to believe is true. A Bible-based Christian must look at what the Bible actually says.

What is "the church"?

It may be helpful to look at the "Literal Translation" Bible (with Strong's numbers) for Matthew 16:18:

2504 | I also | And | 467 | to you | 3004 | say, | You | are Peter, | 1722 | and upon | this bedrock {statement} | 3618 | I will build | 3450 | of me | 3588 | the | community | and | {the} gates of Hades | 3756 | not | will prevail against | 846 | her.

As the literal translation puts it, the church is the community of believers. We should not put too much reliance on the word "it" at the end (in the KJV), as if we are talking about structures rather than individuals. The word translated "it" can also be translated "her", "of hers", or "them".

What is hell?

Whenever it appears in scripture, "hell" refers to Hades, the afterlife. It is Strong's Greek word number 86, and can mean three things:

Who receives the keys?

Soem Christians like to believe that the keys were give to all believers, but the Bible only says they were given to the apostles. There are three parallel passages hat speak of the keys. One is here, ehere they are given to Peter. Another is John 20:23, where the apostles are in a lockd room (no other members are present). The other is in Matthew 18. At first glance it may seem that Jesus is talking to all the people, but a closer reading shows that only the apostles are asking questions and receiving answers (see also the parallel passages in Luke 17:1-5 and 2 Corinthins 13:1 - the "witnesses" in this case appear to be those with the authority to write scripture).

How are the gates of hell defeated (i.e. opened)?

Christ talks about having the keys to the gates of hell in the book of Revelation:

Rev 1:18: "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

Rev 20:13 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

Christ has victory over death

1 Corinthians 15:24-29 (Paul is speaking of the resurrection):
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"

Apart from refuting the false "three in one" theory (how can Christ be subject to himself?), this brings us to baptism for the dead. But that is another topic.

How the gates of hell are unlocked.

Christians need not fear hell. NOT because they will not die, but because they have the hope of a glorious resurrection. There is no suggestion here that some Christians will be spared death, and thusd a "trail of blood" would keep the true church alive. Even if a tiny group of believers had survived, the keys were given to the apostles, not the regular members, and the apostles had all gone after the first century.

Conclusion

So, the passage in Matthew is referring to the eternal blessings of the faithful - to overcome death and dwell eternally with Christ. It says nothing about how long or how often the faithful will be on the earth.

Actually, that is not quite true. Matthew 16 does say something about how long the faithful would be on the earth. It says that the church is based on the rock of revelation. And revelation died out some time after the first century.

A footnote

I was once told that "Mormon" means "gates of hell" in Chinese. I have no idea if it does or not, and it is not strictly relevant (the name "Mormon" is meso-American or middle-Eastern, not Chinese). But the idea is appealing.

To see "the gates of hell" as sinister implies great arrogance. It implies that we think are already on the side of heaven - on the outside of hell, looking in. Such vanity! Such pride! But the Bible teaches that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So we are already in hell (or going that way). We should look for a gate in hell, a doorway, a way out.

The keys to the gates out of hell

Christ stands at the gates of hell, holding the keys. The significance of the true church is that it is entrusted with the keys to the gates of hell (which are also the gates of heaven - the door has two sides). This is significant in its own right - see the next point.

The Mormon church stands at the gates of hell - offering a way out! It is the gate to salvation.

70. The keys today are held by the president of the Church - the living prophet!

Matthew 16:19: the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What exactly are these keys? Who has them today? Ask a member of the Mormon church.

 


101 Bible prophecies: 1-11 | 12-19 | 20-32 | 33-38 | 39 | 40-55 | 56-70 | 71-79 | 80-86 | 87-101

 

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