Mormonism and Blood Atonement
By Ed Decker
The following document, a transcript, has been taken from a series of radio programs (Dialogue) broadcast daily by Saints Alive throughout Utah and Idaho during the 1980s.
The two men speaking are Ed Decker Director of Saints Alive and Jim Witham, the Associate Director at the time. Jim has since retired from the ministry.
Ed: Jim, I am holding the LDS Church News, Week ending, January 16, 1982. There is an article I want to discuss from Page 4
The article is called, "The Heart of the Gospel of Christ." And since my heart is close to the Gospel of Christ, I wanted to find out what is the heart of the Gospel of Christ. It says,
General Authorities Discussed Genealogy.
"The refining influence that comes into the life of an individual when he does genealogical work, prepares him for exaltation," says Elder Rector of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventies, (and he is the Executive Director of the Church Genealogical Department). "We are talking about the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
A little bit further in the article the Church News asked him, "A lot of time and money is expended on genealogies every year by the Church and its members. Is it worth it, Elder Rector? How much is a soul worth to us or to the Lord on either side of the veil?"
"They're all alike to Him. We tend to talk about genealogies as, 'Oh, look what I'm doing for them.' But, it's just as essential for our own salvation as for those on the other side. This is the most important aspect of the work of the Lord. Those who neglect this do it at the peril of their own salvation."
Elder Rector, I challenge you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you speak darkness. I say to that you speak with a mind cloaked in the error of self-exaltation. You show me where our Lord Jesus Christ in all the Bible, in fact, even in the Book of Mormon, that this is the most important work of the Lord and that if we neglect it it's at the peril of our own salvation. I call you task for this, because the Bible speaks about
genealogy in an entirely different manner. The Bible speaks about it in a way that makes me wonder if you have ever read the Bible, Elder Rector.
The Bible says very simply in I Corinthians 15:29, "Else why they baptize for the dead if there is no resurrection?" That's the reference to baptism for the dead. That's the only reference in the Bible, and historically we know that in Corinth that there were pagan, non-Christian groups involved in baptism for the dead. In the 10's of thousands of documents pertaining to the church of the first century, not a single, solitary document discusses baptism for the dead or genealogy as anything but an occult practice. This is blasphemy before the Living God!
Jim, what is the reference in the Bible regarding genealogy?
Jim: There are two references in the Bible regarding this, Ed. The first is found in Paul's letter to Timothy, I Timothy 1:4. "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith." I move over to the book of Titus in chapter 3, verse 9, Paul again exhorts Titus, "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." Praise God, Ed, the Bible speaks out against these things.
Ed: That's right, there's no place in the entire word of God that speaks about it. It doesn't speak about it, in fact, it speaks emphatically against baptism for the dead in the book of Mormon, we have absolutely no documentation within the first century church history, or anything Jesus said, did, or implied. Or, any of the apostles that lived and walked with him, that this was the heart of the Gospel of Christ. This is pure, unadulterated blasphemy, and it causes my belly to boil! But not my heart to burn!
I made a claim here some while back and was accused of being a liar by numerous members of the church and a few of the authorities in the communities where we ministered. The statement I made was, "Hey, if you're a temple Mormon and involved in temple work, fine, stay in there. It's an occult organization, you're bound by blood oaths, you put your thumb to your throat, breast and bowels signifying that you'll forfeit your life before you'll break any of the oaths that you've sworn in there. Fine, stay in there. I'm only interested in the failures in the Mormon church, just the ones that have failed being Mormons. That's probably about 80%."
I was told that that was an outrageous lie and exaggeration, and that a bitter, evil man like me would go to any length to blaspheme the true gospel of the Lord. I want to go to page 10 in that same Church News and tell those that have called me a liar to review the subject of repentance and get their act together because I've been even more gracious than the church has been.
O.K., we just found out that this is the heart of the gospel, baptism for the dead, genealogy, temple work, and if we fail at temple work, that we do it at the peril of our own salvation.
Jim: This article shows a chart of the profile of the ward temple activity. Elder W. Grant Bangiter, Executive Director of the Temple Department and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy said, "Taking a sampling of wards one mile or less from temple, 40 miles from temple, and 130 from temple, we found out that only 4-12% of adults from 1 - 130 miles from temple attend temple regularly in this sample of five sample wards." (Not really a quote, right Ed?)
Ed: Listen to this friends, half of the adult members of the church have never been to the temple. Half of those who have been to the temple do not hold a current temple recommend, and only half of those who hold a temple recommend go to the temple. That's the best figure, at 12%! We see here on the chart that a better percentage is between 12 and 4, but that we have in one ward 4% of them. Within 40 miles of the temple, only 4% attend the temple regularly. What we're saying here Jim, is half of the adult members have ever been to the temple; half of those hold a temple recommend; half of those go to the temple.
Actually, it's less than that because if the best is half of those who hold a temple recommend who go to the temple, its actually 5 out of 6 of them who hold temple recommends, don't. And yet, we're being taught here in the same newspaper that we're talking about the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that those who do not abide by this law are in serious complete surrender to Baal. It says down here in the next to the last paragraph on the left-hand column on page 10, "This isn't optional (talking about temples). When Latter- day Saints accept the gospel, temple blessings are of equal importance with baptism.
Jim: If that's the case, then it's essential for salvation, Ed.
Ed: Absolutely, because what did Joseph Smith say in that thing that went in the Readers Digest about temple work. He said that the most important work we have to do on this earth is to seek out our dead, because there is no salvation without our dead.
Basically, I'm telling you that out of a 100 Mormons, the probability is that only 96% of you are going to end up with the Presbyterians and the Baptists in the lower kingdom. Only 4-12 of you out of 100 in Salt Lake City have even a shot at getting to the celestial kingdom. Even if Mormonism is true, you're a failure. Hey, that's hard words. But, the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not genealogy, friends. It is not baptism for the dead; it is not going into the temple and swearing blood oaths and wearing funny underwear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with that stuff, that's occult. The heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of blood atonement. This week, and probably some of next week, I'm going to teach you the doctrine of the Bible, the Word of God, and also show you what the doctrine of blood atonement is, even in Mormonism. But that's the doctrine of God.
Next program: 2
Ed: I've got quite a lengthy teaching dealing with blood atonement, that I want to look at. We found out what Mormonism teaches regarding the temple, as that being the heart of the gospel, but I think that what you've got in Mormonism is a warped understanding of the true doctrine of blood atonement. I want to spend some time, Jim in going through what the historic teaching of Mormonism is about blood atonement. If you remember in Bruce McConkie's book, Mormon Doctrine, he deals with blood atonement.
I can recall a little of what he says. In the section under blood atonement he says that basically certain wicked and evilly disposed persons have made statements that the doctrine of blood atonement was practiced in the early days of the church. He goes on to say that they've taken words out of context, and as a matter of fact, (I'm paraphrasing here, but it's essentially correct), he says they take a few sentences or few words from one page and several from a page entirely separate from that and add them together to imply that the church taught blood atonement. He goes on to say, HOWEVER...
...blood atonement can only be practiced when the church and state are operating under the same head, and that would not come to pass until the united order in Mormon theology. So, we look at blood atonement as something that is doctrinally correct in Mormonism. Bruce McConkie says that we lie when we say it was taught in the church. I'm going to read some excerpts from the church documents regarding the doctrine of blood atonement:
Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, Volume I, Page 108, 1853 version, "If you want to know what to do with a thief that you find stealing, I say kill him on the spot and never suffer him to commit another iniquity." That just happens to be his attitude about thieves.
In volume I, page 83, "'I say rather than that apostates should flourish here, I would unsheathe my bowie knife and conquer or die.' There was a great commotion in the congregation and a simultaneous burst of feelings assenting to the declaration. 'Now, you nasty apostates, clear out or judgment will be put on the line and righteousness to the plummett.' Voices generally, 'Go it! Go it!' 'If you say it is right, raise your hands!'" It says that all hands when up. Can you imagine being in that congregation and not raising your hand? "'Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this and every good work!'"
In the 1856 edition of the JOD, volume III, page 247, it deals with polygamy. Again, I surrender to blood atonement if I'm taking this out of context, Jim. "Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife and put a javelin through both of them. You would be justified and they would atone for their sins and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case and under such circumstances. I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands.'" A little further on he says, "'There is not a man or woman who violates the covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it and the judgments of the Almighty will come sooner or later and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants."
You see, this is the whole thing, Jim, they don't understand the atonement of Christ. You have to atone yourself. And yes, some things are so heinous that if we had to pay them in our own flesh we could never pay for them. President Grant says again, in Volume IV, page 49 of the 1856 edition, "I say that there are men and women that I would advise to go to the President immediately and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case and then let a place be selected and let that committee shed their blood." On page 51 he says, "And you who have committed sins that cannot be forgiven through baptism, let your blood be shed and let the smoke ascend that incense thereof may come up before God as an atonement for your sins, and that the sinners in Zion may be afraid."
We come to Brigham Young on the page 53, dealing with the atonement of the shedding of blood, "There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilled upon the ground, that the smoke thereof may ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins. I know when you hear my brethren telling you about cutting people off from the earth you consider it strong doctrine. But, it is to save them, not to destroy them."
Then in another paragraph, "I do know that there are sins committed of such a nature and if the people did understand the doctrine of salvation, they would tremble because of their situation. And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves and the only condition upon which they could obtain forgiveness would beg of their brethren to shed their blood. I'll say further, I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins. It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall, and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. That is the reason why men talk to you as they do from this stand. They understand the doctrine and throw out a few words about it. You have been taught that doctrine but you do not understand it."
Again, President Grant on page 50, "I believe that there are a great many, and if they are covenant breakers, we need a place designated where we can shed their blood. They are a perfect nuisance and I want them cut off and the sooner it is done, the better. We have been trying long enough with these people and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty be unsheathed, not only in word, but in deed." He's not playing around here.
Brigham Young, Volume IV, page 219, "Brother Cummings told you the truth this morning with regard to the sins of the people. What has been must be again. For the Lord is coming to restore all things. The time has been in Israel under the law of God, the Celestial law, or that which pertains to the Celestial law, for it is one of the laws of that kingdom where our Father dwells that if a man is found guilty of adultery he must have his blood shed and that is near at hand. I want to connect it with the doctrine we read in the Bible. When will we love our neighbors as ourselves? All mankind loves themselves and let these principles be known by an individual and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man and woman well enough to shed their blood? I refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain in order to atone for their sins. I have known a great many men who have left this church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation. But, if their blood had been spilled it would have been better for them. This is loving our neighbor as ourselves (page 220). If he needs help, help him. If he wants his salvation and it's necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. That is the way to love mankind."
Heber C. Kimball on page 173 of Volume 4 says, "But this people will never, no never, prosper to a high degree until we make a public example of men that have been warned and forewarned. We will take them and slay them before this people."
Volume VII, page 61, Brigham Young says, "Some of our old traditions teach us that a man guilty of atrocious and murderous acts may suddenly repent on the scaffold, and upon his execution you will hear the expression, 'Bless God, he has gone to heaven to be crowned in glory through the all-redeeming merits of Christ the Lord.' That is all nonsense, that's a character that will never go to heaven."
In Volume 10, page 110, Young says, "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African or black race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so." Thus sayeth the "Prophet."
In The History of the Church, Joseph Smith, Volume V, page 296, "I replied, I was opposed to hanging even if a man kill another. I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God, and if ever I have the privilege of making a law on that subject I will have it so."
Orson Pratt, in The Seer, page 223, "The people in Utah are the only ones in this nation who have taken effectual measures, we will not say to suppress, for the word is entirely inapplicable to them, but to prevent adulteries and criminal connections between the sexes. The punishment in that territory for those crimes is death to both male and female on the spot."
Now you tell me, brother, about misrepresenting the blood atonement doctrine.
Jim: Do you think that brother McConkie speaks with single tongue or forked tongue?
Ed: I think he's got a bit of a forked tongue there, brother, but the point of it is that this is not even the doctrine of the blood atonement, either. This is just as wild and rambling a figment of vain imaginations as you read about in Romans 1, as this business about genealogy and baptism of the dead being the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a real blood atonement doctrine, which I will share with you.
Next program: 3
I'd like to start going into the Word of God and some of the current teachings of the blood atonement doctrine in the Mormon Church that deals with the nature of Christ.
Hosea 14 talks about God's repentance. The reason I bring this up is because you are in darkness if you have fallen into the error of self-exaltation. If you've stepped away from altar of the all-living God, then we say that our judgmental God is going to slay us and you yourself become a candidate for it. It says in Hosea 13, "When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now, they sinned more and more and have made molten images of their silver and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves." Then, it says in verse 4, "I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me: for there is no savior beside me."
But this opportunity for us to repent and come to the Living God is very simple. It says in chapter 14, "Oh Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou has fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words and turn to the Lord. Say unto him, 'Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously so will we render the calves of our lips. Asher will not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say anymore to the work of our hands, "Ye are our gods," for in Thee fatherless find mercy.'" I really have to believe that the Mormons fall into that category with the temples.
In chapter 10, verse 1, it says, "Israel (or Mormonism) is an empty vine. He bringeth forth fruit unto himself." As the Mormons say, "Look at our good works!" "According to the multitudes of his fruit he has increased the altars." Look at all the temples, and isn't it wonderful the proclamation of this. "According to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images." That is Mormonism described to the tee there, Jim. "Their heart is divided now shall they be found faulty. He shall break down their altars and shall spoil their images. They have spoken words swearing falsely and making a covenant." There you are back to the temple again.
Hosea 10:4 says, "Thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field." To pick up on that you've got to fly down to verse 13, "Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity, ye have eaten the fruit of lies, because thou doth trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men." I think that's where we're at. Verse 4 of chapter 14 says, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for My anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread and his beauty shall be as the olive tree and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return and revive his corn." God gives a promise, but you know what it all comes down to is what it says in verse 4 of chapter 13, "Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no savior beside me." I'm in the Old Testament, folks.
It all boils down to declaring his son Jesus Christ. You know it's fun sometimes to intellectualize, but if I explain in such terms intellectually the error of Mormonism, but fail to explain it in accordance to the Word of God, I've failed God and have failed to reconcile people to Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of our lives. He died at the cross of Calvary and in Him is established the true doctrine of blood atonement. If I've failed to show that, I've failed God.
Jim: Your good works come up to remembrance unto God, and we're calling you to find the right relationship to the true Savior.
Ed: God called them. He says, "Return to the Lord thy God, for thou has fallen by thine iniquity, by thy own vain imaginations, by the raising up of these places that are an abomination to God."
You were talking about Moses, and while on a trip a Mormon came up to me and asked, "Well, where are your prophets?" And I said, "Brother, the prophets were until John." And he said, "No, no, God speaks through his prophets, and we have a church that is organized according to God's word and we have prophets." But I said, "Brother, that's Old Testament." And he said, "No, we are still bound by Old Testament law. You can't deny law. We have a prophet exactly as Moses, because God has spoken that and according to His word we have to have a prophet just like Moses." And I said, "Great, you have a prophet just like Moses?" And he said, "We sure do!" And I said, "Well, where's your prophetess?" And he said, "What are you talking about?" I said, "Your prophetess! If you have a prophet like Moses you have to have a prophetess like Miriam."
Jim: That's right, Moses' sister was a prophetess.
Ed: That's right. And he said, "What are you talking about?" And I said he'd better go to Exodus 15 where it says in verse 20, "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and rider hath he thrown into the sea."
A comparison between the Jesus Christ of Mormonism and the Jesus Christ of Christianity.
I'd like to continue our teaching by making a comparison between the Jesus Christ of Mormonism and the Jesus Christ of Christianity. I want to show that the Mormon church itself recognizes the separation, and that separation, Jim, other than the business about being the brother of Lucifer, Mary, all that sort of stuff, it all boils down to the simplicity of the doctrine of Christ, which is the doctrine of blood atonement.
Let's look in the Ensign Magazine, April, 1981, page 19.
Jim: I see a beautiful picture here, Ed, of Jesus leaning on a rock, praying. The caption says, "In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered for the sins of all mankind, thus opening the way for all of us to repent and free ourselves from the bondage of sin."
Ed: Right. That's in an article by Elder Lund and it's called "Salvation by Grace or By Works." Here we have Jesus Christ suffering for the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane. Right there we get into the trouble. If you go right across the page we have our good old friend Bruce R. McConkie, and he says, "There would be no justice if one person could violate the law and escape its punishment while another was punished for the same act." Elder McConkie points out that "Justice demands that a penalty be paid for every violation of the Lord's law." So, the law of justice is that "standing along the concept of sin and the transgression is the law of justice which implies consistency in reward and punishment." Every debt must be paid.
Jim: Now, this says to me, Ed, that there is no forgiveness. I see here basically a law that you are punished if you have done something wrong. Do you see anything relating to forgiveness in this one?
Ed: No, we're not dealing with forgiveness. We're dealing with the violation of the law. It talks about the fall of man. When Adam transgressed against the commandment given to him by the Father in the Garden he brought about the fall of man. So, we have the transgression, death. Man will be punished according to his own sins, and not according to Adam's transgression. So, the guilt of man falls on man. You see, Adam's problem was Adam's problem, not ours. Christ died on the cross, according to Mormon theology, to atone for Adam's transgression so that all mankind might be saved. This is what the church teaches. It's a solid doctrine of the church.
Jim: I call that Saved Type I.
Ed: That's right. You know, Jim, I was down in the Saint George Temple, actually I was around the temple, not inside it, and I picked up a booklet called, "What the Mormons Think of Christ." I thought this would be a good one to look through, particularly on the issue of blood atonement, and see what the correct LDS doctrine on the blood of Christ would be.
I looked on page 22 and saw the heading, "The Blood of Christ," so I thought, well, here we go. Now, interestingly enough, here we find a division already on whether Mormons are Christians or Christians are Mormons, because the document itself says, "Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however is of such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one's salvation. For instance, many believe, or pretend to believe, that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept Him as our personal Savior we are thereby saved. They say that His blood without any other act in mere belief makes us clean.
"What is the true doctrine of the blood of Christ? Salvation comes because of the atonement, and the atonement was wrought through the shedding of the blood of Christ. In Gethsemane, Christ sweat great drops of blood from every pore when He conditionally took upon Himself the sins of the world, and then the shedding of His blood was completed upon the cross," which, of course, was for Adam's transgression.
Ed: I'm going to disagree very heavily with that, but before I do, I want to go to another document that I have with me that comes from the book, Preparing to Go To the Temple. It's an LDS seminar discussion book which is used for preparing people to go to the temple. On page 97, "Class Member Report, Lesson 12," it says: "The endowment is essential to exaltation. President Brigham Young says this in the Journal of Discourses, Volume II, page 31, 'Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father.'"
Now here's how we get to heaven: "Passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs, the tokens pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.'" This has nothing to do with the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because we don't deal with that in the temple, Jim. We swear blood oaths to obedience, and consecration and sacrifice, and obedience to the law of the priesthood. We must wear an undergarment that has occult markings of an occult talisman on it. We have all the body parts and privates washed, anointed with oil and blessed, but nowhere are we taught the doctrine of the shed blood of Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary. In fact, I don't really recall it as a part of the temple ordinance anywhere.
We go into the Lone and Dreary World and we learn secret handshakes, secret signs and penalties, and we learn the words that we have to know, and our secret name, but where are we taught the shed blood of Jesus Christ or the blood atonement doctrine? The only doctrine of blood that we deal with in the Mormon Temple, Jim, is that we'll have our throats slit from ear to ear, or our chest ripped from breast to breast and our heart ripped out, or we'll have our bowels cut open and our intestines spewn upon the ground. What do you think those signs are when you bring your thumb across your throat from ear to ear, friend? It's not talking about the shed blood of Jesus Christ; it's talking about your shed blood.
The endowment is what is essential to bring you, my friend, into exaltation. Like, it's no great mystery; you sit there in the Sacrament Meeting and sing, "High on the Mountaintop," Hymn #62 in the LDS Hymnal:
"In Deseret, sweet peaceful land,
On Zion's Mount behold its stand.
For there we shall be taught the law That will go forth with truth and wisdom fraught To govern all the earth.
Forever there his ways we'll tread
And save ourselves with all our dead."
As a Mormon, my general salvation was all that Jesus gave me, but my personal salvation was dependent on a whole lot of things. Jesus' death on Calvary only gave me the ticket to stand in the flesh at the judgment table.
What is the doctrine of atonement, Jim? What is the doctrine of the shed blood of Jesus Christ? Can we dig into it and determine what is the real doctrine of the shed blood of Jesus Christ? What does the Word of God, the Holy Bible, say about it? In order to know that, we've got to back to the very beginning.
Jim: This is what is called by many people, "The Scarlet Thread," which runs from Genesis to Revelation; the blood atonement according to the Bible.
Ed: Hallelujah. Let's find out how it ties together in the very beginning.
In Genesis 3, verse 4, it says, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be open, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." They tried to cover their nakedness, which I see as a result of sin.
Jim: It was a moral nakedness.
Ed: Yes, it was moral nakedness. They recognized that they were in sin. It wasn't that God told them to multiply and replenish the earth and not to partake of the fruit of the tree, and that those were somehow or other, opposing things. God game them the plumbing to do it. If they were managing to survive and live in the garden, the animals were procreating all over the place. They had some concept and some inner knowledge on how to procreate; God gave them that ability. The biggest problem we have in this world is learning how to control the ability.
Jim: He told them before they fell, to fill the earth.
Ed: That's right, you have to show me friend, where it says I can't multiply and replenish the earth. That's nonsense. It doesn't say that. So what we have here is them trying to cover their nakedness, the result of their sin. So, they made aprons. And right there in the Mormon temple ceremony we have the fig leaf aprons, again trying to cover their sin.
Jim: Symbolic of the works of the flesh.
Ed: Down here God calls them, "And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, 'Where art thou'? And he said, 'I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and hid myself.' God said, 'Who told thee that thou wast naked?'" Now, what's the interesting thing here, Jim?
Jim: He isn't naked! He's covered with fig leaf aprons!
Ed: But he's still naked!
Jim: Yes indeed, morally. Very definitely.
Ed: He said, "I was afraid because I was naked." They wore the aprons THEY had made; by man's standards, they were clothed.
Jim: Works of the flesh.
Ed: That's right. What they covered their sins with by their own works wasn't enough.
Jim: It wasn't good enough for God, and interestingly enough, Ed, it wasn't good enough for them, either.
Ed: That's right, by God's very word, they were still naked. Their sins were not covered by their own works. It required God to cover their nakedness. If you read in verse 21, "And unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them.
Jim: I'd like to believe that God did not skin those animals, Ed, without shedding some blood.
Ed: Amen! What it all boils down to, Jim, is that God had to slay and sacrifice animals. Blood had to be shed so that the Lord could take the covering of that sacrifice and clothe his people in it. So, the very first shedding of blood came to be through the entry of sin and God's response to that sin. The clothes that they made were not adequate. The works of their hand could not cover their sin any more than the works of our own nature can cover the sin that we have. God showed them from the very beginning that he would not receive their works.
Jim: That's right. It took God's work and the shedding of the blood of an innocent animal to be acceptable in God's sight to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve.
Ed: That's right. Let's go to Exodus 12, verses 5-7, where we see another example. Here we read about the people God was calling out of the land of Egypt. As you recall, they have been through all the different plagues in Egypt, and now comes the time that He's going to bring a destroying angel throughout the land, and He tells the children of Israel that he wants their doorways covered with a blood covering. Now, Jim, the all-powerful God had already shown that He could protect the children of Israel without some special sign or condition. He separated the Egyptian flocks from the Jewish flocks so that the Jewish flocks would not be harmed. So, we know that God is a God who can be selective, but here He requires a shedding of blood to cover them.
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Ed: God is rather explicit about what is blood atonement. In Exodus 11:4, Moses says, "Thus sayeth the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto...all the firstborn of the beasts." Then, God says in verse 7, "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast."
They were his people! But, still in all, God had to show them something. He told them in Exodus 12:5 that they must take a lamb, a spotless lamb, "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep or from the goats: and ye shall keep it until the 14th day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleaven bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat it not raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs and with the purtenance thereof....It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and smite all the firstborn....And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt....ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever."
In verse 7 of chapter 11, God says that not even a dog will turn its tongue to the Israelites. But, God establishes this commandment and does so for a particular reason. The doors must be covered by the blood of the lamb, and God shows us there again, the doctrine of blood atonement.
Jim: Isn't it interesting, Ed, that the movement that was made to put that blood on the doorposts was a vertical stroke for the sides of the door, and a horizontal stroke for the top of the door, speaking early in time, of the cross! Foolishness to those who perish, but to us who believe, the power of God.
Ed: That's right. Praise God!
Let's move into Leviticus 4:14 where you can see the atonement. This is talking about the sin offerings.
Jim: This deals, actually Ed, with the Great Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur.
Ed: We see that the priesthood brings a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a "sin offering." This is the true function of the priesthood--to go before the Lord for the sins of the people. Verse 14: "When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation." Again, atonement. "And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation and the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord even before the veil."
Jim: Did you do that in the temple, Ed?
Ed: No, I did "health in the navel and marrow in the bones" and "Pay Lay Ale."
"And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle...." Verse 20: "And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them."
Ed: Here we get the atonement and we get the forgiveness, and as we read this, Jim, there was NO CONDITION. It was FORGIVEN! It was NOT conditional. Sin was atoned for by this act, the shed blood offering. There is no condition!
Now we go to chapter 7 of Leviticus, because here we have the rights and rituals of the priesthood.
Jim: This is the peace offering.
Ed: Now we talk about the peace offering. We talked about the trespass offering, now let's look at the peace offering. Verse 11, "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord." Look at verse 34 of chapter 8. We're dealing with the sprinkling of blood, the burnt offering, "As he hath done this day, so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you."
God is rather specific. Back here on verse 24 it says, "And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about." The application of blood, the covering, the consecration which is so necessary.
In verse 27 we get our first charismatics: "And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the Lord." They've got their hands up in the air praising the Lord. This was a wave offering.
Here we have the trespass offering, a peace offering, a sin offering.
Jim: I would challenge the people to take their pencil and underline the word "blood" every time it appears in Leviticus. It will blow your minds.
Ed: That's right. And, it's a covering.
Jim, let's jump ahead to Hebrews, chapter 8.
Jim: Now, you remember, that Hebrews is considered by Bible scholars to be the perfect compliment of Leviticus. If Leviticus is one end of the word in this area of blood offerings and blood sacrifices, Hebrews is the showing of the completion of all those things which were set forth in type and in kind in the book of Leviticus.
Ed: We're in Hebrews 8, verses 4-6. We've seen a small glimpse in the book of Leviticus that in every specific case the Lord God established an offering to the shedding of blood for a covering of the condition of the people that separated them from God. We can go to the New Testament, in Hebrews 8:3, to see the fulfillment of that, the tie-in. "For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:" (this is the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood that we're talking about) "who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle." There's were the tie-in is. "For, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount."
Jim: You're saying, then, that what they did back then was a pattern of what would be perfect.
Ed: And according to as God laid it out. But, it says in verse 6, the fulfillment of that, "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry," (he being Jesus), "by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." It says here that if he was our priest, he would no longer be in the priesthood. He would no longer be that kind of priest, but is now a different kind of priest. Verse 7, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." There would have been no reason for Jesus to come. Verse 10, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." And it goes on to explain how God established them by the covering of the shed blood.
So, today we no longer have the Old Testament law. Today we live in a new covenant, a better covenant. We need to go beyond the Old Testament, Jim. That form of sin offering is no longer acceptable to God. A new sin offering has been given, FOREVER given. It came to be the totality of forgiveness, but not in the Garden of Gethsemane, where the Mormon Church teaches that this sin offering took place. So, we've got to go into a whole picture of what really happened from the time of Gethsemane to the time of Christ's resurrection and how that is the new and better covenant and how that covers our sin once and forever.
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Ed: What we have discovered, Jim, is that that form of sin offering, the Old Testament sin offering, is no longer acceptable to God; that a new sin offering forever given came to be, but not at the Garden of Gethsemane. We don't find Jesus suffering for our sins there. We find Jesus going before God, talking about the hour that cometh upon him, which was the death and actual coming up of BEING the sin offering. His conversation with the Father was about the event to come. He doesn't talk about us; he doesn't lay out our sin there. He gives reference throughout all of his work that HE is the lamb that shall die. In Ephesians 2:13-16 it says that the Lord God hath torn down the wall of partition between us. How? Through the shed blood of Jesus.
Mormonism teaches that the Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus Christ suffered for your sins and mine CONDITIONALLY. This just AIN'T SO, or the whole Bible is wrong; the whole context of the Bible is wrong. We read in Hebrews 8 that if Jesus Christ was on earth he would not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the works of the law. But, he has "obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." So, he is the bringer of the NEW covenant, the old passes away.
Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus Christ can save us to the UTTERMOST. Not our works. It doesn't say anything about our works! It says of Jesus Christ, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore."
Jim, in order to believe that we can earn higher levels of salvation and exaltation and become gods, because of our works, destroys the entire contents of the Bible.
Hebrews 8, verse 1: "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." It has nothing to do with the Salt Lake Temple, it has nothing to do with the Seattle Temple. God did not create this new tabernacle out of the hands of man. And, Jesus Christ sits in the throne...
Jim: If the old system was good enough, would God have to do this?
Ed: That's right. It says in Chapter 8, verse 7 of Hebrews, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." Why would you have it?
Now, let's look at Hebrews 9:22: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." God said it in Genesis 3:21; in Leviticus 4:14, 17, 18, and all the way through chapter 4, through chapter 8; and in the Passover, in Exodus 12. These show you that there is no remission without the shedding of blood.
Jim: And, God is very narrow-minded about the whole thing.
Ed: That's right, so you have to come into that understanding. In Hebrews 10:17 it says, dealing with the entry into the remission of sins and into the holiness of God, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." If it has been remitted, there is no more offering for sin. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say," and I hate to tell you this, dear friends in Salt Lake City, the veil, that is to say, "his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God." You deal with it. As far as I'm concerned, there's no way to get out of it.
Now, go back to chapter 9 again, verse 12, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Verse 24 says: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands..." he's not there in Salt Lake City, "...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 the blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
Jim: It is all done, Hallelujah! It is all done, praise God! There is no veil between you and God!
Ed: Hebrews 13:20, 21, says, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will..." there's your works! "... working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." The new and everlasting covenant is not plural marriage, beloved. The new and everlasting covenant is the shed blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jim: Ed, I was just reflecting on the matter of shedding blood. The Scriptures say in Luke 22, verse 44, that "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood." It's interesting that medical authorities have shown that a man in great agony does not sweat blood, neither did Jesus, but that because of the extreme agony, there are capillaries that break down and leak a very, very small amount of blood into the lymphatic system, causing the sweat to turn pink.
Ed: But, Jim, of the four descriptions of the Garden of Gethsemane, only one of them mentions the fact that he "sweat blood." This vernacular expression, to sweat blood, was used for men who were about to be executed or take the 39 lashes, as they saw their pinkish sweat. Christ was in severe anguish, but he was certainly submitted. The anguish in the garden was over "the will of the Lord be done." It had nothing to do with sin sacrifice. He was in anguish over coming before the people and being the sin sacrifice for the world.
Jim: Right, he was looking forward to having to "become sin", and he had to become sin. Scripture says "cursed is everything that hangeth on a tree," and Jesus had to become a curse for us!
Ed: He had to die for you and me; he had to shed His blood. It had to be there.
Ephesians 2:13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." There is no temple veil. When Jesus Christ said on the cross, "It is finished," the very first consequence of that act was that the temple veil was rent from the top to the bottom. The Holy of Holies was no longer the Holy of Holies made by the hand of man. It would have been blasphemy before God to reestablish that veil, because the veil, as we read in Hebrews, was in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What we have come to conclude, if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, even insofar that it is translated correctly, is that Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb, unspotted, and that He shed His blood for us. To believe otherwise is to believe that Jesus wasn't good enough. In our carnal nature, our own vain imaginations, we've got to add more to it, we've got to make it more difficult, we've got to earn it. Why would God die for us? I've got to take my works, my offerings, and give them to God to be found worthy enough. But God says, even way back in Genesis 3, it's not good enough.
Jim: The contrast, even in a halfway thinking man's mind is that we cannot do that kind of work.
Ed: In order to believe it, you've got to throw away the Bible, you've got to throw away the Jesus of the Bible, and Calvary. You've got to create some sort of pattern or plan, as I did in Mormonism. As a Mormon I stood at a veil in some man-made temple, learned secret handshakes, tokens, penalties, new names, pronounced invocations upon ourselves, wore specially marked garments that were supposed to keep us holy so that at sometime we could stick our hands through a veil that has a compass and square cut into it in order to touch God, and if we knew the secret signs and handshakes God would find us acceptable.
What foolishness! I repent of my 20-year involvement with that! I deny that it had anything to do with God. It is out of the pit and comes directly from the altar of Baal and not from the Living God. If you want to believe that, fine, but don't pretend anymore. Pick up your Bible and toss it in the sewer. You don't know your Bible if you believe that.
Let's go to Matthew 27 and take a look at the veil. Let's see what happened when Christ finally died, after He shed His blood for you and me. Verses 50 and 51: "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice..." (and as you remember in the other reports he said, "It is finished"), "...yielded up the ghost." And the very next thing that happened, my friend, in verse 51, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent."
The first thing that happened upon His sin offering for us on Calvary was that the veil was rent. The ground didn't open up and swallow all the Romans and Jews and people that cursed and reviled Jesus. No! The significance of it was that the temple veil was rent!
Jim: You know, the veil of the temple was established in the days of Moses. Only once a year would a man even go behind that veil. In all cases he had a rope around his ankle in case he did anything behind that veil that was displeasing to God, and God struck him dead, the only way they could get him out, since they were not allowed to go behind the veil, was to pull on the rope and drag his poor carcass out. That veil was a holy place, the holiest place upon earth!
Now, when God rent that heavy veil in twain, the Hebrew teachers tell us it was as thick as a man's hand, that it split right down the middle, signifying that the way into the Holies was made open by the blood of Jesus Christ!
Ed: Amen! In Hebrews 6, beginning in verse 19 it says, "Which rope we have as an anchor of the soul..." we don't have to worry about getting dragged out by a rope, "...both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." The order isn't a capital order, friends. It's not like the Masonic Lodge. Again, you err not knowing the scriptures. What you're dealing with here is that the veil is no longer there. Hebrews 6 gives us the six foundational principles of Christian life. It tells us where we start and finishes up with "which hope we have as an anchor of the soul."
Jim: I want to draw your attention to a verse in chapter 7, that is extremely important, as it deals with Jesus. Beginning in verse 21, "(...Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety..." which means a guarantee, "... of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death..." That means that one man died and another took his place. But, look at verse 24: "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
Now there's a word I want to zero in on. In the Greek, that word "unchangeable" means a non-transferable or intransmissable priesthood that cannot be passed on to anyone else. It does not mean unchangeable in the sense of something that won't vary; it means something that cannot be transferred. If you want to challenge that, you can check your bookstores, the Strong's Concordance or any good Greek concordance and look up that word. You'll find that it means intransmissable or non-transferable.
Ed: Earlier I was talking about Hebrews 10:17. I would like to bring that back in here again as it says, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." We now can walk right in with the priests! We can walk into "the holiest by the blood of Jesus (verse 19), by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." Okay? No more offering for sin.
You can't earn it, you can't buy it, you can't do anything more than He died for you. It's by the blood of Jesus, by the veil, that is to say, His flesh. I remind you of Ephesians 2:13-16 where He said He has destroyed the enmity between us. There is no more wall of partition between us anymore. To stand at a wall with your hands through these little holes is blasphemy before God!
Jim: It's taking it back into the old law, Ed. It's even worse because it's pulling out of that old system occult things instead of the things that are given by the righteousness of God! Ed, go ahead and finish reading, back in Hebrews 10:21.
Ed: "And having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)" Is that what you wanted me to read?
Jim: Right! Because here we are drawing in assurance. We don't have to worry whether or not our works, our good deeds, outweigh our bad. He says to draw near with assurance! Hallelujah! I have that assurance and want everyone to have that assurance.
Ed: That's right, and you go into chapter 11 of Hebrews dealing with faith. Verse 1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained good report."
Jim, I want to take some time taking a look at the veil, particularly as it is referred to in the Old Testament. Let's take a look at what the veil is. As I read in the Old Testament, each time the priest would go forth to give a sin offering, he would go behind the veil three times. Three times! The Bible is very precise. If you see something that is done here, you're going to find it down at the other end in the same manner. It may be a symbol of the things to come. Let's take a look at it.
The first time he would go in, he would sprinkle incense and myrrh upon the fire right in front of the door. He would cause a sweet-smelling aroma to rise up to God. It's interesting that when Jesus was born, one of the key gifts was myrrh. And, when he died, his body was prepared with myrrh, the same myrrh that was sprinkled upon the fire and the sin offering. It was no coincidence, but God's way of showing you the consistency of His Word.
After he made this dedication, the consecration, the priest would come out from the veil to return with the sin offering for his own sin and make that offering up to God. He's prepared it with the myrrh, and when he was done with his personal offering up to God, he would enter into the holy of holies the third time, this time with the sin offering of the people.
Let's go into the Garden of Gethsemane again. Four writers wrote about it, and only one writer mentioned the drops of blood. But, all of them talk about the two things He did there that had eternal importance.
1) He dedicated Himself to God. He consecrated Himself, purifying Himself before God. I see Gethsemane as the Holy of Holies for Jesus Christ. He said, if you can redeem the world without me going to the cross, that would be okay by me. But, Your will be done, not mine.
2) He talked about the hour that was to come upon Him, the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion. He went behind the veil in Gethsemane. It was like a sweet smelling sacrifice of dedication and purification unto the Father.
It was the same as the priest did when he went behind the veil the first time in the old testament sacrifices. But, Jesus came back out but did NOT go back the second time, as did the priest, to offer up a sin offering for His own sin, because HE WAS SINLESS. It only left the final step behind the veil, the sin offering for the people. He became sin for us, who knew no sin.
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Ed: Jim, we've been talking about the sin sacrifice of the world; about Jesus Christ's real gift at Calvary; that it was not at the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the whole essence of the difference between the Jesus Christ of Mormonism and the Jesus Christ of Christianity.
The first statement that we made was that the Jesus Christ of Mormonism is a different Jesus Christ, and he hasn't done for you and me what the Christian Jesus did. We found out that the Mormon Jesus only gave us the ability to be raised up from the dead that we might be judged for our own works. Yet, as we see and read about the cross of Calvary, we notice that when he said, "It is finished," the sin offering for all mankind was complete.
You no longer had to offer up sin offerings to God to be cleansed, to be holy before God. In Hebrews it says that he would have to be raised up yearly and put on the cross yearly in order for that to be Old Testament theology. And, the Word of God confirms it.
The Word of God says that we are holy now. In Colossians, chapter 1, verse 19 it says, "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell." What does "fulness" mean? Verse 9 of chapter 2 says, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." God wasn't a man! Jesus Christ was the fulness of the Godhead bodily. You're complete in him. Chapter 1, verse 20 says, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross..." NOT the blood of Gethsemane, "by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled." How did He reconcile me, Jim?
Jim: Not through your works, not through your blood oaths at the Mormon Temple! He reconciled you "in the body of his flesh through death, to present you (Ed Decker) holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." That's where! It says in verse 14 of chapter 2, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." I Corinthians 1:17, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Ed: Jim, do you remember my story about the temple in Hawaii and how the guy came out and said to me, "When are you going to leave us alone?" And I said, "When you take down those abominations and pagan idols and put up the cross." And he laughed and said, "The cross is of the devil!" And I said, "But I preach the cross." And he said, "But the preaching of the cross is foolishness!" Hallelujah! I took out my Bible and showed him, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness..." That's you, friend, "...but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
It says in I Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." When we surrender ourselves, when we become born again in Christ, we bring ourselves under the covenant of the shed blood! In this booklet, "What the Mormon Thinks About Christ," we quote: "Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught of this subject, however, is of such utter nonsense and so palatably false that to believe it is to lose one's salvation. For instance, many believe, or pretend to believe, that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept him as our personal Savior we are saved. They say, that His blood, without any other act than mere belief makes us clean."
Jim: That really brings separation, Ed.
Ed: Absolutely! Romans 10 is probably as good a place in the Word that I know that can put it into God's perspective. It says, beginning in verse 1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is..." and I say for Mormons, "...that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness..." in His new covenant, "...and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." What is the righteousness of God? "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Jim: That's the stumbling block. Verse 32 of the proceeding chapter.
Ed: It says here in verse 32, "Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone."
Verse 9 of Hebrews 10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Jim: You know, two cannot be correct when they make exactly opposing statements. You cannot have one opposing statement being compatible with another. In this tract, "What the Mormons Think of Christ," it's exactly opposite of what the Bible says. What do you do with that?
Ed: You see, God's grace has entered in here. Romans 11:5 says, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." It has to be one or the other!
Phillipians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." There's another one back in James someplace where He will do a work in you and through you, that if you've surrendered yourself to Him He will draw you into His holy will.
Jim: It gets back to this whole concept of works or grace. Somebody may say, "Well, faith without works is dead," trying to argue with us or get an argument out of us.
Ed: You're messing around with bananas and buttercups; it's not the same thing!
Jim: Faith without works is dead, isn't it Ed?
Ed: Right, God says that faith without works is dead; faith without action is dead. But, nowhere does He say that that's where you get salvation! Your salvation and your covering, your blood offering, your blood sacrifice, your sin offering comes from the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When you surrender yourself under that covenant you become a new creature in Christ Jesus, and that creates within you the surrender of your flesh, and there are scriptures that talk about that. Once you surrender yourself in holiness to God and turn your face from the sin life; you become holy through Him, holy and reprovable, according to Colossians 1:21, 22.
When you sin your very spirit rebels at it and gives you a weeping cause to turn more and more to Christ. You do works, but the works aren't what get you saved. Your action is not the function of salvation. No where does the Bible say that you are saved by your works. It says by GRACE you are saved, and we've just been through that.
Ephesians 6:10 provides another piece of the puzzle. It says, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." I'm holy, and I'm righteous! But, not my righteousness, ever! My righteousness is as filthy rags. But I'm standing here looking at surrendering myself unto the Lord, taking up the whole armour of God, that I might be able to withstand all of the fiery darts of the adversary.
Verse 14 says, "Stand, therefore, having your loins gird about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness." Going back into the Old Testament picture of all of these things, Jim, when the priest wore the breastplate, he wore a breastplate, not of righteousness, but of what, Jim?
Jim: Well, as a matter of fact, he bore on that breastplate the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. He bore those names before the Lord, and when he did that, he carried with him, in a representation, the sins of those 12 tribes. He represented them before the Lord. That was, through the blood of the sacrifice, he typically got the righteousness of Israel.
Ed: Right. But, today, we have a different kind of righteousness. You see, the breastplate of the Old Testament priest was the breastplate of judgment.
Jim: That's right. It was made out of brass, as a matter of fact, the metal of judgment.
Ed: It was judgmental. But, today, it's a breastplate of righteousness, and who's righteousness? Jesus Christ! And, how do we get this righteousness?
It says in Galatians 3:24, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." It's done with, friends, believe God!
Jim: And, have the forgiveness that Jesus Christ is holding out in His hands for you!
Ed: Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the law. He's been made a curse for you. "For it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." If righteousness was unto the law, friend, then Christ died in vain.
Next program: 7
Ed: Jesus Christ had a very specific mission upon the cross of Calvary, and there He was to become our sin offering forevermore. We get ourselves buried in the law. We want to go back to the law, we want to say that it's not that easy. When you become a new creature in Christ Jesus, my friend, you become new in every way. Your works, and the things that you do become a function of the new nature that you are now. It says in Galatians 2:19, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God..." because of the new and better covenant, "...I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Friend, Christ redeemed you from the curse of the law, as it says in Galatians 3: 13. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." You see, you're redeemed.
It says in verse 16 of chapter 2, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." It comes back to the cross! It comes back to John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave (Where? At Calvary!) his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
What does it mean by "believeth in him"? It doesn't mean, "Oh, yeah, he was there". Even the devils believed in Him, but they certainly weren't of God. Look at Galatians 3:21: "Is the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."
Jim: Let's look at that word, "believe", Ed. If you really believe someone, do you believe what he says? If I believe God, and believe in Him, and believe Jesus Christ, then I have to believe in everything they say. My life has to be wrapped up. The kind of belief the Bible talks about is not this dry, mental assent, "Yeah, sure, I believe there's a Jesus; I believe He died on a cross." It is not that kind of belief. It's a belief in which you literally say that Jesus is mine and I am His, and I live in Him and He lives in me, and from that point on it's Jesus and me.
The Scriptures teach that it is an adhering to, a trusting in and a relying upon. It does not produce a lawless life. It does not produce a life that is saturated with sin. It produces a life which is set free from sin. Believing in Jesus Christ is bigger than most people are taught to believe.
Ed: That's right, it really is.
I've been playing around in Galatians, here. Let's look at chapter 5, verses 1- 4: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." In other words, if you've surrendered yourself to the law, Christ will profit you nothing. "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Jim: So, if you choose to be justified by the law, well, then brother, you're going to have to live with it. If you want to put that set of britches on, you've got to wear them!
Ed: It says that if you live by the law, if you're guilty of the smallest, you're guilty of the whole. We can't be, you know, there's no way.
I John 5:11 says, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." You see, the thing that comes here is very specific. The Bible promises eternal life to all who receive Jesus Christ. That's where it comes from.
Jim: It's in direct opposition to this dumb little tract that is put out, "What the Mormons Think of Christ." That's a big lie!
Ed: That's right. In II Corinthians 5:17 it says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Look at verse 15 of the same chapter: "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." You see, this is where it is. We live not unto ourselves but unto Jesus Christ who died for us on Calvary's hill. Jesus did it all at Calvary, for He hath made Him to be sin for you; Jesus, who knew no sin, that you, my friend, might be made the righteousness of God in Him. If you receive that, if you take that, you live a new life. You become a new creature; you become fresh.
But, it hasn't always been so. There has always been a people that has been spiritually blind. II Corinthians 4:3 says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Friend, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." Verse 14 of chapter 3 says, "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament: which veil is done away in Christ."
Jim: Neighbor, there is forgiveness for you.
Ed: When you turn, as it says in verse 16 of chapter 3, to the Lord Jesus Christ, the veil shall be taken away. Oh, Hallelujah! Verse 18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." We can become mirrors of God's glory! We can walk in it. It says in the Revised Version, "With unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit." That doesn't mean we are going to become gods! It means we are just going to be a mirror of God's glory.
Jim: Oh, praise God! That's what I love, that Jesus Christ can be seen in us.
"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me!
All of His wonderful passion and purity. Oh, Thou Spirit Divine; all my nature refine, Until the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."
That is my cry, Ed, that little song is my cry.
Ed: Jim, would you take a moment right now and lead those who have never really asked Jesus Christ as Savior into a born-again experience. Those who have never asked to be Lord of our lives, those who have never really come to the reality of Calvary! Listen to Jim as he shares out of the Word with you and pray with him.
Jim: I want you to think of it this way and pray with me:
"God out there, I really think I know you. But, if just in case, according to what Jim and Ed say, I really don't know you, the true and living God, right now I confess that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. I ask now that the Lord Jesus Christ forgive me of my sins. I receive you, Jesus, into my heart and life, I confess you as my Savior, and I will confess you before men as my Lord, believing, Jesus, that you are the risen Savior. Thank you God for doing that very thing. Thank you God, I believe! In Jesus name, Amen.
Friend, if you prayed that prayer, God, I promise you, will do a work in your heart. He'll begin! Trust in Him, not in your own works. Jesus Christ wants to do His works through you. He wants to extend to you an utter and complete forgiveness. He wants to start transforming you, according to that scripture Ed read, from the image of yourself into the image of Jesus Christ, day by day, bit by bit, piece by piece, taking away the things that you're trying not to do in your flesh.
The things that eat your heart away when you do them and you say, "That is not the way I want to live." The things that are repulsive to you. The times when you say, "I want to be spiritual," but you can't be spiritual. Those things Jesus Christ wants to do through you, but He does not intend to give you His glory. But if you say, "Jesus, I want to give you the glory, I want to let you have the glory for doing in me those things which you want to do," I guarantee you that God will work a wonderful miracle in your life. Just trust Him! Get into His word and begin to read it. Say, "Lord, take away the scales from my eyes so that I can now see what you really want to tell me in this great love letter you've written to me."
Well, Ed, I think we can't go any further except to say to read the words of John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life..." That's a word that means right now, and eternally. It's a continuous word; it's in the eros tense in the Greek. "...hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Friend, you don't want the wrath or judgment of God abiding on you. Let Jesus Christ take that judgment. Jesus Christ has already suffered that judgment on the cross, becoming a curse for you and me, and so let Him do that for you. Let Him come in and live out His righteousness through your life. You'll find out it's easy.
Ed: Glory to God!
I'm going to give you a premise, something you can work from, a place to start. Flat out: "Divine Law is never violated." Because we're dealing in Mormon country and with our Mormon friends, I want to go into the Doctrine and Covenants and show you that even the god of Mormonism teaches differently than what the Mormons teach.
D&C 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." Going back to verse 12, "Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today and forever." And, verse 11, "Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old..." So, the Book of Mormon is to prove the Bible to be true. "...thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever." Which is from beginning to end, world without end, without a beginning, actually. So, we have that unchanging from one time of eternity infinitely from the beginning to the end.
Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the Lord, I change not." And, we take a look in the Book of Mormon to get a perspective on that. In Alma 41:8 we find a very significant statement: "Now the decrees of God are unalterable." Flat out. They are unalterable. And in Moroni 8:18, "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity."
Is there any room in there, Jim? Do you see anything you can deal with there?
Jim: From the standpoint of logical thinking, I cannot, Ed.
Ed: Have I misquoted that, Jim?
Jim: No, I've been watching you. You haven't misquoted it.
Ed: Is there some other significance that we perhaps missed?
Jim: Well, the question I'm asking in my own mind is, are absolutes absolutes, or are absolutes not absolutes?
Ed: Well, it seems to me that absolutes have to be absolutes, Jim, even in the flesh; not withstanding in the sovereignty of God.
In Mormon 9:9,10 it says, "For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is a shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles." In verse 19b, "And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."
In Psalm 89:34 it says, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." He has given us His covenant, and we saw the old covenant, and we see the new and everlasting covenant, which is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Jim: And He didn't, by the way, pull the wool over somebody's eyes and change His mind, by starting one covenant and then coming up with another covenant. He said in the very beginning that there would be another covenant. He played no games, he hid no tricks from us, He didn't do anything in a closet. And, people who would like to say, "Well, God changed His mind," stop playing games with yourself.
Ed: That's right. In D&C 3:1 it says, "The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught." It makes me wonder what happened to the doctrine of polygamy. Apparently that came to naught.
Jim: Well, there are some folks that are doing it right according to that statement.
Ed: That's true, too. Verse 2, "For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said..." You know that he said that all the sons of Adam will receive the priesthood before the first black man does; that the Indians are going to turn "white and delightsome..."
Jim: He said they turned "dark and loathsome..."
Ed: And the only way they can be resolved from that is to turn white and delightsome. It doesn't sound like a straight path to me, it sounds a bit crooked there, Jim, "...therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men. Verse 4 says, "For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him."
Jim: If he boasts in his own strength.
Ed: That's right! It was in May on the 26th or 27th, that Joseph Smith said, "I have more to boast of than any man had. Nobody has done a work like I have. Not even James, or John or Peter, or even Jesus have done a such a work as I have. The followers of Jesus ran away from him, but the Saints have not run away from me yet." And Jim, within 30 days he was dead.
Jim: That's right. That's found in The History of the Church, Volume 6, verses 408 and 409. He condemned himself.
Ed: In I Nephi 3:7b it says, "...The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." D&C 58:21-23 (I'm taking Mormon doctrine), "Let no man break the law of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land."
Jim: That deals with polygamy, doesn't it?
Ed: Polygamy to the manifesto. That this, then has to be a false revelation, because he had to break the law of the land. "Wherefore, be subject to the power that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet. Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom."
D&C 132:3, 4, which is one of the more famous laws that God gave, "Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant..." not the covenant of Jesus Christ, "... and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory."
Jim: What's the covenant, Ed?
Ed: Well, the covenant is plural marriage. The law of the priesthood.
Jim: Now, that you polygamists out there are smiling and feeling pretty good about it, the Book of Mormon itself says that.
Ed: That's right. When you get into this, what we discover, even in Mormon theology, is: do not attempt to alter the divine law. It is rebellion against God. And, by coming up with this Gethsemane thing, by deciding that your works are the things that are going to be the sweet-smelling savor to God, you're rebelling against God. Psalm 37:35 says, "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found."
Today, friend, you've got to come to an understanding that God is the same God forevermore.
In John 1:18, it says something that you need to know, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." And I want to bear record to you today, that what that scripture is telling you is not what you have been told it means by your church. It doesn't mean that Jesus Christ is a physical son of a physical god. What that says that no man has seen God at any time, the only begotten THEOS, without an article attached, a no-beginning, no-end Theos, which is in the very bosom of the Theos, he hath declared him.
Jim: Theos is the word for God.
Ed: So what you find in here is what this is saying. It's saying that the God was in the bosom of God, the very God that we call the Son of God today, who ALWAYS was God. There is no condition set upon Him. He hath declared God. Verse 17, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Hallelujah. In the beginning Jesus was. Today He is. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, slain for you and me, which taketh away the sin of the world. That doctrine of God has not changed from Genesis 3 to the end of the book of Revelation. It is still as true today as it was thousands of years ago. We are the ones that must put our lives and our hearts and our churches in line with the doctrine of God, not the doctrine of darkness.
I pray that you pray about these teachings. I pray that you open up your
heart to receive them. If you want documentation on the things that we've said,
write to us, we'll be happy to reply to you.