Friday, February 4, 2011

God Has Always Called Prophets

   I know that God lives and that He loves us. One way that I've seen God's love for me is because He has called prophets. A prophet is a special witness of Jesus Christ. A prophet is an authorized servant who has been given the priesthood—the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. While each of us, God's children, are able to receive personal revelation and guidance from God, prophets receive revelation for the whole church (Amos 3:7). They learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation and the power of the Holy Ghost. They in turn teach the gospel to others and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer.

   Throughout time, Heavenly Father has revealed to prophets the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 22:1-2). The Gospel is God's plan for us in this life is to be successful and to prepare to return to live with Him. Jesus Christ's  atoning sacrifice is at the center of that plan and through the Savior's Atonement, we can receive eternal life. We are promised eternal life as long as we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. “This is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:21). One of the greatest gifts that has been given to mankind is the gift of agency—the ability to choose. This includes the freedom to accept or reject the gospel as taught by the prophets and apostles. Those who choose to obey are blessed, but those who ignore, reject, or distort the gospel do not receive God’s promised blessings.

    Whenever people choose to ignore, disobey, or distort any gospel teachings, or whenever they reject the Lord’s prophets, they distance themselves from God and begin to live in spiritual darkness. This eventually leads to a condition called apostasy. When widespread apostasy occurs, God withdraws His priesthood authority to teach and administer the ordinances of the gospel.
    Biblical history has recorded many instances of God calling prophets and speaking to them. It also tells of many instances of apostasy. Since Heavenly Father loves His children so much, He ends each period of apostasy by calling another prophet and giving him priesthood authority to restore and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ - just as it was before. These periods of time that are headed by prophetic responsibility are called dispensations.
    Adam was the first prophet on the earth. God revealed the gospel of Christ to Adam and gave him the proper priesthood authority. Adam was followed by other prophets, but over time the posterity of Adam rejected the gospel and fell into apostasy, choosing to be unrighteous.

    When people have rejected the prophets, God has always called another one. How loving is our Heavenly Father! We can see that there has always been this pattern of  prophetic dispensations - which makes up much of the recorded history of the Old Testament. Heavenly Father revealed His gospel to prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Enoch. Each prophet was called by God to begin a new dispensation of the gospel. To each of these prophets God granted priesthood authority and revealed eternal truths. Unfortunately, in each dispensation people eventually used their agency to choose to reject the gospel and then fell into apostasy.

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