Monday, February 23, 2009

Requirements to Commit the Unpardonable Sin

The Scriptures lay out some fairly stiff requirements for us to qualify as a person able to commit the unpardonable sin. It isn't just a case of having been baptised. In fact this isn't even given as a requirement. But, obviously, spiritual rebirth would be a requirement.

And if a person commits the unpardonable sin, what is their situation?

In regard the fornication that Alma's son, Corianton, committed, Alma said_

"Know you not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yes, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? For see, if you deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and you know that you deny it, see, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yes, and whosoever murders against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yes, I say to you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness." Alma 39:5-6

This sets forth the idea that upon committing the unpardonable sin forgiveness has to be worked for, and is difficult. So why is it unpardonable if forgiveness can be obtained even if by difficulty?

"Wherefore I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men." Matt 12:31

This is setting forth that this blasphemy can't be forgiven at all. Why this apparent contradiction of statement? This is further brought up by Luke.

"And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven." Luke 12:10

The D&C also supports the idea that the sin can't be forgiven at all.

"The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that you commit murder wherein you shed innocent blood, and assent to my death, after you have received my new and everlasting covenant, says the Lord God.." D&C 132:27

Paul appears to answer this apparent contradiction.

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Heb 6:4-6

In other words they can't have Christ suffer on behalf of their sins again. The Scriptures above are pointing out that while forgiveness can be worked at, Christ's atonement can't help. You have to do it yourself. This is mentioned in the D&C.

"For see, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I." D&C 19:16-17

The big emphasis on being able to commit the unpardonable sin is the knowledge of the person. Note the following statement (about himself) by Paul _

"Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Tim 1:13

Also note _

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them." 2 Pet 2:20-21

For those who make no effort to redeem themselves in any way from the situation of having committed the unpardonable sin we should note the following _

"Thus says the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers of it, and allowed themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power-- They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come-- Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him to themselves and put him to an open shame. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels-- And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; Yes, surely, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. D&C 76:31-38

So, in summary, we see that there is quite a lot to actually committing the unpardonable sin. It isn't just a case of joining the church and then murdering someone. A great spiritual change is first required.

And this only makes sense. To rise high enough to gain eternal life we must gain a high level of knowledge and spirituality. To go low enough to go with the devil we must have an equal understanding and spirituality, to fall from. Or, as the saying goes, "the higher they are the harder they fall." Yet life is always better at the top (in spiritual things, anyway).

Monday, February 09, 2009

Did the Prophet Caiaphas have authority from God?

Catholicism has presented to us that the Jews had no authority, and that it was Rome that appointed the High Priest. This concept has continued on into Protestantism and then even into the church. Interestingly our Bishops have authority given to them, by the state, to perform marriages. Without this authority they couldn't do so.

Rome, naturally, had to approve all political positions before they could be filled. And the position of the Presiding (Chief) High Priest for Israel was included. Yet was this merely approval or, as some propose, that Rome actually chose who would fill the position?

At the time of Moses, God set forth that from Aaron on, Aaron's descendants had automatic entitlement to the office, provided they were the oldest son of the oldest son etc, back to Aaron. In other words Aaron's oldest living son became the next President of the priesthood. His oldest living son became the next one, etc. So by this instruction from God, Caiaphas was the oldest son, and a descendant of Aaron.

Yet if Catholicism is correct then the Jews had somehow lost the line of authority or that Rome had appointed those with no authority instead. They claim the Jews to have had no authority. But does the New Testament support this or teach the opposite? And, if the latter, did Caiaphas continue to have authority after Christ?

In regard to the father of John the Baptist Luke says _

"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth." Luke 1:5

This is speaking of the priestly course of Abia (Abijah) as mentioned in the Old Testament (1 Chron 24:10, Neh 12:4). It demonstrates that Zacharias had authority and was of Aaron directly.

Furthermore when Zacharias went into the temple and was visited by the angel Gabriel, Gabriel said nothing about him not having authority to be there.

So having established that priesthood authority did exist among the Jews, the question then becomes, was Caiaphas himself a true President of the Priesthood?

"And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish. AND THIS HE SPOKE NOT OF HIMSELF: BUT BEING HIGH PRIEST THAT YEAR, HE PROHESIED that Jesus should die for that nation. And not for that nation only..." John 11:49-52

This is clearly stating that Caiaphas was an authorised prophet of God, and that he had received revelation that was true.

So how did Jesus respond to Caiaphas's authority?

while Jesus knocked many of the ideas of the church leaders, he, nevertheless, supported the point that they sat in Moses seat of authority and should be obeyed.

"Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and don't do it themselves." Matt 23:1-3

When Jesus was judged of the Jewish council, Mathew records that Jesus spoke nothing all night. That is until Caiaphas commanded him to answer his question. THEN Jesus answered.

"And the high priest arose, and said to him, Do you answer nothing? what is it which these witness against you? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said to him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell me whether you be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said..." Matt 26:62-64

So Caiaphas still had authority at this point.

Then did he lose authority after this, because he crucified Christ (as some others propose)?

"And you shall gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons." Exo 29:9

God declared that this was a perpetual (never ending) situation. In other words nothing the High Priest does can effect his right to that office, provided he fulfilled the requirements laid down of washing and leaving alone dead bodies etc, for a period before performing his duties.

Some may question how it could be that there were 2 prophets upon the earth at the same time - Caiaphas and Peter (for example). Yet there are many prophets upon the earth right now. Also there was some form of president of the priesthood in the Americas at this time. And it would seem possible that there were others in other islands of the seas. Caiaphas had a right to automatic revelation for the Israelite church God had set up through Moses, and Peter had that right in the church of Jesus Christ.