02 September 2014

God's Words Are Not Perishable

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." ~Matthew 24:35 NKJV

I have often heard, throughout the last five years or so, that modern revelation trumps ancient revelation. That, in the case of contradiction, current leaders' words carry a greater weight of God's authority. A phrase commonly taken out of context to support that teaching is from Doctrine and Covenants 1:38: 

". .  . whether by my own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." 

That fragment has long since passed the point of cliché in its use to imbue men's words with God's power.

The verse in Matthew gives us an important key: God's words are not perishable. They have no expiration date. 

The commonly-omitted bulk of D&C 1:38 agrees:

"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."

In this verse God refers to what He has already spoken; what His servants had already proclaimed which the early saints had in scripture. The Lord's words not only won't expire--a date after which they suddenly are no longer good, after which we are no longer required to obey them, after which they are no longer Truth--but they "shall all be fulfilled". ALL. 

The declarations of the Living God are eternal--and we must handle them with care, for our very salvation hangs upon them. 

"And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works (I think that is why we call them "standard"—it is the standard measure of all that men teach), you may know by that same token that it is false; regardless of the position of the man who says it."

(Apostle Harold B. Lee, "The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," Address to Seminary and Institute of Religion Faculty, BYU, 8 July 1964)

Up until five years ago, that is what I was taught. That is one of the recurring themes of the Old Testament, as well. 

I have heard some jaw-dropping interpretations of scripture offered in order to wrest from them agreement to modern statements. I'm not a silver-headed gospel scholar, but I most certainly can read, and have read, the scriptures for myself, and am capable of understanding what they say in plain language. English has been my study for more than two decades now, and the interpretations currently presented simply do not have the grammatical support of the language in which they are written. 

"Nevertheless, through you [Joseph Smith] shall the oracles [scriptures] be given to another, yea, even unto the church.

And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house." ~D&C 90:4-5

Today is the day of descendant storm. The wind howls, rain beats, and the violence thereof has made itself amply manifest in my life. Our God is not a God of storms, but of shelter. He is the God Who Hears, and the God Who Heals. It is not He who sends the tempest, but the enemy of our souls. And it is in agreement with the Word of the Living God that we find rest. That I have found rest, when the words of men--earnest and well-intentioned though they were--failed me.

Don't repeat my damning mistake. Take God at His Word. 

His unchanging, eternal, and sure-foundationed Word. 

Father in Heaven, thank You. Thank You for Your constancy, Your faithfulness, Your patience and Your unending mercy, grace, and forgiving love. I rejoice in Your unchanging nature, and that You look upon all flesh equally--that every one of Your children have the same opportunity to approach You, to receive the bounty You offer ALL who come unto You in repentant humility. God, You are WONDERFUL! And I will rest my soul in the shelter of Your Truth, and stand unshaken upon Your Rock. In Jesus' name, amen!