Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, Jesus Christ, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 37 – Jesus Christ: “The Author and Finisher of Our Faith”

  1. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of Heavenly Father, is our Savior.

Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they

‘The heavens may be full of angels, but they are not like the Son of God’ (Spencer W Kimball, General Conference, October 1975)

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than theangels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

‘Who was made a little lower than the angels. – That is, as a man, or when on earth. His assumed rank was inferior to that of the angels.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

“‘Stick with the old ship,’ as the person who was about to apostatize was told by an unseen speaker. Stick with the old ship. It will see you safely through. You may think it is out of date. It is out of date, thank goodness, as compared with some of these modern trends of permissiveness. But before you depart from those plain, simple doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, be sure that you know in which direction you are going, and will listen to those who preside in authority over you. I bear you that witness and leave you my testimony.” (Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974], chap. 41)

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Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

“One of the reasons Christ descended from his divine throne to become as we are was to establish a pattern for us to follow. He demonstrated that we can indeed keep the commandments and overcome the trials and temptations of life. It is of immeasurable worth to millions who have suffered trials and temptations or have experienced sorrow in their mortal existence to know that there is One who has suffered and sorrowed more. He not only has overcome adversity, but he empathizes with those who are still struggling to learn how.” (Kent P. Jackson, “The Eternal Ministry of Christ,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 8)

 Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

‘He is the Prince of Peace—the ultimate Comforter. As such He has power to comfort an anguished heart pierced by sorrow or sin. He provides a special kind of peace that no human agency can provide:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

He is the Good Shepherd. He possesses all the attributes of the divine nature of God. He is virtuous, patient, kind, long-suffering, gentle, meek, and charitable. If we are weak or deficient in any of these qualities, He stands willing to strengthen and compensate.

He is a Wonderful Counselor. Indeed there is no human condition—be it suffering, incapacity, inadequacy, mental deficiency, or sin—which He cannot comprehend or for which His love will not reach out to the individual.’ Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, October 1983)

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

‘Our High Priest is not cold and unfeeling. That is, we have one who is abundantly qualified to sympathize with us in our afflictions, and to whom, therefore, we may look for aid and support in trials. Had we a high priest who was cold and heartless; who simply performed the external duties of his office without entering into the sympathies of those who came to seek for pardon; who had never experienced any trials, and who felt himself above those who sought his aid, we should necessarily feel disheartened in attempting to overcome our sins, and to live to God. His coldness would repel us; his stateliness would awe us; his distance and reserve would keep us away, and perhaps render us indifferent to all desire to be saved. But tenderness and sympathy attract those who are feeble, and kindness does more than anything else to encourage those who have to encounter difficulties and dangers. Such tenderness and sympathy has our Great High Priest.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

“[Speaking of Heb. 4:16] Now, that is the invitation to come to Him when we are faced with problems too much for human skill or for human wisdom, and we will thereby find the answer more divine than human intelligence can understand…

“Those timeless words should be written upon the tablets of our hearts: to likewise give us courage to withstand in our time of need.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 129, 190.)

Hebrews 3: 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

‘Days of temptation are often days of provocation. But to provoke God, when he is letting us see that we entirely depend and live upon him, is a provocation indeed. The hardening of the heart is the spring of all other sins.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

 Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

“Camped in the hot, waterless wilderness of southern Palestine, the Israelites challenged Moses, saying, ‘Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’ (Exodus 17:3). This complaint might have been understandable had these people never seen the hand of God in their lives, but this incident occurred after the miraculous Passover, after their passage through the Red Sea dry shod, and after the outpouring of manna and quail from heaven. In response to the Israelites’ faithlessness, an exasperated Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me’ (Exodus 17:4). The Lord answered: ‘Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah’ (Exodus 17:6-7).

“Psalm 95 provides the linguistic link that identifies this incident as the Provocation: (quotes Psalm 95:7-11; Heb. 3:8-15).

“The event at Meribah is the Provocation mentioned throughout the Bible. In that incident, the Lord tested the faith of the children of Israel and their willingness to accept his love and grace. Grace is the Lord’s divine enabling power, given to humankind to help them with all the challenges of their lives; grace ultimately empowers them to lay hold on heaven itself. But the Israelites’ response to the Lord’s abundant generosity illustrates a religious paradox: God offers his children grace, but the children will not seek it; God offers his children heaven, but the children will not enter in.” (M. Catherine Thomas, Thy People Shall Be My People and Thy God My God: The 22d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 167.)

  1. The Melchizedek Priesthood is part of the fulness of the gospel.

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

“Under the law of Moses the presiding officer of the Aaronic Priesthood was called the high priest. The office was hereditary and came through the firstborn among the family of Aaron, Aaron himself being the first high priest of the Aaronic order…

“The high priest’s main duties, in addition to the duties of a regular priest, were to perform the service of the Day of Atonement; to inquire God’s will by the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate of his office; and to offer sacrifices on Sabbaths, new moons, and yearly festivals. He also had to offer a meat offering twice daily for himself (Lev. 6:19-23).” (Bible Dictionary: High Priest)

Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

‘The high priest is taken from among men, in order that he may have a fellow-feeling for those on whose behalf he officiates. Sensible of his own ignorance, he is able to sympathize with those who are ignorant; and compassed about with infirmity, he is able to succour those who have like infirmities.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Hebrews 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

“When the Lord taught his ancient Apostles, he said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you’ (John 15:16). This short statement is a fundamental principle of the Lord’s true church. People do not have the right to call themselves to act in God’s name. Neither a desire to serve nor a love of God and fellowman-however heartfelt and sincere-authorizes one to claim God’s authority in matters relating to his church. Scriptural precedent shows that when God has true servants on earth, the call comes through them, his representatives.

“The New Testament teaches, ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron’ (Heb. 5:4). The Lord’s authorized servant, Moses, learned by revelation that it was God’s will that Aaron serve (see Ex. 28:1). Accordingly, Moses called and consecrated him (see Ex. 40:12-16, Lev. 8:9-13).” (Kent P. Jackson, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Feb. 1995, 62)

jesus-and-the-apostles

Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

“What kind of a man was this Melchizedek? …The Joseph Smith Translation provides an additional 16 verses in Genesis 14 (Gen. 14:25-40) …As a child Melchizedek had such faith as to stop the mouths of lions and quench the violence of fire (see also JST, Heb. 5:7). He was ordained a high priest after the order of the Son of God. He was a prophet like unto Enoch who had power through his faith over the elements, over the nations of the earth, and the power to stand in the presence of God ‘by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world’ (JST, Gen. 14:31). In addition to his biblical title ‘King of peace’ (Heb. 7:2), in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14:33 [Gen. 14:33] we learn Melchizedek was called by his people ‘the Prince of peace,’ another title identifying him as a type foreshadowing the ministry of Jesus Christ.” (David Rolph Seely, “The Joseph Smith Translation: ‘Plain and Precious Things’ Restored,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 14)

 Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

‘He left the Priesthood on the earth with his Apostles. They officiated in it until they were put to death. It is by that power that we administer in this day and generation.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses)

 Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

‘From the inferiority of the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of Melchisedec, just proved, it followed that the former was imperfect and incapable of leading to perfection.’ (Meyer’s NT Commentary)

  1. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the new covenant between God and his children.

Hebrews 8: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Moses1

‘We have an organization that was planned and ordained by the Almighty. We have the First Presidency—President Brigham Young, set apart by God to occupy the position that he does, and his Counsel. Who told men about such an organization as this? God. What did we know about it till then? Nothing. Who knew about the organization of the Twelve? Nobody. Who knew about an organization of High Priests?  Nobody, yet they had them in various ages of the world, according to the record that we have. Who knew about an organization of Seventies, and of the various Quorums of the Priesthood, and the duties that should devolve upon them? Nobody. Who knew about the organization of Bishops? Nobody. Have they not got Bishops? Yes, but they are not in the right place, and they are not bishops, they call them so, but they are not bishops. I remember introducing brother Hunter to a gentleman in Provo. “Mr. So and So,” said I, “this is Bishop Hunter, our presiding Bishop here. In England you have your lords spiritual, but,” said I, “this is our lord temporal, and he attends to the affairs of our bread and cheese,” &c. But elsewhere their bishops are made spiritual officers, which Bishops were never intended for. Who knew anything about other organizations of the Priesthood that we have, such as Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, and their various duties? Nobody. Where did this originate? With God. Where is the pattern? In the heavens. When will this Priesthood cease? Never. It originated with God, and when we get through with the affairs of time you will find just the same organization, the same Priesthood, the same power, the same principles that exist here. Why? Because the things which exist in the Church of God here are patterns of those which exist in the heavens. God said to Moses—“See that thou make all things according to the pattern that I showed thee in the mount.”  The pattern that we have is a pattern of that which exists in the heavens, the organization of the Priesthood that will exist throughout eternity. And these are heavenly things committed to us in the flesh for our benefit, and for the benefit of the world that we live in. It is not to save or bless me or my family alone, or you and your family alone; but it is to bless and save all who will avail themselves thereof, who have ever lived, and all who live now or ever will live.’ (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses)

  1. Those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ will inherit a place in the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

“The entrance of the high priest into the Holy of Holies and his passing through the sacred veil of the temple was a type for that future day when the Son of God would rend the veil to enter the heavenly temple and stand in the presence of God. Having satisfied the demands of justice through his atoning sacrifice, Christ could now commence his great work of mercy and mediation in behalf of all whose labors attested that they had accepted him. By virtue of his mercy and grace, the faithful of all ages could now also enter into the holiest place. ‘So now, my friends,’ Paul explained, ‘the blood of Jesus makes us free to enter boldly into the sanctuary by the new, living way which he has opened for us through the curtain, the way of his flesh. We have, moreover, a great priest set over the household of God; so let us make our approach in sincerity of heart and full assurance of faith, our guilty hearts sprinkled clean, our bodies washed with pure water.’ (Heb. 10:19-22, New English Bible.)

HighPriest

 “The purpose of the atonement was to remove the effects of the Fall whereby men were cast out of the presence of God. Through his sacrifice, Christ opened the door through which we might return to the divine presence.” (Joseph F. McConkie in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 199 – 200.)

Hebrews 10: 21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

‘ high priest—As a different Greek term (archiereus) is used always elsewhere in this Epistle for “high priest,” translate as Greek here, “A Great Priest”; one who is at once King and “Priest on His throne” (Zec 6:13); a royal Priest, and a priestly King.’ (Jamieson-Faussett-Brown Bible Commentary)

 Hebrews 10:22 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.

‘The Jewish cleansing or sprinkling with blood related only to what was external, and could not make the conscience perfect, but the sacrifice offered by the Saviour was designed to give peace to the troubled mind, and to make it pure and holy. An “evil conscience” is a consciousness of evil, or a conscience oppressed with sin; that is, a conscience that accuses of guilt. We are made free from such a conscience through the atonement of Jesus, not because we become convinced that we have not committed sin, and not because we are led to suppose that our sins are less than we had otherwise supposed – for the reverse of both these is true – but because our sins are forgiven, and since they are freely pardoned they no longer produce remorse and the fear of future wrath’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

‘In the last words there is a clear allusion to baptism, as the symbol of the new life of purity’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“…faith makes us confident of what we hope for and convinced of what we do not see. The scientist does not see molecules, atoms, or electrons, yet he knows they exist. He does not see electricity, radiation, or magnetism, but he knows these are unseen realities. In like manner, those who earnestly seek for God do not see him, but they know of his reality by faith. It is more than hope. Faith makes it a conviction-an evidence of things not seen.” (Howard W Hunter, “To Know God,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 97)

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

‘Important components of faith are patience, long-suffering, and enduring to the end. The Apostle Paul recounts the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sara, concluding that “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” These faithful Saints knew that this earth life was a journey, not their final destination.’ (Spencer J Condie, General Conference, October 2007)

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

‘and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son;  – he had a promise made him that he should have a son, and that a numerous issue should spring from him, which should inherit the land of Canaan; yea, that the Messiah himself should be of his seed: and he had received these promises; given credit to them, and firmly believed them, and fully expected the performance of them; as he had reason to do, since the first was fulfilled, the son was born; and yet now he is called to offer him up, on whom his expectation was placed; everything was trying; it was an human creature he was called to offer, whose blood is not to be shed by man; a child of his own, a part of himself; a son, an own son; an only begotten son; a son whom he loved; an Isaac, a son of joy; a son of promise; and his heir, the son of his old age, and who was now a grown up person. The Jews are divided about the age of Isaac at his binding: Josephus says he was twenty five years of age; others say twenty six; some say thirty six: but the more prevailing opinion is that he was thirty seven years of age; only Aben Ezra makes him to be about thirteen; rejecting the more commonly received account, as well as that he was but five years old, that being an age unfit to carry wood. Some Christian writers have thought he might be about three and thirty years of age, the age of Christ when he suffered, of whom he was a type.’ Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

‘Throughout the whole of their history the people of Israel were the people of the Christ. Their national existence originated in the promise to Abraham, which was a promise of the Christ; and till the fulness of time should come their mission was to prepare the way for Him. The reproach which Moses accepted by joining the people of the promise was, therefore, “the reproach of the Christ,” the type of that “reproach” which in later days His people will share with Him. He who was to appear in the last days as the Messiah was already in the midst of Israel’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

 Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

“Reared and taught amid all the wealth, splendor, and influence of Pharaoh’s court; having at his command the prestige and power of the royal household; knowing he was assured of a life of ease and affluence-yet Moses, because of faith in Christ, chose to suffer with slaves and bondsmen of his own race rather than to accept the honors, wealth, and power of the greatest nation then on earth.” (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 213.)

 Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

‘The Lord sent forth the destroyer in ancient times to lay waste the firstborn of the Egyptians, pointing out the means by which his people might escape, and those who failed to do as they were commanded had no promise of being preserved; so in these days when judgments come, they will begin among his Saints, and those who have not attended to the word of wisdom and the laws of life that he has pointed out and have no claim to mercy and favor, God is no respecter of persons. They who have great light and yet sin will endure tribulation and indignation from his hand unless they repent.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

Hebrews 11: 29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

‘Which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned – Evidently referred to here as showing the effects of not having faith in God, and of what must inevitably have befallen the Israelites if they had had no faith. The destruction of the Egyptians by the return of the waters in accordance with natural laws, showed that the Israelites would have been destroyed in the passage if a divine energy had not been employed to prevent it.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

 31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

“Remember that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and others could not see clearly the end from the beginning. They also walked by faith and without sight…But know this, that just as undaunted faith has stopped the mouths of lions, made ineffective fiery flames, opened dry corridors through rivers and seas, protected against deluge and drought, and brought heavenly manifestations at the instance of prophets, so in each of our lives faith can heal the sick, bring comfort to those who mourn, strengthen resolve against temptation, relieve from the bondage of harmful habits, lend the strength to repent and change our lives, and lead to a sure knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Indomitable faith can help us live the commandments with a willing heart and thereby bring blessings unnumbered, with peace, perfection, and exaltation in the kingdom of God.” (Spencer W Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 12.)

 Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

‘Quenched the violence of fire – As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. “Escaped the edge of the sword.” As Elijah did when he fled from Ahab, as Elijah did when he was delivered from the king of Syria,; and as David did when he fled from Saul.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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