Monday, July 16, 2012

Prophets and the biblical standard

This morning in my daily Bible reading I read Deuteronomy 13 which says something to the effect of if you have a prophet come to you who shows miraculous signs and wonders, and those signs and wonders come true, but he teaches you a different God than the one you have been taught (this is Moses talking) than you should avoid him. In fact, later on in the passage it says that you should actually kill him (see verse 5).

Yeah, that’s a bit much for me. I’m so thankful we don’t have to live under the Old Testament law and kill our false prophets. The principle though, I think is an important one. If an Old Testament prophet who taught a different God was to be killed, then surely, we as New Testament Christians should at the least, avoid prophets who teach a different God.

Moses taught quite a bit about God in Deuteronomy. He used this book, in fact, as a final time to tell his people—the people he had shepherded for more than 40 years—more about who God was, and what He wanted from them. Here are a couple of the main points he makes about God:

There is, and always has been, only one God (and Lord):
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”(Deut 6:4)
Also: “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut 4:39)

That one God, has been God eternally:
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” (Deut 33:27, see also Genesis 21:33)

Compare that to what LDS prophets have taught from the time of Joseph Smith, that God was once a man (see King Follet Discourses), and also that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are different, and in essence three gods. (See Joseph Smith history in the Pearl of Great Price).

I’m pretty sure that there’s a rationalization for what the LDS prophets (all of them) have taught. The guys at FARMS at the least have surely come up with some explanation of why Moses didn’t really mean what he clearly said. In the end though, it seems to me that the Bible is pretty clear about who God is, and there’s no room left to argue those points.I'd be interested though to hear what a LDS person thought--seriously. If this particular point were serious enough in the Old Testament that a false prophet was killed, surely it's serious to us living in the New Testament.

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