Return To Contents


THE DEVOUT CHRISTIAN who finds the foundation of his faith in the pages of Holy Scripture, augmented by experience and study, is often in perplexity because of the symbolism and the figurative language in which many of the principal prophecies are expressed.  And because he sees in the language of prophecy the main and sometimes the only key to the understanding of the will of God and the foreshadowing of future events, he feels that in spite of the difficulty involved, he cannot be justified in either dismissing or neglecting the great declarations that have been received through the ministry of the prophets.

In confronting this problem, the members of the church, and the priesthood especially, have called for guidance;  and if we are to achieve "the unity of the faith" which is essential to the welfare and progress of the church, some help must be given.  In times past, various publications have been issued to meet the need, and have done much good for the periods in which they appeared and for the people to whom they were addressed.  But with the passing of time, significant developments have been added to the extension of knowledge and the pattern of history, so that older works, while fundamentally sound in the principles of faith, have become inadequate in many collateral concepts.

To the need for new literature in this field, we have given serious attention.  And we are gratified to have been able to call to the task of writing it a man so gifted in literary work, so rich in wisdom, so experienced in the counsels of the church, and so beloved by its people, as our Presiding Patriarch, Elbert A. Smith.

We  have been reluctant to say of any written work that it is the ultimate or the only expression of viewpoint permissible or accepted regarding the doctrines of the church, except in the most factual or the most fundamental matters.   We must ever keep our minds open to the revelation or discovery of new truth; our efforts for clearer understanding must never cease.

Needless to say, we are pleased to present this excellent book to our people.  It is a splendid contribution to the Priesthood Library for which it has been especially written.  It will also serve as a basis of study for the membership, and will be useful and helpful in many ways, some of which, possibly, we cannot now anticipate.  May it be received in the spirit in which it has been written, and in which we commend it to the church.

President of the Church

Return To Contents

Chapter 1 - Time Vindicates The Prophet

HUMANITY is always pressing toward the future, yet never reaching it; always standing in the present, and in imagination probing the future—"casting a javelin into the beyond." Events a split second away catch us by surprise; and yet it is a part of the struggle for existence to prognosticate. It is a part of the search for truth that always intrigues the mind of man. Shakespeare wrote: "The prophetic soul of the whole wide world dreaming of things to come."


Modern revelation defines truth as "the knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come." 1 Recorded history, archaeology, geology, and other physical sciences give us a limited knowledge of things as they have been. We have a considerable knowledge of things as they are, shot through with mysteries that we cannot solve. With such knowledge, we may hazard predictions concerning the future. Sometimes we score a hit. Often we fail even in our forecast of the weather for tomorrow. In the opening years of the "great depression" (1929) the wisest economists, financiers, and statesmen assured the world that prosperity was "just around the corner."


When dealing with physical forces that move in fixed cycles, we can forecast the future with great certainty. The sun will rise tomorrow. The moon will be full tonight. The tide will be high at ten o’clock. The planets and stars will be in certain relative positions a year from today. There will be a total eclipse of the sun one hundred years hence, on a given day, at a certain hour.


When we enter the realms of life where volition functions even to a slight degree, the veil between us and futurity thickens and darkens. Lodge has said:

Life introduces an incalculable element. The vagaries of a fire or a cyclone could all be predicted by Laplace’s Calculator, given the initial positions, velocities, and the law of acceleration of the molecules but no mathematician could calculate the orbit of a common house-fly. A physicist into whose galvanometer a spider had crept would be liable to get phenomena of a kind quite inexplicable, until he discovered the supernatural, i. e., literally super-physical, cause. I will risk the assertion that Life introduces something incalculable and purposeful amid the laws of physics. 2

As Lodge has said, we cannot predict the movements of so unimportant an insect as a fly one moment in advance. He may go out an open window, or alight upon a bald head, or his wings "be drabbled in the baby’s milk," or he may drift into the cockpit of an airplane and go to the Azores.

When multitudes of human beings, each with agency and will, divided into conflicting races, are thrown into the scale of world events, with all the other actions and reactions of natural forces, we may say that the future becomes a "sealed book."


Even in modern times we have had astonishing examples of how wrong learned men may be when they enter the field of prophecy. David Star Jordan, famous educator, published his book, War and Waste, in 1913. In it he said:

What we say of the great war of Europe, ever threatening, ever impending, and which never comes? We shall say that it will never come.

A lad in grammar school could not have done worse, and might have done better. The First World War was at the door, and after it another, immeasurably more terrible.

Stuart Chase, in The Road We are Traveling, a report to "The Twentieth Century Fund," 1942, gives us further examples which we summarize as follows:

On October 25, 1929, just before the "terrible Tuesday" that ushered in the great depression, President Hoover reported to the press: "The fundamental business of the country is on a sound and prosperous basis."

On March 8, 1930, the press carried this dispatch from Washington: "President Hoover predicted today that the worst effect of the crash upon employment will have passed during the next sixty days.

On January 1, 1930, the secretary of the treasury, the great financier, Andrew W. Mellon, in a New Year's good cheer message reported: "I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism." And Arthur Brisbane, the great journalist, reported: "All the really important millionaires are planning to continue prosperity."

These men were very teamed and very experienced in the fields of economics and finance. But a novice could not have made worse predictions regarding the immediate future, and he might have done better.

During the Second World War the common man on the street was no more befogged and bemused and wrong in his predictions concerning the length and course of the war than were very famous military experts, news analysts, and great statesmen of various nations.


The Lord God is infinite and eternal. All time is within the range of his consciousness. He dwells in the bosom of eternity and compasses all that we call past, present, and future. Absolute truth is his. When his quickening Spirit rests upon a man in prophecy, the future may be unfolded to that man: "Saul is numbered with the prophets."

Lodge has well said:

The prescientific insight of genius—of poets and prophets and saints—was of supreme value, and the access of those seers to the heart of the universe was often profound. 3

Rejecting, as we should, the false claims of fortunetellers of every grade and color, the pretenses of wizards, astrologers, oracles, fakirs, spiritualist mediums, and crystal-gazers, we cannot honestly escape the conviction that upon great men at diverse tunes there has rested a spirit, godlike in quality, that has penetrated close to the inner heart of absolute truth and has opened to vision the secrets of the far-off future.

Such a spirit has come upon some of the poets. How shall we deny that something of the spirit of the prophet was with Tennyson when he wrote:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law. 4


More than poets and visionaries were the Bible prophets. They revealed to humanity not alone events of the future concerning which the "prophetic soul of the whole wide world dreams," they came with messages of truth relating to human origin and destiny and the perplexing problems of human conduct and duty.

Scattered all through the Bible are prophecies that had a literal fulfillment. Taken separately, some of them have for us only an impressive demonstration of prophetic power. Almost from the beginning, however, there is developed a line of prophecy dealing in sequence with world events to the very end of time, and beyond. Simultaneously there is an unfolding of fundamental truth about the realities of existence and the eternal verities bearing not alone on human origin and human destiny, but also directly upon the problems of human conduct.


In the momentous and tumultuous times in which we live, it is of great value to us to know that the prophets saw "our day." They saw the time when men should "beat their plow shares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears" 5; when "multitudes" should be gathered together "in the valley of decision"; the time when "nation should rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom"; when there should be "wars and rumors of wars, pestilence and famine," 6 and on earth distress of nations with perplexity."

They saw America of your time and mine. They saw all the nations of the earth in their travail.

All of these things they foresaw in their relation to the past and the present—and the future. For they saw beyond our times the days when men shall beat their swords back into plow shares and their spears back into pruning hooks. 7 When bombing planes and tanks shall be recast as tool’s to till the soil, to feed humanity, and rebuild the world.

They saw the fulfillment of the promises associated with "the signs of the times"—our times. They saw the coming of the Son of man in his second advent, to fulfill his promise, "I will come again."

Time Vindicates The Prophet

Time vindicates the true prophet; but confounds the false prophet. This test was long ago given:

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. 8

Just as surely as the passage of time exposes the pretense of the false prophet, so surely does it vindicate the predictions, the teachings, the vision of the true prophet.


1. Doctrine and Covenants: 90:4.
2. Continuity, pages 78, 79. G. P. Putnam’s Sons Publishers.
3. lbid., page 15.
4. Locksley Hall.
5. Joel 3:9-14.
6. Matthew 24:7.
7. Isaiah 2:4.
8. Deuteronomy 18:22.

Return To Contents

Chapter 2 - Functions of the Prophet

"God set in the church prophets."—I. Corinthians 12:28.
"Doubt not through ages one increasing purpose runs."

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT from the prophet? What do you ask of him? Most people when they speak of a prophet think of one who predicts future events. That is one of his functions; not the only one, and not the most important. A man may be a prophet and never predict the future.

When the prophet does prophecy concerning the future in the name of the Lord and in due time we see his prophecy fulfilled, there is a distinct benefit. Our faith is strengthened. We see that God is working by a plan—a long-time plan. He has a purpose in the universe, and therefore one in us. The pattern by which he works may seem obscure as yet, but we have caught a glimpse of its unfolding. We are inspired to do his will, to seek his guidance, that we, too, may fit into that pattern.

Important as all that may be, the prophet serves humanity in other and even more important ways. Someone has said that he is a forth-teller more than a fore-teller. The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible says:

Prediction was an important part of the prophet’s work, but more important still the prophet had to deal with the present and the past, and to instruct men in God’s ways . . . The use of the English word prophet must not be permitted to emphasize unduly the predictive side of the prophet.


Prognostication is by no means the chief mission of the prophet. He comes also with a revelation of God and the will of God. He comes with a message concerning the reality of things, true meanings and values of life, moral standards; man’s origin, his duty, and his relation to God and eternity. In all these things the prophet’s message awaits the vindication of time. Ofttimes rejected by his own generation and his own people, presently the passing years uncover the etemal truth of his message.

A little grade school girl went to a crystal-gazer to have her fortune told. Being forthright in thinking and statement, she said to the crystal-gazer: "I don’t care to hear anything about my future husband. What I want to know is the answers to the questions in next week’s examination."

There are certain questions to which humanity desires an answer with a most desperate desire. Neither crystal-gazer nor astrologer has the answer for sale cheap, or at any price. One of these questions has to do with man’s origin. He can evaluate himself and determine his duty and direct his conduct wisely only as he first gets the answer to that question.


Science has wrestled with that problem of origin. Marconi addressed a congress of scientists in Venice in 1934. Eight Nobel prize winners were present. Concerning the mystery of life and the failure of science to solve it, Marconi said:

The mystery of life is certainly the most persistent problem ever placed before the mind of man. There is no doubt but what from the time humanity began to think, it has, occupied itself with the problem of its origin and its future which—undoubtedly is the problem of life. The inability of science to solve it is absolute. This would be truly frightening if it were not for faith.... The spectre of death places man, who wishes to explain the tormenting mystery, before a book sealed with seven seals.

No one present at that congress of scientists arose to challenge Marconi’s statement. No one has challenged it since then. The mystery of life and death remains to silence and philosophy a book sealed with seven seals.


There is a Book not sealed at all, open for all to read. Its very first words give us the key to man’s origin: "In the beginning God created." Thus the voice of prophecy is pitched to a tremendous, reverberating keynote. There we have the assurance of design, of purpose. Absurd theories of origin by chance, without purpose or hope or incentive to find worthwhile standards of life and adhere to them, are brushed away by that one opening declaration from the prophets, and the way is opened for them to unfold the divine purposes and plans of life.

There are only two possible theories concerning the origin of the universe and life as we observe it. No one has been wise enough to think of a third possibility. Either things came by blind chance, or else they came by design; and if by design, then there is one who designed. After the passage of thousands of years, thoughtful men find it impossible to accept the theory of blind chance and are left absolutely no theory to fall back upon that does not recognize in substance the existence of intelligent creative power functioning in the origin of things. As Lord Kelvin said, "God has reserved a place for his own appearing in the beginning of all things."

So thoughtful a man as Michael Pupin, at the time president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science declared:

Wherever science has explored the universe, it has found it to be a manifestation of a coordinating principle. It leaves us no escape from the conclusion that back of everything there is a definite guiding principle. We are faced with two alternatives: either the law and order of the universe is the result of haphazard happenings; or it is the result of a definite intelligence. Now, which are you, as an intelligent being, going to choose?

Personally, I believe in the Divine Intelligence, because it is simpler and more intelligible. It harmonizes with my whole experience. When you see the stars, each moving along its own prescribed path with a precision impossible to attain in any mechanism constructed by man, when you see a seed grow after a definite plan into a tree, or a baby develop into a self-directing human individuality, can you believe that it is the result of haphazard happenings? Such a belief is beyond my understanding." 1

Time has vindicated the message of the prophet couched in the very opening words of the Bible, and the Scriptures stand approved as worthy of our respect. "In the beginning God created." That message will stand the test of time as long as men shall think things through to a logical conclusion.


To a world that had a god for every hill and valley and village, Moses came with the message of monotheism—one God, the Great I AM. Just one God everywhere!

Thousands of years later science makes the great discovery that law is etemal and universal, the same law always and everywhere. Time vindicates the prophet. Behind the shadows, Moses laughs and says, "That was what I said, One Universal, Unchangeable Lawgiver."

Paul spoke as a prophet on Mar’s Hill. There he found altars to all the many Greek gods. And what gods they were! Rene Kraus says of them: "The Greek gods were amorous, corrupt, quarrelsome. . . . Their days were haggling and their nights were adultery."

Among the many altars to these corrupt gods of man’s devising, Paul found one erected to "The Unknown God." This was the God the Greeks, by that confession, had never known. Paul declared, "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." It is the work of the prophet to reveal a better vision of God than the people have known.


You believe in God? Yes. But what kind of a God? It is the function of the prophets to testify of God and to interpret his character.

Because the prophets are human and are limited in comprehension, and because we are limited and can understand their message only in part, the revelation has been progressive. God is not progressive, but our limitations of necessity prescribe that his revelation shall be progressive. "Here a little and there a little, line upon line and precept upon precept." God himself to one prophet said: "Unto what shall I liken these things that ye may understand?"

The early prophets saw a God of omnipotent power, and they were afraid. John saw a God of love, "God is Love." Jesus came with a vision of God as a father: "Our Father which art in heaven."


In like manner there has been an unfolding revelation of God’s will. The prophets have seen beyond the then prevailing conceptions of justice and equity in human relations. The law of Moses with its eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth was a "schoolmaster" to bring us to something better—that is, "to Christ" and his better law. 3

Socrates said that a certain madness rests on the prophets. The prophet may seem mad to his generation, his plan impractical. He sees things incredible, denounces old superstitions, proclaims new truths, or rediscovers old truths. Generally he gets himself persecuted, sometimes killed. Jeremiah in a dungeon, Daniel in the lion’s den, John beheaded: "Which of the prophets have your fathers not slain?" Can the prophet foresee his own death? Perhaps so, but like Paul he is "not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." 4

At a time when the Hebrews were seeing no further than the blood and smoke of their burnt offerings, the Prophet Isaiah had a vision of the essence of religion:

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offering of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.... Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 5

Isaiah’s message was not warmly received by his own people. The masses were trusting ceremonies and offerings and were not concerned with justice and personal righteousness. Their teachers, the priests, were quite content. Today we know that time has vindicated the prophet.

Forms and ceremonies and doctrines have neither service nor significance excepting as they help to interpret and are associated helpfully with righteous living—right living—clean living—justice, mercy, social service to the poor and the oppressed.


Since "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophecy,"6 an important work of the prophets has been to testify of him. They foretold his coming. They announced his appearing. John the Baptist as a prophet declared, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

They proclaim his second advent. They testify of him, even today, as did a modem prophet: "And, now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father." 7


1. Pupin in an interview with Albert Edward Wiggam, The American Magazine, September, 1927; reprint in Readers’ Digest, December, 1928.
2. Acts 17:23.
3. Galatians 3:24.
4. Acts 26:19.
5. Isaiah 1:11, 15, 16, 17.
6. Revelation 19:10.
7. Doctrine and Covenants 76:3.

Return To Contents

Chapter 3 - A Chosen People


ALMOST any sort of organization administering affairs of temporal or spiritual magnitude begins with a key figure or figures, usually developing a group of key workers. God also works that way, which is reasonable, and so would be his way; in the post-flood period, developing long-range plans that would carry to the end of time, he selected a "chosen people" through which to reach and influence others. They were a "chosen people" but not for purposes of favoritism. Not favors but burdens and sorrows were to be theirs.


Abram, "son of Terah, born in Ur, of the Chaldees," some nineteen hundred years before Christ, was the progenitor of this "chosen people." (Later his name was changed to Abraham.) He received this commandment from heaven-

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great: and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 1

So Abram, when seventy-five years old, with his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot "went forth to go into the land of Canaan;" and "into the land of Canaan they came." Of this land the Lord said to Abraham:

And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord. 2

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 3

Thus came Abraham to the "Promised Land" which was destined to figure in history so long as the world shall stand.


It is interesting to know something about the background of this man Abraham. He was not by inheritance a wanderer —he became a pioneer and a nation builder by divine calling. Archaeologists have uncovered the land of his early youth and upbringing. In Through Lands of The Bible," H. V. Morton writes:

As the train pounded to the south, I lay reading Sir Leonard Woolley’s book, Ur of the Chaldees. This book described what will probably go down in history as one of the most valuable and interesting archaeological discoveries of our time. The excavators found evidence of the Flood. They found the tombs of highly civilized people who lived centuries before the Pyramids were built. Then, advancing in time, Sir Leonard uncovered the city in which Abraham may have lived. He entered the ruins of houses which Abraham may have known. Seven years’ work with a spade at Ur has undone half a century’s destructive criticism with the pen. With the earth rolled back from this ancient city, we now think of Abraham as the citizen of a cultured highly civilized community; he left it to become a sheep farmer and to wander about the world, as deliberately as a man to-day might leave London for Australia or New Zealand.

"Now the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation."

Thus Abraham left the busy quay-sides and markets of this earlier, smaller Babylon, and set out across the world, not by birth a nomad, but a townsman in search of his destiny: the first colonist in history. 4


From Abraham, the first of the patriarchs of old, was to come the long line of prophets and apostles of sacred writ whose prophetic messages we have in the Old and New Testaments, and in that more recently discovered book, the Book of Mormon.

Through Abraham and his seed the nations of the earth were to be blest. Thence came the many prophecies contained in the sacred books of the Old Testament, on an ascending scale revealing God, interpreting his character and his will, delineating better human relationships, predicting the future.

Thence came also Christ and the apostles and the New Testament scriptures with hope and incentive to untold millions: "Good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." 5

It is true that as the prophets and their wayward people groped their way forward, "following the gleam," many things crept into their lives, and some of them into their writings difficult now to reconcile to the greater light that came to them later. Such is the course of the human seeking to comprehend the Divine and to do the divine will.


A rather wise pastor was approached by a novitiate who was having difficulty with some of the things written in the Old Testament—Jonah and the whale, and so on. The pastor said to him, "When I have a fine dinner of fish set before me, I do not spend much time chewing on the bones. I put them to one side and enjoy the good food that will feed me and save my life."

There is plenty, and more, an abundance, of spiritual food to feed and save the world found in the message of the prophets and apostles, both ancient and modem, if men will partake of it and not spend time chewing bones and contentions.


In their great old age, Abraham and his wife Sarah received a promise from the Lord that a son should be born to them. And in due time Isaac was born.

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6

Thus was born Isaac and from Isaac came Jacob, who later was given the name of Israel. The "children of Israel" were figuratively to become as it were "as numerous as the sands of the sea," as had been predicted.

From Jacob (Israel) came the twelve tribes of Israel. People now give to the one tribe the name that of old was applied to the various tribes. The Jews, descendants of Judah, are called Israelites, Hebrews, and many other names not so good; however Judah was but one of the tribes of Israel. To others also there was promised a remarkable future.

The sons of Jacob were: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naptali, Joseph, and Benjamin.

The two sons of the beloved Joseph who had been sold into Egypt, Ephraim and Manasseh, were given great and glorious promises in keeping with the blessing pronounced upon their father, Joseph.


Ten of the tribes were "lost"—the "ten lost tribes." They were "lost" to the view of the historian but not from the face of the earth, nor from the knowledge of God. There is good reason to believe that millions of the inhabitants of Europe, the British Isles, and America are of their descent, particularly from Ephraim, from whom were to spring many nations.

When Jacob (Israel) blessed Manasseh, the elder brother, he said he should ‘become a people, and he also shall be great." But when he came to bless Ephraim, the younger brother, he said, "His seed shall become a multitude of nations." It may be well to read again the dramatic story of the blessing of these two brothers:

And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac: and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall become a people, and he shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 7

These blessings accord with the one pronounced by Jacob upon the head of Joseph:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. 8


To Abraham and his seed had been promised Canaan, the Holy Land of Promise, now Palestine, a small land, though one to rate large in history; but the inheritance of Joseph was to be far above that of his progenitors. His land, Joseph’s land, was to be rich and great, reaching unto "the uttermost bounds of the everlasting hills." His branches were to "run over the wall," the sea, to the other "promised land" of freedom and glory, America.

Read further the description of Joseph’s land as contained in the blessing that Moses pronounced upon Joseph:

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and the precious things put forth by the moon. And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills. And for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come up on the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 9

A little later we shall see how the descendants of Joseph did cross the sea to the promised land of America—a promised land of liberty, "choice above all other lands." For the prophets did foresee America, even unto our day. Again time has vindicated the prophets.


From the "chosen people" came the inspired patriarchs and prophets of old. It is true that in their lives we find much that to-day does not merit our approval. But that was long ago. God used such men as were available. It was a long way yet to Christ and the light that his teaching threw upon human conduct. These men were but blazing the way, and, even after the Law of Moses was given to them, they had only that which was to be a "Schoolmaster to bring them to Christ," a schoolmaster with a heavy rod, dealing with an ofttimes wayward set of pupils. And yet these prophets did see the light and step by step led the way to Christ and the apostles and to a better way of life.

Of this Hebrew people and their peculiar calling and genius Snowden has written:

The Hebrews were endowed with religious genius, as the Greeks were with intellectual and artistic gifts, and the Romans with political organization and power. They were the most sensitive race in the world to the presence of God, the mountain peak that caught the light of his face earlier than other people and reflected it down upon the world. Their great prophets in the Old Testament times, Moses and Isaiah, stood on the tip of this peak and saw the light so that their own faces shone and men saw in them the reflection of Jehovah. They looked at God face to face and told the world what they saw. In the New Testament the comparatively dim and reflected light of the Old burst clear and full from the direct presence of God in Christ and was further reflected in the teaching and work of the apostles. John and Paul stood close to the Light of the World and caught its beams and threw them far and wide out over succeeding centuries. 10

It is not our purpose, even if space permitted it, to deal in detail with the history of this strange people. The story of their long captivity in Egypt which had been predicted through Abraham, their wandering in the wilderness, their return to the Holy Land, the glory of Jerusalem and the Temple, their later captivity and scattering do not concern us just now.

We would seek out some of the outstanding prophecies that have had a remarkable fulfillment, and note in particular some that concern us in these confused modern days.

Suggested Reading: Three chapters in The Bible in Every Day Living, by Cheville, Herald Publishing House. The three chapters are: "For What Did the Patriarchs Stand," "Who Were the Prophets of the Northern Kingdom," and "What Brought Out Southern Prophecy."


1. Genesis 12:1-3.
2. Genesis 13:14-18.
3. Genesis 17:1-8.
4. From Through Lands of the Bible, by H. V. Morton, reprinted by permission of Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc.
5. Luke 2:10.
6. Genesis 21:2-5.
7. Genesis 48:13-19.
8. Genesis 49:22-26.
9. Deuteronomy 33:13-16.
10. The Personality of God, by Dr. Snowden, pages 31, 32; The Macmillan Co., Publishers.

Return To Contents

Chapter 4 - Phophets Witnessed For Christ


HISTORIANS have considered Assyrian and Palestinian politics worthy of considerable study, but Elihu Grant insists that "the rise of Hebrew prophecy was of greater significance." 1 He adds that while the Jews may have treasured the sacred law, the world has "appraised prophecy more highly."

Since "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," it is not surprising that the prophets have always concerned themselves with him and his work. Those who came before him prophesied of him; those who walked and talked with him in the flesh and those who have lived since his day have testified of him.

One of the chief tasks of the early Hebrew prophets was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.


Isaiah predicted the birth of Christ more than seven hundred years before he came. The one of whom he spoke was not to be just an extraordinary man:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel .2

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 3


Even the very city in which he was to be born was indicated by the Prophet Micah seven hundred years before the event. Again this was not to be the birth of just an extraordinary man; he was to be one "whose goings forth have, been of old, from everlasting".

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 4

When Christ was born, by what might seem to be a chance, in Bethlehem instead of in the home town of Joseph and Mary, the Wise Men came seeking him. Herod’s fears were aroused, and he called the chief priests and scribes of the Jews together and asked them where he might hope to find this child—where was he to be born? The prophecy was so well-known that without hesitation they replied:

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet. 5


That he was to be betrayed and sold for thirty pieces of silver and that the silver was to be cast to the potter was predicted by Zechariah more than four hundred years before Christ:

If ye think good, give me my price, and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. 6

How Judas sold him for thirty pieces of silver and how the money went to the potter’s field is recorded by Matthew:

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us ? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 7


There are numerous prophecies forecasting his death; so much so that Jesus thought the apostles should have been better informed and should not have been so dismayed by his crucifixion. After his resurrection, when he met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he said to them:

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 8

That while he died men should cast lots for his garments, that they should give him vinegar and gall, that he should make no effort to defend himself, but should go from prison to judgment and to death, that he should be buried in a rich man’s tomb, having died for the transgression of his people, all this was forecast:

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 9

They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 10

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 11


Did the life of Jesus and his teaching justify the hopes raised by the prophets? Did he affect humanity in a way to entitle him to the pre-eminence the prophets gave to him?

EMERSON said of him, "His name was not so much written as ploughed into the history of the world."

WILL DURANT, philosopher, wrote:
Closer still was the figure of Christ, appealingly kin to us in growth and suffering, and yet the ideal embodient of gentleness and tolerance; preaching with simplicity and courage the doctrine of human brotherhood, and drawing out of us, by the magnetism of sincerity, the finest possibilities of our nature. 12

MAHATMA GANDHI, "holy man" of India declares:

The lives of all were, to some degree, great or small, changed and benefited by his presence . . . Jesus gave mankind, in these lessons, and in his life, the great goal toward which to aspire. It is because there is such a goal, and because there was such a figure as Jesus, that I cannot be pessimistic, but instead am hopeful and confident of the future. 13

A WOMAN wrote this of him to whose resurrection women were the first witnesses:

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his feet inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat. When he was dead he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life! 14

AGNOSTICS even bear a testimony, which being unique, may at times impress us quite as much as the testimony borne by Christians.

ROBERT G. INGERSOLL the most outstanding infidel of a few generations ago, said, "To the serene man of Galilee I render the homage of my devotion and my tears."

H. L. MENCKEN some times called the Ingersoll of this generation, pronounces the "story of Jesus" touching beyond compare. He writes:

The historicity of Jesus is no longer questioned seriously by anyone, whether Christian or unbeliever. The main facts about Him seem to be beyond dispute. . . .

It is not easy to account for His singular and stupendous success. How did it come about that One who, in His life, had only the bitter cup of contumely to drink, should lift it Himself, in death, to such vast esteem and circumstance, such incomparable and world-shaking power and renown? ...

Unless the whole New Testament is to be rejected as moonshine, it seems to be certain that many persons saw Him after His supposed death on the cross, including not a few who were violently disinclined to believe in His resurrection. . . . Upon that theory . . . the most civilized section of the human race has erected a structure of ideas and practices so vast in scope and so powerful in effect that the whole range of history showeth nothing parallel....

The story of Jesus, is touching beyond compare. It is indeed the most lovely story . . . ever devised. . . . Beside it the best that you will in sacred literature of Moslem and Brahman, Parsee and Buddhist, seems flat, stale, and unprofitable. 15

H.G. WELLS, British historian and publicist, announces that when he came to write his outline of world history, he found that he had to give foremost place to Jesus, not doing so as a believer but as a historian:

Jesus of Nazareth . . . is easily the dominant figure in history. I am speaking of Him, of course, as a man, for I conceive that the historian must treat Him as a man, just as the painter must paint Him as a man. . . . To assume, that He never lived, that the accounts of His life are inventions, is more difficult and raises more problems in the path of the historian than to accept the essential elements of the Gospel stories as fact. . . .

Of course you and I live in countries where, to millions of men and women, Jesus is more than a man. But the historian must disregard that fact; he must adhere to the evidence which would pass unchallenged if his book were to be read in every nation under the sun.

Now, it is interesting and significant—isn’t it?—that an historian, setting forth in that spirit, without any theological bias whatever, should find that he simply cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving the foremost place to a penniless Teacher from Nazareth. . . .

A historian like myself who does not even call himself a Christian finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this simple, lovable man. 16

UNNUMBERED PEOPLE through every avenue of human expression as they have testified for Christ have vindicated the prevision of the prophets. They have spoken of his greatness through art, music, poetry, the drama, oratory, sermons, literature, architecture. These have witnessed for him; the greatest preachers and orators from Paul and Savonarola to present times. Music, in such masterpieces as The Messiah and such inspired hymns as "Rock of Ages." Painters in such works as Hofmann’s "Head of Christ." Architecture in great cathedrals and church buildings, not forgetting our own modem, simple, but impressive Kirtland Temple, built by divine commandment in an age when there were supposed to be no more prophets. But after all, the greatest testimony has been found in transformed lives, beginning with the days of the one-time violent and profane fisherman Peter, and the one-time dissolute Mary Magdalene, habitation of seven devils. The one became the great apostle, the other a witness of the resurrection.


JOSEPH SMITH in our day, when prophets are supposed to be silent, declared,

And now, after the many testimonies that have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the only begotten of the Father. 17

Suggested Reading: "Jesus Christ Our Lord," a splendid chapter in Fundamentals, by Apostle F. Henry Edwards, Herald Publishing House.


1. The Orient in Bible Times, page 229.
2. Isaiah 7: 14.
3. Isaiah 9: 7, 8.
4. Micah 5: 2.
5. Matthew 2: 5.
6. Zechariah 11: 12, 13.
7. Matthew 27: 3-8.
8. Luke 24: 25-27.
9. Psalm 22: 18.
10. Psalm 69: 21.
11. Isaiah 53: 3-9.
12. Will Durant, in Saturday Evening Post, August 5, 1939, Curtis Publishing co.
13. Mahatma Gandhi, Liberty Magazine, February 8, 1941.
14. Jennie C. Walker.
15. H. L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
16 H. G. Wells in an interview with Bruce Barton, American Magazine, July, 1922.
17. Doctrine and Covenants 76: 3, written in 1832.

Return To Contents

Chapter 5 - What Sort of Church Did Christ Organize?

Jesus came, as the prophets had predicted. We have noted the impression that he made upon the world; an impression so profound that for many nations he divided time into two parts: that before Christ, and that after Christ. The antichrist now arising in the world would obliterate that line and eliminate Christ. But the victory is not to an such an effort, though the world struggle between Christ and antichrist may be terrible in the closing scenes of time.

Christ came, conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. He was offered up on Calvary’s cross, ascended up on high to sit at the right hand of God. His work did not end with his crucifixion. He organized a church to carry on after him and promised to be with it on condition of obedience.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 1

What sort of church did Christ organize and leave behind to do his work? What sort of church did he promise to bless and direct? How was it organized? What was its visible form? What were its doctrines? How may you know his church when you see it today? These are important questions all to be discussed in due time. Just now we are concerned with the fact that he did organize his church and that he gave it authority to represent him.

At the very beginning, we encounter persons who affirm that Christ had no church. To them he was an individualist with a message, but with no organized following and no distinctive form of doctrine. Over against this tenuous theory is set the statement of Christ: "I will build my church." 2 We observe that he selected and ordained twelve men whom he called apostles. To them he gave a commission and certain powers: obviously the beginning of the building of his church. "And God set some in the church, first apostles."3


Some persons, who at least countenance church organizations, repudiate the thought of an authoritative church: perhaps a rebellion against some claims of Roman Catholicism. To such minds religion may seem to be an evolution, developing solely from the minds and hearts of men and their long experiences of the past, and not anything handed down from above. The minds and hearts of men do reach up to God, but he also looks down from above and reveals himself and his will and plan of life to men.

Christ came down from above to reveal God. He was preceded by "a man sent from God, whose name was John." If the church is to be more than a glorified social club, it must have with it the authority and the doctrines that Christ and the prophets, being sent of God, brought to earth. Most positively we believe in an authoritative church organized by commandment and teaching the doctrines revealed from heaven. "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." 4


May any man or group of men, not satisfied with existing churches, take it upon themselves to organize a church and call it Christ’s church? Can any man of himself choose to be a minister and then go out to represent Christ? Is the vote of a group of men who have presumed to organize a church sufficient to authorize a man to go out and preach in the name of Christ?

Is there a certain divine authority required before a man should say, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost"? If such authority is required, how do men come by it? How is it passed on to others? How has it come to us from the days of Christ?

It is a common experience that governments, corporations, and individuals who are to be represented by others reserve the right to select their own representatives; in turn they confer certain powers to their agents, under delegated authority in some form and degree. You cannot decide that you wish to be an ambassador representing the United States, and without authority set yourself up at the court of St. James. You cannot purchase a policeman’s uniform and go out and direct traffic and make arrests without being duly appointed. You cannot even go into a ten-cent store and go behind the counter and begin to sell goods without authority to do so, even though you be an honest man and a very capable salesman.

In this matter Christ speaks for himself. To those men whom he wished to be his representatives, he said: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you." 5 They had not decided that they would prefer to be ministers. ("You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you.") Certainly such a choosing and ordination would not be an empty form of human devising.

As a matter of fact, such an ordination meant so much that Christ said to these men, "as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." 6

So explicit was Christ’s delegation of authority that he said: "He that heareth you heareth me." 7

To the church that he organized, Christ left the definite promise that he will come again. Not a coming to be spiritualized mystically until it has no meaning; but a coming as real and personal as was his first coming. That promise and the question of his second advent and the sign of his coming will be discussed in later chapters.


1. Matthew 28:19, 20.
2. Matthew 16:18.
3. 1 Corinthians 12:28.
4. Jesus, in John 7:16.
5. John 15:16.
6. John 20:21.
7. Luke 10:16.

Return To Contents

Chapter 6 - What Happened to the Church of Christ?


JESUS GAVE to the old Jerusalem church a commission, and with the commission was associate[d] a promise. The promise was based on certain conditions. Jesus said to the apostles, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." 1 You will notice that the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," was based on certain conditions that we will consider further.

We wish to observe first of all how Jesus kept his promise. Just so long as that church obeyed the conditions, he kept his promise to be with them.

In his Life of Christ, Farrar makes this comment on the work of the apostles, and the old Jerusalem church:

At the moment when Christ died, nothing could seem more abjectly weak, more pitifully hopeless, more doomed to extinction and despair, than the church he had founded. It numbered but a handful of weak followers, of whom the boldest had denied him with profanity and the most devoted had forsaken him and fled. They were poor. They were weak. They were hopeless. They could not claim a single synagogue or a single sword. How was it that these dull and ignorant men with their cross of wood conquered kings and armies and overcame the world? 2

How was it? It was because when they went out with their cross of wood and taught the world the things he had commanded them, that he kept his promise and was with them.


"Hear ye him.." That was the first commandment given when Christ was baptized and the people began to look towards him. So long as they heard him, his people were victorious. They were to go and teach all nations and baptize them, and he would be with them on the condition that they taught all things whatsoever he had commanded them. They were given a specific charge, specific doctrines to preach, and so long as they preached those truths he was with them, but if they ceased to obey, he was under no obligation to keep his promise. In fact, when they transgressed, they were warned that he would not be with them, for they were told, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine, he hath both the Father and the Son. 3


For a long time the old Jerusalem church was faithful to its cause, and it was faithful under very adverse conditions. Jesus had warned them that they would be persecuted. He had said to them (in substance): "The Servant is not greater than Master. The world will hate you because it has hated me, without a cause. The time will come when all men will hate and when he that killeth you will think he is doing God’s will. When they persecute you in one city, flee into another."

His warning certainly was fulfilled. There were ten great major persecutions of the Christians during the first three hundred years and not only scores and hundreds and thousands, but tens of thousands of men and women of his followers were put death. It is estimated that more than three million of them. Some were burned. Nero smeared Christians with pitch, wrapped them in combustible matter, stood them in the streets of Rome, and burned them to illuminate the city. They were thrown to wild beasts, beheaded, crucified.

Through all this persecution Paul says they were "more than conquerors" because Christ kept his promise, and he was with them. Death did not seem to mean very much to them. They were so lifted up, so enthused, had such profound faith, they had such exaltation of spirit that they went to their death happy. They were more than conquerors, and were happier than millions of men and women who have diligently all their lives sought for happiness and failed to find it in worldly pleasures, and have died to no good purpose. These others lived and died in a cause that made them happy, even in the midst of persecution.


But there did come a time when there came a falling way. The early Saints were faithful in the midst of all these adversities, for God was with them as he had promised to be; but there came a time of prosperity, and they could not seem to stand worldly prosperity. They converted the Roman Emperor, Constantine, their religion became the state religion, and they became popular.

It was the thing to do to be a Christian. Thousands flocked into the church who were never converted at all, had no conception of the Spirit of Christ, and knew very little about his teaching. There was open to the church all the learning and culture of Greece and all the wealth and power and honor of the Roman Empire, and it was too much.

They could stand adversity, but they could not stand that kind of prosperity. The old simple gospel, "Ye must be born again," the old gospel of faith and repentance and baptism, began to look altogether too simple; it was all right for a carpenter or a band of fishermen, but they began to look afield for something that would make their sermons sound more impressive.

The old, humble ways of life that Christ had taught them when he went about with his simple creed, plainly and humbly, and taught them that he who would be the greatest must be the servant of all-these became altogether beneath their dignity in this new condition, and they gave themselves over to pomp and ceremony, and the officials of the church put on gorgeous robes and crowns and assumed great titles.


The old, simple church service of the church of Christ—the ceremonies that Christ taught were rather few and simple—became too few and too simple, and so men brought in a very elaborate ritual that would impress the minds of the people and hold their attention whether they were thinking or not. The clergy became violent and immoral and gross, and gave themselves over to the pleasures and excesses of the world. As a consequence Christ was released from his promise to be with them, and he withdrew more and more and more.

The church itself took up the spirit of persecution that had been leveled against it in the days of her persecution and turned about and became the persecutor and destroyed those who differed with the church. When a man began to be suspected of heresy or to drift away, his doom was sealed. The inquisition was established. Those accused of being unfaithful to the church were tortured in the inquisition in every diabolical way until they would make a confession to anything, and then when they had confessed they were taken out and burned publicly.

Historians say that during the centuries 1481 to 1808, about 320 years, in the Spanish Inquisition alone there were put to death 341,121 people. Of these, 32,000 were burned to death, and all this was done in the name of Christ. All they had left was the name of Christ.


This condition of apostasy had been foretold. Jesus said:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while he slept his enemies came and sowed tares among the wheat." The kingdom of heaven, the old Jerusalem church, was like that.


The Apostle Paul who was given to be a special witness, very clearly foretold this apostasy.. I will quote some of the warnings he gave. Speaking about the coming of Christ, he said:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God . 4

Who can read the history of the dark ages without reaching the conclusion that the son of perdition entering into the temple and doing these things in the name of God crowded Christ completely out of the picture.


Again Paul gave this warning, speaking about the church, speaking to the church:

For I know this, after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 5

For three whole years Paul went from city to city, from church to church, and night and day, as he had opportunity, with tears in his eyes, he warned the Saints of this dreadful condition that was coming upon them.

In another place, he said to them:
The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 6

Saint Peter took up the warning:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves. 7

As a matter of fact, the apostasy had begun to show itself even in the days of the apostles, for Paul, writing to the Galatians said:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 8


Not only did the New Testament prophets foretell the apostasy but also the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah especially. He says:

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, broken the everlasting covenants. 9

There is only one everlasting covenant mentioned in the Bible under the Christian economy, the gospel covenant, Christ was the bridegroom, the church the bride, and they entered into a covenant relationship; so this breaking of the everlasting covenant could not have occurred until after the days of Christ. That covenant was broken. They transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broke the everlasting covenant.

This statement, "They have changed the ordinance" is significant. When Christ gave his commandments to the church, there was one ordinance that he stressed. According to St. Mark he said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." 10 Baptism was that ordinance. According to St. Matthew he said, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." 11 This ordinance they were to carry with them to every nation on earth. There is no question in our judgment that the ordinance of baptism in Christ’s day was always administered by immersion,. and for a long time after his day.

Catholics freely admit that they did change the ordinance of baptism—and then they declare, "We had the right to change it!" Protestants can scarcely concede that authority. We challenge it!

Before me as I write is a book entitled, The Question Box. it was written by the Reverend Bertrand L. Conway, of the Paulist Fathers, published by the Paulist Press, 1919. The book is endorsed without reservation in the preface written and signed by James Cardinal Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore.

On the, question of baptism 12 Conway freely admits that Catholics "are fully aware" that the practice of the early Christian Church was to immerse, and that this custom prevailed until the end of the thirteenth century. He cites specifically the baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10), that of the eunuch (Acts 8:38, 39), and Paul’s symbol of baptism as representing a burial and resurrection.

After all that, Conway proceeds to say that the Catholic Church as the "infallible" representative of Christ and interpreter of his gospel had put the seal of Catholic approval on pouring and sprinkling as being equally valid with immersion.

Isaiah’s prophetic indictment was, " They have changed the ordinance." In another chapter we will pay our respects to the doctrine of "infallibility" behind which Conway shields the church in its act of "changing the ordinance." It is a doctrine behind which any sort of change in doctrine, organization, and practice in the church might conveniently be shielded, and in fact it was so used, as in this specific instance.

Conway takes a thrust at the Protestant churches in the declaration that if immersion is the only valid mode of baptism, then unbaptized Protestant reformers sought to restore the church and to give to others that which they themselves did not possess. He queries, "If baptism had entirely perished, whence the right of any man to restore it on his own authority?" That is a very pertinent question. We who believe in "restoration" rather than reformation, are not embarrassed by it, because we hold that God did restore the church in modern times, along with its original doctrines, and also by direct revelation restored the right to administer baptism after the original mode practiced in the days of Christ and the apostles.

Isaiah’s prophetic indictment was not alone that they changed the ordinance and broke the covenant, they also "transgressed the laws." The Catholic Church came to a time when it not only transgressed law, it sold "indulgences" to transgressors. Hendrik Van Loon in his Story of Mankind has some interesting comments on that one-time very lucrative traffic. 13 (This book, which won the John Newberry medal, awarded annually by the American Library Association is very tolerant and entirely impartial as to its treatment of Catholics and Protestants.)

In his discussion of this sale of indulgences, Van Loon chronicles that Pope Leo X, who came to the Pontificate, 1513, found himself close to bankruptcy, with the great cathedral of St. Peter unfinished and in a sad sate of repair. To raise the needed cash, he sent Johan Tetzel into Saxony to sell indulgences. Catholic apologists today explain the custom in a haze of words until it appears rather innocent. But evidently sinners who bought the bit of parchment granting the indulgence believed that they were granted indulgence to transgress the laws.

As Loon says, "Brother Johan was a hustling salesman." He made a lot of money for the church—but his open traffic exposed the rottenness of the whole business and roused Martin Luther to a fury of protest, so that on October 31, 1517, he posted upon the church door his famous ninety-five theses.

Johan Tetzel’s traffic may be repudiated now by his church; but it was not Tetzel who was penalized by the church, rather it was Luther, who protested, who was punished by the church. He was declared "an outlaw before man and God." All Germans were forbidden to give him food or shelter. He escaped with his life, only because loyal friends almost by force spirited him away and hid him in a castle. From then on the flames of the Reformation blazed high.

The Prophet Amos had predicted the reign of darkness that preceded the Reformation:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north, even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. 14

Not that God wished that condition, but because his words had been treated lightly, forgotten, put aside for something more impressive, he withdrew his prophets, seers, revelators, and apostles, and left the world without his word for a time.


And so Isaiah says:

Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 15

There would come a time of darkness on the earth and gross darkness upon the minds of the people. There is scarcely a schoolboy studying history but knows of the period called the "dark ages," the time when darkness covered the earth, when liberty, literature, art, freedom in politics, and inspiration in religion faded away. There was scarcely one semblance of the old Jerusalem church left on earth anywhere.

The Historian Mosheim in his Ecclesiastical History declares that as early as the middle of the second century changes in doctrine, laws, customs, not previously known, had "changed nearly the whole form of the church." 16

Of the Fourth Century he wrote:
At the conclusion of this century there remained no more than a mere shadow of the ancient government of the Church.—Part 2, chapter 2, verse 2.


We know that in the church of Christ there is an ebb and flow of the tide. We know in our own experience the spiritual tide rises and falls. The church is on a higher plane some years than others, but we are not talking about just a lowering of the tide. We are talking about an apostasy that lasted for more than 1,000 years, a full millenium of superstitition and darkness, ignorance and misery, when degradation and crime swept over the earth and the church went astray.

The Church of England Homily confesses that: "Laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, men, women, and children of all ages, sexes, and degrees, of whole Christendom, have been at once buried in the most abominable idolatry (a most dreadful thing to think) and that for the space of eight hundred years or more." 17


1. Matthew 28:19, 20.
2. Farrar, Life of Christ, Volume 2, pages 512, 513, (A. L. Burt Company, publishers).
3. II John 9, 10.
4. II Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
5. Acts 20:29-31.
6. II Timothy 4:3, 4.
7. II Peter 2:1.
8 Galatians 1:6-8.
9. Isaiah 24:5.
10. Mark 16:15, 16.
11. Matthew 28:19.
12. The Question Box, by Conway, pages 256, 257, edition 1919.
13. The Story of Mankind, Hendrik Van Loon, page 258. Published by the Garden City Publishing Company, New York.
14. Amos 8:11.
15. Isaiah 60:2.
16. Ecclesiastical History book 1, part 2, chapter 2.
17. Book of Homilies appointed to be read in the churches in the times of Queen Elizabeth, page 261.

Return To Contents

Chapter 7 - The Woman That John Saw In Vision

(Book of Revelation, chapters 12 and 17)

JOHN saw in vision the fate of the early church; her persecutions by the power of political Rome; her final rise to temporal power as ruler in Rome; her apostasy; and the length of time the church should be "in the wilderness." John wrote:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. 1

John, like Daniel, often clothed his prophecies in symbolic language. He may have had an added incentive to do so. He wrote while exiled on the Isle of Patmos. It is alleged by some that he deliberately used symbols that the saints of his time would understand but which would not be understood by the rulers of Rome.

The saints could easily understand this figure of a woman. It meant the church. They would understand because the symbol was familiar to them—Christ "the bridegroom," the church the bride." 2

The saints would understand the meaning of the twelve stars: the twelve apostles; the glory of the sun with which she was clothed was the light and power from heaven; while the moon under her feet would be to them the old Mosaic law. They had indeed with some difficulty been converted to the thought that the church, endowed with the light of the gospel of Christ, had risen above the old Mosiac law of "carnal commandments." The Mosaic law, like the moon, shone at best with a reflected light; under the dispensation of Christ, the light from heaven had come to the church in a higher law.

John continues with the story of what he saw:

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 3

The woman brought forth a man child, but the dragon which persecuted her stood ready to devour the child. Pagan Rome, seated upon her seven hills and finally divided into ten kingdoms, was represented y the dragon. Rome did persecute the saints. The work that the woman (the church) was ready to bring forth on earth, Rome stood ready to devour. She persecuted the woman (verse 13). She made war also upon the remnant of the seed of the church (verse 17).

But, as we have seen, the woman (the church) fled away into the wilderness. She was lost sight of so far as her original station and dominion were concerned. This period of apostasy was to last one thousand two hundred and three score days —1,260 days— (verse 6). The significance of this prediction concerning time will be taken up later.


For a long time the dragon, Rome, sought to destroy the church of Christ. War was made upon the church and the seed of the church. So long as the church was faithful no power could prevail against her, even though her people were martyred by the thousand.

A more subtle attack prevailed against the church leaders. When popularity and wealth came to them, the old spirit of simplicity and faith departed. Faith in the gospel with its rather simple rituals gave way to pride, pomp, and arrogance.

As the vision of John unfolded, he saw a strange transformation of, or rather substitution for, the woman clothed with the sun and with the twelve stars on her head. This is what he saw instead:

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration . 4

Again the symbol of a woman is used. But this woman is not at war with the dragon. This church is seated upon the dragon. Instead of the divine clothing of light, this woman is now arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold and precious stones. The kings of the earth run to her for illicit intercourse (verse 20), intercourse and intrigues that the church was never intended to have with political rulers. She is aspiring to temporal power, to wealth, and honor. She rules over the beast and shares its abominations.

The astounding contrast between the first woman that John saw and the second is not one whit greater than the contrast between the primitive church that Christ established and that the apostles blessed, which was caught away into the wilderness, and that other church which presently emerged, claiming to be the very same woman. This latter church had sold her soul for gold and for power. She had won both, so that the kings of the earth sent to her courts in5 Rome their ambassadors, and she her ambassadors to them; but the ambassadors from heaven were no longer coming to her courts.

The apostles, who were humble men, servants of all, were gone. They did not bedeck the fair head of this church. Claiming to reign in their place were men in rich robes wearing crowns and claiming great titles.


1. Revelation 12:1.
2. II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23; Revelation 19:7-10; 21: 9; John 3:29; Matthew 25:1-10.
3. Revelation 12:2-6.
4. Revelation 17:1-6.

Return To Contents

Chapter 8 - The Doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the Inquisition

WHEN SCRIPTURAL PREDICTIONS and historical data are presented to show that indubitably there was an apostasy of overwhelming magnitude, we run head on into the doctrine of papal infallibility. This doctrine heads up through the college of cardinals into the person of the pope. Because the heads of the church in council and particularly the pope are assumed to be infallible, presto, the church is infallible. No more subtle and dangerous doctrine could well be imagined.

In religion it is as dangerous as it was in politics. In politics the "divine right of kings" was long proclaimed—"the king can do no wrong." The pope took over temporal as well as spiritual power and a somewhat similar doctrine assured him almost unquestioning obedience by all believers, certainly so within the bounds now prescribed by Catholic law, which bounds did not much hamper the pope during medieval times.

The infallibility of the church as believed by Roman Catholics means that "the church can neither deceive nor be deceived in matters of faith and morals." 1

A people believing in the infallibility of the church under papal leadership would fear no apostasy. The pope could not err. After the apostasy did occur, it could be denied as a thing impossible. The church could not go astray. What an opiate to conscience and intellect! A begging of the whole question!

In fairness to the Catholic church, it must be understood that the doctrine of infallibility did not presume the pope to be infallible as an individual in his private actions and pronouncements. Only when he put on the pontifical robe, as it were, and spoke ex cathedra as pope to the whole church was it assumed that he could not possibly be in error.

Probably the doctrine is expressed fairly in the Encyclopedia Americana, which accords with the interpretation found in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Only when these four conditions are fulfilled is the Pope infallible: First, he must speak not in his private capacity, not merely in his official capacity, but as supreme teacher. Secondly, the matter defined must concern faith or morals. Thirdly, the judgment must be delivered with the manifest intention of commanding intellectual assent. Fourthly, the definition must be delivered to the whole boy of the faithful . 2

Even granting the limitations prescribed, the way was left open for a wicked pope or one inordinately ambitious for power (and there were such) to speak and act under the terms prescribed and change the organization and order of the church, doctrines and ordinances, and moral standards. This clever entering wedge of apostasy forestalls criticism from within and seeks to evade it from without the church. The pope could not be wrong—argument, scripture, history: pile them mountain high—still the pope could not be wrong.

And why could he not be wrong? It was assumed that the Holy Spirit would control even a wicked pope when he spoke ex cathedra and make him say and do the right thing and bar him from the wrong thing. There are fatal flaws in this reasoning:

"Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"—it was Peter, whose successor the Pope is alleged to be, who used those words. 3 Papal robes and crowns insure no divine Holy Ghost direction to unholy men.

First: The Spirit of God "will not dwell in unholy temples."

Second: "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." 4 The Spirit does not make an automaton of any man, layman or pope. God willed that every man should have his own agency. If a pope willed to lead astray, and a docile people blindly elected to follow, no doctrine of infallibility would serve or save them.

Third: Christ and the apostles, whose authority antedated and far outranked papal authority, knew all this and warned the church to be on guard against false leaders and against apostasy. Had it been impossible for the church to go astray, Christ and the apostles would not have wasted time in such warnings.

As against this doctrine, we assert the ancient test to be applied to all spiritual leaders, high or low:

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 5


The Inquisition was a particularly terrible institution designed to implement the power of the papacy. Its purpose was to extirpate heretics. The church was infallible and must not be questioned. Heretics must be brought to recant or perish. In the church the reign of terror took the place of persuasion.

This institution had its origin in 1179. The Encyclopedia Brittanica says that it has been estimated that in Spain alone over a period of 330 years 31,000 persons were done to death. No one will ever know how many were impoverished, tortured, imprisoned, killed during that period in various parts of southern and central Europe.


Many ghastly pictures of the horrors of the Inquisition have come from Protestant sources. It has been sufficient for this study to go to the Catholic Encyclopedia for our information. This is a fifteen volume work given official sanction in the United States by John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. Its announced purpose is to give readers authentic information on Catholic history and teaching.

Volume eight of this work has a lengthy article on the Inquisition. Naturally the horrors of that institution would not be overdrawn in such a publication. The items set forth here are from that article.

To our surprise the article frankly states that Paul and the other early apostles and the Christians of the first century knew no other punishment for heresy than expulsion from the fellowship of the church; and that for the first three centuries, Christian teachers insisted on the freedom of the will and held that religion was a matter of the individual conscience.

It would seem to us to follow naturally that the establishment of the Inquisition was a radical departure from the spirit and practices of Christianity—perhaps enough in itself to support the charge of apostasy.

To return to the Catholic article on the subject: punishments meted out included excommunication with confiscation of all property, imprisonment for specified periods or for life, torture, and death by burning at the stake.

Torture was first authorized by the papal bull of Pope Innocent IV, May 15, 1252. Its use was confirmed by Pope Alexander IV in 1259 and Pope Clement IV in 1265.

At first a person was to be subjected to torture but once. This restriction was soon circumvented and each new charge or bit of evidence might be made the pretext for further torture.

Imprisonment might be for a specified time to permit repentance and a recantation. If obdurate the heretic might then be imprisoned for life, often in chains and darkness and absolute solitude. The dungeon cell of such incarceration was called "In Place"; and was considered "the tomb of a man buried alive." In some such cells the inmate was in stocks or chains, unable to move about, perhaps chained to the wall and obliged to sleep on the ground. There might be no light and little ventilation; the food was very meager and of poor quality. Such a punishment was worse than burning at the stake.

Theoretically, the church did not actually burn the heretic; the final matter of putting him or her to the torch was committed to civil authorities. However, the civil authorities were subservient to the ecclesiastics, the Encyclopedia frankly admits that such was the case, and had they refused to carry out the execution, they themselves would have been subject to excommunication and as heretics would have been in a very dangerous situation, liable to all the penalties previously named.


From the foregoing, which fairly represents admissions made in this Catholic publication, we may form an estimate of the Inquisition without fear that the picture has been overdrawn.

In extenuation it has been urged that during those times life was hard, and that the Catholics were no more savage in their treatment of heretics than were early day Protestants. Indeed the Encyclopedia Brittanica asserts that officers of the Church of England at that time were as severe in their treatment of heretics as were the Catholics of Spain. Such a defence only goes to support our belief that there had been a complete and long-continued apostasy of the church.

Along this same line Myers remarks that Calvin bent all his energies to the trial and execution by burning of the eminent scientist Servetus, whose religious beliefs Calvinists considered heretical; and that the Anglican Church waged the most "cruel, bitter, and persistent persecutions" against Catholics and also against Protestants who refused to conform to the established church. 6

Van Loon says, however, that Protestants grew weary of that sort of game long before Catholics did, and that "by far" the greater number of honest men hanged, imprisoned, or burned were victims of the church of Rome. 7

The horrors of the Inquisition check up to the popes who were presumed to be vice-regents for Christ, infallible in their rulings in matters of faith and morals in the church, vested with supreme authority in legislative, judicial, and administrative matters. They maintained the Inquisition not for ten or fifty years but for centuries.

Judged by the teachings and Spirit of Christ and the early Christian church, those who tortured and murdered so-called heretics, whether Catholic or Protestant, were themselves the very worst of heretics. The black record of the Inquisition is but one of many overwhelming evidences of the apostasy.


1. Encyclopedia Americana, Article on Infallibility, Vol. 15, p. 112; 1943 Edition.
2. Ibid., Vol. 6. p. 65.
3. I Peter 1:21.
4. I Corinthians 14:32.
5. Isaiah 8:20.
6. Medieval and Modern History, Myers, p. 312, Ginn and Company.
7. The Story of Mankind, Van Loon, p. 264, Garden City Publishing Co., New York.

Return To Contents

Chapter 9 - The Pope's Claim to Absolute Autocratic Spiritual Power

IN ANY ORDERLY GOVERNMENT there must be some supreme executive head (a person or group of persons). Only under an absolute dictatorship is supreme legislative and judicial as well as administrative authority vested in one man.

Concerning the authority of the pope, the Catholic Encyclopedia says that he has legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense. Further it is alleged, He can legislate for the whole church, with or without the assistance of a general council.... He has full authority to interpret, alter, and abrogate both his own laws and those established by his predecessors. And again, "Peter and his successors have power to impose laws both perceptive and prohibitive, power likewise to grant dispensation from these laws, and, when needful to annul them ... to impose and remit penalties." 1


Coupled with the doctrine of papal infallibility, this power granted the pope to legislate for the whole church, to impose laws at his will, to interpret them, to modify or annul, to abrogate his own laws and those of his predecessors, assumedly back to and including St. Peter, requires men and women to surrender their liberty, their reason—to forfeit the God-given agency of man. It paves the way for any sort of apostasy, with blind obedience by the people. It is government by edict and not by law.

We believe in an authoritative church and ministry; but not after that pattern.

If Catholics wish to surrender themselves to that sort of dictatorship by one man, to an extent that is their own business. If ever it is sought to impose that sort of authority upon others through political intrigue, or moral compulsion, or by force as was done for centuries, that is everybody’s business.


Grant such unlimited power, at some time there may again arise a pope to annul past laws, to impose his own, to make spiritual autocracy an implement of oppression in temporal matters with which to rule over the nations, and to impose the penalty of the rack and the stake upon nonconformists and Protestants.

No matter how mild and pious the pope of today or how liberal his rule, the pope of tomorrow may reverse all that at his will and bring again a reign of enslavement in fact as well as in theory. It was done—it might be done again.


The Roman Catholic Church, as the name indicates, claims to be catholic, universal, to have spiritual authority in all the world. That is a fiction. The church itself is divided. In the latter part of the eleventh century, a cleavage occurred, permanent to this day, "between the church of the East and the church of the West." 2

The "Church of the East," referred to as the Greek Orthodox Church, developed a very large following in Russia, Poland, Turkey, and the Balkans. In the early days of the Soviet, religion was frowned upon. However in September, 1943, Stalin approved the holding of a conference of bishops which reorganized "The Russian Holy Synod," and re-established the Patriarchate. In February, 1944, representatives of 44 dioceses throughout the world, representing 100,000,000. members, met in Moscow and elected Alexei of Leningrad as Patriarch. This organization, known as the "Russian Orthodox Church," with Stalin’s moral support and in view of the tremendous role Russia seems destined to play in Europe and abroad, may be a powerful force for Roman Catholicism to reckon with.

Then, too, since the Reformation there are millions of adherents to the Protestant faiths.


The popes claim to trace their spiritual authority back by unbroken succession to Peter, by them styled "the first Pope." There is a bit of irony there: Peter was a married man and would not now be eligible to the office of pope, or even that of priest. If Peter were pope, then God was quite willing to use a married man in that office; and if so, then Catholicism makes demands upon the clergy and the nuns that God never made. Another evidence of heresy:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth . 3

The claim that papal succession can be traced back to Peter is another fiction, and it is complicated by the fact that at one time there were three popes claiming to rule at one and the same time. Urban VI, an Italian prelate, was so intolerable that the French cardinals rejected him and elected Pope Clement VII (1378). And then there were two popes:

The spectacle of two rival Popes, each claiming to be the rightful successor to St. Peter, and each denouncing the other, naturally gave the reverence which the world had generally held for the Roman See a rude shock, and one from which it never fully recovered . 4

This quarrel went on for years, and worse followed, finally in 1409 a council of the church assembled at Pisa to settle the fued. The council attempted to depose both popes and elected Alexander V. The other two pontiffs refused to surrender authority so then there were three popes. In 1414 another council met. One pope resigned, two were deposed, and a new start was made with Pope Martin V. 5

There were three Popes in Rome, who spent much of their time in launching bills of excommunication at each other. 6

There is not too much proof that Peter ever was in Rome, much less that he ruled there as bishop of Rome, the "first of the Popes" for a period of twenty-five years, as Catholics claim. The claim rests on unverified traditions. At various times in the past the Catholic Church was very expert in unearthing and expanding traditions.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, endeavoring to prove that Peter ruled in Rome as bishop of the church begins its investigation as late as the third century after Christ, introducing some items resting on tradition, and then progresses backward to the first century through a maze of traditions unsupported by proof. The following from Rome and Its Story presents the case at its very best, pure legend and tradition artfully woven together:

Of St. Peter’s twenty-five years rule as Bishop of Rome we have no record; but the uninterrupted belief of centuries and the beautiful legends have been woven around his story, guard the traditions and compensate for the want of written proof. 7

Passing by the fiction of papal succession, the root claim to the asserted authority of the pope goes back to the language that Christ used at one time in conversation with Peter and others of the apostles:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 8

The Catholic claim is that Peter was the rock on which Christ was to build his church:

Here then Christ teaches plainly that in the future the church will be the society of those who acknowledge him, and that this church will be built on Peter. 9

Peter was indeed to become one of the prominent apostles of the church, along with James and John, and later Paul. Peter, however, at his best, was a very inadequate person on which to rest the whole church of Christ in all ages and lands. Even at the time when Christ addressed him he warned Peter that he "savored too much of the things of men." Later, Peter, with oaths, denied Christ. No man is big enough or stable enough to serve as the everlasting rock on which Christianity rests. Analyze that conversation. Note Peter’s reply to Christ: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Up to that point that was the most important thing in the dialogue, the all important thing for all ages and all lands. Reverting back to that declaration of eternal fact, Christ said, "On this rock I will build my church."

That is the thing that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions, the underlying and etemal rock on which the church rests, the divine sonship of Christ. Remove that, if it were possible, and Christianity has no rock on which to stand. But it cannot be moved.


The assumption that Christ bestowed unlimited powers upon Peter alone and made him the first of a long line of popes is another fiction, which dwells on the thought that Christ spoke only to Peter when he said:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 10

As a matter of fact on another important occasion Christ addressed the whole body of the apostles in similar language, as note the following:

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 11

Why not find in the commitment just quoted provision for twelve popes of equal authority? Moreover this power to "loose" and to "bind" was to be exercised through gospel laws and ordinances and had metes and bounds. On the day of Pentecost, Peter himself as spokesman for the apostles told a great multitude exactly how they might be "loosed" from their sins, and that act would be ratified in heaven:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 12

Reverting to the commitment made to the apostles, as previously quoted from Matthew 18:18, in that same chapter, preceding the commitment, Christ elucidated how in at least some classes of offenses that matter of "binding" on earth and in heaven was to be undertaken. The steps to be taken were prescribed in detail, if they failed to secure an adjustment, they were to "tell it to the church" (verse 17). The church was to consider the matter, not just Peter or some pope of later years. The church was to speak—and "if he hear not the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen and sinner." The offender would be relegated back to his previous condition of bondage, bound on earth by concerted action of the ministry and the church and not by papal edict.


The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible declares that "authentic history" adds little to our knowledge of Peter’s life beyond what we glean from the New Testament; also that "legend was early busy with his life" and that the Roman legend of his 25 years’ episcopate in Rome has its roots in apocryphal stories and is "discredited not less by its origin and manifest internal inconsistencies than by all authentic history." Moreover the Bible Dictionary just referred to gives pre-eminence to James the Lord’s brother. I quote:

When the foundations of the church had been laid, Peter took a subordinate place, and in humble labors to spread the boundaries of the kingdom disappeared from the pages of history. In the church of Christ at Jerusalem James takes henceforth the leading place (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal. 2:9, 12). The door had been opened to the Gentiles and Paul now becomes the apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7). As the apostle to the circumcision (Gal. 2:8), Peter prosecuted henceforth his less brilliant work, wherever Jews could be found, and contentedly left Jerusalem to James and the gentile world to Paul. 13

The scriptures cited in the foregoing indicate that James at all times held a position at least equal to that of Peter, and at times they indicate clearly that he held authority superior to that of any other of the apostles, including Peter. That is especially clear in the record of the historic church council held in Jerusalem to determine the standing of Gentiles received into the church, an epoch marking council. Peter, Paul, and Barnabas addressed the conference; but it was James, not Peter, who as head of the church finally handed down the decision to which all agreed, which decision was sent abroad to the entire church. Much of the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles is devoted to that event.

Who succeeded Christ as president of the church on earth? The scriptures cited and statements by eminent church historians, led Apostle William H. Kelley to answer that question in his book, Presidency and Priesthood, as follows:

Beyond question it was James the Lord’s brother . . . The evidence points to him as having been the chief apostle and president of the church after the ascension of the Savior into heaven.

There is much more reason to believe that the position set forth in the foregoing by the writers named is correct than there is to believe the Roman Catholic claim that Peter presided in Rome for twenty-five years and became the first of a line of popes.


1. Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12, article on "Popes," pages 265-269.
2. Medieval and Modern History, Myers, page 32. Ginn & Co., publishers, Boston, New York, London.
3. 1 Timothy 4:1-3.
4. Medieval and Modern History, Myers, page 156.
5. Ibid., page 156.
6. The Story of Rome, Norwood Young, J. M. Dent, London, publisher.
7. Rome and Its Story, page 114, by St. Clair Baddeley and Lina Duff, Gordon; publishers, J. M. Dent, London, The Macmillan Co., New York.
8. Matthew 16:15-19.
9. Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12, page 261, subject, "The Pope."
10. Matthew 16:19.
11. Matthew 18:18.
12. Acts 2:38-40.
13. The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, p. 473, by John N. Davis, revised and rewritten by Henry Sidney Gehman, Princeton Theological Seminary; published by The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1944.

Return To Contents

Chapter 10 - Papal Assumption of Temporal World Power

JOHN THE REVELATOR saw the true church taken away into the wilderness for a period of time indicated as twelve hundred and sixty days (prophetic years). Then he saw another church take her place. In the first instance the church was represented by a woman clothed in light and purity and persecuted by the great red dragon; just as the early Christian church was persecuted by Rome, whose emblem was a dragon. In the second instance the apostate church was represented by a woman clothed in purple and scarlet and decked with precious stones and mounted upon the dragon, holding sway over it; and having illicit intercourse with "the kings of the earth." 1

When the Roman Catholic church obtained temporal power in Rome, the papacy was not content to limit her power to that jurisdiction. There developed an insatiate thirst for further dominion, knowing no geographical bounds.


In process of time a resplendent court was set up, patterned after and rivaling in magnificence the courts of kings and emperors. The Vatican was organized to perform all the functions of an imperial state. It had armed forces and received ambassadors from the nations. The kings of earth sent their ambassadors there, and there were endless flirtations, intrigues and alliances, many of them purely mercenary and sordid, the church John saw, "with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication." 2

The empire fell, but Rome had a second career before her. . . . Once more Rome conquered the world ... her second child, the Pope, became greater than even Caesar had been. 3

The church now became the persecutor instead of the persecuted and set up inquisitions and instituted purges: "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." 4 The faithful who dared protest against the great apostasy were done to death.

In temporal matters there was a constant meddling with the affairs of the nations, a constant grasping for temporal power.

H. G. Wells, who is very tolerant in his story of Catholic history, says: "Ideas of wordly rule by the church were already prevalent in the fourth century;" and in the same connection, "With the final fall of the Western Empire, he [the pope] took over the ancient title of pontifex maximus which the emperors had held." 5

There was an age-long struggle between the popes and emperors and kings who dared to challenge the temporal power of the papacy. Sometimes the popes won. Sometimes they lost. When they won, their ruthless arrogance was almost unbounded.

One instance of many well illustrates the meaning of the statement just made. Emperor Henry IV in 1076 dared to defy Pope Gregory VII. The Pope promptly excommunicated the Emperor, and in the name of "Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," withdrew from him all right to "rule over the whole kingdom of the Germans and over Italy." 6


The presumptuous Henry found himself shunned as a man accursed of heaven and his authority slipping from his grasp. In the end he sought forgiveness of the Pope, and came to his presence at Canossa in the Apennines. It was winter and very cold, but the Pope forced the Emperor to stand clad in sackcloth and with bare feet in the snow for three days, before he might enter and fall on his knees and beg forgiveness.

Again quoting the historian, Myers, on this incident, "This was one of the most noteworthy transactions, in its moral significance, that the world had ever witnessed—the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the successor of the Caesars and of Charlemagne, a rejected penitent at the door of the Roman pontiff." 7

The deposed Emperor, properly humiliated and probably with badly frosted feet, was admitted to the papal presence on the fourth day and was pardoned and reinstated. The pope could make and unmake emperors.

A pope, Leo III, by his own will and act made Charlemagne an emperor. On Christmas Day, A. D. 800, Charlemagne was praying in the church of St. Peter, in Rome. When Charlemagne arose from prayer, somewhat to his surprise, the Pope placed a crown upon his head and proclaimed him emperor. 8

Thus the popes claimed and exercised the right to make and unmake emperors and kings, to fix national boundaries, and to regulate the lives of the people by edict in both temporal and spiritual matters. Thus Pope Boniface issued a papal bull in 1296, forbidding, under penalty of excommunication, any ecclesiastical person of any grade or station to pay taxes to any civil authority, whatsoever, without permission of the pope. Any governmental ruler of any station or name who dared to collect taxes without papal permission would also suffer excommunication.


The question may be asked, How could the popes exercise such power over kings and emperors? The supposition was that the popes were functioning only as spiritual authorities—only a fiction. By the use of so-called "spiritual authority,"

they ruled with an iron hand in the affairs of nations. Myers lists these as the weapons used:

First, the power of "excommunication and interdicts." The first was used against individuals, and was effectual, since the person excommunicated was cut off from all relations with his fellow men; if a king, his subjects were by the pope released from all oaths of allegiance and all responsibility to obey. No one was to provide food or shelter, and the excommunicated person was to be shunned and abhorred while living and refused the rites of burial at death.

The "interdict" was leveled at cities, provinces, or kingdoms under papal displeasure. In a region under this ban, all churches were closed; no bell might ring, no marriage be solemnized, no burial, no baptisms. 9

In that "age of faith" and superstition, such weapons were terrible and all powerful, and thus the pope under the pleasant fiction of "spiritual rule" reigned tyranically over the state and every city and individual in it.10

In the end, these excesses provoked a revolt—many revolts. Today the temporal jurisdiction of the popes has shrunk to the Vatican grounds at Rome; but there the papacy retains the seeds of empire, an independent state, capable of expansion if and when times may be propitious.

The pope is not only a ruler, but he is an absolute ruler. He combines the three functions of the American government . . . in one person. He is as supreme in his state as he is in his church. 11

Catholics constitute one of the most united, aggressive, wealthy, influential, and numerically strong single groups of religious communicants in the United States. Their number in the United States, including Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands, is placed at 22,945,247 by the Americana Annual for 1944. A great many Americans who are rather free from religious bigotry would like to have adequate assurance that such a powerful group is quite reconciled to our democratic ideals and to our traditional political doctrine that there shall be no "established" church, that church and State shall be entirely separate. We have noted the ideas that the papacy has held historically concerning the sort of government that should rule both church and state.

Some observers hold that American ideals have so powerfully influenced Catholicism locally that there is developing what is termed an "American Catholicism" as distinguished from old world or "Roman Catholicism." There is evidence that this tendency has more than once disturbed the Vatican. Some very thoughtful students of the situation believe, however, that the issue is yet to be fought out in America. It is no manifestation of religious intolerance that we should watch the development of trends in relation to that issue with considerable care and no little concern.

Suggested Reading: There is a very interesting discussion of this question under the title "Catholicism and Americanism" in chapter nineteen of The Vatican: Yesterday—Today—Tomorrow, by George Seldes, published by Harper and Brothers, 1934.


The fear of a potential danger is still in the minds of Protestants in democratic lands where church and state are distinctly separate and where both political and religious liberty are prized. Such fear evidently was in the minds of delegates to a convention of the Federal Council of Churches in America, December, 1944. The council desired to promote no spirit of religious intolerance, yet viewed with alarm the presence in Rome of Myron C. Taylor at that time President Roosevelt’s personal envoy to the Vatican since 1939. (Formal relations with the Vatican had been severed by the United States in 1867.) The council, representing 26,000,000 American communicants of 25 denominations, expressed unanimous opposition to, and we quote: "The political power which the Roman Catholic Hierarchy seeks to exert for its own institutional ends." 12


1. Revelation 17:1-7.
2. Revelation 17:2.
3. The Story of Rome, Norwood Young, page 9.
4. Revelation 17:6.
5. The Outline of History, page 525, educational edition.
6. Medieval and Modern History, Myers, page 118, revised edition.
7. Ibid., page 118.
8. Ibid., page 64.
9 Ibid., page 117.
10. Ibid., page 117.
11. The Vatican—Yesterday—Today—Tomorrow, by George Seldes; Harper and Brothers, publishers, New York, 1934.
12. Newsweek, December 11, 1944.

Return To Contents

Chapter 11 - The Reformation: What It Was And What It Was Not

WE THINK of the Reformation as beginning with Luther.
As a matter of fact there were Protestants as far back as Wycliffe and Huss in the fourteenth century. However, it was the fiery and militant Martin Luther who headed a revolt that became an ecclesiastical war and that at times developed into actual and sanguinary conflicts at arms between Catholics and Protestants. Hendrik Van Loon says that the whole of western Europe became a battle ground where Catholics and Protestants killed each other in defense of theological creeds that are meaningless to men of today. 1

Not many years later the heirs of the Reformation fought each other and betimes added to the list of the martyrs.


In the beginning the Reformation, as the term itself indicates, was an effort to reform the church from within; to make it over, to purge it of its heresies and sins.

Evidently Martin Luther, who had been an Augustine monk and a professor of theology, had no mind to forsake the Catholic church. An official visit to Rome disillusioned him. Tetzel’s sale of indulgences aroused his fighting spirit. Still he hoped to "reform" the church. When he found himself anathematized and excommunicated, he continued the fight outside the church of his first love, as did others of the reformers.

Over the years there were outstanding figures, men of courage and ability, in the Protestant movement: Luther, Knox, Calvin, the Wesleys, and many others. Still the movement continued as a "protest" against real and alleged Catholic heresies and corruptions, hence the name Protestant, which to this day is loosely used as referring to all Christians who are not Catholics. Many churches of the Protestant faith came into being, too many to name, with a vast confusion of different creeds and types of organization.

It was Barton W. Stone, associate of Alexander Campbell, who wrote: "Sectarianism, which is only another name for heresy, sprang out of the apostasy, and the parties named themselves according to their own fancy." 2

We would not in any way belittle the great amount of good done by the Protestant movement in liberating men from the bondage of priestcraft, bringing the Bible within the reach of the masses of the people to whom it had long been denied, and elevating religious and moral standards.


The Reformation was not a restoration of the church as Christ and the early apostles had left it. Restoration rather than reformation is the thing that we wish to talk about presently. The primitive Christian church was not restored either in doctrine or organization.

The reformers did not claim any new revelation or commitment of authority from on high to build churches and minister for Christ. So far as they gave attention to the question of authority, mostly they seemed to trace it back to the Catholic church, or based it on scriptural references to other men called and ordained during the days of Christ or the early apostles, or frankly asserted that there is no need for an authoritative church and ministry. For example it was claimed for Luther: "His ordination, therefore, and that of all his Protestant successors, is as valid as that of the Romish priesthood of the 16th century." 3

To Protestants that would not seem to be a satisfactory source of authority, the more so when we consider that any authority the Roman Catholic church had when it ordained Luther was also exercised when it excommunicated him and officially pronounced anathema upon him.

John Wesley one time wrote, "When asked by what authority I did these things, I replied, ‘by the authority of Jesus Christ conveyed to me by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he laid his hands upon me and said, "Take thou authority to preach the gospel".’" 4

Judging from his writings Wesley to the day of his death, though cast out by the Church of England, traced his authority back through, and claimed membership in that church:

He was driven out of the church, yet in 1789 he wrote: "I declare once more that I live and die a member of the Church of England; and that none who regard my judgment will separate from it." 5

In later years another group of Protestant church builders, coming face to face with the question of their own authority to baptize the converts they were making, after much perturbation decided the matter in this way, "If we had authority to preach, we had authority to baptize." They rested their whole ecclesiastical structure on that uncertain and unanswered, "If."


Writing as a Protestant, the late Reverend Burris Jenkins, one time pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church, in Kansas City, and founder of the Community Church in that city, in his book The World’s Debt to Protestantism, makes a very frank and logical confession. He writes:

The end result of Protestantism is freedom from authority, each one sailing the seas for himself, reasoning and thinking for himself.... They [the Protestants] had long ago given up papal and ecclesiastical infallibility; they had swung to a scriptural source of authority and found it crumbling under their feet.... They were not yet ready to accept the logic of their intellectual revolt against authority and declare without equivocation that there is no source of authority in religion.

Even yet come out boldly with that declaration—there is, no source of authority in religion—and cold chills go up and down many devoted spines. The declaration, however, is inescapable for any who launch out into the Protestant river of thought. Either one has got to stay by the old church [Catholic] that dates back almost to the apostolic age, or else he has to launch out upon a course of thinking which brings him to the inevitable conclusion that there is no source of authority in religion. 6

There is one alternative that Dr. Jenkins has overlooked in his argument, and that is the possibility of a restoration of apostolic authority. He repudiates the doctrine of succession; he does not find authority coming through the Reformation; it may have come, it did come through restoration.


With the dawning of the Reformation, the reformers wrought a good work, challenging evil and preparing the way for better things. And they did look forward to something beyond anything they had yet experienced.

Of Roger Williams, prominent reformer who forsook the movement he had begun, it is written:

He conceived that the church of Christ has so fallen into apostasy as to have lost both its right form and the due administration of the ordinances, which could only be restored by some new apostolic or specially commissioned messenger from above. 7

He conceived that the apostasy of antichrist hath so far corrupted all that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy till Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew. 8

Charles Wesley’s famous hymn says:

Almighty God of love,
Set up th’ attracting sign,
And summon whom thou dost approve
For messengers divine.

From favored Abraham’s seed
The new apostles choose,
In isles and continents to spread
The dead-reviving news.

We know it shall be done;
’ Tis God’s almighty word;
All Israel shall the Savior own,
To their first estate restored.

It is written in the Scriptures that "God set in the church first apostles, secondarily prophets." 9 A great many believers assure us that those were offices limited to New Testament times and that God does not set them in the church today; and yet, observe that the good Charles Wesley who wrote the hymn just quoted and all who joined in singing it were asking God to send new apostles. Their prayer was answered in due time. Note also that Roger Williams looked for the Lord to send new apostles and a specially commissioned messenger from above.

Alexander Campbell, founder of the "Christian" church in America, said that the practical results of all the creeds, reformations, and improvements warranted "the conclusion that either some new revelation or some new development of the revelation of God must be made, before the hopes and expectations of all true Christians can be realized . . . We want the old gospel back and sustained by the ancient order of things." 10

We need not quarrel with our neighbors. We are to tell our own story. We think Alexander Campbell was right when he said that we need "the old gospel back sustained by the ancient order of things." Roger Williams was right when he said there could be no recovery until Christ should call new apostles and plant his church anew.

Again, writing in 1827, Alexander Campbell said, "To reform the Reformation is indeed a hard matter—and why? Because many think the Reformation was complete. But what man skilled in ecclesiastical history does not know that the reformers themselves were veering about from point to point till the day of their death, and that not one of them finished the work he had begun?"

The Reformation produced no more devout and ardent seekers after light and religious liberty than the Puritans. When the Pilgrim Fathers were about to embark upon the "Mayflower" in their historic adventure in search of religious liberty in America, their good pastor, John Robinson, called them together, July 21, 1620, and in his farewell address to them said:

If God hath anything to reveal to you, by any other instrument of his, be as ready to receive it, as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry. For I am persuaded, I am confident, that the Lord hath more truth to break forth out of his holy word.

In due time, in that new land of liberty to which they went, there did break forth new light. The new revelation of which Alexander Campbell spoke was given. The apostles of which Charles Wesley and Roger Williams dreamed were called. The church was restored.

Often we are classed as Protestants. We are neither Protestants nor Catholics, our position is unique. Catholics claim "succession" in authority back to St. Peter. Protestants rest their claims on the Reformation. Our position is quite different from both—Restoration.

Our message is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Neither Catholic claims to succession nor Protestant efforts to reform the church seem to us to meet the demands of the situation.

Our message is that of Restoration—a divinely appointed restoration of the primitive church organization with the old time doctrines and blessings: "The old gospel back again sustained by the ancient order of things."


All this is in harmony with that which John saw on Patmos. John was shown things "which must be hereafter." 12 Among other things, he saw the restoration of the gospel to earth under angelic ministration in the latter days, just before the "hour of God’s judgment" should come:

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 13

This vision looked forward to a time near the end of time when the gospel should not be on the earth in its fullness— else there should be no need that an angel come to restore it to the children of men.

It is this story of the Restoration that we wish to tell to you in succeeding chapters.

Suggested Readings: 1. "Apostasy and Restoration," a chapter in Fundamentals, by F. Henry Edwards, Herald Publishing House.

2. "What Was the Place of the Bible in the Reformation, a chapter in The Bible in Every Day Living, by Dr. Roy A. Cheville, Herald Publishing House;.

Those who desire a scholarly study of the Reformation movement and leading characters in that movement, from the standpoint of secular writers, may turn to The Cambridge Modern History, Volume two, the Macmillan Company, 1904. The various chapters were writen by distinguished scholars and educators, for example, the chapter on Calvin by Fairbairn, of Oxford.


1. The Story of Mankind, Van Loon, page 261.
2. Christian System, page 259.
3. History of Religious Denominations, Daniel Rupp, page 400.
4. Richard Watson’s History, page 75.
5. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 12, page 27.
6. Worlds Debt to Protestantism, Burris Jenkins, pages 41-43, the Stratford Company, Boston, publishers.
7. Presidency and Priesthood, quoting Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty, pages 238, 239.
8. Ibid., page 109, 110.
9. I Corinthians 12:28.
10. Christian System, page 250.
11. Christian Baptist, Volume 5, page 388.
12. Revelation 4:1.
13. Revelation 14:6, 7.

Return To Contents

Chapter 12 - Timing Of The Restoration Movement


THE NINETEENTH CENTURY was an era of such remarkable change and advancement in human experience that it overshadowed all centuries that had preceded it. That assertion will be supported presently by unimpeachable witnesses. And the year 1830 was outstanding in that remarkable century—outstanding in history and in prophecy.

That which we term the "Restoration Movement" began appropriately in that sort of an age. The time was ripe for it. God moved in such a great new age and in the New World to bring forth the church out of the wilderness, to restore it in its New Testament form and with the ancient doctrines, as Alexander Campbell had wished might happen, "sustained by the ancient order of things."

The first revelation given to the modern prophet of this last dispensation was in the spring of 1820. Another came in 1823. Priesthood authority was restored in 1829. The church was organized April 6, 1830, memorable year in history as we shall soon observe. However, that was the preliminary work of organization, and the process of organization continued until 1835. We shall say then that the era we will term the "era of preparation and organization" continued from 1820 to 1835. During that period the church (the woman seen in John’s vision in Revelation 12) was by divine order brought forth from her long stay in the wilderness where John saw that she was kept for 1,260 days, which stood for prophetic years.


In the beginning of the nineteenth century and in the outstanding year of 1830, the young prophet Joseph Smith announced a revelation from the Lord, proclaiming the dawning of a new "dispensation, designated as the "Dispensation of the fullness of Times"; or to quote again, "a dispensation of the gospel for the last time; and for the fullness of times." 1

Even before contemporary thinkers had reckoned with the unfolding greatness of that century in human history, this prophet saw, that God was moving toward marvelous events.

It is the history of religion that each new dispensation of the gospel has been preceded and accompanied by an intellectual quickening, as might be expected, since Christ is "the light that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world." It was so with the Mosaic dispensation, accompanied by the development of the remarkable culture of Egypt, by which Moses profited, as did the Israelites to a lesser degree; during their sojourn in Egypt. It was so in the Christian dispensation. The coming of Christ was preceded and accompanied by quickening forces, as in the Greek and Roman cultures.

The explorer of Bible lands and history, H. V. Morton, has remarked that the conquests of Alexander the Great with their spreading of Greek culture prepared the way for Christianity as "a garden is prepared for seed."

There was a similar world quickening and preparation for the restoration of the gospel in the "Dispensation of the fullness of times."


In a very, striking manner Joseph Smith’s announcement of a new era, a new, "dispensation" beginning in 1830 was later confirmed by the noted American historian and educator, John Fiske. John Fiske held a chair in Harvard and is listed in the Dictionary of American Biography as "Perhaps the most popular lecturer on history that America has ever known." Fiske delivered a series of lecturers before the Concord school of philosophy which were published in book form in 1885, under the title, The Idea of God.

In one of those lectures he definitely put the finger of the historian on the year 1830 as marking the beginning of a new era "the grandeur of which dwarfs all others that can be named since the beginning of the historic period." He even used language similar to that used by the prophet and called it "the opening of a new dispensation." We quote!

This century, which some have called an age of iron, has been also an age of ideas, an era of seeking and finding the like of which was never known before. An epoch the grandeur of which dwarfs all others that can be named since the beginning of this historic period.... The men of the present day who have fully kept pace with the scientific movement art separated from the men whose education "tended in 1830 by an immeasurably wider gulf than has ever before divided one progessive generation of men from their predecessors. The intellectual development of the human race has been suddenly, almost abruptly, raised to; a higher plane than that upon which it had proceeded from the days of the primitive troglodyte to the days our great-grandfathers. . . In the eyes of the twenty-first century the science of the nineteenth will doubtless seem very fragmentary and crude. But the men of that day, and of all future time, will no doubt point back to the age just passing away as the opening of a new dispensation, the dawning of an era in which the intellectual development of mankind was raised to a higher plane than that upon which it had hitherto proceeded. 2


The significant title, The Great Century, is given to a very able work by Kenneth Scott Latourette, professor of missions and Oriental History in Yale University. The book is devoted to a study of the expansion of Christianity in Europe and America over a period of a little more than a century, 1800 to 1914.

"The great century"! The estimate of the nineteenth century in that work coincides with the earlier estimate by John Fiske, and the assertion is made that never before in such a short period of time had changes been so tremendous and varied. 3 Truly the prophet did not err when in 1830 he announced the dawning of a new era containing the very "fullness of time." Beginning about that time the world was made over—ox cart to stratosphere aeroplane—pony express to radio.


The New York State Historical Society in 1926, published an address by Noble E. Whiteford delivered before the association October 2, 1925, from which we quote:

To the spread of republican ideas of government in the last years of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth century may be ascribed intellectual awakening which swept over Europe and reacted upon America in the latter part of that period. During its most brilliant decade, between 1830 and 1840, the revival was marked by several significant events, among them three that interest us just at present—the establishment of the railroad, the electric telegraph and the ocean steamship. As in no previous reawakening, intellectual activity was turned into practical, utilitarian and commercial channels. 4


Hendrick Van Loon in his remarkable work The Story of Mankind, points to three decades at which 1830 stands near the meridian. He says: "Within a single generation, between 1810 and 1840, more progress was made in every branch of science than in all the hundreds of thousands of years that had passed since man first looked at the stars and wondered why they were there." 5


As to remarkable changes in the European situation beginning about 1830, H. G. Wells in his Outline of History observes that Parisian crowds of the First Revolution were a very mixed, primitive, and even savage crowd of persons compared with "any Western European crowd. after 1830." 6

Time vindicates the prophets. Historians record the development of great cycles in world history. The prophets predict them. Joseph Smith announced the dawning of a great world era in 1830. Historians confirm his forecast.

Prophecies forecasting the great apostasy are so numerous and clear in their application that they cannot be gainsaid. The facts of history as they unfolded during the long and properly designated "dark ages" of history vindicates the prophets who foretold the apostasy.

On the other hand, there are prophecies which were related to the duration of that apostasy on which there is considerable difference of opinion. These we must approach with some caution and certainly would not wish our major thesis either to stand or fall on these evidences. However, they are sufficiently clear to be used as supporting evidence, the weight of which the reader may consider for himself.


Reverting now to a former chapter, it will be remembered that the Prophet John on Patmos saw in vision the woman representing the church, gloriously clothed in light, having upon her head a crown of twelve stars (representing the twelve apostles) and with the moon under her feet (representing the old Mosaic law which had been replaced by the gospel of Christ). This woman was persecuted by a great dragon (representing the power of pagan Rome which so long time persecuted the saints).

The woman thus symbolizing the church fled into the wilderness, disappeared to a "place prepared of God." There she was to remain "a thousand, two hundred and three score days" (1,260 days). This was the figure of time used in verse 6. of the chapter under consideration.

Subsequently John saw another woman symbolizing the apostate church. This woman had taken the place of the church that had been driven away. This woman was not persecuted by the dragon. Instead she was seated upon the beast, ruling over it; she was not clothed in light; instead she was arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold and precious stones, and was herself persecuting the saints. 7

The astounding contrast between the first woman that John saw and the second is not one whit greater than the contrast between the primitive church that Christ established and that the apostles blessed and which was caught away into the wilderness, and that other church which presently emerged, claiming to be the very same woman.

Let us now return to the theme of the duration of the 1,260 days (years) between the disappearance of the church in the wilderness and its return, its restoration.

The apostasy did not take place in a day or a year. The church changed in doctrine, organization, and spirit by insidious and at the time scarcely noticed degrees. It might be difficult to state the exact moment at which the climax of apostasy was reached.

The length of the great apostasy extended through the long "dark ages," and so obviously was longer than 1260 literal days of 24 hours each.

It is to be remembered that these prophecies are symbolic all the way through. We know that in Biblical prophecy a day was used as a symbol for a year; as in the revelation to Ezekiel, "I have appointed unto thee each day for a year." 8

Again the forty days spent by those who spied on the promised land were made to stand for forty years that the children of Israel were to wander in the wilderness:

After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 9

In the light of history and the symbolism of prophecy just noted, we may safely conclude that the period indicated in Revelation 12 was to cover 1,260 years.

It is said that "Rome was not built in a day." Rome was a long time building; and a long time falling into ruin. The apostasy which resulted in the development of the Roman Catholic church and the taking over of temporal power in Rome did not occur in a day or a year; but it must have reached a climax in a given period of time. That period seems to have centered around A. D. 570. Even approximating dates, the 1,260 years would terminate in the early part of the nineteenth century in the period centering around 1830.


In his book, A Marvellous Work and a Wonder, Daniel McGregor sets forth the results of a great deal of research on this question. He submits the findings of certain students of Bible prophecy who conclude that the span of 1,260 years terminated either exactly in 1830 or in that general period of time. The following paragraphs are based on the material thus set forth by McGregor, and the evidence, as before stated, is used only as supporting evidence, to be weighed on its merits. The fact that the writers from whom he quoted were not prejudiced in favor of our movement, rather against it, does not weaken the value of their testimony.

The time when Roman Catholicism took over temporal power and the transition that John saw climaxed in his vision is indicated for us by Catholic authority, namely Cardinal Manning. It is true he rationalizes the process to make it one of necessity and not of choice. Enemies were pressing in until the Roman government ceased to function and in Rome itself the Pope took over as supreme ruler. CardinaI Manning says:

In like manner the successive invasions of barbaric hordes, and above all the invasions of the Lombards, extinguished utterly and destroyed the last vestige of the Roman Empire in Italy: it was utterly swept away, it existed no longer. Where thenceforward was the subjection of the Roman pontiff to an emperor whose empire had ceased to be? ... The Roman Empire in Italy was extinguished by the judgment of God and the throne of Rome was vacant by the visitation of God. And when the last vestige of civil authority has perished there remained in Rome one sole person who had been the Father, the Pastor, Lawgiver, Protector, and Head of the People, to whom they turned as their supreme spiritual authority, around whom they gathered in all their perils. The line of the Roman pontiffs alone was left. The providence of God thus liberated the head of the church completely and altogether from any civil authority whatsoever. 10

Presently the popes took over the ancient title of the emperors, pontifex maximus; and of that which ensued, Norwood Young has written:

The empire fell, but Rome had a second career before her.... Once more Rome conquered the world. . . . her second child, the Pope, became greater than even Caesar had been before.11

The event which Cardinal Manning noted as the ending of civil rule in Rome and the beginning of the rise of the pope to temporal as well as spiritual power has been determined by some writers to have been in the year A. D. 570. If their calculations are correct, then we may assume the transformation of the church from its early Christian standing as a spiritual kingdom to the exalted state of secular temporal rule climaxed that year—the climactic point of the apostasy.

Cardinal Manning says that the pope took over when the Lombards "extinguished the last vestige of the Roman Empire in Italy."

If that were in 570, then the 1,260 prophetic years of the sojourn of the true church in the wilderness would end in 1830. Even if the time mentioned was not exactly A. D. 570, it was so close to that year as to fall into that immediate era, and the 1,260 years would expire during the dawning of the Restoration Movement.

On the point under discussion, Daniel McGregor, in his Marvelous Work and a Wonder, quotes the following, from Bowers’ History of the Popes:

They (the Lombards) began their march in the month of April of the Christian era the 568th.... upon the reduction of that city Alboinus was with loud acclamations proclaimed king of Italy by the Lombards and the whole army, and from that year, the year 570, historian date the beginning of the Lombards in that country. 12

At the most, Bowers’ History of the Popes would not be far wrong in naming the year 570. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the Lombards "set out toward Italy, April 1, 568," and that "ill-defended Italy fell an easy prey." 13

Fitting into the picture along with the foregoing are statements by James Bryce in his The Holy Roman Empire. This work is recognized as one of the best, if not the best short history of the Roman Empire. James Bryce, one time British ambassador to the United States, was author of the classic work, The American Commonwealth.

In his The Holy Roman Empire, chapter 4, edition of 1913, Bryce says that the Lombards invaded Italy in A. D. 568. They subjugated the country but were too few in number to control it. In the ensuing confusion, Rome acquired considerable independence, and Bryce remarks, "As the city became more accustomed to a practical independence, and the Pope rose to a predominance, real if not yet legal, his tone grew bolder." All of this fits in with Cardinal Manning’s statement, and the timing falls in or near the year 570.

McGregor refers to a considerable list of writers on this subject, and from his list we refer to three:

1. The Reverend William Ward, an Episcopalian divine, published a work in two volumes in England during the years 1810-1820, the work being entitled Prophetic History. This writer dated the 1,260 years from 570, when he says "at the Lombard invasion the popes became sole masters of Rome and acquired all the civil, and military power, as well as spiritual authority in the city, A. D. 570." This, the Reverend Ward argues, would terminate the 1,260 years in 1830. And he added the remarkable prediction that 1830 would be "a year of spiritual revival and triumph, the greatest year in the calendar of the world."

2. From Apocalyptical History, Harcourt Bland is quoted: "One of the ten kingdoms, that of the Lombards, was not finally established before the latter end of the sixth century, or about 570."

3. From Dissertations of the Prophecies, Abel Pearson is quoted as setting the beginning of the period under discussion in 571; while from History and Revelation Braund is quoted as affirming that it could not have begun before 659.

In addition to the foregoing, McGregor refers to two commentators who when analyzing the vision of the image seen by King Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by the Prophet Daniel (discussed by us in another chapter), set the time for the appearance of the spiritual kingdom (forecast in the vision) at 1829 and 1830, respectively.

There seems to be a considerable list of writers in no way favorable to the Restoration Movement as represented by Latter Day Saints who have found Biblical prophecies pointing to the beginning of the nineteenth century and to the year 1830, or that general period of time, as the time when the church might be expected to reappear.


The work which we call the "Restoration" took organic form in 1830 with the organization of the church on the 6th day of April, by direct commandment from heaven. The church came from the wilderness, bringing back the old Jerusalem gospel, the ancient form of church organization with apostles and prophets, and having the gifts and blessings of old, including continued revelation:

The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeably to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April; which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, jr., who was called and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this church, and ordained under his hand: and this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen. 14

There is nothing else like the foregoing to be found in modern ecclesiastical literature. It has the sound of the "Acts of the Apostles." There is no other event of similar character recorded in modern ecclesiastical history.

God, not man, willed and ordered the restoration of the church with its primitive organization, doctrines, objectives, and blessings. At the time foreshadowed in prophecy, in the beginning of the "Great Century," when world events began that are still rushing to a tremendous climax, the church came forth out of the wilderness.


1. Doctrine and Covenants, 26:3.
2. The Idea of God, by John Fiske, chapter 2. Published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York.
3. The Great Century, Latourette, p. 10. Harper and Brothers, publishers. New York and London.
4. New York State Historical Association, Vol. 24, p. 85.
5. The Story of Mankind, Hendrik Van Loon, p. 430, 1938 Edition. Published by Garden City Publishing Company, New York.
6. The Outline of History, H. G. Wells, p. 935. Published by the Macmillan Company, New York.
7. Revelation 17:1-6.
8. Ezekiel 4:6.
9. Numbers 14:34.
10. The Independence of the Holy See, by Cardinal Manning, pp. 13, 14, London, Edition of 1877.
11 The Story of Rome, by Norwood Young, p. 9; published by J. M. Dent and Co., London.
12. Bowers’ History of the Popes, Vol. 2, p. 444. 1750.
13. Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, p. 338.
14 Doctrine and Covenants, 17:1.

Return To Contents

Chapter 13 - Daniel Predicted The Rise And Fall Of Earthly Kingdoms And The Rise Of The Kingdom Of Heaven


"In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed."—Daniel 2:44.

DANIEL one of the renowned and inspired Israelitish prophets, gave counsel and advice to and finally pronounced judgment upon two of the kings of one of the greatest kingdoms of old, King Nebuchadnezzar, and his son, King Belshazzar, who reigned over Babylon.

Daniel, with others, was carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar when he conquered Jerusalem and took many of the Jews captive to Babylon. Daniel won the respect and confidence, even the affection of the king.


In the second year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king had a dream (or vision) which impressed his spirit indelibly, the details of which passed from his mind when he awoke. This portentous dream troubled him, and he charged his wise men to give him the interpretation. Their reply was the natural one to make: you tell us the dream and we will tell you the interpretation.

The reply was reasonable, but often kings are capricious rather than reasonable. The king waxed furious and commanded that all the wise men of great Babylon should be put to death—including Daniel and his companions.

Daniel, hearing of the decree, went in to the king, and with that boldness that always seemed to intrigue the monarch, said in substance, "What is your great haste—give me time and I will interpret your dream." Daniel went back to his faithful friends, Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah, and together they supplicated the Lord.

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter. 1

Then went Daniel again with all boldness into the presence of the king and declared, "There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. 2

Note and remember that this dream or vision in its unfolding was to cover events reaching ever to "the latter days."

This then was the dream that Daniel brought back to the mind of the king:

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 3


Daniel proceeded to unfold the interpretation of the dream or "night vision," and the interpretation foreshadowed the rise and fall of the kingdoms and empires of men and the final setting up of a great kingdom which the God of heaven should set up "in the latter days" which shall never be destroyed—not a man-made political structure resting on armies and navies, but the kingdom of our Lord who shall rule over the earth in righteousness and equity and peace.

This is the interpretation that Daniel unfolded to the king:

This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hands, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it break in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure . 4


The vision as interpreted portended these world events: first, Babylon, rich and powerful almost beyond imagination, aptly typified by the head of gold, was to pass away.

Secondly, Babylon was to be followed by a great kingdom, yet one inferior to Babylon; a dual kingdom, that of the Medes and Persians, represented by the breasts and two arms of silver.

Thirdly there was to come a great kingdom which would rule over the whole earth, the Kingdom of Greece, that under Alexander the Great ruled the then known world.

Fourth, there was to come a kingdom strong as iron to break to pieces and subdue all things, represented by the two legs, the feet and the toes, the latter of iron mixed with clay, part strong, part weak, not capable of amalgamation or cohesion. This represented Rome, first the two legs representing the eastern and western divisions of the empire; and then the feet and the ten toes representing the small kingdoms, into which Rome finally disintegrated some weak, some strong, iron and clay, not mixing, not capable of cohesion—the broken fragments of the Roman Empire left in modern Europe, to this day turbulent and incapable of working together.

In the days of these kings last named, the God of heaven was to set up his own kingdom; one of the things which were "to be in the latter clays." What is the kingdom of God? That question will be discussed in another chapter.


1. Daniel 2:19-23.
2. Daniel 2:28.
3. Daniel 2:31-35.
4. Daniel 2:36-45.

Return To Contents

Chapter 14 -  Historic Unfolding Of Daniel's Prophecy


DANIEL’S OUTLINE OF HISTORY to come is of extraordinary interest. Naturally it did not deal with all the many nations of history; but it did follow the course of empire down to modern times, beginning in remote antiquity with Babylon. "Discoveries of recent decades seem to confirm the idea that Babylonia was the cradle of civilization." 1

Babylon the most renowned as well as the richest empire city of her time was also a center of learning and culture as well as industry and commerce. H. G. Wells is of the opinion that the Jews during their long captivity there profited in many ways. 2 They went there divided and confused and ignorant because of the long misrule of their kings. They came back to Jerusalem, many of them, awakened, taught how to study, eager to learn, interested in the revival of their own literature.

The Jews did not spend all their time weeping "by the waters of Babylon." The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says, "They discovered they could worship their God even in a strange land... The teachings of the prophets, to which they had paid little heed, now took on a new meaning. They lost their former inclination to idolatry and instead developed the idea of a righteous and purely spiritual God." 3

The many industries, great commerce, many business enterprises of Babylon offered the keen-witted Jews numberless opportunities to get ahead financially. H. V. Morton thinks that in Babylon the Jews "first went into business." 4 The chastisement of the captivity had its compensations.


Babylon was appropriately compared to the head of gold seen in the king’s vision, of which we write. The city was laid out foursquare, surrounded by a great wall, said to have been more than two hundred feet high, broad enough at the top for four chariots to drive abreast and sixty miles in circumference. There were a hundred gates of brass with great iron bars. Within the city were splendid dwellings, beautiful gardens and parks, and great public buildings.

Babylon ruled the known world and was located in an extraordinarily fertile region. Her great walls seemed as impregnable to the ancients as any Maginot or Siegfried line has seemed to moderns, and the Babylonians secure in their riches and power behind their great walls, talked as do moderns who boast that their particular state "will endure forever." Yet their fall was to be more sudden and spectacular than the fall of modern France in the second World War. The prophets had long time predicted Babylon’s fall; as this, from Isaiah:

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there: neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there; . . . and the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. 5

Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the Lord. 6

Though she did build her walls toward heaven and fortify herself with great strength—yet did she fall. And to this day is not dwelt in from generation to generation—avoided even by the wandering Arabs.

These prophecies meant nothing to Babylon in her glory. But very soon were they to be reiterated in the ears of the kings of Babylon. Incredible as it seemed to him, Nebuchadnezzar was told that his kingdom was to give way to another. Not long thereafter was the message driven home to his son and successor that the day of judgment was come.


Belshazzar succeeded his father, Nebuchadnezzar. Drunken with power and lust, secure behind the great walls of his city, he made a feast in his resplendent halls. Around him were gathered a thousand of his nobles with their wives and painted concubines.

The climax came when these debauchees with their dissolute consorts drank wine from the sacred vessels that had been stolen from the Temple at Jerusalem. In the midst of their revelry, figuratively speaking, God dragged into the festal chamber balances and set the king in one balance and in the other a king-sized weight—the weight went down and the king went up. Many kings and despots have been weighed after that manner and did not even know they were being weighed.

To power-drunk Napoleon, God said, "Get down from your high horse, and go and sit with the sea gulls on the barren rocks of St. Helena the rest of your days and brood over your fallen estate." To Kaiser Wilhelm he said, "Turn your back on your throne, your army, your empire, and go saw wood in Holland till you die."

However, let us have the story of Belshazzar’s feast from the Bible:

They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the King’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. 7

Again, as in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the king sent for Daniel when all the wise men had failed him, and Daniel gave to the king the meaning of the vision and the handwriting on the wall:

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old. 8


The second kingdom, represented by the arms and breast of silver seen in the vision interpreted by Daniel, was that of the Medes and Persians. It overthrew Babylon as already chronicled.

This kingdom had its place in prophetic vision, first, because it followed directly in line after Babylon, and secondly, for other interesting reasons apparent in the Biblical history of events.

Nebuchadnezzar and later his son Belshazzar held the Jews captive in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had sacked and burned Jerusalem together with her Temple and had led her people away into captivity.

This "Darius the Mede" who had conquered Babylon was a lieutenant for Cyrus the Persian. "Daniel’s Darius, the Mede ... was a viceroy of the Cyrus who first ruled over Babylon."9

Cyrus was the real conquerer of, and later ruler over Babylon. Babylon fell easily; tradition has it that Darius turned aside the course of the river and came dry shod in the bed of the stream and under the city walls. There seems to be no creditable historical account of the event. It may never be known how Babylon fell.10 But the Biblical account assures us that the very night the hand wrote on the wall while the king and his court feasted, and Daniel interpreted the writing—that night the enemy entered the city and the king was slain.


A century before his birth Cyrus had been spoken of by name by the Prophet Isaiah who had referred to him as "the Lord’s anointed," had predicted that by him kings should be overthrown, gates opened, and that he should rebuild the holy city, Jerusalem, and bring back her captives.

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me:

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. 11

The specific prophecy concerning the work of Cyrus in delivering the Jews from captivity and rebuilding Jerusalem, which he actually did, is found in this verse from the chapter from which we have just quoted:

I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts. 12


For several reasons Greece was well entitled to her place in the preview of history set forth in Daniel’s interpretation of the kings vision.

Hendrik Van Loon says, "The Greeks were the first people to try the difficult experiment of self-govermnent." 13 To begin with, each little city was quite independent, and the citizens were free in a very broad sense to come and go, to make their own choices, to think and speak and worship as pleased them.

Greece was entitled to her place in prophetic vision for the further reason that she prepared a fertile field for the propagation of Christianity. In her time Athens became the capital of world culture, of art, philosophy, and free religious discussion. Thither came men of many races with many ideas which were freely aired and listened to and pondered about. There the great Socrates, who is said to have divided Greek history into two parts—"before Socrates," and "after Socrates"—lived and plied his vocation of "cross-questioning humanity."

It followed that when Paul, the great ambassador of the cross, himself cosmopolitan in spirit, came to Mar’s Hill where philosophers and religious enthusiasts loved to gather, he found an atmosphere of tolerance in which he could speak and be heard, quite unlike the spirit of Jerusalem from which city he and all the apostles had been driven. He found on Mars’ Hill evidence of this tolerance in the many altars erected to many gods of many lands.

Paul at last found one altar where some man wiser than others had meditated, concluded that after all no one of them had yet found God, and had inscribed on that altar, "To the Unknown God." Standing thus among a people who believe in free speech, on Mars’ Hill, the very center of world thought, Paul began his sermon, "Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." 14

Greece was worthy of her place in the divine vision, because she was destined to enact laws and customs and develop a spirit and an atmosphere which would permit her people to hear the messenger of that man who said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Alexander the Great, who conquered the whole world and then mourned that there were no more worlds to conquer, carried Greek culture and power far afield. He defeated the last Persian king, so that the vision of Daniel unfolded in fact in world history. Alexander even took over Babylon, as the Medes and Persians had done—and in that very city where Daniel had interpreted the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, the great Alexander sickened and died. 15


There are many reasons why the Roman Empire should have figured in Daniel’s prophecy of world events. It is most appropriate that the Roman Empire should have been represented by iron, to "break in pieces and subdue." The Encyclopedia Britannica says of the Roman army, "The most effective and long-lived military institution known to history."

Like iron that breaks to pieces and subdues, this great military machine destroyed every opposing force, ruthlessly, efficiently, and won world-wide dominion. Naturally the tremendous role played by Rome in world history and the astounding longevity of Rome gave reason for a place in prophecy.

Again, because of her connection with the unfolding of the early Christian church and its later reverses Rome had place in the vision "of things to be," yes, even, "in the latter days." Ruthless as Rome was in her iron rule to enforce law and order, she did prepare the way for the spread of Christianity. She swept pirates from the sea and brigands from the land so that people could travel abroad, and so the way was open for the early missionaries of the cross to fare forth and establish churches and also to send abroad their remarkable "epistles."

Paul himself rested not until he had preached in Jerusalem, the capital city of Judaism; in Athens, the ancient seat of Greek culture, and then he said, "I must also see Rome,"—Paul’s ever-present urge to preach the gospel in all the high-places of the world, "I must!"

In Rome early Christianity won its most spectacular victories, even converting the emperor. In Rome, alas, later there developed the great apostasy that finally left to the world, instead of the early Christian church, Medieval Roman Catholicism, in doctrine and organization and spirit bearing faint resemblance to the church of Christ and the apostles.

The symbol of the image seen by the king fitted well the unfolding of world history: at the last the Roman Empire, the two legs of iron, Rome divided presently into two parts, eastern and western Rome; then the feet and toes of mixed iron and clay, part strong, part weak, having no cohesion one with another, typifying the subdivision of the Roman Empire into smaller kingdoms of modem Europe.

Now to come to the climax of the vision: at the last Daniel speaks of the toes of the feet of the image as representing kingdoms, "part of iron, and part of clay," "partly strong and partly broken," unable to "cleave one to another," confused, shifting, unable to integrate themselves. Then Daniel says:

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 16

In the days of modern Europe, the days of these confused remnants of the Roman Empire, God was to set up a kingdom. Not a kingdom of earthly political power, but a spiritual kingdom: that kingdom which Christ had in mind when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world." 17


1. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 3, p. 71.
2. The Outline of History, Wells, chapter 19.
3. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 12.
4. Through Lands of the Bible, p. 86.
5. Isaiah 13:19-22.
6. Jeremiah 51:53.
7. Daniel 5:4-6.
8. lbid., 5:25-31.
9. Smith’s Bible Dictionary (Edition of 1892).
10. Through Lands of the Bible, Morton, p. 89
11. Isaiah 45:1-6.
12. Ibid., 45:13.
13. The Story of Mankind, Van Loon, p. 62.
14. Acts 17:23.
15. The Story of Mankind, Van Loon. p. 84.
16. Daniel 2:44.
17. John 18:36.

Return To Contents

Chapter 15 -  What Is The "Kingdom Of Heaven"?

JESUS SPOKE OFTEN of the kingdom of heaven (and the kingdom of God). Daniel said that in the "latter days" the God of heaven was to set up a kingdom on earth that would endure forever. Fondly as earthly rulers may talk about their empires enduring for all time, we know that all political structures of human devising grow old and pass away.

Obviously the kingdom of heaven is that domain over which God and his Son rule. Its subjects are those who do the will of God, have fellowship with his Son, and are guided by the Holy Spirit. The will and commandments of God govern in the lives of his subjects, and those laws of life are embodied in the gospel that Christ came to promulgate to and through his church.

The kingdom of heaven "triumphant" on high is governed perfectly by the will of heaven. The kingdom of heaven, "militant," projected on earth, may suffer setbacks, delays, reverses; at times it may seem slow and feeble, but in the end it is bound to triumph, because the forces of righteousness and truth are with it. The slow progress of the kingdom on earth is due to the fact that God respects human agency and waits for education, enlightenment, conversion, regeneration, and a voluntary co-operation of oft-times blundering human beings.


Writing on this subject, Dr. Roy A. Cheville of the Department of Social Science and Religion, Graceland. College, says:

We shall admit that God is often thwarted in his purpose of developing men who will work along with him. Way back in the beginning, a man might have been created who would have done always the proper thing. Men could have been foolproof automatons wound up to go in the approved direction. But we should never have had a society of persons—only a grand scale puppet show. It would not be out of place to opine that the greatest stroke of faith in all time was when the Creator put man together so that he could make choices of his own. It was done with the consciousness that down the ages these creatures would often go off on tangents of their own rather than fit into the great divine purpose. It is God’s price for granting men the right to choose. Our price is often in the fruits of our folly.

Some super-critical persons refuse to join the church because they allege that there are hypocrites in the church. What human society can one join on earth if he shall carry that policy into all his activities? What political party, social club, fraternal order, business organization, can offer him sanctuary? He will be obliged to go live alone in a cave—and some day he may awake to the fact that he is living with a hypocrite.

As a matter of fact, the people one observes as he looks into the church from the outside may not be hypocrites at all. The high school student studying mathematics makes many blunders, but he is not a hypocrite. He is working with the most difficult and exacting of sciences, and he makes mistakes. The devout church member is working with a very difficult spiritual problem, trying to adjust his life in all its details to the strict requirements of the gospel law. He may err, but he is not necessarily a hypocrite. He needs help, not censure. He may have something fine to offer the very man who stands outside criticising him.

Speaking somewhat as a philosopher, somewhat as a scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge, addressing a convention of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, of which he was president, argued that existence is like the product of a loom; the pattern is fixed, it is there, but while factory looms are machines with guiding cards that do not vary, the loom of time is complicated by many free agents who may interfere with the web to mar or make, depending on their harmony or discord with the general plan of things. He held that "manifest irnperfections are thus accounted for" and that "freedom could be given on no other terms, nor at any less cost." 1

Christ came proclaiming the advent of the kingdom. Yet he foresaw its long delays. He said:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force . 2

The kingdom must not be rejected in any age solely because its visible projection on earth seems small and to have too few dependable adherents. Jesus said to the people in his day:
Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3

To his disciples he said:
Go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand . 4

Jesus was at pains to warn us that betimes the kingdom on earth may seem to men to be very small. He compared the kingdom to a grain of mustard seed, the "least of the seeds," yet with life in it to grow, to leaven hidden in three measures of meal, to a grain of corn, planted and springing up, first just a blade, after that the ear, and then the full corn.5


Christ said, "I will build my church." Men entered into that church by baptism, being born of the water and of the spirit. Doing so they entered into the visible projection of the kingdom of heaven on earth:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6

Thus the kingdom of heaven militant on earth began with small beginnings, often unobserved, often suffering violence. People entered it through baptism in water and the birth of the spirit; in fact, Jesus said no one could enter in any other way. Those who figure out other ways may split that hair to suit themselves.

It is freely conceded, gladly so, that there have been and are many devout and splendid persons not claiming to be "of the household of faith, referred to as "the honorable men of the earth," who do God’s will in many things and so may help make possible the kingdom of heaven. They are those "not far from the kingdom," of whom it is said, "The kingdom has come near unto you."

It is also freely conceded that while the church is the visible projection of the kingdom on earth, God always moves through many channels and with many forces to work out his will. Rome drove the pirates from the sea, brigands from the land, and so made it possible for the early Christian missionaries to travel abroad and to send their epistles to distant places. Greek culture promoted freedom of discussion so that Paul could climb Mars’ Hill where philosophers consorted, and from that pinnacle of free speech he preached the "Great Unknown God" to whose memory he had there found an altar erected.

The church militant was far from perfect even though it did represent the kingdom of heaven on earth—that body of people committed to do the will of heaven on earth. There were among those people the perverse, the weak, the sinful, the reprobate. So will it be today:

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 7

Jesus said that the tares should be permitted to grow until the time of harvest, lest in rooting them up the wheat also be destroyed. There will always be offenses in the kingdom on earth until the time of harvest. "There needs must be offenses, but woe to them by whom they come."


The church that Christ said he would build, in his day, represented the beginning of the kingdom of heaven on earth, it "was at hand"; it "was among them," they could "see it" and "enter into it" under the terms of the gospel.

It was to suffer violence. It was to meet with temporary defeat. It was to go into apostasy. It was to disappear into the wilderness. But it was to reappear again in the last days.

In the latter days, as Daniel predicted, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed."

The kingdom that Jesus talked about was not a temporal kingdom:

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 8

Nevertheless, his kingdom, small in its beginning on earth, delayed, persecuted, shall win out. All other kingdoms shall fall and fail until "he shall rule whose right it is to rule," and "every knee bow and every tongue confess":

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 9

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 10

Suggested Readings: "The Coming Kingdom, a chapter in The Enduring Word, by Christiana Salyards, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Mo. "The Kingdom of God," a chapter in Fundamentals, by F. Henry Edwards, Herald Publishing House.


1. Continuity, pp. 98-99.
2. Matthew 11:12.
3. Matthew 3:2.
4. Matthew 10:7.
5. Matthew 13:31-33; Mark 4:26-28.
6. John. 3:3-5.
7. Matthew 13:24-26.
8. John 18:36.
9. I Corinthians 15:24, 25.
10. Isaiah 9:6, 7.

Return To Contents

Chapter 16 -  A Marvellous Work And A Wonder" As Predicted By The Prophet Isaiah

IN HIS twenty-ninth chapter Isaiah foretells the purpose of God to perform a "marvellous work and a wonder":

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent man shall be hid. 1


In the same chapter he gives unmistakable clues by which to identify this great work. In the first verse he says:

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow and it shall be unto me as Ariel. And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. 2

The name of Ariel as here used refers to Jerusalem. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says: "Isaiah (XXIX:I) so names Jerusalem."

The prophet predicts the time when armies shall come against Jerusalem and destroy her, so that she shall be brought; very low, and sometime her voice shall be heard as from out of the ground, as a whisper out of the dust.


In the long run, however, the enemies of Jerusalem shall themselves fail and fall and become as a forgotten dream:

And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. 3

The shame of Jacob shall cease and fear shall no longer make the faces of his children to wax pale:

Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the House of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. 4


Following this marvelous work there is (recurrent prophetic theme) the return of the Jews, the Holy Land to become again inhabited and fruitful: and in that day the words of the books should be heard.

Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. 5

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Lebanon "formed a part of the land assigned to the Israelites." That fact also appears in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Joshua.


This work is to be done in a time when men. shall believe that the seers and prophets are a thing of the past, when they shall hold that revelation has ceased, when the "wisdom of their wise men" shall have been substituted for sound doctrine:

Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 6

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 6


Associated with this work was to be the coming forth of a "sealed book." The "words" of the book were to go to a learned man who should refuse to read them. The book itself should be given to one unlearned to read. Those who had drawn near to the Lord with their lips while their hearts were far from him should be confounded:

And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people even a marvellous work and a wonder. 7


The restoration of the gospel, the organization of the church in 1830, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, these fit into the prophetic picture, as to character and timing.

"Woe to Ariel!" Woe had long time come upon Jerusalem. She had been laid waste, and her voice was as one speaking out of the dust.

This work began in an era when the prophets and seers had long been "covered" by the Lord, because men would not receive them or believe that they would ever come again. For a long time no prophets had spoken.

The Book of Mormon came forth and "the words of the book" were delivered to a learned man. Joseph Smith sent a transcript of characters from the plates of the Book of Mormon to Professor Anthon of New York City, a man "celebrated for his literary attainments," who first pronounced them to be genuine characters of ancient languages, but upon being told the story of the book, he refused to have anything further to do with the matter. The "unlearned" man, Joseph Smith, translated the book.

The ancient blessings of healing came back with the gospel and literally, as well as figuratively, the "deaf heard the words of the book," and "the eyes of the blind saw out of obscurity." 8


This work came at a time when the very wise and learned had labored for centuries to formulate creeds, picturing God and definitizing his doctrines. They had burned at the stake some who would not accept those learned creeds. But the time was at hand when their wisdom should fail: their creeds should be found at fault—they should be revised and re-revised—and then—forgotten!

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 9

Finally this work came forth shortly before the return of the Jews began and the rehabilitation of the Holy Land, which work will be accomplished in due time despite wars and all other hindrances.


In an age such as has been described, to the astonishment and resentment of many, there appeared a prophet announcing the advent of this "Marvelous Work and a Wonder." A revelation given in April, 1829, heralded the dawning of that work, and later conditions of world confusion heralded its near completion:

A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold, I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore, give heed unto my words.

Behold, the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God; yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God; therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive, if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. 10


1. Isaiah 29:14.
2. Isaiah 29:1-4.
3. Isaiah 29:7.
4. Isaiah 29:22, 23.
5. Isaiah 29:17, 18.
6. Isaiah 29:9, 10, 14.
7. Isaiah 29:11-13.
8. Isaiah 29:18.
9. Isaiah 29:14.
10. Doctrine and Covenants 6:1, 2.

Return To Contents

Chapter 17 -  America In Prophecy


HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED why the prophets did not speak of America? They had a message for other lands. They predicted great events in the life of cities and states of old.

God sent his messengers to the "Old World," why not to the "New World"? Was the world, prior to Columbus, like an apple cut in two? God blessed one half of the world. Did he ignore the other half ?

Was Ingersoll, the infidel, right when he taunted a convention of Christian ministers with the accusation, "The Christian God was ignorant of the existence of America until Columbus told him about it"? No. Instead God led Columbus on his voyage of discovery, as we shall presently point out further.

Would it not be interesting if you had a book of history telling you about ancient America? Or do you think there was nothing to tell about America before Columbus? How do you picture America of that era? America was here with her oceans and lakes, her forests, mountains, and plains: "America the beautiful!"

What about the people? Were there just wandering tribes of Indians living in tepees? For a long time that was the picture modern Americans had in mind when they thought of America as it was before Columbus brought it to the attention of the rest of the world. To their minds American history began after that discovery. Now we know differently. The discovery of many ruined cities in North and South America uncovered by archaeologists shows us that there were great civilizations in those times. There were road builders, temple builders, empire builders. Mexico, Central, and South America are especially rich in these ancient ruins.

There is a book of history that tells us the story of those lost peoples. They had their prophets. They had the knowledge of God and Christ. Their ruined temples with symbols of the cross bear witness to that fact.

Christ said to the woman of Samaria, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 1 His mission in the flesh was to Israel and was limited to the Israelites in the Holy Land. But again he said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." 2

He was to visit other sheep of the house of Israel not of that fold in Palestine. Where then were they? They were in the Ancient Americas. He visited them after his crucifixion. So came they by the cross preserved in their ruins. This book of which I write tells of his visit.

Do not permit prejudice to prevent your investigating this book which tells you of ancient America and gives you also a prophetic message concerning America of today. Where else will you find an inspired book with that sort of message? This book is the Book of Mormon, of which we shall write in a later chapter.


This is the story of some of the "Children of Israel" who came to America long centuries ago.

Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. He was given the name of Israel at the time when the angel gave him a blessing. From Jacob came the twelve tribes of Israel.

We commonly think only of the Jews, the sons of judah, when we speak of the children of Israel. The "ten lost tribes" are forgotten, but they were lost only to the eye of the historian. It is believed, with considerable support for such belief

that these tribes, or rather their descendants, are to be found today in the nations of Europe and in Britain and America. The wonderful promises made to Abraham are not to be measured alone by the history of the Jews, strange as that history is.

It is our belief that long ago descendants of Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, came to America and founded a great civilization. They built some of the now ruined cities of ancient America.

In some ways the blessings pronounced upon Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh were far greater than those upon any of the other tribes, or all of them. His blessing was "to prevail above the blessings of his progenitors." In particular was Ephraim, Joseph’s son, to become a nation, yes, many nations. Ephraim was younger than Manasseh, but blind Jacob crossed his hands purposefully when he blessed the two lads, and so put his right hand upon Ephraim, the younger, and gave him the greater blessing; and said he was to become a multitude of nations:

And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 3

Reverting again to the prophetic blessing given by Jacob (Israel) to his beloved youngest son Joseph, the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, these are the words of that blessing:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. 4

Joseph’s blessing was to exceed that of his progenitors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham was given the "Promised Land" of Palestine, rich and historic, but small—smaller than some of the states of the United States.

Joseph’s blessing was greater, it was to be "unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." His branches were to "run over the wall"—the sea, to that choice land.

He bad been separated from his brethren when sold into Egypt, and his inheritance was also to be separate, and greater, afar off, over the "wall," over the sea, to "the utmost bound of the everlasting hills"—and that sort of yardstick reached to America.

Later as we have seen, Moses also blessed Joseph under the spirit of prophecy, and described further the land of his inheritance:

And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath. And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills. And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 5


The Book of Mormon comes to us by the power of God through the hand of a modern prophet. This book tells us how Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his sons Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam, and their respective families, came from Jerusalem to this Land of Promise. These people were direct descendants of Joseph. They founded a great civilization which endured for centuries. In them was partially fulfilled the promises to Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.


Joseph’s land was to be "unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills."

It was to be "over the wall," the sea.
It was to be greater than anything that had been given to Abraham.
It was to be blessed with all the riches of the mountains and the hills: minerals, metals, oils, a land richer than any other on earth.
It was to produce lavishly all the choice fruits of the soil.
It was to have an abundance of the harvests to be taken from the "great deep."
It was to be especially blessed "with the good will" of God.

Can you think of any other land on earth to compare with America in all these things? Her riches of every sort of fruits and grains due to her varied climate and rich soils, from the wheat fields of Canada to the orange groves of Florida. Her vast mineral wealth of the "ancient mountains." Her stores of wealth coming from the two great oceans, "the deep that coucheth beneath."

In the Book of Mormon are found prophetic messages to and about America not to be found in any other literature. This book tells us that America was foreordained of God to be a choice land of liberty, choice above all other lands: That it should never be brought down in bondage to any other people, on condition that the inhabitants should be righteous.

These promises were to those people who settled here so long ago, and they are extended to us, today.

History records that Columbus was a very religious man. He was possessed by what his contemporaries considered an insane passion to outfit a fleet and sail westward upon the uncharted ocean.

Columbus was repulsed by King John II of Portugal and Henry VII of England. Turning to the court of Spain, he spent eight years of argument and prayerful pleading, and at last persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella to outfit him with three small vessels with which he embarked upon his glorious adventure to discover a new world. Thus was climaxed a struggle of eighteen years of poverty, ridicule, and persecution.

What was the secret of the divine urge that possessed Columbus? Washington Irving wrote of him, "His piety was genuine . . . when he made any great discovery, he devoutly returned thanks to God." The Encyclopedia Americana says of him, "Throughout his life he was noted for a strict attention to the offices of religion; nor did his piety consist in mere forms, but partook of that lofty and solemn enthusiasm with which his whole life was tinctured."


At last having obtained favor at the court of Spain, in 1492, Columbus wrote his friend Padre Juan Perez Marchena:

Our Lord God has heard the prayers of his servants. The wise and virtuous Isabel, touched by the grace of heaven, has kindly listened to this poor man’s words. All has turned out well ... I have been called to the court to state the proper means for carrying out the designs of Providence. 6

Though divinely led, like many others Columbus did not fully understand the divine plan. He thought that his great adventure was to lead to India. After his voyage of discovery had ended successfully, he wrote a letter which was translated from the Spanish by Washington Irving:

It pleased the Lord Almighty, that in the year of our Lord one thousand four hundred and ninety-two, I should discover the continent of the Indians and many islands . 7

The great American poet George Santayana in his poem, "The Light of Faith," wrote:

Columbus found a world, and had no chart
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul’s invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.

What was that "invincible surmise" that led Columbus on through years of poverty and adversity and then out upon the "many waters" with their mystery and danger to his great discovery? It was the prophetic Spirit of God. Thus are we assured by the Book of Mormon which declares that "The Spirit of God came down and wrought upon that man," so that he "went forth upon the many waters" to the "promised land"; and that later this same Spirit led forth many others to flee from captivity to the New World. 8 This was fulfilled when the Puritans and many others came to America seeking religious and political liberty. As Longfellow wrote, "God sifted three kingdoms for that planting."

A prophet speaks to America today through this book, telling her of her greatness, her high destiny in the plans of Jehovah, and bringing to her also a message of warning.


It was in this land choice above all other lands that the church, lost during the days of apostasy, was to reappear. In this land where religious liberty is written into the constitution, where there was and is no "established church," in this new, free land, preserved of the Lord for such a great destiny in human affairs, in this land of his so blessed with the "good will of him who dwelt in the bush," in this land the church was to reappear from the wilderness. Here was the place and here was to come the time for the dawning of the great restoration.

Suggested Readings: Book of Mormon, authorized edition, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, pp. 6, 34, 717. Doctrine and Covenants 98:10. Jesus Christ Among the Ancient Americans, by Paul M. Hanson, Herald Publishing House.


1. Matthew 15:24.
2. John 10:16.
3. Genesis 48:18, 19.
4. Genesis 49:22-26.
5. Deuteronomy 33:l, 13-16.
6. Christopher Columbus, by J. M. Dickey, p. 42, Rand, McNally and Company, New York, 1892.
7. The Writings of Columbus, edited by Arthur Seedman, p. 84, published by Charles L. Webster and Company, New York, 1892.
8. Book of Mormon, P. 34, authorized edition.

Return To Contents

Chapter 18 -  The Church Reappears


BY THE YEAR 1830, to which the finger of prophecy had pointed, the fires of the Reformation had begun to burn down. The many Protestant denominations that had come out of it were settled into well-defined grooves. They financed their respective missions to foreign lands where the heathen marveled at the different stories told by Christian ministers. They held their periodic great revivals to convert local sinners and reclaim backsliding members. On such occasions sermons flamed with the threat of a literal hell fire.

There was considerable interdenominational rivalry over converts, and raiding of congregations. There were frequent clashes about theological questions, some of which mean less to people now than the latest movie, but these events furnished variety since there were no automobiles, radios, or movies.

The feeling was growing in some minds that after all there were "many roads to heaven," and it did not matter which road one took. In any event the tumult of the reformation had subsided. Protestant denominations had crystallized. The pattern seemed clear and destined to endure.

Catholicism pursued the even tenor of its way, rather contemptuous of Protestant claims, secure in its doctrine of the succession of authority back to Peter, the first Pope (?), and its doctrine of papal infallibility which assured them that the church could never have erred, all of which saved a vast amount of thinking for the individual.

Then suddenly in that prophetic year of 1830 there appeared a new religious movement, unique, challenging. At first and for a time it attracted little attention. But its challenge was such that it was destined to be heard throughout all Christendom.

This movement was not satisfied with Protestant "Reformation," or Catholic "succession," but claimed a divine restoration—a restoration of authority, restoration of revelation, restoration of the church with her primitive Christian doctrines, miraculous gifts, the old and organic form with apostles and prophets in the lead.

The crux of the whole challenge was the claim that God was still giving revelation. This was "absurd," as everyone knew, having been so told, for was not revelation a thing of the long-ago past? God had drawn back into infinity and spoke no more. All the miraculous gifts of the past, prophecy, divine healing—these ended with the apostles. Such was the popular belief.

Yet suddenly here was a people saying, "God does speak," while all the denominations were saying, "God did speak." To a generation accustomed to say, "God was," came the challenge, "God is."

Here were men like the apostles of old, who as Walter Rauschenbusch said, "Went to school with a God who was then at work in his world, and not with a God who had acted long ago and put it down in a book."

Here were men who held as did Principal Fairbairn of Oxford many years later: "The God who could not speak would not be rational, and the God who would not speak would not be moral."

Here were men who anticipated by many years the message of Sir Oliver Lodge: "This is the message science has to teach theology—To look for the action of Deity, if at all then always, not in the past alone, nor only in the future but equally in the present."


The rise of the church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeably to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April; which commandments were given Joseph Smith, jr., who was called of God and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church; and to Oliver Cowdery who was also called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this church, and ordained under his hand: and this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and for ever. Amen. 1

The set time for the church to reappear arrived. The chosen place was in the chosen land of promise, the land of religious liberty, America.

This movement was unlike any other of modern times. The church was organized "by the will and commandments of God" by men "called to be apostles." We must go back to the days of Christ and the apostles to find a parallel.


The story of the organization, as recorded by Joseph Smith, reads like a chapter from the New Testament:

Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer, we still continued to bear testimony, and give information, as far as we had opportunity; and also made known to our brethrens, that we had received commandment to organize the church, and accordingly we met together for that purpose, at the house of the above mentioned Mr. Whitmer (being six in number) on Tuesday the sixth day of April A. D. one thousand eight hundred and thirty.

Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our heavenly Father we proceeded, (according to previous commandment) to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a church according to said commandment which we had received. To these they consented by an unanimous vote. I then laid my hands upon Oliver Cowdery and ordained him an elder of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." After which he ordained me also to the office of an elder of said church.

We then took bread, blessed it, and brake it with them, also wine, blessed it, and drank it with them.

We then laid our hands on each individual member of the church present that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be confirmed members of the church of Christ. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree. Some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord and rejoiced exceedingly.

One of our favorite hymns, composed by David H. Smith, has this line, "The pebble has dropped in the water, and the waves circle round with the shock." The beginning of this work was almost as unnoticed as the dropping of a pebble in the water.

When six very young men met to organize the church, April 6, 1830, the event had no news value. No newspaper gave it so much as a line. Today, if time could be turned back and the scene be re-enacted, the great dailies would have their star reporters there, and the movie magnates would have their cameras there with sound recording machines.

The six charter members were: Joseph Smith, 24 years old; Oliver Cowdery, 23; Hyrum Smith, 29; Peter Whitmer, jr., 20; Samuel H. Smith, 22, and David Whitmer, 25.

Concerning the character and background of these men, the Journal of American History, had this:

The Smiths and Cowderys were of old New England colonial families. The Smiths were descended from Robert Smith, who came from England and settled at Topsfield, Massachusetts, in 1658. These three brothers were of the sixth generation, inclusive from Robert, and Cowdery was the seventh generation from William Cowdery, of the family of Lord Cowdery of England, who settled near Lynn, Massachusetts, about the same time that Robert Smith came to America.

The Whitmers were from a German family, who settled in an early day near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and subsequently the father of these two brothers, Peter Whitmer, Senior, removed to New York. All these families were of high respectability as far back as records trace them, and their records indicate their prominence in civil and military service. 3

These six young men were without experience as church builders. There was not in existence a church after which to pattern to develop the church they were to build: with apostles, prophets, bishops, evangelists, elders, deacons, and all the other church officers mentioned in the New Testament. They could only proceed as commanded and in line with the Scriptures as they had them in the Bible and Book of Mormon.

Moreover, this was to be a rather complex organization with many men involved. They were but six. There was no human assurance that they would ever win other converts. But they moved by faith, and "the waves circled out." Other men were found to complete the organization and to continue its work.

Suggested Reading: The Story of the Church, by Inez Smith Davis, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri. (Price $2.50). Exploring the Church, by Elbert A. Smith, Herald Publishing House (Price fifty cents)


1. Doctrine and Covenants, 17:1.
2. Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, pp. 944, 945; Church History, Vol. 1, pp. 76, 77.
3. Journal of American History, Vol. 10, No. 3.

Return To Contents

Chapter 19 -  Revelation Restored


LET US GO BACK now just a few years to the dawning of the Restoration. The set time for the church to reappear from the wilderness of apostasy was drawing near. The place for the restoration of the church was logically to be in the land of promise, the land of religious and political liberty, America.


Perhaps, dear reader, you have heard from our enemies many derogatory and misleading statements concerning our faith. However, is it not fair and just that every people should be allowed to speak for itself and interpret its own convictions? Is it right to leave that task solely to enemies?

Moreover it is quite worth your time to hear both sides concerning the history of events so outstanding in modern history as those we are about to consider. A man with the courage and conviction to stand up before the people of the modern world that had ceased to think it possible for prophets to appear and declare an astounding message to his age, a man who would suffer stripes, chains, prisons, ostracism, ridicule, slander, and death rather than retract—such a man deserves to be heard—certainly so long as his enemies still think him of importance to challenge their unceasing attack.

The testimony sealed with suffering and blood must always command respect.


The initial revelation that led up to the establishment of the church occurred in 1823. The young man who received the revelation had best tell his own story, as will be done in this and succeeding chapters. A prophet should be judged by his message rather than by that which either friends or enemies may say about his character.

Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration Movement, first appears upon the scene in New York State upon the occasion of his conversion. He was not yet turned fifteen years of age (when only twelve the lad Samuel heard the Lord speak—and righteous Eli instructed him to answer, "Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth"). Joseph was at an age when religion appeals powerfully, or not at all. To him the appeal came with power. Aroused by one of those great revivals common in that day, he sought salvation but was confused by the contentions of the various churches which had joined in the revival.

Let him tell his own story:

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the epistle of James first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.

It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God I did, for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passage so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

So in accordance with this my determination, to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.

I had scarcely done so when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, (not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in my being,) just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun; which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, (pointing to the other,) "This is my beloved Son, hear him." 1

Joseph relates that as soon as he had possession of himself he asked the personages that stood above him which of the contending churches he should join. He was told to join none of them; that they were wrong, and their creeds an abomination in the sight of the Lord.


Revelation was restored in an age that had considered such experiences forever at an end. Religion was brought forward to the present tense. Like the Jews who loved to talk about the God of the past who had led them out of Egypt but who were blind to the things God was doing through Christ in their very midst, the modern world had come to think of God in the past tense. God did have apostles and prophets! God did give revelation! God did heal the sick long ago!

Jesus said that God is "a God, of the living and not of the dead." Here came the prophet sent to America, " saying," God does give revelation! God does have apostles and prophets. God does heal the sick! The present tense was restored to religion.

Keynote of the Vision: "This is my beloved Son, hear him." One has written, "Jesus had been suffered to become a figure of antiquity." He was brought back to the vision of men as still at work in the world.

Hushed be the noise and strife of the schools,
Volume and pamphlet, sermon and speech,
The lips of the wise and the prattle of fools;
Let the Son of Man speak!

A question answered: The question that the young man propounded was answered. He was to join none of the churches of that day. He was to wait for that which Alexander Campbell desired, "The old gospel back again, sustained by the ancient order of things."

The creeds wrong: The claim to restored revelation threw a bone of contention to the religious world. It could not well be avoided. The assertion that the creeds were wrong was equally offensive. People swore by their creeds in those days. Men had been burned at the stake for speaking ill of the creeds., Yet it is a fact, seen in the clear light of today, that at many points the creeds were wrong. The world was to perceive that fact presently—a prophet could see it then.

Within a few decades following this revelation, there began what Dr. Talmage termed "the era of creed tinkering." The creeds were revised and rewritten. They had been wrong. The young prophet had been right. Time vindicates the prophet.

Following the era of "creed tinkering" came the era of creed discarding. The celebrated John Fiske, of Harvard, addressing the Concord School of Philosophy, about 1885, said, "We find ourselves in the midst of a mighty revolution in human thought. Time-honored creeds are losing their hold upon men ... No religious creed that man has ever devised can be made to harmonize in all its features with modem knowledge."2 Fiske was right; but the youthful prophet was more than a half century in advance of him.


What justification was there for the statement that the creeds were an abomination in the sight of God?

First, they represented an attempt to put religion into molds to become crystallized. Thus rigid and frigid they stood in the way of the forward march of truth. They stood between men and the Bible and between men and God, and said: This is the doctrine you will find in the Bible, look no further; and, This is the manner of God you seek and you must open your minds to no other conception of him.

Secondly, diverse though creeds were among the different churches, they had come to be so venerated that the ministry swore allegiance to them, and churches fought about them until they had come to be regarded as of more consequence than brotherly love and charity.

Furthermore, it is not difficult to find in those outmoded creeds dogmatic statements which so misrepresented the justice of God that they are now "abominable" to our sense of justice and repugnant to our feelings of reverence for Him as one who is just and kind and wise.


1. Church History, Vol. 1, pp. 8-11.
2. The Idea of God, pp. 58, 59.

Return To Contents

Chapter 20 -  The Priesthood Restored


THE NEXT STEP in the Restoration Movement was the restoration of the priesthood that was lost during the dark ages of apostasy.

This was to be a church having a ministry with authority. Since the priesthood lapsed during the apostasy it could not be renewed just by reading that other men were ordained centuries ago.

Nor can we be content to trace our authority back to the Catholic Hierarchy, as did Luther and others. Review for a moment two statements previously quoted:

Luther received ordination from the hands of the Romish hierarchy, ... and his ordination, therefore, and that of all his Protestant successors, is as valid as that of the Romish priesthood at the beginning of the sixteenth century. 1

John Wesley also traced his authority along that line. He said,

When asked by what authority I did these things, I replied, "By the authority of Jesus Christ, conveyed to me by the Archbishop of Canterbury, when he laid his hands upon me and said, ‘Take thou the authority to preach the gospel.’" 2

The Archbishop of Canterbury received his authority from the Catholic church, if the matter be traced back.

We do not quarrel with the sincere convictions of others. We do of necessity speak our own convictions. This was to be in every particular a restoration movement, including a restoration of the priesthood.

There is nothing else in modern history to compare with the experiences of those taking part in this movement. Their experiences were in substance and spirit identical with those of the prophets of old.

Those present and sharing in these events can best bear witness for themselves. Concerning the restoration of the priesthood Joseph Smith speaks first:

We still continued the work of translation, when in the ensuing month, (May, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine,) we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying, and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion, for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands, for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter, and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that he should baptize me.

Accordingly we went and were baptized, I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded . . .

Immediately upon our coming up out of the water, after we had been baptized we experienced great and glorious blessings from our heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery than the Holy Ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass: And again so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up I prophesied concerning the rise of the church, and many other things connected with the church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation. 3

Oliver Cowdery thus describes their experiences on that occasion:

This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord, who is rich in mercy, and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us his will.

On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentance!

What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertanty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld—our ears heard.

As in the "blaze of day"; yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, "I am thy fellow servant," dispelled every fear. 4

Subsequently the higher Melchisedec Priesthood was restored and the church was organized, as we have seen in a preceding chapter.

Suggested Reading: "Priesthood," a chapter in Fundamentals, by F. Henry Edwards, Herald Publishing House. The chapter includes a study of the "idea of priesthood," and priesthood "before Christ and in the early Christian Church."


1. Rupp, in History of Religious Denominations in the United States.
2. Richard Watson's History.
3. Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, pp. 865, 866.
4. Church History, Vol. 1, pp- 37, 38.

Return To Contents

Chapter 21 -  How Shall We Know The Church Of Christ Today?


EVERY LIVING CREATURE has its own distinctive organic form. God works that way. Every structure that man builds of necessity has some form. Man works that way.

Some people say that Christ never planned an organization. But he said, "I will build my church." 1

He was a wise builder—the "Master builder." Surely no Christian would argue that he built without a plan. Many people admit that church organization is necessary, but they feel that the kind of organization is not very important: surely God and Christ having given consideration to the matter, it is of importance, and man has no authority to deviate from their plan. Men may organize a church differently, but what right have they to call it the church of Christ?


That both God and Christ gave consideration to the planned structure of the church is shown by the Scriptures:

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 2

God set in the church officers, including apostles, prophets, and teachers. The text is not exhaustive, but it does show that God set in the church these three offices.

The following is more inclusive and commits Christ also to this type of organization as pertaining to the chief officers:

And he [Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. 3


The language just quoted is explicit. God set these officers in the church. Christ gave them to the church. What was their work to be? Is such work still needed? Let us read:

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 4

How long were they to continue:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. 5

Have we all come to unity yet, even within the various churches? The answer is obvious. The work of apostles and prophets is not yet done, and they were to be a part of the church until it is done.

The argument is made that we still have the apostles and prophets of old in the Bible. True, but we demand living pastors and evangelists today, not those alone who lived long ago. Why accept a part of the divine plan and ask for living pastors and evangelists and be content with, dead apostles and prophets?

We are told that the apostolic office was limited to the twelve ordained at the first by Christ: "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." 6

To the contrary, the apostolic office was to be continuous. When vacancies occurred in that body they were filled. by divine direction:

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostIes. 7

Thus the vacancy caused by the defection of Judas was filled. Later similar selections were made; as in the case of the Apostle Paul.

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 8

In the next chapter these two are referred to as apostles (14:14). Several others not of the original twelve are named in the New Testament. So look for apostles in the church of Christ today as a mark of identification. The twelve apostles were constituted a ministering body high in the church organization and were intended to continue.

This study is not exhaustive. Elsewhere in the New Testament we find mention of other officers in the church of Christ: as bishop, elder, priest, teacher, deacon. Most striking, of course, are the chief offices first named.


Many believe that the office of prophet ceased, and revelation was ended in the days of the early apostles. We are cited to the closing words of the Book of Revelation as proof:

If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 9

Since these words come at the dose of the Bible it is argued that revelation was ended at that point forever—and if so, then there surely were to be no more prophets. However, similar language is found in the Book of Deuteronomy, the fourth chapter (verse 2). If taken as thoughtlessly as some have taken the words quoted from the Book of Revelation, then we would seem to be forbidden to accept any revelation coming after the Book of Deuteronomy.

Two things are to be remembered: First, the Bible as a book was not in existence when John wrote those words. John could not have referred to the Bible. He referred to the book that he was just then completing, the Book of Revelation. A long time later men who compiled the Bible chose to put his book last.

The second thing to remember is that the language quoted forbids man to add to the Book of Revelation. Man has no right to add to the word of God any time, anywhere; but God may add to it through his prophets any time, anywhere, as shall please him.

Revelation was to continue. There were to be more prophets, even until the last days:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 10

In fact, John the Revelator, himself, in vision saw two prophets who were to prophesy in the streets of Jerusalem many days, who should be killed and lie in the streets, and later be restored to life.12 This event yet remains to take place.


We have already noted the Scriptural statement that God set in the church prophets. In Genesis we are told that God set the sun in the heavens to give light by day. Man has not found any adequate substitute for sunlight. When kerosene was first placed on the market, an enterprising salesman advertised it as "cheaper and better than sunlight." Men may shut themselves away from the direct rays of the sun and work by artificial light; but we know that without sunlight the whole world would soon die.

As God set the sun in the heavens to give light to the world, in a physical sense, so he set prophets in the church to give light to the church. Who shall suggest an arrangement "cheaper and better" than God's plan?

Moses one time said, "I would that all Israel were prophets." How is it today that Christians. say, "We want no prophets in all of modern Israel"?


We may conclude, then, that when the church reappeared from the wilderness, and was restored after the long apostasy, it would be organically the same church that God and Christ planned—the old Jerusalem church.

When you find it today, it will have apostles and prophets, as well as evangelists, bishops, elders, pastors, priests, teachers, deacons-—all the officers set in the church of old for the work of the ministry."


1. Matthew 16:18.
2. I Corinthians 12:27, 28.
3. Ephesians 4:11-13.
4. Ibid., 4:12.
5. Ibid., 4:13.
6. Mark 3:14.
7. Acts 1:23-26.
8. Acts 13:2.
9. Revelation 22:18, 19.
10. Acts 2:17, 18.
11. Revelation 11:1-12.

Return To Contents

Chapter 22 -  How Shall We Know The Church Of Christ Today? (Continued)


HERE HAS BEEN A DISPOSITION to decry doctrinal preching [preaching], to hold doctrine as if little consequence in the religious life. But we are admonished in the Bible:

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1

Christ himself attached great importance to sound doctrine and gives us the divine source of his doctrinal teaching:

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 2

Failure to abide in that doctrine brings rejection:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. 3


What is this doctrine of Christ which he received from God and to which so much importance is attached?

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 4

Here we have six "principles" of the doctrine of Christ. A principle is something that cannot be taken from the whole of which it is a part without irreparable loss. For instance, no one of the principles of mathematics can be taken away and leave a working system of mathematics.

The six principles named cluster around the central work of redemption, beginning with faith in God and continuing to the eternal judgment. It is strange that the creed makers toiled so laboriously to formulate erudite creeds and overlooked this simple statement of doctrine by the very apostle whom Christ had selected to be "a light to the Gentiles." Let us give a rather brief study to these principles.


It is not extraordinary that religion should demand faith. Faith enters into most of the affairs of life. Business, government, marriage—all rest to a great degree on confidence. By faith men sow and reap, plan and build, explore and discover, mix chemical compounds, weigh the stars.

Even the chief postulates of science rest on faith: faith in the universality and continuity of law. Science rears her edifice on faith in unchangeable and universal law, religion builds her temple on faith in the eternal, unchangeable Lawgiver.


Jesus began his preaching of the gospel with a call to faith and repentance: "Repent ye, and believe the gospel."

Repentance means more than a brief period of tears and regret. It is constructive and involves a process of building and growth. Isaiah indicated that it is a process of ceasing to do evil and learning to do well.[5] learning to do well may be a life task.


The writer of the Hebrew letter put the third principle in the plural: "baptisms"—the baptism of water and of the spirit that Jesus had in mind when he said: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 6

Man habitually expresses himself in symbols: as the flag, the wedding ring. Baptism is a ceremonial symbol—even more than that, but a symbol. It is a symbol of washing: "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." 7 It is also a symbol of Christ’s burial and Resurrection:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 8

These meanings are best expressed by immersion. Without doubt Christ was so baptized, and he said, "Come and follow me." Immersion was the mode used for many centuries after Christ. It is the mode explicitly enjoined in the Book of Mormon.9


As just stated, the mode of baptism that carries out the meaning of baptism is immersion, and that alone. Sprinkling and pouring carry no resemblance to burial and resurrection; they are no symbol of washing. We do not sprinkle a little dust over a body to bury it.

The Question Box, by Father Conway, published by the Paulist Press, with preface by Cardinal Gibbons, admits frankly that Christ was baptized immersion. We may paraphrase the old Methodist hymn "It was good enough for Jesus and it’s good enough for me.." The admission continues frankly that immersion was the custom until the end of the thirteenth century, at which time the Catholic church recognized both pouring and sprinkling as equally valid. 10 "They have ... changed the ordinance." 11


It is written, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." 12

Let us hear unimpeachable witnesses concerning the validity and the meaning of the ordinance of baptism.

A man sent from God: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." 13 He should be a good witness. And he says: "He sent me to baptize with water." 14

Jesus asked the Jews, "The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?" 15 They feared to answer because they had rejected John’s baptism. How do you answer?

Peter: Jesus told the disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until endowed with power from on high. That power came on the day of Pentecost. Peter became the spokesman for all of the apostles and said to the repentant multitude:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised [baptized] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 16

Paul: This man had been named by the Master to be a "chosen vessel" to bear his name and message. And Paul, as we have seen, placed baptism among the principles of the gospel of Christ.

Ananias: This was not the notorious Ananias who told the lie, this was a "devout man according to the law." At the time when Paul was stricken down on the road to, Damascus, Christ appeared to him in a vision and told him, "Arise, and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do" 17. .not what he might do—what he must do to be saved.

Ananias came to Paul under that commitment and said:

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." 18

Our Savior: The first glimpse we have of Christ as a man is on the banks of the river Jordan, when he goes down into the water and is baptized of John. 19 And one of the last glimpses we have of him on earth is when he speaks to his disciples: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." 20 That is a promise. Someone else may make you a promise on other terms. In whom will you put your trust?

Our Heavenly Father: There are many other witnesses, but last and greatest we listen to our Heavenly Father.

When Christ came up out of the waters of baptism, having been immersed by John, the Father said: "I am well pleased." 21 Do you wish to please God? It is written, "We ought to obey God rather than men."


We do not know all of the reasons why the Lord gave such prominence to this ceremony in his rather simple ritual, but we can readily understand some of them.

Like baptism, the laying on of hands is symbolical. Through the hand, men apply their power and work out their designs, by it they wield the sword, guide the pen, steady the plow. Through it, the spirit of man expresses itself. The hand is even used as a symbol of God’s power:

God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. 22

So for good reasons the Lord chose to make the laying on of hands the symbol of power and authority in spiritual matters in his church. In many churches, hands are imposed when ordaining ministers. Other purposes for which the ordinance was instituted are generally ignored, as in the healing of the sick, confirmation and bestowal of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of little children. Christ did not baptize children, he took them up in his arms and put his hands upon them and blessed them. Under the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was bestowed. Under their hands and the hands of their successors in office the sick were healed:

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. 23

Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost . 24

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 25

Jesus . . . said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven . . . And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. 26

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 27

Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 28


Up to this point, the doctrines examined have had to do with things that are experienced in this life. The doctrine of the resurrection takes us into the future—it is wrapped up with a fundamental belief in immortality.

Christ definitely taught the resurrection of the dead (John 11:25; 5: 25-29). There are to be two resurrections, that of the just and that of the unjust (Revelation 20:4-6).

It is idle to speculate in too great detail about the future existence. There is comfort and satisfaction in this:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 29


In a way, we are judged each day. We suffer for sins, or we have rewards in right living. And yet the innocent suffer for the sins of the guilty, and the world is full of injustices. There is a time of final judgment appointed when justice shall be done in the light of eternity. God is to be the judge: "Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne."

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 30


When you find the church of Christ today, restored with the old-time gospel, "sustained by the ancient order of things," you will find the sort of organization we have described, and with the form of doctrine just set forth.

In fact Paul said:
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 31


1. I Timothy 4:16.
2. John 7:16, 17.
3. II John 9, 10.
4. Hebrews 6:1, 2.
5. Isaiah 1:16, 17.
6. John 3:5.
7. Acts 22:16.
S. Romans 6:4.
9. Nephi 5:22-26 (page 633).
10. See pages 256, 257 of 1919 edition Question Box.
11. Isaiah 24:5.
12. Matthew 18:16.
13. John 1:6.
14. John 1:33.
15. Luke 20:4.
16. Acts 2:38, 39.
17. Acts 9:6.
18. Acts 22:16.
19. Matthew 3:13-17.
20. Mark 16:16.
21. Mark 1:11.
22. Habakkuk 3:3, 4.
23. Acts 19:6, 7.
24. Acts 8:17, 18.
25. Acts 13:2, 3.
26. Mark l0:14, 16.
27. Mark 16:18.
28. Luke 4:40.
29. 1 John 3:2, 3.
30. Revelation 20:11, 12.
31. Galations 1:9-12.

Return To Contents

Chapter 23 -  How Shall We Know The Church Of Christ Today? (Continued)


THE CHURCH THAT CHRIST ESTABLISHED was rich in spiritual gifts. There were inspired dreams, visions, prophecies, remarkable cases of healing. God was with his church. The church was alive spiritually.

Is it not reasonable to suppose that when you find the church of Christ today, it will have at least a considerable degree of spiritual power and life of that sort? If you find a church that repudiates these gifts and tells you that they are no longer to be had, what is wrong? Has God changed? Are these gifts no longer needed? In a moment we will permit John Wesley to answer these questions.

It was a fundamental belief of the church in the days of Christ and the apostles that God does not change. He is "the same yesterday, today, and forever."


What were the spiritual gifts so generously enjoyed of old? Before they are named, remember that on the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared:

Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 1

The Spirit with all its rich gifts and blessings is still promised to those who repent and are baptized in answer to the call of God. Now, what are some of the gifts of the Spirit?


With his genius for orderly classification, Paul enumerates spiritual gifts, nine in number, beginning with wisdom:

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 2

It is our belief that these spiritual gifts were an evidence of spiritual life in the church and were not intended to cease with the early apostles. Concerning the fact that they did cease, and the spiritual poverty that ensued, and the reasons for their cessation, some others may speak without the suspicion of prejudice that might attach to us.


Calvin, commenting on the Corinthian letter from which we have quoted, chronicled the richness of the gifts enjoyed by the early Christian church and then noted with lamentation the poverty of Christianity in his age. He said:

We may conjecture how very illustrious that church was {the early Christian} in respect of an extraordinary variety and abundance of spiritual gifts. There were schools or colleges of prophets, so that pains had to be taken that they might have their respective turns. . . . We now see our leanness, nay, our poverty, but in this we have a just punishment sent to requite our ingratitude. For neither are the riches of God exhausted, nor his benignity lessened; but we are neither deserving of his bounty nor capable to receive his liberality. 3


John Wesley also has an interesting comment on this question:

It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common for the church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian. . . . From this time they almost entirely ceased. . . . The cause of this was not as has been commonly supposed, because there was no occasion for them, by reason of the world becoming Christian. This was a miserable mistake, as not a twentieth part was at that time even nominally Christian. The real cause was that "the love of many had waxed cold," and the Christians had no more of the Spirit than the heathen ... This was the real cause why the gifts of the Spirit were no longer retained in the church, because the Christians had turned heathen again, and had only a dead form left. 4


A recovery out of this spiritual poverty mentioned by Calvin and Wesley came with the Restoration movement. As we have seen in our too brief glances at the history of that movement, there was a bounteous outpouring of the so-called miraculous gifts that had been enjoyed by the early Christian church. The religious world of the nineteenth century claimed that such things were no more to be enjoyed, and they branded as actually blasphemous any claim to the blessings of old.

Nevertheless, these blessings were enjoyed and are enjoyed by those who believe. Christ himself said, "These signs shall follow the believer." And they did and do follow.

Of course the gift first named by Paul, that of wisdom, is the master gift to govern and control all the others: But all the others may be and are enjoyed in the true church: the gifts of healing, prophecy, miracles, the gifts of tongues and the interpretation of tongues.

Concluding this part of our discussion on "How Know the Church of Christ Today," be not content until you find the church as it was of old, with the same organization, teaching the same doctrines, enjoying the some [same] spiritual gifts.

Suggested reading: "The Gifts of the Spirit"—a very thoughtful study of the spiritual gifts, including divine healing, miracles, prophecy, and "the primary gifts," including wisdom—a chapter in Fundamentals, by Apostle F. Henry Edwards, Herald Publishing House.


1. Acts 2:38, 39.
2. I Corinthians 12:7-11.
3. Calvin on Corinthians, Vol. 1, P. 765.
4. John Wesley, sermon 94.

Return To Contents

Chapter 24 - The Book Of Mormon


WHAT IS THE CHIEF CONCERN of the Book of Mormon? Martin Luther spent much time translating the Bible into German. He developed some doubts about the canonicity of certain books of the Scriptures. He evolved one chief test of the divinity of books claiming to be from God: "Luther’s direct test of canonicity, then, is: does the book in question occupy itself with Christ or does it not?" 1

From cover to cover the Book of Mormon concerns itself with Christ. The opening statement in the Preface announces the purpose of the book to be "the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." And the book closes with this invitation:

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness.

The Book of Mormon is an added witness for Christ, confirming the witness of the Bible.

Bishop James F. Keir has thus epitomized the purposes of the Book of Mormon:

1. As an additional witness that Jesus is the Christ.
2. To grow together with the Bible in the confounding of false doctrine.
3. To bring to light and make clear the true points of the doctrine of Christ.


The Book of Mormon is in full accord with the Bible in matters of doctrine. It teaches faith in God as our father and creator; belief in Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world; and belief in the Holy Ghost as comforter and guide.

It sets forth the doctrines of Christ in harmony with the Bible. However, the Book of Mormon clears up definitely some matters of doctrine concerning which Christians have been divided: for example, it most clearly teaches that baptism is by immersion in water.


Considering the vile pictures that his enemies have painted of Joseph Smith, and their frequent attacks upon the Book of Mormon, you might expect it to be of a low and degraded character. To say that such is not the case is an outstanding instance of understatement.

D. H. Bays, a one-time ardent opponent of "Mormonism" wrote:

As to the ethical status of the book, I think no unfavorable comment can reasonably be made. Its moral precepts are unquestionably good. They are all that its friends claim for it, and, indeed, superior in some respects to the Bible. 2

Remember, the statement that they are "superior in some respects to the Bible" is made by Bays, not by us. He may have had in mind the clear-cut pronouncement of the Book of Mormon on marriage:

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. . . . Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and heaken [hearken] to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. 3

The commandment just quoted would prohibit polygamy as onetime taught and practiced by Utah Mormons, and also the adulterous philanderings of thousands of men outside the pales of Utah Mormonism.

Space will not permit the reproduction of hundreds of passages from the book, splendid in their religious, moral, and social implications. Only two more are used here as illustrating teaching regarding the use of wealth as a stewardship:

But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ, ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them, for the intent to do good; to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick, and the afflicted.

And they did impart of their substance every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted.

And thus in their prosperous circumstances they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished: And they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need. 4

You need not fear to read the Book of Mormon or to have your children read it.


In brief, the Book of Mormon story is the history of civilizations in the Americas long prior to the discovery by Columbus. Were there such civilizations?

Probably the universal thought of the people of North America at the time when the Book of Mormon was published was that America had always been as Columbus found it: a vast wilderness of forests and plains inhabited by scattered and roving tribes of Indians.

How came the young prophet, Joseph Smith, supposedly unlettered, by a vision of the past history of the Americas, North and South, that archaeological discoveries have since verified? The Book of Mormon tells of great and long-continued civilizations, with great nations, populous cities, fine highways, rich agricultural districts, temples, and a culture in some respects rivalling [rivaling] our own. Today we know about the ruined cities, the ancient temples, the old seats of learning of those ancient peoples.


The first colony to come to the Americas emigrated during the times mentioned by the Bible following the Tower of Babel period. They are called the Jaredites, from one of their leaders. The Bible declares:

So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. 5

"The face of all the earth" would include the Americas.

The second important civilization, succeeding the one just mentioned, was at a much latter date. A colony headed by Lehi and his sons—Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam, and their respective families left the city of Jerusalem, as they had been divinely instructed to do, preceding the destruction of that city, and were led to America. Like the first colony, this colony in America grew to be a great people and their history is recorded in the book up to about A. D. 420.

Their prophets and priests preserved the history of their journeys and their developments as a people and also the records of the Jaredites who had preceded them. The second colony became divided into two hostile and warring nations with entirely different ideals and religious convictions: the Nephites, righteous for a long time, and the wild and violent Lamanites. The Indians are descendants of the Lamanites; the Nephite civilization came to an end in moral decadence and bloody wars.

The Book of Mormon, as before stated, is the history of the civilizations mentioned. An abridgement [abridgment] of the history of the Nephites was made by a man named Mormon, from whom the book derived its name.

The records of the one-time righteous Nephites tell the story of the visit of Christ to them following his resurrection. This was in fulfillment of his statement to the Jews in the Holy Land: "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." 6

Evidences of this visit are seen in the symbol of the cross found in ancient ruined cities in Central and South America, and in traditions preserved by the Indians.


The discovery of the Book of Mormon plates grew out of a spiritual experience which Joseph Smith describes in these words:

When on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September (1823), after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one.

While I was thus in the act of calling upon God I discovered a light appearing in the room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.

He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant; his hands were naked, and his arms also a little above the wrist. So also were his feet naked, as were his legs a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open so that I could see into his bosom.

Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person.

When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi, [Moroni]. That God had a work for me to do, and that my name should be had for good and evil, among all nations, kindreds, and tongues; or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. 7

In this vision, the prophet was shown the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, where the plates were buried. The following day he visited the spot and the plates were shown to him; however, he did not obtain them until four years later.

He was given the gift to translate the records and the Book of Mormon was published to the world early in 1830. 8


Joseph Smith was but one of several witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon story. There were three especial witnesses, men of lifelong probity and good repute—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—who testified that they personally saw the angel, that he showed to them the plates, and that they saw the engravings thereon.

Eight other witnesses of good repute testified that they both saw and handled the plates. Contrary to some false rumors, not one of these twelve ever denied his testimony in later years. Their testimony is to be seen on fly leaves of each printed copy of the book.

The following is from the testimony of three especial witnesses:

And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

David Whitmer was perhaps the best known of the witnesses. He lived for many years at Richmond, Missouri. In 1881, twenty-two prominent citizens of Richmond, headed by General Doniphan, appeared in the Richmond Conservator vouching for David Whitmer as a man "of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity."

In the same paper, Whitmer made this statement: "I wish, now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement: That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the three witnesses . . . I do again affirm the truth of all my statements, as then made and published."

Whitmer also testified: "Neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were, ‘Brother David, be true to your testimony to the Book of Moron.’" 9

David Whitmer died at Richmond, January 25, 1888. On his marble tombstone is chiseled a figure of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, with the inscription: "The record of the Jews and the record of the Nephites are one. Truth is eternal."


Under the title, Digging up the Past, Wooley wrote of his excavations and explorations in old Bible lands. Such discoveries were hailed as confirmation of the Bible. In a similar way, explorations in ancient ruins in the Americas, particularly in Mexico, Central and South America, have confirmed the Book of Mormon narrative.

Suggested Readings: Naturally the best study of the Book of Mormon begins with the book itself. Then, as with the Bible, it is exceedingly interesting and enlightening to study the evidences that have been discovered by explorers in "digging up the past." There is a vast literature to explore in that field—a challenging field.

Files of the National Geographic Magazine contain a great number of articles by reputable explorers and archaeologists who have dug into the ruins of the ancient cities of the Americas. Some of these articles are splendidly illustrated, and are very excellent witnesses to the Book of Mormon. just one citation out of many that might be given: the Geographic for May, 1916, contains an article by Professor O. F. Cook, of the National Geographic Society—Yale University Expedition to Peru, 1915. The expedition discovered evidences of two successive civilizations in the Western world; civilizations of a high order, with skilled artisans, builders, agriculturists, and with a well-developed social order adapted to solve many of the social and economic conflicts that plague us today.

Jesus Christ among the Ancient Americans, by Paul M. Hanson, Herald Publishing House, represents years of research and contains accumulated evidences from ancient literature, traditions and archaeology that confirm the Book of Mormon testimony that Christ did visit the Western world.

From the very large bibliography bearing on those ancient peoples, Paul M. Hanson recommends the two following:

Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central America, by Herbert J. Spinden, American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1928.

Ancient Civilizations of the Andes, by Philip Ainsworth Means, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York and London, 1931.

As a matter of fact, literally volumes might be filled with reports of the findings of modern students and explorers which support the Book of Mormon. Those old ruins of cities, temples, fortresses, farms, aqueducts, and highways are mute witnesses for that book; scientists have made and are making their testimony vocal.


1. The Bible, Its Origin and Nature.
2. The Truth Defended, p. 8.
3. Jacob 2:33-36, pp. 171, 172.
4. Jacob 2:23, 24; Alma 1:40, 46, 46, pp. 171, 302.
5. Genesis 11:8, 9.
6. John l0:16.
7. Church History, Vol. 1. p. 12.
8. Ibid., p. 81.
9. David Whitmer’s Address, p. 8.

Return To Contents

Chapter 25 -  The Vision Of The Prophet Ezekiel


THE PROPHET EZEKIEL had a remarkable vision which is recorded in the thirty-seventh chapter of his book. First he beheld a great valley filled with dry bones. They were "very dry"—a long time dead. The Lord asked him if they would live again. He replied, "Thou knowest."

The Lord assured him that those bones should live again and commanded him to prophesy over them. Ezekiel did so and flesh came upon the bones and breath into the bodies and they lived and stood up—"an exceeding great army."


All this did not refer to a literal resurrection. It referred to the "whole house of Israel," scattered, hopeless, lost, as the Lord explained:

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.1


Israel was to be gathered back again, restored again, made alive again. Before this should take place something else was to occur. The Lord continued to speak to the prophet:

Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 2

Judah and the children of Joseph had long been separated. They were again to come together. Their records had been kept apart; they were to become one.

The language used is symbolical. These sticks of Judah and of Joseph were something to be written upon. In the days of the prophets they wrote upon strips of parchment which were rolled upon sticks:

Roll. A book in ancient times consisted of a single long strip of paper or parchment, which was usually kept rolled upon a stick, and was unrolled when a person wished to read it. 3

The king being impatient to know the contents, the scribe begins to read imediately [immediately]: and as the books of the time were written upon long scrolls, and rolled upon a stick, the latter part of the book would come first. 4

The stick of Judah would represent the records kept by the Jews, that is, the Bible. It contained their history, laws, revelations.

Those descended from Joseph, and the other tribes of Israel, had been scattered, and to the world, "lost," but not lost to God. They had kept their records, also. This was in harmony with the prophecies which contained such great promises to Joseph regarding his people and his land.

The prophet saw the two records, that of Judah and that of Joseph, joined together in one at an appointed time. And that time was to be before the gathering of the Israelites back to the promised land.

The Bible is the record of Judah. The Book of Mormon is the record of Joseph’s children and their civilization in America, Joseph’s land. The two were joined together in the early part of the nineteenth century (the Book of Mormon was published in 1830). These two records became one "in the hands of Ephraim." The man who translated the Book of Mormon was a descendant of Joseph through Ephraim, and it is believed that a majority of the believers in the book especially in America and Britain and parts of Europe, are descended from Ephraim.

The Book of Mormon itself confirms the prophecy made by Ezekiel in that it, too, declares that the things written by the descendants of Judah and the things written by the descendants of Joseph shall grow together. 5 The Book of Mormon is referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants as the "stick of Ephraim." 6


The return of the Jews to Jerusalem in modern times began after these two records were joined in one, as Ezekiel said it would:

And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith. the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. 7

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 8

The return of the Jews, though often interrupted and delayed, will go forward, and the part played and to be played by descendants of the other tribes, especially Ephraim and Manasseh, will be much better understood as time goes by.

Suggested Reading: "The Prophet of the Captivity (Ezekiel)," a chapter in The Enduring Word, by Christiana Salyards, Herald Publishing House.


1. Ezekiel 37:11-14.
2. Ezekiel 37:16-19.
3. Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Peloubet edition, P. 566.
4. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, page 113; from History of the Holy Bible, by Kitto, D. D., F. S. A., p. 403.
5. 11 Nephi 2:19, 20, p. 88.
6. Doctrine and Covenants, 26:2.
7. Ezekiel 37:18-22.
8. Ezekiel 37:26, 27.

Return To Contents

Chapter 26 -  America:  "The Land Shadowing With Wings"

WHERE WOULD THE "STICK OF JOSEPH" be found? In America, the land inherited by the posterity of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Yes, in America! Of that land, the Prophet Isaiah spoke:

Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled; All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.1

The land "shadowing with wings"! This proclamation was made by a prophet standing in or near Jerusalem. From that standpoint, and looking "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia," the only land that prophetic vision could light upon was the Americas—North and South America, spread out like two great wings—"the land shadowing with wings."

Bishop A. B. Phillips has this comment on the text just quoted:

Ethiopia is from Kuwsh, and is often translated "Cush." In the time of Isaiah, Ethiopia—or Cush—was a country of unknown extent, hence probable included Africa. The term "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" seems to indicate a country beyond the Atlantic borders of Africa, as her river—Congo, Niger, and Senegal—empty westward into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dr. Wilson used the term "of outstretched wings" in Isaiah 18:1, and concludes that the land referred to is unquestionably America. Several Jewish writers have concluded thus also, and in his book The Second Coming of Christ, Dr. Shimeall says of this verse: "Which can refer to none other so emphatically as to the United States of America." Instead of "a nation meted out and trodden down," in verse 2, the Revised Version has it: "a nation that meteth out and treadeth down"; and the Jewish Version has it: "A nation that is sturdy and treadeth down." 2

The opening words of this prophecy in the King James Version of the Bible are: "Woe to the land shadowing with wings." In the Revised Version, the opening word is rendered "Ah" instead of "Woe."

The Inspired Version agrees with the King James Version, and the prophecy as rendered therein begins, "Woe to the land shadowing with wings." In the light of Book of Mormon history and in the light archaeology throws upon the history of the Americas prior to and after the time when Isaiah used this expression, we may well let the word "Woe" stand as it does in both the King James and the Inspired Versions.

When Isaiah wrote, great empires had perished and others were to perish in the Americas through moral decay and the ravages of war and pestilence. The Book of Mormon reveals this to us; and archaeology has uncovered the ruins of those old empires.

However, to continue our reading of Isaiah 18: in this land in due time, the Lord was to do a great work. He was to lift up an ensign and to blow a trumpet:

All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. 3

The time when the gospel ensign was to be set up and the trumpet to be blown was just "afore the harvest" (verse 5). Jesus tells us that the time of the harvest "is the end of the world."4 We come back again to the oft repeated predictions of things to come in the "latter days"—"the time of the end."

The gospel was restored and the church brought back again in this "land shadowing with wings." God did set up again his ensign to the nations.

Again, as so often predicted, the closing verse of this chapter seems to indicate the return of the Jews. This nation of America, "terrible from their beginning" is to have part in bringing to the Lord "the present" of a nation that has been "trodden under foot." They are to be brought back to the Place of the Lord known as "Mount Zion."

In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. 5

After the ensign was set up, after the trumpet was blown, this was to occur. We are of the opinion that the closing verse refers to the part America will have and has had in bringing to the Lord the present of his people so long trodden down—the return of Israel to the Holy Land,


1. Isaiah 18:1-3.
2. Saints’ Herald, Oct. 3, 1942.
3. Isaiah 18:3.
4. Matthew 13:39.
5. Isaiah 18:7.

Return To Contents

Chapter 27 -  Concerning The Man Joseph Smith

THIS MAN HAD such a prominent part in our work that the public has constantly challenged us concerning him. We have even been accused of putting him in the place of the Savior, perhaps the world’s record for overstatement.

Joseph Smith was a witness for Christ. He was a man, no more—and no less. Being a man he had faults along with his virtues. But he was also a prophet, no more—and no less. Rather naturally he came under the microscope of criticism focused on the prophet who is yet human and fallible. Tennyson wrote of another:

For since he would sit on a prophet’s seat ...
We needs must scan him from feet
Were it but for a wart or a mole.

Being a prophet, it was inevitable that calumny and persecution should be his lot. Of Jeremiah they said, "Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words." Jesus said: "I send unto you prophets ... and some of them ye shall kill ... and some of them shall ye scourge ... and persecute."

The Niagara of slander that has been poured upon Joseph Smith for more than a century might have swept him into the deepest ocean of oblivion—but it has not. He is still a living theme for sermons, lectures, novels of a sort, magazine articles, moving picture scenarios, histories, and theses for university graduates in a half dozen fields of research. Why this survival? Was he such a remarkable man? Or had he a remarkable message? Or, perhaps, both?


In the year 1638, there came to America one Robert Smith, 1 born in Toppesfield, England, in 1623. He was by trade a tailor. His lineage has been traced back to royalty in the line of Charlemagne. However, that does not interest us now. Robert Smith may have been entitled to a coat of arms. Being a tailor in a pioneering and democratic land, let us hope that his pride was to make good coats with arms. He lived for a time in Boston and is said to have built in that city the third house having a cellar. The cellar has no particular bearing on our subject but is thrown in for good measure. At least, the Smiths began to dig in and prepare to stay permanently in America.

In due time, to this man’s posterity, in the year 1744, was born Asael Smith who became a Revolutionary soldier in Colonel Wingate’s New Hampshire troops, and fought with courage and credit to his colors. He married a Colonial girl with the delightful name of Mary Duty. They lived together happily as husband and wife for sixty-three years.

To Asael and Mary Duty Smith (in 1771) was born Joseph Smith, known later as Joseph Smith, Sr., the first of three generations in succession to bear the name Joseph. He became a schoolteacher, farmer, and sometime merchant. He married Lucy Mack, a woman who was, like himself, very devout. To them was born Joseph Smith, subject of this sketch, December 23, 1805, at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont.


As a boy, Joseph Smith’s schooling was limited, necessarily so since he was from a family of limited means and lived in a pioneer community. However, his father was a schoolteacher and did his best by the boy. This background gave the lad a hunger for education and may partly account for the fact that in later years, he organized the first school to be founded in what is now Greater Kansas City—then an outpost on the fringe of the wilderness. As noted by the Missouri Valley Historical Association:

The date, location, and name of the first school established within the present limits of Kansas City are matters of historical record. The school was founded by the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, in 1832, in what is now Troost Park, by the big spring whose waters today form Troost Park Lake, a site twelve and a half miles west of Independence.... It was named the Colesville school. 2

That background may account for the fact that he founded the University of Nauvoo, and in every pioneer settlement of his people, caused schoolhouses to be among the first buildings to be erected:

The Mormons very early gave attention to educational matters: There were many teachers among them—and schoolhouses were among their first buildings. 3


Werner went back close to the cradle of Joseph Smith in search of "warts" and "moles," and wrote that, as a boy, Joseph was considered lazy, was sometimes dirty and dressed in ragged clothing, and needed a hair comb—for which reasons his neighbors refused to believe that he could ever have become a prophet off God. 4

These were the "warts" and "moles," exaggerated by the mircroscope [microscope] of prejudice found on the boy Joseph. He was not fond of work, we are told; was sometimes unwashed, and untidy in dress, so illogically, he could never have become the bearer of a divine message.

It is a well-known fact that the average boy hates dirt worse than sin. He daily and diligently scrubs his neck and ears. He is passionately fond of work and constantly pesters his parents to find tasks for him to sweat over. He loves to be all dressed up and sit in the front parlor. We are asked to conclude that if the Lord would find a prophet, he must look to that class for a boy to serve his novitiate. Clearly, Joseph Smith was abnormal.

Seriously, to the contrary, we all know that the average normal boy would rather play than work. That is his right. Even like Joseph, he would rather play than to hoe corn in the hot sun. The normal boy has no fear of dirt; rather, he has a fondness for it. He has not the slightest interest in what "the best dressed boy is wearing." Joseph Smith seems to have been a normal boy, from that class have come all the prophets, ancient and modern.


There comes a time in the life of the normal boy when ambition stirs. He gives attention to his person and his dress. Joseph Smith passed through that transition, also. He was a normal boy and became a normal man.

Josiah Quincy, lecturer, educator, one time mayor of Boston and president of the Massachusetts Senate, visited Nauvoo in 1844 and interviewed Joseph Smith. At first he found Joseph dressed in rough working garb, as he was busy directing construction work on the temple (gone the days of boyish idling). At noon, however, the prophet donned broadcloth and clean linen and entertained Mr. Quincy at his own table in the Mansion House (gone the days of untidiness). In his journal, Quincy made this commen [comment]: "A fine-looking man is what the passerby would instinctly murmur upon meeting this remarkable man."5 The normal boy had become a normal man—at least the average normal man loves to imagine that he is "a fine-looking man."


The historian Bancroft described Joseph Smith as being six feet tall in his stocking feet and weighing about 212 pounds, athletic, friendly and jovial, "excepting when roused to anger when his expression became severe." Should a prophet ever become angry? Moses did—for the prophet, after all, is a man.

Reverting again to Josiah Quincy, who wrote:

A fine-looking man is what the passerby would instinctively have murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual who had fashioned the mold which was to shape the feelings of so many thousands of his fellow-mortals. But Smith was more than this, and one could not resist the impression that capacity and resource were natural to this stalwart person. I have already mentioned the resemblance he bore to Elisha R. Potter of Rhode Island, whom I met in Washington in 1826. The likeness was not such as would be recognized in a picture, but rather one that would be felt in a grave emergency. Of all men I have met, these two seemed best endowed with that kingly faculty which directs, as by intrinsic right, the feeble or confused souls who are looking for guidance . . . . 6


It may be easy to agree upon a physical description of the man, Joseph Smith. But what sort of person was he? Scores, yes hundreds, probably thousands of people have attempted to analyze the character and personality of this unique character. Most of them gave a scant study to their subject and had a superficial knowledge of it. They wrote their stuff to sell—they do yet—the kind that will sell to a sensation-loving public.

Many such writers saw through the eyes of bitter prejudice, the kind that smeared the character of John Wesley in his day, that burned Servetus in his day, that crucified Christ and his apostles in their day. It is not surprising that among those who posed as authorities on "Mormonism," there should be found great confusion and frequent contradiction. Hundreds of such examples might be cited. Here are a few with citation immediately following each quotation, for your convenience:


Joseph Smith was not the man to surmount great obstacles and compel great and lasting changes by his own unaided force. He lacked energy, diplomacy, and steadfastness for such a task.

—Brigham Young, and His Mormon Empire, by Ex-Senator Frank J. Cannon and George L. Knap.


But, with all these drawbacks, he was much more than an ordinary man. He possessed the most indomitable perseverance, was a good judge of men, and deemed himself born to command and he did command.

—Recollections of an Old Pioneer, P. H. Burnett, page 66: as quoted in Founder of Mormonism.

His eloquence, rude but powerful—his letters, clever and sarcastic—the manifold character and boldness of his designs—his courage in enterpriseenterprise—his perseverance despite great obstacles . . . these and other things mark him as a man of more than ordinary caliber.

—The Mormons’ Own Book, and Life of Joseph Smith, by T. W. P. Taylor.

The remarkable tenacity of purpose which he exhibited under discouraging circumstances, and the apparent sincerity of his professions, have been suggested as evidence that he was really a religious enthusiast, who became the victim of his own delusions.

—Utah and the Mormons, by Benjamin G. Ferris, at one time Secretary of Utah Territory.


The young people of the town considered him not quite full-witted and, with the cruelty of youth, made him the butt for their practical jokes.

—The Latter Day Saints, Kauffman.

The extreme ignorance and apparent stupidity of this modern prophet.

—Mormonism Unveiled, by E. D. Howe.


He was confessedly illiterate, but nature had endowed him with a clear, strong brain, and by sheer force of his intellectuality he was from the very beginning of his career a leader.

—The Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, by D. H. Bays.


Time made changes, and the tow-head became a light auburn, but the moral traits remained the same ... and cowardice followed him to his assassination.

—The True Origin of Mormon Polygamy, by Shook.


The Smiths (Joseph and Hyrum) are said to be as brave as lions. Joseph, the chief, is a noble-looking fellow, a Mahomet every inch of him.

—History of the Mormons, by Smucker.

It must be admitted that he displayed no little zeal and courage; that his tact was great, that his talents for governing men were of no mean order. —bid.

He had physical courage, for he died game.

—Doctor Wyl, quoted in Word of Truth.

It appears that Joseph Smith died bravely.

The Latter Day Saints, by Kauffman.

Joseph was constantly in fear for his life, and though by no means desirous of death, in moments of excitement he often faced danger with apparent indifference as to the results.

—Bancroft, History of Utah.


Joseph never read Moliere—nor anybody else.

—Secretary of State John Hay, in The Mormon Prophet’s Tragedy.


He read comprehensively, and as he advanced in reading and knowledge he assumed a spiritual aspect. He frequently perused the Bible, and became quite familiar with its contents.

—The Mormon Waterloo, by W. L. Crowe.


Seventy reputable men who knew, stated under oath that this Smith family was ignorant; that the males were drunkards, blasphemers, liars, thieves: who put in their time digging for hidden treasures of the Captain Kidd kind, and defraud their neighbors. Reputable citizens aver under oath that these Smiths were a low, wicked household and Joe the worst of the lot.

—Peepstone Joe and the Peck Manuscript, by Lu B. Cake.

Concerning this unpleasant fact no reliance is to be placed in the multiplied affidavits of jealous neighbors who swore on oath that there was much intoxication among the Smiths; people in those days had the affidavit habit.

—The Founder of Mormonism.


Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith, was a woman of unusual strength of character, unquestioned piety, and of an intensely visionary mental organization.

—Lights and Shadows of Mormonism.

Solomon Mack, the father of Lucy, was very likely of English extraction. He participated in the War of the Revolution and was in every sense a typical and patriotic American. He was deeply religious.


From his mother’s side of the family he (Joseph Smith) inherited a strong devotional temperament, supplemented by admirable persistence of purpose and magnificent courage.


Joseph Smith, Sr., who was of a modest, unpretentious and easygoing, yet withal honest and earnest nature.


Such writers are as confused and confusing as the four blind men who endeavored to describe the elephant, having given him the once-over, and being limited to the sense of feeling. Most such writers are guided by their feelings and conduct their research from the basis of fixed conclusions previously arrived at.


Lyman Wight, who was a close friend of the prophet, described Joseph Smith thus:

His soundness in the belief of the doctrine to which he gave heed; his firm, sound, candid mind, and unshaken disposition to do the will of heaven as he was instructed, caused him to have many enemies among the denominations of the day, as also many in his own society. The greatest difficulty originated from his not giving up his own faith and believing in that of others. Many, very many, have grossly mistaken his character . . . . 7

Joseph Smith had both physical and moral courage; could endure pain and face the guns of mobs. He could withstand abuse, villification, persecution, loss of home and property, incarceration in prisons, the chafing of literal chains, and finally face certain death without ever turning aside or wavering in the least in his religious positions and claims to divine inspiration. He heeded Emerson’s injunction:

Whatever outrages have happened to men may befall a man again: and very easily in a republic, if there appear any sign of a decay of religion. Coarse slander, fire, tar and feathers and the gibbet, the youth may freely bring home to his mind and with what sweetness of temper he can, and inquire how fast he can fix his sense of duty, braving such penalties whenever it may please the next newspaper and a sufficient number of his neighbors to pronounce his opinions incendiary. 8


We have given some attention to the man Joseph Smith chiefly because so many center their attack upon him personally and refuse to give even passing attention to his message—which also is our message. Our interest is to clear the way for the presentation of that message.

It has been admitted that the prophet who came with that mesage [message] had some of the foibles of humanity. That is true of every prophet since time began. It has been said that "no high priest taken from among men is without blemish."

When, however, we come to the false charges of immorality and criminality hurled against the prophet, we appeal to a principle in American jurisprudence. The ancient prophets had not such a recourse. Of Jeremiah, it is written that his enemies conceived a conspiracy against him and said, "Come and let us smite him with the tongue."9 Jeremiah had no unprejudiced tribunal to give him judgment.


It is a principle in American jurisprudence that every man accused is presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty. Why reverse that principle in the case of Joseph Smith and presume him to be guilty until he is proved innocent? The burden of proof is upon his accusers, not upon his defenders.

In some lands, under a dictator, it is assumed that an accused man is guilty or he would not be accused, and he is condemned without trial.


The Palmyra Courier-Journal, published in the town where Joseph Smith lived as a young man, the town where the Book of Mormon was first published, one time declared editorially: "Joseph Smith was arrested and acquitted 39 times." 10 That periodical then added that, at the end, he was arrested on a "trumped up charge" and killed while in jail awaiting a hearing.

It would seem that if he were guilty of any of the heinous offenses charged against him, a case should have been made to stand up in court at least once in thirty-nine trials. Having failed to do so while he lived, his accusers should have the grace to cease false accusations now that he is dead and cannot defend himself in court.

We demand that he shall have claim to sanctuary under the American declaration of human rights and be considered innocent until he is proved guilty.


The sensational and cheap early "exposés" published a hundred years or so ago are forgotten. Smucker, Beadle, Howe, et al—they are found only on dusty shelves of old libraries.

But their vicious and untrue statements found way into more respectable publications, sometimes in encyclopedias and school textbooks. More recently they are reborn in a certain type of "historical" novel of which there has been an epidemic—novels like Children of God, by Vardis Fisher.

These are difficult to meet because when the authors and publishers are taken to task for palpable misstatement they reply, "These are not histories; these are fiction." Truly they are fiction—but they go out wearing the cloak of the "historical novel" and they are accepted by the public as true statements of history.


The writer has a friend who is head of the department of history in one of our Western state colleges. He has his doctor’s degree in history. He chose for his research work the early history of so-called "Mormonism," and particularly the history of Joseph Smith.

This man, a member of the Society of Friends or "Quakers," spent five years of leisure time in study of the theme just named. Then during his sabbatical year, he spent his entire time in such study, visited the historic scenes of our church history, spent a great deal of time in the various great libraries of America where there are accumulations of books on the subject. He also went to great pains to study "original sources," manuscripts, letters, etc. Perhaps no man has made a more systematic and thorough study of this subject.

This man said to me, "I think I have read at least a thousand books and pamphlets on ‘Mormonism’ and I can say that with very few exceptions, they are superficial and unreliable. They were written by men who did not know how to weigh evidence, or did not care to do so."

This from a man trained in historical research, an unprejudiced and competent investigator. Yet each one of those superficial works in its day was hailed as the ultimate truth about this vexed subject. Remember, when from time to time such a novel or exposés or what not comes to your attention, do not be too greatly disturbed. In a year it will be forgotten. Careful students will find it, also, to be superficial and unreliable.


It seems necessary to consider briefly an unpleasant subject, namely, the oft-repeated charge that Joseph Smith both taught and practiced polygamy. That is one of the charges that is based on evidence that will not stand up in court.

It is clearly in evidence that the church under his administration was never involved in the teaching and practice of that reprehensible system of marriage, even though some individual members may have been involved secretly.

The Book of Mormon clearly condemned and forbade the practice, in these words:

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. 11

The marriage ceremony adopted by the church under Joseph Smith’s leadership, by a General Assembly, 1835, is the most strict covenant imaginable, requiring husband and wife to pledge to "keep" themselves "for each other, and from all others" so long as both shall live." 12

Eight years after the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young first publicly introduced the doctrine to those who had followed him to Utah. He based it on an alleged revelation that he claimed had been received by Joseph Smith before his death, the original of which he alleged Emma Smith, Joseph’s wife, had burned. Concerning that story Emma said, "It is false in all its parts, made out of whole cloth, without any foundation in truth"13

The reader is referred to a detailed discussion of this subject in Differences That Persist," Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri. This sets forth the differences between the Utah Mormon Church, which long time taught and practiced polygamy, and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with headquarters at Independence, Missouri, successor to the church founded by Joseph Smith. From the little book just referred to, we reproduce a few paragraphs setting forth reasons for challenging any assertion that Joseph Smith was implicated in the practice or teaching of polygamy, these reasons being summarized as follows:

1. That no word from the pen or voice of Joseph Smith favorable to polygamy is found in any authentic publication representing the church prior to his death.

2. That, to the contrary, the teachings of the standard books of the church all enjoin monogamy. These books include the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith; the Doctrine and Covenants containing revelations given through him; and the Inspired Version of the Bible, as corrected by him. These he left to the church as its constitutional law, presumably representing his own mind and will as well as the mind and will of God. Furthermore, the official organ of the church, the Times and Seasons, shortly before his death, contained his signed denunciation of polygamy and notice of expulsion from the church of one who had advocated it (Times and Seasons, volume 5, pages 423, 474, 490, 491).

3. That his wife, Emma, of outstanding reputation for veracity, in dying testimony denied that her husband ever had any other wife or ever sanctioned polygamy. She testified: "No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband’s death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.... He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have" (Church History, volume 3, pages 355, 356). Under the terms of the so-called revelation Joseph could not have taken another wife without Emma’s knowledge. His son, Joseph, president of the Reorganization for fifty-three years, and personally known to thousands of us, joined in the testimony that his father had but one wife.

4. That there was never any progeny born to Joseph Smith excepting by his one wife, Emma. Judge John F. Philips of the Circuit Court of the United States in his Temple Lot decision (1894) commented on that fact as follows: "No such marriage ever occurred under the rules of the chuurch [church], and no off-spring came from the imputed illicit intercourse, although Joseph Smith was in the full vigor of young manhood, and his wife, Emma, was giving birth to healthy children in regular order" (Decision of Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Case, pages 20-26). During July, 1933, Inez Davis, of our Church Historical Department, prepared a list of the direct posterity of Joseph and Emma Smith. At that time there were 159 living and 31 dead, making a total of 190 descendants born to Joseph Smith through the line of his one wife Emma Hale Smith, and to date no posterity ever in evidence is credited to him from any of the numerous alleged plural wives. 190 to 0 is a heavy score against a system allegedly set up to produce posterity.

5. Testimony of women who claimed they were his wives shows evidence of fraud and collusion and does not "stand up in court." Two of them, thought to have clearer cases than others, actually did appear in person in the Temple Lot suit and Judge Philips discredited their testimony in his decision (See Decision, pages 20-26).

6. That the motive for deception on the part of Brigham Young and his immediate associates is found in the fact that on the twenty-ninth day of August, 1852, when they first brought the alleged "revelation" to light they were deeply involved in polygamy and desired to claim the sanction of heaven for their marital ventures. No one of them was a prophet. Brigham said publicly that he was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Consequently they invoked the name and the memory of Joseph Smith who was revered by the church as a prophet; and at one stroke secured the prestige of his name and themselves came from under the onus of introducing the system which was destined to bring so much grief. On that day in 1852 when Brigham Young introduced the doctrine publicly he was, according to Utah biographers, the husband of twenty women (See Pictures and Biographies of Brigham Young and His Wives, copyrighted 1896, and endorsed by the presidency of the Utah Church). This was in direct conflict with the constitutional law of the church. Something had to be done. Something was done.

Suggested reading: Article entitled "The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," by Doctor Frederick M. Smith, in the Encyclopedia Americana Annual for 1944.


1 Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith, by Audentia Smith Anderson, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Mo.
2. Missouri Valley Historical Association, in Kansas City Star, Feb. 12, 1932.
3. History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, St. Louis Historical Society, pp. 120, 121.
4. M. R. Werner, Ladies’ Home Journal, January, 1925.
5. Figures of the Past, Josiah Quincy.
6. Ibid.
7. Church History, Vol. 1, p. 774.
8. Essay on Heroism.
9. Jeremiah 18:18.
10. Palmyra Courier-Journal, July 21, 1932.
11. Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:36; p. 172, Authorized Edition, Independence, Mo.
12. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 111
13. Church History, Vol. 3, p. 352.

Return To Contents

Chapter 28 -  Testing Modern Prophecy

THE BIBLE gives a certain test by which to try the prophets. If a prophet professes to speak in the name of the Lord and his prediction come not to pass, he is to be rejected. 1 The reverse would seem to hold true—if his prophecy is fulfilled there is at least prima facie evidence that he is worthy of a hearing, and presumptive evidence that he is a prophet of the Lord. The evidence is not conclusive, for we are told further that even if such a man give signs and wonders that come to pass, but his message leads men astray after false gods, he is to be rejected. 2

These tests are fair. We are willing that they shall be applied to the modern prophet of whom we have spoken. If you find that his predictions in the name of the Lord were fulfilled, then the challenge is to investigate his message. You will find his message to be true.


The prophet always has a message for his own generation, and often he has a warning to his own country and people.

Joseph Smith had such a prophetic warning to America. We have already noted the message to America contained in the Book of Mormon. He had also a specific warning couched in the revelation given to him on Christmas Day, 1832, predicting the Civil War.

This prophecy was published several times, years before the outbreak of the war, notably in the Pearl of Great Price, published in Liverpool in 1851. I have before me an original copy of that publication from which presently the revelation will be quoted.

The prophecy was republished in The Seer, April, 1854; and appeared, or was referred to, in other publications before the outbreak of the war.

This prophecy is also confirmed by a book entitled Mormonism, published by John Hyde, Jr., in 1857, in which he refers to the following public statement by Joseph Smith:

I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed, previous to the coming of the Son of Man, will be, in South Carolina (it probably may arise through the slave question). This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25, 1832. 3

Hyde’s quotation may not be exact, but it confirms the validity of the revelation as elsewhere published. Hyde was not a believer and cited this prediction to prove Joseph Smith a false prophet, as at the time it had not yet been fulfilled and seemed not likely ever to be fulfilled.

The prophecy is as well authenticated as any found in the Bible, and none has been more literally fulfilled: The text of the prophecy given Dec. 25, 1832, follows, as reproduced from The Pearl of Great Price, published July 11, 1851:

Verily thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. The days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at that place; for behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and thus war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their Masters, who shall be marshalled [marshaled] and disciplined for war: And it shall come to pass also, that the remnants who are left of the land will marshall [marshal] themselves, and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation; and thus, with the sword, and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquakes, and the thunder of Heaven, and the fiierce [fierce] and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed, hath made a full end of a nations; that the cry of the Saints, and of the blood of the Saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.


The prophecy concerns itself not alone with the Civil War—its opening sentences speak of "the wars that will shortly come to pass," and they continue: "war will be poured out upon all nations." We have seen the fulfillment of that prediction.

Referring particularly to the Civil War: it was to begin with the rebellion of South Carolina. Not only was South Carolina the first of the states to secede from the Union, but the first shots of the war were fired in that state, upon the Union fort, Ft. Sumter.

The "Southern States" were to be "divided against the Northern States"; apparently the Southern States were to lead out in the conflict, as time demonstrated.

The "Southern States" were to call upon other nations, even Great Britain." This very specific prediction was literally fulfilled. Mason and Slidelle were sent as emissaries to Britain to appeal for aid especially by the British navy. United States officers seized them from the British ship, the "Trent," and the affair for a time threatened to involve the United States in war with Britain.

Slaves were to rebel against their masters and were to be trained and mobilized to take part in the conflict, as did happen.

Later the "remnants" left of the land, the Indians, were to vex the "Gentiles" with a sore vexation. The bloody and costly Indian wars that followed the Civil War are a matter of history.

As at the beginning, so at the ending, the prophecy dealt with world wars later to be poured out upon all nations.

"Time vindicates the prophet." This man spoke in the name of the Lord and his prophecy came to pass in all details. He is worthy of a hearing.


This modern prophet had also a warning for the world. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith November 1, 1831, and appearing in successive editions of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants since 1835, this waning was given:

I, the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., . . . and gave him commandments, and also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world;. . .the day speedily cometh, the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the eartb. 4

As history moves and prophetic cycles unfold, the time was not very far distant when this prophecy was to be fulfilled.


It was during the first half of the nineteenth century that this prophetic warning was given. As the century wore on, it began to appear that the prophet had spoken presumptuously. Seldom has there been a more sharply defined conflict between prophetic vision and the "wisdom of the wise men."

As the century drew to a close, popular hope grew into an accepted popular belief that war was to be banished from the earth and that an era of perpetual peace and prosperity was at hand.

In fact, it was during the closing years of the century that the Czar of all the Russias led out in a peace movement that resulted in the setting up of the Hague Tribunal. This was the appeal (in 1898) of Czar Nicholas II to the nations, asking for a conference of states: "seeking to make the great idea of universal peace triumph over the elements of trouble and discord."5 Twenty-six of the most powerful nations gave it their support. International disputes were to be settled by mediation and arbitration.

Thus dawned this century with high hopes. Civilization was to go on and on to ever higher levels of peace, education, prosperity.

Even to the very day of disaster the wise men in their judgment were squarely against the vision of the prophet. As late as 1913, David Starr Jordan, famous educator, one time president of Stanford and later chancellor of that university, then recently returned from a tour of England and Europe, published his book, War and Waste, in which he said:

What shall we say of the great war of Europe, ever threatening, ever impending, and which never comes? We shall say that it will never come. Humanly speaking it is impossible.


And the world wars were "just around the corner." Even then, a "wise man" could not see the "signs of the times." But the Lord had said: "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish. 6 Time vindicated the prophet.

Wells, in his Outline of History, recounts how the German army came charging into Belgium on the night of August 2, 1914, while most of Europe was "still under the inertia of a half century of peace . . . and plenty ... and freedom such as no man living will ever see again"; how they, as an initial act, burned the little village of Vise. He adds, "They set light not to a village, but a world."

Peace was taken from the earth, as the prophet had said it would be. True, after the first world war there was an "armistice" and a treaty of peace, but there was never a real return of peace.

And still the optimists revived their hopes and sang again of an era at hand of perpetual peace. The League of Nations, the many disarmament conferences, the Briand-Kellogg pact to renounce war—these would make another world war impossible.

Nevertheless, the time came when the historian, H. G. Wells, wrote the epitaph to these hopes: "It is as if I were watching a dark curtain fall steadily, fold after fold, across the bright spectacle of hope with which this century dawned."

We know now that the prophet was right—the wise men were wrong. We have prima facie evidence that the prophet’s claims to inspiration were worthy of attention. We have presumptive evidence that God did speak through him. When we consider his message in its entirety, we find that belief to be confirmed. He did bring to his generation and does bring to us, a revelation of God and his will and plans in full harmony with the message of all the inspired prophets of all time.


1. Deuteronomy 18:22.
2. Ibid., 13:1-3.
3. Mormonism, by Hyde, p. 174. Church History, Vol. 1, p. 263.
4. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 1.
5. Outline of History, Wells, p. 1001.
6. Isaiah 29:14.

Return To Contents

Chapter 29 -  Testing Modern Prophecy (Continued)


CHRIST DID NOT concern himself alone with doctrinal questions, though his doctrine was basic in the matter of right living. He was concerned with its application to physical as well as spiritual affairs, to society as well as the individual. He had a social message.

To John, he sent a message to confirm his Messiahship, and one of the items mentioned was, "The poor have the gospel preached to them." To the rich young man he said, "Go sell what thou hast and give to the poor."

A prophet coming in modern times in the beginning of our industrial development should have had a message interpreting the social significance of the gospel in a way to fit our day. Did the prophet of which we write have such a message?

In the book Missouri, one of the "American Guide Series," by Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, there is some reference to the so-called "Mormons" during their early sojourn in Missouri. The most significant statement in this reference is that they had a "social philosophy," and that "They ordered their lives upon a social rather than an individual basis." 1


The very fundamental postulate underlying the whole social philosophy of our Restoration Movement was stated in a revelation given in 1834: "The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare. 2

At that time the thought had not seeped down into many minds that poverty is unnecessary. It was commonly accepted that poverty was unavoidable and would always be: there was not enough to go around and those who were slow to grab their portion had only themselves to blame.

Modern mass production has shown us that potentially "the earth is full and there is enough and to spare." In 1911, many years after the revelation just quoted was given, David Lloyd George, addressing an interchurch conference in Wales, said:

"Let us take the main facts. The first fact is this—that poverty is not the fault of Providence. Providence has provided an abundance."3

David Lloyd George went on to say:

Ah, I wonder what would happen if, during this last Christmas, those who have been sitting comfortably enjoying their Christmas dinner found at the height of the festival an invisible hand sliding a panel in the wall and opening a window, and showing them another household of men, women, and children like themselves, no worse, some of them probably better in all the essentials of character—huddled shivering in wretched dens. I tell you what would happen. Merriment would be frozen in every heart. The conscience of the nation would be roused in a way it has never been before. There would be a demand from every quarter of this country that our rulers should do something to rid the land of this pestilence of wretchedness. It is the business of the church to open that window.

Addressing the Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1938, Dr. Frank E. Lathe, of the National Research Council of Canada, said:

Natural and synthetic processes assure the entire world of sufficient food, clothing, fuel, power, and even luxuries for centuries to come. 4

The reputedly "ignorant" prophet who had spoken one hundred four years earlier was vindicated before a great association of scientists.

More recently, in her own style, Dorothy Thompson, columnist, has addressed herself to this theme, as follows:

The common man has nevertheless heard it whispered that what with inventions, technology, and the transmutation of elements, there’s enough on this earth for everybody if everybody works just a little, and steadily. This is a highly explosive idea. Since the beginning of time, the common man stood with his hat in his hand before his "betters" because he had a hunch there wasn’t enough for everybody, and so one had better stand in with the prosperous. . . He doesn’t know how to solve "the economic problem," but he can and will blow up the world if it is not solved. 5

It would seem that not only has time vindicated the prophet: it is also demonstrating that he was addressing his message to a theme vital to the very life of our civilization.


The social philosophy of which we speak, in its basic principles, was set forth in various revelations given through Joseph Smith. Quotations used here are from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants containing his revelations.

The first fundamental postulate is that men, and especially Christians worshiping [worshipping] one Heavenly Father, should be equal in temporal matters. The extremes found even among devout believers, ranging from abject poverty to super abundant riches, cannot be pleasing to the Heavenly Father who loves all his children. And so we have this statement from modern revelation:

Let every man esteem his brother as himself: for what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter to them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one, Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other, Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there, and looketh upon his sons and saith, I am just. Behold, this I have given unto you a parable, and it is even as I am: I say unto you, Be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine. 6

The principle of equality is not out of harmony with the American Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal," and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among which are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." In a society where there is a stratum of the submerged, the sordidly, desperately poor, and another of the very rich, many are to be denied the very right to life and liberty and happiness.

And so the basic principle is given in revelation:

In your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. 7


The equality contemplated was not to be an artificial dollar for dollar, foot rule, and pound weight matter. It did not contemplate that all men should wear the same size shoes or live in the same size and style of house regardless of family needs and tastes. This is the rule to be applied as set forth in prophetic utterance:

Every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just. 8


The next postulate in the divine revelation voiced by the modern prophet was that all wealth should be regarded as a stewardship. All things belong to God by right of creation; men use and handle and develop them as his stewards, and in each case must presently give over the stewardship and render an accounting.

This fundamental conception of wealth puts the entire matter on the basis of Christian fellowship with our brethren and consecrated relationship to our God as his stewards in temporal as well as spiritual matters. Was that a low or sordid vision for the Prophet Joseph Smith to have?

It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as stewards over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. 9

... it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. 10


The next step in the program prophetically outlined led toward the equality to be sought after. This was to be a voluntary consecration of created surpluses, set aside by the fortunate and the strong to lift up the unfortunate and the poor and put them on their feet on a self-supporting basis. Thus would poverty be abated, and some time, abolished.

This giving of the surplus was to be a voluntary act springing from a devout feeling of Christian fellowship and relationship with God.


It is the irony of fate that the very things the prophet adjured the people to do voluntarily and sacrificially more than a hundred years ago, as in line with their Christian profession, today they are compelled to do willy-nilly.

Consider the question of surplus: when world wars came, the governments of the nations the world over, in one way of another, by various forms of taxation or by confiscation, took from the people their surplus. This may not have been done equitably, but more and more, there is a complete taking over of surpluses.

In America, this followed an era when surpluses were such a problem that the government found no adequate remedy. There was too much wheat, too much corn, cotton, fruit, sugar —what not. Production had to be curtailed, crops were plowed under. Land was set aside to lie idle.

This happened at a time when there was hunger and want—millions poorly housed, clothed, nourished. The prophet foresaw the acute problems of the twentieth century.

Consider the matter of equality: the people refused to acquiesce voluntarily in this program as a Christian privilege and duty, that want might be eliminated and excess wealth put to use. Then, to a considerable extent the world over, governmental rationing forced, or attempted to force equality, apportioning to each family according to its needs.

A prominent English statesman said: "Today in England the poor eat more and the rich eat less—and both are better off."

The plan that the prophet outlined a hundred years ago was far in advance of the vision of statesmen and it foresaw the acute problems of this century. Had it been received and heeded, the poor would indeed have had more, the rich less, and both would have fared better.


It must be noted, however, that the plan prophetically announced did not contemplate that the surpluses of the strong, capable, industrious, should be dissipated to enrich the lazy and shiftless. The declaration was specific: "He that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.11

Whether the idler was a loafer, rich by inheritance or by violence or by fraud, or poor because of being allergic to work, he was to have no share in the benefits of the divine order.

Visioning a better postwar world, and speaking in England, the historic home of entrenched privilege and rigid class distinctions, in March, 1943, Churchill said:

We cannot have a band of drones in our midst, whether they come from ancient aristocracy or modern plutocracy or the ordinary type of pub crawler. . . It is in our power to secure equal opportunities for all.

The shock of war has shaken things loose. They will never be the same again. When the prophet announced his social and economic message, the walls between the privileged and the underprivileged classes were high and strong. Privilege, inherited and acquired, was well entrenched. It would always be so—that was the thought. The prophet saw otherwise. It were better to attack the problem religiously in the name of and by the will of God and solve it as Christians.

The world would have none of that message. Today the old order is shattered by violence and force; men see that it was not inevitable, not just, not immutable.

If the problems arising are solved, it will be by methods consonant with the message of the prophet. Otherwise chaos and revolution and class war will follow international wars and further desolate the world.


1. Missouri, Dyell, Sloan and Pearce, p. 123.
2. Doctrine and Covenants 101: 2.
3. Wales Daily News, Dec. 30, 1911.
4. Associated Press Dispatch, June 28, 1938.
5. Syndicated article, March 9, 1943.
6. Doctrine and Covenants 38:5, 6.
7. Ibid., 70:3.
8. Ibid., 81:4.
9. Ibid., 101:2.
10. Ibid., 72:1.
11. Ibid., 42:12.

Return To Contents

Chapter 30 -  The Jews

WHETHER YOU like or dislike, love or hate the Jew, you cannot successfully controvert the fact that he is one of the greatest living witnesses that "time vindicates the prophets." Oftimes he is unwillingly and unwittingly an unimpeachable witness to that fact.

Every nation in the dim past that persecuted the Jews and led them away captive fulfilled prophecy. Every nation down the long ages that enslaved and bedeviled them fulfilled prophecy.

Modern times with their all-time record of brutality to this tormented people, with their coldly planned program of racial extermination—they, too, witness the fact that time vindicates the prophets. All these things often, and over long periods, were forecast.


Among the Israelitish tribes, the descendants of Judah were the ones destined to remain in the limelight of world history as recognized "children of Abraham," and have come to typify "the children of Abraham" as a whole.

The Jews did fulfill their fair share of the promises so far as generally accepted historical records show. They gave the world great kings, inspired prophets, poets, and psalm writers, most of the books of the Bible, the Messiah, the apostles, and great missionaries of the early Christian dispensation.

All Christian peoples witness that in such ways, through this people, the nations of the earth were blessed, as the Lord had promised Abraham.

These cold facts, these warm human facts, remain whether you like or dislike your present Jewish neighbors. You can scarcely hate the Jews as a people without hating Jesus, and many of the apostles and prophets that Christians have long time admired.


Along with the promises to this people went warnings and forecasts of tribulations. Go back to the days of Moses:

When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves . . . the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.

And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind; And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life; In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 1

The woes of the Jews are pictured in those predictions even down to this day of ours:

They were to be scattered among all nations—"the wandering Jew."

They were to find no permanent place for ease or rest.

They should have trembling hearts and sorrow of mind.

Their lives should always hang in doubt.

They should know fear day and night.

Their tears and blood were to be shed in many lands.

No other people in history over such long periods of time have so fitted into this picture: exiles and aliens and captives in many lands, hated and pillaged and murdered.

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land ? 2

Along with physical sufferings and mental anguish were to go the humiliations of ridicule and scorn in all the world:

And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers. 3

Is it not a fact that the very name "Jew" has for ages been a byword and a taunt, a curse? Chalked on the show windows of European Jewish shops the word "Jude" has been in our days a "curse," the store marked for destruction, the keeper for death, his family for slavery. Every jibe and taunt hurled against the Jew in every land on earth has helped fulfill prophecy, as has every pogrom and butchery down to the latest and most brutal slaughters of all times.

These tribulations were to come upon the Jews because of disobedience and disregard of their high calling. Finally Christ himself, rejected of them, joined the prophets who foretold their further distress as a people:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 4


The Jews shared slavery with the other children of Israel in Egypt until the long years of servitude the Lord had set for them in his revelations to Abraham were fulfilled and Moses led them out of Egypt.

They came to national glory and power in Judea only to be subjugated and led away captive by Babylon. Restored again to Jerusalem through the kindness of Cyrus, King of the Persians, there was a period of respite again.

The Roman legions came against them in A. D. 70 as Christ had predicted, and eventually destroyed their temple and laid waste their city. Their house was "left unto them desolate." They were scattered abroad throughout Europe and Asia.

Time passed and in Spain, they prospered. Their rabbis were great and learned. In art, science, philosophy, and trade, the Jews were illustrious. But in 1391, persecution began there also, and in 1492, 50,000 were massacred, survivors were banished from Spain, and scattered again throughout Europe.

When the Black Death plagued Europe in 1348, the Jews were blamed for it as they have been for every evil in every land where there have been Jews. Many were massacred and survivors were driven into Poland where, in this twentieth century, they found their darkest Gethsemane.

Passing over the sad pages of medieval ages, Russia, under the czars, became the earlier modern slaughterhouse of Jews. There originated the term "pogrom" in Russian, meaning devastation. A typical pogrom has been thus described:

These always took the same form: a Jew was engaged in a brawl; a mob, abetted by the military, quickly gathered, beat the Jew, expanded the fight into a murderous raid on all Jews in the town. The pogroms spread, swept all Russia.

Pogroms in Russia broke out every few years until 1920. Thousands of Jews were killed, millions were beggared. Some had their eyes gouged out, nails driven into their skulls. Between 1881 and 1920, more than 1,000,000 Russian Jews fled to the United States.


The climax of fury to be visited upon the Jews of the world was reserved for the twentieth century. Well under way in Europe in 1938, it drew from ex-President Hoover a scathing denunciation in which he was joined by distinguished Catholic and Protestant ministers.

I am glad to again evidence my own indignation and to join in an expression of public protest at the treatment of the Jews in Germany.

It is not the German people at large who are to be blamed for this action. The blame is squarely up to the political agencies in power. These individuals are taking Germany back 450 years in civilization. They are bringing to Germany not alone the condemnation of the public opinion of the world. These men are building their own condemnation by mankind for centuries to come.

They are destroying every effort of the friends of the German people who have sought to be of aid to them. And I believe I have more than usual right of protest. I have held unalterably to belief in the great contribution the German people have made to civilization in the past and to the necessity for civilization that they be given opportunity to take again their place in the forward march of the world. . . .

It still is my belief that the German people, if they could express themselves, would not approve these acts against the Jews. But as they cannot so express themselves it is the duty of men everywhere to express our indignation not alone at the suffering these men are imposing on an innocent people but at the blow they are striking at civilization itself.

(Signed) Herbert Hoover. 5

This modern pogrom was unlike those under the czars. Those were violent mob outbreaks, Hitler’s pogroms were coldly planned. One of his spokesmen said, "Vengeance is one dish that, if you would enjoy it thoroughly, you must eat it cold." So the twentieth century pogrom in Europe, beginning in Germany, spreading to Austria, Poland, and all Nazi-occupied countries, was deliberately planned and carried out scientifically under governmental direction.

Again herded into ghettos, lack of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation and medication, caused Jews to die like flies. But this was not efficient and scientific enough. Thousands were driven into freight cars and shipped to Poland to join the unhappy Polish Jews. Poland became the chief European Jewish slaughterhouse. The clearly defined purpose was extermination. Mass slaughter with machine guns, poisoned food, poison gases, exposure to cold, and starvation followed.

This situation became such a world scandal by the end of 1942 that the United States Government joined the governments of Britain and Russia in denunciation of this "bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination."

December 17, 1942, eleven of the United Nations and the "fighting French" issued a powerful denunciation of Hitler’s extermination program against the Jews. Secretary Cordell Hull made it public in Washington, simultaneously the Soviet radio broadcast it from Moscow, and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden read it before Commons, whose members stood in a silent protest of sorrow and indignation. 6

In July of that year Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a letter to Stephen Wise in which he wrote: "Citizens, regardless religious allegiance, will share in the sorrow of our Jewish fellow citizens over the savagery of the Nazis against their helpless victims." 7

In November of 1942, Secretary of State Cordell Hull addressed a rabbinical council, and said: . "The Jews have long sought a refuge. I believe that we must have an even wider objective; we must have a world in which Jews, like every other race, are free to abide in peace and honor." 8

At a little earlier date, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote the London Jewish Chronicle, on the occasion of its hundreth anniversary: "None have suffered more cruelly than the Jew the unspeakable evils wrought on the bodies and spirits of men by Hitler and his vile regime ... assuredly in the day of victory the Jew’s suffering and his part in the struggle will not be forgotten ... and again it will be shown that, though the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceedingly small." 9

Probably we shall never know the exact number of Jews done to death just before and during the second World War. At best, we shall have estimates. The Americana Annual for 1944 has this:

Even in Hebrew annals, not forgetting the destruction of Jerusalem, this present anti-Sematic fury has been unprecedented. In August a report on their situation was presented to the American Jewish congress in New York. The number of Jews originally affected by the persecution was given as 8,200,000. Of these, only 2,000,000 were believed to have escaped death, forced labor, or crowded confinement in ghettos or concentration camps. There had been 3,000,000 killed in one way or another, and Germany had admitted that 30 per cent of the deported died enroute. 6


1. Deuteronomy 4:25, 26, 27; 28: 64-67.
2. Psalm 137:3, 4.
3. Jeremiah 24:9, 10.
4. Luke 13:34, 35.
5. Dated Nov. 13, 1938, addressed to the Secretary of the Federal Council of Churches, published by the Associated Press,
6. The United Nations’ Review, Vol. 3, No. 1. Quoted in Stars and Sand, by Joseph L. Baron, p. 511.
7. Stars and Sand, p. 512.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.

Return To Contents

Chapter 31 -  The Jews To Return To The Holy Land


At the close of a sermon on miracles in a European church, a certain king said to the preacher, "Chaplain, show me a miracle." The chaplain replied, "The Jews, your majesty." 1

IT IS PASSING STRANGE that through all these centuries, scattered and driven in many lands, without any central government, the Jews have persisted as a distinct people and have survived while many of the contemporary peoples of their early history have long ago vanished.

In part, their survival as a distinct people is due to their rigid rules against intermarriage with other races, which date back to the Exodus; in part to strong and distinctive racial characteristics, and chiefly to their spiritual and religious background.


The last named factor may be most significant. It is difficult for believers in the Divine to escape the thought that the God who long ago designated them to be and to continue a peculiar people has had and still has a hand in guiding their destiny. The Prophet Amos wrote:

For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth . 2

Always and everywhere, there remains the Jew. The Encyclopedia Britannica gives the Jewish population of the world in 1800 as 2,500,000; by 1930, it had increased to 15,800,000.


Along with the warnings that they should be scattered, came also promises of a return. These promises are too numerous to notice in detail in this treatise. They include the return of the lost tribes and also of Judah. With judah we are just now concerned:

And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 3

Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 4

I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou ? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. 5

It seems strange that in the days of Zechariah even a prophet should picture a great city without walls. It was to be a long time before such a thing could be, and especially so with Jerusalem, the oft besieged, the ofttime destroyed. Take note: before that time should come, an angelic messenger was to visit a "young man" and tell him that Jerusalem should be inhabited as an open city.


In 1823, the angel that visited the young man, Joseph Smith, told him that the time was drawing near when these promises should be fulfilled. In 1823, and for some years thereafter, Jerusalem was a scene of utter desolation and ruin; then began a process of rebuilding about the year 1858:

Prior to 1858, when the modern building period commenced, Jerusalem lay wholly within its 16th century walls, and even as late as 1875 there were few private residences beyond their limits. At present Jerusalem without walls covers a larger area than that within them. 6

To the foregoing quotation from the Encyclopedia Britannica may be added this from the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: "The new city situated outside of the wall, greatly excels the old in area and population . . . it now contains about 92 per cent of Jerusalem’s population."

The ancient prediction has been fulfilled. Some years ago the Literary Digest carried this news item: "The authorities of Jerusalem advertised the ancient walls for sale, and much of the stone was used for building material for houses."


This strange people having figured so often in world events, it is not surprising that they should have reappeared in the limelight in the two World Wars of the twentieth century. Named to Abraham so long ago to have a prominent part in world history, here they are again on the front page in the twentieth century in modern Europe and America, claiming attention of dictators, kings, presidents.

The Axis powers made it their settled policy to exterminate the Jews. The United Nations denounced the atrocities perpetrated in such a campaign and pledged themselves to punish the men responsible for them. Thus spoke Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary, in the House of Commons, London, December 17, 1942; thus at the time spoke President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull for America, and Stalin for Russia.

During the first World War, the Jews and Jerusalem were also in the limelight. In November, 1917, Sir Arthur Balfour, then British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the British government stating that the government viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a "national home for the Jewish people." That came at a time when the Allies were suffering great losses and their cause seemed rather hopeless. The Germans were almost to Paris. A strange time to espouse the cause of the Jews! Yet very soon thereafter, the tide turned in favor of the Allied nations.

December 9 of the same year, General Allenby came marching against Jerusalem with his army of 96,000 men and captured it from the Turks without firing a shot. The wife of a Christian missionary hearing British planes roaring overhead was reminded of this prophecy:

As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. 7

Allenby and his officers marched into the city on foot, December 11, and at the site of the old temple, knelt in prayer. Religious liberty was proclaimed.

Following the war, Britain received Palestine as a mandate from the League of Nations. In part, the terms of the mandate given in August, 1922, read:

The mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political administration and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

The United States supported the British proposal. A joint congressional resolution signed by President Harding, September 11, 1922, expressed approval of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."


It was according to the words of the prophets that kings and rulers should. espouse the cause of the Jews, and the Gentiles, succor them:

Thus saith the Lord God, behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers . 8

Going back into history a little way: some years after the revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1823, there were sporadic efforts made by individual Jews and groups of Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem.

In 1872, about 20,000 souls were reported resident in that city; by 1906, the number had grown to 50,000." 9 With the launching of the Zionist movement there began an organized program backed by capital, and men and women of influence and renown. The first congress of that organization was in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland, and its platform began: "Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine."

Considerable progress was made in settling colonies, building modern cities and developing farms and orchards. The pogrom against the Jews launched in Germany caused many Jews to migrate to Jerusalem while yet they could escape alive.

As against the recorded population of 50,000 in Palestine in 1906, it is said that the one thriving all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv has 125,000 inhabitants. One of its modern thoroughfares is named Allenby Road in honor of Field Marshal Allenby who delivered Palestine from the Turk.

When the new Hebrew University on the summit of Mt. Scopus just outside Jerusalem was opened in April, 1925, the inaugural address was by Lord Balfour, author of the Balfour Declaration previously referred to. General Allenby was present, and representatives from more than fifty leading institutions of higher education from distant parts of the world.


The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia gives us some interesting information epitomized in the following paragraphs:

In 1918, the Jewish population of Palestine was 55,000; by 1942, it had increased to 550,000. The largest annual influx of Jewish immigrants was 61,854, in 1935. During the period 1935 to 1939 inclusive, there were 204,077 Jews entering Palestine as immigrants. The general Jewish population in Palestine engaged in agriculture was 480, in 1882; this number had increased to 145,500 in 1941.

Pioneers in the development of agriculture among Jews returning to the Holy Land include many university-trained young men and women, educated in modern and scientific methods of agriculture and horticulture, and especially trained to meet the problems and adversities to be encountered in that land. These leaders accounted for a remarkable development in agriculture and fruit growing. Under their methods, the yield of wheat per acre was doubled. The value of citrus fruits exported rose to $18,000,000 in 1939.

Naturally the outbreak of the second World War interrupted the progress of development in Palestine, and made it difficult to secure dependable reports. However, the Encyclopedia Americana Annual for 1944 reported 600,000 Jews in Palestine, of whose number 47,000 had been drawn into military, or semi-military, duty at various battle fronts. The enrollment in Zionist bodies in the United States was given at well over a quarter of a million, with local units functioning in all of the forty-eight states. The program of the Zionist movement is restated as "seeking to create a legally secured, publicly recognized home for Jews in Palestine;" and the comment is added that this program has been approved by every president of the United States since Woodrow Wilson and has received the unanimous approval of both houses of the United States Congress by a joint resolution passed in June, 1922.

Maurice Samuels writes that Jews in Palestine have fared better during the second World War than they did during the first one. Despite the number serving in the armed forces of the United Nations, they have increased the yield of their farms, gardens, dairies, and fisheries in some categories, fifty per cent. Two thousand Jewish industries have been established employing more than forty-five thousand workers.


Conflicting interests of Jews and Arabs in Palestine pose a problem "perplexing to the nations" pledged to establish a Jewish home in Palestine. H. G. Wells has been quoted as saying it is one of the problems that cannot be solved. But we may have faith in the often vindicated words of the prophets, and believe that the Jews will return and develop their ancient homeland, though the return may be hindered and delayed.

Other scriptures are cited for those who wish to "search the scriptures" regarding this matter: Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 23:7, 8; Zechariah 8:7, 8; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Isaiah 52:1, 2; Zechariah 8:12-15; Isaiah 60:15-17.

David Lloyd George one time said: "The Red Sea has always opened its waters at the critical hour for this persecuted people." 10

Suggested Readings: Harvest in the Desert, by Maurice Samuels, published by the Jewish Publishing Society of America, Philadelphia, 1944, offers an interesting study of the Jewish movement back to Palestine from the inception of that movement in modern times, and up to 1944. Maurice Samuels is a well-known literary figure who served in the United States Army during the first World War and has made frequent visits to Palestine to check on developments there.

A detailed study of the concept, purpose, organization, and history of Zionism in Europe and the United States may be found in The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, pages 645-668. The study also includes a statement of the arguments presented by Jews opposed to the movement.

Stars and Sand, Jewish notes by non-Jewish notables, selected by Joseph L. Baron, Published by Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1944. A wealth of material from speakers and writers of various nations, going back a long way, and ending with statements from modern leaders of thought of most modern nations: Roosevelt, Cordell Hull, Churchill, Stalin, De Gaulle and many others. A fine reference book of materials from non-Jewish thinkers.

Justice for My People, by Ernst Frankenstein, Dial Press, New York, 1944. Includes discussion of the Arab versus Jew problem in Palestine and proposed solution of the Jewish problem in general.

America and Palestine, by Reuben Fink, published by American Zionist Emergency Council, New York, 1944. Discusses American official and public attitude toward rebuilding Palestine as a free democratic commonwealth.

As I See It, by Rabbi Stephen Wise, Jewish Publishing Corporation, 1944.

Organized Anti-Semitism in America, by Donald S. Strong, Ph. D., published by the American Council of Public Affairs, Washington, D. C. A study of anti-Jewish tendencies and organizations in America.


1. A Challenge to Modern Skepticism, P. 35.
2. Amos 9:9.
3 Jeremiah 33:7.
4. Hosea 1:11.
5. Zechariah 2:1-5.
6. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, p. 334.
7. Isaiah 31:5.
8. Isaiah 49:22, 23.
9. Dictionary of the Bible, Scribner & Sons, 1906, Vol. 5, p. 550.
10. Prophecy’s Light on Today, p. 77.

Return To Contents

Chapter 32 -  Concerning The Second Advent Of Christ

JUST AFTER Jesus had miraculously fed the four thousand persons, he took ship and crossed the Sea of Galilee to the "coasts of Magdala." After he had landed, and perchance while his disciples were speculating about the weather for the morrow, scribes and Pharisees came to ask him for a sign from heaven. He answered them:

When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 1

Old customs persist. Men still speculate about the weather. It is the most common topic of conversation, and despite our modern weather bureaus, the old weather adages are still current. Not long ago I picked up an almanac and read this old saying:

Evening red and morning grey speeds the traveller [traveler] on his way; Evening grey [gray] and morning pours down rain on somebody’s head.

Those Hebrews could read the weather sign in the sky but they could not read the signs of their own times. They were living in a momentous time toward which all their prophets had pointed—the time of the coming of the Messiah. He was there among them, talking to them, and they did not even know what was happening.

Are men wiser today? We maintain government meteorologcal bureaus to sctudy [study] weather indications, but might not Christ say to many of us: "You can discern the face of the sky, how is it you cannot understand the signs of your own times?"

A few years ago a group of Episcopal bishops in conference assembled drafted a pastoral letter to their people in which they said: "The one word that best describes world conditions is confusion."

Even the wise men of the earth, filled with forebodings as they are, know not whither we are drifting in this era of world confusion. The sky is "red and lowring." What does it portend?

Only in the light of ancient and modem prophecy can we read the signs of these days. I say modern prophecy advisedly, because we believe that a prophet came to America, and that he had a great message concerning our times: a message portending the second coming of our Lord.

The clear promise is given in the word of ancient prophecy that Christ will come again. We have his own definite commitment: "I will come again." Who shall challenge his word? The promise runs through the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. May I summon the witnesses? I quote from their testimony:

MATTHEW: "The Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory."—25:31.

MARK: "Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."—14:62.

LUKE: "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."—21:27.

JOHN: "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again."—14:3.

PAUL: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."—I Thessalonians 4:14-18. PETER: "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."—l Peter 5:3, 4.

JUDES "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints."—Jude 14.

REVELATION: "Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him."—l:7.

ANGELS OF HEAVEN: "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."—Acts 1:10, 11.

The promise is literal, personal: "same Jesus" in "like manner.

JESUS TESTIFIES: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."—John 14:3.

All these prophets were united. How strange that their message was so long overlooked, even challenged, by the modern religious world. Unbelievers have scoffed—believers have explained away and "spiritualized" the meaning of these literal promises. Peter warned that this should be:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 2

It is true that in some quarters there has come an awakening, a change of sentiment. A gathering that was termed a "prophetic conference" was held in the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, in 1914. Seventeen hundred delegates were present, representing various Protestant churches. From that conference came this declaration:

We believe in the second, visible and imminent coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to establish his world-wide kingdom on the earth.

This was called a " prophet" conference; but almost one hundred years before that time, the prophet who came to America had sounded that message, as we shall presently show.

During the World War, in 1917, a group of British divines, representing Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, and Episcopal churches, issued a "manifesto" called, "The Significance of the Present Hour." It was published in the London Times and later in the Chicago Herald for December 6, 1919. I quote from the first, second, and fifth articles of their manifesto:

First—That the present crisis points toward the close of the times of the Gentiles. . . .

Second—That the Revelation of Our Lord may be expected at any moment, when he will be manifested as evidently as to his disciples on the evening of his resurrection. . ..

Fifth—That all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the second coming of our Lord, because all nations will be subject to his rule. 3

If we detect something of the prophetic in such utterances, how much more shall we discern the prophetic in the work of the man who preceded them by almost a century; the man who came as a prophet should come, anticipating the wisdom and vision of others, and in harmony with the ancient prophecies warning us to prepare for the coming of our Lord.

Joseph Smith relates that on the evening of September 21, 1823, he retired to his room in an upper chamber of his father’s house. He knelt in prayer and while so engaged, an angel of light, glorious beyond description, entered his room and instructed him concerning many things, among others, the following:

And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. 4

This was the first prophetic proclamation of the second advent to be uttered in modern times.

In September, 1830, another revelation was given through the prophet:

The hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass; for I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.5

Twice more during the first year of our existence as a church the Lord spoke to us through his prophet concerning this momentous question; first, during October of that same year, 1830:

Be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom; for, behold, verily, verily I say unto you, that I come quickly; even so. Amen. 6

And again during November, 1830:

... cry repentance unto a crooked and perverse generation; preparing the way of the Lord for his second coming; for, behold, verily, verily I say unto you, The time is soon at hand, that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory, and it shall be a great day at the time of my coming, for all nations shall tremble . 7

These prophecies are strictly in harmony with the promises of Christ and the apostles and the "signs" he gave to forewarn of his coming. They fit into the signs of our times, indicating his coming as discussed in previous chapters of this work. They help us to read and interpret the signs of the times in which we live. They bid us be ready, for though we know not "the day nor the hour" when he comes, these things indicate that the time approaches. And the ancient admonition was, "Be ye also ready."


1. Matthew 16:2, 3.
2. II Peter 3:3, 4.
3. Chicago Herald, Dec. 6, 1919.
4. Church History, Vol. 1, P. 13.
5. Doctrine and Covenants 28:2.
6. Doctrine and Covenants 32:3.
7. Doctrine and Covenants 33:1.

Return To Contents

Chapter 33 -  Prophets Spoke Of Our Days

DURING THE CLOSING decades of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, there were two schools of thought. Optimists still sang, "The world is growing better, better, all the time." Civilization was to go on to ever higher and richer developments. Perpetual peace was at the door; the Hague Tribunal, arbitration treaties, disarmament conferences, later the League of Nations, the Briand-Kellogg pact to renounce war: these meant no more war. Ignorance, crime, poverty were to vanish.

There were others, called "prophets of doom," who saw a different picture—the coming storm.

Helen Keller, deaf and blind, said, "I feel a darkness without a name." 1

H. G. Wells, British historian and lecturer, visiting New York in 1931 and being interviewed by the press said: "It is as if I were watching a dark curtain fall steadily, fold after fold, across the bright spectacle of hope with which this century dawned." 2

Edna Ferber, appealing to the young people of America wrote: "It is important that we stop wise-cracking and realize that the world is falling to bits."

On a summer evening, one may look in one direction and see bright sunshine and blue sky. Another may look in another direction and see black clouds and the onrushing hurricane. It has been so in our time in other matters.

Modern times saw marvelous achievements in science, invention, discovery, in education, travel, industry; and some saw only those things. Others saw the coming storm.

Well, the prophets of old saw both the good and the bad, the sunshine and the storm in our time, which they variously termed, "the latter days," the "time of the end," "the day of God’s judgment." May we note some of their predictions?


Daniel had a few words regarding "the time of the end":

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased. 3

In "the time of the end" many were to run to and fro. No age has even approached modern times in the vast amount of travel made possible by modern transportation methods.

In America, everyone traveled: some in Pullmans, some in day coaches, some by air, some on the sea, more in automobiles. Even people of limited means climbed into the family Ford and went east, west, north, or south: to the Rockies, California, Maine, to the Berkshires, Cape Cod, Florida, Mexico, Canada. People with more money crossed "the pond" to do Europe, to visit London, Paris, Venice, Berlin, the Alps, the Irish lakes, the moors of Scotland, the pyramids of Egypt, the historic scenes of the Holy Land. Some crossed the sea to study old world art and culture; some, to plumb the deep pits of old world depravity.

"Knowledge shall be increased." Modern education has found expression in a thousand ways not known of old: schools and universities of every grade; periodicals of every sort; libraries, the radio. The common man has been better informed than were the kings and princes of old.

Doctor George Washington Carver, famous Negro chemist, was born of slave parents. In his youth, he was traded for an old horse. This modern world opened the doors of universities to him and he walked in.

All this was to be in "the time of the end." This good knowledge has not yet been consecrated to the upbuilding and salvation of man. Sir Oliver Lodge, one time foremost scientist in Great Britain, on his eighty-fifth birthday, said:

There is a surfeit of science. The world is sick and tired of scientific achievements. Too many of our endeavors, those things which I and others have struggled to bring about, have been so grossly abused. We know things that we never should have known. Think of radio—my first love. I never dreamed that that electrical discovery would be used to bomb innocent children . . . and I feel responsible.


The Prophet Nahum seemed to have a remarkable vision travel in our times, and described it as well as one might who could not have understood much of what he saw. And this was to be in the "day of his preparation." Nahum wrote:

The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad way, they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings. 4

Here we have a picture of brightly lighted streamlined trains racing through the night like the lightnings; automobiles "jostling one another in the broad ways," the four-lane superhighways, seeming "like torches," racing "like the wind."

All this travel and culture predicted by Daniel and Nahum eclipsed the glory that was Rome; all other eras in world history fade into almost insignificance by comparison. John Fiske declared, "An epoch, the grandeur of which dwarfs all others that can be named since the beginning of the historic periods." 5

Remember, this was to be "in the day of his preparation."


The prophets saw the culture and travel of modern times; they saw, also, the enormous accumulations of wealth. They saw something else: the great inequalities that have threatened the continued existence of democracy. Read this from the Apostle James:

Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 6

"As rich as Croesus" is an old-time expression. Long ago it was outmoded. Croesus was not so rich compared to modern multimillionaires.

Some of these last mentioned regarded wealth as a stewardship.

Many of them, with their wives and sons and daughters, indulged in fantastic revelries of waste and extravagance and sin that might have shocked the old Roman patricians. They "lived in pleasure on earth and were wanton." Millionaires gave their debutante daughters fifty-thousand-dollar "coming-out parties" at a time when many children in America were dropping out of school because they were "inadequately clothed or too hungry to study." One thousand cases such as those last named were reported by elementary school principals at the opening of the school term in Kansas City, 1939-40. This was at a time when Midwestern warehouses bulged with foodstuffs and clothing, and farmers were being paid by the government to produce less.

Even during some of the worst days of the second World War, one multimillionaire industrialist gave a banquet in Washington to society and governmental people that was a national scandal. Rare foods from many lands were served at a reputed cost of forty dollars a plate. The press described it as a "Belshazzer feast," and added that with the food went "a golden stream of champagne that flowed through the dinner and until four o’clock in the morning, when the dancing stopped."7

This was at a time when American citizens had just been told to forego all luxuries and some necessities. The country was going on rations, thousands in Europe were starving, hundreds of thousands being killed. "You have nourished yourselves as in a day of slaughter."

America herself was a land of heaped-up treasure. In the days of prosperity, it was estimated that the wealth of the United States equaled the combined wealth of Great Britain, France, Russia, and Japan.8

During 1939, gold was flowing like a river into America to be heaped up in treasure vaults in the hills of Kentucky. It was estimated at the time that 58 per cent of the world’s supply of monetary gold had been deposited in America. In one day, the U. S. steamer "Mauritania" brought in 56 million dollars in gold and the French liner, "Normandy," docked with 28 million dollars of French gold.9

During our most luxurious days, however , it was said that ten per cent of the people owned ninety per cent of the wealth of America, while ninety per cent owned only ten per cent.

Stuart Chase, in The Road We are Traveling, states that in 1940, there were in the United States forty-five million persons living "below the diet danger line"; twenty million were living on an average of five cents a meal.

These things the prophet foresaw: vast wealth "heaped up," much of it in idleness or used foolishly so that the "rust of it" would torment the hoarders; on the other hand, extremes of poverty, with oppression and extortion, graft, corruption.

This was to be "in the last days." And in that day "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."


The prophets foresaw the culture, travel, riches, luxury, poverty of the last days. They saw also the dangers, physical and moral. Read this from the Apostle Paul:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. 10

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.10

"Perilous times shall come." Even in times of peace, our highways have had casualty lists like those of battle fields: thirty-two thousand five hundred killed in one year in automobile acidents [accidents] and nine hundred sixty thousand maimed and crippled. This, with world-wide wars have indeed made it as "in a day of slaughter."

"Trucebreakers," War could have been avoided, in the first place; peace could have been restored later by negotiation, could the nations have trusted each other. But solemn covenants between nations became but "scraps of paper." Nonaggression pacts, covenants of friendship, were solemnly made with the covert intention to gain an advantage and then to strike suddenly and ruthlessly. Remember the covenant Hitler made with Russia?

"Men Shall Be Fierce." We had thought that civilization had refined men, made them "gentlemen," it was but a veneer. All the terrible instruments of death that modern science has devised, men have taken and used without mercy to destroy men, women, and children.

"Disobedient to Parents." J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, checked our shameful reign of crime up to undisciplined homes. Speaking to a convention of women’s clubs he said that "crime could be eradicated in America in one generation if parents would teach their children obedience" instead of leaving that task to the police when it is too late. The reign of juvenile crime so alarming in America began right there, in disobedience to parents, and the fault not all with the children.

"Lovers of Pleasure More Than Lovers of God." The beaches, the ball parks, the theaters, have been packed on Sundays; the churches, almost deserted.

This breakdown of faith, of religious and moral convictions, has made life dangerous in a moral and spiritual sense and brought ruin to millions of homes and individuals.

Too many have been without "natural affections," seeking happiness in illicit romances, in dissipations, gambling, drugs, liquor, adultery. The world has "loved pleasure more than God."


The prophets foresaw also the time of great wars. A time when all the implements of peaceful agriculture and industry should be recast into implements of war. This when "the day of the Lord is near":

Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. . . . Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.11

The "heathen have been wakened." We ourselves sent Commodore Perry to Japan—a hermit nation for 216 years, living alone—he trained the guns of his warship upon their capitol and told them to open up and do business with us—or else. They have done business with us. They learned from us the arts of modern warfare.

"Let All the Men of War Draw Near." The men of war of every nation were to be thrown into the conflict "in the valley of decision." Let the men of every nation be mobilized for war.

"Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears." The "scrap" metal of all nations, every old pruning hook, sickle, plowshare from once fruitful harvest fields, doorknobs from once peaceful homes—all these have gone into swords, bombers, tanks, cannon.

Even while the storm gathered, America sold eight and a half million tons of scrap metal to Japan. It seemed a "good bargain." We were paid for it—and then we got it back free of charge in bombs and torpedoes.

Then we gathered our own "scrap," as they did in every other nation, to "beat" into weapons of war, until farmers were left with scant machinery to plant and harvest their crops.


The present picture is dark. But the prophets saw also beyond all this a time of returning peace, sanity, righteousness:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 12

Observe the salient points of this long-time hopeful prophecy:

The Lord shall judge the nations and rebuke many peoples.

They shall beat their swords back into plowshares and their spears back again into pruning hooks. The weapons of war shall be forged again into implements of industry.

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation and men shall not learn the arts of war any more.

Such is the long-time pattern to which the Lord works. Beyond the present storm, the prophets saw the sun again shine.


1. Kansas City Star, Oct. 20, 1931.
2. Literary Digest, Oct. 3, 1931.
3. Daniel 12:4.
4. Nahum 2:3, 6.
5. The Idea of God, p. 56.
6. James 5:1-8.
7. Report of Star Correspondent in Washington, Kansas City Star, Dec. 22, 1942.
8. Literary Digest, April 1, 1931.
9. United States News, Washington, D. C., April 3, 1939.
10. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 3:13.
11. Joel 3:9-14
12. Isaiah 2:2, 3.

Return To Contents

Chapter 34 -  Signs Of Our Times


When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 1

How about the signs of our own times? Are we as blind to them as were the Jews to the signs of their times? Are we also "weather wise" but very foolish concerning the true significance of events today?

The prophets foresaw our day and forecast many of its characteristics. First of all let us note some things that Christ said. Those who believe in him will accept his prophecies willingly; those who do not believe in him must admit, perforce, that they were true predictions.

His disciples were talking to him about the temple. They gloried in it. They were still Jews. Jesus alone had a world vision far beyond Judea. He knew that Judaism was to end, so far as the old Mosaic economy was concerned. Christianity was to begin. The feast of the Passover was soon to be observed by them and was to give place to the Communion of the Lord’s Supper.


They said to him, "See what manner of stones and what buildings are here!" 2 Well might they marvel. Josephus tells us that some of the stones of the temple were 37 to 45 feet long, twelve feet thick and 18 feet wide.

To the disciples, the sacred building was a material as well as a spiritual fortress, destined to stand for all time. Judge of their astonishment when he said to them:

See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3

This prediction was to be verified within less than four decades. Titus besieged Jerusalem and sacked the city. Eventually not one stone of the temple was left upon another. A fragment of outer wall remained—the "wailing place" of the Jews, where for centuries, each Friday they gathered to lament:

We are become a scorn and a derision to our neighbors . . remember not our iniquity forever. We are brought very low. Oh, let thy tender mercy redeem us. 4

Today every place is a wailing place for the Jews.


A little later, standing on the Mount of Olives, the disciples questioned Jesus:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 5

They understood that he was to come again. Evidently they had been so taught, and later he reiterated the promise: "I will come again." 6

Now he gives them the signs of his coming and the end of the world. Note how his prediction describes modern times:,

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers places 7

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 8

In reading his predictions as recorded by Matthew and Luke, some confusion may arise in the mind of the reader because some of the predictions were long-range predictions while others had to do with the rather immediate future.

One of the short-range predictions concerned the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes this event:

On the 10th of Ab in the year 70, amid circumstances of unparalleled horror, Jerusalem fell [to the Romans]. The temple was burnt and the Jewish state was no more ... In spite of Titus’s express orders to the contrary the temple was destroyed; and, finally, only a portion of the city wall was left standing.

The battle even raged within the temple, even to the "holy of holies."

Jesus had warned them:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house. 9

Josephus records the tradition that some of the early Christian Jews remembered the warning when they saw Roman armies and fled to the hills and escaped. This short-ranged prophecy so literally fulfilled assures us that the others, will also come true. In fact, we have seen them in process of fulfillment. Note some of them.

"Wars and Rumors of Wars." One of the signs of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ was: "There shall be wars and rumors of wars."

For a long time skeptics said, "There have always been wars and rumors of wars. Today it is no different. How can these things be a sign?"

Just that sort of thing has not been said so much during the past several decades. True there always were rumors of wars, spread slowly in ages past by word of mouth. In this age, both in times of actual war and in times of peace with preparation for war, radio has kept the air filled with rumors of war almost every hour of every day in every land and in every language. These rumors came into the seclusion of our homes on the hour. The press brought them to us twice daily, with frequent "extras." It has never been so in any other age.

Two sociologists of Harvard College, Professor Pitrim A. Sorokin, chairman of the department of sociology at Harvard, and Nicholas N. Golovin, formerly lieutenant general in the Russian Imperial Army, made a thorough study of past wars in modern Europe, Ancient Greece, and the Western Roman Empire over a period of 2,400 years (a study of 902 wars) They considered five points: 1. The duration of the war. 2. The size of the fighting force. 3. The number of casualties, killed and wounded. 4. Number of countries involved. 5. Proportion of combatants to the total population of combatant countries.

Their findings were read before the ninety-third meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in December, 1933. They show that wars do not tend to decrease but rather to increase rapidly. On one of their charts the curve of war starts in twelfth century and runs up and up, rapidly so of late, to the extreme upper right-hand corner in our day.

Quoting from the Literary Digest comments on their findings:

The figures show clearly that despite the many glamorous stories of chivalrous conflict that have come down to us, war was comparatively insignificant among man’s activities up to the seventeenth century in Europe Beginning with that century it increased enormously, and did not diminish during the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century there was a considerable lull in war activities, though they were still more than one hundred times as great as in medieval centuries. But in the first part of the present century war reached an absolutely unprecedented height, exceeding the sum total of all the wars fought during preceding centuries in these eight European countries. 10

Wars and rumors of wars are such a sign today as the world never before knew. In unmistakable terms, they speak of the Second Advent of our Lord under whose reign peace will come to earth. The signs and portents of today are such as the world never before saw and they cannot be dismissed by the statement: "We have always had war."

Commenting on that point, H. G. Wells one time pointed out that in the past, war was an inconvenience, a waste; but now with the enormous powers for destruction put into man’s hands by science and modern mobilization for total war, civilization itself is in great peril and humanity is threatened with destruction. 11

No one who has watched the course of two World Wars will question that statement.

When Christ talked about wars and rumors of wars as a sign of his coming and "the end of the world," he was not thinking of scrimmages between Roman soldiers with short swords and barbarians with spears and clubs. He painted a picture that fits our day.

The scientists previously referred to made their report following the first World War, and found that this century even then had piled up record of war to exceed all past centuries in eight European countries. And then came the second World War before the century was half over, dwarfing the first one, involving all the world. What pen can picture that situation?

"Distress of Nations." Could a more vivid picture of the world situation of today be compressed into so few words? Distress of nations: bloodshed, sorrow, starvation, bombed homes, millions of homeless exiles, every sort of physical suffering and mental anguish has been put upon the nations of earth.

"With Perplexity." Every sort of problem—economic, social, moral—with all the problems of relations with other nations, revolution, war: these have tormented the rulers of all nations by day and by night.

"Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:" Just before the outbreak of the second World War, a world traveler and lecturer declared: "Fear hangs like a pall over all Europe." Like a pall, it spread over Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

"Famines and Pestilences." Christ said, "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences."

Famine and pestilence go along with war. Total World War of this century meant calamities of this sort unprecedented in history. The record of the opening years of this century in that regard is appalling, the more so because men had reached an age of mass production when it was quite possible to clothe and house and feed the peoples of all civilized countries. But war claimed their substance:

Famine followed Hitler through Europe. One by one, as nations fell before his man-reaper, conquered peoples sat down to starve.... until long after peace returns on broken wings to Europe.... there will be hundreds of thousands of people, whom war has robbed of their homes, wandering up and down the continent living, starving, dying and being killed on the roadsides. 12

No pen can portray, or statistics picture the famine upon the nations of Europe, Asia, and Africa, resulting from the second World War. The whole world put upon short rations, and millions in Russia, China, Poland, Greece, France, and in other nations who would better have died quickly in battle than to have starved slowly to death the while watching their loved ones also starve. The despoiler having trodden down and plundered his neighbors of their food reserves, himself also came to starve—so that the conquerer and the conquered alike shared the same suffering.

"This Gospel of the Kingdom." One climactic sign Christ gave:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nation; and then shall the end come. 13

Had the gospel in its purity been preached all down the ages, it would be no sign of the end for it to be preached in the closing days of time. But the gospel was lost, and at a set time, it was to be restored by angelic ministration.

John on Patmos saw this angel come with the gospel before the hour of God’s judgment:

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 14


The picture painted by the prophets, which has come to life in our day, is a dark picture. And yet Christ admonishes, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh." 15

There is a new world order coming forward to which believers may look. World conferences of great nations may help in its coming; but they cannot through politics are military might bring it to pass. There must be a repentance, a conversion, a turning to Christ, a regeneration of the world, spiritually, until he comes "whose right it is to reign".

And the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. 16


1. Matthew 16:2, 3.
2. Mark 13:1
3. Matthew 24:2
4. Stoddard Lectures.
5. Matthew 24:3
6. John 14:3
7. Matthew 24:6, 7.
8. Luke 21:24-26.
9. Matthew 24:15-17.
10. Literary Digest, January 20, 1934.
11. H. G. Wells, American Magazine, of May, 1935.
12. Walter Davenport, Collier’s, July 27, 1940.
13. Matthew 24:14.
14. Revelation 14:6, 7.
15. Luke 21:28.
16. Isaiah 9:6, 7.

Return To Contents

Chapter 35 -  In Conclusion

THIS book goes to press during some of the most dramatic and momentous days in world history: World War Two suddenly brought to a close; a new era shaping up in the hopes and fears of mankind.


"The shot heard round the world," fired by the "embattled farmers" at Lexington-just a few grains of black powder and a bullet from an old musket-heralded a new era of liberty and democracy. Much more resounding was the explosion of the first atomic bomb ever to be dropped in warfare which fell upon the city of Hiroshima, in Japan, August 5, 1945. One bomb charged with imprisoned "cosmic energy" wrought ruin upon a large city, blasting buildings to atoms and burning with the "flame of devouring fire" so many thousands of people that it was reported "the dead were too numerous to count." That explosion shook more than Japan. It jarred the world to a perception and an apprehension of new and appalling forces now at man's command to destroy or to serve humanity. What sort of men and nations may be using these implements of devastation a quarter of a century from now? And against whom? It gives a new and poignant significance to the prophecy: "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." 1 In 1921, H. G. Wells wrote: "I doubt if it would make any very serious difference for some time in the ordinary daily life of Kansas City, let us say, if all Europe were reduced to a desert in the next five years."2

That was the way Wells felt then. That was the way Americans felt then-but not now. What happened in Japan may happen in Kansas City or in any other city, if and when changing world events put such devastating agencies into the hands of a hostile people who have the air power to deliver them.

Well did Winston Churchill say:

This revelation of the secrets of nature, long mercifully withheld from man, should arouse the most solemn reflections in the mind and conscience of every human being capable of comprehension. We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce to peace among nations and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, they may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.


Yes, this book goes to press in a great and terrible day. In a few short months, typical of "the hastening time" of these latter days, events rushed to a furious climax in American and world history. An invaded and utterly crushed Germany capitulated and three months later came the surrender of Japan. The atomic bomb precipitated the latter event. For the time being those two war-making powers are out of the equation.

A great conference of the United Nations met in San Francisco and drafted a charter for a "world security league" which was signed by the delegates of fifty nations: "the parliament of man, the federation of the world," dreamed of by Tennyson. How very appropriate, almost inevitable, that this event of such potential promise should have taken place in America, the land of promise which in Book of Mormon prophecy and in history has always stood for human liberty. It would be difficult to overestimate the obstacles that lie in the way. Only by great wisdom, with faith, and by the grace of God can the vision be realized.

The little nations of Europe may learn to forget their religious and racial antagonisms and their age-old habit of starting little wars that grow into big ones. If so, we may then devoutly say: "Behold the leopard has changed his spots." The Orient and the Occident, the East and the West, of which Kipling said "never the twain shall meet," may come to understand each other. The great nations, the giants of earth today, with their vast sea, air, and ground forces, may police the little and the rebellious nations; and through dread memories of past wars, and fear of the next more dreadful one, hold in abeyance and learn to arbitrate their own conflicting beliefs and interests.

It takes more than fear to preserve peace. Fear jeopardizes peace. Good will must come take the place of fear and hatred; and there must also be found the solution of certain very materialistic problems. As the most devastating war in history merges into the past and loses its grip upon our emotions, "Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget-lest we forget!" 

The sobering problems of reconversion and reconstruction loom ahead and may require long years of wise and patient working and waiting, if they are to be so solved as to make way for the coming of the Prince of Peace.

The threat of famine and pestilence and revolution in the wake of world war is to be reckoned with. There remain the conflicting political and economic theories of capitalism, communism, state socialism, democracy, fascism.

The industrial problems that precipitated the "great depression" that began in 1929 were never solved-prodigal governmental spending pushed them aside, until the war came, bringing a temporary and artificial prosperity. Not having been solved, those basic problems will return to plague us.

Probably no one in America doubts that it is easily possible to produce all that the entire population needs, with many luxuries added. Yet there is deep-seated and widespread fear of unemployment and want. Why? Because we have solved the problem of abundant production, but the problem of equitable distribution remains unsolved. Our trouble during the great depression was not an insufficiency-it was a superabundance, too much of everything: wheat, corn, milk, meat, cotton, wool, metals, lumber, what not. Yet many were in dire want: undernourished, poorly clothed, badly housed if housed at all. The best we could think to do at the first was to plow the corn under, kill the little pigs, burn the cotton, order farms to lie untilled.

Very well indeed did the prophet who came to America, a hundred years ago, under divine direction address his message to the matters of equality based on "needs and just wants," and the proper distribution of surpluses that there might be no rich and no poor. That which God wanted done voluntarily as a religious duty in accord with our belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, the people would not heed; and in wartime governmental rationing attempted to force equality, and taxation attempted to take care of surplus moneys. The problem remains with the return of peace.

Today a diminishing portion of the working population can produce all that everybody needs, thanks to modern methods and mass production. That leaves many unemployed; and being out of a job they cannot buy nor can they eat. To provide jobs for all and an equitable distribution of the products of toil is the task that challenges democracy. If it is not solved, the war may have been lost.


In 1939, Cordell Hull, then Secretary of State in President Roosevelt's cabinet, said:

There is ample room on this earth for the two billion human beings who inhabit it. There are ample known resources of materials and skill to enable all nations to enjoy a high level of economic prosperity and to face a future of continued plenty. 3

The Lord had anticipated Mr. Hull by more than a hundred years when he said to the prophet, Joseph Smith: "The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare." 4

That abundance was dissipated in a long and terrible war. In many places, want and poverty and debt are in the stead of plenty. Now the word would again turn its face toward the "promised land." When the children of Israel, after long wandering approached the promised land-at least, a relative approach-the prophet said to them: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 5

The old challenge is in our ears, as individuals and as nations, "Choose you this day!"  We cannot buy our way into the era of peace and plenty. We cannot legislate it into being. We cannot force it with fire and sword. Only through good will and understanding can we enter in. Not in a theological sense alone, but in absolute reality "the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation." There must be repentance and regeneration, conversion to the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God.

The song the angels sang when Christ was born was not just a pretty little evening song to lull a baby to sleep in a manger. It had the secret of world peace: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  May we sometimes render it thus: "Give glory to God in the highest, cultivate good will toward men, and you shall have peace on earth."


1. Luke 21:26.
2. The Salvaging of Civilization, page 62, H. G. Wells, the Macmillan Company.
3. Cordell Hull, speaking at the 75th anniversary dinner of the Red Cross, April 25, 1939.
4. Doctrine and Covenants 101:2.
5. Joshua 24:15.