Saturday, October 28, 2006

Robert J. Matthews - BYU Sperry Symposium 10-28-2006

An address given at the BYU Sperry Symposium on How the New Testament Came to Be.

Robert J. Matthews - Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture - Brigham Young University
Joseph Smith and the New Testament
The current dispensation is conducted in the same way as previous dispensations. The ordinances are the same as well.

Men do not appoint themselves, but must be called of God by revelation.

"...if one man cannot understand these things but by the Spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, the power of the mighty." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 205;See reference sited in the later work - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith Chapter 33: The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, Tongues, Prophecy, and Discerning of Spirits 379–89)

The natural man does not have the Holy Ghost, so he can not understand the things of God.

e [Elder Pratt] mentioned that as Joseph used the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the Book of Mormon, he wondered why he did not use it in the translation of the New Testament. Joseph explained to him that the experience he had acquired while translating the Book of Mormon by the use of the Urim and Thummim had rendered him so well acquainted with the Spirit of Revelation and Prophecy, that in the translating of the New Testament he did not need the aid that was necessary in the 1st instance." (Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake City, 14 January 1871, Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Joseph understood much about previous dispensations since he had been visited by the leaders of those dispensations. He had been schooled by them and the Lord to restore that which had been lost, so he had to understand what had been before.

The complete gospel plan was preached in every dispensation beginning with Adam. The new testament dispensation was unique since it contained the Savior's birth, life, and ministry, but the doctrines were the same.

Men were saved by this great plan of redemption as much before the coming of Christ as since.

Our current New Testament is marvelous, but it is just a hint of what it once was.

The Book of Mormon does not lessen the New Testament or the holy land, but enlarge of view of an active and caring savior who is God of the whole world.

The Topic Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide in the Latter-day Saint scriptures contains 19 pages of scriptures supporting many subtopics about Jesus.

1 Nephi 13 talks of the Book of Mormon restoring the plain and precious things that have been removed from the Bible.

There are places in the Bible where there is ambiguity, which has caused some confusion. Mark 15:2 states "And aPilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, bThou sayest it." Some have stated that Jesus did not answer that he was the Son of God, but with, "That's what you say."

Joseph Smith's translation of this verse states,
3 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
4 And Jesus answering, said unto him, I am, even as thou sayest.

The ten commandment, the beatitudes, and the articles of faith all start with our relationship with God and they end up with out relationship to man, which matches with what the Savior said in Matthew 22:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.
38 This is the first and great acommandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the alaw and the prophets.

The first four beatitudes are missing from the New Testament and if we know the pattern we can immediately see that something is missing. The Savior teaches us about our relationship to God and then our relationship to man.

One o fthe purposes our scripture is to keep the Lord's commandments in front of our eyes.

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