Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Spirit of Prophecy

A story in scripture that I really like occurs in Numbers 11. The Israelites were wandering in the desert, and they stopped to camp for a while. Moses took 70 people outside the camp and commissioned them to prophesy. Two people who were still in the camp (and thus who were not among the number commissioned by Moses) had the Spirit fall upon them, and they likewise began to prophesy.

Joshua approached Moses and told him what was happening, requesting that Moses tell the two people prophesying in the camp to stop. Moses responded, "Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29)

Elsewhere in scripture, we are taught that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10) What these two verses, taken together, mean is that all Christians should be prophets.

One major role of the prophets is to tell people about Jesus. So, in that vein, let me tell you about Jesus.

Jesus is loving and compassionate. He welcomes all to come to Him - every single member of the human family. He invited sinners (which we all are) to His table when the world rejected them

I echo the words of Nephi who said:
He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
2 Nephi 26:24-28
 Some people have tried to add asterisks to this warm welcome. But Jesus didn't qualify His invitation. He said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28, emphasis added)

People who cast humble seekers away from the body of the saints are gravely mistaken. People who say that casting those seekers away is the will of Christ are taking the name of God in vain and must repent.

When we meet our maker, we won't be judged on whether we checked all the boxes on the checklist. We'll be judged on what kind of person we have become. Are we kind, loving, grace-filled people, or are we self-righteous people who follow policies at the expense of people?

The people Jesus will welcome into His kingdom are those who love Him enough to become like Him - kind, forgiving, merciful, willing to mourn with those who are mourning, willing to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and afflicted. Let us be those people.

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