Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Other Sheep I Have"

I've been reading the last few days about Jesus' post-resurrection ministry among the Nephites.  After Jesus died, He rose again the third day, and where did He go?

Perhaps we won't know entirely until we're done with this life, but we do know, due to the record found in the Book of Mormon, of at least one major stop: the Americas, among the Nephite people.

In 3 Nephi 15:21-24, Jesus is speaking to these people, and He says,
"And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: 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
(photo source)
And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching. 

And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice–that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost. 

But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me."
I really like this.  How often to you get to hear Jesus clarifying what He was saying in Israel?  
A lot of people are really particular about the near-last verse in the Bible, where it says, 
"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..." (Rev. 22: 18-19)
They use these verses as "proof" that the Book of Mormon can't be God's word.  However, they neglect Deuteronomy 4:2, which says, 
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." 
They are both practically the same, saying not to add or detract from the words.  I think they were meant with a different interpretation in mind, because if we interpret that verse as many interpret Rev. 22: 18-19, then anything after Deut. 4:2 would also have to go down the drain.  

Also neglected is that the word "Bible" means "collection of books", and that as it was compiled in King James' day is not necessarily the order in which they were chronologically written.  They were records, letters, all put together to form one Bible.  Does that mean there were no others who left accounts, but somehow decayed and were too illegible to be included?  

If we get past the "no more scripture" argument and look at the core message, there is so much more.  

The fact that Jesus says that these are his "other sheep" is touching.  He KNOWS us!  He is aware of us, and all people, whether or not they know of Him.  And in addition to these Nephites who He visited, there are MORE!  He says, 
"I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. 

For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them

But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them." 
 Wow.  So He didn't just minister among the Jews.  And not just the Nephites.  There are more.  

Did He go among the Chinese?
How about the Australians?  
Among the Phillipines?  
How about those in Alaska?
Among... aliens? (That one's for Dan.  He likes alien stories. ;) I'm totally kidding.  But what about other worlds?  We haven't even escaped our solar system.  Can't God send His Son beyond such boundaries?

(photo source)
And what would happens if/when we receive their "sealed" record, if that day should come?  Would we accept it?  

In Nephi, God warns that many people will say,
"A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.  Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?  Know ye not that there are more nations that one?  Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?" (2 Nephi 6-7)
I think this verse not only applies to those who bemoan the Book of Mormon, but also to those who are content to think that they wouldn't need any further revelation in our day.  (This is for LDS and non-LDS alike.)  What if the Chinese discovered an ancient record that recorded their accounts with Deity, but by another name?  Would we consider what it had to say, especially if it reinforced and added to our knowledge of truth?  

These are the "last days", and it is the "fulness of times".  I wonder when further revelation will come along.  Perhaps never, at least with further records.  But I sure do like to hope that it would be sooner than later.   I can't wait for more!!!

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