Does The Latter-Day Saint Standard Works and the Qu'ran Violate The Parameters of Revelation?
We need to define the terms “parameter” and “revelation.” “Parameter” is described as “a limit or boundary that defines the scope of a particular process or activity.” “Revelation” is described as “the means through which God imparts facts and truths previously” (that is, from God to man, 1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
Has God actually revealed His will to mankind? Has God set up parameters wherein He, according to His own will, stopped giving direct revelation to mankind? Absolutely!
The Bible claims itself to be the word of God over 3,600 times. Does merely making a claim establish fact? No. There must be evidence that backs up that claim. There are several marks of inspiration that prove the Bible is God's word: (1) the hundreds of prophecies that have accurately been fulfilled, (2) the unity of the Bible, (3) the brevity of God's word, and (4) scientific foreknowledge. Each of these areas has been defended by many Christian apologists.
Has God set up parameters wherein He, according to His own will, stopped giving direct revelation to mankind? The reason for asking this question is because there are many books in the world (such as the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon) that claim to be inspired by God besides the Bible.
We want to show from the Bible that God Himself set up parameters. Those parameters of revelation are: (1) the progressive nature of revelation, (2) the preparation of John the Immerser, (3) the passing away of the old covenant, (4) the placement of the new covenant, and (5) the purpose of miraculous gifts.
1. The Progressive Nature of Revelation
God's ways of revealing Himself to mankind over the centuries have been used in the illustration of the illumination of the sun, moon, and stars God created. The patriarchal dispensation (4,000 B.C. - 1500 B.C.) has been called the “Starlight age” in which God revealed Himself to certain individuals such as Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Job, etc. (Genesis 1-Exodus 19). There was no written revelation (except for the book of Job which was written sometime a later, perhaps before or after the time of Abraham). The Mosaic dispensation (1500 B.C. - A.D. 30) has been called the “moonlight age” because the illumination of revelation increased in that God revealed His will to Moses and other prophets such as Elijah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, etc. During that time, the Holy Spirit revealed to the prophets what Israel ought to be doing in showing covenant faithfulness to their Creator. The Christian dispensation (A.D. 30 - ???) has been called the “sunlight age” because God the Father revealed Jesus the Son (Hebrews 1:1-4); the Law and the Prophets had been pointing toward their fulfillment (Matthew 5:17-20).
The Book of Mormon violates this parameter of revelation. In the Bible, it speaks of the mystery of Christ (Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; Romans 11:25; 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 4:1; Ephesians 1:9; 3:3; 5:32; 6:19; Colossians 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 10:7). The mystery is described as revelation previously hidden, then revealed through the holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit in the first century A.D. In the Book of Mormon, the “cat is out of the bag” already hundreds of years even before Christ comes to the earth in that it is unlike the Old Testament, which is concealed in its prophecies, but once seen from a Christological lens (through the revelation of the New Testament), then it all becomes revealed. For example, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was reading Isaiah 53 and asked Philip in Acts 8:34: “…of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then the text states that Philip preached Jesus to him. Evidently, now the eunuch was able to make the connection that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 was Jesus of Nazareth. He had seen things clearly through a Christological lens.
Another example is found in the text on marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. Paul gives instructions on the duties of husbands toward their wives and vice versa. At the end of the text, Paul speaks concerning Christ and the church. He states that Genesis 2:24 had within it the “seed” that would sprout - it was a typological prophecy that was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus and His church. No one, unless it had been revealed, would have ever thought that Genesis 2:24 was a typological prophecy. But now that great mystery had been revealed to show that it indeed was a prophecy.
But the Book of Mormon gives away the mystery many times through its so-called prophets hundreds of years before Jesus is born (2 Nephi 25:19; 26:12; 30:2; 31:17). It is not concealed like the Old Testament. This parameter of revelation has been violated by the Book of Mormon.
2. The Passing Away of the Old Covenant
This covenant was established with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13; Exodus 24:1-8). It was temporary (Galatians 3:19). It was a “shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). It is written for the Christian's learning (Romans 15:4), written for our example (1 Corinthians 10:11), and written for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Jeremiah had prophesied that this covenant with Israel would pass away and be replaced by a better covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses and nail it to the cross (Matthew 5:17,18; Colossians 2:14-17). Therefore, nobody is bound under the old covenant today.
Doctrine and Covenants 107 is a “revelation” that was “given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, about April 1835.” In this “revelation”, there were two priesthoods that the LDS were to include within their theological system – the Melchizedek and Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood. In Hebrews 7, the inspired writer reveals that Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 8:1) and that the Levitical priesthood was insufficient because it could not take care of the sin problem (Hebrews 10:1-4). This is why Christ came to die as a sacrifice for mankind's sins. Because there was a change in the priesthood, there had to be a change in the law. Since we are under the law of Christ, then the Levitical priesthood is not binding on us today because it was a part of the old covenant. This certainly violates this parameter of revelation for wanting to return to a law that was only for the Jews and has passed away (Hebrews 8:8-13).
3. The Preparation of John the Immerser
For almost four hundred years (after Malachi), the nation of Israel had been without direct revelation from God. God had set up a parameter by allowing the door of revelation to close until John the Immerser arrived on the scene to prepare the way of the Messiah (as prophesied in Isaiah 40:1,2; Malachi 3:1; 4:5,6; Matthew 11:10-15 in 27 A.D). This was the “Elijah” of whom Malachi spoke (Matthew 17:9-13).
During those four hundred years of silence, the Latter-Day Saints claim some of the books found in the book of Mormon were written (between the time the door of revelation closed and when it reopened again, from 400 B.C. - 27 A.D.). Those books would include Jarom (399-361 B.C.), Mosiah (130-91 B.C.), Alma (91-52 B.C.), Helaman (52-1 B.C.), and part of 3rd Nephi (A.D. 1-34). That is why the Book of Mormon violates this parameter of revelation.
4. The Placement of the New Covenant
Jesus established a better covenant with His precious blood (Matthew 26:28) in A.D 30. It went into force after His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:15-17). Therefore, the whole world is subject to the law of Christ (Romans 4:15). Those who have been added to the Lord's church partake of the benefits and blessings found in the new covenant (Hebrews 8:8-13).
The reason that the Book of Mormon violates this parameter of revelation is because it is supposedly called another testament of Jesus Christ (such is proclaimed on its front cover). A testament would have involved the death of a testator (Hebrews 9:15-17). The Bible teaches that Jesus only had to die once and for all (Hebrews 7:27). How can the Book of Mormon be another testament when Jesus did not die again? That violates this parameter of revelation. The new covenant is also to be an everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20).
5. The Purpose of Miraculous Gifts
The purpose of the miraculous gifts (given to the early church by the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of the apostles) was to reveal and confirm the word of God (Hebrews 2:1-4; Mark 16:17-20; Acts 8:14-24). That purpose was certainly completed by the end of the first century A.D. (Ephesians 4:7-16; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). The miraculous gifts have ceased.
In the Book of Mormon around the 400s A.D., Moroni wrote the opposite of what the Bible teaches by stating in Moroni 7:27: “And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.”
God has established parameters in which He revealed His will at certain points in time. The Book of Mormon (along with other books such as the Qur'an) have violated these parameters of revelation. The source of such books are of human origin and clearly did not come from the God of the Bible.
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