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From the very beginning of man’s mortal experience, the Lord established a dual avenue for communicating with His spirit children. One was by personal revelation to the individual for matters pertaining to him and his stewardship. The second was through prophets who would receive revelation for the entire world. This chapter will deal with the second source of divine guidance—prophets.
What is the divinely appointed purpose of prophets? Paul wrote:
And he 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: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Ephesians 4:11–14)
How long would prophets be necessary in God’s plan? Paul said: “Til we all come to a unity of the faith.” It doesn’t take a PhD in theology to see that we are anything but at a unity of the faith. Therefore, the continuing need for prophets exists.
It should be noted that prophets are just men like the rest of us who have been called of God to a special calling. The ancient prophet Amos said: “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord” (Amos 2:11).
The Lord knew that it would be difficult at times to follow the counsel He gives through living prophets. On the very day the Church was organized, the Lord revealed His commandment regarding the living prophet:
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory. (D&C 21:4–6)
There isn’t a clearer declaration in scripture that we are commanded to follow all of the “words and commandments” of the living prophet than verse 4. In verse 5 the Lord acknowledges that it will require “patience and faith” because we won’t always see beforehand the logic or the purpose of the directive.
However, in verse 6 the Lord promises three unparalleled rewards for following the prophet’s counsel: 1) the gates of hell (unrepented sin) will never prevail against us; 2) the powers of darkness will be dispersed so that we can see clearly and not stumble when confronted with the “mists of darkness” Lehi and Nephi saw would engulf those striving for eternal life; and 3) the Lord would exert His almighty power—sufficient to shake the entire heaven and earth for our good and His glory—which is our exaltation (see Moses 1:39).
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
You can read Randy Bott's new book, God's Formula for Success, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.