Revelation, Through His Spirit and Prophets…
The world is a hard and scary place in which to live. We see crime in the streets, and winds of war prevailing over not so far away horizons. Just a few months ago when Monica and I enjoyed a long planned vacation which began in Budapest, Hungary, we could not help but think of the fact that just a few hundred miles away Ukraine was being attacked by a foreign power. We could not hear the bombs, nor smell the smoke of invasion, but I pondered much upon the past tyranny of the communist Soviet Union on the very streets we walked in Budapest. Later as we journeyed through Austria and Germany, the aggression of Nazis, which over-swept Bavaria and then Europe, was fixed in my mind. Walking through the concentration camp and death chambers at Dachau reminded me that man’s inhumanity to man is not a 21st century thing. It makes reasonable the cry from the dark cold prison cell of a persecuted 19th century prophet, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1).
I have heard a lot of people express a feeling that God has turned His back on us, upon the world, or that if God is really loving He would not let so many bad things happen. I do not believe this is true. I believe when backs are turned they are most certainly ours and not the Lord’s. When loving is denied, it is not the love of God withheld, but the love of man. For this reason He has extended His limitless love through the atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, and the influence and comfort of the Holy Ghost, which testifies of His love, of His total commitment to our salvation and eternal progression. The communication of His love, of and through His Spirit, is revelation.
Revelation is the communication between God and man. When God communicates with His children, and He does so quite constantly, it is through revelation, primarily by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The Still Small Voice of the Holy Ghost, prompting us to good, salving the wounds of broken hearts, is evidence of His compassion and love.”
There is personal revelation, which we receive every day. By the Light of Christ and through the Spirit of God, we receive promptings and loving guidance, a comfort that He is there, watching over us, as a father’s loving eye not so distant from his child. He loves us and has His kind face turned towards us, even when we turn our backs upon him. The Still Small Voice of the Holy Ghost, prompting us to good, salving the wounds of broken hearts, is evidence of His compassion and love. As any parent must at some point in the progression of children allow them to make mistakes and endure hardship, so too He gives us opportunity to grow through pain and trial, but never turns His back on us, never His love away. God gives us agency that we might choose and have the opportunity to become more like Him.
God also provides revelation to His children as a people, as a great family, through prophets who speak on His behalf for all the world. Prophets have been with us since the very beginning, since our first parents Adam and Eve, who received the will of the Lord through His voice and Spirit. Others followed, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph who was sold in Egypt and Moses who delivered His people therefrom, Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. They all delivered the Lord’s law to His people, and testified of Christ. God has done nothing unto the children of men without first revealing His will to His prophets.
As was revealed to Amos, a simple herdsman and gatherer of fruit, made prophet by God, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). God has always revealed His will to His people through His prophets.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”(Amos 3:7)
In the meridian of time the Savior came, the Son of God, and fulfilled the witness of those prophets of old. He atoned for the sins of all mankind that by grace we may return to God’s presence. And although there was a great falling away, apostasy, as the apostles and authority of Christ were persecuted and driven from the world, even in the darkest of ages we were not left without light, because we had His word, the testimony of those old prophets, and the witness of the living Christ. The Savior’s name stayed on the lips of man, in the hearts of good people, until a time of restoration and increased light could come back into the world in the persons of living prophets, restored principles and authority.
In answer to humble and desperate prayers offered by a young prophet, Joseph Smith, prayers that could be offered by God’s children today, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”, the Lord replies, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8). Later, of trials Joseph, and we, might yet endure, the Lord said, “…know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8).
Our Heavenly Father lives, and like His Son, loves us all. He has neither turned His back on, nor withheld His love from us. Man’s inhumanity to man is not part of the plan of God, but the regrettable result of disobedience to the laws and principles of the gospel, communicated by our loving Heavenly Father through His prophets and our Redeemer. We must have agency to grow, and God loves us and provides our freedom to choose and grace through His Son that we might repent and receive mercy. I love my Father in Heaven and I am grateful for His prophets, through the ages and living in our day. The world will continue to be a hard and scary place to live, but as the Lord declared to give comfort and strengthen the faith of one prophet, and for us all, “Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:9). In the name of Jesus Christ, our kind Savior and Redeemer, amen.