Re-defining Apostasy

Apostosia is a Greek word that literally means rebellion. In 1200 BC Moses tried to sanctify and bring the children of Israel into the presence of Christ. They refused to be sanctified in preparation to enter into His presence. Instead, the children of Israel suggested that Moses be their representative, to get the message from God and tell it to them. The wanted Moses to get the message from God, …and then give it to them. The children of Israel didn’t have to change because none of them desired to enter into the presence of Christ. The were too afraid to do so anyway. The only one that needed to prepare is Moses, the representative. For this reason they were cursed:

  • to wander the wilderness for 40 years
  • those who rejected the invitation all died (except Joshua)
  • and Moses was taken out from among them along with the higher order of the priesthood

What is interesting is that the children of Israel were cursed because they wanted a representative. Every time they faced hardships in the desert, they complained to the representative, yet they rejected the heavenly being that had the real control. Prophets have often warned against the desire to have a hierarchical organization (Kings).

The purpose for the presence of Christ is found in Exodus 20:18-21. Those who are sanctified and enter into His presence desire no more to sin. They were not expected to be perfect before entering into His presence. The perfecting happened after entering in.

Once the old House of Israel died, a new “House of Israel” was able to enter into the promised land (after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness). But, just before Moses walked away with the fullness of the priesthood, Moses left temple ordinances (in the traveling temple) to teach the House of Israel of their individual potential to receive the very covenant that was rejected in the wilderness, by the previous generation. 

Joseph Smith did the same as Moses, in Nauvoo, just before Joseph was martyred. Since the Nauvoo temple had not been built in “sufficient time,” Joseph prepared the saints to receive the covenant that was rejected in Nauvoo. He took the brethren aside and taught them temple ordinances in the Red Brick Store. Joseph’s ordinances are fundamentally the same ordinances we have in our current temple. The invitation to receive further light and knowledge by literally conversing with the Lord through the veil is still being offered. There have been a few changes over the years, but the fundamentals are the same.

King Solomon’s Temple (900 BC) was one of the first permanent temple structures, and the most elaborate. It was made up of the finest of jewels. Cities were traded and great debt had incurred to build this temple. The rich class didn’t mind the cost, but the poor class carried the burdens of the costs in their labors. A hierarchy of High Priests were set up to govern the activities in the temple. The ordinances offered therein were of the old Hebrew temple rituals given by Moses, but would eventually be changed.

In 721 BC, when the Assyrians conquered and scattered the ten tribes of Israel, the children of Israel had already begun to change the temple ordinances. The hierarchy of High Priests, set up to protect the temple ordinances from changing, tweaked them to fit their understanding. Since the hierarchy of High Priests had no personal heavenly visitations, visions, or mighty miracles, the expectations for such wonders were played down, until such expectations were considered idol worship. The religious office of High Priest became highly politicized to promote popular perceptions, rather than seeking a divine connection. Soon it was possible to campaign for religious offices, or to purchase religious offices.

The skewed view of idol worship and purchasing religious office was a controversy between High Priests who welcomed the changes to the ordinances and High Priests who felt it necessary to never change the ordinances. This controversy is what caused Samaritan High Priests to leave the mainstream population, to go into the desert, to preserve the old Hebrew temple ordinances, so it would remain unchanged. To the Samaritans, preserving the old Hebrew temple ordinances was intended to keep what is done on earth aligned with what is done in heaven (The Lords Prayer). In the mind of the Samaritan, changing the ordinances on earth would result in a broken connection to the heavens.

By 600 BC, King Josiah and the popular Deuteronomic priests (Laban being one of them) substituted the necessity of a connection to heaven with the idea of salvation through obedience to THE LAW. Since the religious offices were the stewards of the law, they had ultimate control over the government of the people. Defying or questioning the stewards (the now Deuteronomic High Priests) was considered questioning, …even defying God, and considered blasphemy, and apostasy (the new rebellion).

The emphasis of the law, the power, influence and abuse of the stewards of the law, the temple ordinances having been changed, and mens expectations reduced to never entering the presence of Christ, are all conditions of the people in Jerusalem during the time of Lehi. Lehi was considered an apostate, and was stoned as a penalty. He preached against the Deuteronomic High Preists (the current stewards of the law). Lehi had connected to the heavens and received his endowment there (in the heavens). He was probably already endowed in the temple ceremonies in the desert with the Samaritans. Nephi had to kill Laban, steal the plates, and travel to America in order to preserve the old Hebrew ordinances from the dictatorships of the Deuteronomic High Priests. After Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, the remaining children of Israel were captured and carried away into Babylon in 587 BC.

When Christ comes in the meridian of time, the Deuteronomic High Priests became the Pharisees. The Pharaisees and Sadducees were battling for political office and religious control. The ruling Romans allowed the Jews to continue practicing their government system within the Roman laws. The Sanhedrin were the power of the Jewish government. Just as Lehi was, Christ was accused of blasphemy and apostasy. Christ was crucified for practicing “magic.”

In the old Hebrew religion such magic (angelic visitations, miracles, prophesies, healing, etc.) was considered authenticating a person sent by God. But the replacement of the old Hebrew religion, set up by Moses, had drastically changed to emphasize all the attention on a hierarchy and obedience to the law for salvation, absence of the necessity to enter into the presence of Christ. In the new organization, at the time of Christ, there was no need for a savior from sin. The expectations of a Pharisaic messiah was a military leader. When Christ did not act in that role, the Pharisees and Sadducees turned from Christ, never to follow again, and to targeted Him as their common enemy.

Apostasy… transitioned from being defined as rebellion to the command of God, to rebellion to the command of the hierarchical leader. In the original apostasy the desire for a representative on behalf of the House of Israel was condemned, and cursed by both Moses and God. God expected the individual to be sanctified and enter into His presence personally, not by representation (the parable of the ten virgins). The penalty for desiring a representative was to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. However, in the new organization, it is the representative that is in control of the law, the gatekeeper. The representative determines worthiness, determines the extent of penalties, and determines the grounds of excommunication. Disobeying the representative, questioning the representative, defying the representative is seen as disobeying, questioning and defying the very God! The representative was the only mouthpiece of God. Their followers were taught to see the representatives words as if they came from the mouth of God.

The real definition of apostosia has not changed. Just because we don’t agree with it, does not change God’s perspective. Apostasy is still rebelling against God’s will. Our misalignment …is our unbelief. God is the same today, tomorrow, and forever. If there is anyone that changed, it is us. We are invited to put off our unbelief.

The saints at the time of Lehi and Christ were not able to put off their unbelief. They fought to become the governing hierarchical leaders instead. The coveted power of hierarchal leadership was used to exercise unrighteous dominion. There heart was set so much upon the things of their world, and they aspired to the honors of men, that they couldn’t learn the lesson of all men being inseparably connected to heaven. God can speak for Himself. Coming to Christ is the only value of an organization.

It is the connection to heaven, the errand of God, the words of God, the power of God that has any authority to give power to man. God withdraws such gifts when men use them to consume it upon their lusts. Even when God withdrew His gifts from the Children of Israel, the organization continued to exist. The organization continued to exist in the days of Lehi. The organization still existed in the days of Christ. It is not the organization that produces salvation. It is the condition of the individual heart that is being weighed and measured. It is the role of the words of Christ to soften the heart, to receive the gifts that we are being offered. God desires our return, not in the next life, but in this life. The test is now.

 

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