Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, January 25, 2019

John 1 Come and See





Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read! Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog


In the New Testament we read about Jesus Christ.  We learn about his life, how he came to be, his mission, his light, and also about the invitation he extended to his disciples to come and see. As we study these teachings of Christ, particularly the invitation, we can gain a greater desire to follow the Savior.  Then by applying to our own lives, the principles we learn from the scriptures, we can do as the disciples did and actually "come and see" as well as invite others to come and see for themselves.

In the book of John we learn of the things of Christ and about his invitation, so this week we will allow John to take us on a journey of learning that we may indeed, see, and know...

Why study John?
During a time of increasing persecution against Christians, political and civil turmoil, growing apostasy, and disputations about the nature of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John recorded his personal testimony of the Savior. It is very much the same way in our day now with existing circumstances in the modern world. Studying John’s Gospel can increase our confidence that, despite contrary pressures and opinions in the world, Jesus Christ is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

The Joseph Smith Translation changes the title from “The Gospel According to St. John” to “The Testimony of St. John.” Thus, the Gospel of John is a firsthand account of one who was eyewitness to the events he recorded

Who was John?
John was a disciple of John the Baptist and later became one of the first followers of Jesus Christ and one of His Twelve Apostles. He wrote the Gospel of John, several epistles, and the book of Revelation. In his Gospel, he referred to himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” and the “other disciple” (John 13:23; 20:3). John’s zeal for preaching the gospel was so strong that he asked to stay on the earth until the Savior’s Second Coming so he could bring souls unto Christ (D&C 7:1–6).

John and his brother James were fishermen who worked on the Sea of Galilee with their father, Zebedee (see Matthew 4:21), and Simon Peter (see Luke 5:10). Before becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, John was apparently a follower of John the Baptist (see John 1:35–40; Guide to the Scriptures, “John, Son of Zebedee”; scriptures.lds.org). John served with Peter and James “in the First Presidency in the dispensation of the meridian of time” (David B. Haight, “The Keys of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 74). Accordingly, the Savior regularly included John in some of the more intimate moments of His ministry (see Matthew 17:1–13; 26:36–45; Mark 5:37–43). Tradition indicates that John may have been Jesus’s first cousin. This tradition also indicates that Salome, who is mentioned in Mark 16:1, was the sister of Jesus’s mother, Mary, and the mother of James and John. This could mean that John was especially beloved by the Savior on the basis of a family connection. (New Testament Student Manual)


To whom was John written and why?


John knew that if all the sayings and doings of Jesus were recorded “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25), and therefore he carefully selected material for his record.   Also because of John’s apostolic calling as one of the “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (D&C 107:23), his writings and message, in a general sense, are meant for everyone. However, his message also has a more specific audience, as Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: “The gospel of John is the account for the saints; it is pre-eminently the gospel for the Church, for those who understand the scriptures and their symbolisms and who are concerned with spiritual and eternal things” (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1).
 
The final decades of the first century A.D. were a time of increasing apostasy within the Church and opposition from without—conditions that posed tremendous challenges to the faith of the second- or third-generation Christians living at the time. John’s stated purpose in writing was that his readers “might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). “The scenes from Jesus’ life that [John] describes are carefully selected and arranged with this object in view. … He clearly affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, attested to by miracles, by witnesses, by the prophets, and by Christ’s own voice” (Bible Dictionary, “John, Gospel of”).
 
The Book of John
About 92 percent of the material in the Gospel of John is not found in the other Gospel accounts. This is probably because John’s intended audience—Church members who already had a basic understanding of Jesus Christ—was decidedly different from Matthew’s, Mark’s, and Luke’s intended audiences. The miracles of Jesus that John recorded serve as an example of the unique nature of this Gospel. Of the seven miracles reported by John, five are not recorded in any other Gospel. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke presented considerable information about Jesus’s ministry in Galilee, John recorded numerous events that took place in Judea. John’s Gospel is richly doctrinal, with some of its major themes being the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, the Atonement of Christ, eternal life, the Holy Ghost, and the meaning and importance of belief.

More than any other Gospel writer, John emphasized Jesus’s divinity as the Son of God. John recorded over 100 of Jesus’s references to His Father with over 20 references in John 14 alone. Every chapter in John, with the exception of John 21, has a reference to the Father. One of John’s major contributions is his inclusion of the Savior’s teachings to His disciples in the hours just prior to His death, including the great Intercessory Prayer, offered the night He suffered in Gethsemane. This portion of John’s account (John 13–17) represents over 18 percent of the pages in John, providing us with a greater understanding of the Savior’s doctrine and what He expects of His disciples.

The Gospel of John contains several titles for Jesus Christ that are not found in the other Gospels, such as the Word (see John 1:1–2), the Lamb of God (see John 1:29, 36), the Light of the World (see John 8:12; 9:5), and the Good Shepherd (see John 10:11, 14). More than any other Gospel writer, John recorded Jesus’s own testimony of His divinity (see John 5:17–37; 8:23–59; 10:30–38; 16:27–28) and His identity as Jehovah of the Old Testament (see John 4:26; 8:58).  (New Testament Student Manual) 


Breaking it Down  John 1
In this chapter through the testimony of the Apostle John; we learn one of the most important doctrines of the gospel.  Christ is the Word, created and chosen in the pre mortal world before his temporal birth.  He created all things and was then made flesh.  John the Baptist testified of the coming of Christ then baptizes Jesus and testifies that He is the Lamb of God. Following which John(the author of this book), Andrew, Simon, Philip, and Nathanael believe in Christ and follow Him.

Jesus Christ was “in the beginning with God.”  John 1:1–5
John began his testimony of Christ by testifying of the Savior’s roles before He was born.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

2 The same was in the beginning with God. 
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

What did John teach about the premortal Christ in these verses?   To better answer this questions lets also read the Joseph Smith Translation of these verses; the Joseph Smith Translation contains numerous changes to John 1:1–34. These changes, which can be found in the Bible appendix, provide important clarifications to the scriptural text.

1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.
4 In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men;
5 And the light shineth in the world, and the world perceiveth it not.

“The Word” is a title of Jesus Christ President Russell M. Nelson explained: the meaning of the Savior’s title “the Word”: “In the Greek language of the New Testament, that Word was Logos, or ‘expression.’ It was another name for the Master. That terminology may seem strange, but it is appropriate. We use words to convey our expression to others. So Jesus was the Word, or expression, of His Father to the world” (“Jesus the Christ: Our Master and More,” Ensign, Apr. 2000, 4).

In addition, Latter-day revelation provides additional information about the title of Jesus Christ: In the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation” (D&C 93:8). The Gospel of John emphasizes that Jesus Christ is the messenger of the Father to the world. As such, He declares the Father’s words (John 7:16; 8:26–28; 12:49–50; 17:8)


What other things does John teach us in  John 1:1–5?  

1. John teaches us that Christ was with us in the pre-mortal world and taught ALL spirits (that means us)  the gospel before coming to this earth.

Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:1, reads: “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God” (in the Bible appendix). These words bear witness of the premortal existence of Jesus Christ, for He was “with God” in the beginning of all things. They affirm that His mission of salvation began in the premortal world, for He was “the Word,” even the messenger of salvation (see D&C 93:6–8), who taught the gospel to us “in the beginning.” Elsewhere in scripture we learn that in the premortal world, Jesus Christ was the great Jehovah ( 3 Nephi 15:5; D&C 110:3–4).  


2.  Christ is the Son of God and was chosen as the Son of God by the Father in the pre-mortal existence before he was born.  

While all four Gospels testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, John’s Gospel is the only one that teaches about Jesus’s premortal life (see John 1:1–2). Latter-day scriptures affirm numerous truths about the premortal existence and stature of Jesus Christ. The Savior told the Prophet Joseph Smith, “I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn” (D&C 93:21). The book of Abraham describes the premortal Christ as “like unto God” (Abraham 3:24). The book of Moses states that Jesus Christ was Heavenly Father’s “Beloved Son, … Beloved and Chosen from the beginning,” who even before this life said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2; see also Abraham 3:27–28).


3.  ALL things created are done so by Christ as directed by the Father.  John testified that “all things were made by” the Savior (John 1:3, 10). He created “worlds without number” (Moses 1:33), “millions of earths like this” (Moses 7:30), and “all things from the beginning” (Mosiah 3:8). Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote about Jesus Christ’s role as the Creator: “The Father operated in the work of creation through the Son, who thus became the executive through whom the will, commandment, or word of the Father was put into effect. It is with incisive appropriateness therefore, that the Son, Jesus Christ, is designated by the apostle John as the Word; or as declared by the Father ‘the word of my power’ [John 1:1; Moses 1:32]” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 33).

There are, however, “two creative events” that God the Father reserves for Himself. “First, he is the Father of all spirits, Christ’s included. … Second, he is the Creator of the physical body of man [see Moses 2:27]” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 63).

4.  He is the light of men, His light, the light of Christ resides in ALL People.  John’s writings contain the only New Testament teachings about the Light of Christ. The Bible Dictionary explains this light:

“The phrase ‘light of Christ’ does not appear in the Bible, although the principles that apply to it are frequently mentioned therein. The precise phrase is found in Alma 28:14, Moro. 7:18, and D&C 88:7. Biblical phrases that are sometimes synonymous to the term ‘light of Christ’ are ‘spirit of the Lord’ and ‘light of life’ … The ‘spirit of the Lord,’ however, sometimes is used with reference to the Holy Ghost and so must not be taken in every case as having reference to the light of Christ.

“The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ. For instance, Christ is ‘the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ (D&C 93:2; see John 1:9). The light of Christ fills the ‘immensity of space’ and is the means by which Christ is able to be ‘in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things.’ It ‘giveth life to all things’ and is ‘the law by which all things are governed.’ It is also ‘the light that quickeneth’ man’s understanding (see D&C 88:6–13, 41). In this manner, the light of Christ is related to man’s conscience and tells him right from wrong (Moro. 7:12–19).

“The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost”
(Bible Dictionary, “Light of Christ”).

Why is it important to know Christ’s premortal roles?


Jesus Christ is the Light John 1:1–14
As you read the following verses make note of each instance of the word light.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

How has the Savior and His gospel provided spiritual light in your life?  

How have you experienced His light?

Every person born into the world automatically and instinctively knows right from wrong because of the universally bestowed divine endowment called conscience. In other words, "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" or the light of Christ, "giveth light to every man that cometh into the world." (D. & C. 84:44-47.) "The Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil." (Moro. 7:12-19.)  (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1) 

Disciples of Jesus Christ bear witness of Him John 1:1–18

John was inspired to seek the Savior because of the testimony of John the Baptist, who declared that he “was sent to bear witness of … the true Light” (John 1:8–9, 15–18).

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 ¶ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote the following about John 1:1–18: “From latter-day revelation we learn that the material in the forepart of the gospel of John (the Apostle, Revelator, and Beloved Disciple) was written originally by John the Baptist [see D&C 93:6–18].

“Even without revelation, however, it should be evident that John the Baptist had something to do with the recording of events in the forepart of John’s gospel, for some of the occurrences include [John the Baptist’s] conversations with the Jews and a record of what he saw when our Lord was baptized—all of which matters would have been unknown to John the Apostle whose ministry began somewhat later than that of the Baptist’s. There is little doubt but that the Beloved Disciple had before him the Baptist’s account when he wrote his gospel” (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1)  

After quoting John 1:6–8, President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) explained that these passages describe the purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry: “The immediate purpose of the mission of John the Baptist was to bear witness that Jesus was the true Light, the true teacher of the way of life eternal, and to invite men to believe in him for the remission of their sins and be baptized. John the Baptist was not the Messiah or the leader of a great movement; he was the herald and witness, bearing testimony to the nature and divine titles of Jesus, and the witness through whom God attested the divine sonship of Jesus” (Conference Report, Oct. 1968, 141)

The phrase “I knew him not” in John 1:31 has caused some people to question whether John knew that Jesus was the Messiah. In the Joseph Smith Translation, the phrase “I knew him not” is corrected twice. John 1:31 is changed to read, “I knew him, and that he should be made manifest to Israel” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:30 [in the Bible appendix]). In John 1:33 the word not is again omitted to read, “I knew him” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:32 [in the Bible appendix]). These corrections clarify that John knew Jesus was the Messiah, for whom he was to prepare the way. This harmonizes with the clear testimony John himself had just given of Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me” (John 1:29–30; see also verse 15).  (New Testament Student Manual) 


Make a list of truths that John included in his opening testimony of Christ John 1–18; and also Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:1–19.  We've talked about several in the above paragraphs.  After doing this read them carefully to yourself and then answer the following questions.  

Why do you think that John began his Gospel with these truths? 

If right now you were asked to write your witness of Jesus Christ, what would you want to share? 



What does it mean to “become the sons of God”? John 1:12
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Because all men and women are spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents, some people may wonder why we need “power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). Numerous scriptures speak of the need to become sons and daughters of God through being born again and entering into gospel covenants with God (Mosiah 5:7; 27:25). While all people are spirit children of our Heavenly Father, those who make gospel covenants such as baptism and the temple endowment also become God’s covenant children. Elder Bruce R. McConkie further explained how the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ affords us the opportunity to become the sons and daughters of God in eternity: 

When we accept Christ and join the Church, we have power given us to become the sons of God. We are not his sons and daughters by Church membership alone, but we have the ability and the capacity and the power to attain unto that status after we accept the Lord with all our hearts (see D&C 39:1–6).

“Now the ordinances that are performed in the temples are the ordinances of exaltation; they open the door to us to an inheritance of sonship; they open the door to us so that we may become sons and daughters, members of the household of God in eternity”
(Conference Report, Oct. 1955, 12–13).
Those who are sons of God (meaning the Father) are persons who, first, receive the gospel, join the true Church, obtain the priesthood, marry for eternity, and walk in obedience to the whole gospel law. They are then adopted into the family of Jesus Christ, become joint-heirs with him, and consequently receive, inherit, and possess equally with him in glorious exaltation in the kingdom of his Father. (D. & C. 76:54-60; 84:33-41; 88:107; 132:15-25; Rom. 8:14-18; Gal. 3:26-29; 4:1-7.)  (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1) 

Has anyone seen God?  John 1:18
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

In the Joseph Smith Translation, the Prophet Joseph Smith added this inspired qualification to the King James Version wording of John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:19) This important addition emphasizes that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. It also clarifies that the Father speaks to men on earth in order to bear record of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

As presently found in the King James Version this passage is one of the classical examples of scriptural mistranslation. The whole body of revealed truth bears record that Deity has been seen by man. What John actually taught was that the Father had never appeared to any man except for the purpose of introducing and bearing record of the Son. The joint appearance of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith shows the pattern that has always been followed. (Jos. Smith 2:14-20.)
All things center in Christ. He is the God of Israel, the God of the Old Testament, the Advocate, Mediator, and Intercessor. Since the fall of Adam, all of the dealings of Deity with man have been through the Son. On occasions, however, in accordance with the principle of divine investiture of authority, the Son has and does speak in the first person as though he were the Father, because the Father has put his name on the Son. The visions of Moses as revealed anew to the Prophet in this day fall in this category. (Moses 1; Mormon Doctrine, pp. 24-25, 122, 355, 428-429.)  (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1) 

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. … The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:27). The scriptures record a number of occasions when the Father has introduced Jesus Christ: Matthew 3:17; 17:5; 3 Nephi 11:6–7; D&C 76:23; Joseph Smith—History 1:17.

Who is Elias, and who is “that prophet”? John 1:19–23
19 ¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

The Jewish leaders asked John if he was “Elias” (the Greek name for the Hebrew “Elijah”), who was prophesied to someday return  Malachi 4:5–6.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: when John the Baptist began his ministry, “the whole Jewish nation was stirred up with anxious expectation, awaiting the momentary appearance of the Messiah and his Elias. With great hosts from Jerusalem and all Judea flocking to John and accepting him as a prophet, and with the banks of the Jordan crowded with his baptized converts, it was natural for the leading Jews—members of the great Sanhedrin, whose obligation it was to test prophetic claims—to send priests and Levites to make detailed investigation” (Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1) 

John understood, as the priests and Levites apparently did not, that there are various meanings for the name-title Elias.  John was an Elias, which means a forerunner of the Messiah, but he was not the Elias, who is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. John was also not Elijah the prophet, whose name in Greek is Elias. “I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. … I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as saith the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:22, 24 

John’s testimony left no doubt that he knew of his own divinely appointed preparatory mission and of the divinity of the “preferred” One who would come after him: “I baptize with water, but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is of whom I bear record. He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, or whose place I am not able to fill; for he shall baptize, not only with water, but with fire, and with the Holy Ghost” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:27–28  


When John denied that he was Elijah, the Jewish leaders asked him, “Art thou that prophet?” (John 1:21). Their question likely had reference to the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” However, by asking John if he was “that prophet” after John had already denied that he was the Christ, these Jews showed that they did not understand the messianic nature of Moses’s prophecy. Many of the Jews in Jesus’s day anticipated the coming of a prophet who would be like unto Moses but who was not the Messiah. This is evident when many in Jerusalem later proclaimed that Jesus Christ was “the Prophet,” while others declared that He was “the Christ” John 7:40–41; 6:14

Many scriptures use the term Elias in connection with vital doctrinal explanations. Some of these passages have come to us in garbled and fragmentary form. Various of them use the word to mean wholly different and divergent things. Much confusion and uncertainty would be avoided if gospel students would note carefully the distinguishable differences in the various usages of this important though unusual word. The following different meanings of the designation Elias are of scriptural record: 

1. ELIAS OF ABRAHAM'S DAY. — As part of the restoration of all things, a prophet named Elias came to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836, and committed unto them the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham. The scriptural account of this glorious event specifies: "Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed." (D. & C. 110:12.)

Now what was the gospel of Abraham? Obviously it was the commission, the mission, the endowment and power, the message of salvation, given to Abraham. And what was this? It was a divine promise that both in the world and out of the world his seed should continue "as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them." (D. & C. 132:30; Gen. 17; Abra. 2:1-12.)

Thus the gospel of Abraham was one of celestial marriage (including plurality of wives); it was a gospel or commission to provide a lineage for the elect portion of the pre-existent spirits, a gospel to provide a household in eternity for those who live the fulness of the celestial law. This power and commission is what Elias restored, and as a consequence, the righteous among all future generations were assured of the blessings of a continuation of the seeds forever, even as it was with Abraham of old. (D. & C. 132.)

This committing to man of the gospel of Abraham, of the great commission which he had, should not be confused with the spirit of Elias or the doctrine of Elias. The commission which the man Elias conferred was not an authorization either to operate in the spirit of Elias or to preach the gospel. The spirit of Elias had been manifest long before the man Elias came. The commission to preach the gospel was restored by Peter, James, and John in 1829, and the gospel had been preached for nearly seven years before Elias came. In their mortal ministry, Peter, James, and John had been given this commission: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15.) In other words, the gospel of Peter, James and John, their great commission, was to preach the gospel of salvation. When they came in modern times that, among other things, was what they restored.

We have no information, at this time, as to the mortal life or ministry of Elias. Apparently he lived in the days of Abraham, but whether he was Abraham, or Melchizedek, or some other prophet, we do not know.

2.  ELIAS A NAME FOR ELIJAH. — Elias is the Greek form of Elijah. This leads to some confusion and the necessity of determining whether Elijah or someone else is meant in each passage where the name Elias appears. Such a determination is not difficult, however, when the full doctrine of Elias and Elijah is understood.

3.  SPIRIT AND DOCTRINE OF ELIAS. — Joseph Smith taught that a preparatory work, one that lays a foundation for a greater work, one that goes before to prepare the way for a greater which is to come, is a work performed by the spirit of Elias. This principle is called the doctrine of Elias. The Prophet explained that the spirit and doctrine of Elias pertain to the Aaronic Priesthood only. He used himself as an example, saying that he worked by the spirit of Elias from the time he received the Aaronic Priesthood (which is a preparatory priesthood) until the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. In the same way John the Baptist, he explained, served in the spirit and power of Elias; that is, as our Lord's forerunner, serving in the lesser priesthood, he prepared the way for a greater work.

Work done by authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood is not performed in accordance with the spirit of Elias. To distinguish between the spirit of Elias and a higher power, the Prophet said that a man could be baptized by the spirit of Elias, but he could not receive the Holy Ghost by that power, and "any man that comes, having the spirit and power of Elias, he will not transcend his bounds." (Teachings, pp. 335-341.)

4. ELIAS OF THE RESTORATION. — According to the plan and program of the Lord, the dispensation of the fulness of times is "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21.) This restoration is to be effected by Elias. Before the winding up of the Lord's work, the promise is: "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." (Matt. 17:11.) With these ancient scriptures before us, these questions arise: Who is the promised Elias who was to come and restore all things? Has this work of restoration taken place? Or is it something that is yet future?

Correcting the Bible by the spirit of revelation, the Prophet restored a statement of John the Baptist which says that Christ is the Elias who was to restore all things. (Inspired Version, John 1:21-28.) By revelation we are also informed that the Elias who was to restore all things is the angel Gabriel who was known in mortality as Noah. (D. & C. 27:6-7; Luke 1:5-25; Teachings, p. 157.) From the same authentic source we also learn that the promised Elias is John the Revelator. (D. & C. 77: 9, 14.) Thus there are three different revelations which name Elias as being three different persons. What are we to conclude?

By finding answer to the question, by whom has the restoration been effected, we shall find who Elias is and find there is no problem in harmonizing these apparently contradictory revelations. Who has restored all things? Was it one man? Certainly not. Many angelic ministrants have been sent from the courts of glory to confer keys and powers, to commit their dispensations and glories again to men on earth. At least the following have come: Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, Moses, Elijah, Elias, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. (D. & C. 13; 110; 128:19-21.) Since it is apparent that no one messenger has carried the whole burden of the restoration, but rather that each has come with a specific endowment from on high, it becomes clear that Elias is a composite personage. The expression must be understood to be a name and a title for those whose mission it was to commit keys and powers to men in this final dispensation. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 170-174.)

5. JOHN THE BAPTIST AN ELIAS. — No better illustration is found in the revelations of one who acted in the spirit and power of Elias — and yet who expressly disavowed any claim to being the Elias who was to restore all things — than that seen in the ministry of John the Baptist. Gabriel foretold that John would go before the Lord "in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:17); and the skeptical and unbelieving Jews — knowing that Elijah was to come again and that Elias was to restore all things — made pointed inquiry of John to determine if he claimed to fulfil ancient predictions in this field.

"And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias; but confessed, saying: I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying: How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. ... And they asked him, and said unto him: Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias who was to restore all things, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water, but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is of whom I bear record. He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose, or whose place I am not able to fill; for he shall baptize, not only with water, but with fire, and with the Holy Ghost." (Inspired Version, John 1:21-28.)

After Moses and Elijah (Elias) had appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration our Lord's "disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?" That is, the scribes knew that Elias (Elijah) was to precede the coming of the Lord, and yet here Peter, James, and John had seen the heavenly visitant come after the Lord had been manifest among the people.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things, as the prophets have written. And again I say unto you that Elias has come already, concerning whom it is written, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and they knew him not, and have done unto him, whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. But I say unto you, Who is Elias? Behold, this is Elias, whom I send to prepare the way before me. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist, and also of another who should come and restore all things, as it is written by the prophets." (Inspired Version, Matt. 17:9-14; Doctrines Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 108-112.)



Jesus Called Disciples to Follow Him John 1:35–51
Early in the Savior’s ministry, He called Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael (also called Bartholomew) to be His disciples  John 1:35–51.  At least two of these men; Andrew and another disciple, who was probably John, had been disciples of John the Baptist, but when they heard the Savior speak, they followed Him  John 1:35–37

Robert J. Matthews wrote: “During his public ministry John [the Baptist] gathered followers, or disciples, who called him ‘Rabbi’ (John 3:26), and whom he taught to fast (Matthew 9:14; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33) and to pray (Luke 11:1). At John’s own urging, many of his disciples left him and followed Jesus, but some stayed with him even though he made it plain that he was not the Messiah. … Some of those who first followed John are later found among the twelve whom Jesus selected as apostles. One of these is John, the brother of James, and another is Andrew, the brother of Peter” (A Burning Light: The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist [1972], 37–38)

We can gain our own witness of the Savior 
In John 1, the invitation to “come and see” appears twice (verses 39, 46). We may not have the chance to see the Savior physically the way Andrew and Nathanael did, but we can respond to the same invitation.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed what we can learn about being disciples from the experiences Jesus’s disciples had as He called them to follow Him:

You will recall that when Andrew and another disciple, probably John, first heard Christ speak, they were so moved and attracted to Jesus that they followed Him as He left the crowd. Sensing that He was being pursued, Christ turned and asked the two men, ‘What seek ye?’ [John 1:38]. Other translations render that simply ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Where dwellest thou?’ or ‘Where do you live?’ Christ said simply, ‘Come and see’ [John 1:39]. Just a short time later He formally called Peter and other new Apostles with the same spirit of invitation. To them He said, Come, ‘follow me’ [Matt. 4:19].  

“It seems that the essence of our mortal journey and the answers to the most significant questions in life are distilled down to these two very brief elements in the opening scenes of the Savior’s earthly ministry. One element is the question put to every one of us on this earth: ‘What seek ye? What do you want?’ The second is His response to our answer, whatever that answer is. Whoever we are and whatever we reply, His response is always the same: ‘Come,’ He says lovingly. ‘Come, follow me.’ Wherever you are going, first come and see what I do, see where and how I spend my time. Learn of me, walk with me, talk with me, believe. Listen to me pray. In turn you will find answers to your own prayers. God will bring rest to your souls. Come, follow me” (“He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65)
Invite others to “come and see.”

Elder David B. Haight (1906–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recounted the time when the Savior met John and Andrew. The two men followed Jesus to where He was dwelling and stayed with Him for some time (see John 1:35–39). Then Elder Haight explained how this scriptural account can inspire us to share our testimonies of the truth:

“John and Andrew were with the Savior for several hours. Just imagine being in His presence or being able to sit and look into His eyes or to hear Him explain who He was and why He had come to earth and to hear that inflection in His voice in describing what He would have told those young men. They would have shaken His hand. They would have felt of that precious, wonderful personality as they listened to Him.

“And following that encounter, the account says that Andrew went to find his brother Simon because he had to share it with someone. …

“When Andrew found his brother Simon, he said to him, ‘We have found the [Messiah]’ (John 1:41). He probably said: ‘We’ve been in His presence. We’ve felt of His personality. We know that what He is telling us is true.’ Yes, Andrew had to share it with someone.

“That is what we do in sharing what we know and what we understand”
(“Gratitude and Service,” Ensign, May 2001, 71).

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency spoke about why those with testimonies of divine truths should share their testimonies with others:

“Those who have a testimony of the restored gospel also have a duty to share it. The Book of Mormon teaches that we should ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in’ (Mosiah 18:9).

“One of the most impressive teachings on the relationship between the gift of a testimony and the duty to bear it is in the 46th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In describing different kinds of spiritual gifts, this revelation states:

“‘To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

“‘To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful’ (vv. 13–14; see also John 20:29).

“Those who have the gift to know have an obvious duty to bear their witness so that those who have the gift to believe on their words might also have eternal life.

“There has never been a greater need for us to profess our faith, privately and publicly (see D&C 60:2). Though some profess atheism, there are many who are open to additional truths about God. To these sincere seekers, we need to affirm the existence of God the Eternal Father, the divine mission of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the reality of the Restoration. We must be valiant in our testimony of Jesus” (“Testimony,” Ensign May 2008, 27)

How have you introduced the gospel of Jesus Christ to others?

Have you invited anyone to “come and see”? 

What do we learn from Andrew and Philip about sharing our testimonies of Christ?  Sharing the gospel can be simple and natural.  

Sometimes people don’t share the gospel because they find that doing so is intimidating or complicated. The accounts in John 1:35–51 show that it doesn't have to be.  Elder Neil L. Andersen taught:

“The Savior taught us how to share the gospel. I like the story of Andrew, who asked, ‘Master, where dwellest thou?’ [John 1:38]. Jesus could have responded with the location of where He lived. But instead He said to Andrew, ‘Come and see’ [John 1:39]. I like to think that the Savior was saying, ‘Come and see not only where I live but how I live. Come and see who I am. Come and feel the Spirit.’ We don’t know everything about that day, but we do know that when Andrew found his brother Simon, he declared, ‘We have found … the Christ’ [John 1:41].

“To those who show an interest in our conversations, we can follow the Savior’s example by inviting them to ‘come and see.’ Some will accept our invitation, and others will not. We all know someone who has been invited several times before accepting an invitation to ‘come and see.’ Let’s also think about those who once were with us but who now we rarely see, inviting them to come back and see once more. …

“For those using the Internet and mobile phones, there are new ways to invite others to ‘come and see.’ Let’s make sharing our faith online more a part of our daily life”
(“It’s a Miracle,” Ensign May 2013, 79).


Conclusion 
The unique value and benefit of the Gospel of John has been described by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “In [the Gospel of John] is the most persuasive testimony of the Divine Sonship; in it is the most elaborate imagery and symbolism; in it are many of the more mature doctrinal concepts”  

The gospel, the good news of John, teaches about the premortal divinity of Jesus Christ, emphasizes His role as the messenger of the Father, emphasizes that He is the only way to return to the Father, and highlights the impact of personal testimony in bringing others to follow Jesus Christ. John introduced the Savior as “the Word” (John 1:1), the Creator of this world (see John 1:3), “the life” (John 1:4), and “the Light” (John 1:7). He testified that Jesus Christ is “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14) and that Jesus gives power to all who receive Him “to become the sons [and daughters] of God” (John 1:12). John also recorded other disciples’ testimonies of Jesus’s divinity. John the Baptist testified that Jesus was “the Lamb of God” sent to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Andrew testified that Jesus was “the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ” (John 1:41). And Nathanael spoke to the Savior Himself, saying, “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49).

This is a book that answers many questions that people of the world have, and when read in connection with the Joseph Smith Translation, the light comes to one's mind making understanding clear.  Then not only is it so important for us to read and study this book to gain and strengthen our own understanding and testimonies but it is our duty, our responsibility, and should also be our joy to share what we have found so that others too can have the same thereby inviting them to come and see.  
We are the light of the world, we are the city on a hill, we are the light of the world and we have to let our light shine.

Next Week:  Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3

Resources
New Testament Student Manual
Ensign
Conference Reports
Jesus the Christ
A Burning Light: The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist
Bruce R McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1







The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...