Gifts of the Spirit, Cessation

Any time the church of Christ was formed on the earth, it is accompanied by powerful, frequent spiritual manifestations among members known as spiritual gifts. Usually a strong leader leads out in faith and the faith of others are bolstered by their example.

Satan in efforts to mislead, mimics, as close as he can, these gifts only when the authentic ones appear. He appears, for example, as an angel of light.

People in all ages tend to think themselves as superior and think they have all that their forbearers had and begin to rationalize that this little coincidence, or that little coincidence must be a spiritual gifts because these gifts must still be with us, when a simple historical exercise shows otherwise.

Others, known as cessationists, see the difference and recognize the absence, and rationalize that these were important for the founding era, but we don't need them for whatever reason suits their conscience best.

However these rationalizations, that I have entertained as well, do not square with the plain teaching in the Book of Mormon that if these things cease, then faith has ceased also and all is vain. The scriptures also teach this is how the faithful identify the truth and know they are not led by the sophistry or commandments of men, and, they exist to help gain converts and ratify the faith of those exercising them.

Today Satan doesn't seem to bother. He is much more comfortable and effective if people do not know he even exists.

 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)

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Why Gifts Cease

"And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites....And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face. And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples [moral degredation connected to loss of gifts]....And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year. [shows daily revelation can be the normal experience]" (Helaman 4:12, 23-24, 11:23)

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"And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matt 8:26-27)

Jesus and apostles wrought miracles then, it should be so now, not different. God does not change the amount of miracles, only men change, dwindle and know not the God they should trust. Jesus said if we believe we would do greater works than he did. (John 14:12-14)

"And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.  And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.  And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth." (Mormon 9:18-21)

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If angels cease to appear, or gifts of the Spirit or miracles cease it's because of unbelief and all is vain.

"...has the day of miracles ceased?  Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." (Moroni 7:35-37)

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Gifts ceased and translated beings left because of iniquity.

"But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief." (Mormon 1:13-14)

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Those who deny revelations or tongues or prophesying or say they are ceased know not the Gospel.  Often Latter-Day Saints will say similarly, "These were needed at the founding but they are not needed today."

"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;  Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." (Mormon 9:7-8)

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"Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!" (2 Nephi 28:26)

"Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!" (2 Nephi 28:27)

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"Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld." (D&C 70:14)

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"It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the church for more than two or three centuries We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian....From this time they almost totally ceased; very few instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed,) "because there was no more occasion for them," because all the world was become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause was, "the love of many," almost of all Christians, so called, was "waxed cold." The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine his Church, could hardly "find faith upon earth." This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church -- because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left." (John Wesley's Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)

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"Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!" (2 Nephi 28:29)

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"And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor." (2 Nephi 26:20)

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