Our King

Adapted from the words of S. M. Lockeridge and Chuck Missler.

Our King is
the King of the Jews,
the King of Israel,
the King of righteousness
the King of all the ages,
the King of Heaven,
the King of Glory,
the King of Kings and
Lord of lords.

I wonder, do you know Him? Do you really?

Followers of Christ wave palm leaves as Jesus enters Jerusalem.

He was a prophet before Moses,
a priest after Melchizedek,
a champion like Joshua,
an offering in the place of Isaac,
a king from the line of David,
a wise counselor above Solomon,
a beloved, rejected, exalted son like Joseph.

The heavens declare His glory,
and the firmament His handiwork,
He who is, who was, who always will be,
the First and the Last,
the Alpha and Omega,
the Aleph and the Tau,
the first fruits of them that slept,
the “I AM that I AM,”
the voice out of the burning bush.

He is the Captain of the Lord’s host,
He is the conqueror of Jericho,
He is enduringly strong,
He is entirely sincere,
He is eternally steadfast,
He is immortally graceful,
He is imperially powerful,
He is impartially merciful.

He is the greatest phenomenon to ever
cross the horizon of this world.

In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead,
our Kinsman-Redeemer,
our Avenger of Blood,
our City of Refuge,
our eternal High Priest,
our perennial prophet,
our reigning King.

He’s the loftiest idea in literature,
He’s the fundamental doctrine of theology,
He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism!
He’s the Miracle of the Ages,
the superlative of everything good.

We are the beneficiaries of His love letter,
written in blood on a wooden cross,
erected in Judea 2,000 years ago.
No means can measure the limits
of His limitless love.

He was crucified on a cross of wood,
yet He made the hill on which is stood.
By Him were all things made that were made, and
without Him was not anything made that was made,
and by Him all things hold together.

Jesus is nailed to the cross.

What held Him to that cross?
It wasn’t the nails!
It was His love for you and me.

He was born of a woman
so we could be born of God.
He humbled Himself
below all things
so we could be lifted up.
He became a servant
so we could be heirs with Him.
He suffered rejection
so we could become His friends.
He denied Himself
so we could freely receive all things.
He gave Himself
so He could bless us in every way.

He’s available to all,
to the tempted and the tried,
He blesses the young,
He cleanses the lepers,
He defends the feeble,
He delivers the captives,
He discharges the debtors,
He forgives the sinners.

He franchises the meek,
He guards the besieged,
He heals the sick,
He provides strength to the weak,
He regards the aged,
He rewards the diligent,
He serves the unfortunate,
He sympathizes and
He reaches down to save.

A portrayal of Christ's empty tomb after his resurrection.

His offices are manifold,
His reign is righteous,
His promises are sure,
His goodness is limitless,
His light is matchless,
His grace is sufficient,
His love never changes,
His mercy is everlasting,
His Word is more than enough,
His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

He’s indescribable,
He’s incomprehensible,
He’s irresistible, and
He’s invincible!

The heavens cannot contain Him
and man cannot explain Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him and
found they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find fault with Him,
the witnesses couldn’t agree against Him.
Herod couldn’t kill him,
death couldn’t handle Him, and
the grave couldn’t hold him!

He has always been and always will be.
You can’t impeach Him and
He isn’t going to resign!
His name is above every name
and at the name of
Yeshua Mashiach
every knee shall bow and
every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, who
reigns in power and glory,
forever and forever.
Amen and amen.

Mary Magdalene speaks with Christ after His Resurrection.

All images courtesy of Gospel Media © IRI.

Second Coming: We Are in Perilous Times

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul told us “that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Other translations render the word perilous as times of stress, hard, grievous, dangerous, distressing, difficult, extremely fierce, terrible, terrifying, and violent. I think it’s evident to any watchful believer in Christ that we are in the last days and that we are currently living through “perilous times.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 29, 2020 (Wiki Media Commons)

In his letter to fellow disciple Timothy, Paul went on to list what to look for in these times (see 2 Timothy 3:2–9). What we are seeing in on our city streets right now—vandalism, rioting, looting, violence, and murder, under the banner of a worthy cause—is a reflection of Paul’s list. We seem to be at a precipice.

The List

Let’s review that list. I’ll add synonyms from other translations (other than the King James version) and my own comments along the way. You can decide for yourself if you are a witness of prophetic times:

  • “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” — selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered, the opposite of the love Christ shows to us
  • “covetous” — obsessed lovers of money, desiring the rightful property or relationships of others
  • “boasters” — pretentious, haughty, stuck up, self-congratulating
  • “proud” — arrogant, not humble, swaggering, ignorant, unwise, self-deceived
  • “blasphemers” — abusive, mocking and speaking evil of sacred things and of God and His Son
  • “disobedient to parents” — not honoring or respectful of parents, disobeying “the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2)
  • “unthankful” — grumbling, murmuring, ungrateful, unappreciative, lacking self-reflection
  • “unholy” — cursed, crude, profane, willfully self-defiled, ungodly, knowingly walking away from God’s commandments
  • “without natural affection” — cold, unloving, uncaring, unkind, heartless, callous, inhuman, hardhearted
  • “trucebreakers” — promise breakers, implacable, unwilling to reconcile with others, unforgiving
  • “false accusers” — pointing fingers, shaming, accusing, slandering, gossiping, backbiting, lying about others, not taking responsibility for their actions but blaming others
  • “incontinent” — lacking self-control, giving in to pleasure, without restraint, intemperate, dissolute, profligate, unashamedly justifying their giving in to carnal desire
  • “fierce” — mean, untamed, angry, brutal, savage, violent, ruthless, unmerciful, unrelentingly cruel, acting like wild animals
  • “despisers of those that are good” — opposed to and hating those who are good or are trying to be good, calling evil good and good evil
  • “traitors” — without principle, treacherous, turncoats, turning against friends, family, commitments, and allegiances to God, faith, and country
  • “heady” — self-important, conceited, full of themselves, excessive claims about self
  • “highminded” — pretentious, exaggerated, intellectual mocking
  • “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” — self-indulgent, sensual, led away by a variety of lusts, preferring physical pleasure over loving, honoring, and serving their Creator
  • “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” — pretending to be holy, acting like followers of God or higher principles but denying, mocking, and abusing God’s power

Turn Away

Paul advises us “turn away” from such and tells that this “folly shall be manifest unto all men.” I believe Paul meant we should turn away from people who behave and live like this, but I also think it means we must turn away from all these evils ourselves. This isn’t about judging others; it’s about living for Christ.

Turning away, for me, includes turning off the popular media voices who want to flip our world upside down while claiming to be full of virtue. I believe among the politically righteous there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, matching Paul’s descriptions of self-congratulating end-times characters.

We are and have been misled and deceived on a massive scale. Could this current unrest—a good measure of which appears to be legitimate protests co-opted by more nefarious actors—be an attempt to distract a nation from what is really going on behind closed doors? I believe it is.

You may also like: “The Riots and the Danger of False Narratives” from Meridian Magazine online.

The Way Out

If we deny our Creator, we will remain “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Always learning something new but forgetting God. Always seeking “the truth” but coming up unhappy and short. “These also resist the truth” because they are “men of corrupt minds, reprobate [lost] concerning the faith” of Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way [and] the truth” (John 14:6). If we want to find the truth, we have to first find ourselves in Him. There is no other way. Any other path is a false path.

There is hope for all of us through Christ, through humility and faith on His name, the faith to exercise sincere repentance and obedience to Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and God.

I invite you, plead with you, to turn or return your heart to Jesus Christ so you may be led away from the coming calamity. This is not doom and gloom: this is a way out.

Be safe and lean on Jesus. I promise to do my best to follow my own advice.

Spiritual Whirlwinds


This short video came out a few years ago. It was introduced to me tonight. I can’t believe I missed it, but I’m so glad I found it—or it found me. I love how everything changes when the young man, who could be any of us, takes upon himself the image of Christ.

And now behold, I ask of you, . . . have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? (Alma 5:14.)

I believe we were all destined, foreordained, and sealed to take on His image and likeness, if we are only willing.

For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined [Aramaic “sealed”] us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him. (Romans 8:29, The Passion Translation.)

Favorite moments are at 1:49 and 1:58.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Once again, here is another wonderful video from Messages of Christ. It helped me grasp and understand more about the crucifixion and death of our Savior. When I look at what our Lord suffered during the last hours of His life, it fills me with an awe and reverence that I can barely express to others.

Just considering what He actually did for us is more than I can bear yet the burden He bore is unimaginable.

To me, one of the most piercing verses of scriptures is found in 2 Peter:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16.)

May we be eyewitness of His majesty this season.

The Anointing of Jesus

The New Testament gives several accounts of Jesus being anointed in the days prior to His death and Resurrection. John places an anointing six days before the Passover (see John 12:2–8) while Matthew and Mark place the event two days before (see Matthew 26:6–13 and Mark 14:3–9). There are similarities in the accounts but also distinct differences.

I have always thought they were two accounts of the same event, but this video opened my eyes. I am now reconsidering my assumptions. Always a healthy thing.

Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

I love the Easter season more than any time of the year. The Easter story, or rather, the story of the events leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, are very powerful to me and mean so much.

I recently watched this video from the Messages of Christ channel on YouTube. I think it does an excellent job of explaining the significance of Jesus’s prophetic entry into Jerusalem on what we traditionally call Palm Sunday. I hope you enjoy it.

Second Coming: Comparison of Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew

Image of Christ's Second Coming. Icon from Greece, circa 1700.
Icon of the Second Coming of Christ. Anonymous, Greece, circa 1700.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of Matthew 23:39–Matthew 24:51 and Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–55. Differences are highlighted in the right column in bold. Subtle changes, such as exchanging the word you for ye, are in bold italics. Words that have been deleted are struck through. I hope this helps you as you seek to discern the signs of the times. They are coming at us pretty fast. (You can download a PDF version of this chart here.)

Matthew 23:39–Matthew 24:51 Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–55
23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 1 For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God.
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, shew him show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
3 ¶ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 For many shall come in my name, sayingI am Christand shall deceive many;
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 7 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake;
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 8 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another;
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 9 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 10 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold;
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 11 But he that shall endure unto the end remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.
16 Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: 13 Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains;
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 14 Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house;
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days;
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 17 But Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 18 For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of the world their kingdom to until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 19 All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 20 And except those days should be shortened, there should no none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 21 Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 23 Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all these things I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet.
25 Behold, I have told you before. 24 Behold, I have told you before;
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 25 Wherefore, if they shall say unto you: Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not;
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 26 For as the lightning of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 27 And now I show unto you a parable. For Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.
28 And they shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 29 Behold I speak for mine elect’s sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
30 And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 31 And again, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked;
32 And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled.
29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 33 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 34 Verily, I say unto you, this generation, in which these things shall be shown forth, shall not pass away until all these things I have told you shall be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 35 Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; but yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled.
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 36 And, as I said before, after the tribulation of those days, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory;
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 37 And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with a the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 38 Now learn a parable of the fig treeWhen his its branches is are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand;
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 39 So likewise ye, mine elect, when ye they shall see all these things, they shall know that it is he is near, even at the doors;
36 ¶ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 40 But of that day, and hour, no man one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 41 But as it was in the days of Noah were, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 42 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days that which were before the flood; for until that the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 43 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 44 Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 45 Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
42 ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 46 And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 47 But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 48 Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 49 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 50a Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing;
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 50b and verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 51 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming,
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 52 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 53 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 54 And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
55 And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by.

Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision Retold as a Single Narrative

Let Him Ask of God Kindle CoverIn honor of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, I just published a new book on the subject that combines many early accounts and weaves them into a single narrative. From the introduction of the book:

Joseph Smith’s First Vision in 1820 is one of the best attested visions in recorded history. In honor of the 200th anniversary of this sacred event, I’ve carefully reviewed Joseph’s primary, first-person and the contemporary, third-person accounts of this remarkable vision, the story together into a single narrative, attempting to fit the pieces together into completed puzzle.

This book is a sort of translation of historical fragments and part historical fiction, subjectively told but intended to help create a picture of what actually happened. It’s a “based on actual events” retelling that takes as little literary license as possible, though certainly some is taken. I did my best to preserve the original story with great sensitivity as I wove the parts together, seeking to favor the reader’s experience over the critic’s.

I modernized or corrected spelling, added quotation marks, altered some word order and punctuation, dropped some words and phrases in favor of clarity, and added transition words to help with the flow of the story.

I first heard the story of the First Vision from a close friend when I was 17 years old when not yet a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The moment I heard the story, I believed it with all my heart. It filled my soul with fire and set me on a lifelong path of faith and joy. I totter from time to time, but I’m still on the path.

I learned on my journey to baptism that disbelief is based on filling in blanks with assumptions. I call it “closed case” thinking. Real faith, on the other hand, is based on seeking with an open heart and mind. It is “cold case” thinking, a relentless detective’s search, never giving up, never stopping short but searching far and wide and deep for answers. (

See Steven C. Harper’s Joseph Smith’s First Vision: A Guide to the Historical Accounts, chapters 1 and 8 for an inspiring comparison of seeker versus assumer. I highly recommend his book.
)

I trust you will find this retelling of the First Vision worthy of your consideration. When I meet Joseph again and he beats me soundly at stick pull, should he beat me over the head with that stick for being so audacious to publish a book like this, I’ll take my lumps and love him still.

I’ve priced it low so it’s within reach of any budget. You’ll find it on Amazon.