Question: Why do Mormon's believe that ongoing divine revelation is necessary?


Question: Why do Mormon's believe that ongoing divine revelation is necessary?

If revelation was meant to cease, it would have ceased after Jesus ascended to heaven, but the Bible teaches that revelations and visions didn't cease

It is claimed that there is no need for on-going divine revelation; some even charge that claims of visions from God or revelations to a modern prophet is a blasphemous idea. According to one ministry:

Jesus Christ, the final and complete revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-3) has made "further revelation" obsolete and unnecessary. To claim to have such a "revelation" is to say that Jesus really wasn't what and who He said He was, and who the Bible describes Him as being. In actuality, it is the simple fact that Mormonism's teachings cannot be supported from the Bible that drives the leadership to find another source of authority. Everything that has ever claimed to be "further revelation" has failed the test of Scripture, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price

—Copyright 2005-2006 Alpha and Omega Ministries

If revelation was meant to cease, it would have ceased after Jesus ascended to heaven, but the Bible teaches that revelations and visions didn't cease.

Biblical history has recorded many instances of God speaking to prophets, and it also tells of many instances of apostasy. To end each period of general apostasy, God has shown His love for His children by calling another prophet and giving him priesthood authority to restore and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ anew. In essence, the prophet acts as a steward to oversee the household of God here on earth. Such periods of time headed by prophetic responsibility are called dispensations.[1]

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

John 20:30-31

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

We have the teachings of Jesus in the four gospels, why do we need the Book of Revelation, or the epistles of Paul? LDS scriptures clarify the importance of revelation.


What about Hebrews 1:1-3?

1 GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

It is true that Jesus' coming in the flesh was the most complete revelation of the divine nature. But, these verses do not say that revelation thereby ceased. None of the New Testament was written until well after Jesus died and was resurrected—the early Christians do not seem to have regarded his coming as a bar to on-going revelation and scripture. Even after Jesus' ascension, he continued to give revelation to those chosen to lead his Church. For example, the Lord revealed to John, "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" Revelation 1:19

What about 1 Corinthians 13:8?

This scripture is not talking about the last days.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away (KJV)

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away(NIV)

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away(NASB)

Our jobs will not be eternal; much of our formal education will be forgotten; our Church callings will come to an end[2]

Why do we need revelation today?

  1. New revelations and visions are necessary for our progression: time and circumstances always change
  2. So that we can have success in our own time and circumstances
  3. Despite the best efforts of Christian believers, the Bible has not proved capable of answering all questions in a universal way.[3] There are thousands of Christian groups, and each understands some scriptures differently than others. The unity that should prevail among believers does not, despite their best efforts. Clearly more revelation is needed.

Notes

  1. Preach My Gospel, 31–46.
  2. Jean Knight Pace, "The Joyful Surprise of Motherhood," Ensign (Jan 2006), 54–57.
  3. Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture (Brazos Press, 2012).


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims