Appendix (updated)

The Gospel Restored in Seven Dispensations
The Gospel Restored in Seven Dispensations
While typing the Pearl of Great Price, looking for unique vocabularies, I discovered the seven major dispensations represented and realized the restoration lead by the Prophet Joseph Smith was not the first restoration. I wondered why I had not understood that periodic restorations were, of course, necessary. Throughout the history of the world, when decadence became the norm, when the world was ripe in iniquity, God called a prophet to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to that generation. Like the heads of the dispensations before him, Joseph Smith as the final restorer did a reset on truth, restoring pure doctrine, priesthood, covenants, ordinances, and Church organization.           
I made a list of questions for which I hoped to find answers:

  •       What constitutes a restoration?
  •            What is a dispensation? 
  •            Who are the heads of the major dispensations? 
  •            Why is our dispensation called “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”?
  •            What has God held in reserve to be restored in our dispensation? 
  •            Will this final dispensation end in apostasy as the other six did?
  •             How do the words restoration and dispensation relate to me personally? 
What constitutes a restoration?

According to Guide to the Scriptures, a restoration is “God’s reestablishment of the truths and ordinances of His gospel among men on earth."

What is a dispensation? 

From the Bible Dictionary: “A dispensation of the gospel is a period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the holy priesthood and the keys, and who has a divine commission to dispense the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. When this occurs, the gospel is revealed anew so that people of that dispensation do not have to depend… on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation…. The Bible suggests at least one dispensation identified with Adam, another with Enoch, another with Noah, and so on with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus with His Apostles in the meridian of time. Paul writes of ‘the dispensation of the fulness of times’ in which the Lord will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth’ (Eph. 1:10). 

Who are the heads of the major dispensations? 

Adam
“Adam... was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed” (Moses 6:22).
Adam was baptized and received the priesthood. He and Eve were commanded “to teach these things freely unto [their] children.” Adam lived to be 930 years old.
Despite Adam and Eve’s example and efforts, their posterity became very wicked, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Enoch
The Lord said to Enoch: “Prophesy unto this people, and say unto them, Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people” (Moses 6:27).
Enoch preached for 365 years. God walked with and taught Enoch and his people.
The people became so righteous that they (the City of Enoch) were translated.
In time, the people who were not translated became very wicked. The true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Noah
“Noah prophesied, and taught the things of God, even as it was in the beginning” (Moses 8:16).

He preached for 120 years. Only eight people accepted the gospel and were saved from the flood—Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives.
The people became very wicked again, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Abraham
God said: “I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:18).
God said: I will make of thee a great nation, and... thou shalt... bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations.”
Despite Abraham’s example and efforts, the people became very wicked, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Moses
The Lord said: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee.... for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen” (Moses 1:25-26).
God said: “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son.” Moses conversed with God, parted the Red Sea, lead the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, and received the Ten Commandments.
Despite many, many miracles, the people became very wicked again, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Jesus
Christ
“Mine Only Begotten Son… is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men”
(Moses 6:52).
Jesus went about doing good. He healed, taught, performed miracles, instituted the sacrament, atoned for sins, was resurrected, enabling the plan of salvation.
After Jesus and the Apostles were killed, the authority and keys were taken away. The true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
Joseph
Smith
“I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description... One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him” (Joseph Smith-History 1:17)!
“I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet” (D&C 124:125).
The Church will not be taken from the earth again. Prophets will continue to receive revelation to prepare a people for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come”
 (D&C 112:15).

Why is our dispensation called “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”?

Joseph Smith stated: “Truly this is a day long to be remembered... a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancient order of His kingdom... a day in which all things are concurring to bring about the completion of the fullness of the Gospel, a fullness of the dispensation of dispensations, even the fullness of times; a day in which God has begun to make manifest and set in order in His Church those things which have been, and those things which the ancient prophets and wise men desired to see but died without beholding them; a day in which those things begin to be made manifest, which have been hid from before the foundation of the world, and which Jehovah has promised should be made known in His own due time unto His servants, to prepare the earth for the return of His glory" (History of the Church, 4:492–93; from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Jan. 6, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois).

The Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision for the future: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing…. Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life, kingdoms, principalities, and powers! Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand” (D&C 128:22-24).

What has God held in reserve to be restored in our dispensation? 

The Bible Dictionary cites Doctrine and Covenants 121:26-32, confirming that additional knowledge will come in the fullness of times: 
·     not been revealed since the world was until now;
·     to be revealed in the last times;
·     a time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld; 
·     shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times; 
·      according to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before  this world was.

These same verses tell how this will happen: " God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost" (D&C 121:26).  It is interesting to me that angels pointed our forefathers minds to this time: “Our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation… which their minds were pointed to by the angels” (D&C 121:27).

These verses also give a broad-brush list of what will be revealed (121:31): 

  •              whether there be one God or many gods;
  •         all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers;
  •              if there be bounds set to the heavens, seas, dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars;
  •        all the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times.

  Question: To whom will this knowledge be revealed? 

  Answer: “All who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 Question: When will this knowledge be reveled?

 Answer: In the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times;

Will this final dispensation end in apostasy as the other six did? 

The answer is a definitive "No." Brigham Young stated: "This kingdom they [the wicked] cannot destroy, because it is the last dispensation—because it is the fulness of times. It is the dispensation of all dispensations, and will excel in magnificence and glory every dispensation that has ever been committed to the children of men upon the earth. The Lord will bring again Zion, redeem his Israel, plant his standard upon the earth, and establish the laws of his Kingdom" (lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-14?lang=eng&_r=1).

How do the words restoration and dispensation relate to me personally? 

I think of my life as a personal dispensation. Since I am privileged to live in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, I have opportunity and duty to use my time and talents to further the Lord's work however, whenever, and wherever He calls. In my allotted dispensation, I should live daily according to the principles I know to be true. When I fall short and fall into a little apostasy, not in renunciation of my beliefs but in sloppiness in keeping the faith, I must realize my fault, rally my courage,  remember my covenants, and restore that which was lost. This process I think of as a personal mini restoration. In my mind restore and repent differ in degree only. What do you think?




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