Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern
567 Pages

Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Jesus the Christ, by James Edward Talmage This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: Jesus the Christ A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern Author: James Edward Talmage Release Date: September 8, 2007 [EBook #22542] Last updated: January 21, 2009 Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK JESUS THE CHRIST *** Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David King, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at JESUS THE CHRIST A Study of the Messiah and His Mission according to Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern By JAMES E. TALMAGE One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints PUBLISHED BY THE CHURCH SIXTH EDITION TWENTY-EIGHTH TO THIRTIETH THOUSAND INCLUSIVE Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret Book Company 1922 Copyright September 1915, December 1915, April 1916, and November 1916 By JOSEPH F. SMITH Trustee-in-Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Copyright, October, 1922 By HEBER J. GRANT Trustee-in-Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Printed in the United States of America [Pg iii] [Pg ii] PREFACE. The scope of the subject presented in this work is expressed on the title page. It will be readily seen that the author has departed from the course usually followed by writers on the Life of Jesus Christ, which course, as a rule, begins with the birth of Mary's Babe and ends with the ascension of the slain and risen Lord from Olivet. The treatment embodied in these pages, in addition to the narrative of the Lord's life in the flesh comprizes the antemortal existence and activities of the world's Redeemer, the revelations and personal manifestations of the glorified and exalted Son of God during the apostolic period of old and in modern times, the assured nearness of the Lord's second advent, and predicted events beyond—all so far as the Holy Scriptures make plain. It is particularly congruous and appropriate that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the only Church that affirms authority based on specific revelation and commission to use the Lord's Holy Name as a distinctive designation—should set forth her doctrines concerning the Messiah and His mission. The author of this volume entered upon his welcome service under request and appointment from the presiding authorities of the Church; and the completed work has been read to and is approved by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve. It presents, however, the writer's personal belief and profoundest conviction as to the truth of what he has written. The book is published by the [Pg iv] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A characteristic feature of the work is the guidance afforded by modern scriptures and the explication of the Holy Writ of olden times in the light of present day revelation, which, as a powerful and well directed beam, illumines many dark passages of ancient construction. The spirit of the sacredness inherent in the subject has been a constant companion of the writer throughout his pleasing labor, and he reverently invokes the same as a minister to the readers of the volume. JAMES E. TALMAGE. Salt Lake City, Utah, September, 1915. PREFACE TO THE SIXTH EDITION. The second edition of this work appeared in December, 1915, and the third in March, 1916. The third edition presented several minor alterations in wording and contained additional notes and references. Succeeding issues, including the fifth which was printed on India paper, and the present edition are practically uniform with the third. JAMES E. TALMAGE. Salt Lake City, Utah, October, 1922. [Pg v] CONTENTS. Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION. Historicity of Jesus the Christ.—Scope and purpose of the present treatise Chapter 2. PREEXISTENCE AND FOREORDINATION OF THE CHRIST. Antemortal existence of spirits.—Primeval council in heaven.—Rebellion of Lucifer.—His defeat and expulsion.—Free agency of man insured.—The Beloved Son chosen to be the Savior and Redeemer of mankind Chapter 3. THE NEED OF A REDEEMER. Spirits of diverse capacities.—Entrance of sin into the world foreseen.—God's foreknowledge not a determining cause.—Creation of man in the flesh.—Fall of man.—Atonement necessary.—Jesus Christ the only Being eligible as Redeemer and Savior.—Universal resurrection provided Chapter 4. THE ANTEMORTAL GODSHIP OF CHRIST. The Godhead.—Jesus Christ the Word of power.—Jesus Christ the Creator. —Jehovah.—The Eternal I AM.—Proclamations of Jesus Christ by the Father Chapter 5. EARTHLY ADVENT OF THE CHRIST PREDICTED. Biblical prophecies.—Revelation to Enoch.—The Prophet predicted by Moses. —Sacrifices as prototypes.—Book of Mormon predictions Chapter 6. THE MERIDIAN OF TIME. Significance of the designation.—Epitome of Israel's history.—Jews in vassalage to Rome.—Scribes and rabbis.—Pharisees and Sadducees.—Other sects and parties Chapter 7. GABRIEL'S ANNUNCIATION OF JOHN AND OF JESUS. Angelic visitation to Zacharias.—Birth of John the forerunner.—Annunciation to Mary the Virgin.—Mary and Joseph.—Their genealogies.—Jesus Christ heir to [Pg vi] the throne of David Chapter 8. THE BABE OF BETHLEHEM. Birth of Jesus Christ.—His presentation in the temple.—Visit of the magi. —Herod's evil designs.—The Child taken into Egypt.—Birth of Christ made known to Nephites.—Time of the birth Chapter 9. THE BOY OF NAZARETH. Jesus to be called a Nazarene.—At the temple when twelve years of age. —Jesus and the doctors of the law.—Jesus of Nazareth Chapter 10. IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDEA. John the Baptist.—The voice in the wilderness.—Baptism of Jesus.—The Father's proclamation.—Descent of the Holy Ghost.—Sign of the dove. —Temptations of Christ Chapter 11. FROM JUDEA TO GALILEE. John Baptist's testimony of Christ.—First disciples.—The Son of Man, significance of title.—Miracle of transmuting water into wine.—Miracles in general Chapter 12. EARLY INCIDENTS IN OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY. First clearing of the temple.—Jesus and Nicodemus.—John Baptist's disciples in disputation.—John's tribute to and repeated testimony of the Christ Chapter 13. HONORED BY STRANGERS, REJECTED BY HIS OWN. Jesus and the Samaritan woman.—Among the Samaritans.—While at Cana Christ heals a nobleman's son in Capernaum.—At Nazareth Christ preaches in synagog.—Nazarenes attempt to kill him.—Demons subdued in Capernaum. —Demoniacal possession Chapter 14. CONTINUATION OF OUR LORD'S MINISTRY IN GALILEE. A leper healed.—Leprosy.—Palsied man healed and forgiven.—Imputation of blasphemy.—Publicans and sinners.—Old cloth, old bottles, and the new. —Preliminary call of disciples.—Fishers of men Chapter 15. LORD OF THE SABBATH. Sabbath distinctively sacred to Israel.—Cripple healed on Sabbath day. —Accusations by the Jews and the Lord's reply thereto.—Disciples charged [Pg vii] with Sabbath-breaking.—Man with a withered hand healed on Sabbath day Chapter 16. THE CHOSEN TWELVE. Their call and ordination.—The Twelve considered individually.—Their characteristics in general.—Disciples and apostles Chapter 17. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. The Beatitudes.—Dignity and responsibility in the ministry.—The Mosaic law superseded by the gospel of Christ.—Sincerity of purpose. The Lord's Prayer. —True wealth.—Promise and re-assurance.—Hearing and doing Chapter 18. AS ONE HAVING AUTHORITY. Healing of centurion's servant.—Young man of Nain raised from the dead. —John Baptist's message to Jesus.—The Lord's commentary thereon.—Death of John Baptist.—Jesus in house of Simon the Pharisee.—Penitent woman forgiven.—Christ's authority ascribed to Beelzebub.—The sin against the Holy Ghost.—Sign-seekers Chapter 19. "HE SPAKE MANY THINGS UNTO THEM IN PARABLES." The Sower.—Wheat and Tares.—Seed growing secretly.—Mustard Seed. —Leaven.—Hidden Treasure.—Pearl of Great Price.—Gospel Net.—The Lord's purpose in parabolic teaching.—Parables in general Chapter 20. "PEACE, BE STILL." Candidates for discipleship.—Stilling the storm.—Quieting the demons in region of Gadara.—Raising of daughter of Jairus.—Restoration to life and resurrection.—A woman healed amidst the throng.—Blind see and dumb speak Chapter 21. THE APOSTOLIC MISSION, AND EVENTS RELATED THERETO. Jesus again in Nazareth.—The Twelve charged and sent out.—Their return. —Five thousand people miraculously fed.—Miracle of walking upon the water. —People seek Christ for more loaves and fishes.—Christ the bread of life. —Many disciples turn away Chapter 22. A PERIOD OF DARKENING OPPOSITION. Ceremonial washings.—Pharisees rebuked.—Jesus in borders of Tyre and Sidon.—Daughter of Syro-Phoenician woman healed.—Miracles wrought in coasts of Decapolis.—Four thousand people miraculously fed.—More seekers after signs.—Leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians.—Peter's [Pg viii] great confession, "Thou art the Christ" Chapter 23. THE TRANSFIGURATION. Visitation of Moses and Elijah.—The Father again proclaims the Son.—The apostles temporarily restrained from testifying concerning the transfiguration. —Elias and Elijah.—The Lesser and the Higher Priesthood Chapter 24. FROM SUNSHINE TO SHADOW. Youthful demoniac healed.—Further prediction of Christ's death and resurrection.—The tribute money; supplied by a miracle.—Humility illustrated by a little child.—Parable of the Lost Sheep.—In Christ's name.—My brother and I.—Parable of the Unmerciful Servant Chapter 25. JESUS AGAIN IN JERUSALEM. Departure from Galilee.—At the Feast of Tabernacles.—Another charge of Sabbath desecration.—Living water for the spiritually thirsty.—Plans to arrest Jesus.—Nicodemus protests.—Woman taken in adultery.—Christ the light of the world.—The truth shall make men free.—Christ's seniority over Abraham. —Sight restored on Sabbath day.—Physical and spiritual blindness. —Shepherd and sheep-herder.—Christ the Good Shepherd.—His inherent power over life and death.—Sheep of another fold Chapter 26. OUR LORD'S MINISTRY IN PEREA AND JUDEA. Jesus rejected in Samaria.—James and John reproved for revengeful desire. —The Seventy charged and sent.—Their return.—A lawyer's question. —Parable of Good Samaritan.—Martha and Mary.—Ask and receive.—Parable of Friend at Midnight.—Criticism on Pharisees and lawyers.—Parable of Foolish Rich Man.—The unrepentant to perish.—Parable of Barren Fig Tree. —A woman healed on the Sabbath.—Many or few to be saved?—Jesus warned of Herod's design Chapter 27. CONTINUATION OF THE PEREAN AND JUDEAN MINISTRY. In the house of one of the chief Pharisees.—Parable of the Great Supper. —Counting the cost.—Salvation even for publicans and sinners.—Parable of the Lost Sheep repeated.—Of the Lost Coin.—Of the Prodigal Son.—Of the Unrighteous Steward.—Of the Rich Man and Lazarus.—Of the Unprofitable Servants.—Ten lepers healed.—Parable of the Pharisee and Publican.—On marriage and divorce.—Jesus and the little ones.—The rich young ruler.—First may be last and last first.—Parable of the Laborers Chapter 28. THE LAST WINTER. At the Feast of Dedication.—Sheep know the Shepherd's Voice.—The Lord's retirement in Perea.—Lazarus raised from the dead.—Jewish hierarchy agitated over the miracle.—Prophecy by Caiaphas, the high priest.—Jesus in [Pg ix] retirement at Ephraim Chapter 29. ON TO JERUSALEM. Jesus again foretells His death and resurrection.—Aspiring request of James and John.—Sight restored near Jericho.—Zaccheus the chief publican. —Parable of the Pounds.—The supper in the house of Simon the leper. —Mary's tribute in anointing Jesus.—Iscariot's protest.—Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.—Certain Greeks seek interview with Jesus.—The Voice from heaven Chapter 30. JESUS RETURNS TO THE TEMPLE DAILY. A leafy but fruitless fig tree cursed.—Second clearing of the temple.—Children shout Hosanna.—Christ's authority challenged by the rulers.—Parable of the two sons. Of the Wicked Husbandmen.—The rejected Stone to be head of the corner.—Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast.—The wedding garment lacking Chapter 31. THE CLOSE OF OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY. Pharisees and Herodians in conspiracy.—Cæsar to have his due.—The image on the coin.—Sadducees and the resurrection.—Levirate marriages.—The great commandment.—Jesus turns questioner.—Scathing denunciation of scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!—Lamentation over Jerusalem.—The widow's mites.—Christ's final withdrawal from temple.—Destruction of temple predicted Chapter 32. FURTHER INSTRUCTION TO THE APOSTLES. Prophecies relating to destruction of Jerusalem and the Lord's future advent. —Watch!—Parable of Ten Virgins.—Of the Entrusted Talents.—The inevitable judgment.—Another and specific prediction of the Lord's impending death Chapter 33. THE LAST SUPPER AND THE BETRAYAL. Judas Iscariot in conspiracy with the Jews.—Preparations for the Lord's last Passover.—The last supper of Jesus with the Twelve.—The traitor designated. —Ordinance of washing of feet.—Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.—The betrayer goes out into the night.—Discourse following the supper.—The HighPriestly Prayer.—The Lord's agony in Gethsemane.—The betrayal and the arrest Chapter 34. THE TRIAL AND CONDEMNATION. The Jewish trial.—Christ before Annas and Caiaphas.—The illegal night court. —The morning session.—False witnesses and unrighteous conviction. —Peter's denial of his Lord.—Christ's first arraignment before Pilate.—Before Herod.—Second appearance before Pilate.—Pilate's surrender to Jewish [Pg x] clamor.—The sentence of crucifixion.—Suicide of Judas Iscariot Chapter 35. DEATH AND BURIAL. On the way to Calvary.—The Lord's address to the daughters of Jerusalem. —The crucifixion.—Occurrences between the Lord's death and burial.—The burial.—The sepulchre guarded Chapter 36. IN THE REALM OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. Actuality of the Lord's death.—Condition of spirits between death and resurrection.—The Savior among the dead.—The gospel preached to the spirits in prison Chapter 37. THE RESURRECTION AND THE ASCENSION. Christ is risen.—The women at the sepulchre.—Angelic communications.—The risen Lord seen by Mary Magdalene.—And by other women.—A priestly conspiracy of falsehood.—The Lord and two disciples on the Emmaus road. —He appears to disciples in Jerusalem and eats in their presence.—Doubting Thomas.—The Lord appears to the apostles at the sea of Tiberias.—Other manifestations in Galilee.—Final commission to the apostles.—The ascension Chapter 38. THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY. Matthias ordained to the apostleship.—Bestowal of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.—The apostles' preaching.—Imprisoned and delivered.—Gamaliel's advice to the council.—Stephen the martyr.—Saul of Tarsus, his conversion. —Becomes Paul the apostle.—The record by John the Revelator.—Close of the apostolic ministry Chapter 39. MINISTRY OF THE RESURRECTED CHRIST ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. The Lord's death signalized by great calamities on western continent.—The Voice of the Lord Jesus Christ heard.—His visitations to the Nephites.—The Nephite Twelve.—Baptism among Nephites.—The Mosaic law fulfilled. —Address to Nephites compared with Sermon on the Mount.—Sacrament of bread and wine instituted among Nephites.—Name of Christ's Church.—The Three Nephites.—Growth of the Church.—Final apostasy of Nephite nation Chapter 40. THE LONG NIGHT OF APOSTASY. The great falling away as predicted.—Individual apostasy from the Church. —Apostasy of the Church.—Constantine makes Christianity the religion of state.—Papal claims to secular authority.—Churchly tyranny.—The Dark Ages. —The inevitable revolt.—The Reformation.—Rise of Church of England. —Catholicism and Protestantism.—The apostasy affirmed.—Mission of Columbus and the Pilgrim Fathers predicted in ancient scripture.—Fulfilment of [Pg xi] the prophecies.—Establishment of American nation provided for Chapter 41. PERSONAL MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD THE ETERNAL FATHER AND OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST IN MODERN TIMES. A new dispensation.—Joseph Smith's perplexity over sectarian strife.—The Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ appear to and personally instruct Joseph Smith.—Visitation of Moroni.—The Book of Mormon.—Aaronic Priesthood restored by John the Baptist.—Melchizedek Priesthood restored by Peter, James, and John.—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. —Divine manifestations in Kirtland Temple.—The Lord Jesus Christ appears. —Specific authority of olden dispensations conferred by Moses, Elias, and Elijah.—The Holy Priesthood now operative on earth Chapter 42. JESUS THE CHRIST TO RETURN. Ancient predictions of the Lord's second advent.—Modern revelation affirms the same.—Today and tomorrow.—The great and dreadful day near at hand. —Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven.—The Millennium.—The celestial consummation Index [Pg 1] CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION. It is a matter of history that, at or near the beginning of what has since come to be known as the Christian era, the Man Jesus, surnamed the Christ, was born in Bethlehem of Judea.[1] The principal data as to His birth, life, and death are so well attested as to be reasonably indisputable; they are facts of record, and are accepted as essentially authentic by the civilized world at large. True, there are diversities of deduction based on alleged discrepancies in the records of the past as to circumstantial details; but such differences are of strictly minor importance, for none of them nor all taken together cast a shadow of rational doubt upon the historicity of the earthly existence of the Man known in literature as Jesus of Nazareth. As to who and what He was there are dissensions of grave moment dividing the opinions of men; and this divergence of conception and belief is most pronounced upon those matters to which the greatest importance attaches. The solemn testimonies of millions dead and of millions living unite in proclaiming Him as divine, the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer and Savior of the human race, the Eternal Judge of the souls of men, the Chosen and Anointed of [Pg 2] the Father—in short, the Christ. Others there are who deny His Godhood while extolling the transcendent qualities of His unparalleled and unapproachable Manhood. To the student of history this Man among men stands first, foremost, and alone, as a directing personality in the world's progression. Mankind has never produced a leader to rank with Him. Regarded solely as a historic personage He is unique. Judged by the standard of human estimation, Jesus of Nazareth is supreme among men by reason of the excellence of His personal character, the simplicity, beauty, and genuine worth of His precepts, and the influence of His example and doctrines in the advancement of the race. To these distinguishing characteristics of surpassing greatness the devout Christian soul adds an attribute that far exceeds the sum of all the others—the divinity of Christ's origin and the eternal reality of His status as Lord and God. Christian and unbeliever alike acknowledge His supremacy as a Man, and respect the epoch-making significance of His birth. Christ was born in the meridian of time;[2] and His life on earth marked at once the culmination of the past and the inauguration of an era distinctive in human hope, endeavor, and achievement. His advent determined a new order in the reckoning of the years; and by common consent the centuries antedating His birth have been counted backward from the pivotal event and are designated accordingly. The rise and fall of dynasties, the birth and dissolution of nations, all the cycles of history as to war and peace, as to prosperity and adversity, as to health and pestilence, seasons of plenty and of famine, the awful happenings of earthquake and storm, the triumphs of invention and discovery, the epochs of man's development in godliness and the long periods of his dwindling in unbelief—all the occurrences that make history—are chronicled throughout Christendom by reference to the year before or after the birth of Jesus Christ.