It seems the original Articles are now looked upon, by the diluted mainstream, as negotiable concepts or optional ideas. They have been marginalized by the modern pharisees who hypocritically observe the letter of their revolving apologies while ignoring the spirit and law of the original covenants.
It doesn't help that the original Articles have remained worded in 1800's religious language. In the day they were written, the word "belief" when used in a religious declaration represented a conviction so immutable, that only God had authority to alter it. Today the word "belief" is at times rendered equivalent to just another idea subject to replacement.
To help clarify and reinvigorate their meaning, the original Articles of Faith are in need of rewording through our own yeshuan covenant theology.
As 21st century yeshuans, we shall try rewriting the original Articles of Faith in terms of restored covenant theology. We will throw out the word "belief" and use the word "faith" in it's more ancient scriptural context as it relates to covenant keeping. We will also modify some Articles where needed, to remove redundancy and to add clarity or detail that originally may have been overlooked or only implied.
We keep faith in God, the Eternal Father, and in God His Son, Yeshua Messiah, and in God, the Holy Spirit, Who is in all things, through all things and round about all things.
This is a doctrinal covenant that acknowledges to Whom our ultimate loyalty belongs. By virtue of Creation each person has a bond or relationship with God. Any intentional diminishment of this bond or redirecting of one's loyalty away from God, would be adulterous.
We have added the scriptural descriptors of the Holy Spirit to clarify that this third member of our Trinity is of unfathomable greatness, as opposed to being some spirit ghost running around and factoring himself into 10 billion splinters trying to be a good Samaritan. Our guardian angels are all over that issue.
We keep faith that all people are accountable for their own sins, and are subject to the paradigm of the Fall, brought on by Adam and Eve.
This is an agreement to take personal responsibility for our intents and actions knowing that we all have our regular appointments with judgment and karma.
The original wording implied that we suffer no consequences for Adam's transgression, which was not the intent. While we do suffer the consequences of the Fall, the negating of those conditions are handled by the Atonement of Messiah.
We keep faith that through the Atonement of Messiah, all mankind may be saved, by holding sacred the covenants of the Gospel.
The original Article named "obedience to the laws and ordinances" of the Gospel. The word "ordinance" originally referred to Gospel covenants or Gospel commands, but has evolved to refer to Gospel or Priesthood ceremonies. As for Gospel 'laws', the original meaning referred to the Law of the Lord, or the social and economic system of the Kingdom of God. Most modern believers have very little appreciation for this level of faithfulness and the phrase 'covenants of the Gospel' comprehends both the Law of the Lord and all other related covenants.
Restoration covenant theology includes a number of graduated Eternal rewards beginning with basic Salvation up through various kingdoms of glory to the very top reward of Exaltation, all of which can be included in the words; "saved" and "salvation" as found variously in holy writ, depending on the context.
The covenants of the Gospel are: Faith in our Lord Yeshua Messiah; Repentance for the remission of sins; authoritative baptism by immersion confessing temporal consecration to Messiah, and baptism by Spirit reflecting full heart and soul consecration; that the faithful may receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
In the original wording, Yoseph Testator wanted to imply that beyond the basic principles of the Gospel there were higher principles that one could eventually become familiar with. So he used familiar terms to list a few known elements and implied there was much more beyond that. Some could also get the wrong impression that the Priesthood controlled the giving of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
As it turns out, the Gospel Path is very simple; with only four basic covenants coupled with the promise of "Eternal Life" (the Gift of the Holy Spirit) as the reward. All higher principles alluded to are simply higher applications of the basic four, with the added promise of "Eternal Lives" (also the Gift of the Holy Spirit) being a fullness of the reward and the greatest gift of God.
With this new yeshuan covenant wording the Gospel is completely defined:
First, we agree to be faithful to whatever portion of Messiah is evident in our life, or to all truth, light and better counsel available to us.
Second, we agree to practice repentance; or the acknowledgment of errors, correction or restitution and learning something positive from every experience.
Third, we can deepen our commitment as disciples of Messiah by openly professing, through the ceremony of authoritative baptism by immersion, our faithfulness and personal temporal consecration to Messiah.
And finally, we can pursue our discipleship by learning to fully spiritually consecrate our heart and soul to Messiah with the ultimate goal of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, or the promise of Eternal Life.
Eternal Life is being able to return to the Celestial presence of Father. Because of free will, some choose to apply the Gospel at basic levels while others prefer to apply a fullness of the Gospel covenants for a fullness of the gift of God.
In His Celestial house are several levels or "many mansions", therefore as we are lead to live the higher applications of these Gospel covenants/principles, our return to Father can include greater stations of service, happiness, powers, freedoms and glory without end. There is however no hope of such higher rewards without faithfulness to the level of covenant such rewards are predicated upon.
From these simple covenants the higher application covenants or principles can be extrapolated as follows:
1 Faith in Messiah as our Lord, is a place to start. After that we can delve into the fact that He is the Son of Father in Heaven, and beyond that we can learn that Father in Heaven is Michael the Arch Angel Who became Adam, Who personally ushered His children into the telestial dimension (mortality), in which He provided His own genes to build mankind. Would a true Father in Heaven have it any other way?
Thus knowing the true identity of our Father in Heaven, and knowing both the condescension of God the Father and of God the Son, or the extent of the principle of Their Parenthood, is a higher application of having faith in the Lordship of Messiah. It is a fullness of that Gospel covenant concerned in Whom we place our faith.
2 Repentance and reparation, can be enhanced into generating a positive strength from every error, to the point of being able to live each day guilt free or "blameless before God".
3 Personal temporal consecration to Messiah (temporal baptism), can go from personally dedicating all you have to your Lord, to establishing a community of consecrated united order set up under the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.
4 Spiritual consecration can go from, doing random acts of kindness and never harboring an ill intent, to having virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly and submitting to the Order of Heaven in all social and marital arrangements as opportunity permits, such as eternal patriarchal quorums and celestial plural marriages, all being "formed without hands".
Three of the Gospel principles can have Priesthood ceremonies connected to them if legitimate authority is available, to confirm what is being lived in principle:
There is the ceremony of 'baptism' having the same name as the principle (living your life under the Lordship of Yeshua or having been "born again"), where the Yeshuan life style is publicly confirmed by water immersion by one having authority to bind in Heaven what is being lived on earth.
There is the confirmation of the high Priesthood, done as a blessing through the laying on of hands. whereby the higher priesthood confirms your path in life, and bids you to continue living by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and whereby you are commanded to "receive ye the Gift of the Holy Spirit." By this blessing you are directed to seek with all your heart to fulfill all your covenants that you may secure your election to Eternal Life.
It is well to keep in mind the difference between the companionship of the Holy Spirit and being endowed with the "Gift". The companionship is offered world wide to all who seek truth and labor to correct error. The "Gift" is a prize of having fulfilled all of one's callings and covenants and endured to the point of... not 'perfection', but of personal holiness (there is a stark difference). That one has attained unto this Gift, can be confirmed by the third advanced priesthood ceremony known as having one's "calling and election made sure". This is when the promise of Eternal Life is privately verbally confirmed to disciples so deserving. The principle of having one's calling and election made sure can be conveyed by Father in Heaven through revelation at any appropriate time prior to or subsequent to the ceremony being offered.
We keep faith that all priesthood ministry must be called of God, by revelation, and confirmed by the laying on of hands, by those who have authority, and that all ministry shall be accompanied by revelation.
This is a commitment that earthly priesthood ministry is directed by Heavenly ministry, and must be called by revelation, that we will seek valid Priesthood authority and revelation for the performance of all Gospel path ceremonies and utterances, and give preference to all Divine revelations and teachings.
People have confused Gospel ordinances (covenants) with Priesthood ceremonies. The word "ordinance" has become interchangeable with the words 'covenant' and 'ceremony'. Originally the word had more reference to commandment, directive or agreement. Lately most people only think of the ceremony and not the life style behind it.
A person need not be called of God to share or preach the Gospel to others, and anyone is welcome to practice Gospel covenants as principles of truth; for example: repentance is a covenant/principle that anyone can practice without any special authority. Father can lead a person to become a faithful disciple of truth and light. Father can lead people to organize themselves in united communities and enter patriarchal marital relationships, all without any priesthood available to confirm the works of the Father.
Article 5 is really stating that one must have genuine Priesthood authority and dynamic revelation to perform Divinely set Priesthood ceremonies, that are necessary to literally confirm in Heaven what is being fulfilled on earth. It is not stating that Father cannot lead His children in living Gospel principles outside of Priesthood preview.
Without inspiration accompanying all Priesthood ceremonies and ministry, we are not keeping this covenant. Therefore, at least with patriarchal covenant theology, all 'routine' or 'conveyor belt' Priesthood ceremonies, can reflect possible mockery of the Faith.
We keep faith in the ongoing restoration and calling by Messiah of all patriarchal ministry, who may be necessary to maintain the earthly organization of the covenant body.
Rather than trying to list all needed officers and compare one organizational format against another, this is a commitment to the ongoing process of establishing the organizational intent of the earthly church headed by Lord Yeshua. It is still an ongoing process that will likely involve patriarchs, apostles, seventies, high priests, levitical priests, teachers, deacons and whatever the Lord will require. The earthly organization of officers will be what ever Lord Messiah makes it.
There is some confusion as to how the primitive church was really organized. Naming a few officers can be misleading, because it may not fully address the original structure of the original secular church. To copy the church in the day of the New Testament may not be the ultimate goal since this is the Dispensation of the restoration of all things. It is possible that the days of Abraham and the Patriarchs had a better organizational structure, or maybe there will be a blending of both periods in these latter days.
While there were Priesthood and church offices given to mortals, and callings identified such as were named, there is additional historical record of women ordained to priesthood, the church being required to have "all things in common" and general autonomy existing between local congregations with a supportive rather than autocratic central leadership.
There is also a distinct difference between church offices and Priesthood callings. For example, an apostle is a level of Priesthood calling. There is no limit to gender, for when a husband is so ordained his wife or wives hold the office and calling with their husband. There is no quantity limit to the number who are so ordained. There can be many apostolic families extant upon the earth. Mary, the wife of Yeshua, was an active apostle before and after the crucifixion of her Husband.
Being a member of the Quorum of Twelve is a calling in the secular church, it is conferred on the husband who has been ordained to the apostleship and set apart in the church Quorum, yet the calling should be considered held equally by he and his wife or wives. All the wives and brethren would constitute the Quorum of Twelve and are all responsible to staying up to speed on the voting, plans and actions of the Quorum, and to be willing and ready to fulfill assignments.
A full replication of the original organization is yet to be achieved in this Dispensation and in time will become patriarchally structured with the wives sharing in each calling given to the husband.
We keep faith in the enjoyment of the gifts of the Spirit such as; the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
This is a commitment to a preferred reliance on the Gifts of the Spirit as a primary resource. We welcome and encourage this.
The degree to which these Gifts are encouraged, and their frequency of actual occurrence; is a direct measure of the faithfulness of the body of Messiah. It is an established tenant that miracles, signs and wonders are evidence of faithfulness amongst the body of Messiah.
Prepared talks do not conform to this doctrinal agreement. If we seek pharmaceuticals (which is Biblical sorcery) or attempt to bypass/ignore Natural Law, first before spiritual blessings and natural remedies are sought, we will not be enjoying the blessings of abiding in this agreement.
We keep faith in the Bible of Judah as the word of God, where translated correctly; in the Book of Mormon as the word of God; and in all edifying revelations of the prophets of Ephraim in this Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
This is a commitment to use the word of God as a confirmatory source of guidance in our lives with caution against any unauthorized changes and corruptions in the translations. This also acknowledges a healthy skepticism toward traditional interpretations that predate the Restoration and to have open-mindedness toward improved view points.
The original Article only named the Bible (of Judah, BOJ) and the Book of Mormon but to be consistent with the intent of this article we must be more inclusive of founding revelations. Article 8 should comprehend the Bible of Ephraim (BOE) which includes books known as the "Doctrine and Covenants", the "Pearl of Great Price", the "Unpublished Revelations", and a number of additional revelations never presented to the modern pharisees, given through the founding prophets and their successors, during the first 180 years of this Dispensation.
We keep faith in all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many edifying and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
This is a commitment to maintain the Restoration movement and to avoid our inclination to wrap everything up into one static establishment format.
The Restoration was not finished by the founding brethren and was to continue advancing every decade with greater power and glory of God manifesting on earth. In lieu of becoming a power to be reckoned with, it has become more like smoldering embers hidden and waiting for the right tinder and breath of Divine life.
We keep faith in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Messiah will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
This is a commitment to establish Zion, a natural progressive outcome of abiding in the higher applications of the Gospel.
This tenant involves some very large events and while it has not changed or needs any modification, it is largely not calculated or strategized amongst the mainstream bodies of pseudo disciples, and the understanding of how it is to come about and why, is being erased from their collective memories.
We faithfully worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all mankind the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
This is a Daniel type of agreement of loyalty to Father in Heaven that we will not be dissuaded from fulfilling the will of God regardless of what the worldly leaders or the masses have to say.
We faithfully honor Constitutional government by the people, and will be subject to legitimate government officials in the framework of honoring Constitutional and common law.
This is a commitment to uphold the Constitutional Law of the Land and the concepts embedded in the Declaration of Independence. Those living in tyrannical nations are under advice to gather to the United States. This was not meant to tell the faithful that they should be still about political issues, accept disinformation, conform to legal plunder or official unrighteousness or that they should remain living in such nations if they could not effect a change.
The saints are responsible to to discuss the issues in their counsel meetings and unitedly vote as a block and proactively act as a body to put down and refuse all regulations and statutes that are not Constitutional. They are responsible to leave unholy governments and places and gather to Zion.
The misinterpretation of this Article has become an excuse to abandon the sacred covenants that would have blessed the saints with Divine protection by which to establishing Zion.
We covenant to be faithful, honest, true, chaste, benevolent, open-minded, willing to endure all things required by Lord Yeshua, and to doing good for all mankind.
This is a commitment to purify and master our intents and allow love to rule our lives. This is the quest of each person to seek their own standard of personal oneness with God, rather than be focused on the opinions and judgments of others.