Our new prophet
In honor of our new prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, I focused my scripture study today on prophets and prophecy. I have never searched on this topic before, and I couldn't believe how much there was about it, especially in the Bible! Writing this out has really helped me focus on my study; I think I may do it again, mostly for my own benefit. (Disclaimer: please do not take my words as perfect. They are just my thoughts, and I am weak and imperfect. The scriptures, however, I can promise you are true!)
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
God has promised us that he will speak to us through prophets.
"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever."
Prophets and apostles, both ancient and modern, testify of Jesus Christ. They are called to be His special witnesses. We should listen to their words and seek Jesus Christ.
"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Prophecy is not necessarily predicting the future, although by virtue of their close relationship to God prophets have warned us of things to come in the past and will continue to do so today. Rather, to prophesy is to testify of Jesus Christ.
"And Moses went out, and told the people and the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua . . . answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"
Notice that the seventy and the two were not prophets, but they were all able to prophesy. We can all have the spirit of prophecy. We can all feel the Holy Spirit and we can all testify of Jesus Christ. Revelation not just for prophets!
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."
Although we can all have the spirit of prophecy, not all are called to be the prophet. God does things in His own wisdom and order. He calls us all to different things through His perfect knowledge. President Monson has been called to be the prophet. I am called to be a mother and wife. We all have different gifts. God will call us to what He will, and he will give us gifts sufficient for our needs. He will never ask us to do what we cannot, because He will always strengthen us.
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
--2 Peter 1:21
Our prophet isn't doing this himself. Being a prophet is not easy! Look at Paul, and John the Baptist, and Joseph Smith, and all the others who have died rather than deny the words of God that they have been called to speak. President Monson has the Holy Ghost as his constant companion, moving him what to say. If he tells us something that is hard, if he calls us to repentance, if he calls us to make drastic changes in our lives, it is not him speaking. It is God speaking through him, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Knowing this makes all the difference to me. Whether prophets speak words that are foolish or wise by the standard of the world, I know that I will obey, because God loves us and will not lead us astray.
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home . . . Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’ ” (President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78. [source])
I know that President Monson is a true prophet of God, and I admire his testimony, strength, and gentle kindness. I know that he will not lead us astray. I am so grateful to have a living prophet on the earth today, and I am grateful that I am one of those blessed to have access to his words. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift, the gift of his Son and his plan of happiness for all the world.