The more I study the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…the more I come across these little “coincidences.” Some people call them coincidences but others call them divine orchestration. As if the God of heaven had his hand in specific events in order to give those that look close enough…an extra boost of faith. It’s almost as if He says…”here, look at this. How can you deny this”?
So I thought I’d share just a few of these “coincidences” that are nothing short of mind-boggling.
Joseph Smith Was Born on December 23 1805
Have you ever wondered why the very first hymn in the LDS hymnbook is called “The Morning Breaks”? Skim the first verse real quick, but pay attention to the italics:
The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
Lo, Zion’s standard is unfurled!
The dawning of a brighter day,
The dawning of a brighter day
Majestic rises on the world.
The day before Joseph Smith was born was the twenty second of December. That day is called the “Winter Solstice” otherwise known as the “shortest day” of the year. Out of 365 days, that day has the least amount of light which makes it the “darkest of days.” The dawning of the next day, which is December 23rd, marks the beginning of “brighter days!” That day is a symbol of new beginnings and greater light.
Now imagine that! Joseph Smith was born on the one corresponding day of the calendar that brought brighter days on to the earth. Out of 365 days…what are the odds that this prophet of the last dispensation would be born on that day. For him and his mission…it is the only day that makes sense. His birth marked the day a prophet was born who would later be called to “bring the Church out of obscurity and out of darkness”. But how could anyone have known that or planned that except God Himself? His mom definitely had no idea what he would become and as far as I know…they didn’t have the ability to induce birth like they have today.
If Mormonism was man-made…it would have had to begin well before Joseph Smith was born. Coincidence or divine orchestration? It has to be one of those two because there is no possible way for humans to orchestrate that kind of event. It’s too amazing to be overlooked.
Only Mormons Understand The Last Verses of The Old Testament
On April 3, 1836…Jews around the world were celebrating the Passover Seder meal. It had become a tradition among the Jews to celebrate the Passover meal two nights in a row. During these passover meals, an empty chair and a place at the table was set for Elijah with his cup filled to the top. This was done in anticipation of his return to the earth as promised in Malachi 4:5-6. In the last verse of the Old Testament, it says that Elijah would come and “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers or else the earth will be smitten”. Who in the world understands that? It’s got to be pretty important right?
So while the Jews were preparing a place for Elijah at their tables for passover, Elijah came to the Kirtland temple and bestowed the “sealing keys” to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers and vice versa. On April 3rd, 1836 Elijah not only fulfilled Jewish expectation but clarified what the “turning hearts” prophesy meant. (D&C 110)
How could Joseph Smith have known enough about Jewish traditions and simultaneously come up with the only logical explanation for the last verse in the Old Testament? Now that’s an unbelievable coincidence. We won’t even get into the traditions that surround Moses accompanying Elijah upon his return…
Joseph Smith Prophesied of the Civil War Almost 30 Years Before It Took Place
What is known today as Doctrine and Covenants Section 87 was one of the most striking fulfilled prophesies ever recorded. Read through a few verses and you’ll see how each of them were fulfilled.
Keep in mind that this revelation was given in 1832 with Joseph Smith giving additional commentary on it in 1843. The Church published the revelation in 1851 and it was circulated among the missionary force. Joseph Smith never lived to see the complete fulfillment of this event, but in 1861…the Civil War began “at the rebellion of South Carolina”. At the time the prophesy was made…there was no talk of civil war. There was obvious controversy and verbal conflict but no one except a prophet could have imagined what that war would bring…and the details are right there in Section 87.
The Philadelphia Sunday Mercury might have said it best after the war began to unfold:
“We have in our possession a pamphlet, published at Liverpool, in 1851…. In view of our present troubles, this prediction seems to be in progress of fulfillment, whether Joe Smith was a humbug or not…. Have we not had a prophet among us?” (Philadelphia Sunday Mercury after the outbreak of the Civil War. Clipping in Journal History, 5 May 1861.)
Vicarious Work Was Unheard Of
Where did Joseph Smith get the idea of doing work for the dead? Why did it become one of his most important pursuits? The idea of temples and performing work for the dead was so unheard of that people thought he was nuts just for throwing it out there. But now it’s become one of those “coincidences” that are unexplainable.
The temple was central to everything God did every time he raised up a prophet in the Old Testament. Moses was immediately instructed to build a tabernacle. Other prophets were instructed to go in to high mountains that acted as temples. David was given instructions in building “Solomon’s temple”. Interestingly enough… and “coincidentally” the veil of the temple being “rent in twain” was the first thing that took place upon the Savior taking His last breath.
If the early Christians were on the earth today…they would understand the need for a temple because they understood vicarious work for the dead. Look at what the early Christian Father Tertullian has to say about 1 Corinthians 15:29 and baptisms for the dead:
Now if some of them are “baptized for the dead,” can we not assume that they have a reason for it? Certainly he [Paul] is maintaining that they practiced this in the belief that the ordinance would be a vicarious baptism and as such be advantageous to the flesh of others, which they assumed would be resurrected, for unless this referred to a physical resurrection there would be no point in carrying out a physical baptism. Tertullian, De Resurrectione (On the Resurrection) 48, in PL 2:864.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, the Early Christian Fathers and logic all testify of performing vicarious work…but when Mormons bring up the subject…they are laughed to scorn. It’s coincidental that all of these things were present in ancient writings that Joseph Smith had no idea even existed.
Caesarea Philippi & The Rock of Revelation
The thing that sets the Mormon Church apart from any other church today is that it claims to receive continuous revelation from God. It claims to be a living Church. Christ was trying to teach Peter and the apostles this same lesson when he took them way up into Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was in the northern parts of Israel and is found at the base of Mount Hermon. In Caesarea Philippi there was a huge rock face where in Jesus’s day…ran a stream from underneath that same rock. Below the rock was a cave known as the “Gate of Hades.” The water that flowed from within that rock flowed south down the Jordan into Israel and literally became the nourishment of all of Israel. It was what kept Israel alive.
When Christ told Peter that He would build His Church upon “this rock”, He wasn’t talking about Peter. (Matt 16) He was talking about the symbolism of the rock He was standing on in Caesarea Philippi. Christ is “the Rock”… and just as literal water flowed down to keep Israel physically alive, so also will revelation need to flow down from Christ to provide spiritual water in order to keep the Church alive. Without revelation…it can’t be a living Church. Christ took His apostles on a pretty arduous journey north to specifically teach them this important object lesson. The key is found within the context and the geography. Do you think Joseph Smith could have known how important revelation was to the restored Church? The same principle of revelation that kept the early Church alive, is the same principle that makes the modern Church a “living Church.”
Coincidental…don’t you think?