What About Jesus?
John 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
Could it be true? Is it possible that if the works of Jesus were written that the books would fill the world? How could the life of a man who only lived to be 33 fill the world? If all we consider is the mortal life of Jesus, it may be difficult to fill the world with his works, but the disciple John knew more. These closing words provide a fitting summary of Jesus Christ. His works would truly fill the books of the world and we only have a tiny sampling about Jesus and what he has done.
While serving a mission to Houston, Texas, I was serving in College Station where Texas A&M is located. One of the people we were teaching was a student who participated in online bulletin board forums in the very early days of the internet. One particular individual on the forum was disparaging Mormon’s extra scriptural canon and this young man responded by saying, “what’s the big deal? Mormons just think God has more words in his mouth than you do.” We got a chuckle out of that when he shared it with us.
Are teachings about Jesus Limited?
It is hard for me to understand when people say the Biblical canon is closed and there can be no more word of God. Where did they arrive at that knowledge? Did God tell them? If so, then they should accept that God can and does speak to man today. God hasn’t cut off himself from mankind. Typically, people refer to this scripture in the book of Revelation as support for this theory which says:
“…if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18-19)
The problems with this approach to these verses are:
1) The apostle John wrote this book (Revelation) while he was banished to the Isle of Patmos. There was no Bible in existence. It was written as a stand-alone testimony of latter-day prophecy.
2) Moses said essentially the same thing in Deuteronomy 4:2:
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
If we take John’s words as literal to the entire compiled Bible of 66 books which didn’t occur until 300 A.D., that means we would have to take Moses’ words as literal and discard the great majority of the entire Bible. It is obvious that what they are both referring to is their own writings and that no one had authority to add or diminish from what they wrote in those specific books. Else how would John’s statement above have any meaning that if the works of Jesus were all recorded they would fill the earth? If there is that much more about Jesus then we would be at a great loss to reject it.
What about Jesus’ teachings in other books of scripture?
Is it possible there are other scriptural records we don’t have? The Bible tells us that’s true. The following verses mention writings of prophets that have been lost to the ages.
Exo. 24:7 – book of the covenant
Num. 21:14 – book of the wars of the Lord
Josh. 10:13 – book of Jasher
1 Chron. 29:29 book of Gad the seer
2 Chron. 9:29 – book of Nathan the prophet
2 Chron. 12:15 – book of Shemaiah the prophet
2 Chron. 13:22 – story of the prophet Iddo
2 Chron. 20:34 – book of Jehu
2 Chron. 33:19 – the sayings of the seers
Imagine all the epistles of the disciples of Jesus that we don’t have. The list could go on. The doings of the Lord for his children have no bounds.
What about Jesus’ other sheep?
One other record mentioned in the Bible is the stick of Joseph (Ezek. 37:15-19). Mormons believe this record of the tribe of Joseph is the Book of Mormon which was prophesied to be joined with the Bible in the last days. I’ve already written a post about it so I’ll link to it here without reiterating the Biblical scriptures in support of the book. (What is a Mormon?)
In the Book of Mormon, one ancient prophet on the American continent where the Book of Mormon transpired said this of the Bible and the latter-day wrangling over the book.
6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
(2 Nephi 29:6-11)
God’s word isn’t just for a small group of people in the Middle East. God has spoken to prophets in many places and they testify of the goodness and greatness of the Lord and his atoning sacrifice. This same prophet wrote this testimony of Jesus at the closing of his book (2 Nephi 33:10-11):
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye-for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
Please watch this short video introduction to the Book of Mormon by a modern day apostle of Jesus Christ.
What about Jesus’ other works?
So now I wouldn’t want to leave this post without addressing the first point, that the works about Jesus would fill the world if they were all written. Mormons not only believe in the Bible and Book of Mormon, but we also believe in latter-day prophets (see Amos 3:7 and Ephesians 4:11-13) who have recorded the word of God today. Joseph Smith was one such prophet who translated the Book of Mormon, but also received other revelations which include this inspiring passage from an experience that Enoch the prophet and seer had when the Lord showed him his works throughout the universe.
Moses 7:30 “And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;”
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we declare to the world that Jesus has more to tell us than solely what is recorded in the Bible. Indeed, the question “what about Jesus?” cannot be answered fully in this life. We have only a glimpse of the many wondrous creations the Lord has given us and the things he has done.
Get a free book about Jesus and his other sheep in ancient America
If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his teachings to his people in the ancient Americas, you can click here to obtain a free copy of the Book of Mormon. I have come to know more about Jesus by reading the Book of Mormon than what I have learned solely in the Bible, and like the Bible, I know it to be a true book. I know anyone in the world who reads the book and prays to God with real intent to know if it is true, will have their prayers answered and be satisfied that the book really is what it purports to be, another testament about Jesus Christ. Through this record, you can receive a much more complete answer to the question “what about Jesus” than you can by limiting yourself to only one compilation of scripture about Jesus.