There are three historical accounts that have remarkably similar parallels.
In the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 13 is the historical account of a prophet from Judah who is sent to Bethel to confront the rebellious King Jeroboam with a message from God. God instructs the prophet from Judah not to eat or drink anything while in Bethel and not to return to Judah using the same path that he took to get to Bethel (v.8-9). During the course of the Judean prophet’s stay in Bethel, he is confronted by an “old prophet” (v.11) who tries to get him to dine with him at his house in Bethel (v.15). The Judean prophet rebuffs the offer informing the old prophet that God had instructed him not to dine in Bethel (v.16-17). The old prophet then informs the Judean prophet that an angel from God revealed new instructions to him and that the newer revelation from God, contrary to the first, permitted him to dine in Bethel after all (v. 18). The Judean prophet decides to adhere to the new revelation and ends up dining in the home of the old prophet (v.19). For his disobedience, God sends a lion to slay the Judean prophet (v.21-24). Was the Judean prophet wrong for rejecting the old revelation of God for the purportedly new revelation from an angel?
Mohammed (570-632) was an Arabian prophet who, according to Islam, was the last messenger of Allah. As a prophet, Mohammed’s message to his contemporaries was that an angel named Gabriel had brought him new revelation from God. This new revelation is contained in the Quran, Islam’s central religious text. The Islamic understanding of this new revelation is that the old revelation is wrong in certain places. For instance, the Quran denies that God has a son (in Surah 10:68; 19:88, etc.) whereas both the O.T and the N.T. affirm the existence of God’s son (in Psalm 2:7 & John 3:16, etc.). In another example, the Bible describes God as triune (Isaiah 48:16, 1 John 5:7) whereas the Quran (Surah 4:171, Surah 5:17; 5:70-75) repudiates this claim. As is evidenced by the millions of professing Muslims today, many have chosen to affirm the new revelation’s claim that it has superseded the old. Are Muslims wrong for rejecting the old revelation of God for the purportedly new revelation from an angel?
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was an American prophet, who according to Mormonism (or the Latter Day Saints or LDS), was chosen by God to initiate the restoration of the Christian church. As a prophet, Joseph Smith’s message to his contemporaries was that an angel named Moroni had brought to his attention new revelation from God. This new revelation is contained in the Book of Mormon, one of Mormonism’s standard works. The LDS church’s understanding of this new revelation is that the old revelation is wrong in certain places. For instance, the Book of Mormon teaches that little children do not have a sin nature and are therefore incapable of committing sin (Moroni 8:8) whereas the Bible insists that all descendants of Adam, except Christ, are already sinners at conception (Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:5). In another example, the Bible asserts that Adam and Eve could have kept God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) without disobeying God’s command regarding the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). Hence the Bible portrays Adam’s disobedience as unnecessary and ruinous (Romans 5:12-19). On the other hand, the Book of Mormon maintains that Adam and Eve’s obedience of Genesis 2:17 would have rendered them childless and hence their disobedience was a laudable act which brought joy to mankind (2 Nephi 2:23-25). As is evidenced by the millions of professing Mormons today, many have chosen to affirm the new revelation’s claim that it has superseded the old. Are Mormons wrong for rejecting the old revelation of God for the purportedly new revelation from an angel?
|Historical Account||Prophet’s name was:||Claimed to receive “new” revelation from an angel||The angel’s name was:||Does the new revelation claim to supersede the original revelation?||Was the decision to follow the “new” revelation right or wrong?|
|1 Kings 13||Not given||Yes||Not given||Yes||Wrong (v.21-24)|
|Mormon History||Joseph Smith||Yes||Moroni||Yes||?|
Does the Bible weigh in on which road the decision maker should have taken? Yes. In Galatians 1:6-9, Paul says that the decision maker should always disregard new revelation if it does not accord with the old, even if the new revelation is delivered by an angel.