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Bernard Gui

Why Doubting Thomas?

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It is surprising that John the Beloved (John 20:20) would have trouble believing Jesus "coming back" from the dead.  The Apostles did witness Jesus bringing back Lazarus to life after 4 days in the tomb.  And also several other people were brought back to life through Jesus' ministering.

Jesus during His mortal ministry did grant John the Beloved permission to "tarry" (not taste death) on earth until His Second Coming.  He did not fear death.  Or is this not the same thing?  (After writing this paragraph, I decided to double check the scriptures and found that the permission was granted AFTER His Resurrection in a meeting at the Sea of Tiberias [see John 21].  So John the Beloved was still struggling with understanding the events and prophecies at the time of the First Easter.  He could not comprehend the meaning of the resurrection.)

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Posted (edited)

Most of us are probably doubters until we are ready to see.  The Church requires an apparently high price of its members.  The First Vision story is fantastic on its face.  WHO would believe it without a means of proving it?  The Gospel was fantastic in Jesus’ day.  Many had to see or experience miracles.  Jesus gave them the proof they needed.  He explained in Matt. 13 why He doesn’t go about willy nilly giving people knowledge they are not prepared to be accountable for.  

10 “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Matt. 13:10-17

Joseph Smith doubted the religionists of his day until he was ready to obtain the answer and went into the woods to pray.  For those who would be aided by the testimony of witnesses, God provided 11 witnesses.  For others, He provided the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost (Mor. 10:3-5).  Probably for most all of us, there is some kind of wrestling with the angel we have had to endure to obtain the knowledge we need.  

Edited by Meerkat
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2 hours ago, longview said:

It is surprising that John the Beloved (John 20:20) would have trouble believing Jesus "coming back" from the dead.  The Apostles did witness Jesus bringing back Lazarus to life after 4 days in the tomb.  And also several other people were brought back to life through Jesus' ministering.

Jesus during His mortal ministry did grant John the Beloved permission to "tarry" (not taste death) on earth until His Second Coming.  He did not fear death.  Or is this not the same thing?  (After writing this paragraph, I decided to double check the scriptures and found that the permission was granted AFTER His Resurrection in a meeting at the Sea of Tiberias [see John 21].  So John the Beloved was still struggling with understanding the events and prophecies at the time of the First Easter.  He could not comprehend the meaning of the resurrection.)

The apostles did not doubt the concept of something surviving death. When they saw Jesus at one point they feared he was a ghost. The resurrection seemed fantastic. To a large portion of the rest of the Christian world the bodily resurrection still does and they see it only as a kind of divine metaphor.

Lazarus and Jesus had two different deaths. It is probable that Lazarus died of something that left most of him intact. Miraculous but probably seemed less miraculous then someone mostly drained of blood and with destroyed organs from a spear wound coming back.

Lazarus is also interesting because that was the last straw for Jesus’s enemies. It was after that miracle that they decided he had to die. Before they were focused on discrediting him and only killing him if they could inflame the people against him.

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I am thrilled we know Thomas's doubt and struggle.   I think Jesus chose him precisely to show that doubters can be just as faithful and loved and useful to God as those who can instantly believe.

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Lazarus is also interesting because that was the last straw for Jesus’s enemies. It was after that miracle that they decided he had to die. Before they were focused on discrediting him and only killing him if they could inflame the people against him.

The attitude of the "Elders" and the Sanhedrin is breathtaking.  They were there to witness the miracle of Lazarus being called from the grave despite being dead for over 4 days.  No wonder Jesus gave His parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Beggar Named Lazarus (explicitly tied to the real Lazarus, see Luke 16:19-31).

Verse 31:  "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

Applied to Jesus and the real Lazarus:  "And He said to the Sanhedrin if they hear not Jesus and all the Apostles and witnesses, neither will they be persuaded, though Lazarus was raised from the dead."

Makes me wonder if the real Lazarus shared his experience with having looking around his "stomping grounds" unable to speak with his sisters Mary and Martha while his body laid in the tomb or with being in the spirit world conversing with his forebears?  Did the Apostles make a record of this?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, rpn said:

I am thrilled we know Thomas's doubt and struggle.   I think Jesus chose him precisely to show that doubters can be just as faithful and loved and useful to God as those who can instantly believe.

My point was that according to these accounts, all the participants doubted, not just Thomas. None of them believed until they saw him and touched him.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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12 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

My point was that according to these accounts, all the participants doubted, not just Thomas. None of them believed until they saw him and touched him.

I wonder if this is because they were never taught much about the resurrection while Jesus was there. There were some hints at it but it was not official doctrine at the time like it is for us now.
Perhaps this is why they were so surprised at the concept and had trouble believing or understanding it. 

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On 7/1/2019 at 3:29 AM, Bernard Gui said:

There’s old “Doubting Thomas.” As if Thomas’s faith was somehow less than that of the other apostles since he had to see and touch before he would believe!

Even though Jesus prompted Thomas to see and touch to believe,  Thomas did not touch HIm before uttering his profession of faith.

"Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve,
but believe.  Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God!  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed
.” (ESV)

Notice that Jesus did not say "because you have seen me and touched me."

Thanks,
Jim

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4 hours ago, theplains said:

Even though Jesus prompted Thomas to see and touch to believe,  Thomas did not touch HIm before uttering his profession of faith.

"Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve,
but believe.  Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God!  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed
.” (ESV)

Notice that Jesus did not say "because you have seen me and touched me."

Thanks,
Jim

Interesting comment. I suppose it could be read that way. Jesus did instruct him to feel for himself. I think it is more likely he followed instructions.

However it is read, Thomas believed after seeing and/or touching just like all the other witnesses did. That’s what made him a witness. He does not deserve the opprobrious moniker.

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On 7/14/2019 at 2:40 AM, Bernard Gui said:

Interesting comment. I suppose it could be read that way. Jesus did instruct him to feel for himself. I think it is more likely he followed instructions.

However it is read, Thomas believed after seeing and/or touching just like all the other witnesses did. That’s what made him a witness. He does not deserve the opprobrious moniker.

One could say anything speculative about Thomas without biblical proof.  As for the Book of Mormon, we see the
opposite clearly stated.  The people (including those who would become the 12 disciples) lacked faith.  They only
really believed after seeing and touching Jesus when he instructed them to (see 3 Nephi 11:14-16).

Thanks,
Jim

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8 hours ago, theplains said:

One could say anything speculative about Thomas without biblical proof.  As for the Book of Mormon, we see the
opposite clearly stated.  The people (including those who would become the 12 disciples) lacked faith.  They only
really believed after seeing and touching Jesus when he instructed them to (see 3 Nephi 11:14-16).

Thanks,
Jim

So you are saying the Bible text proves Thomas did not touch Jesus? I’m not sure I understand what point you are trying to make. 

Verse 12 seems to indicate they had a portion of faith...

Quote

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.

 

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On 7/18/2019 at 2:16 AM, Bernard Gui said:

So you are saying the Bible text proves Thomas did not touch Jesus?

You mentioned in an earlier post "My point was that according to these accounts, all the participants doubted, not just
Thomas. None of them believed until they saw him and touched him
."

I don't see this 'touching' being insinuated by the biblical text.  But it was recorded in the Book of
Mormon as applying to the people who had survived all the calamities before Jesus is said to have
visited them in 'America'.

One could speculate however when the scripture is silent, but who knows what kind of theology arises
thereafter.

Thanks,
Jim

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, theplains said:

You mentioned in an earlier post "My point was that according to these accounts, all the participants doubted, not just
Thomas. None of them believed until they saw him and touched him
."

I don't see this 'touching' being insinuated by the biblical text.  But it was recorded in the Book of
Mormon as applying to the people who had survived all the calamities before Jesus is said to have
visited them in 'America'.

One could speculate however when the scripture is silent, but who knows what kind of theology arises
thereafter.

Thanks,
Jim

I don't understand what point you are trying to make. When Jesus confronted Thomas, he said,

Quote

"Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve,
but believe.  Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God!  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed
.” (ESV)

How can this not insinuate touching? Once again, I ask if you think Thomas did not do as Jesus commanded him?

Edited by Bernard Gui

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On 7/25/2019 at 9:10 PM, Bernard Gui said:

How can this not insinuate touching? Once again, I ask if you think Thomas did not do as Jesus commanded him?

Jesus knew what Thomas had said  - "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails
were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.  When Jesus replied to Thomas' earlier statement in
basically the same terminology which Thomas uttered before, it was a pivotal moment for him - like Peter
realizing what Jesus had said to him after he denied him 3 times.

Jesus said that Thomas believed after seeing, not that he believed after touching his hands and his side.

That leads me to conclude that Thomas did not touch Jesus before finally believing.

In the Bible, Jesus said "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".  But in the Book of Mormon,
the Nephites are blessed after seeing Him (3 Nephi 12:1). They lacked faith in Him to the point that they all had
to touch him before believing (3 Nephi 11:15).

Thanks,
Jim

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This is all endowment related

I think this was the endowment of all except Peter James and John, who were endowed at the Transfiguration 

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It is worth noting that the church does not generally refer to him as “doubting Thomas”.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

It is worth noting that the church does not generally refer to him as “doubting Thomas”.

The implication is often there, though.

“It can be difficult to believe that something is true without seeing physical proof. You may at times feel like Thomas, who said, “Except I shall see … I will not believe” (John 20:25). In response, the Savior said to Thomas, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).” Come Follow Me June 24-30

“Thomas: In the New Testament, one of the original Twelve Apostles chosen by the Savior during His mortal ministry (Matt. 10:2–3; John 14:5). In Greek the name is Didymus (John 20:24–29; 21:2). Though Thomas doubted Jesus’ Resurrection until he personally saw the Savior, his strength of character made him willing to face persecution and death with his Lord (John 11:16; 20:19–25).”

 Guide to the Scriptures.

My point is that except for one occasion with the resurrected Lord, the other witnesses are never mentioned as doubters. None of the them believed until they saw him and touched him either.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

This is all endowment related

I think this was the endowment of all except Peter James and John, who were endowed at the Transfiguration 

Interesting. Care to elaborate?

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, theplains said:

Jesus knew what Thomas had said  - "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails
were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.  When Jesus replied to Thomas' earlier statement in
basically the same terminology which Thomas uttered before, it was a pivotal moment for him - like Peter
realizing what Jesus had said to him after he denied him 3 times.

Jesus said that Thomas believed after seeing, not that he believed after touching his hands and his side.

That leads me to conclude that Thomas did not touch Jesus before finally believing.

In the Bible, Jesus said "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".  But in the Book of Mormon,
the Nephites are blessed after seeing Him (3 Nephi 12:1). They lacked faith in Him to the point that they all had
to touch him before believing (3 Nephi 11:15).

Thanks,
Jim

We agree to disagree, then, when it comes to Thomas. 

See my response below.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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4 hours ago, theplains said:

Jesus knew what Thomas had said  - "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails
were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.  When Jesus replied to Thomas' earlier statement in
basically the same terminology which Thomas uttered before, it was a pivotal moment for him - like Peter
realizing what Jesus had said to him after he denied him 3 times.

Jesus said that Thomas believed after seeing, not that he believed after touching his hands and his side.

That leads me to conclude that Thomas did not touch Jesus before finally believing.

In the Bible, Jesus said "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".  But in the Book of Mormon,
the Nephites are blessed after seeing Him (3 Nephi 12:1). They lacked faith in Him to the point that they all had
to touch him before believing (3 Nephi 11:15).

Thanks,
Jim

3 Nephi 11:15 is not showing that they did not have faith in him. They all felt him so they could know of a surety. Not having surety is not faithlessness.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, The Nehor said:

3 Nephi 11:15 is not showing that they did not have faith in him. They all felt him so they could know of a surety. Not having surety is not faithlessness.

Quote

15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

Those in Bountiful were not faithless at all. When they saw him descending from heaven, “they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.” They believed this was an angel - they simply did know who he was until he said, “I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.”

Each of those in Jerusalem and in Bountiful who became witnesses of the resurrection heard a voice in their ears, saw him with their eyes, and felt him with their hands. Being a foundational witness of the resurrection involved these three basic senses: hearing, seeing, and touching in addition to the witness of the Spirit. There’s the old adage “your eyes can deceive you.” For this reason I believe it is reasonable to conclude Thomas also felt his wounds when Jesus commanded him to do so. Jesus had given the same invitation to the 10 when he appeared to them earlier. The Lehites received the additional witness of the voice of the Father.

If Thomas became a witness after only seeing, wouldn’t he then have displayed greater faith than the other witnesses who touched? Even less reason to call him Doubting Thomas.

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

3 Nephi 11:15 is not showing that they did not have faith in him. They all felt him so they could know of a surety. Not having surety is not faithlessness.

Faith is all about being sure of something.  That is just what faith is, by definition.  

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6 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Faith is all about being sure of something.  That is just what faith is, by definition.  

Nope.

26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

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11 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Nope.

26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

The key words there are "unto perfection". With faith we don't have a "perfect" knowledge or sureness, but we're usually at least kinda sure if not pretty sure about whatever it is that we have some faith in.

I describe the scale as something like this, from I really don't know what to think about something:

1) Hmm, okay, maybe, possibly, could be (hope being involved in there at least somewhere)

2) Hmm, okay, I'm kinda sure about that now

3) Hmm, okay, now I'm pretty sure about that now

4) Yeah, okay, now I am really sure about that!

5) Okay already, I know, I know!

And the best source of faith is from God, of course.  We can be sure of ourselves about some things too but we can be wrong if what we are sure about is something God does not agree with.

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