Come Follow Me - New Testament
“Thou Art the Christ”
- A testimony of Jesus Christ comes by revelation.
- Priesthood keys are essential for our salvation.
- When seeking greater faith, we must first hold on to the
faith we already have.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the Scriptures at LDS.org.
Lesson Handout (PDF)
A Testimony of Jesus Christ Comes by Revelation
The Lord gathers his disciples together for a testimony meeting and announces
16:14-17. Simon Peter bears witness of the divinity of Jesus.
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea
Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of
Man am?"(Matthew 16:13)
- Jesus was the first to bear testimony when he asked "Whom do men say
that I the Son of Man am?"
- Son of Man is a term synonymous with Son of God.
- FROM WHAT SOURCE DID PETER'S TESTIMONY COME?
- From the Father through the Holy Ghost.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "He had learned it
by personal revelation from the Father who had sent the Holy Ghost to
Peter to testify of the Son. The Holy Ghost is a Revelator; one of his
chief assigned missions is to bear testimony to receptive mortals that
Jesus is the Christ. Peter had received such a revelation on previous
occasions, and here we find the Holy Ghost speaking to him
again, certifying a new of the divinity of his Lord.
"It is a false notion to suppose that the apostles and other
righteous men did not receive revelation from the Holy Ghost while
Christ was with them in the flesh. It is true that (with the apparent
exception of John the Baptist) they did not enjoy the gift of the Holy
Ghost, meaning the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead,
until after the day of Pentecost. But they did receive flashes of
revelation from time to time from the Holy Ghost, as Peter did in this
instance." (DNTC, 1:384)
Like Peter, we can also receive a testimony of the Savior and his gospel
through the Holy Ghost.
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "One of
the greatest things about our Heavenly Father's plan for His children is that
each of us can know the truth of that plan for ourselves. That revealed
knowledge does not come from books, from scientific proof, or from
intellectual pondering. As with the Apostle Peter, we can receive that
knowledge directly from our Heavenly Father through the witness of the Holy
"When we know spiritual truths by spiritual means, we
can be just as sure of that knowledge as scholars and scientists are of the
different kinds of knowledge they have acquired by different methods."
(General Conference, April 2008)
- On another occasion, Elder Oaks explained the importance of
revelation: "I have seen some persons attempt to
understand or undertake to criticize the gospel or the Church by the method of
reason alone, unaccompanied by the use or recognition of revelation. When
reason is adopted as the only—or even the principal—method of judging the
gospel, the outcome is predetermined. One cannot find God or understand his
doctrines and ordinances by closing the door on the means He has prescribed
for receiving the truths of his gospel. That is why gospel truths have been
corrupted and gospel ordinances have been lost when left to the interpretation
and sponsorship of scholars who lack the authority and reject the revelations
of God." (General Conference, April 1989)
Elder Spencer W. Kimball: "To
acquire a testimony, then, one must be in tune with the Spirit of the Lord,
keep his commandments and be sincere." (General Conference, October
Priesthood Keys Are Essential For Our Salvation
After explaining the source of Peter's testimony (as discussed in the previous
section) the Lord continued to instruct his apostles.
- "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and
upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it."(Matthew 16:18)
- WHAT IS THE ROCK UPON WHICH THE LORD BUILDS HIS CHURCH?
- Joseph Smith: "Jesus in His teachings says,
'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it.' What rock? Revelation." (TPJS, p274)
- WHY MUST THE LORD'S CHURCH BE BUILT ON REVELATION?
- Consider the evolving history of Christianity.
- President Thomas S. Monson: "Still others
searched for Jesus in councils of debate. Such was the historic Council
of Nicea in 325 AD. There, with the help of the Roman Emperor, the
delegates did away in Christendom with the concept of a personal God and
a personal Son—the two separate and distinct Glorified Beings of the
scriptures. The Creed of Nicea, the 'incomprehensible mystery' of which
its originators seemed so proud precisely because it could not be
understood, substituted for the personal God of love and for Jesus of
the New Testament an immaterial abstraction. The result was a maze of
confusion and a compoundment of error. Jesus will not be found in
councils of debate. Men of the world have modified his miracles, doubted
his divinity and rejected his resurrection."(General
Conference, October 1965)
- The gospel is not the doctrine of a man or a council of men.
- The church of Jesus Christ is built upon revelations from God through his prophet.
- The Prophet Joseph Smith stated: "Whenever men
can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from
God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God
is not." (History of the Church, 5:259)
- The church of Jesus Christ requires two essential elements:
- Revelation from God.
- Authorized administrators (prophets, apostles, other priesthood leaders)
working under the direction of God.
16:19. The keys of the kingdom promised to the Twelve.
- WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS' PROMISE TO PETER?
- Peter and the Twelve will one day carry forth the Lord's work and He
will empower them to do so.
- Many years ago President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Boyd K. Packer
visited the small church in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Thorvaldsen's famed
statues of the Christus and of the Twelve Apostles stand. Speaking of this
experience, Elder Packer said: "I stood with President
Kimball . . . before the statue of Peter. In his hand, depicted in marble,
is a set of heavy keys. President Kimball pointed to them and explained what
they symbolized. Then, in an act I shall never forget, he turned to [Stake]
President Bentine and with unaccustomed sterness pointed his finger and said
with firm, impressive words, 'I want you to tell every Lutheran in Denmark
that they do not hold the keys! I hold the keys! We hold the real keys and
we use them every day'." (The Holy Temple, p83)
- President Joseph F. Smith: "The Priesthood in
general is the authority given to man to act for God.... The power of
directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their
fulness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and
president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to
another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor." (Gospel
- Elder Merril J. Bateman: "The priesthood is
the power and authority of God delegated to man. Priesthood keys are the right
to direct the use of that power. The President of the Church holds the keys
necessary for governing the entire Church. His counselors in the First
Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also hold the keys of the
kingdom and operate under the President’s direction. Stake presidents,
bishops, and temple, mission, and quorum presidents are given keys to guide
the Church in their jurisdictions. Their counselors do not hold keys but
'receive delegated authority by calling and assignment'." (General
Conference, October 2003)
- Elder James E. Faust: "Today I speak of keys
other than those of metal. The keys I speak of never rust. These are the keys
of life and salvation in the kingdom of God. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, 'I
will give you a key that will never rust, if you will stay with the majority
of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led
"The Prophet also stated: 'The Priesthood is
everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James, and
John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him.' Peter, James, and
John conferred the keys of the kingdom of God upon the Prophet Joseph and
ordained him to be an Apostle and a special witness of the name of the Savior
and to bear the keys of his ministry. Keys that pertain to the gathering of
Israel, the dispensation of Abraham, and, indispensably, the keys of sealing
were conferred upon the Prophet by Moses, Elias, and Elijah in 1836.
"Prior to the martyrdom, no doubt with a sense of
foreboding, the Prophet Joseph prepared for his death. President Joseph
Fielding Smith states:
“The Prophet declared that he knew not why, but the
Lord commanded him to endow the Twelve with these keys and priesthood, and
after it was done, he rejoiced very much, saying in substance, 'Now, if they
kill me, you have all the keys and all the ordinances and you can confer them
upon others, and the powers of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom
as fast as you will be able to build it up, and upon your shoulders will the
responsibility of leading this people rest'." (General Conference,
17:1-13. The transfiguration of Jesus.
- WHAT DOES TRANSFIGURATION MEAN?
- "It is a temporary change in a person's appearance
and nature, from a lower to a higher state, brought about by the power of
God. A mortal must be transfigured to behold God's power." (1995
Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual)
- Given this definition, it would appear that Peter, James, and John might
also have to be transfigured to behold this experience.
- WHAT DID MOSES AND ELIAS (Elijah, see Mortal Messiah 1:281) DO WHEN THEY
APPEARED ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION?
- Joseph Smith: "The Priesthood is everlasting. The
Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the
mount when they were transfigured before him." (TPJS, p158)
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "There may have been
other messengers besides Moses and Elijah who also came to the Mount of
Transfiguration, as for instance a translated person from Enoch's day, who
also gave keys and authorities to the chosen heads of the dispensation of
the meridian of time. We know so little--for want of spiritual preparation
on our part--of what transpired on the holy mount." (Mortal Messiah,
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "The essential
function of the priesthood in linking time and eternity was made explicit by
the Savior when He formed His Church during His mortal ministry. To His
senior Apostle Peter He said, 'I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom
of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Six
days later He took Peter, James, and John to a mountaintop where He was
transfigured in glory before them. Then prophets from earlier dispensations,
including at least Moses and Elijah, appeared in glory also and conferred
the various keys and powers that each held." (General Conference,
- President Joseph Fielding Smith suggests that Peter, James, and John
received their endowments from Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
(Doctrines of Salvation, 2:165.)
- Elder David B. Haight comments on this experience: "Perhaps
Jesus felt not only a sense of the heavenly calm which that solitary
opportunity for communion with His Father would bring, but even more, a sense
that He would be supported in the coming hour by ministrations not of this
earth.... He went up to prepare for His coming death. He took His three
apostles with Him in the belief that they, after having seen his
glory,...might be fortified." (General Conference, April
- This, then was a significant event in the Lord's ministry:
- Testimony was born of the Savior by the Father.
- Vital keys were transmitted to the future heads of the Lord's church.
- The Lord was probably comforted in having this experience and being able
to share it with His closest friends.
- It was an experience that moved the Lord a step closer to the
fulfillment of His mission.
WHY ARE THE KEYS GIVEN TO PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN AND RESTORED IN OUR DAY
IMPORTANT TO YOU?
When Seeking Greater Faith, We Must First Hold on to the Faith We Already Have
When Jesus returned from the mount to his disciples he found
"a great multitude about them" (v14).
The father asked for help.
- One of the multitude said, "Master, I have brought
unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit" (v17).
- He asked the Lord's disciples to "cast him out; and
they could not" (v18).
- Jesus asked that the man's son be brought to him
"and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the
ground, and wallowed foaming" (v19-20).
- "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth" (v23).
- Elder Sterling W. Sill: "The great message of
the Church in our own day is that God the Eternal Father has reappeared upon
this earth to reestablish among men a belief in the God of Genesis, the God of
Mount Sinai, the God of Calvary, and the God of the latter days. The message
has been renewed that the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth is near
at hand, and he has also reaffirmed the fact that those who are faithful will
be exalted and permitted to rule with him throughout eternity. If we only
believe, then all things are possible and we will be able to make the
necessary preparation. If the godlike powers of man are so manifest even in
his present fallen state, what may be the eternal potential of that great
masterpiece which God created in his own image?" (General Conference,
- The restored Church of Jesus Christ is a testament to the power of belief.
It is amazing that this world wide Church grew out of the faith of a young
boy. Cities have been created, plains crossed in adverse conditions, temples
built, because of the great power of belief of so many faithful Saints.
The father responded in tears, "Lord, I believe; help thou
mine unbelief" (v24). Is not this a cry for help that many of us
- L. Whitney Clayton: "All of us have come
face-to-face with difficult, even desperate hours, when with tears we have
fallen on our knees and pled as did this father, 'Lord, I believe; help thou
"Just as the Savior stood ready to help this father
whose son was 'sore vexed,' so is He ready to help our unbelief today so
that with faith we can survive our mortal struggles and 'come off
"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle
of the gospel and is more than mere belief. Faith is a 'hope for things
which are not seen, which are true.' ...
"Faith comes from hearing the word of God and is a
spiritual gift. Faith increases when we not only hear, but act on the word
of God as well, in obedience to the truths we have been taught. ...
"Developing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a
step-by-step, line-upon-line, and precept-upon-precept process. We promote
the process of strengthening our faith when we do what is right—increased
faith always follows as a consequence. If we exercise our faith daily with
prayer, study, and obedience, the Savior helps our unbelief, and our faith
becomes a shield to 'quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.' Alma taught
that we may 'withstand every temptation of the devil, with [our] faith on
the Lord Jesus Christ.' However, we can neither ignore nor reject the
essential ingredients of faith and then expect to reap a rich harvest."
(General Conference, October 2001)
- Elder Kevin W. Pearson: "Faith and fear
cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. The simple fact is we all need
to constantly build faith and overcome sources of destructive disbelief. The
Savior’s teaching comparing faith to a grain of mustard seed recognizes this
reality. Consider it this way: our net usable faith is what we have left to
exercise after we subtract our sources of doubt and disbelief. You might ask
yourself this question: 'Is my own net faith positive or negative?' If your
faith exceeds your doubt and disbelief, the answer is likely positive. If
you allow doubt and disbelief to control you, the answer might be negative.
"We do have a choice. We get what we focus on
consistently. Because there is an opposition in all things, there are forces
that erode our faith. Some are the result of Satan’s direct influence. But
for others, we have no one but ourselves to blame. These stem from personal
tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change." (General
Conference, April 2009)
- Elder John K. Carmack teaches us that we can help our unbelief by doing
- Be rooted in Christ.
- Have a desire to know.
- Do the things God has commanded.
- Then, "All
can come to know that the doctrine is true, growing from light and truth to
further light and truth until the perfect day."
(General Conference, October 1988)
Jesus "rebuked the foul spirit" and commanded it to leave. This spirit
came out of the son and left him as if he were dead. Jesus took his
hand and lifted him up (v25-27).
- Later, the Lord's disciples asked, "Why could we
not cast him out." Jesus' response, "This kind can come forth by
nothing, but by prayer and fasting" (v28-29).
- The Lord's disciples believed in the power of the Lord, but they were
unable to exercise the power to heal the boy. Prayer and fasting are two
additional tools to help our unbelief.
- Elder Russell M. Nelson: "The sweet power
of prayer can be intensified by fasting, on occasion, when appropriate to
a particular need." (General Conference, April 2003)
- Elder L. Whitney Clayton: "We also must remember
that genuine fasting fosters strong faith." (General Conference,
- Elder Shayne M. Bowen: "To develop
spiritual strength, we need to do our part. If we are not willing to work
and be obedient, we should not expect the miracle. In my experience,
miracles are always found through obedience and hard work.
"A person who can discipline himself to fast on a
regular basis in the way God has designed can resist every temptation,
overcome any burden, and become free from any yoke." (Ensign, April
View a short video: Seeking
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The Lord revealed more of himself during the events reviewed in this lesson.
Important priesthood keys have been promised and transmitted to the future
leaders of his church. Peter bore his witness of the Master which he had
received by revelation. Like Peter, we can know through the Holy Ghost that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and that his servants, the
prophets, hold the same keys given anciently to Peter, James, and John.
Record your thoughts on the events described in this lesson. How do the
"keys" of the kingdom make a difference in your life? What can you do
to help turn unbelief into faith?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1, by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC)
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith
Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith
History of the Church
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Holy Temple by Boyd K. Packer
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume 3, by Bruce R. McConkie
This outline is provided as supplementary material and is not
intended to replace the official lesson manual. It is not endorsed by The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am wholly responsible for the content.
I do my best to see that the content is in
harmony with the teachings and doctrine of the Church.
Gospel Doctrine Class
Page created by: email@example.com.
Please E-Mail comments.
Changes last made on:
18 March 2019