Why the need for more revelation?

Jesus says in John 16:23, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing.”

So why did Joseph Smith not have answers to his questions?

Since Jesus’ prediction and its fulfillment, the fundamental answers to your questions have always been there.  There should not be the assertion that a biblical Christian is groping in the dark.  It is just not so.


  1. Interesting. But if you are to interpret this scripture in such a way, wouldn’t you be suggesting that there is no need to pray at all, but to give thanks? I seem to doubt that this means we should never approach the all-knowing Lord with our questions.

  2. So… question. What would be the definition of a “non-Biblical Christian”? All Christians base on the Bible to my knowledge.

    Also, how do you define revelation? If you think of revelation as anything coming from God to help you in your life (answers to prayers, promptings to follow certain paths) then this is spitting in his face by rejecting a hopefully daily offering/sharing from God.

    Yes, the fundamentals may be there, but the application of the fundamentals is where – I believe – that the revelation and hand of God work together with the fundamentals to coalesce into a full solution or answer, whatever the case may be. To deny that God communicates with us (revelates?) is, to me, a denial of a communication path we should be exercising in every part of our lives.

    I think this one needs a little more thought.

  3. Sarah, all “Christians” would say they utilize the Bible, but some Christians would claim the Scripture can be broken. Would this be an apt title, “broken Bible Christians”?

    Secondly, I am thinking of specific, scriptural revelation — the need for more canon.

    Kate, good question. It is late tonight. But let me get back with you, and I will try to build a case.

  4. Todd,

    Hmm….do you have the answers to your questions?

    Which version of “the Bible” do biblical Christians use? The answer in itself should testify of the need for more revelation from God.

  5. Kate and Rob, let me throw out some thoughts for your consideration on this Monday morning:

    1) What is “that day”? I believe the “that day” is referring to the era after Jesus goes away to the Father and He sends the Holy Spirit. (16:5, 7, 8, 13-16)

    2) The Holy Spirit will guide those disciples into all truth.

    3) Little did those disciples realize this particular night in listening to Jesus that 27 books would be added to their OT canon. There was direct fulfillment. They were shown things of Jesus through the Spirit. And they were shown things to come.

    4) “Ye shall ask me nothing.” Look up that Greek word, ask in a Bible concordance. It is different than the next word, “Whatsoever ye shall ask“. The first word deals with questions. You see. The disciples didn’t fully understand. And also, Jesus had been speaking to them “in proverbs” (v. 25). But the time was coming that this would no longer be the case. We have the words of Jesus recorded in the gospels, but the full explanation and interpretation of Jesus’ words, blossom in the epistles.

    5) Look at the dramatic change of the disciples after Pentecost. Did they minister the words of Jesus as men groping in the dark? No.

    6) In the latter part of Peter’s ministry, he wrote, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God,and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” The promise is there. We have it all.

    7) The opening statement of John 16:23 does not in any way diminish the joyous work of prayer – asking and receiving.

    Rob, are you saying that because there are English translations such as the NASB, NKJV, NIV, ESV, etc. of the Hebrew and Greek texts, this requires more specific, scriptural revelation from God? I don’t understand. I have all these translations and more. But how is the fundamental messages of the Bible altered since Tyndale and Geneva and even on back through the Latin Vulgate?

  6. I was looking through Study Bible notes today to see if any of them might confirm a little of what I am trying to say. Just a few minutes ago, I read the NIV note on John 16:23. Check it out.

  7. Todd,

    Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

    (1). I would disagree. I think that “that day” refers to the day when Jesus is resurrected.

    (2). Yes.

    (3). How is the addition of scripture a fulfillment of this?

    (4). I have been looking at the Greek words, and you are entirely correct. It is interesting, however, that the same word for “ask” that is in the end of John 16:23 is used in James 1:5, the scripture that prompted the simple prayer from Joseph Smith.

    Also, speaking of interesting, just a few verses later (verse 26), Jesus uses the same word as at the beginning of John 16:23 (the part you quote here), and it is translated as “pray”. In fact, according to Blue Letter Bible, it is translated as “pray” 14 times in the KJV!

    This alone makes me wonder if we should be interpreting this scripture as Jesus telling us we should not ask Him any questions! I would prefer to think that Jesus is speaking to the disciples, who have just been asking Him about his prophecy of the resurrection, and that after He is resurrected, they will not ask him any more about it because they will understand. I would say that “that day” is the day that He is resurrected, and sees His disciples again.

    (6). We had it all. Latter-day Saints do believe that Jesus Christ gave the fullness of the gospel. Where we disagree is that Latter-day Saints believe that it was lost, while you would contest that it was preserved in the sufficient scripture of the Bible.

    (7). If “that day” refers to the time after Jesus’ ascension, and we interpret this scripture as you suggested, there would be no reason for us to pray, since we have the Bible. This is, at least, how I am viewing your position.

  8. (1) That is good, Kate. Thankyou. Though I did not verbalize the resurrection of Christ, it the central event “in that day”. Yet still, I would not exclude Christ’s ascension and Pentecost. It all dramatically changed everything for those 11 disciples who were listening to the farewell discourse of Jesus that night.

    (3) The disciples had a lot of misunderstandings. They didn’t know what was going to happen in the future. The Holy Spirit guided them through full, progressive revelation. Inerrant, trustworthy revelation. Mysteries were explained. Questions were answered.

    And all those inspired interpretations given to the apostles sustains me in 2009. Kate, I do have theological curiosity, no doubt about it. 🙂 But all the questions concerning where I came from, what is my purpose in life, where I am going – they are all fully answered.

    (4) Good word tracing. And that is why some might conclude, “Jesus may have been saying that his disciples previously had been praying to Christ, but after his death and resurrection they were to go directly to the Father and pray in Christ’s name.”

    But even saying that, I don’t think the N.T. forbids one to pray to Jesus. We have examples where prayer is directly to Jesus.

    Before Joseph used James 1:5 as a springboard, he should have delved deeper in his Bible. I think he had his eyes more on the externals in the religions.

    (6) Yes

    (7) Kate, as I have been reading my Bible, today, I have been spending almost an equal amount of time in the asking of God.

  9. Todd/Kate — in the end I believe we will all be amazed when all is revealed and we find how much “bigger” God’s plan really is and how “little” we really knew during our mortal lives.

    Of course, you’re right the major difference is that the LDS believe that truth and knowledge was lost during a period of apostasy after Christ’s ascension and therefore there is a need for a restoration through authorized servants of God called modern day prophets and apostles.

    However, as you probably also know, as LDS we believe that not ALL the truth and knowledge of God has been restored to the Church — we are under commandment to search and study the scriptures and words of the prophets and individually through our diligence in asking and studying the scriptures, many of the remaining “Mysteries of God” can and will be revealed to us in this life if we so desire it and seek for it.

    Here’s a handful of references for you from revealed LDS scripture:

    Alma 12:9-10
    Alma 40:3
    1 Nephi 10:19
    Jacob 4:8
    D&C 6:7
    D&C 77:6
    D&C 84:19
    D&C 101:32-33

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