Scripture makes it clear that at the day of judgment there will be those who have prophesied and done many other wonderful works in the name of the Lord, and yet who will still not truly “know” Him:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23, 3 Nephi 14: 22-23)
In the foregoing, the Lord says that he never knew these people, but the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible reverses this to “Ye never knew me.” This subtle change was also made to the parable of the ten virgins wherein the Lord says “Ye know me not” (JST Matthew 25:11).
The Doctrine and Covenants also teaches the same concept when the Lord states categorically that members of his own house never really knew him.
Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants 112: 24-26)
It’s pretty clear that the Lord is not happy with those of his people who are claiming to know Him, yet have not truly known him. The beginnings of the wrath that will be poured out prior to his coming start with a whirlwind at the head of the wicked who profess his name but do not his works (see Jeremiah 23:19 and Jeremiah 30:23. Note: the keyword “whirlwind” neatly ties these Jeremiah references to the D&C 112)
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO KNOW THE LORD?
In searching this out, I came across a very interesting scripture in Jeremiah that provides a strong clue to what it means to know the Lord. As context, the Lord is chastising a king of Judah and then refers to the works of this king’s father:
…did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him; was not this to know me? saith the LORD.
When I first read that passage it hit me like a ton of bricks. To truly know the Lord is to do the things that he did, especially with respect to those who are poor and needy.
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. (Psalms 140:12)
As I further searched this out I came across numerous scriptures along these same lines.
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. (Psalms 41:1)
…he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. (Proverbs 14:21)
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse (Proverbs 28:27)
The poor will ever be with us and we are commanded to be generous! If we do the Lord promises:
- He will deliver us from trouble
- We will be happy
- We will have enough (not lack)
The flip side is a curse if we hide our eyes from the poor and ignore their plight. Job 20:19-29 chronicles a litany of bad things that happen to those who oppress and forsake the poor. It’s a long passage which I won’t include here that can be summarized by saying that for those people there is no peace and much sorrow.
The Lord God of Israel, even Jesus Christ, spent his time with publicans and sinners, and was criticized by the Pharisees for doing so. His works were among the downtrodden, the oppressed, the widows and the fatherless. Is not this to truly know the Lord?
In part 2 we will examine how we are robbing the poor, all the while believing with great piety that we are doing the Lord’s work.