Does the Old Testament prophesy of the Great Apostasy?
This debate will be split into 5 different rounds.
Round 1: Opening Statements.
Round 2-3: Rebuttals.
Round 4: Cross examination.
Round 5: Closing Statements.
I, the affirmative side of this argument, will be representing the views of the church of Jesus Chris of later day saints, or Mormons as you may know us. I will explain to you what the apostasy is and how the Old Testament testifies of it.
So what was the apostasy? Well an apostasy is when a individual or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God shows his love for us by calling prophets. These prophets are given the priesthood, or the power and authority given to man to act in God's name. Prophets learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation. They then teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the multitudes and testify of Him. But, whenever people choose to disregard, disobey, or distort any gospel principle or ordinance, whenever they reject the Lord's prophets, or whenever they fail to endure in faith, they distance themselves from God and begin to live in spiritual darkness. Eventually this leads to apostasy. When widespread apostasy occurs, God withdraws his priesthood authority to teach and administer the ordinances of the gospel. General apostasy has occurred many times throughout the history of the world, including in the Old Testament. There are many instances of God speaking to prophets in the Old Testament, and it also tells of many instances of apostasy. God has shown His love for His children by calling another prophet and giving him priesthood authority to restore and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ anew. Prophets act kind of like house keepers of Gods house here on earth. Such periods of time headed by prophetic responsibility are called dispensations.
In the Old testament, God revealed the gospel of Jesus Christ to Adam and gave him priesthood authority. Adam was the first prophet on the earth so this was Adam's dispensation on the earth. By revelation, Adam learned many things about the gospel, but you can ask me about these many truths that he learned through revelation. Adam was followed by other prophets, but over time the posterity of Adam rejected the gospel and fell into apostasy, choosing to be unrighteous.
There then began the pattern of prophetic dispensations that makes up much of the recorded history of the Old Testament. God revealed His gospel through direct communications to many prophets during apostasies. Prophets like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Each of these prophets received priesthood authority and eternal truths from God. Unfortunately, in each dispensation people eventually used their agency (or freedom of choice) to choose to reject the gospel and then fell into apostasy. If you don't fully understand prophets, priesthood authority, dispensations, or anything that doesn't make sense in this debate please ask me in the comments below.
But the main apostasy that we are going to talk about and find out if it is prophesied in the Old Testament is the Great Apostasy. So you can understand the Great Apostasy, I will explain it to you know. Then, after that, I will show you how the Old Testament prophecies of this Great Apostasy.
The Great Apostasy occurred after the savior Jesus Christ came to the earth and established his church. During his earthly ministry, He taught, healed the sick, suffered for our sins in the atonement, and established his church by calling 12 apostles. Christ gave them priesthood authority. He organized his church by fulfilling prophecies and completing the atonement. Before the Savior's death and Resurrection, he gave His apostles authority to teach His gospel, preform the ordinances of salvation, and establish and take care of His church in the world.
But like the cycle of apostasy went in the Old Testament, Apostasy soon fell over the earth again. After the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people persecuted the apostles and church members and killed many of them in horrible ways. With the death of the apostles, the priesthood keys and priesthood authority given by Jesus Christ were taken away from the earth. The apostles had kept the doctrines of the gospel pure and maintained the order and standard of worthiness for church members. But without the apostles, over time the doctrines were corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This lead to the Great apostasy. Without revelation and priesthood authority, people relied on things like human wisdom to interpret the scriptures and the principle and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. False ideas were taught as truth. Much of the knowledge of the true character and nature of God the father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost. This apostasy eventually led to the emergence of many churches because of the confusion of now false church doctrine. After centuries of spiritual darkness, many truth seeking men and woman noticed this change in doctrine and of the gospel. They tried to reform their own churches into the way they think the gospel was before.
But the church did not need a reformation, it needed a restoration.
Because our Heavenly Father loves us, He called another prophet to restore the gospel in this dispensation. Just like in the Old Testament, God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet in this dispensation and to bring back the fullness of the gospel that was taught by Jesus Christ in times of old. He was given priesthood authority to restore the church and teach the gospel. Smith was also given direction to find and translate the Book of Mormon. This book helped clarify and restore the original teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ and his gospel. If you have any questions about this, ask me in the comments.
I believe that the Old Testament prophecies of this great apostasy. I will give 3 scriptures that I believe show and prophecy that there will be (and was) a great apostasy.
Scripture 1: Amos 8:11. This scripture reads,"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." This explains the great apostasy perfectly. Without the apostles during the apostasy, there was no revelation for the church. So God could not speak to His children. Scriptures were not available to the public, only church officials. Gospel doctrines were changed and corrupted. Therefore, no one could hear the words of God.
Scripture 2: Isaiah 29: 13. This scripture reads,"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:" This scripture explains the apostasy also. Even without the gospel, people still had Jesus Christ's teachings with them (although most of it was corrupted). They could talk about these teachings, but they would harden their hearts towards the fullness of the gospel. The only way they could learn about God was through the teachings of men without the proper priesthood authority. Therefore, this lead to confusion and apostasy.
Scripture 3: Isaiah 24: 5. This scripture reads,"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." Even before the death of the apostles, many conflicts concerning doctrine arose. The Roman Empire, which at first had persecuted he Christians, later adopted Christianity. Important religious questions were settled by councils. The simple doctrines and ordinances taught by Jesus Christ were debated and changed to conform to worldly philosophies. They changed scriptures, created creeds, and did other things that confused gospel doctrine. Because of pride, some aspired to positions of influence. People accepted these false ideas and gave honor to false teachers who taught pleasing doctrines rather than divine truth. This also led to confusion and apostasy.
This is how the Old Testament prophecies the Great Apostasy.
Thank you for your time. Please ponder and pray about these words. If you have any questions, ask me.
The "True to the faith" handbook
The Great Apostasy is an especially interesting topic and I am very grateful and honored to be offered the position of the negative in this debate.As a Catholic, I do not hold to the Great Apostasy but instead I believe Jesus Christ when he promised to build his church on his apostle Simon Jonna (Matt 16:18). He changed his name to Cephus (Petros in the Greek, or Peter in our tongue), literally meaning rock and this happened while in Caesarea Philippi. Jesus said that the Gates of hell (Sheol or Hades) will not prevail against his church.
Just with the opening statement, I can see there are many conflicting doctrines that make our respective faiths, LDS and Catholic, incompatible, but this debate is designed to shed light on one question, “Does the Old Testament Prophesy a Great Apostasy?” The burden of proof is wholly on the affirmative and I will not be making any attempt to find prophesy which says a Great Apostasy would not occur. To do so would be like trying to find a place in a microwave instruction manual that says the device will not blast freeze your food. The burden of proof would be on the person who would make such an accusation about the microwave in the first place. Therefore, it is the affirmative’s job to present the evidence, and my job to put the evidence to scrutiny and see if it holds water. My opponent has already put forward three verses that I will address in the briefest way here and leave the larger part for the rebuttal periods. For now, I will put forward reasons why I believe the Old Testament fails to demonstrate a Great Apostasy Prophesy at all.
Post-Messianic Great Apostasy is not mentioned in the Old Testament.
Though my opponent has given three verses to make his case, all three run on the supposition that the context of said verses somehow relate directly to future global events rather than, or including, the people the prophets are speaking to, namely the Jews. This means that at the very most, the verses given are implicit evidence of the case the affirmative is trying to make. Are we really supposed to believe that when Amos delivers a message of explicit judgement from God to Israel for their sins of Idolatry, and it really implies that this punishment is going to happen after the Messiah comes? This is where the affirmative must fill in the blank or risk doing violence to the text. For instance, do we know when Amos’ prophesy was supposed to come to fruition? If Amos means that ordinances would be changed, what were they and how did they change? More importantly, how are all those statements shoehorned into a single verse? This sounds more like historical assumption and generalities rather than historical fact. If my opponent’s case is true, there would be specific New Testament or extra-biblical evidence, like historical records, that would back up these claims and build a case for them. I look forward to digging deeper into these verses.
“Prophetic Hope” or “Prophetic Disappointment”
The Great Apostasy idea downplays the role of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Let us suppose for a moment that there was a clear and undeniable prophesy of a Great Apostasy after the time of the Messiah. This would mean the Jewish people were privy to the knowledge that God's Kingdom would be established by the Messiah, and also that it would fail. Every time I’ve read a Messianic prophesy in scripture, the prophets speak of the Messiah with hope, but there would be no hope if the anointed one of God wouldn’t be able to keep his Church together. Contrast this with the successful Old Testament Prophets. For example, Noah and his family ferried over the flood, Moses and the fleeing slave nation escaped the Egyptian army, and Elijah, the one prophet of the living God, defeats the 450 priests of Baal. I could go on but here is the point: these prophets are not the Messiah who can perform a miracle on his own authority, and all of them succeeded in preventing a Great Apostasy in the Old Testament. Yet, for some reason, God leaves his faithful ones to fend for themselves and allows death to destroy what Jesus came to establish leading to an almost immediate Great Apostasy?
Ironically, according the LDS Church, Jesus is a two-time loser as he also establishes a Church in the Americas (to mirror the one in Palestine) which was destroyed by the apostate Lamanites. There is something very anti-climactic here and if I were a person living in the time of the Old Testament, all I would see in the Messiah is the next milestone before the prophet I really want arrives: the one who is going to restore the Church. But that is not the case. Even modern Jews wait in hope and faith for the coming Messiah. “With the coming of the Messiah will be the physical ingathering of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isa. 11:12, 27:12-13); That ingathering will include the righteous souls who died in previous years (Isa. 26:19); Also with coming of the Messiah will be the reestablishment of the Holy Temple (Micah 4:1); In addition the Messianic age will be one of world-wide peace (Isa. 2:4, 11:6, Micah 4:3); and, finally, In the Messianic age the entire world will believe in G-d (Isa. 11:9, 40:5; Zephaniah 3:9).”  Please notice that a Great Apostasy or the Messiah failing in any way is not on the list of Biblical expectations.
The Prophesy of Daniel Ch 2.
Not only is the idea of a Great Apostasy Prophesy idea very depressing, but it flies in the face of Daniel 2:31-45. A brief summary of the point is that during the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon was plagued by a dream and was looking for the interpretation and God, though Daniel, delivered. The answer was that Nebuchadnezzar is king of one of four kingdoms to rule over the Jews. He is even called king of kings, another name for the Messiah as if to say, “What you have our Messiah will have.” Including the Babylonian empire (587-539 B.C.), there are three other historically verified kingdoms that ruled over Israel and Judah. They are the Medo-Persian Empire (539-331 B.C.), the Greek empire (331-168 B.C.), and the Roman Empire (63 B.C.-A.D. 70). 
As Daniel predicts, it is during the reign of the fourth kingdom that God’s Messianic Kingdom will come. The “stone” that “was cut out of the mountain without hands” would strike the fourth kingdom. And as verse 44 says clearly, “ …in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” And as Daniel concludes, "the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” This is a strong Old Testament case for the Catholic Church as the Kingdom established by Christ backed by historical record.
This interpretation is not my own, though it is largely self-explanatory from the scripture given, we are fortunate enough to have several early Christian writers who explored this subject matter. Hippolytus of Rome writes, “The golden head of the image and the lioness denoted the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represented the Persians and Medes; the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard, meant the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander's time; the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed the Romans.” This coming to us as near to Christ as 150 years. 
The Jewish Flavius Josephus wrote, “The head of gold denotes thee, and the kings of Babylon that have been before thee; but the two hands and arms signify this, that your government shall be dissolved by two kings; but another king that shall come from the west, armed with brass, shall destroy that government; and another government, that shall be like unto iron, shall put an end to the power of the former, and shall have dominion over all the earth, on account of the nature of iron, which is stronger than that of gold, of silver, and of brass." Daniel did also declare the meaning of the stone to the king but I do not think proper to relate it, since I have only undertaken to describe things past or things present, but not things that are future… In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this man leave in writing, as God had showed them to him,”  Josephus is writing about Daniel but notice how he deliberately leaves out the meaning of the stone. This is most likely because he is a Roman citizen and historian and did not want to offend those he sided with the notion of a heavenly kingdom destroying and consuming Rome would not have looked good. “The Antiquities of the Jews” was written between 93 and 94 AD, now mere decades from Christ and written before the death of the Apostle John. 
These three appeals adequately demonstrate the lack of possibility of prophesy of a Great Apostasy in the Old Testament. As mentioned, it is not my duty to find prophesy that an event won’t occur as omission of prophesy is not prophesy at all. However the Old Testament scripture is very telling about God. He is faithful to His creation even though his creation may not be entirely faithful to Him and He has a perfect plan to bring us home. Did that plan involve a Great Apostasy? If it was prophesied in the Old Testament, it must have been. There is a problem with that line of reason and it is that God is not unjust (Job 34:12), God does not lie (Num. 23:19), God does not abandon his people (Psalm 94:14), and therefore, I do not believe in a Great Apostasy prophesied.
Let me start by defining some words so that they can be understood.
Agency: Agency is a gift from God that gives us the ability to choose and act for ourselves. Without it, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the savior.
Ordinances: An ordinance is a sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood. These ordinances include baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, Marriage, and many more.
Priesthood: The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God.
Reject: Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one's taste
"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." Matt 16:18. The gospel of Jesus Christ was not built upon Peter, but upon Jesus Christ himself. There is some subtle wordplay upon "Peter" in this scripture. In Greek, petros means small rock or pebble. But "rock" in Greek is petra, which translates back into the English word "Bedrock". Bedrock is a foundation. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 3:11. Therefore, Christ is the foundation and leader of His church. So He didn't build his church on Peter, but on Himself. But "pebble" in Greek can also be translated and interpreted as a "seer stone" or just "seer". So when Jesus changed Simons name to Cephus, He made him a seer, or a Prophet, like the Prophets of old. Christ gave Peter Priesthood authority to teach and to preform ordinances and left him in charge of His church here on earth after He left. Yes, the Gates of hell cannot prevail against His church, but the people can still reject it with their agency. The Gospel of Jesus Christ never was destroyed, it was just rejected.
Post-Messianic Great Apostasy is not mentioned in the Old Testament.
Amos is prophesying the apostasy of Israel. He is receiving revelation that if the people of Israel continue to disobey the commandments of God that they will certainly fall into apostasy. Amos first prophesied the Babylonian captivity of Israel because of their rejection of the gospel. Then he prophesied that if they continue to reject the gospel after the Babylonian captivity, then there shall be a "famine of hearing the words of the Lord." or an apostasy.
Do we know when Amos" prophesy was supposed to come to fruition? Well, Prophesies never really include specific dates, prophesies are promises and/or warnings. The prophets wouldn't say "Okay everyone, you better get ready for the 4 o'clock apostasy today." They would warn you that if you continued to reject the gospel, you'll fall into a state of apostasy. They won't know exactly what time that will be, they just want to give you a chance to return to the Lord before you continue on your way to apostasy.
If Amos means that ordinances would be changed, what were they and how did they change? Amos didn't say that, Isaiah did (Ish 24: 5). One example of an ordinance that was changed was baptism. I don't want to assume how Catholics preform baptism, but I think they sprinkle holy water or something to that effect, I'll ask my opponent to correct me if I'm wrong. But baptism must be done with proper priesthood authority and by immersion of water. In the New Testament, baptism was taught that one would get lowered and engulfed in a body of water and be brought back up out of the water. This was all done in the name of Jesus Christ. This is how Jesus Christ was baptized. But after the Apostles died, This ordinance was changed to how the Catholics believe it to be today. God does not lie (Num. 23:19) so this proves that during the Great Apostasy, the ordinance of baptism was changed, like Isaiah prophesied.
It is not an historical assumption that the apostles died.
Like I said, the prophets couldn't predict the exact date of the apostasy. They could only give a warning. Not a 50,000 page historical book that gives a step by step layout on how the apostasy is going to happen. That never happened over anything in the bible, why would the apostasy be different?
"Prophetic Hope" or "Prophetic Disappointment"
The main goal of the Old Testament is to prophecy of Jesus Christ and to teach of his atonement. Not to bring people down because of a warning of an apostasy. The prophets teach of the many great things about the gospel, but when the people start to reject the commandments of the Lord and his gospel, then the prophets warn them about what could happen. The Old Testament ultimately teaches us to come unto the savior and to never stray away from His gospel. Not that He can't keep his church together. Jesus has always kept his gospel together, He just withdraws it when His people rejects it. The Jews were already in a state of apostasy, that's why they didn't recognize Jesus Christ as the prophesied Messiah. I wouldn't have mattered if they knew there was going to be a Great Apostasy or not, they have already rejected it to be true.
Noah and Moses both came during a time that their people were in a state of apostasy. They all taught about the gospel, not about how it was in shambles but how it could give us hope.
God didn't leave his faithful ones to fend for themselves, He would never do that. But God can't do anything when His "faithful ones" reject him, because he respects our gift of agency. He can't force us to live the gospel.
Do not say that Jesus Christ was a two time loser. How could you believe in such a thing? The LDS church in no way believes in or teaches that Christ is a loser and failed to establish his church. Jesus did not fail in any way. He successfully established His church and gospel here on the earth. But, sadly, the people still reject it. That's why God send prophets in dispensations to teach the gospel so that we are able to have a chance to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even in heaven, those who didn't get to accept the gospel here on earth will still get a chance. I don't see in any way that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy ghost failed to establish the gospel here on earth and that they are not keeping it from anybody. It is acceptable to everyone.
I believe that the gathering of Israel and the reestablishment of the holy temple with happen and that everyone will live in peace after the Resurrection. It is going to happen in this final dispensation of the gospel.
I do believe in Daniel's prophesy. But I believe that it didn't happen when Christ first came to the earth. I believe that it "shall be in the latter days." (Dan. 2:28) or today in this final dispensation. That great statue that represented all of those kingdoms are a representation that those kingdoms won't even compare to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the church of Jesus Christ and his gospel. That Kingdom of God wasn't he Catholic church. The Church of Jesus Christ is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:19). The catholic church isn't built upon apostles and prophets, but a pope. Therefore, Daniel does not prophesy of the Catholic church, But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here in the latter days. So that does not affect the warning of a Great Apostasy.
God loves his people, and he has a plan of salvation for all of us. He is faithful to us, that's why he sent prophets, to teach us his plan and gospel so that we might accept is and return to live with him. That's why he sent the prophet Joseph Smith in these latter days. Due to agency, people still have the power to reject that. But just because there was a Great Apostasy it doesn't mean that God doesn't love us. It doesn't mean that he doesn't have a plan for us. That's why he sent Joseph Smith to restore the Gospel, because He loves us.
God does not abandon his people (Psalm 94:14), but his people can abandon him.
I'll review my own case now.
God loves us, so He sends Prophets to the earth to teach us about the gospel of His son, Jesus Christ. We have agency, or the freedom of choice, to choose if we want to accept that gospel or reject it. It has been rejected many times in the history of the world. Rejecting it leads to apostasy. Apostasy is when a individual or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But because God loves us, He sent prophets, apostles, and even His son to teach and establish Christ's gospel here on earth. Although it was great, people eventually rejected it and this led to the Great Apostasy. But because God still loves us, He sent the prophet Joseph Smith to restore the gospel here on earth for it's last dispensation before Jesus Christ comes to the earth again.
Scripture 1: Amos 8:11. This is a warning from the prophet Amos that if the house of Israel will continue to reject the gospel, it will lead to apostasy, and eventually the Great Apostasy, or a famine of hearing the Lords words.
Scripture 2: Isaiah 29:13. In a state of apostasy, the early Christians will draw near God with their lips, but will have removed their hearts from God.
Scripture 2: Isaiah 24:5. In that state of the Great Apostasy, the early christian church will break and change the ordinances of the church, such as baptism and marriage.
I would like to thank you for your time and I would like to ask you to open your hearts toward this discussion. Pray and ponder these words, so that you may know the truth through the Holy Ghost. Thank you and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
The "True to the faith" handbook.
I would like to mention that my opening statement was to show why I do not believe the Old Testament prophesies a Great Apostasy. I also do not believe that Jesus is a two time loser. He is my Lord and Savior and, as mentioned before, I believe that Jesus was successful in establishing his Church that he would be with till the end of the world which is in contrast to the LDS position. I would kindly ask the affirmative to reread my opening statement in context and not focus on a single line. My statement was not ad hominem but ad absurdum as in I believe it absurd that Jesus would establish two churches and both would fail. However, this is not a debate on Church History or which church is the true church but to see if the Old Testament Prophesies the Great Apostasy and I am ready for my rebuttal.
Amos 8:11: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”
The affirmative attempts to excise a single verse to establish that the prophet Amos is speaking not only of Israel but that, “if the people of Israel continue to disobey the commandments of God that they will certainly fall into apostasy.” There is no such, implicit or explicit, verse in the whole of Amos. There is also a distinction that I am not 100% sure my opponent is trying to make. Which is that Amos is only addressing Israel and not at all saying that God will be silent to all His people.
Amos is a shepherd that hails from Judah, the Southern Kingdom who was chosen by God to send his Judgement to Israel. We know that God’s judgement will not reach Judah when we read v12. Amos says that Israel will seek God’s word but will not find it. Amos relays God’s perfect foreknowledge that, “they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east” Sea to sea would be between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The directions North and East are also given but one direction is distinctly left out, the South where Judah is located. As the Hebrew scholar, Shalom M. Paul writes in his commentary on Amos, “the southern prophet most surely believes that there in Judah, at least, one can surely find the words of the Lord” So one must ask, if this famine does not affect the entire people of God in the Old Testament, why should it affect the entire world after the Christ leaves his Church and ascends into heaven?
Further, not only is speaking judgment to Israel but he tells them when this prophesy is coming to fruition. Where the Affirmative is correct, he didn’t tell them it would happen at 4 o’clock, he did give them signs to look for. And we find it in v13-14. “In that day (The day that there will be this famine of the word of God) shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.”
Dan, Beersheba and Samaria are the three places most relevant to the Northern Kingdom’s sin of Idolatry. The Prophesy indicates that when there is the famine, those that committed idolatry, will fall and never rise up. But the judgment does not end there, it continues to the next chapter but I will express Amos 9:8, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.” Here God has his eyes on the sinful kingdom (Singular) and it will be destroyed save that some of the house of Jacob will not be destroyed. This Prophesy does come to fruition in 722 B.C. when God allows Assyria to conquer the Northern Kingdom.  So where then are the signs for the other famine some 800 years after Amos? How could prophesy have such pinpoint precision on Israel and say nothing to a much larger Judgement?
There is no Great Apostasy prophesy in Amos 8:11 and LDS scholar Duane Crowther agrees, “While it is a very suitable description of the lack of revelation which occurred during that period [After Christ’s coming], there is little basis for the assertion that Amos was intentionally speaking of that era, rather than of the time of the fall of Israel, in his prophecy. It is suggested that the prophecy be cited only when comparing the apostate condition of Israel following Amos’ day with the apostasy which followed the New Testament period … The author merely questions the wisdom of some L.D.S. expositors of the scriptures who have, in his view, forced the interpretation of this passage with gross disregard for context and the true intention of the prophet Amos.” Crowther can clearly see there is nothing in the context beyond ancient Israel.
Isaiah 29: 13. “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
In my opening statement, I said that if there was evidence for the Great Apostasy assertions, we would find it in the New Testament or Extra-Biblically. I have provided contrary evidence to the claim for Amos but now I need look no further than the New Testament for a refutation and I will do it with my opponent’s LDS website on the scripture and study tab. 
The Affirmative would have us believe that Isaiah is referring to a Christian apostasy. However, to judge context we must identify who Isaiah is speaking too. Explicitly, God sends word of judgement to Israel that involves a multitude of nations coming to fight against Israel (Is. 29:8).
Following the footnotes associated with the verse on the site Matt. 15:7-9 which indicates “This People” referred to by Isaiah are identified as the Pharisees and not disciples or future Christians when the Savior quotes, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”  Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfilled in the time of Christ specifically identified within his own source and yet he uses it to prophesy the Great Apostasy? The affirmative cannot eat his cake and have it too. Either he should believe Jesus and agree with Him or not believe Jesus and demonstrate how he is wrong and not talking about the Pharisees but actually the early Christians.
Isaiah 24:5: “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”
My opponent once again is having a hard time figuring out who transgressed against the laws, changed ordinances, and broke covenants. I will first point out the obvious. There is no reference to marriage being change in the book of Isaiah. Not even a mention of ordinances that will be changed that are similar to them. Only that God likens his relationship with his people like a man loves his wife.(Is 62:5) And no mention of changing Baptism either. Though he does mention the baptism by fire and the Holy Spirit. (Is. 4:4)
First, let’s look at the verse. A careful examination shows us that the actions occur(ed) in the past as the actions are all past tense. So the obvious answer is that it is God’s chosen people who have already done this, not Christians that will do it. Moreover, the laws they have broken are many, but I think Isaiah is referring specifically to the spilling of innocent blood which curses the land by defiling it. This defilement can only be cleansed, in the Old Testament, is by the blood of those who spill it. God, rather poetically though Isaiah, identifies this in the Isaiah 1:15 by saying that He will not hear their prayers because they have blood on their hands. In addition to this in verses 21-23, we find that the righteous have become murderous, diluted and dishonest people with rebellious leaders who don’t bother to take care of the poorest of the poor, the widows and orphans. Yet the affirmative would like to confuse these people with the early Christians who were righteous till death, divided resources to provide for everyone, and take care of the poorest of the poor.
Now I am not 100% sure where the affirmative is getting those definitions. From his own source, Merriam-Webster, an ordinance means: a law or regulation made by a city or town government.  Given the evidence, I’m sure that law was something like, “Thou shalt not kill.” (Ex. 20:13) though Isaiah does not say what it may have been changed too but it has nothing to do with marriage or baptism.
So we have the laws transgressed, the ordinance that was changed so I’m sure you are wondering what the covenant is? According to Isaiah it is the “everlasting covenant”. This is given in Gen.17 when God promised to make this “everlasting covenant” with Abram. The term “everlasting covenant” is used three times in the chapter. First with Abram (v.7), next when all men had to be circumcised to enter the “everlasting covenant” (v.12), and one more time to extend the “everlasting covenant” to Abram’s son Isaac. (v.19) As part of the “everlasting covenant”, the land of Canaan would become the “everlasting Possession” of those that have this “everlasting covenant” with God.
God’s people, in Isaiah’s time, transgressed against the laws and changed the ordinances (Merriam-Webster version) by slaying the innocent and committing murder which defiled the land which broke the “everlasting covenant”.
 Shalom M. Paul, Amos: A Commentary on the Book of Amos
 Duane S. Crowther, Prophets and Prophecies of the Old Testament
 ibid, footnotes
First, I would like to apologize for the confusion in round 2. I used Merriam-Webster dictionary to define "reject" only. The rest of the definitions came out of the "True to The Faith Handbook". You can find it on lds.org also. So with that, I will continue my case.
Amos 8:11. Prophecies can be fulfilled many times. Although Amos was speaking to the northern kingdom, I believe that God intends certain prophecies to be for everyone. What we learn from this scripture is that if anyone, not just the northern tribes, rejects the teachings of the prophets and apostles, then they will certainly fall into a state of apostasy. This prophetic warning, I believe was meant for everyone. Even for the people of our day. When the people rejected the teachings of Jesus Christ and later the apostles and killed them, they fell into a state of apostasy. The people rejected the teachings of Amos and he was later killed and Judah fell into a state of apostasy. The consequence of the prophetic warning happened more than once it seems, in almost the same circumstances. So this prophecy by Amos was meant for everyone. The same consequences can happen to anyone in any dispensation. If I were to reject the teachings of the modern day prophets, I would certainly fall into individual apostasy. The Old Testament teaches us to trust and love the prophets, like the story of Elijah and the single mother and her child during the famine. God loves us and always want us to enjoy the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's why He sends prophets. But sadly, with our agency, some people choose to reject the Lords prophets. That's why Amos gave us this warning. Because God always want us to accept and love the prophets, not reject and kill them.
Isaiah 29:13. Like I said, certain prophecies are meant for all of us. Like the Pharisees (whom were in a state of apostasy), anyone in a state of apostasy can speak flattering words of Christ, but the intentions of their hearts will be far from Christ-like. For example, during the Great Apostasy, the early Christian church did terrible things in the name of Christ. From the crusades to inquisitions, thousands upon thousands of people have died from people whom called themselves "Christians". Although they honored God with their lips and were very God fearing, their hearts and acts were far from Christ-like. Therefore, Isaiah's prophecy can apply to anyone who is in a state of apostasy, including the early Christian church after the death of the apostles.
Isaiah 24:5. First, I shall state the obvious in this chapter. Isaiah is obviously talking about the future, towards that time of the second coming. He is saying that men will transgress the law, change the ordinances, and break the everlasting covenant. I agree with the affirmative that men will break the ten commandments including "thou shalt not kill". Like I said, the early Christians did terrible things in the name of Christ, like killing through the crusades and the inquisitions. The ordinances of the Church of Jesus Christ include baptism and marriage, when Isaiah mentions ordinances I'm not sure if there could be anything else that would be an ordinance. My opponent is correct that the everlasting covenant is the Abrahamic covenant. A covenant is a promise with the Lord. God promised great blessings to Abraham and his family. These blessings, which extend to all of Abraham's seed, are called the Abrahamic covenant. If the seed of the Abrahamic covenant obeyed the laws, like circumcision, and preformed the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then they would receive the blessings of the gospel and the Abrahamic covenant. In Galatians chapter 3 verse 29 it says "And if ye be Christ"s, then are ye Abraham"s seed, and heirs according to the promise." So if you keep the laws and ordinances of the gospel and be like Christ, then you can receive the blessings of the Lord. But the Roman Catholic church did not keep many of the laws, they changed many ordinances, and ultimately they broke the Abrahamic covenant. So therefore, this scripture is correct in prophesying the coming of the Great Apostasy.
My case still stands as a valid argument that there was a Great Apostasy. I would like to thank you for your time.
In the first round of this debate, the Affirmative said, “This verse explains the Great Apostasy perfectly.” Now the affirmative admits, “Although Amos was speaking to the northern kingdom, I believe that God intends certain prophecies to be for everyone.” The affirmative seems to be doing more than redefine the context of what Amos is saying in v.11 as he seems to be trying to redefine this entire debate. He writes, “If I were to reject the teachings of the modern day prophets, I would certainly fall into individual apostasy.” The Affirmative established in round one that we are not talking about a general apostasy much less individual apostasy but whether the Old Testament prophesies a Great Apostasy. In light of the fact that the affirmative isn’t even referring Amos 8:11 to the subject of the Great Apostasy anymore, I will consider this contention abandoned and refuted.
What about the attempt to repurpose Amos 8:11 so it accommodates a prophetic warning instead of the Great Apostasy? From what reliable source does the Affirmative justify this new claim? Apparently, personal belief and religious bias alone. As evidence of this accusation, I will point out that the only resource used consistently and the only source cited in the latest round comes from the labyrinthine LDS.org site. Though I am sure he is familiar with the source, not even once has he tried to narrow the scope and help the novice find what exactly he is looking at. Not to mention the source is necessarily biased because it depends on the Great Apostasy for its very existence. In contrast, I have backed my claims with both Jewish and even LDS commentaries and sources, (to include my opponents) instead of relying on Roman Catholic sources. In addition, my case has not changed where the affirmative’s has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis. Let us continue…
Again, the Affirmative asserts his own beliefs to the verse only this time, he adds scary words like “Crusades” and “Inquisition”. Funnier still, no scholarly source is offered as gut feeling and religious bias are the only resource used to make this allusion. At best, Affirmative is now committing the fallacy of Proof by Assertion. At Worst, it appears the Affirmative would like to take jabs at Roman Catholic Church instead of focusing on the task at hand. I will remind the Affirmative, this is not a debate on whether or not the Roman Catholic Church is in apostasy, nor is it whether or not the crusades or inquisition were just or not. This is a debate to determine if Old Testament prophesies the Great Apostasy. I will, however, avoid temptation to return in kind. Attacking other person’s respective church body is not in the spirit of what we are debating.
Though this is entirely outside the scope of this debate, I will say that it is plausible that if it were not for the crusades, it is likely that we would not have an Old Testament to debate on. The Crusades were, historically speaking, a Christian counter attacks against an Islamic invasion for the purpose of liberating persecuted Christians and their lands which is far from the murderous implications being asserted. Likewise the Inquisitions, though vilified, were considered to be more merciful than secular courts which were horrific. The BBC documentary, “The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition” demonstrates documented accounts where criminals would actually blaspheme in order to have their case moved to the ecclesiastical court of the Spanish Inquisition. You can find this at around minute 19 of the documentary.  If my opponent would like to debate me on these topics or perhaps the Great Apostasy from a historical view point, he should challenge me to a new debate where they can be discussed in full.
My opponent says, “First, I shall state the obvious in this chapter. Isaiah is obviously talking about the future, towards that time of the second coming.”
Now, I will put what he claims Isaiah said to what Isaiah actually said.
Isaiah: “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”
Affirmative: “He is saying that men will transgress the law, change the ordinances, and break the everlasting covenant.”
The areas in bold are what are being misrepresented. He then follows with the scary words, likely to smokescreen the fact that he has unjustifiably perverted the text by switching the past tense of Isaiah to a future tense. The Affirmative does blatant violence to the text in efforts to change its meaning and it does damage to the affirmative’s credibility as the claims is that the Catholic Church changed many things yet he doesn’t bat an eye at rewriting Isaiah 24:5 for his convenience.
I have already given two cited, non-Catholic sources that put clearer light on the controversial subject that the Affirmative is taking rest but what about the second round rebuttal, the claim that the Catholic Church Baptism? First, let’s clear something up.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word ordinance is translated from the Greek word διαθP53;κην (or dikai!3;ma) which means: righteousness, judgment, justification. This comes from Hebrew word חֹק (or choq) which means: statute, limit, something prescribed, due.  Strong’s is a widely recognized publication known for its scholarship which yielded results that are in no way similar to the definition given by the biased LDS True to The Faith Handbook. The Affirmative will have to forgive me not accepting definitions of a publication that appears to insert its own definitions in place of the long standing meaning of words.
As to the accusation of the Catholic Church changing Baptism, the Affirmative states, “In the New Testament, baptism was taught that one would get lowered and engulfed in a body of water and be brought back up out of the water.” Sure, it was and still is performed this way but wasn’t actually taught to be done only in this way. Otherwise, the Affirmative would have backed it with a bible verse as to where Jesus taught the Apostles or the Apostles taught others that this was the only form. Just more assertions with no support. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying immersion baptism is invalid. As a matter of fact the Catholic Church claims it as valid; however, we have good reasons to believe it was taught by the Apostles in a several forms.
The extra biblical work called the Didache is a writing that dates back to the time of the apostles and copies were kept in several early churches. Among the teachings are how to perform baptisms. “And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, [Matthew 28:19] in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit…” Here we find the correct term for this form, baptism by “Pouring”. This document is dated mid first century. That is prior to the death of Peter and Paul in Rome.
I will add that there are biblical reasons to believe that the apostles both taught and practiced baptism by pouring. A nice website from a bible-Presbyterian groups points out the many valid problems with the immersion only theory. Most notably Acts 2:41, “The Practice of the Early Church: It is claimed that the mode of baptism used by the apostles was immersion. However this is unlikely because Acts 2:41 tells us that after the Apostle Peter preached his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, "…they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Archaeology has shown there could not have been sufficient water supply for so many to have been immersed in Jerusalem in one day. Even if there had been, the people of Jerusalem would hardly have allowed their water supply to be polluted by 3,000 unwashed bodies. These new believers must have been baptized by sprinkling.”Though I disagree with this group in many respects, we are aligned on the practice of how baptism was taught and performed by the apostles not to mention the level of scholarship they went through to confirm their findings.
As for marriage, since again no definition to the cause of the Affirmative was given. Suffice it to say then that the Catholic Church holds marriage as Christ taught. In Matt. 19 that God made us man and woman so that the two would become one flesh. Simply, God brings man and woman together and what he brings together no man can separate. Also we believe Matt. 22 where, when questioned about who the wife of seven dead brothers would belong to after the resurrection, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”
So far, we have seen a lot of finger pointing with no evidence to back up the assertions from the Affirmative. This round we have seen a lot of back-peddling and argument reconstruction aimed to attack the Roman Catholic Church instead of defending his original proposition. We have even seen an instance of rewriting scripture. As we are about to head into the cross-examination phase of this debate, let’s hope this progresses in civility, while doing justice to the Old Testament.
Following the rules, I will only answer three questions that the negative has presented. I will copy and paste his questions in my debate so that we don't need to go back and forth from here to the comments.
Case 2 Inverse Amos:
Let us imagine Thomas Monson has a revelation about the LDS church in North America.
"Thus saith the Lord, your work, oh Church in North America, is glorious in my sight and your sweetness will be met with sweetness as a bounty will be given not of bread and cheese but that of cake and ice-cream! And on that day, shall the children be looking for eggs and those who swear by Joseph Smith in the land of the free will dine and not get up until they"ve had their fill!"
A few years later, a secular cake and ice-cream delivery company drives to every LDS church in North America entirely randomly on Easter day. All have their fill of cake and ice-cream.
At the event, elder 1 says to elder 2, "This is just great, Prophet Thomas Monson"s prophesy has come true."
Elder 2 replies, "Indeed, this is a fantastic "General Consumption" but Thomas Monson also prophesies a "Great Consumption" where the entire world will eat cake and ice-cream."
Part 1: On what grounds does Elder 2 make this claim based on the hypothetical prophesy of Judgment and reward to the North American Churches that would make it apply to judgement and reward to the entire world that there would be a "Great Consumption"?
Part 2: If there is no good reason to make such a claim, what are good reasons why LDS Church to perpetuate the claim that Amos 8:11 is somehow judgement to the entire world that there would be a Great Apostasy?
Answer: Well, even though this is a hypothetical prophesy, it is still slightly flawed. The Prophet receive revelation for the whole church, not just the church in North America. Stake presidents and bishops can relieve revelation for the certain areas of the world that they live in, but the Prophet is the only person that can receive revelation for the whole church. If Thomas S. Monson were to have a revelation like this, it would be for the whole church. But I guess that isn't the question though.
Part 1: Well in the hypothetical situation that you made, this would make Elder 2 seem like an idiot. I guess my opponent has shown me as Elder 2 it seems like. But this hypothetical situation is flawed. I believe that God intends his words to be for all of his children. So when Amos gave the warning to the people that if they continued to reject the words of him and other prophets, they would certainly fall into apostasy. He didn't give it just to the northern kingdom, because the northern kingdom wasn't the only group of people on earth or will be on earth that could reject the teachings of the gospel. This same warning was given for the people in Amos's day, the people in Christ day, and the people of our day. This warning wasn't mean't for just a group of people whom were rejecting the words of the prophets, but for anyone that would reject the words of the prophets. The prophet receives revelation for the whole church, and even for future generations.
Amos 8:11 isn't judgment for the whole world, but a warning for the whole world.
Case 1: Missionary"s Dilemma
Two LDS missionaries visit a pious looking man to teach him about the LDS Church but to their surprise, the pious man comes from a faith they have not experienced.
The man tells them that he is of the Church of the Sovereign Lord and that it is his duty to teach about false prophets and informs the missionaries that Joseph Smith is one of them. As unnerving as this is, the man comforts them and says, "Look, you are sweet guys. It is not your fault you were lead into apostasy by a false prophet. Here, Ezekiel 13 is almost all about Joseph Smith and his how the God punished him for his false prophesies."
The pious man shows them verse 13 and 14 and says, "The storm is a reference to the fury driven mob, the place that had walls and untempered mortar is Carthage Jail. After the mob "discovered" the foundation they went to the second floor, killed Hyrum and after Smith was shot, he "fell" out of a window where met his end by the mob so that, "ye shall know that I am the LORD."
Now the pious man in the story is very well meaning and holds no ill will against these missionaries. He only desires to help them see the truth about this Old Testament scripture and join the one true church of the Sovereign Lord. I will add that this man is in a humble home, and does a multitude of charitable works and puts his faith into action.
This hypothetical case is designed to test the Affirmatives use of the logical fallacy of Proof by Assertion as it directly relates to his evidence in support of Old Testament Prophesy of a Great Apostasy. In this case, the pious man is guilty of the same fallacy as the Affirmative but I have no doubt that my opponent does not believe the imaginary, pious man's assertion.
Question 1: What process should the missionaries use to refute this claim of a supposed LDS Churches Apostasy?
Answer: If you don't mind, I would like to put myself in the place of one of these missionaries. Well, in this case, I would see that this man is willing to debate with me on the subject. But I wouldn't debate him. Because debating him on this would just lead to arrogance in both of us and driving away the spirit (which testifies of Christ). Debating is a natural way for men to solve problems. Praying and having faith in Jesus Christ is a spiritual way for men to solve their problems. So if I really wanted to testify unto him that we were not in a state of apostasy, I wouldn't debate him. I would just say "Jesus Christ said that you will know the prophets by their fruits. The Book of Mormon is one of those fruits. (I would then share my testimony on the Book of Mormon, but because of the characters remaining in this debate I will continue on with this hypothetical scenario. If you want my testimony on the Book of Mormon, just ask me.) I promise you that if you will read this with a open heart (humbly ready to receive the spirit) and pray about it in the name of Jesus Christ, then you will get a witness from the Holy Ghost that these words are true. And if these words are true, than the prophet Joseph Smith was a true prophet." Then I would leave him with a Book of Mormon. But hopefully he would read it with a open heart, a man like that would probably just read it in the sense to prove it wrong. But I guess he has his agency to choose to read it with a open heart or with a natural heart. Anyways, that's how I would handle that situation.
Case 3: Pot Calling the Kettle
In this debate Amos 8:11 began as the perfect evidence of the Great Apostasy but was downgraded as prophetic warning of general and individual apostasy. Last night, a neighbor gave me a pamphlet, published by the LDS Church called, "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." I was told that the missionaries hand them out where ever they go. Page 9 states that God Knew there would be a Great Apostasy and quote Amos 8:11-12 as evidence. It did not take long to prove both Biblically and historically that this statement is false as the affirmative gave silent concession as he only related the verse to the possible warning of General Apostasy only in round three. Therefore, I believe it plausible that one could accuse the LDS church of violating the Mosaic Law of"Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." (Leviticus 19:11) I will even add verse 12 "And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD." As the LDS publication is supposed to testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In light of an authoritative publication on the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the word used for ordinance, that will be found in my rebuttal, in conjunction with the examined evidence on the LDS pamphlet and the fact that my opponent blatantly misquoted Isaiah to change the meaning, which will also be in my rebuttal, one could say the LDS church has changed the ordinance from, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Ex 20:16) to an unwritten statute to the liking of, "If it supports the LDS position, lying is okay."
Question 3: Given the evidence and using the same formula the affirmative used with the rewritten verse [Is. 24:5]: Can one correctly establish that the LDS church has broken the everlasting covenant and is in apostasy? Why or why not? If not, how can the affirmative's formula works on the Catholic Church when it does not apply to the LDS Church
Answer: I can see that you are obviously looking to prove the LDS church wrong. You're are not looking for a testament of Jesus Christ in my church, but for any little imperfection that can prove it wrong. You are looking for natural answers when you should be looking for answers from God. Maybe that's why you wanted to debate me.
I feel that I have defended Amos 8:11 appropriately. You have not proven it wrong. I have not changed Isa. 24:5. The whole chapter is talking about he future. He wouldn't be talking about the future then be like "oh ya by the way these guys broke the covenant" then continue on with the future. That doesn't make any sense. So obviously Isa. 24:5 is about the future because Isaiah wouldn't change the subject like that so quickly.
But not to go too far off, I will answer the question.
No, the LDS church has not broken the everlasting covenant. We have kept many of the same teachings taught by Jesus.
Yes, the formula works for the Catholic church. They have changed and interpreted many of the teachings and gospel of Jesus without the authority and revelation from apostles and/or prophets.
I would like to thank you for your time and I strongly urge you to vote for the affirmative side of this debate.
Question 2: The Affirmative is in violation of rule 4 as the question was given 32 hours into the 4th round. Never the less, even though I am at an extreme disadvantage, I will try to answer it as it is the only question that applies to prophesy of a great apostasy in the Old Testament.
The Affirmative is asking the question under the false supposition that Isaiah is only taking about the future in Chapter 24. He makes no effort to explain that position so I am forced to review the context. As I have other questions, I will need paraphrase much so please read along.
1) Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
Here we have Isaiah warning the current inhabitants of the Earth not the future inhabitants but the current inhabitants thereof that God is going to turn the land upside down and scatter them.
2) And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
Here, Isaiah ensures that everyone knows it applies to everyone in the land yet no one from the future is indicated.
3) The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.
As we know already, the land will be emptied so the inhabitants will go into foreign exile, likely Babylonian captivity and probably the Assyrian forces as well in Israel. Since Amos and Isaiah were contemporaries of each other and lived at the same time prior to the Assyrian invasion, this is very likely. He even addresses them by name in Chapter 23:13.
4) The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
Isaiah is poetically saying, happy time is over, guys.
5) The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Back to the verse in question, Isaiah is telling the inhabitants thereof, not the inhabitants that will be but the inhabitants thereof, why they have received such a judgement. Again, breaking the law by murdering innocent people brings about a curse that defiles the land. The inhabitants make it acceptable to do this by changing the ordinances which breaks there part of the everlasting covenant. Like any good parent, he God doesn’t just punish without letting his children know what they did wrong. The charges are past tense because the inhabitants there of, not the inhabitants that have yet to come but the inhabitants thereof are the ones Isaiah is both referring and talking too, who have already committed these crimes.
[Paraphrasing about to begin.]
V.6 The curse has already devoured the Earth not a curse that will devour the Earth but one that already has devoured the Earth. However, now Isaiah is getting back to the judgement. God Reveals though Isaiah that those live to see this judgement will be burned with only a few left In fact v.7-13 Isaiah tells them just how miserable a time it will be when this judgement comes to pass. V.14 gives indication that those left alive will be taken away on the water but v.15 is interesting. Isaiah tells the people thereof to glorify God in the midst of this judgement, in the fire and from the sea. V.16-19 we find that even the cowards who flee will not escape this judgement and v.20 those who did the transgressing shall fall, and not rise again. Sound familiar? That was one of the signs of Amos.
21:Isaiah is kind enough to give another sign of when this judgement will come to pass as even the kings upon the earth will be punished along with the false gods they are worshiping.(Deut. 4:19 & Jer 8:2 you will find reference to the stars, sun, and moon being referred to as hosts and being worshiped as gods.)
22: The kings shall be gathered as prisoners.
23: They will all be put to shame.
To answer the question about abruptness, Isaiah is not abrupt at all. Isaiah is talking to the people, the inhabitants thereof in his present time about what they have already done in the past before he goes into detail about their future punishment. One could liken it to a Judge who talks to a defendant in the present time about the crimes they committed in the past before explaining the sentence that is in their near future.
Question 1: The Affirmative violates rule 3 as the material comes from the New Testament, not the Old Testament nor is it prophetic. If the Affirmative would like to debate the Great Apostasy in the New Testament, I would welcome the challenge. Though it is far from the point of this debate, I will give answer because it does not hurt my case either way.
Apostolos is the word for Apostle. It means: means one who is sent forth, dispatched--in other words, who is entrusted with a mission, rather, a foreign mission.  This word is a stronger word than messenger as it means that the one who is sent goes with the authority of the sender. The 12 apostles were sent with the authority of Christ but after he went to heaven, the apostles elected others to the position of their fallen and even grew in numbers as their traveled territory increased. We first see this with the election of Mathias in the first chapter of Acts. In verse 20, Peter says, “and his bishoprick let another take.”
This is how they referred to each other, as bishop, or overseer. The Greek word used is episkopē  and the bishops that are not among the 12 are sent with the authority of the apostles and they are themselves successors to their authority and are effectively their and our foundation. Likewise are the prophets, both Old and New Testament are part of our foundation as their role is to give revelation to man from God. So, as the apostles and prophets are the foundation with Christ as the chief cornerstone their successors are built upon them as a foundation to which their successors have taken the gospel to the whole world as Christ ordered. Matt 28;19-20.
In short, there are Bishops who succeeded the Apostles that have been given their authority through the ages to present day but just because you need concrete and steel for a foundation, it does not mean that you need them for the walls, doors and roof as well. This said, they are still with us as Christ is the head of his body, the Church and as Ephesians 3:20-21 clearly says that it is Christ working in the Church leadership and to him is Glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Notice, it says for ever and ever to all generations. Not forever and ever and to all generations minus the generations between around 100A.D. and 1830A.D.
To the first follow up, the answer is no for a few reasons. First, it cannot be a part of the Great Apostasy because it cannot be a part of something that never happened. Secondly, as stated, Apostles and prophets are rightly called the foundation and you do not need a foundation for a roof or walls. Just because they died does not mean that they are any less a part of Christ’s body, the Church. Ephesians 1:22-23. Death does not diminish their role.
Question 3: Again, in violation of rule 4 but also rule 3. Not only is time very much against me but this is entirely extra biblical, having nothing to do with the Old Testament or prophesy of a Great Apostasy. If the affirmative would like to debate the great apostasy and Church history, I would is a welcome challenge I would also accept.
To address the first statement, councils directed by Church leaders do debate and settle doctrine. It is absolutely biblical as the Holy Ghost works through these processes to reach truth when a matter is questioned. Acts is full of examples. In chapter 6, the 12 did not have a revelation but observe that their disciples had multiplied and now there was a concern for taking care the corporeal welfare which were being neglected. They heeded the murmuring and asked their disciples select seven men who would fill that void and bring them to the 12 and thus we have the office of Deacon instituted and not by revelation but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit nonetheless. More notably though, in Act 15 there was the debate about whether or not one must be circumcised. Here is a clear case of when doctrine needed to be defined and it was put to the Leaders of the Church to came together to consider the matter (v. 6). They debated and after hearing the evidence, Peter defined the doctrine that those coming into the Church need not hack off wiener skin. [Much to the relief of many Gentile men who fell in love with their risen savior) This was quickly acknowledged by the Apostle James, the first bishop of Jerusalem.  So it is after debating that doctrine is settled and no revelation but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit during prayer and dialogue.
So, it is as Christ said in john 16:12-13 that the Holy Spirit would guide the church into all truth and in Acts 15 we have a very clear example. Dialogue and debates are clearly biblical means the Holy Spirit uses to guide the Church into all truth.
Again, the Affirmative asserts that with this particular question that the Catholic Church changed thing and gives no further evidence save he says so. It would be helpful to know what it was before it was changed, when it was changed and what it was changed to, some data would be nice also. But that is not the debate.
So I kindly ask that the Affirmative return to the debate that we spoke about and the Affirmative side initiated with passion.
That is: Does the Old Testament prophesy of the Great Apostasy?
Before I go, I would like to apologize to my opponent. I violated rule 4; which left him at a great disadvantage. This was unjust. Due to my family, work, and travel, I was not able to get on to debate.org. When I was able to, it was for a short amount of time. This is why my questions seem kind of rushed and stray away from the point. I am sorry for this.
Question 2: Isaiah 24:5.
Isaiah 24 is talking about men whom will break the covenants and change the ordinances of the Lord. Which will later lead to apostasy and their destruction at the second coming. My opponent seems to be explaining all of these verses in his own perspective. He has no sources to back up this knowledge. Because of this, I can't find a way to trust his review on Isaiah 24. I guess I have no proof of my own either. I have LDS views on this scripture and he has Catholic. So I guess we both can't give much facts, just biased opinions. So the only advice that I can give to the voters is to read it for yourselves and pray about it, with true intent, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Question 1: prophets and apostles.
I guess half of this question violates rule 3. Apostles were first introduced to the world in the new testament, not the old testament. But prophets were a thing in the old and new testament. According to Ephesians 4: 11-14 Prophets and apostles are needed for the perfecting and edifying of the saints. My opponent is right, death does not diminish their role, but God needs to talk to his children often. Different situations and problems come overtime, and people need constant revelation from prophets and apostles to defend and overcome these.
Like I said before my closing, due to family and time I will have to shorten my debate.
I will now review my case.
Scripture 1: Amos 8:11. Amos gives a prophecy that if anyone rejects the word of God they will surely fall into apostasy.
Scripture 2: Isaiah 29: 13. There will be men whom will honour God, but will preform acts that are far from Christ like.
Scripture 3: Isaiah 24: 5. Men will destroy Gospel doctrine.
Towards the end of this debate, I would like to give my testimony.
I would like to bear my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true. I know that we can be truly happy if we follow the teachings of prophets, apostles, and Jesus Christ himself. Debate is a natural way for men to solve natural problems. Even though I participated in this debate, I can only find natural answers instead of spiritual. If you want to find truths about the gospel, do it trough a spiritual way, not natural. I plead with you to pray, and ask God in the purpose of truth.
I would like to thank you for your time. I would also like to strongly thank my opponent for this debate. He is extremely intelligent in his religious beliefs. He is a great guy. Thank you for this debate.
Definitions by http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Proof: the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning.
Reason: a statement or fact that explains why something is the way it is, why someone does, thinks, or says something, or why someone behaves a certain way.
Cross-Examination in order of my opponent’s selection
The case and question are Ad Absurdum. That is to show consequences that are absurd in the sense of being obviously false. In moving from judgement of punishment to reward, I was able to force the Affirmative to make a stand on Amos 8:11 and confirmed for us that it is not prophesy that demonstrates God’s perfect foreknowledge of a Great Apostasy, “Amos 8:11 isn't judgment for the whole world, but a warning for the whole world.” In fact, he has not aligned this verse with the great apostasy since round 2 but only refers to it as a warning about the possibility of General Apostasy.
The problem with his new position on Amos 8:11 is that he gives no reason why a specific punishment (famine of the word of God) to a specific place and group of people (Only the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the people thereof) for a specific reason (Idolatry) is just warning to everyone against not listening to prophets or they will be apostates beyond his say so. I agree that there were and are likely people living in a general apostasy individually or in a group but we also agreed that this is not the debate. We are looking for prophesy of a Great Apostasy and it is not found here.
The object of this case and my question was to pit the Affirmative against Proof by Assertion and get him to describe the process he would use to refute it but not write an actual refutation and his chosen method is confusing to me.
Though the Affirmative did not skirt my question, it is ironic that his strategy would be to skirt the question, change the subject to the Book of Mormon, and invite the man to pray in the name of Jesus Christ to get a witness from the Holy Ghost to know that his words are true. In short, ignore the opponent’s evidence, look only at evidence that favors his case, and pray for a sign. Not only is it unreasonable for the missionary to refuse to read and discuss the resources of the Pious Man while expecting the Pious Man to read the Book of Mormon and discuss, this is also not the example set by the Apostles.
Scripture demonstrates how the Apostles evangelized and it did not involve asking anyone to pray to know if what they taught was true nor did they encourage prayer for an individual sign. Rather, proof of their testimony was real, objective, and very public signs like curing the sick and raising the dead. These unexplainable phenomenon were supernatural acts that left a real mark on the natural world so that believers and non-believers alike could only deny to their detriment which is entirely unlike the subjective, private signs that anyone could question. This sounds more like, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” than the practice of the Apostles.
When miracles were not provided, the Apostles applied reason and would debate and preach to nonbelievers and on many accounts, scripture records, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. For instance, Peter preaching at the Sanhedrin in Acts 4: 1-22 where 3,000 were baptized that day. If there were spirits driven away, they were likely the evil ones intentionally driven out by the Apostles as part of their ministry. Another example is Paul in Athens, Acts 17:16-34. Scripture says he reasoned with them and I do not believe for a second that it lead to arrogance with Paul as he was winning souls for the Lord.
Pot Calling the Kettle
The goal of asking this question was to have the Affirmative look at his own church through the lens of his interpretation of Isaiah 24:5 as he did the Catholic Church. It appears that what is good for examining the Catholic Church is not equally good for examining the LDS Church. The reason: because applying the Affirmatives own logic to an LDS publication that perpetuates an untruth in favor of the LDS Church at the expense of the Catholic Church is just looking for little imperfections.
Deut. 19: 16-19 testifies that punishment for a lair was to be that which was intended for the falsely accused. For example: If I had a sheep and it died and I were to lie and say someone killed it and I were caught in the lie, I would owe restitution to the accused for a dead sheep. If someone were murdered and I were paid off to blame an innocent person and I am found out in the lie, I would be put to death.
The Affirmative concludes that the Catholic Church changed many things but gave no good reasons to believe such a thing. In regards to baptism, I quoted from the Didache as a good reason to believe the Apostles taught the methods used today and it went uncontested. Likewise, no good reasons were offered to prove Catholics changed marriage but I did point out that The Catholic Church agrees with Christ in what he said about marriage. From this debate, the evidence presented does not suggest the Catholic Church changed anything.
The Affirmative has shifted from Amos referring to the Great Apostasy directly to, “Amos gives a prophecy that if anyone rejects the word of God they will surely fall into apostasy.” The Affirmative fails to offer proof that the verse means what he believes it means. However, I have offered proof with Jewish and LDS commentaries, and historical facts that Amos was prophesying Judgement on the northern Kingdom of Israel and it came to fruition at their conquest by the Assyrians.
Though it is possible, anyone can live in apostasy by ignorance or by choice but that is not what Amos is talking about here. Prophets don’t warn about what could possibly happen, they warn about what will happen. That is what makes them so special. If I were to say to a group of people by a busy street, “If you cross the street while the cars are moving, you will surely get hit by a car.” And a few idiots run into the street, thus getting hit by car, I am not suddenly a prophet. Amos is referring to a real punishment from real judgement that really happened to Israel in real time that had real, natural, objective, and observable results.
The Affirmative says, “There will be men whom will honour God, but will perform acts that are far from Christ like.”
As already mentioned, Jesus identifies those men as the Pharisees during his ministry. This is demonstrated by the Affirmative’s own resource, the LDS.org in the footnotes of Matt. 15:7-9. By definition, this is proof that Isaiah was speaking prophetically about the Pharisees only and the implications of this verse applying elsewhere is not found in Isaiah or Matthew but in the personal belief of the affirmative. Besides, I’m sure, with as vague a prophesy the Affirmative reduced the prophesy to, if we were to scrutinize people in our respective faiths, I’m sure we could find instances of people paying lip service to God but this in no way means that either the LDS or the Catholic Church were at any time in a state of Total Apostasy.
The Affirmative concludes, “Men will destroy Gospel doctrine.” But again, Isaiah is clearly speaking to those that have already broken the laws and changed the ordinances and broke the everlasting covenant and because of this, calamity will strike the holy land. The Affirmative would have us believe that the Hebrew people will be punished for the things men will do in the future because Isaiah 24 speaks about future events to the people, therefore v. 5 would occur in the future also but there is a certain Chronology issue here.
Let’s think about this, what makes more sense? Is Isaiah saying to that the inhabitants of the land that they will be conquered, sent into exile, and lands be despoiled because the Catholics between 800 and 1800 years in the future are going to destroy Gospel doctrine, or is it possible that Isaiah is warning the inhabitance of the land thereof that all this will happen to them because of something they’ve already done? In the debate, we both agree that God is just. For that reason, I believe that the contexts reveals God holding the Hebrew people accountable for their own sins and is not unjustly smite them in advance for the alleged sins of Christians in the very distant future.
Augustine of Hippo said, “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” My goal has been to let the evidence speak for itself and not to speak for the evidence. The Affirmative is correct, we were dealing with natural evidence but the Affirmative says this about natural evidence, “If you want to find truths about the gospel, do it through a spiritual way, not natural. I plead with you to pray, and ask God in the purpose of truth.” If the Great Apostasy was an event in human history, then it only serves to reason that it was a natural event and that natural evidence would be left to examine. For Example: Amos prophesied the downfall of the Northern Kingdom and historical evidence was left behind to validate his prophesy. If this is true, in serves to reason that we can expect to find natural evidence of a Great Apostasy if it were prophesied. The Affirmative opened their cage but only shadows and assertions were inside and I believe the Lion sleeps with the Negative as no Prophesy of a Great Apostasy was found.
With the remaining characters, I would like to thank Chrislee125 for this debate and being the first LDS person willing to dialogue with me about this issue. He has my respect for his zeal and coming to a place of reason to both teach and learn. I also urge both him the readers to continue to apply their rational minds to study and to pray for the wisdom to discern the knowledge gained.