Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Mystery of the Jaredite Barges


MORONI TRANSLATES THE RECORD OF ETHER

"And now I, Moroni, proceed to give an account of those ancient inhabitants who were destroyed by the hand of the Lord upon the face of this north country. And I take mine account from the twenty and four plates which were found by the people of Limhi, which is called the Book of Ether." (Ether 1:1-2)

Moroni, an Israelite, is giving us his account or translation of the record of Ether. Unfortunately, those who read the account often approach the record through the eyes and traditions our modern Western Culture and specifically modern Christianity. Unfamiliar with the prophetic school and traditions of ancient Israel, they read the account never recognizing the deep Israelite symbolism and language being used by the Israelite Moroni who is giving his translation of the Jaredite text of Ether.  The difficulty in understanding the record becomes even more pronounced when we then realize not only are we getting an Israelite translation of the record of Ether.  And sometimes, cultural symbols and meanings get lost in translation because the audience is not familiar with the culture and language.

The Backdrop of Ether: The Tower of Babel and the Confounding of Language:

One of the major themes of the record of Ether is that of language. In fact the record commences with Jared and his people leaving the Tower of Babel at the time when the languages were confounded:

"Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. (Ether 1:33)

The record then goes on to relate how Jared and The Brother of Jared along with their family and friends left the tower of Babel and were ultimately led to the seashore where they constructed barges to come to The Land of Promise. Many Christians mock The Book of Mormon for this account because of the description of the barges themselves, the strange method of obtaining air, and what appears to be irregularities in the account.

The record of Ether contains some of the richest and yet most sublime language and symbolism in The Book of Mormon. One these symbols is that of the Jaredite Barges.


THE MYSTERY OF THE BARGE:



"And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people." (Ether 2:6-7)

It appears that the Jaredites actually built barges more than once.  In Ether 2:6-7 they built barges in which they did cross many waters, but in Ether 2:16 they were commanded by God to built barges like unto the ones they had already built:

"And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water." 

The description of their barges is quite unique and often the most misunderstood;

"And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish." (Ether 2:17)

And again in Ether 6:7 we also find the following description:

"And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters."

Moroni describes their barges being "like unto a dish".  Later he equates their vessels being "tight like unto a dish" as being "like unto the ark of Noah".  So this then raises the question, "Why does he compare the two together?"

In Hebrew, the word for ark as in Noah's ark is the word tebah (תֵּבָה) and it means a vessel as in Noah's Ark or the basket vessel that carried Moses. It is not however a word that is usually translated as boat (ie. oniya, sefina, sira, klei shayit - boat, sailing vessels, etc).  In fact, Moroni is giving us a great functional description and definition of the Hebrew word tebah (as a container, dish, or vessel of some type that is used to hold or contain something):

"...even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish."

While we often visualize their vessels in the likeness of our modern day sailing vessels, boats, or even some version of a submarine, the truth is that we are getting a descriptive definition of tebah to describe the functional aspect of the Jaredite Vessels which may be much more than just the peshat or child's story of a sail boat, boat, or even a submarine.

In fact, recent archaeological discoveries in the Dead Sea Scrolls give a very different description of Noah's ark:

"Haaretz reported that the new reading of the fragments has changed our understanding about Noah's Ark. Thanks to the high-resolution imagery, a word following the phrase “the ark’s tallness” had previously been illegible. However, the new scans showed that the correct words is ne’esefet, meaning “gathered,” which according to researcher Dr. Alexey Yuditsky, means that the ark’s ribs were gathered together at the top in the shape of a pyramid. Dr Yuditsky said that the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Bible dating to the third century BC, used a Greek verb with a similar meaning to describe the Ark. Moreover, medieval authors like Maimonides suggested that the ark's roof was pointed" (https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/dead-seas-scrolls-reveal-noahs-ark-was-shaped-pyramid-006204)



Like Unto Noah's Ark

"And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits." (Genesis 6:15)

The description of the measurement's of Noah's ark contains a concealed teaching.  If we take the measurement of the ark and equate them with their Hebrew Numerical equivalent we get the following:

300 cubits length – ש

50 cubits width – נ

30 cubits height – ל

Here we find the letters that make up the Hebrew word Lashon (tongue or language-see Genesis 10:5). In Jewish tradition and teachings, teachers like the Baal Shem Tov often related the construction of Noah's Ark with the construction of words.

That there were 8 vessels is also significant in that the number 8 equals to the Hebrew Letter Chet (חֵ) which not only signifies a fence but also language or words. This then begs the question as to what is the connection between Noah's Ark, Jaredite Barges and Language/Words?

As Moroni equates the Jaredite Vessels with Noah's ark, then what we find is an ancient teaching in Ether regarding vessels of language or words that are illuminated with light/fire. 

The Brother of Jared - Calling Upon THE NAME:


In the midst of all the discussion about the construction of barges, we find planted in the center of the account that the brother of Jared was chastised for not calling upon the name:

"And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." (Ether 2:14)

In the ancient Israelite prophetic tradition, "Calling Upon the Name" is not prayer the way our modern culture is accustomed to think.  It is part of the ancient Israelite prophetic tradition and comes from a much more ancient practice involving words, thought, intellect, spirit and emotion coming together to connect with Heaven.

The Lord then goes on to explain to the Brother Of Jared:

"And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands." (Ether 2:15)

This same phrase "my spirit will not always strive with man" is also evoked in context of Noah and his children after the flood:

"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3)

Here the word for strive is the Hebrew word din connected with the idea of judgment but meaning to plead with man or abide with man.  The idea is that God's spirit will not always plead with or abide with man.  The ancient understanding is that we as men and women must the reconnect with Heaven to draw down the Spirit of Heaven to earth.  Calling upon the name is the science or discipline of doing so.  This is done with words, but not just any words- ancient words infused with light or fire.

It is in this light that we will begin to discover the meaning of the words spoken of Enoch:

"And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the drivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea. And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God; And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness." (Moses 7:13-16)

(Copyright Robert Kay, January 9, 2021)

( Part 2- Barges - Holes for Breathing, and The Finger of Lord)

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Deseret, Deborah, and The Mystery of The Honeybee

 



When Mormons adopted the symbol of the beehive as one that represented the heart of what it means to be a true Latter-Day Saint, little did they know of the deeply rooted Israelite meaning behind this ancient symbol.  It is a symbol which aptly fits the true purpose of what Mormonism was meant to be and one that should remind us of the great and marvelous gifts of God revealed in the Restoration. While it has been traditionally taught as having the meaning of "industriousness" the Israelite meaning of this symbol is far more ancient than many suppose.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Secret Teachings of Mosiah


 At first glance, Mosiah 7 and 8 detail the account of King Mosiah sending 16 strong men including Ammon down to the land of Lehi- Nephi to ascertain what became of the people of Zeniff.  During this account Ammon who is described as a strong and mighty man and three others after wandering in the wilderness for forty days find their way to the land of Shilom.  There, they are taken captive and brought before King Limhi the Son of King Noah who then recounts their captivity and the discovery of the twenty-four gold plates that contain the record of Ether and the Jaredites. But is there something more to the story that we might be missing?

Thursday, December 24, 2020

THE HIDDEN PROPHECY OF THE JAREDITES



Every family has family secrets.  It is no different with the Jaredites and Israelites.  In Hebrew, names mean things and sometimes names tell stories.  We see this displayed in the names of the names of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah:

Adam – A Man

Seth – is appointed

Enosh- a person/man

Kenan – out of sorrow

Mahalaleel – The praise or glory of God

Jared – Who comes down/ descends

Enoch – Dedicated/consecrated

Methuselah – A fruitful branch – a branch with fruit or children

Lamech - Powerful

Noah – giving comfort.


We also see this same narrative device in the names of the post flood Patriarchs recorded around the account of the Tower of Babel:


Shem – Fame and Glory

Arphaxad – Shall fade away or run dry

Cainan – out of sorrow

Salah – like a sprouting plant

Eber – running beyond the bounds

Peleg – divided

Reu – A shepherd/ A watcher

Serug – branches out/ shoots forth

Nahor - snorting/ angry

Terah –a wanderer


THE PROPHETIC JAREDITE GENEALOGY:

Unlike the descending pattern of the names of the Patriarchs, the lineage of the Jaredites is presented in an ascending pattern which foretells a future prophecy.  If we were to read from Jared descending to Ether, we are given a pattern of a people descending and following a linear progression to the fulfillment of the Jaredite story ending with their destruction and the land being given to another people (the Nephites, Mulekites, etc) and their numbers multiplying. 

1. ETHER – abundant, bountiful, multiplying

2. CORIANTOR – Another people 

3. MORON = God Judges, end of a harlot, destroyed.

4. ETHEM = In the edge of the wilderness/ boundary of the sea. The name contains the aleph and tav         which is the beginning and end; a great cycle. 

5. AHAH = brother, kindred.

6. SHIBLON = A place of dwelling/ a place to return too/ inn/ Num 382- Searcher, sweet odor.                    Barley offering/ first fruits.

7. COM – to rise up as in a rising hill or mountain

8. CORIANTUM – joining together of two people to become one

9. AMNIGADDAH – (wailing of large group of people) (invaded or attacked) 

10. AARON = Light bringer. Numerical value 256 = luminous

11. HETH = terror/ object of fear -hod/glory splendor

12. HEARTHOM = mountain/ nation of purity 

13. LIB = Heart, Flame, the consciousness of man coming deep as from the heart. Numeric Value 32 – Paths of the heart = to make pure, concealed – hidden path

14. KISH- stalks harvested from the field, what is left after stalk or grain has been removed

15. COROM= gathering of people by covenant or arrangement

16. LEVI = crowned and joined together

17. KIM = rise up/ standing

18. MORIANTON- borders by the seashore; chosen/beloved of God

19. RIPLAKISH – a large gathering of people shall go

20. SHEZ = a star, splendor, glory – destroyer of the enemy – builder of a righteous kingdom

21. HETH – terror/ object of fear -hod/glory splendor

22. COM- to rise up as in a rising hill or mountain

23. CORIANTUM – two people coming together

24. EMER – speak, say, utter

25. OMER = a tenth part/ a measure of things

26. SHULE = like a train or hem or flowing skirt of a robe/garment of the high priest

27. KIB = a tenth part or assembly shall take hold 

28. ORIHAH- light of yah, lion

29. JARED = To come down, descend


THE HIDDEN PROPHECY:

If we read in an ascending progression from Ether to Jared then the genealogy reveals the following prophetic pattern:

Another people will come forth, coming out of judgment as part of the great cycle of righteousness. As brethren, the first fruits of that people coming forth and joining together with another people through a light bringing, luminous person, or work that shall change the hearts of the people resulting in a harvest. They shall be an object of fear. A nation, made pure will cause a remnant to be gathered out by covenant where they shall come together as a nation, crowned together, and loved of God. Who shall build a righteous kingdom and shall be considered terrible by the nations because of their glory. A tithe or tenth part that shall come forth the like the train of the high priest’s robe. The Light of Yah, The Lion- who shall come down. 


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Christ, The Book Of Mormon, and Yom Kippur

 "When is He Melekh Shalem?  On Yom Kippur, when all faces Shine." (Zohar; Lek Lekha)


Yom Kippur of the Day of Atonement reflects the Heart of the Book Of Mormon. The day when all faces shine is the appointed time when God invites all people to return and reconnect to him. It is the appointed time when this earthly kingdom is appointed to reconnect with the Heavenly Kingdom above.  It is a time when the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Ghost) is poured out, the people are anointed, and when they are purified in preparation for the Great and Marvelous Things of God.

There are many who speculate on the timing of the events of the Messiah's coming to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11.  Some scholars suggest that it was on a Passover almost a year later while others suggest that it was on Shavuot (Pentecoste) immediately after his ascension into Heaven.  Upon closer examination, however, there are many themes and events associated with his visitation to the Nephites that are closely related to The Fall Feasts of Israel and specifically The Day of Atonement.

When the Messiah came to the Nephites the account records a very beautiful description of something that occurred during the experience:

"And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.

And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof." (3 Nephi 19:24-25)



The shining countenance of the Messiah upon the Nephites was a fulfillment of an ancient blessing traditionally pronounced on Yom Kippur.  It was the blessing spoken by Aaron to place the name of God upon the people:

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them." (Numbers 6:22-27)

An understanding of the Appointed Time of Israel reveals the prophetic significance of The Book of Mormon and the depth of its' Israelite Roots.  




Monday, September 28, 2020

Kosher Angels and Boiling a Kid in it's Mother's Milk




“You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

The  word "kosher" in Hebrew means "fit" or "appropriate for" as it would apply in regard to food it would relate to something that is fit to be eaten as food for man.  Many people look at these laws and they read the English translation of the Old Testament and they see this list of do(s) and don't(s) for eating food that if they break God will smite them and they are sinning. Nothing is further from the truth. 

Biblical Kosher could be characterized as teachings regarding what foods are fit to be eaten as food for man to make us healthy, strong, and fit vessels for the spirit of God to accomplish our missions through. Rabbinic Kashrut enactments (man made interpretations and rituals) are something all together different.

There is often a great misunderstanding in the minds of many Mormons and Christians regarding the phrase "Law of Moses".  In fact, just the other day a friend of mine sent me an email with a message citing an article wherein the author quotes Rabbi Dovid Heber as follows:

 “MEAT AND DAIRY-A KOSHER CONSUMER’S HANDBOOK”: “Kosher homes typically have two sets cookeware, dishes, and cutlery – one for meat and one for dairy. This is because it is Biblically prohibited to eat something that contains both milk and meat that were cooked together. Because of this concern, the Rabbis decreed that one who wants to eat a dairy product must wait six hours after eating meat.”

At first glance, these types of enactments often appear non-sensical, "Are you kidding me? So God says it's forbidden to eat cheeseburgers, pizza, etc. etc". I have to have two sets of dishes?  I have to wait six hours after eating meat to eat dairy?

The short answer is NO!  Many Mormons and Christians who read these types of material use this type of material to dismiss the role of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) and the relevance of the Old Testament.  In fact some go to great lengths to demean these records so that they themselves are not accountable to any real standard of Law such as the 10 Commandments etc. They often cite sources that they have not ever really read all the way by citing sound bites from documents such as the Shulchan Aruch YD and the Gemara Chulin to support their position. 

THERE IS ONLY ONE PROBLEM- THERE IS NO PROHIBITION IN THE TORAH OF MOSES REGARDING THE EATING OF MILK AND MEAT TOGETHER! But wait you say doesn't Moses say the following:

"You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk." (Deuteronomy 14:21)

Yes it does and it means just that, "Do not boil a young goat in its mother's milk".  It says nothing about eating milk and meat together-Nothing about cheeseburgers-nothing about needing 2 sets of dishes.  In fact you will find these later pharisaic and rabbinic enactments NO WHERE in the Old Testament (Tanakh). 

But context is everything.  The idea of not boiling a young goat in its mother's milk is found earlier in the Torah in connection with a concept of First Fruits:

"The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in his mother's milk." (Exodus 23:19)

The concept of firstfruits as in the Feast of Firstfruits (ha Bikkurim) has to do with the grain harvest, fertility of the land and women (of all species) as blessings from God.  The boiling of a young goat in it's mothers milk was actually a pagan ritual practiced by various nations that interacted with Israel  to ensure the fertility of the land and the women. The boiling of a young goat in its mother's milk as such a ritual is what is often referred to as a forbidden or unlawful sacrifice.  

In this context, the boiling a kid in its mother's milk falls under following the ways of the non-Israelite nations:

"When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’

“You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

The enactment of not eating milk and meat together and having 2 sets of dishes etc. evolved many many centuries later in the diaspora.  It is not found in or a part of the Law/Torah of Moses. These type of edicts were man made enactments or interpretations by those particular rabbis of varying Jewish Traditions on what that phrase "boiling ..." meant and how they were to enact or carry out the commandment- Thus came the man made laws of the forbidden Cheese burger.  In other words, the Kashrut laws in the Old Testament have been filtered through man made traditions and authority systems.


KOSHER ANGELS?


The author of the article then goes on to relegate the Torah (Which includes the Commandments of God) into the classification of the irrelevant and insignificant citing that the Angels who ate with Abraham in Genesis broke this very law and did not keep kosher.  Unfortunately this is a gross error.  What did Abraham serve the "Angels":

"So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate." (Genesis 18:8)

Butter comes from a cow- Therefore it is fit to be eaten as food.

Milk comes from a cow or goat- Therefore it is fit to be eaten as food.

A calf- Is fit to be eaten as food . 

(YEP--ABRAHAM SERVED THE MESSENGERS KOSHER FOOD)


But wait there's more!  


Not only did Abraham serve the messengers food that was fit (Kosher) to be eaten as food these angels actually partook of unleavened bread in the House of Lot:

"Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.

And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.”

But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”–Genesis 19:1-3

The mentioning of unleavened bread in the record tells us much.  Not only did these Angels partake of Kosher food, but the mention of unleavened bread tells us that the destruction of deliverance of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah equates with the Feast of Passover (Pesach)- observing God's appointed times (an eternal commandment).

Mormons and Jews have more in common than they realize. In many ways the instructions from God regarding Kosher Food is instruction to  Israel similar to the Word of Wisdom.  In fact, it says that the Word of Wisdom is adapted to the weakest of saints.  Adapted from what?  Is it possible that it was adapted from the list of foods that were classified as fit to be eaten as food?

Enactments -A Testimony To The Book of Mormon

Every people and culture creates it's own traditions and enactments by which it attempts to carry out its laws.  Keep the Sabbath Day Holy is the command while the later enactment of taking more than a certain number of steps on the Sabbath is a man made enactment.  In fact there are many enactments you may have heard:

1. Washing your hands before eating (A specific ritual)- Not found in the Torah (5 Books of Moses or OT-Old Testament).

2.  Not eating milk and meat together (an enactment)- Not found in the Torah or OT

3. Taking a legal number of steps on Sabbath- Not found in the Torah or OT.

All of these types of rituals and enactments of how to keep the laws of God came from men in their understanding. 

THE CLARITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON:

The Book of Mormon gives us great clarity regarding the Torah of Moses and the man made enactments that developed over centuries. The Book of Mormon specifically says that after Christ came they, “did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.” 4 Nephi 1:12). Notice the specific terminology found throughout the Book of Mormon "performances and ordinances" of the Law of Moses.

The statement ‘performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses’ can be a little misleading to those not familiar with Israelite Law.  To an Israelite, the Performances (ma-asim- performances or deeds of rabbis, prophets, teachers, elders, etc.) and Ordinances (takanot- legislative enactments) would be comparative to our modern case law including city and state ordinances on how to carry out certain laws.  So if you were to compare the Covenant God made with Israel with the US Constitution then the performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses would be equivalent to our 2 million case laws as well as local and state ordinances on how to carry out the intent of the Constitution.  

By saying that Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses the Israelite writers of the Bible and Book of Mormon mean that he brought them back to the proper interpretation and performance of the Covenant and commandments he made with all Israel. By saying that they followed no more after the performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses they are stating that they no longer carried out God’s commandments according to the man made legal rulings and traditions that developed over hundreds of years.  

ABROGATING THE COMMANDMENTS

Many a false prophet comes declaring themselves and their authority. Yet at the same time, many of them also lead their followers down a path of throwing out God's Commandments.  By minimizing and destroying the commandments of God, they lead their followers down a path which allows the False Prophet to introduce anything he wants to with literally no checks and balances. 

The Torah of Moses points us to Messiah and it's teachings and mysteries in relation to him are truly great and marvelous. It was the strict observance of the Torah and loyalty to the Messiah that preserved the Nephites in this Covenant Land Grant. But observance of God's commandments and the carrying out of man made edicts, traditions, enactments, and ordinances are not synonymous.  This is the true meaning of the Fulfilling of the Law of Moses in that Messiah brought us back to the commandments of God in their purity and not through the filter of man made traditions and authority systems. 

If it were not so, then please know that it is now okay to commit murder, adultery, to steal,  to covet, and to worship idols.  

"To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)



Saturday, September 26, 2020

THE HIDDEN MEANING OF NEPHI'S PRAYER: THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL


 

"The soul has a hidden journey.  Its' trodden path we are meant to take.  It's first step commences with faith.  It's wilderness is endured with Hope. It's strength is renewed in pure love even as its fulfillment is found in the knowledge of YHVH." 

Over the years there have been many disputes from various groups as to the location where the Book of Mormon took place. For some the American Heartland fulfills the setting of this ancient record.  For others, the speculation of a Meso-American setting satisfies their requirements.  And yet for a few, the true setting of The Book of Mormon is fulfilled in the dimension of the soul. For whatever landscape we choose to embrace, the ultimate landscape of The Book of Mormon is experienced in the ancient Israelite Journey of the soul.

"For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.

And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children." (2 Nephi 4: 14-16)

The Book of Mormon while often considered a historical record by some believers actually falls into the category of Jewish Sacred Writing.  Sacred Writing is not a linear account of day by day activities enumerating the various events that went on in a nation.  It is writing that draws upon historical events but written in a way to communicate multi-dimensional teachings.  In other words, rather than serving as a comprehensive historical account the record is actually meant to draw upon historical figures and events to communicate divine truths to the souls who read the various accounts.

This truth is established in the writings of the Prophet Nephi where he expresses that he had written the "more history part" upon other plates, but on these plates he wrote the things of his soul. In these verses we find a beautiful Hebrew poetic structure and play on words subtly communicated. The word for soul in Hebrew is the word Nephesh (Nun-Peh-Shin) which shares the same parent root as Nephi's own name (Nun-Peh).  We see this concept demonstrated even as God breathed into Adam the breath of life:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Nephesh)." (Genesis 2:7)

So if we stand back from the words to view the tapestry being painted, Nephi is writing the things of the Nephesh (soul).  Considering this teachings we then prophetically approach the Books of Nephi not only as the account of his journey from Jerusalem to the Land of Promise, but also as The Soul's Journey from from Jerusalem to the Land of Promise- or the journey back into the presence of God.


Nephi's Prayer and the Five Stages of The Soul


In Hebrew there are five stages of the soul or nephesh. In ascending order they are nephesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida.  Expressed together they are called NaRaNHaY.  In fact if you look very closely at the expression you will notice the expression of consonants in the word NRNHY or as expressed in English by a very famous author- NARNIA.  Perhaps C.S. Lewis books entitled The Chronicles of Narnia are not just a child's story but something much more profound- The Chronicles of The Journey of The Soul?


Stage 1- Nephesh


The word nephesh means life as in life force.  It is actually the lowest part of ourselves that we would identify as the natural man/woman or the ego.  This is our outward conscious mind. Our personalities as Robert, Mary, Tom, Elizabeth, Harry, or Harriet.  This is the experience of the natural man in our fallen world. 

This stage is expressed in Nephi's prayer of lament:

"O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily abeset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins..." (2 Nephi 4:17-19)

 

Stage 2- Ruach

Ruach means wind or spirit.  We see this expressed in words such as the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) or Ruach Elohiym (Spirit of God). The Ruach is connected with emotion which like wind blows and slows and is in constant motion. It is a person true feelings and motivations of the heart. This is what is referred to in Jewish literature as "the toil of the heart" where one comes to love God with all their heart. 

We see this stage of the Soul in Nephi's Lament as follows:

"nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me." (2 Nephi 4:19-21)


Stage 3- Neshama


The Neshama is one's spirit body or higher self that is eternally connected to and in the presence of God.  It is the place where the spirit within man ascends every night during sleep and returns with light and knowledge to aid in one's journey here on earth.

This stage is expressed in Nephi's Lament as follows:

"Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time."  (2 Nephi 4:23)


Stage 4- Chaya


Chaya means life. It is the stage of the soul that represents something beyond our intellectual comprehension of principles and the things of the spirit. It is the place of the Heavenly Eden where stand many orders and concourses of angels. 

"And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me."  (2 Nephi 4:24)


Stage 5- Yechida


Yechida is the essence of the soul or condition of oneness or unity. It is the condition of those who ascend to the Mountain of the Lord and whose experience cannot be communicated to the intellect or thru the five senses.  Indeed it must be experienced to be understood. A person in this stage comes to a truth of all things.

This stage is expressed in Nephi's Lament as follows:

"And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them."

(To be continued)