Friday, October 19, 2018

Ascending To The Mystery Of The Son





“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake unto them, saying: Do ye believe that our fathers, who were the children of Israel, would have been led away out of the hands of the Egyptians if they had not hearkened unto the words of the Lord?
Yea, do ye suppose that they would have been led out of bondage, if the Lord had not commanded Moses that he should lead them out of bondage?
Now ye know that the children of Israel were in bondage; and ye know that they were laden with tasks, which were grievous to be borne; wherefore, ye know that it must needs be a good thing for them, that they should be brought out of bondage.” (1 Nephi 17: 23-25)

The Prophet Nephi links the performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses to the “tasks which were grievous to be borne” and equates these performances and ordinances with bondage.  His statement ‘performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses’ can be a little misleading to those not familiar with Israelite Law   The commandments (Mitzvot) of God are one thing, but keeping his commandments according to the performances and ordinances of men can become a system of bondage.  We see Christ making the same parallel in Mathew 23:

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23-1-4)

The Greek version of Matthew obscures the frame of reference of something that is plain and simple to the mind of an Israelite.  According to a Hebrew text of Matthew preserved by the Baal Shem Tov, “Now all which they say to you keep and do; but according to their ordinances (takanot) and deeds (maasim) do not do because they say and do not.” (Matthew 23:3;  Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard)

The natural man/woman views God through his or her own natural eyes. It sees God as a great power who has an end game.  In the mind of the natural man, God demands through performances and ordinances that we do what he desires.  To the natural man, if we do what God desires in form only, in our outward performances, and keep the commandments then we will receive the reward.  Notice how Laman and Lemuel complain along this very sentiment, “we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people”.

The natural man is a force of division and seeks to obtain through performance so that it may receive to covet. Its desires remain rough, unrefined, with no real boundaries except the outward boundaries of legal performance that it seeks to manipulate to obtain the things of this world. The natural man cannot comprehend the things of the spirit, the instructions of God, or the great and marvelous works of God—even the building of ship to cross the great deep to reach the mystery of the throne of God or the Land of Promise.



“Now ye know that Moses was commanded of the Lord to do that great work; and ye know that by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither, and they passed through on dry ground. But ye know that the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea, who were the armies of Pharaoh.” (1 Nephi 17:26-27)

Besides the literal account of the Red Sea dividing, this miraculous event also teaches the inner reality of man and his ascension in connecting with God.  Nephi cites the parting of the red sea and the deliverance from the armies of Pharoah not only to draw the minds of his brothers to faith and trust in the God of Israel, but also to teach us that submission and obedience to God is the way of to ascend the center pillar or pathway to God. The dividing of the waters “hither and thither” represent the right and left hand pillars of the tree of life.  The dry ground represents the center pillar, pillar of balance or mildness, or the pathway in a strait and narrow course back into the presence of God.  Moses and the children of Israel represent the spiritual children of God who can ascend up the center pillar into the presence of God.  The Pharaoh and his armies represent those natural, carnal, or egotistical people who attempt to ascend only to drown in the great deep or waters of the Red Sea.  The sea or deep symbolizes the waters of power (Gevurah) that only part for those whose desires are purified-those who are ready to separate themselves from the natural man who is self-interested, self-willed, and lawless.  The miracle of separation only occurs through faith (trusting-loyalty) to God as we are ready to go beyond the reason of our five senses.

“And ye also know that they were fed with manna in the wilderness. Yea, and ye also know that Moses, by his word according to the power of God which was in him, smote the rock, and there came forth water, that the children of Israel might quench their thirst. And notwithstanding they being led, the Lord their God, their Redeemer, going before them, leading them by day and giving light unto them by night, and doing all things for them which were expedient for man to receive, they hardened their hearts and blinded their minds, and reviled against Moses and against the true and living God.” (1 Nephi 17:28-30)

As the children of Israel were corrected in the wilderness they were fed manna (mahn). Manna or the bread of heaven and symbolized our desire for oneness with God in love and receiving to bestow.  Manna represents the connection of Binah (Understanding) with the earthly (Malkhut) wherein our desires become purified to reflect the Love of God and Love for our fellow man-receiving to bestow.  Moses speaking to the rock by his word to bring forth water is a symbol for the means by which the life, desire to bestow, and the mercy of God comes forth.  

Nephi’s evokes the image of God leading them by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night demonstrates the manner in which ascension occurs.  Some things being concealed (the cloud) while other things being revealed (the pillar of fire).  The outcome of God’s actions (both things concealed and things revealed) leading those in the wilderness to the Land of Promise or Throne of God that exists beyond the barrier or veil.  In their journey toward the Land of Promise God reveals that in everything he does his desire is for us to receive.  The desire to receive to covet represents the hard heart even as the blindness of minds represents the inability to exercise faith beyond the reason of the five senses. Moses represents the man who is corrected and connect to the living God.  Their reviling against Moses representing the refusal to correct and their inability to ascend into the presence of God just as Laman and Lemuel's reviling against Nephi and Lehi represent their inability to understand and accept the invitation to ascend the throne of God.

“And it came to pass that according to his word he did destroy them; and according to his word he did lead them; and according to his word he did do all things for them; and there was not any thing done save it were by his word.” (1 Nephi 17:31)

The Children of Israel being “led” by the Lord their God, their Redeemer is paralled with being led according to his Word.  The Word is the Son of God and they were literally led by him and all things from traveling through the wilderness to the promised land were accomplished through the word of God or his Son.  On a deeper level of meaning, this being led by the word represents the correction of the individual represented by coming into oneness with the Mystery of the Son or Zier Anpin as represented by the following:



Zeir Anpin or as sometimes called, the Mystery of the Son or the Messiah. Not only does it represent the Messiah but also represents those after his holy order/manner who have corrected themselves to the degree where they have balanced the attributes of justice and mercy, glory and endurance, etc. It represents a relationship and condition of balancing the attributes of God in ourselves. This balancing is represented by oneness with God or a merging of the left pillar and right pillar into the center pillar of mildness or balance. The six sephirot represented by the Son of God represent a fusion of the attributes of God into a new creation.  Like a woman or bride (Nukvah) who receives the seed of a man to bring forth a new child, a man or woman (as earth symbolized by Malkhut) receives the mystery of Son, the seed of the Word, and creates a new entity.  Using the analogy of a kingdom, the people of the kingdom accept the King as sovereign and in return he provides for all their needs.  This fusion of the divine attributes is represented by the star of David which is a symbol not only for the seed of God but the oneness of God:


Friday, September 28, 2018

WHO IS THE GOD OF THE BOOK OF MORMON?



"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14)

When Moses ascended the Mountain of YHVH the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob revealed his identity and name that Moses was to carry to the House of Israel in Egypt.  In this apocalyptic event God revealed his name I AM THAT I AM-- or rather in Hebrew Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  I AM is also one of the only two accepted  translations of the word ehyeh that is found in Exodus 3:14. The word ehyeh of Exodus 3:14 is a first person singular of the verb and is identified  as the name by which God revealed himself to all Israel. As such Ehyeh is referred to as the name of God and is translated into English as I AM.

One of the most important truths established in the scriptures is that God is unchangeable. That he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The foundation stone of the name of God is a consistent pattern and theme through all Israelite Scripture.  Not only was it the name by which God revealed himself to Moses but it was also the name declared by Messiah Yeshua/Yehoshua (Jesus) to the people of his time in Jerusalem:

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM (EHYEH)." (John 8:56-58)

The name of God is a foundation stone in the covenant God made with Israel.  If the Book of Mormon is an Israelite record of a Torah Observant people then the foundation stone of the name and identity of God must also be consistent with the record of the Fathers and God's revelation of himself.  As God has declared through his prophets, he is unchangeable:

"For I am YHVH, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6)

On cursory reading of the Book of Mormon it would appear that this detail was left out.  OR WAS IT?

A MYSTERY HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT




In reading the Book of Mormon through the eyes of a Western Gentile based culture, we often miss the nuances of the Hebrew language and culture.  In doing so, we miss many of the plain and precious truths of the Book of Mormon communicated by Jews to Jews.  In 3 Nephi 11 a voice from above declares Jesus as the Messiah:

9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:

10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. (3 Nephi 11)
"Behold Ehyeh
Yehoshua Mashiach
of which the prophets testified
that should come into the world
and behold Ehyeh
the light and the life of the world
and I have drunk out of that bitter cup
which the Father has given me
and have glorified the Father 
in taking upon me the sins of the world 
in which I have suffered the will of the Father
in all things from the beginning"


This same revelation of Ehyeh, the being who revealed himself to Moses, is also demonstrated in revelation of Yehoshua to the Brother of Jared:




13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters. (Ether 3)
And when he had said these words
behold YHVH showed himself unto him
and said

“Because you know these things
you are redeemed from the fall
therefore you are brought back into my presence
therefore I show myself unto you

Behold Ehyeh
he who was prepared
from the creation of the world
to redeem my people

Behold Ehyeh
Yehoshua Mashiach
Ehyeh
the Father and the Son
in me shall all mankind have life
and that eternally
even they who shall believe on my name
and they shall become my sons and my daughters


In true Israelite fashion, the same being who declared himself to Moses in the Burning Bush also declares himself to the Nephites and is identified as the same being who appeared to the Brother of Jared.  According to the tradition passed down through the School of the Prophets and into some modern Jewish traditions EHYEH is the deepest and most sacred name of God.






Tuesday, September 25, 2018

BEING SHOCKED BY THE LIGHTNING STRIKE OF GOD



When Nephi’s brothers had been rebuked the anger and pride of the natural man had been kindled and as a result the natural man who is governed by these forces seeks to destroy not only the message but the messenger as well.  Their response was to throw their brother into the depths of the sea, but Nephi having been filled with the Power of God demonstrates an ancient mystery of the Flaming Sword or Lightning bolt of God.

“Behold, my soul is rent with anguish because of you, and my heart is pained; I fear lest ye shall be cast off forever. Behold, I am full of the Spirit of God, insomuch that my frame has no strength. And now it came to pass that when I had spoken these words they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea; and as they came forth to lay their hands upon me I spake unto them, saying: In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed; and he shall be as naught before the power of God, for God shall smite him.” (1 Nephi 17:47-48)

Throughout the scriptures trees are used as symbols for men and women. Trees can serve as natural lightning rods and the same goes for both men and women.  Lightning or electricity can be both creative or destructive.  By plugging a lamp into an electrical socket and vessel produces light.  A man, woman, or child who sticks their finger in a plug however may get a hair raising and destructive effect.  The same force can be both creative or destructive depending on the conduit.  The flow of the spirit of God or lightning comes from the Throne of Heaven to earth as shown below.  It flows from Kether (The Crown) to Chokmah (Wisdom), to Binah (Understanding), to Chesed (Mercy), to Gevurah (Power), through Tipharet (Beauty) to Netzach (Long Suffering) to Hod (Glory), to Yesod (Foundation), to Malkchut (Earth or Kingdom).  Just as we see lighting descend from Heaven to the Earth during a thunderstorm, the spirit of God flows and is manifest here on the earth.  The spirit of God through Nephi represents a corrected conduit through which the spirit of God can flow to either bless or curse.   Should the lightning of the spirit of God go through Laman and Lemuel (the natural man) who are not prepared it would cause them to wither and be destroyed.






So great was the power of God like a lightning bolt that it caused Nephi’s body to quake.  As he reached forth his hand according to the command of God his brother’s received the shock of their life:

“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.

And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken. And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.” (1 Nephi 17:53-55)

Friday, September 21, 2018

THE BOOK OF MORMON: EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS WITH A ROADMAP





“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)

Before we dig into the mysteries of the Fathers contained in the Book of Mormon, we must first understand the Israelite roots of the Book of Mormon that establish the foundation upon which all readers can commence their journey to the Land of Promise.  Like Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob we are seeking to achieve oneness with God through direct experience.  These Israelite prophets followed in the footsteps and knowledge of the Fathers that had been passed down and preserved by the House of Israel.  Just as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel climbed Jacob’s ladder in their ascent to oneness with God, so too did the prophets of the Book of Mormon ascend this same ladder by walking the same path that had been marked out by the Fathers who went before.

It is no coincidence that the Book of Mormon Prophet’s relate their accounts of ascension wherein they beheld the Throne of God, Heavenly Messengers, and great visions:

“And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he (Lehi) was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.” (1 Nephi 1: 8-9)

“And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me (Nephi): Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow. And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.” (1 Nephi 11:8-9)

“Yea, methought I (Alma) saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.” (Alma 36:22)

Because of their inner walk with God, the prophets made themselves ready and acceptable to God.  These men and women of old were examples of those who follow the path of righteousness walking in uprightness of heart, integrity, and the brilliance (tzohar) of God’s spirit. Those who would walk this path must undertake to not only study the mysteries of the Fathers but to conform to the image of God communicated in the Word of God. Whether it be Enoch who ascended into Heaven with both himself and his city or the Apostle Paul who was caught up to the third Heaven, the pathway is the same for all.

In our world there are many false prophets and counterfeits who attempt to skim from other disciplines, groups, and new age sources bits and pieces of this knowledge that have been passed down over time, but none have ever examined the knowledge of the mysteries of the Fathers that has been transmitted in perhaps the most unadulterated source, The Book of Mormon.  The journey to the Throne of God and the Land of Promise is a pearl of great price to every follower of righteousness who has sought and found God.  The journey is dangerous and has its perils.  On one side of the path there is an awful gulf ready to swallow those who deviate from it and on the other are mists of darkness that entice the traveler to wander down forbidden paths.  Those who follow the Iron Rod of the word of God though will find themselves like Lehi and Nephi at the base of the Tree of Life whose fruit is white to exceed all whiteness.

There are powers and principalities in this world that seek to prevent not only the transmission of this knowledge but even the very idea of personal intimacy and oneness with God.  They are those “religious” influences that stand at the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven who do not go in themselves nor do they allow others to enter. In every age, those religions and institutions established by the hand and charisma of men seek to erect barriers between God and man.  We should anticipate that our journey will be no different than those prophets, holy men, and women of God who went before who met opposition from the very people who should have been teaching them and encouraging them to oneness with God and his Son.

At one time men and women like Adam and Eve communicated directly with God and enjoyed his presence.  What was once a covenant relationship of intimacy gradually became a relationship of alienated of affections as mankind began to leave God and walk down forbidden paths:

“And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish.” (Moses 5:13)

This departure from God and the ceasing of revelation led to repeated instances in history where it was necessary for Heaven to reach down to earth to spark the divine once again in the hearts of men and women.  The first vision and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon are examples of such occurrences.  While the religions of the day had become cold and legalistic with ritual and creeds becoming the norm, God’s work was characterized by visions of Glory, life, and covenant renewal.  
Direct relationship and communication with God is what the accounts of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Mormon, and Moroni are all about.  Because of their calling and relationship with God, many sought to take away their lives or they were persecuted for the gifts God had given them.  They demonstrated that if our hearts and minds were open we can recognize and use the spiritual keys that lead the Fathers to experience God directly.  If we desire to receive what the Holy men and women of old received we must be willing to follow in their footsteps and to bestow upon others as God bestows upon us. By using the record of the Book of Mormon as our guide we can unlock the gate to the path that leads to the Tree of Life.

Every journey begins with a roadmap.  The journey through the Book of Mormon is a journey that connects our souls back to the Throne of God from where we came.  To make this climb and to embrace the hidden mysteries of the Fathers contained in the Book of Mormon requires that we understand one of the oldest and most sacred of symbols to the House of Israel-The Tree of Life (Etz Chaim).    The Tree of Life is both a key and a roadmap that leads us to the Throne Room of God.  Understanding this symbol will unlock much of the knowledge of the Fathers that Nephi is transmitting to his readers.

In using the symbol of a tree with roots, trunk, and branches God gave the House of Israel a physical symbol with its own language that when understood unlocks great knowledge.  As we inhabit a physical body our minds more easily grasp the physical to understand the great and non-physical things of God. As we grow in our understanding of the physical symbol we are able to grasp and process the realm of the spirit.  The knowledge and understanding of this symbol has been preserved by various disciplines and schools of thought among Jews to this day.  The origins of this symbol are attributed to the Fathers such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  While they symbol represents the physical form of a tree, the mysteries hidden in the Tree of Life contain the keys to the first language, biology, physics, mathematics, arts, chemistry, architectural science, martial disciplines, and spiritual disciplines that were taught by the Fathers.  The symbol is multi-dimensional in its applications and yet so simple that a young child can be taught great truths using it.

In the Tabernacle of Israel this tree was represented by the seven branched lamp called the Menorah that is positioned in the Holy Place before the Ark of the Covenant or Throne of God:








Thursday, September 13, 2018

God's Appointed Times




We seldom think about Biblical Holidays as anything more than a Jewish tradition. But these specific days were actually ordained by God and given to ALL of the House of Israel as perpetual ordinances. It is in these Appointed Times that we find the root of our tradition to engage in General Conference. One of the things we are to remember during the Holy Days are the covenants and promises of God's loving kindness, mercy and grace in history and the fulfillment in Jesus Christ. These set apart days point to God’s plan for all of mankind in regard to salvation and having a relationship with Him.

The appointed times were revealed by God to Adam in the Genesis of Creation, “Then Elohim said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons (moed), and for days and years;'” - Genesis 1:14

The Hebrew word translated here as “seasons” is the word moed or moedim (plural). The word itself means: properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed). (Strongs Condcordance From H3259)


Woven into the creation of the world God used the stars and planets to mark times and seasons.  The movement of the sun, moon and stars were provided not only for the calculation of time but for setting the appointed times when God was to meet with his people.  With this in mind, God designed an original science of astronomy to be used as prophetic markers that could not be altered by the hand of men.  His appointed times were part of his plan for man even before man himself was placed in the Garden.

Each week when we observe the Sabbath Day we are observing an Appointed Time.  The Feasts (or Appointed Times) of Israel are what are termed ‘High Sabbaths’.  Like the weekly Sabbath they are days specifically set apart by God for all his people to observe, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:2-4)

The keeping or remembering (to both say and to do) of the Appointed Times falls under the commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”- (Exodus 20:8-11)

Besides fulfilling the commandment to ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’ the observance of God’s appointed times served as times for his people to come, appear before him, and call upon his name. In many ways the modern Mormon events of General Conferences and Solemn Assemblies echo back to the observance of these divine appointments.  Examples of the observance of God’s appointed times can be seen with Adam at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Moses and Israel at Mount Sinai, Jacob and the Nephites at the Day of Atonement, King Benjamin at the Feast of Tabernacles, Christ at Passover, Christ at the Temple in Bountiful, Joseph Smith and the receipt of the plates at the Feast of Trumpets, Passover at the Kirtland Temple Dedication, among many others.

Besides the weekly Sabbath and the new moon of each month there are 7 High Holy Days appointed for all Israel to be observed through all their generations.


Appointed Times of Observance:


God delivers His people from the bondage  of slavery
God passed over (in judgment) his people
Unleavened Bread
(Chag ha Matzah)
God purifies his people
No leavening was to be eaten - a picture of ridding sin and contention from our homes and nation
Feast of First Fruits
(Ha Bikkurim)
God provided food for his people (a harvest of barley)
God's reminder that he will always provide his people with everything they need.
Feast of Weeks/Pentecost
(Shavuot)
The Extending of the Covenant. God gave the Law (The Ten Commandments) to Israel.
These laws were to be guidance for his people to find happiness and peace in their lives
Feast of Trumpets
(Yom Teruah)
Trumpets blown to begin the countdown to the day of atonement.
The day and hour that no man knows. God's Revelation as preparation for his people.
Day of Atonement
(Yom Kippur)
The cleansing of the sanctuary and purging of sin of Israel as a nation
God restores his people and makes them clean as a nation. 
Feast of Tabernacles
(Sukkot)
Entering the Promised land. The establishment of the people of God in a Covenant Land of Inheritance.  The coronation of the King of Israel.
A reminder to the Israelites of the time they lived in tents in the wilderness with the Presence of God.



As we have previously shown the appointed times did not originate with Moses but were given in the creation to Adam and all his descendants.  Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. In Israelite culture to fulfill the law (Torah) is to observe God's commandments as given by God to Israel and to correctly interpret them. In addition, he also warned his disciples not to annul a commandment or to dissuade others from observing the commandments.

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19)

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).  If they did not follow any more after the performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses why then should we observe the appointed times?

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.  The Appointed times are not the legal enactments or traditions of men, but direct commands from God to be observed through all our generations.


How do the Appointed Times figure in with Prophecy?


The appointed times are prophetic pictures that teach about the Messiah!  The set-apart times are cycles that foretell the redemptive acts which Messiah was to perform for his people.  This is why all Israel gathered together at the temple or other appointed place to present themselves for and participate in divine rehearsals of those things which came before in preparation for those things which will come again.  From the Book of Mormon to the Book of Revelation, God uses the cycles of the appointed times and the instructions for carrying them out to prepare his people for their deliverance from bondage, his deliverance of the covenant, and his establishment of his reign over all the earth.

Besides honoring God and fulfilling his commandments, the Lord warns his people of pending judgment soon to be poured out upon our nation and gives them instructions regarding his appointed times.  The Lord commands his people to call your solemn assemblies:

"Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you— The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you. For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry-go ye out from Babylon, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord." (D&C 133:1-6)

Through the mouth of his Servant Joseph Smith, God has declared a curse of judgment upon the nations that forget God and upon all the ungodly. As a result the eyes of ungodly Nations and peoples shall see the revelation of  the arm of the Lord in the experiencing of these judgments to their destruction to their salvation.  Oh, The Greatness and the Mercy of our God, for even in the midst of judgment and calamities, he remembers his people both Gentile, Remnant, and Jews in giving them divine instructions to prepare them for the days ahead:

If you knew that the God of Heaven had set apart an Ordained Time to meet with his people, would you not want to know when these times were and what they were about so that you could prepare to meet the Creator of Heaven and Earth and be numbered among his people forever?  Or would you ignore these appointed times given to all the House Of Israel (THAT WOULD BE ALL THE TRIBES—INCLUDING EPHRAIM) as a perpetual law to observe for all time?  We speak of being called and numbered among the people of God but if we fail to recognize His covenant times and call is it possible we may miss the mark and find ourselves outside the camp of God’s people.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Obtaining the Tools to Construct the Vessel




“And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me? And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.
For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said: I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not; And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.


Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem. Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence. And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.” (1 Nephi 17: 9-16)


The construction of a ship to cross an ocean is a mighty feat.  When Nephi receives this command from God he faces the problem of not knowing exactly how to perceive or create what seems to be an overwhelming and complex work.  To complete such a great feat as building a ship to cross the deep he needs the instructions and correct tools to build the ship to make it a reality.  In Hebrew this word for tool is Kli (meaning a tool, vessel, or dish).  It is something formed whereby other elements can be poured into or fashioned to create something workable.  It is a vessel of functionality. We create our Kli or tools just as a blacksmith takes raw materials (ore) and works upon it to fashion various them into a functional form.  The raw material or the ore represents our desires, our thoughts, and intentions. In this earthly world  or kingdom (Malkhut), our desires start out as rough, crude, and without form.  Our ability to design our kli (tools, vessels, or desires) according to the patterns given by God help us to perceive the spiritual world, its boundaries, and the eternal gift of receiving from God to bestow upon others.

Nephi as a spiritual blacksmith then creates bellows to blow the fire.  Bellows are instruments of air (as corresponding to the world of Beriyah) or wind that represents the instrument through which the Spirit of God as the Holy Wind or Breath blows upon the spark of fire.  The instrument through which the air flows is particularly made of the skins of beasts.  That knowledge passed down by the Fathers communicates that when Adam and Eve were in the garden their bodies were different.  Some teachings suggest that unlike our bodies their bodies were bodies of light—pure and refined.  After partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge both Good and Evil they were cast out of the garden and God clothed them with coats of skins, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)  These coats of skins represent our mortal bodies.

In true Israelite form, Nephi layers his account with a teaching much deeper and important than a cursory reading of the “story” he relates.  The coat of skins represents our mortal bodies wherein resides and flows the Holy Wind of God (Holy Ghost or Ruach Elohiym).  This wind then breathes or fans the spark of fire.  The fire is struck by the striking together of two stones.

The two stones have a dual symbolic meaning.  The first is found in Deuteronomy 8: 15-16:

“And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth (heb. Chayil- strength), that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

The two stones being struck is an assumed allusion to the word flint- as even in the ancient world stones of flint could be struck to produce fire. The Hebrew word for flint or stone is challamiysh Using the keys passed down in Israel to unlock Nephi’s teaching we then go to the Torah to find the first place where this word is used; Deuteronomy 8:15-16.  Using this key we can examine the depth of Nephi’s account to discover further instructions on how correction and ascension takes place by connecting it to the Lord’s declaration to Moses, “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness.”

Just as the children of Israel were led through the wilderness and fed by the Lord even to bringing forth water out of the rock of flint, Nephi’s two stones (of flint) that struck fire leads the Israelite reader back to remembrance of the deliverance of their fathers in the wilderness.  In parallel to this Nephi explains, “For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said: I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not; And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.”  Man cannot correct himself or ascend solely by virtue of himself; it is done by the direction, instruction, and further revelation given by God.

Correction and ascension are accomplished with the presence of the Lord- to one degree or another whether by his spirit or second comforter. The element of fire is symbolic of the world of the Celestial or Atziluth- the presence of God.  This connection between flint, fire, and the presence of the Lord is also demonstrated in the words of the Psalmist, “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.” (Psalm 114:7-8)

Just as God was actively present through their journey in the wilderness (both Israel and Lehi’s Family) so too is he the light and sole provider through our journey of ascension through the wilderness or barrier that separates this world from the Heavenly World.  There is another important aspect and symbol that also comes into play- two stones.  The symbols of the two tables of stone direct us back to the words of God to Moses, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:14)

Like the stone tablets whereon the commandments of God are engraved, our hearts are also tablets upon which God’s instructions are engraved.  In Israelite thought, the heart is the center of our thoughts and desires.  Even as Jeremiah declared:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people..” (Jeremiah 31:33)

The commandments of God written upon two stones comprised the heart of the covenant. As we fulfill the commandments of God, the stones are struck and the spark of celestial light above sparks within our hearts where it is then fanned by the Wind or Spirit of God (the Holy Ghost or Ruach Elohiym) to become the purifying fire.  The celestial fire created by the fulfilling of God’s commandments purifies our desires, thoughts, and intentions.

Nephi’s words create the following parallels:

The Smiting of the two stones are those actions and meditations of correction wherein we draw our spirits closer to God.  It is a conscious and deliberate action of drawing near (whether by action or prayer) that we create the sparks. The Ruach Elohiym or "Wind/Breath" of God then breaths upon the spark allowing it to take hold.  Like two tablets of stone the instrument of creating the sparks is our heart or the center of all thought and emotion in Israelite thought.

In Israelite thought the physical world is a reflection or manifestation of the heavenly worlds.  That which is constructed above manifests itself in the world below.  As we commence the construction of our vessel below based upon the instructions given from above, we can construct a vessel or ship to carry us across the waters of the great deep to reach the Land of Promise or the Throne of Heaven. While the details of Nephi’s account appear mundane it contains the spiritual light transmitted to him by God and the Fathers.

CONSTRUCTING THE SHIP: THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE HEART:


When a ship is constructed it must have a plan or design by which the builders follow to complete their project. This design is captured in a picture or state of being that is taught in the Sermon at the Temple/Mount.  The word "Blessed" comes from the Hebrew word barukh and demonstrates as state of being.  When an Israelite blesses God or God blesses someone or something the word barukh carries with it an awareness of the closeness of God.  In fact being blessed is being in a state wherein the very presence of God fills the air.  The idea of blessedness carries with it deep Israelite connotations of the presence or spirit of God being felt in our minds, our hearts, even the core of our very souls.  The idea of being blessed or even in blessing God is that our hearts and minds should be awakened to the understanding that God is making himself close to us to draw us into closeness with him.  In other words, the declaration of a blessing or declared blessed is that of the awareness of the presence of God right now.

With that in mind now consider the words of the Messiah as part of his covenant declaration:

"2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.

 3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 4 And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 5 And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 6 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

 7 And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

 8 And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 9 And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

 10 And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. (3 Nephi 12)

Now for a moment as you read the words of the Sermon at the Temple/Mount consider as the Messiah of Israel is making a declaration of blessing (i.e. blessed) that in each of these declarations he is declaring the instructions or STATE OF BEING in the closeness -EVEN THE PRESENCE- of God in the here and now. As we conform to the image of those blessed-who are the poor in spirit, those that mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted for the sake of walking in his name we are creating our hearts and bodies as sacred vessels to carry and receive the presence of God. 

When the words of Christ were declared in exactness on this day the people who were there were visited by the voice of God, The Presence of the Son and the Spirit of God.  And again even the next day when his disciples had administered these same words in exactness to the multitude that gathered there we see the fulfillment of this covenant promise again with as they were given the spirit of God, the Presence of the Son, and the revealing of Great and Marvelous Things that were too great to be written.

Now those same words in the mouth of two witnesses from the House of Israel as contained in the Sermon on the Mount and more particularly those recorded in the Book of Mormon in the Sermon at the Temple have come unto us. No we were not those people who were physically present when these words were recorded.  BUT we are the people to whom these words have been delivered.  In fact we would be those who are labeled, "Those who believe on their words."  Consider for a moment now these great covenant promises:

And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.

And Consider the Covenant prayers of God as promises to us who were not present and yet who believe on their words:

19 And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said: 20 Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.

 21 Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words. 22 Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. 23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.


AND AGAIN!


 27 And he turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and he prayed again unto the Father, saying:

 28 Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.

 29 Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.

We see that God is offering us -those who believe on their words- the same declaration of blessing (blessed) as he offered to those who were there that day to hear those words with their own ears.  These words in the Book of Mormon are those words as recorded by those servants and receiving the Presence of God and an awareness that he is all around us from the air that we breath to the reception of his Son. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

PATHWAYS OF THE PROPHETIC- THE WILDERNESS

THE WILDERNESS

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 2:2)

In the science of Israel, the wilderness is a method for the purification from the ego or carnal man.  Journeying in the wilderness leads to the gradual attainment of the Land of Promise meaning the personal embodiment of the desires and characteristics of God; i.e. we are created or recreated in the image of God.  This image is the vessel of pure love (tzedekah or charity) that comes from God and that is bestowed upon others.  The wilderness itself is a symbol of profound humility and dependence upon God.

What is the significance of the wilderness in our life?  The wilderness is the place of the klipoth, the barrier, or the veil.  It represents a state that is not abundant in the material resources or of the natural life force, but is the place where God gave sustenance- the Torah and his light. The wilderness represents humility. It represents the opposite the place of the spiritual man as opposed to the carnal man or the ego.   It is a place of emptiness where the vessel is made clean to receive all the gifts that God wants to bestow. In like manner it represents our personal wilderness where we become empty and not consumed with ourselves and the things of this world.  If we want to be able to feel the image of the light of God in ourselves, the only condition where this occurs is that of being in a spiritual wilderness. Our ego or the carnal man is that which separates us from God.

How do we accomplish or what do we need to do to become like the wilderness?  How do we behave or have the spiritual mindset of the wilderness? The best way to understand the wilderness of God is to compare it with its opposite- Jerusalem, the city, or the World.

The Carnal City/World VS. The Spiritual Wilderness



Our ego wants us to feel like we are someone and that we have means and worldly significance represented by our wealth

In the wilderness our vessel is filled and consumed with the things of this world.
Apathetic of and not being open to listen from everything that God seeks to communicate.

We are enthusiastic and awe of all the positive little gifts or things of God in our lives.
A Spirit of complaining/murmuring

A spirit of gratitude
We compare ourselves to other people in the city.  In the city we look to other people to fill us up.

In the Wilderness, represents the empty vessel waiting to be filled by the life giving rain of God.
We are lax in doing Good because we are comfortable with our current condition.

The Wilderness represents a condition of discomfort, change, and purification.
In the city our hearts and minds are filled with worries or delusions of grandeur where we have to have our names in the limelight. 

In the Wilderness there is nothing artificial or creating false images to fill our minds and cause us to constantly obsess with.
We feel we have to say the last word or prove that we are a person of importance we are not in the wilderness.  We are focused on control and on what we lack or have given up.

In the Wilderness we have no control and realize our utter dependence upon God.
In this state we are spiritually lethargic because we carry with us the concerns and weight of the world.

In the Wilderness the spiritual come to preeminence and the weight of the worlds constructs do not exist.
In the City our confidence or faith comes from our substance, possessions, and wealth.
In the wilderness our confidence or faith comes from the light of God, his sustenance and support.


“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 2: 2-4)

Lehi’s obedience to God led him to willingly depart from the city of Jerusalem into the wilderness.  His leaving of his house, the land of his inheritance, his gold and silver, and other precious things is symbolic of the journey that we must all make from the carnal man to the spiritual man. Descending (or going down) into the wilderness of the spirit we leave behind the artificial things that fill our vessels and keep us from receiving the light of God.  These artificial things come in all sizes, shapes, images, and packages. They are the false gods that keep us from connecting with the true God.  In the first steps of his journey into the Wilderness he took with him the things of the spirit—his family, necessary provisions (bread and water of life), and tents (his place of spiritual connection). The goal of the wilderness was to get Lehi to his roots just as Israel dwelt in tents in the Wilderness of Sinai.  God’s design was to connect him to his roots in Heaven.  As we start to connect with the light from above rather than the stuff provided by the city/world, we cannot imagine the power God can channel through our souls.  We must descend or go down into the Wilderness before we come to the Mountain of YHVH and ascend.