Thursday, December 6, 2018

AN ISRAELITE APPROACH TO THE BOOK OF MORMON


The language of Hebrew captures and embodies multi-dimensional aspects of the word of God.  As a functional language it is designed to be uttered by our physical tongue but embedded in this language is the system of mathematics, geometry, chemistry, physics, grammar, etc. passed down from Adam and the first civilization.  

In a way the language itself is like a winding staircase or a divine helix of DNA that contains the essential building blocks of creation.  The knowledge of ascent through these dimensions was been preserved and transmitted by the Prophets of Israel.  The ascent through the four worlds or dimensions is taught to this day in Israel through a system of interpretation called PaRDeS.  PaRDeS in an acronym formed from the initials of the four levels or approaches to understanding the revelations of God:

1. Peshat – The simple, literal meaning of the word or account.
2. Remez – The allegorical or symbolic meaning of the word or account.
3. Deresh – A comparative meaning as compared to similar occurrences, accounts or teachings.
4. Sod (pronounced with a long O sound)– The secret, esoteric, or mystical meaning


For many the Book of Mormon yet remains a sealed book.  When we think of a sealed book we often see images of ancient scrolls or plates bound by some kind of material or metal band that forbids a person from opening the book.  While this is one type of seal, to the mind of an Israelite a sealed record can also be a record whose true meaning and interpretation is not yet understood or revealed. The Book of Mormon is such a record. It is a sealed record to many because while the literal (peshat) account is the literal story of Lehi and his descendants, we miss the deeper dimensions of light hidden in plain sight.

Peshat:


To demonstrate and apply this science of ancient Israel, let us examine the following scripture: “And my father dwelt in a tent” (1 Nephi 2:15).  As we discussed earlier, sometimes the greatest of truths are hidden in plain sight.  How many times have you as a reader read through the Book of Mormon and simply passed over this one sentence verse, “And my father dwelt in a tent.”  The verse seems very straight forward, simple and literal.  In reading this verse, it may draw images of desert Bedouins living in their tents in a desert wilderness surrounded by camels and stock.  The very simple and literal (Peshat) reading of this verse is that Lehi literally dwelt in a tent.

To the initiated mind of an Israelite, this verse reveals so much more about the man Lehi and lends itself to a great truth of this hidden science.

Remez:


As we increase our awareness, we can begin to make the conscious associations demonstrated by the second dimension or level of interpretation.  In this dimension, an Israelite begins to ask, “Where has God revealed these things in the covenant God made with the Fathers”: (The TaNaKh – The Torah –Five Books of Moses, The Neviim –the Prophets, or the Ketuvim – the Writings). The verse, “And my father dwelt in a tent”, directs the Israelite mind to the Mishkan or “tent of dwelling” often called the “tabernacle in the wilderness” or the “tabernacle of Moses”.   The parallels in the stories of Lehi leading his family in an Exodus from Jerusalem into the wilderness and Moses leading the children of Israel on their Exodus from Egypt into the wilderness are not accidental.  In fact in true Israelite fashion, Nephi weaves these parallels into his account to compact great revelations about his Father, His Father’s connection with God, and essential knowledge preserved for his posterity on how they must also walk with the God of their Fathers.

The tabernacle (tent) in the wilderness is the appointed place where God would meet with Moses and Aaron. Here the glory of God (Shekinah) would dwell.  Here Moses would ascend into the presence of God by (1) “The Way” or outer gate of the tabernacle, to pass by the furnishings of (2) the outer court, in preparation to enter the (3) inner court or Holy Place, to then come before (4) The Holy of Holies or Throne of God.  In this tent of dwelling instructions and decrees were delivered from God to his righteous ones.  In this tent of dwelling, the officiating priests stood as ministering servants or angels to assist in bringing the people into a condition of oneness (at-one-ment) with God.  It is here that the earthly journey of ascension began and as a type symbolically ended with the reality of heavenly ascension realized.

The tabernacle in the wilderness serves as an allegory that Nephi draws upon. With this ancient connection established between Lehi and Moses, the verse, “And my Father dwelt in a Tent” takes on greater significance. In the world of Israel, this verse communicates that Lehi was a Tsadik (a holy or righteous one) who walked in the same pathway of the Holy Order such as Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch, and Adam.  As he dwelt in a tent in the wilderness, he communed with God.  He received revelations, commandments, and decrees for his people.  In fact in those places where Nephi relates that his “father dwelt in a tent” such as 1 Nephi 2:15, 9:1, 10:16, and 1 Nephi 16:6 (four distinct instances) we find connected four distinct manifestations of God to both Lehi and Nephi filled with simple commands, ancient allegory, divine instruction, and the hidden/esoteric teachings of ascension in their unadulterated form.

Deresh:


With the new dimension of understanding and consciousness added upon us from Remez, the next or third dimension of understanding begins to unfold.  The mind of an Israelite is then drawn to examine similar occurrences and teachings related to the tabernacle in the wilderness.  These occurrences and teachings have historical precedent, legal precedent, and instructional precedent as passed down by inspired teachers.  One such ancient teaching associated with concepts of a tabernacle or tent has to do with an ancient teaching regarding prayer.

The concept of dwelling in a tent while foreign to many in the West is common place among cultures in the Middle East and Orient.  In Israel, all of God’s people were commanded to be tsaddikim (holy men and women), “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6)  Even as Moses declared, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

Like ancient Israel camping in tents in the wilderness, a tsaddik or holy man would often be found living outside the bounds of the cities in the caves and tents of the wilderness.  In doing so these men lead a consecrated or set apart existence similar to Moses dwelling in the Tabernacle enwrapped in the Glory of the Lord (Shekinah).  This set apart walk with God was embodied with the wearing of the four cornered garment known as a tallit.








The tallit is a four cornered garment that serves as a reminder that the wearer is wrapped in the authority of Heaven. It was every man and woman’s private Mishkan or Tabernacle.  It symbolized the righteous dominion and authority of Heaven over the wearer and a place of retreat from the world.  To this day, modern observant Jews are seen in the attitude or prayer under the tallit worshipping in their private tents (tabernacles) the God of Creation.






With this understanding of Israelite culture and teaching, our understanding can then be drawn to a great teachings from the Prophets and the Messiah:

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:5-6, 3 Nephi 13:6

“And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.” (Alma 33:7)
“But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.” (Alma 34:26)

When we hear these scriptures in our modern tongue our minds are often drawn to images of going into our bedrooms, going into our literal closets, and closing the door so no one can see us pray.  In ancient Israel whether Nephite or Jews, there was no physical concept of a closet like we think of today.  The word closet refers to the “secret chambers” which then brings the mind to remembrance of the Holy Place and Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.  When a man covers his head with his tallit for prayer this tent or secret place is what is being referred to as “entering into thy closet” ( i.e. secret chambers/place)- a living witness of a tsaddik or holy man/woman dwelling in a tent and connecting with God.

Sod:


The sod level of interpretation pertains to the mysteries or hidden things of God.  They pertain to those things of the divine throne or council of heaven. In the wisdom of God, great truths have been hidden from the world.  In the preserved science of ancient Israel, we are spiritual beings tabernacled in mortal element in this physical world (Malchut).  “Don’t you know that you yourself are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives within you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Just as the Glory of God filled the physical tabernacle in the wilderness, so too do we as spiritual beings that are part of and eternally connected to God dwell in physical tabernacles.  The temple in all its physical glory represents the physical body of man and woman whose spirit has awakened and connected with the temple of God above. It represents the soul of a quickened individual in a state of at-one-ment with God, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing and the glory of kings to search out a matter!” (Proverb 25:2) As all Israel was called to be a nation of kings and priests to God, then it was the glory of kings to search out the concealed things of God. Like Lehi’s tent in the wilderness, we are called to walk the path of the tsaddik (righteous) and to enter the gateway of the tent and experience true oneness with the God who created us.  We go within the tent to receive wisdom, understanding, mercy, justice, judgment, enduring vitality, glory, and oneness with God.


Friday, November 16, 2018

NEPHI AND THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS IN THE LAND OF BOUNTIFUL




“And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness. And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters. And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.  ” (1 Nephi 17:4-6)

Lehi and his family traveled in the wilderness of correction for eight years prior to coming to the land they called Bountiful.  In the wilderness our carnal/natural state is revealed. It is also the place where we can correct and come into greater connection with God here in our temporary tabernacle/tent of wandering.  The number eight represents the culmination or fulfillment of their correction.  It represents a time when the person is prepared to receive the light.  It represents a time when the person’s soul is large enough and pure enough to receive eternal life or the land of promise.  Eight years in the wilderness represent the end of correction (tikkun). 

After their travel in the wilderness, Lehi and his family arrive at a land that they called Bountiful because of its much fruit and wild honey.  The symbol of fruit and honey is reminiscent of the Feast of Yom Teruah/ Rosh Hashanah.  This Feast of Israel occurs in the seventh month (Tishri) right after the sixth month (named the month of Elul post Babylonian Captivity).  This month is a time of repentance in preparation for the Fall Feasts (Appointed Times) of Israel that commence with Rosh Hashanah. 

According to tradition, after the incident of the Golden Calf and Moses breaking of the first set of tablets, Moses ascended Mount Sinai on the first day of Elul for a period of forty days.  After he ascended the Mountain of the Lord, he then descended to the camp of Israel at the base of the mountain forty days later on Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah.  To this day, Jewish tradition celebrates Rosh Hashanah by dipping fruit (apples) in honey.  In ancient Israel the symbol of fruit dipped in honey was a symbol of correction and the putting off of the natural man.  It represented the sweetness of a restored relationship, and a place of serenity and plenty.  This place of serenity and plenty is represented by Nephi’s declaration of Bountiful.

Like Israel who went through a period of correction, Nephi records that they too came to a place of bounty, sweetness, and serenity after their period of correction as represented by the afflictions and difficulties they experienced.   The spiritual state of correction and change leads to a condition of bounty, sweetness, and serenity where they could see the many waters that separated them from the land of promise; the waters representing the barrier that separates the earth from the Throne of God as demonstrated in Genesis:

And God said, Let there be a firmament (dome or barrier) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” (Genesis 1:6-8)

This place of Bountiful serves as a place of ascending the mountain of God. Here in Bountiful Nephi ascends the Mountain of the Lord to receive instructions.  Later this ascension is paralleled by his descendants in third Nephi who ascended the Mountain of Lord at the Temple in the Land of Bountiful where the Lord manifested himself to all the people.  The physical temple in ancient Israel being a symbol for the Mountain of the Lord:

“And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.” (3 Nephi 11:1)

“And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.” ( 1 Nephi 17:7-8)

The Prophet Nephi had ascended the Mountain of the Lord in varying degrees of intimacy during his correction in the wilderness.  In Bountiful he is once again commanded to ascend in preparation for their journey to the Land of Promise that represents the Throne of God. With each ascent into the mountain Nephi is also ascending in intimacy with God.  This is also known as ascending the tree of life or ascending the rungs of Jacob’s ladder.  In typical Israelite fashion Nephi draws upon the imagery and incident of these high and holy appointed times that restores key insights into increasing our intimacy of God. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Understanding The Jewish Book of Revelation (Part 1)




"And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise." (Revelation 8:12)

Much of Christian and Mormon theology finds its roots in varying interpretations of the Book of Revelation.  Every year we see books and fiery preachers arrive on the scene with new interpretations of this Book for the current audience of the day.  These books and sermons are filled with warnings, admonitions, and interpretations usually relating the many symbols and scenes portrayed in the Book of Mormon as applying to our current situation.  We hear interpretations that like, "The Mark of the Beast is your Social Security Number or A giant computer located in Washington, or A system of forced microchip identification system."  We hear interpretations like Barrack Obama is the Anti-Christ or Hilary Clinton is the Anti-Christ...."  and on and on and on.

But while the purveyors of Christian and Mormon books hear their cash registers go CHA-CHING$$$$ everytime there is a new "BLOOD MOON" or shooting star, it may help our sanity and our pocket books to understand that the Book of Revelation is a Jewish Book.  It was received and communicated by the Apostle John who was a Jew and communicated in classic Jewish Fashion.  To understand the message of this Jewish Book means we need to understand not only the nature of Jewish Prophecy but also the nature of Jewish Prophetic/Poetic language.

TO WHOM WAS THE BOOK WRITTEN AND WHEN:


Despite all the rhetoric and misinterpretation over the past two thousand years Jewish Prophetic tradition teaches that the prophecy and its' content must be interpretated first in relation to the people and the time period in which the prophecy/vision was delivered.  While the book teaches cyclical patterns that repeat throughout past and the future, it was meant to be understood in the context of the people and time it was given.

TO WHOM:

"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."  (Revelation 22:16)

This testimony of John was given to the "churches" or assemblies of believers in Messiah (both Jew and Gentile) in the various locations such as Ephesus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamos, etc. that existed at that time.


THE WHEN:

When God communicated the vision to the Apostle John it was literally meant as instruction and warning for the people in his day.  As the record relates at both the beginning and the end of the record:

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John..." (Revelation 1:1)

and

"And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." (Revelation 22:6)


Despite what many say when the YHVH or the Angel of YHVH states unto John in approximately somewhere between 35 and 70 AD that these things are SHORTLY TO COME TO PASS.  He may actually mean what he says in that these things are meant to be immediately understood to occur in that generation in which it was given.  SHORTLY IS NOT 2000 YEARS LATER.

So to properly understand the JEWISH BOOK OF REVELATION the p'shat or literal level of the record should be taken and read at face value.  In other words all of the prophecy recorded in what we call the Book of Revelation had an immediate fulfillment in the generation in which it was given. This does not mean that the Book does not have a futuristic application.  It means that we must understand the message, the cycle being taught, and the definition of the symbols in the time, culture, and language including the people to whom it was delivered first.

Now this may sound strange because if the Book of Revelation has already taken place then where is Christ coming in the clouds of Heaven and What Happened to the Millenium?  We will get to that!

Before we can understand the rich Jewish symbolism contained in the book we must also understand the nature of the Jewish Prophetic Poetry in which the vision is communicated.

JEWISH PROPHETIC/POETIC LANGUAGE:


"And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise." (Revelation 8:12)


Over the years there have been many interpretations given of this scripture.  At face value it has been interpreted to mean the sun will not shine, volcanic or nuclear clouds will blot out the sun, meteors and comets will pelt the earth, etc etc.  In fact in the last decade alone we have had such a frenzy of OMEN and SIGN salesmen appear on the scene scaring the hell out of people because of Blood Moons, Eclipses, and other varying "signs" or astronomical events in the Heavens.

In doing so they are often unaware of the rich poetic language of Ancient Israel and the methods of communication used to convey messages of importance and severity to the audience of that day.  Unlike we who can turn on the  television and SEE visible images of death, murder, destruction, hurricanes, bad weather, and warfare wherein our minds are able to directly comprehend the importance and severity of the events we see now with our eyes, the believers in the days of apostle John did not have these methods of communication.

As a result, a rich  language of metaphor and symbol developed in Israel that was used by the prophets to convey the same importance and severity.   It was a way of telling a story or an event that occurred using the "artwork" of prophetic language and symbol.  So in exploring this scripture in Revelations 8:12 it may also be useful to know that these same symbols were used by earlier Israelite prophets in regard to other events:

In regard to the political downfall of Babylon, the Prophet Isaiah uses the same artistic prophetic devices:

"The burden of Babylon...

Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine." (Isaiah 13: 1, 8-10)

The Kingdom of Babylon existed as a kingdom both before and after its fall.  The language of the stars of heavens and the constellatoins not giving light and the sun darkened actually refer political fall of the political rulers and government of the kingdom of Babylon.  The use of images such as stars in the heavnes, constellations, and the sun were common Middle Eastern symbols for rulers/governments.

Lest we think this type of prophetic/poetic language is unique, consider that the prophet Ezekiel prophesied the same thing in regard to Egypt in regard to their political fall:

"And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.

The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity. At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity." (Ezekiel 30:16-18)

It may shock many to find out that the same poetic images were used in describing the political fall/upheaval of Babylon and Egypt as nations (AKA: THE DAY OF THE LORD). If we take the JEWISH BOOK OF REVELATION at it's word the immediate message to the Jews was that their political fall was on its way.  In fact, it was fulfilled every "yod and brush stroke or jot and tittle" in 70 AD in the Jewish wars with Rome, the destruction of the temple, and the relatively immediate events thereafter.  In our western, linear, Greek mind we read this Jewish Record and attempt to take language that was mean to communicate imagery and apply to specific rulers, leaders, and events happening right now.  The nature of Israelite prophecy is that the cycle of pride, corruption, and righteousness is meant to be understood and applied to our time.  The literal labeling of events and people in our time as "THE Battle of Armegeddon/THE Mark of the Beast or THE Anti-Christ" is a misuse, misunderstanding, and misapplication of Israelite Prophetic/Poetic Linguistic devises.

TRADITION!


Christian tradition and theology often clouds (no pun intended) the Israelite understanding of the message of the Jewish Book of Revelation. The "LAST DAYS INDUSTRY" in America is a billion dollar industry and every few years new books with new signs and interpretations appear to appease and scare the frightened masses.  But if we understand the nature of Israelite language and symbolism the message of the Book of Revelation ceases to be a message of the end of the world.  Instead it can be understood as it was meant to be- A REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST wherein it teaches the cycles of Righteousness and Iniquity of varying Nations with whom God has had dealings.  Many people have spent their lives and means in a form of emotional, mental, and spiritual paralysis planning, arming, and waiting for the actual events portrayed in Jewish artistic language to happen.  They hide and plan in fear waiting for these events all the while taking no action to uphold righteous laws, principles, and government because why should they worry we are just waiting for cataclysmic events and planetoids to pelt the earth and in the end Jesus will come and fix it all.  But that is NOT the message of the JEWISH BOOK OF REVELATION.

(TO BE CONTINUED)


Saturday, November 3, 2018

THE BEAUTY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON




The Book of Mormon begins:

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.” (1 Nephi 1:1)

Everyone who reads these words with searching hearts is moved in some way.  Since its first printing we have been exposed to various interpretations of the Book of Mormon on a literal level. The Book of Mormon has been analyzed in many ways and yet it many ways the Book of Mormon remains a sealed book as its true message often remains veiled from the eyes of our understanding.

It speaks primarily one major message-the relationship between the God of Israel and the inhabitants of the land.  The Book of Mormon doesn’t just recount a history lesson, but give us the ‘how’ to see that relationship.  In it we find the gradual revelation of God, spiritual ascension, and the lessons of progression.  The beauty of the Book of Mormon is that it contains a science that teaches us the knowledge of the Fathers-even Adam and the first civilization of man- using sophisticated language, symbols, and historical accounts.  It describes the beauty of Zion and the creation of sacred space for us in ordinary language.

If we submit ourselves to the will and spirit of God, the language of the Book of Mormon describes for us the creation of Heaven on earth, its structure, the design of its society, and the process whereby those born of the spirit can replicate the condition of oneness with God.  The teachings of the Book of Mormon do not refer to the natural, carnal, or egotistical man but to the creation of the will to receive to bestow, i.e. Loving God and Loving our Neighbor.

The goal of these teachings being the creation of a state of joy, “Adam fell that men might be; and men care, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) The only difference between all men, creatures, and objects both great and small being the different levels of their will to receive and bestow joy-the differing capacities to receive and bestow joy determining the qualities and gifts of each.

The Book of Mormon in true Hebraic fashion reveals these teachings divided into five sublevels:

1. The revelation of God and his throne to Lehi -1 Nephi 5-15 (Keter)
2. The revelation of Wisdom – 1 Nephi 2: 15- 4:38 (Chokmah)
3. The revelation of Understanding -  1 Nephi 7:21 – 9:1 (Binah)
4. The revelation of Beauty-  1 Nephi 10:16- 16: 5 (Tipheret)
5. The revelation of the Kingdom-  1 Nephi 16:6- 18:24 (Malkut)

Taken together these revelations form the path or progression found in the name (YHVH) of God. It was the desire of God to bring Lehi and his family from the darkness of the world that existed in the land of Israel to a fullness of joy symbolized by the Land of Promise. It is the desire of God to fill his creation with the fullness of joy like a cup filled to the brim with fine wine.  It is the ascension of man from the base desires of the natural man to God’s state of being symbolized by the spiritual child of God.  In doing so God wants to give us to his state of being-his perfection and the ability to receive what he wants to bestow upon us.



The first seven books of the Book of Mormon follow the pattern of the seven days of creation.  The first six- 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni corresponding to the six days of the week during which humanity commences in light goes through ongoing correction until it reaches a fullness with the seventh day (symbolized by the Words of Mormon) as a millennium, Sabbath, or Seventh day wherein a remnant of mankind is delivered and a renewal commences. This pattern is demonstrated by Lehi who receives the Light of the Creator as it came down and dwelt upon a rock progressing step by step or book by book to the destruction of the Nephites in Omni (the sixth day) followed by a deliverance by a Mosiah (a Moshiach-Messiah) and the establishment of “all things made new” in city of Zarahemla (a New Jerusalem) as described by Mormon.   The generation that experienced this destruction and deliverance also points to the time when the conscious ascension of the world should begin.  In the years leading up to the Day of YHVH (judgment) upon the people, those of the Remnant of Jacob, Jews, and Gentiles who follow these teachings and embrace the Messiah must complete the path of repentance that commences the Seventh Day, the Great Sabbath, or Millennium.

As we ponder these things in our hearts, we may find ourselves wondering, “What is this path of Repentance or correction?”  Is there a way to walk this path in a progressive ascent? Or is it a path of suffering characterized by stubbornness, unyielding hearts, and kicking and screaming?  The answer is that it can be a progressive path with stability offered by an iron rod, but we must make a conscious choice to do that which is unnatural to the natural man. Those who walk this path will connect heaven and earth in their own lives.

Just as the story of Abraham teaches us about the progression of our souls and our purpose on earth, the story of Lehi and Nephi provides us with the essential teachings of growing toward God, knowing him, fulfilling our life’s purpose and coming into his presence symbolized by the Land of Promise.  Those who ascend from this world to God and become “AT-ONE-MENT” with him must take the same path that Lehi and Nephi took.  This is why they are seen as the Fathers or Patriarchs of the Book of Mormon.

The following account gives us the deeper meaning of their amazing exodus:

“For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life. 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.

And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he traveled in the wilderness in the borders which are nearer the Red Sea; and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.

And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water. And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God…” (1 Nephi 2: 1-7) and “But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 5:5)

If we view the Book of Mormon as solely a historical account, we will find that it is really not very different from the histories of other nations.  They experienced their rises and their falls, their squabbles and their warring, their corruption and their renewals. But while related in a historical account, the science of the Fathers contained in the Book of Mormon deals with us.  It deals with the salvation and progression of each of us.  It deals with the questions of, “Who am I?”, “What am I?”, and “What is the purpose of my life?”  In doing so, God appeals to each and every person.

This is how the Hebraic writings of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon explains the entire purpose of creation. Each person being a symbolic world or entire universe. Men and women being representative of God’s creation or worlds both past, present, and future.



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)