Tuesday, November 22, 2016

VESSELS OF GRACE AND FOUNTAINS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25




The light of the gospel has little value to those who are fulfilled solely by the pleasures of the natural man. Man is endowed with a fallen nature that is characterized by weakness, but despite the definitions we have imbibed from religion weakness does not mean "weaknesses".  From a Hebraic viewpoint weakness is a description of our fallen state-- a state of being finite, a state of limitation, a state of emptiness and failure to receive joy.  All things are given by God and as such are good, even weakness.  It is in this weakness or feeling of emptiness or limitation, that God grants us a great and marvelous gift- for it is in embracing our weakness or state of weakness that we recognize that there is a space within us that only God can fill.

In feeling the weakness, limitation, and lack of fulfillment from passing physical pleasures, we begin to reach up to God and in doing so we are filled with his grace- his enabling power that fills.  The reason that many people are feeling depressed, apathetic, or powerless  is because they either don't want to deal with this state of emptiness and limitation or they do not know how.  In such a condition, it is any wonder that we see an increase in addictions such as alcohol, drugs, sex, etc?

What People Often Hear


"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)

Because there is a great gulf that separates God's culture and language from that of our Modern American Culture, please allow me to translate this scripture into what many Modern Mormons hear, "An if men come unto me, I will show them their weaknesses, bad habits, addictions, and irritating ticks that make their lives miserable at which point I will give them a perpetual self help program called the "The Gospel" that will make them think they need to perfect themselves and for 99% of the population that can't make the self help program work then my grace will take care of the rest after they finally die and make it out of this tortuous existence by the skin of their teeth." (The Politically Incorrect Translation of Ether 12:27)


Living Waters - Obtaining the Grace of God




The concept of grace is connected with the imagery of Living Waters.  Living waters are waters that are purifying, flowing, and not stagnant.  They are waters that bring life in which nothing that is impure cannot be purified or cleansed. Living waters flow out to feed the land and people and give sustenance to the earth, the people, the vegetation, and beasts of the field.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37-38)

Our thirst is our desire to receive.  In our desire to receive we become vessels of grace into which God can pour his living water.  For the water to be living, it must be able to flow out and provide sustenance to the earth, the people, the vegetation, and the beasts of the field.  In other words in weakness we have emptiness and limitation out of which develops the desire to be filled or to receive. If that were the end of the path, then in receiving to only covet the life giving water and the blessings that it brings, we would become lifeless and stagnant vessels. To be a fountain of righteousness or living water, we also become vessels of bestowal.  We receive the grace (enabling life of God) to bestow love to God and our neighbors.  In other words, we receive to bestow and in doing so we not only become vessels of Grace but literally fountains of righteousness- flowing rivers of living water.

"Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me the fountain of all righteousness." (Ether 12:28)

Stagnant Vessels


Many a Latter-day Saint find themselves contemplating the grace of God, his gifts, and pondering why we do not find ourselves in receipt of the same grace as we see recorded in the miraculous events in scripture.  I believe that one of the main reasons we do not receive is that we desire to receive to covet.  In other words we desire from God to be filled, but never to bestow upon others.

As the Apostle Pauls said:

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James 4:1-3)

or perhaps another translation expresses it a little better in our modern tongue:

"What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure." (James 4:1-3)


Understanding the Natural Man and the Child of God


"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)

We have probably read these words many times, but yet often the meanings and implications of King Benjamin's description of the natural man versus the child of God evade us. The natural man and woman is egotistical, self-centered, self-seeking, and survival oriented in their frame of mind.  In other words we seek to receive or obtain to covet for ourselves.  This is the natural state of fallen men and women here in the lone and dreary world.  We seek to secure for ourselves even to lifting ourselves above our brother. Our survival instincts take over or at least are the governing force in our lives. Even when we desire to do good at times, the underlying motive is to give to receive to covet.

If this is the case, then it would seem that any attempt to receive from God to give to others is at the very least tainted by desires for personal gain-- and if all we were was the natural or savage man or woman then this would be the case.  BUT, this is NOT the case for within us is also the spiritual man- that portion of God that gives each of us life and breath.  Through rebirth by water and spirit that portion of God quickens our inner man and brings us into a desire or state of ONENESS.  The desire for ONENESS with Christ creates a vessel into which God can pour his living waters.  Even if the desire is only to have the desire to be one with Christ- then a vessel is created into which God can pour his living waters.  As our desire grows our vessel or cup runs over into the abundance of living waters whether to brother or enemy, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (Psalms 23:5)



"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27)

PRAYING THE DESIRE- A POWERFUL FORM OF PRAYER


Our Western ideas of prayer come out of a Greek Mindset where prayer is often conducted in long discourses of words.  While words do have a place, in the Hebrew mind the words of a prayer are meant to evoke desire-- i.e., form the vessel.  Praying in Desire is one of the highest forms of prayer in that out of the desires of our hearts the often unspoken words ascend before the Throne of Heaven as a sweet incense.  Words without desire have no form or life and never ascend beyond the mouth of the supplicant. We can see this same principle being practiced by the Nephites in the very presence of Christ, "And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire." (3 Nephi 19: 24)

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t always know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26-27)








Monday, October 31, 2016

BLESSED ARE THOSE




The word "Blessed" comes from the Hebrew word barukh.  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 for a moment as the Messiah of Israel is making a declaration of blessing (i.e. blessed) that in each of these declarations he is declaring the Promise of 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.  In other words, the presence of God is already with them.

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.

If we approach 3 Nephi as the very Heart of the Covenant- 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 is offered to us. Behold even as the Prophet Mormon declared:

7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

 8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

 9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

 11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are...

18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.

 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.

 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth." (Mormon 9)

Let us turn back to the right way. Let us loose the seals of the Book of Mormon by unlocking the covenant code that conceals the promises in plain sight.  Let us call upon the Father in the Name of the Son and embody his declaration of "Blessed are those..." even the Presence of God, the restoration of the House of Israel, and the establishment of Zion even the New Jerusalem.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

KICKING OUT THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL?

THE REJECTION OF THE GENTILES:





"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them." (3 Nephi 16:10)


The Prophet Nephi in 3 Nephi 16:10 records the words of Christ that the Gentiles who have the fulness of the Gospel will sin against the gospel and shall reject the fulness of my Gospel.  What does it mean to sin against the gospel?  What does it mean to reject "the fulness of my Gospel"?


THE GOSPEL





The word "Gospel" is a word that has lost almost all meaning in our modern society.  It is usually used as a catch word to refer to many different things in our modern culture.  It has been used as a word to describe the scriptures in general, the message of Jesus Christ, or the message of the church, etc. The word “Gospel” is Old English.  In reality it is a combination of two old English words: GOD + SPEL (Gott + spell).  The word 'GOD' coming from a Teutonic origin meaning something of sacred or religious worship and the word 'SPEL' meaning speech, message or report.  Unfortunately this English word does not capture the full meaning and depth of the Hebrew word from whence it was translated: BASAR or BESORAH.

THE BESORAH - THE MESSAGE FROM THE KING


The word Basar or Besorah also has the meaning of tidings, message, report, or news.  When we hear this word in our American vernacular it can conjure images of the nightly news broadcast or even a 20 second commercial blurb to sell a product. The Hebrew imagery behind the word Basar or Besorah is that of a messenger of a King or governing official with a specific charge to declare the Kings Words and to Carry out the Kings Commands.  In the ancient world the role of a king's messenger was an exalted role.  Hospitality toward the messenger of the King was considered as hospitality toward the King himself.  Rejection of the King's Messenger and the King's Message was considered Rebellion or Rejection of the King Himself.  An example of this is actually demonstrated in the modern movie, "The 300" where King Leonidas rejects the message of King Xerxes and kicks the messenger down a pit.  Remember what you do to the message and the messenger you also do to the King.  In this case it was as if King Leonidas was kicking King Xerxes to the curb or in this case down a pit.





SO WHAT IS THE BESORAH- THE IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Simply put the Besorah could be communicated thus: In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was,“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

or perhaps this rendition also:

"And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost." (3 Nephi 11:32-35)

or perhaps as the Prophet Ezekiel proclaimed:

For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God." (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Whatever rendition of the message you choose, the message is still the same, Repent or turn in loyalty back to the Holy One of Israel.  Be immersed and reborn in his name (a rebirth into discipleship as his son or daughter), Keep (guard and carry out the commandments of King, and you will be purified by the Holy Ghost (be given a new heart and filled with the spirit).

Make no mistake though that the meaning of these phrases has much greater depth to an Israelite Culture than to a Gentile Culture.  It has to do with loyalty to the King of Kings by turning from our non-covenant ways and embracing the terms of his covenant treaty.  It has to do with embracing his son and the covenant relationship including the real life laws that govern the subjects of his kingdom.

To be sent with a message from the King consisted of several strict guidelines: 


1.THE MESSENGER MUST DELIVER THE MESSAGE STRICTLY WITH OUT ADDING TO OR TAKING AWAY FROM THE MESSAGE.

2.  THE MESSENGER WAS AN AGENT OF THE KING TO CARRY OUT OR ASSIST IN CARRYING OUT THE CONTENTS OF THE MESSAGE.

3.  FAILURE TO REPRESENT THE MESSAGE IN EXACTNESS AND CARRYING OUT THE CHARGE (OR DUTIES) CARRIED THE DEATH PENALTY FOR THE MESSENGER.


THE REJECTION OF THE GENTILES

As the Book of Mormon demonstrates, the Gentiles were given the record of the Nephites to declare the Message (Gospel) of the Son of God.  They were commissioned and authorized to take this record to the remnant of Jacob and to establish the Kingdom of God on this land.

So now let us examine the rejection of the gentiles:

1. "when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel"- To sin is to be in a state of rebellion against the God of Israel.  What is rebellion?  It is the breaking of the laws (with full knowledge that they are doing so) God gave to Israel, teaching others to do so, or worse-- setting up a counterfeit law (i.e. the commandments and laws of men) in place of the law and commandments of God.

2."shall reject the fulness of my gospel" - the term fulness has to do with the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.  In other words fulness would be the proper interpretation and practice of Gods law (i.e. to fulfill in Hebrew means to properly interpret and perform the commandments).  So to reject the fulness of the gospel would not only be to reject the plain and precious truths of the Message, but as a messenger it would also be to reject the charge (or duty) to deliver the King's message and establish the King's Kingdom.

3." and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations"-- I think we could say that this pretty much sums up the current conditions of the day.

4. "shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them"

Like Ancient Israel, the Idolatry of the Gentiles is characterized by proclaiming their exalted status as God's People or as we call it, "THE ONE TRUE CHURCH" and at the same time rejecting the Besorah or Message from the King. The Gentiles will rebel against the King, His Son  and the message while all the day long proclaiming to be his people and verbally espousing God. Their rejection is signaled by the changing, twisting, and dismissal of God's law and commandments. It is replacing the sure foundation of the Doctrine of Christ and his restored message as found in the Book of Mormon with their own message and laws--ALL IN THE NAME OF CHRIST.  They down play the word given by God in exactness while at the same time lifting up their own words and authority as a light on a hill. The rejection is finalized when the Messenger who is sent to them is rejected, thrown out, or killed.  Remember--rejecting the messenger sent is the same as rejecting the King.

BRINGING OUT THE FULNESS OF MY GOSPEL FROM AMONG THEM


When the rejection is complete,  God will then "Bring out" the Fulness (both message and duties charged to them) from among them.  At that time, those Gentiles who had been committed the restored message will lose their charge to represent the King and carry out the message.  Then God will carry both the message and the charge (duties and authority) to the House of Israel:

11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel [the message} unto them.

 12 And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel [the charge and authority].

 13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

14 And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.

 15 But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16)










Saturday, October 22, 2016

HAVE YOU DEPARTED FROM THE RIGHT WAY OF GOD?




Our current political scene in America is a fulfillment of  Book of Mormon prophecy.  The murderous and secret combinations have filled the land-- the government, the media, the churches, and the corporations. Even as a voice crying from the dust, the prophet Mormon declared, "And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not." (Ether 8:22)

We have people conveniently dying in accidents,  "committing suicide", and going missing who bring to light the evil and murderous works of presidential candidates and other political leaders who are the called and elected of the secret combinations to occupy the seats of power in this land. Their influence is so encompassing that men and women who expose their evil works must seek refuge in the embassies of foreign lands or find themselves in military prisons with no due process of law that should be afforded by the constitution to every person.  We see corporations raping the land and aggressively breaking treaties with those of the First Nations for gain.  We see wars being waged for gain and political ends. We find political and media forces loving and making lies to fracture the nation and divide the people in an attempt to control and reshape the land and enslave the people. But in their pride, they know not the God of Israel-even the God of the whole earth who will bring their rule and their secret works to an end.

"Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up." (Ether 8:24)

In these perilous times, are we among those who have built up and supported these secret combinations and works of evil?  We look around and claim we seek to be the people of God-even the remnant- and yet the fruits are not only severely lacking but those fruits that are produced are wild, " Behold, this long time have we nourished this tree, and I have laid up unto myself against the season much fruit. But behold, this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of it which is good. And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and now it grieveth me that I should lose this tree." (Jacob 5:32)

A VOICE OF WARNING HAS COME


"For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be." (Ether 8:23)

The end of the times of the Gentiles is fast approaching and the Sword of Justice shall soon fall upon the United States of America including its Allies.  The corruption and works of darkness among the leaders of the Nation only reflect the corruption and works of darkness among many of the people-  even those gentiles who call themselves the remnant of God. The time is coming, in fact it is already here in which, "behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things."(Mormon 2:10)


THE RIGHT WAY- KNOWING THE GOD OF ISRAEL



Just as ancient Israel was preserved by the miraculous power of God so too will a modern House of Israel be redeemed in the same way.  If it were not so, there there would be no fleshed saved alive:

"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust." (Mormon 9: 19-20)

The path of the miraculous is found by those who walk in the "right way" and know the God in whom they should trust.  To "know" in Hebrew is more than just knowledge about something, but direct experience with something--in this case direct experience and intimacy with the God of Israel.  That being the case then what is "THE WAY"?

Instead of coming up with our "OWN WAY" like ancient Israel and the incident with the Golden Calf, we should seek the right way of the God of Israel.  As the prophet Mormon brings our attention to the "Right Way" in the record of the Book of Mormon, then perhaps it is best to look to the Book of Mormon for the definition of "The Right Way".

The Prophet Nephi admonishes, "And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law. And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out." (2 Nephi 25:28-29)

In ancient Israel the concept of "walking in the way" was an expression that a person was walking uprightly in keeping the commandments of God.  To walk in obedience to God's commandments was to "walk in the way".  The Israelite expression of "denying God" was understood that a person who walked outside or away from God's commandments was denying God--the giver of law and the testimony to the prophets. The act of denial being defined as walking in disobedience or rebellion to the commandments.

As Nephi expresses, THE RIGHT WAY IS TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST (THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL-- AKA. THE LAW GIVER) and that by denying (walking in disobedience to) Christ is to walk in path of rebellion against the commandments given by him and the testimony delivered by the prophets (i.e the law and the prophets).

The elders and later rabbis of Israel used a teaching technique called remez.  In their teaching, they would use part of a Scripture passage in a discussion, assuming that their audience's knowledge of the scriptures would call to memory the portion of the scriptures to which they were either quoting or alluding to that then allowed the audience to deduce for themselves the  meaning of the teaching. This method of teaching was used by Christ and many of the prophets who possessed a great understanding of the law and the prophets.

In true Israelite fashion, the prophet Nephi uses this same teaching technique (remez) to draw the reader's mind to the greatest law (The Shema) given to all Israel in how they are to believe in Christ-The Holy One of Israel- by worshiping him, "with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul".

By pointing the people back to this one great law Given to the Fathers he is instructing them on walking in the path of true worship:

 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9)


Here we find the key to walking in the right way is to love and worship God (The Law Giver, The Holy One of Israel) by obeying his commandments, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

There is a traditional teaching that says, "If you want to know the God a man worships- look at the law he keeps."  If you follow the King of Israel and are a part of his kingdom, would you walk in rebellion to the King and his Law?  Would seek to teach or impose a foreign law in his land or upon his subjects?

To walk in the path of the miraculous is to walk in THE RIGHT WAY in worshiping the Holy One of Israel with all our might, mind, strength, and our whole soul.  Will God perform miraculous works of restoration and redemption while people who claim to be his walk in rebellion against his commandments by engaging in acts he expressly forbids? Or Will his hand deliver those who worship and walk in the commandments of an idolatrous God? It will never be so for he is an unchangeable being and like the Fathers of old, we can only be saved upon same principles of salvation:

"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust." (Mormon 9: 19-20)

Our covenant relationship with God dictates that we obey his laws and commandments as given in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Those who uphold the covenant relationship  turn to God in Loyalty (teshuvah-repentance) by following the example of his Son.  They will not engage in in the worship or mixing their worship with an Idol or Idol worship.  They will not walk in forbidden paths. They will not make excuses for rebellion by covering sin under the veil of "good intentions".  They will not accept the counterfeit religions sold by the Adversary and his ministers.  They will not sell their covenant relationship for the gain of the world.  In truth, they will hold to the path, waiting for True Messengers of the Father who teach and uphold the laws of the God of Abraham seeking patiently and within the bounds of God's commandments the further light and knowledge he promised to send.




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

CONNECTING WITH GOD- THE SABBATH- A DAY OF WITNESSING

Have you ever felt the power of Heaven as you stand on Holy Ground? Has the Spirit of God whispered to your heart and mind eternal truths that breath life and understanding?  Have your eyes been opened to see beyond the veil of this world causing you to reach up to Heaven? Have you beheld the throne of Heaven encircled about with numerous concourses of Angels shouting praises to the living God? Have you felt the arms of Heaven reach around you and in response you feel your weakness before the Lord of Heaven and Earth?  Have you felt an embrace so strong that you only feel to melt away before his face and that which is fallen within you wishes to call out to the rocks to fall upon you to cover you from he whose glory is brighter than the noon day sun and whose gaze pierces your heart of darkness?




CONNECTING WITH GOD


Like the branches of a tree we connect into the life giving tree that is God.  His spirit is the life giving, nourishing sap that runs through the branch that is our soul and his presence is the fire that manifests the fruits of the spirit; divine gifts given as fruit from which we and others may partake; even that which is desirable above all other fruits.

Like the Prophet Lehi we stand surrounded by mists of darkness in a lone and dreary world.  Realizing our awful situation we call out to God and lo in the distance we behold a tree whose whiteness exceeds the whiteness of anything we have ever seen.  It beckons us to approach from afar, but where is the path and how shall we ascend the Holy Mount.

Sometimes the greatest of truths are hidden in plain sight. Like a rod of iron that leads us along a strait and narrow path the word of God leads safely toward our ultimate relationship.  But what is the word that he is talking about and how shall we take hold of the rod to make the connection?

When we think of the word of God we are often apt to think of the scriptures in general; ie. the Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.  But there is a much more ancient understanding of the Word- a path of connecting with God.

MITZVOT- THE PATH OF CONNECTION


The word Mitzvot is mechanically translated as 'commandments' in our American language, but the Israelites were not Americans and they did not live in our western culture.  The word commandment often conjures visions of stringent rules and regulations, laws, police sirens, and a bizillion different requirements no human could possibly live up to-- the thought of which is often overwhelming and discouraging.

To an ancient Israelite, walking in the Mitzot was walking in a state of being connected with God. Instead of seeing God's instructions as cold and legalistic ordinances, they were God's description of having a connected relationship with him and by extension our brothers and sisters.  These utterances like an iron rod are filled with purpose and power.  They are granted as gifts to the world to lift us up and guide us safely into his society and presence.

REMEMBERING THE SABBATH DAY - BEARING FALSE WITNESS


Have you ever thought about what it takes to connect with God?   When God spoke his 10 sayings to Moses on Mount Sinai he was restoring the same path he had given to the Fathers.  While time and room do not permit me to go into each utterance that connects us with God, I thought it would be useful to explore the set apart time of the Sabbath Day (The 4th Commandment) and Bearing False Witness (The 9th Commandment).  As taught anciently, the word of God was engraved on two tablets of Testimony (Witnessing).  Upon these tablets the God of life wrote the words of life that instruct us in our relationship with God and our brothers and sisters.

Five of the sayings were written on the first tablet and five on the second. Why on two tablets? An ancient Israelite teaching explains that this is to show that the sixth commandment is an extension of the first, the seventh mirrors the second, etc. As we are exploring the Sabbath we are then to understand that there is a connection between Remembering the Sabbath Day and Bearing False Witness.

In Israel, Sabbath or Shabbat besides being set apart as a holy day of rest is also known as a Day of Witnessing- as in bearing a witness or testimony before a court. Observing the Sabbath we are bearing witness of the dominion of God and his miracles of creation in creating the world and mankind.  Just as God took that which is spiritual and organized it into matter, so do our creative actions through our weekly six days of creation manifest in this world bearing witness of his dominion-  with every moment of time, organizing spirit into matter as we co-create with God; matter into spirit and spirit into matter.

THE BOOK OF MORMON- THE SABBATH DAY- BEARING WITNESS


In true Israelite fashion, The Book of Mormon demonstrates and confirms the act of sanctifying the Sabbath and bearing a true witness.  As we partake of the sacrament in holy places, we also bear solemn witness:

"And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

The manner of administering the wine—Behold, they took the cup, and said:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

In partaking of the covenant meal of remembrance, we too set apart the Sabbath and bear True Witness to the God the Eternal Father that we will always remember his Son and keep his commandments.  But REMEMBER- remembering to an Israelite doesn't just mean to use our mental recall.  It means to represent his works, actions, and fruits to a world so desperately in need of redemption.  It makes us ask, "What Witness Am I Bearing?"

All the words which come from God are good and profitable for instruction.  Those words engraved upon two stone tables are much more important and sublime than many suspect.  Taking hold upon these words we connect to God through his Son and by engraving them into our hearts we establish a living relationship that shall spring up like a Tree of Everlasting Life.  Let us make the connection.




Saturday, October 8, 2016

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT AND REPENTANCE




Fasting is one of the traditional ways of observing The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). In Hebrew Fasting is a sign of affliction and humility, but God has an interesting commentary on afflicting ourselves in piety and the type of observance he truly desires on Yom Kippur. Our lives should be a living fast as we follow the Messiah in binding up the broken hearted, setting the captives free, lifting the burdens of the oppressed, and protecting the innocent from the predators of this World. In the true spirit of fasting we sacrifice of ourselves in order than others may be blessed. In Hebrew the word kapporeth means to cover. With the Messiah's sacrifice we receive his covering. Let us remember him at this Highest of Holy Days and truly remember him by representing him to those in our homes and with whom we come into contact with during the week.

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the LORD?
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the LORD will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

(THEN COMES THE REALLY COOL PART AND THE BLESSING OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT)

Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
“Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the LORD will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Isaih 58)

JONAH AND THE DAY OF ATONEMENT


Every Year on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Israelite congregations all over the world read the Book of Jonah. Most people believe that this book is read because it models complete repentance. Jonah is the only prophet of record in the Old Testament to be chosen to warn a people outside of Israel of their impending destruction.  At first, Jonah decides not to accept the Lord's commission, but eventually realizes that it is futile to run from God (wherein he ended up spending 3 days in the belly of a large fish). Rebellion against God is as the grave of death in the belly of a whale, but in repentance, rather than the end of his life, he was reborn with a new start.




Jonah then goes  to declare repentance and to warn the people of Nineveh of their impending destruction.  As a result of his declaration of repentance to the people of Nineveh the king to each individual fasted and turned from their evil ways. God accepts the repentance of the city of Nineveh and the pending destruction does not  comes upon them.

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” (Jonah 4:1-3)

There are times in our human anger, pain, and feelings of inequity that we seek the Arm of Justice to balance what we see as an inequity.  While God is a God of Justice he is also a God of Mercy.

The LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the LORD God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

Then the LORD said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly.


But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4: 5-11)




The prophet Jonah represents you and me.  He represents church leaders, the man standing on the street, parents, children, political leaders, and business people.  Just as each of us is given a life mission so too was Jonah  given a life mission by God.  Like him, we are given a gift of purpose for our lives of which God expects specific performance and for us to return and report the labors of our day. Each person is given a unique set of gifts and talents for a life mission that only they can achieve. For three days he faced the reality of death that is rebellion against God, but in repentance he turned and fulfilled the mission for which he was called.

What is interesting is that after declaring repentance to Nineveh and their positive response, Jonah was still angry that they were not destroyed.  He goes outside the city and makes a shelter (booth- which is indicative of the Feast of Booths -Sukkot- that follows the Day of Atonement) where his sits and waits to see what happens and where God teaches him a different perspective on repentance and judgment. Nineveh was ripe for destruction, but they were a people in spiritual darkness who spiritually didn't know their right hand from their left hand.  Their deeds of evil did warrant the judgment of death and destruction, but through repentance God stayed their execution because of their remorse, reform, and potential for salvation. In repentance the mercy, compassion, and unfailing love of God are revealed.





















Sunday, October 2, 2016

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS TO MORMONS


Have you ever wondered about the High Holy Days or Appointed times that are written about in Scripture? For many of us who call ourselves Mormons, 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 sound of the trumpet signifies the voice of God or the revelations of God from Heaven. It foreshadows the destiny of the House of Israel as a called out people. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon on The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) was not a coincidence.
The golden plates were delivered on September, 22 1827. The Feast of Trumpets is observed as a day of prayers for God's remembrance for his scattered people.  On that day  truth came up out of the earth and righteousness came down out of Heaven.

The Feast of Trumpets – A Message to the Nations 


“These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times….The LORD said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn, you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet.” (Leviticus 23: 4, 23-24)

The Feast of Trumpets or Day of Blowing (Yom Teruah) is an Appointed Time of God not only to Israel but the Seventy Nations that were divided up among the Council of the Gods (Elohim) in the Ancient of Days.  Today it is commonly called Rosh Hashanah or “Head of the Year” in Judaism.  Its’ message and appointment, though, are much more ancient than many have supposed.  Its roots are found in the creation among the Council of the Gods while it’s fruits are seen in the disinheritance of the nations at the Tower of Babel.

IN THE BEGINNING- THE COUNCIL OF GODS – THE DIVIDING OF THE NATIONS

To understand the importance of the Appointed Times and God’s purposes for Zion we must consider an ancient Israelite worldview.  Portions  of this worldview were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council.

I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. Oh, ye lawyers, ye doctors, and ye priests, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time.” (Joseph Smith – King Follet Discourse)

In an Ancient Israelite world view Yehovah was God who ruled among a divine council.  “God (Elohim. singular) has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods (Elohim. Plural) he holds judgment” (Psalms 82:1)

His council consisted of seventy elohim (plural) or divine beings among whom the nations were divided:

“Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God (benai  Elohim). But the LORD’s (Yahweh) portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage” (Deuteronomy 32:7-8)

Other preserved records known as the Targum describe the posterity of Noah being divided into seventy nations and languages, each ruled by a different or lesser Elohim or Divine Being presided over by Yehovah:  

“When the Most High made allotment of the world unto the nations which proceeded from the sons of Noah, in the separation of the writings and languages of the children of men at the time of the division (the days of Peleg), He cast the lot among the seventy angels, the princes of the nations.” (Aramaic Targum, Deuteronomy 32:7-8)

The Tower of Babel and the Day of Trumpets




As a result of covenant disloyalty the nations and many of their elohim were disinherited by Yehovah at the time of the scattering at the Tower of Babel.   In early literature this cataclysmic event was called the Deluge of the Winds (a day of blowing).  Even as God had destroyed the Ancient World by Water so he also destroyed their tower by Winds (a place where heaven and earth met) and divided them after their disinheritance at the Tower of Babel.  (Book of Jubilees chapter 10:18–27) The nations were divided by language and land at the trumpet of God's voice.

After some time, God lead Abraham out of the midst of the nation where this judgment took place and re-established his covenant to him bringing him to the land of Promise. From Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Israel Yehovah continued the covenant he had established with the Fathers like Noah, Enoch, Seth, and Adam.  

Adam and the Ancient Order of Things

The Israelite mind is one of cycles and patterns.  Often times those things of the most ancient order may be hidden in plain sight. Symbols are meant not only to reveal to those who ask, seek, and knock but to conceal from those who have no desire for the truth and who do not exercise their due diligence to obtain.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  In him is no variance.  
If we were to examine the records and knowledge we have of Noah, his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth and the division of the inheritance of the Seventy Nations that came from Noah and his Sons we would see God’s divine pattern.  Don’t get me wrong, there is no intergalactic 501c3 corporation.  This is the basis for the government of Patriarchal families that can be found from the times of Adam, the ancient of Days, even down to Enoch, and Noah.   It is the same structure that was given to Adam, Enoch, Noah on to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Seventy Families that went down into Egypt.  It is also the same kingdom established among Moses, Aaron, and Joshua, the Seventy Elders (who represent God’s representatives to the Nations),  and Twelve tribal rulers in Israel, and the Eloheim (judges) called and elected as captains by the families they represented 

In re-establishing an earthly council on earth among Israel that was in similitude of his original divine counsel that existed at the time of Eden, we see that God establishes a kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Mountain of Assembly like Sinai is the place where the unseen and the seen meet. Like Eden it is a high place where the sons of God minister in the tabernacle of Heaven before the throne of God. The tabernacle of Israel is but an earthly pattern of the tent or tabernacle of Heaven. 

God's Original intent was to restore the nations (gentiles) to a proper covenant relationship with him.  Israel was intended to be a kingdom of Priests whose duty was to be the means of that restoration.  Their corporate failure was as real as the failure and fall in Eden.  As was planned from the beginning it would take God tabernacled among men to do the job right--Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah.  The Feast of Trumpets or Day of Blowing is the sounding of God's warning to the nations--The Day of Yehovah is upon us.

The Day of Trumpets: 

“Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near…Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber...“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Joel  2: 16, 16, 28.29)

The Time of the Gentiles/Nations Fulfilled:

Three times like a sounding trumpet from Heaven on the Day of Trumpets, the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, “He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in.”

On September 22nd 1827 (The Feast of Trumpets) the heavens were parted and a trumpet was sounded in fulfillment of this Appointed Time for All Israel throughout their Generations.  And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. (D&C 128:20) And the Book to come by way of the gentile carried the voice of the Lord like a trumpet at Mt. Sinai to all Israel – Awake and Remember. It is also a trumpet of judgment and salvation for the nations (gentiles)

As in the Days of the Tower of Babel and in the Fall of Jericho we see that the rule of the nations (gentiles) will come to an end even as God sets his hand again to advance his Kingdom.  It is a day of repentance and spiritual conquest.

The Dry Season Draws to an End

On September 11-12, 2015 the month of Elul and the dry season of Israel draws to an end.  Even as the closing of one day overlaps into the birth of another, on September 13, 2015 the memorial of the Day of Trumpets arrives, “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”

The Days of Awe- God's Warfare Among the Nations- Zion to Put on Strength

In reality we are faced with War- a turf War if you will. A jubilee of jubilees wherein the rightful owner of the vineyard is reclaiming that which he owns.  The decree has gone forth and will be fulfilled in preparation for these events, "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi  gathered themselves together unto him." (Exodus 32:26)

To do this we must respond to the voice of the Trumpet and put on our strength in preparation for battle.  We must become loose from the bands that tie us down:

"7. Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

 8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

 9 What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?

 10 We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.(D&C 113)

THE PURPOSE OF THE APPOINTED TIMES


The appointed times of Israel were given as an observance through all our generations. They were the appointed times which God's people were to prepare for and observe as they gathered to the Temple of God to hear the word of God. The Feast of Trumpets in particular was a warning call to all Israel to wake up and prepare for the times ahead including the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.