"Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment." (Moses 6:61)
The concept of the Record of Heaven filtered down through various cultures by other names such as Ruach Elohiym, Ruach ha Kodesh, the Akashic Records, the Aether (ether), the vault of the Gods, the Book of Life, and many others. Encoded in the first journey of Nephi and his brothers to retrieve the Plates of Laban (Lavan- Lavan ha Elyon-Celestial Whiteness Purity) or "Record of the Jews" is a guide book to obtaining this Record of Heaven like the ancients.
The Journey to Obtain the Record
The journey of the sons of Lehi represent submission and subduing of the natural or carnal man wherein one can the breach the wall or barrier that separates us from the Celestial Treasury that contains the Record of Heaven. Laban represents our Adversary or a Mighty One, the epitome of ego and the source of the carnal in the world, who stands between us and the record. Attempts to secure our connection with Heaven through carnal, egotistical, and idolatrous means only succeed in getting us thrust out by this mighty Adversary.
Nephi who represents the spiritual child of God goes into his place of correction (the cavity of a rock) where the natural man is divided from the spiritual man. In true childlike humility, trust, and submission he goes forward not knowing what to do but trusting that God has the ability to reduce his Adversary and source of the carnal man to powerlessness wherein he then is given instructions by two witnesses-the voice of the spirit in unity with the Law of God.
In obedience to the instructions given by the voice of these two witnesses, he succeeds in cutting off the authority, wisdom, and understanding of his Adversary. In doing so he can assume the condition and status of a celestial being or mighty one to pass by the servants who guard the Celestial Treasury symbolized by servant Zoram who guards the Treasury in Jerusalem to obtain the Record of Heaven. The Celestial Treasury representing the source of all human spirits even the dwelling place of God and the Record of Heaven representing the connecting spirit of God that comes with all the knowledge and power to manifest the power of God according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
The Testimony and the Law
“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” (1 Nephi 4:6)
In their previous attempts to gain the records, the sons of Nephi attempted to approach their adversary and obtain the records after the manner of the natural or carnal man. Their request based on pedigree was met with expulsion. Their attempt to purchase the records through the self-righteousness of their idols, riches, status, and other precious things was also met with their expulsion and failure to obtain the record.
The Voice of the Spirit:
This time Nephi having separated himself from the natural or carnal man begins his ascent as a child of God who approaches his adversary like King David (A man after God’s own heart) - trusting, self-less, seeking not his own, not being puffed up in self. He approaches his Adversary with the heart of a child filled with Tzedekah (Charity- see Moroni 7:45). With this heart of altruism, he leans not upon his own understanding but upon the voice of the spirit—being led step by step by God’s voice not know beforehand what he was going to do, but walking in trusting obedience to God’s instructions to go up and obtain the record.
“Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine. And when I came to him I found that it was Laban. And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel. And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.” (1 Nephi 4:7-10)
Nephi as a child of God did not declare war upon his adversary nor did he enter the city with an intent to take Laban’s life. As has been illustrated, our Adversary is Mighty and formidable, in and of ourselves we have no power to defeat him . It is God who delivers the Adversary into the hands of the spiritual child with the Adversary being rendered powerless symbolized by his falling to the earth drunk. Nephi explains that when he found his Adversary he was drunken with wine.
Wine represents the Light of Wisdom (Chokmah). For a spiritual/child of God vessel prepared to receive the wine the wine becomes light to the soul. For a carnal and natural man, the light of wisdom reduces him to the level of an animal. The more light given to the natural or carnal man, the more animalistic he/she becomes. The more light given to the child of God, the more pure and refined he or she becomes. The blade of the sword represents the power to correct the disconnection and disharmony between God and man. The hilt of the sword being forged of pure gold symbolizes the power to change the pure ego/natural man into its opposite or spiritual child of God. The voice of the spirit compelled Nephi to a course of action that would cause him to slay his Adversary. His first and natural response was to shrink back.
“And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.” (1 Nephi 4:12-14)
Despite what many think, Nephi was not commanded to commit pre-meditated murder. His act was based upon the laws of the goel ha’dam (avenger of blood). This is established by the voice of the spirit evoking the law of God in Exodus 21:12-13, “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death and if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.”
In the ancient mind, Nephi is rising to the level of wisdom. In witnessing Laban fallen to the earth before him, Nephi has reached the place of complete awareness of what is happening inside of him. His obedience to the voice of the spirit is not done in a vacuum. He slays his Adversary, a symbol of the natural man and ego, by making his decision on the basis of the voice of the spirit and God’s law.
In the mind of an Israelite, the law of God represents the physical manifestation of the character and attributes of God in this physical world. It is through the law of God that operates in the physical world that the voice of the spirit is given physical manifestation in the world in which we live.
The manner of destroying the natural man comes through the action of two witness: the voice of the spirit and the Law. This is the higher meaning of the scripture, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20) As we make our ascent from the carnal to the spiritual child of God, there are many influences that can lead us down paths far from our destination of the promised land.
“Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments. Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.” (1 Nephi 4:15-18)
In the mouths of two or more witnesses all things are established and in the case of ascension it is no different. The spirit testifies according to the commandments and the commandments of God’s law give the instructions from the spirit physical manifestation in this world. Remember, the plates of brass on this level of interpretation represent the Record of Heaven. The commandments of God according to his law are engraven upon the Record of Heaven so that light and structure come together in functional oneness. It is God’s commandment that we receive the Record of Heaven and it is thus obtained by heeding the voice of the spirit unity with God’s law-one testifying of the other. In cutting off the head of Laban who represents an Adversary and also the epitome of one in their fallen animalistic condition Nephi cuts of the head and ruling triad of his Adversary’s power- his crown/authority (Kether), His wisdom (Chokmah), and his understanding (Binah).
“And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins. And after I had done this, I went forth unto the treasury of Laban. And as I went forth towards the treasury of Laban, behold, I saw the servant of Laban who had the keys of the treasury. And I commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with me into the treasury. And he supposed me to be his master, Laban, for he beheld the garments and also the sword girded about my loins. And he spake unto me concerning the elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them. And I spake unto him as if it had been Laban. ” (1 Nephi 4:19-20)
After slaying his Adversary, Nephi transforms himself by taking on the garments and armor of Laban. Donning the garments of superior authority, wisdom, and understanding Nephi symbolically transforms into a being of supernal or celestial whiteness- a new being. In his new identity, he is able to access the treasury of Laban. The celestial treasury (Otzer in Hebrew) refers to the source of every human soul. In his new identity, he is able to pass by the servant who holds the keys to this treasury. Obtaining the Record of Heaven from the Celestial Treasury symbolizes our connection and lifeline to God as, “it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.”
According to the teachings of the Fathers, every human soul is part of God; like children to their father. Part of our journey in returning to God is to effect what is called tikkun or the restoration to God. Having subdued the carnal nature and being transformed he is able to assume a new identity in garments and power (sword) he is able to pass by the servant as if he were a mighty or heavenly being who has a right to the Record of Heaven. Having obtained the Record of Heaven they are then prepared to go down into the wilderness to their Father’s tent or tabernacle of dwelling.
© 2018 Robert Kay
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