Monday, January 20, 2020

LEHI'S DREAM AND THE HEAVENLY EDEN- A CLOSER LOOK



The vision or dream of the Prophet Lehi is one of much speculation in the circles of Mormonism. That being said the substance and symbolism in the dream is distinctly Israelite and draws upon many ancient teachings passed down in the prophetic tradition and teachings of the House of Israel. Examining his vision from this paradigm reveals a great teaching regarding ascension and the Tree of Life.

LEHI'S MAP - THE HEAVENLY EDEN

In order to understand the symbolic picture of Lehi's dream we must first understand the setting of the dream-vision. We learn from the Prophet Nephi that Lehi's Tree represents the Tree of life:

"And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God." (1 Nephi 11:25)

"And it came to pass that they did speak unto me again, saying: What meaneth this thing which our father saw in a dream? What meaneth the tree which he saw?

And I said unto them: It was a representation of the tree of life." (1 Nephi 15:21-22)

With this information from Nephi, the Israelite mind is directed to the creation epic and the imagery of the Garden of Eden Found in Genesis:

"And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:8-9)

As such, Lehi's vision is taking place in what is termed the spiritual or heavenly Garden of Eden.  


“And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.”

The first prophetic marker is in the usage of the phrase “And it came to pass” which serves not only as a marker for future or subsequent events but is also a Hebraic permutation on the Name of God YHVH (Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey) wherein the word signifies the power or force behind the event or teaching being recorded. In other words, it is a signal word that the hand of God is behind or involved in the event or teaching being recorded. It was also considered a power word by which the revelations, power, and gifts of God were made manifest in the world. It is also a marker denoting knowledge or teaching regarding God's protective power.

The recording of the gathering of seeds of every kind -both grain and fruit- is much more than account of preparing a food storage plan. In describing the gathering of specifically grain and fruit the Prophet Lehi is actually drawing upon prophetic teachings regarding the journey from chaos to correction or this world into the presence of God. The symbolism of grain and fruits draws upon imagery from the Garden of Eden in Genesis and ancient Israelite ideas regarding chaos and order.  The two seeds being representative of something which goes from chaos to order or from seed being planted from soil to grow into a grain or fruit bear plant or tree. The idea is connected with Genesis 1:2:

“And the earth was without form (tohu), and void (vohu); and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)

Here the words without form (Tohu) describe a condition of chaos where the earth commences its progression from chaos through the varying stages of creation to garden and fruit bearing trees. The seeds of grain and fruit representing those people in a stage of development who through cultivation will also become bearers of fruit and seed. In addition, the mention of the two grains stands as a prophetic marker denoting two types of fields that exist in the Torah-the revealed and the concealed. In other words we are about to take a journey of ascension from our condition of chaos back into a condition of balance and order signified by the presence of God.

“And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision. And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.”

The prophetic discipline of “dream visions” was a common teaching found in the prophetic schools of Israel. The idea of the dark and dreary wilderness draws upon the phrase “and darkness was upon the face of the deep” in Genesis.  It represents this world and a potential for organization/creation which is a condition or place of correction.  In other words, Lehi is commencing his journey of ascension in this world (Malkhut). The darkness also represents the barrier or veil (klipot).

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

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

“And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.  And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.” 




The symbolism of a man dressed in a white robe comes from what is called the Angel of the Klipot/Veil. The white robe demonstrates that the man in the robe is an angelic being from the upper world of Beriah. The white robe itself represents the light of wisdom and understanding. His purpose is to guide the traveler into the darkness of the veil to a point where the person through their own choice of submission either passes through the veil or retreats.  In order to pass through the veil, Lehi, who had been left in the darkness of the veil, then called upon YHVH at which point the darkness or veil disperses. The calling upon the name of the Lord being connected to the phrase in Genesis, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”.

“And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.”

The revelation of a large and spacious field indicates an ascension from one world to another.  It is also representative of the world of spiritual creation and is connected to Genesis:

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” (Genesis 2:4)

Or

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air…”

The world of formation or creation that is being referred to here is that state or world where spiritual creation takes place.  It is the place where our spirit or true consciousness connect, learn, and create.  The prophetic marker for this form of creation was anciently taught in the account of Isaac and Rebekah:

“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.” (Genesis 24:63)

The symbol of the field is also connected to the idea of meditative practice. This meditative practice is called Hitbodedut (meditative isolation or separation) wherein the disciple begins to cleanse the mind by separating from the distracting thoughts and distractions going on around us or in our heads (sometimes called mental clutter or the monkey mind).  It is when the mind becomes separated from this sensory clutter that we will begin to hear the voice of God that pierces the hearts of man. When the prophets came before God in prayer they detached from the sensations and sensory clutter of the world and their bodies and mind became quiet and still.  Once they reached this quietness of soul, they begin to reach a condition of spiritual balance wherein the rhythm of the opposing polar thoughts and forces are neutralized and the path of spiritual connection is open.  The idea of asking, seeking, and knocking does not mean that we repetitively hound God until we get what we want but that we first find the place of quietness, then ask with our desire or intention.  It is then that the prophet descended into the klipot/the veil/the internal barrier into the darkness wherein they reached a point of almost total consumption by the darkness wherein they called upon the Name of YHVH (knocking) whereon they were then brought into the light.


“And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”



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

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



The tree was later depicted by a multi-dimensional figure with the spheres of the tree representing the mysteries or the sweet fruit of God. The whole fruits of the tree representing emanations of God or the Love of God.

In Israelite thought the trunk of the tree represents of the wisdom of God and his instructions. The branches represent the servant(s) of God through whom mercy or loving kindness flows. The fruit representing the works and actions produced by the servant. The entire tree symbolizing the connection point between Heaven and Earth.

“And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.”

The white color of the fruit in Israelite symbolism is connected with the attributes of wisdom and loving kindness all of which could be summed as the love of God. The fruit of the Tree of life represents various conditions or state of spiritual consciousness. The idea of partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Life is connected with a teaching known as “The Mystery of the Son” or Zeir Anpin (the small face) of God. 

“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.”

The whole purpose of the Tree of Life is Joy. Understanding that white fruit represents the mysteries of godliness or the mystery of joy, expands our understanding of the Israelite background to the images revealed in Lehi’s vision. One of the first principles preserved by the Book of Mormon in regard to The Science Revealed to the Fathers is the essential principle of the purpose of man.  The Prophet Lehi relates to his son, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy (simchah)." (2 Nephi 2: 25).   Many readers of the Book of Mormon read over this statement never understanding the true Israelite meaning behind this statement.  To understand the meaning of this statement is to understand the purpose of the Science God revealed to Adam and what the science is designed to create.

In the mind of an Israelite joy is connected with the presence of God (YHVH).  As the Psalmist records, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11)

In other words Joy is the presence of God.  To be in the presence of God one must be "ONE" with God or in a state of oneness with YHVH. This is what is meant by the expression of "Be ye therefor Holy" or "Be ye therefore perfect"- Holy (Kadosh) or perfect being a state of wholeness which man cannot experience without being in a state of oneness with God.

If we were to restate this principle being communicated by the Prophet Lehi in our modern language it could read:

"Adam fell so that men might exist-the purpose of man and his existence is to be in a condition of Oneness with God."

This essential and foundation principle of the Science of the Fathers (even Adam) is the purpose for God revealing and transmitting this Science.  We are to experience oneness with God.  As both a creature of mortality and the spiritual, man exists as the connecting link between Heaven and Earth.  The connection of these two dimensions or spheres is the purpose of this science with Mankind being the principle instrument through which this can be accomplished.  MAN EXISTS TO BE ONE WITH GOD.

“And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.”

The image of the river connects us with the river in Eden:

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” (Genesis 2:10)

The river of water is connected to the concept of the place where God dwells. All things being an eternal “present” or “now”.  in Israelite thought the term Ain Soph (boundless, infinity, worlds without end) is the source of that river of water through which pure revelation, grace, and life proceeds like a river through the four worlds of the Tree of Life. It is also connected to the four cups of wine at Passover (Pesach) in Exodus 6:6-7 teaching the functions of the life giving water or spirit that comes from the presence of God:

1. I will bring you out- The Cup of  Sanctification
2. I will deliver- The Cup of Deliverance
3. I will redeem- The Cup of Redemption
4. I will take- The Cup of Hope

In addition to seeing a literal tree, the symbolism of Trees is also connected with a person or people.

 “And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go. And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit. And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also. And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them. And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.”

“And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.”

Mormon tradition views the rod of iron similar to a handrail that runs along a path. This idea certainly communicates the message of one holding to the handrail of God’s word as he makes his way up a path.  However, in Israelite thought the rod is a branch or offshoot that extends from the tree. That it is described as a rod or branch of iron corresponding to the attribute of God known as Gevurah or power.  In other words, those who walk the path of the disciple are able to grab onto the iron branch of the tree of life that represents his power which then leads them to the body of the Tree of Life. The iron branch or rod also being a symbol for the word of power or the Word of God.

The idea of the strait path is connected with the idea of the navigated or disciplined path which a disciple must choose to make.  It involves holding to the instructions (Torah) of God as we walk the strict path of the center pillar of the Tree of Life-even hope, faith, and charity- back into the presence of the throne of God. (Kether). The idea of the iron rod is connected with the Torah or Instructions that come from God and extends to this earth.

“And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.”

Here Lehi's describes a "mist of darkness" that arose causing people to lose their way. The imagery here draws upon another mist in the account of Genesis:

"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." (Genesis 2:6)

The idea of a mist/vapor/fog in the creation epic constitutes a veiling and nourishing of the earth with God's spirit and divine mercy.  In Lehi's dream the mist/vapor/fog is a mist of darkness. The mist of darkness is a veil of fear or chaos. In Hebraic thought the idea of following others instead of God and his word is considered the Path of Darkness. Those who follow themselves or others are lead away from the Instructions of God and the Disciplined path.  In Israelite thought this constitutes a person abandoning God. Those who wander from the path get lost.  When one walks the path of the Torah (God’s Instructions) he embraces the iron rod (branch or power of God) and walks back into the presence of God.

“And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.”

Here the people who had partaken of the fruit of the tree looked around and were ashamed.  This imagery of being ashamed is connected to Adam and Eve in the Garden, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

The idea of being ashamed that is connected with the Tree of Life is connected to the idea of receiving from God; an expression which later came to be known as "Bread of Shame".  The idea behind "Bread of Shame" is that a person receives freely from God.  As men and women receive freely from God they also are endowed with his life, character, and attributes to represent him to others. This free gift (in Lehi's case the fruit of the tree) is like receiving free‘bread’. As it is free it carries the feeling of ‘shame’ i.e. something we did not earn. In order to remove this "shame" of receiving the free bread/fruit we are to freely bestow upon others as God has bestowed upon us. In Mormon thought, Bread of Shame and its removal is best expressed by the God as follows:

"I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace." (D&C 93:19-20)

In Lehi's dream those who partook of the free fruit felt the shame and then because of the ridicule of others the shame led them to depart.  In doing so they walked away from "removal of shame" wherein men and women receive the free gift to then bestow upon others. In doing so the shame falls away and is replaced by a fulness of joy. Instead of earning the light to covet we receive the light to bless God and others.

The image of a great and spacious building connects the reader to the first structure built by a civilization mentioned in Genesis-i.e. The Tower of Babel.  In Israelite thought the tower was not only a literal tower but also an symbol representing an entire civilization.  In the case of the Tower of Babel it would be the civilization built by Nimrod. The symbol is also connected with a state of confusion and a scattering. In the case of Lehi’s great and spacious building, the occupants of the building were of The House of Israel (as later revealed by Nephi). In other words, The House of Israel were those who were doing the mocking and pointing their fingers. 

"And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod (branch or offshoot) of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.  And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away."

The idea of strange roads and a strange building is an idea of any path that deviates from the disciplined path, the strict path, the straight and narrow path, the path of God's instructions, Torah. These false paths are those that lead away from God and to ultimate destruction and becoming an enemy to God. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

UNDERSTANDING LEHI'S DREAM- HOLD TO THE BRANCH-THE IRON BRANCH



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

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

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






The tree was later depicted by a multi-dimensional figure with the spheres of the tree representing the mysteries or the sweet fruit of God. The whole fruits of the tree representing emanations of God or the Love of God:



In Israelite thought the trunk of the tree represents of the wisdom of God and his instructions. The branches represent the servant(s) of God through whom mercy or loving kindness flows. The fruit representing the works and actions produced by the servant. The entire tree symbolizing the connection point between Heaven and Earth.


HOLD TO THE BRANCH- THE IRON BRANCH

In the vision of the Prophet Lehi, he describes what is called a rod of iron:

“And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.”

Mormon tradition views the rod of iron similar to a handrail that runs along a path:



The image demonstrated above certainly communicates the message of one holding to the handrail of God’s word as he makes his way up a path.  However, in Israelite thought the rod is a branch or offshoot that extends from the Tree of Life and runs along the path by the stream of water.  In other words, those who walk the path of the disciple are able to grab onto the iron branch of the tree of life that represents his power which then leads them to the body of the Tree of Life. The iron branch or rod also being a symbol for the Word of God.


If we were to re-translate his words into modern English:

"And I beheld a branch of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the branch of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.... And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the branch of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the branch of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.”

That it is described as a rod or branch of iron corresponds to the attribute of God known as Gevurah or Power. We see this connecting idea in the words of Isaiah as he connects the Messiah to the Tree of Life:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom (chokmah) and understanding (Binah), the spirit of counsel (chesed) and might (gevurah), the spirit of knowledge (daat) and of the fear of the LORD..." (Isaiah 11:1-2)

That later Nephi connects the rod (branch) of Iron to the word of God also finds support in the word as described by the Apostle John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1;1)

In other words Messiah is the branch of iron-the word of God- even the Living Torah.

(To be continued).




Sunday, January 12, 2020

THE BOOK OF MORMON: AND IT CAME TO PASS



"And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly." (1 Nephi 1:6)


Over the years one of the many criticisms of the Book of Mormon is what appears to be the overuse and apparently redundant phrase, "And it came to pass..."  In fact  Mark Twain in his review of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith made the remark, "And it came to pass’ was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.” (Roughing It,-American Publishing Co., 1901, p. 133.)

While Twain was an American literary genius his understanding of the phrase in Hebrew Scripture is a clear example of the difference in paradigm between the Israelite mind and the Gentile mind.  The phrase "And It Came To Pass" comes from the Hebrew word Vav-Hey-Yod-Hey (וְהָיָה) or Vehayah.  The word is also connected to the Hebrew word Vav- Yod -Hey - Yod (וַֽיְהִי). The idea behind the phrase has been taken to be a word signal describing future events or describing something next in a sequence of events.

The mystery of VeHaYAH however goes much deeper. As a Hebraic permutation on the Name of God YHVH (Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey) the word signifies the power or force behind the event or teaching being recorded. In other words it is a signal word that the hand of God is behind or involved in the event or teaching being recorded. It was also considered a power word by which the revelations, power, and gifts of God were made manifest in the world. It is also a marker denoting knowledge or teaching regarding God's protective power.

Like the word Amen, Ahman, or Ahmein, the word VeHaYah was also considered to be a prophetic marker for knowledge of events or teachings regarding the past, present, and future.  Among various Israelite mystery school traditions the word was considered a word of meditation and connection with God and the manifestation of his power in that praying or meditating upon this permutation of the name of God affected, influenced, or brought about the manner in which future events unfold. With respect to the Tree of Life it is connected to the attribute of YHVH known as chesed or loving kindness/mercy.

"And the LORD (YHVH) said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

And it shall come to pass (HVYH), while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by" (Exodus 33:21-22)

The Book of Mormon as a Prophetic Israelite record makes usage of the familiar phrase 'And It Came To Pass' not only to indicate a sequence  of events as it is also used in the Bible, but it is also an indicator of the Hand of God in bringing forth a sealed revelation to the world as an act of Mercy.  It is an indicator of God's protective power in guiding the events of not only the Bible but also The Book of Mormon.  It also contains a mystery hidden in plain site designed to instruct future generations of believers in the prophetic "NOW" of God's presence and our ability to act as vessels of his Spirit.  When carefully inspected the phrase is a prophetic indicator of the active power of God and our connection with him in the events we experience in our lives as well. So what the wisdom of man sees as overused and redundant, the Wisdom of God reveals as a message, "The Kingdom of God is HERE NOW!"








Sunday, December 22, 2019

THE RESTORATION OF MIRACLES: THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE 72 NAMES OF GOD




"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 Book of Mormon contains a great and marvelous spiritual technology by which the miracles of God are unleashed, the light of heaven is unveiled, and the natural man is transformed into the spiritual child of God. For thousands of years this science has been hidden from the masses but was prophesied by many wise men of the House of Israel to come forth in preparation for the Messianic Age. 

According to tradition and lore, the source of this technology was given by the voice of God to Adam. After being cast out of the Garden of Eden, it was taught that Adam and Eve long to return to the presence of God in their former condition. After the fall, however, their bodies had changed and they could no longer endure the direct presence of God.


To make a long story short, upon seeing the despair of Adam and Eve and their longing to return God sent the Angel Raziel (who is often referred to as the angel of mysteries and the keeper of secrets) with the book containing the mysteries of the universe wherein was recorded the great knowledge that was meant to return Adam and Eve from their fallen condition and to transform the world back into its Edenic condition. The book was said to contain important knowledge on the nature of man, his spirit, the spirit of God, and the physical world. It contained the laws of nature, great knowledge of astronomy, the workings of the universe, and the power of the names of God.

Whether this particular account is true or not, what is important to note is that by both tradition in the House of Israel and modern revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we understand that a book existed that was preserved by Adam and his descendents that contained great knowledge as revealed by God to man. This great science was passed down by prophets such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even until Moses. From the prophet Moses, this technology was transmitted to holy men who sought the voice and presence of God.

Because of the sacred nature of this technology, much of this knowledge was recorded in an encoded manner. To unseal the Book of Mormon and to unlock the code it contains requires usage of an understanding of the name of God and the methods of scriptural interpretation preserved by the House of Israel. The knowledge was then encoded into the Hebrew text of the Torah for the time when future generations would unlock it and use it to prepare themselves for the world to come, and the revelation of the Holy One of Israel, and what Mormons call the Millennium.

The prophets of Israel encoded this spiritual technology in the account of the Exodus where Moses parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked across on dry ground. The Scriptures tell us that after the children of Israel left Egypt they arrived at the shores of the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his armies were in hot pursuit of the Israelites. Coming up from behind, the recently delivered House of Israel was trapped at the waters of the Red Sea with nowhere to go. It was then that Moses spoke the word of God and the waters divided allowing Israel path of escape on dry ground.

But what was this word that Moses spoke? What caused the waters to divide? It was passed down by the sages of Israel that there was a secret science of miracles passed down from The Fathers. This science was encoded in three verses of the Torah that details this miraculous event.This technology came to be known as the 72 names of God or Shem HaMe'foresh. The 72 names of God are encoded in the book of Exodus 14:19-21. Each verse in this portion of scripture contains exactly 72 letters. The names are constructed by combining the 1st letter (yod) from the 1st box with the 1st letter of the 2nd box (hey) with the 1st letter from the 3rd box (yod) as shown below:

“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:” (v. 19)




“And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” (v.20)


And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”  (v.21)



The 72 Names of God




References to this technology have been recorded in many ancient texts such as The Sepher Yetzirah, The Bahir, The Zohar with many Jewish scholars in agreement that the oral tradition comes from a much older set of teachings the records of which have been long lost. While the 72 names of God are not names like Tom, Dick, or Harry, they are a conduit through which the light of God is manifest in this world. It was taught that by these names Moses parted the Red Sea, Enoch spoke and the giant stood afar off, and men set at defiance armies, quenched the violence of fire, great mountains were lifted up leaving great valleys, great healing took place, and the knowledge of the all things both past, present, and future were revealed.  It was a technology by which spirit interacted with spirit and mater was organized.

In Israelite thought holy names were used in connection with prayer and meditation whereby a person combined the sounds of the names or letters which comprised the names repeated in a certain fashion.  Mixed with focus, concentration, and real intent in prayer and meditation, the holy names were the energetic and spiritual mechanism whereby people received the Record of Heaven or the Holy Ghost (Ruach Elohiym), manifested the powers of Heaven to produce real miracles, and obtained the spirit of prophecy whereby knowledge of all things past, present, and future were made known. 

If one wished to walk in “The Way” or the prophetic paths, then they undertook the discipline of the holy names.  In doing so they were strengthened. They took upon The Name, walked in The Name, and worked in The Name.  In doing so, their consciousness connected with heaven and men and women became men and women of God-disciples of the Holy Order.

NEPHI REVEALS THE 72 NAMES OF GOD


The Prophet Nephi encodes his record with instructions regarding the knowledge of the Fathers that he received from both his father and through revelation from God.  Hidden in plain sight his first encoded teaching is encoded in his account of obtaining the Record of the Jews. As discussed in an earlier article, rather than the account being just a story about Nephi and his brothers obtaining the record of the Jews on a much deeper interpretive level the story contains a hidden teaching on obtaining The Record of Heaven, The Ruach Elohiym, or The Holy Ghost.  After being cast out by Laban and hiding in the cavity of a rock (which represents a place of correction) the prophet Nephi employs the use of an Israelite literary device called remez to teach his reader the technology by which he, Nephi, was corrected and ascended into the treasury of Heaven past a Mighty One  (Laban) and the Angel of the treasury of Heaven (represented by Zoram) to obtain The Record of heaven.  While in the cave Nephi admonishes his brother using the account of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea:

"And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?

Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea." (1 Nephi 4: 1-2)

Here Nephi refers the reader to the account of Exodus 14: 19-21 which contains the 72 names of God.  In doing so he records the manner by which he transformed himself to subdue the carnal man and to emerge as the spiritual child of God who in submission to the transformative spirit of God becomes a mighty one to obtain the Record of Heaven.

NEPHI, THE 72 Names of God, and The Lightning Strike of Heaven:


Nephi again refers to this ancient spiritual technology in 1 Nephi 17. Here Nephi’s brothers had been rebuked because they witheld their labor in constructing the vessel by which they as a tribe could ascend to the land of promise across the great deep (the waters of binah).   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.

In the course of this account Nephi again draws upon Exodus 14:19-21:

"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 adrowned in the Red Sea, who were the armies of Pharaoh." (Nephi 17:26-27)

In doing so he is directing his readers to the ancient technology of spiritual transformation that came down from the Fathers and was encoded in this passage of Scripture.  In doing so, he reveals the ancient technology of redemption and transformation by which he was able to make manifest the lightning strike of God.

Nephi in Helaman and the 72 Names of God:


In Helaman 7 a descendant of Nephi son of Lehi prophecies to the people in the land northward and foretells the impending destruction of their cities should they fail to repent:

"And for this cause wo shall come unto you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this great city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies." (Helaman 7:22)

The prophetic power granted to Nephi astonished the people and enraged the Gadianton Robbers.  They could not believe that anyone could know of such things.  Nephi responds to their doubts and accusations:

"And it came to pass that those people who sought to destroy Nephi were compelled because of their fear, that they did not lay their hands on him; therefore he began again to speak unto them, seeing that he had gained favor in the eyes of some, insomuch that the remainder of them did fear.

Therefore he was constrained to speak more unto them saying: Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither, insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?

And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may know concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?" (Helaman 8:10-12)

Here the Prophet Nephi in the Book of Helaman also uses the literary device known as remez to draw his readers to Exodus 14:19-21:

"Therefore he was constrained to speak more unto them saying: Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither, insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?"

In doing so he is instructing his readers in the same spiritual technology of redemption and transformation that he received from his Fathers Nephi and Lehi that was passed down in the House of Israel whereby Hearts were changed, the Spirit of Prophecy was obtained, and miracles were manifest. It is no accident that these scriptures were carefully chosen and placed within the text of the Book of Mormon.  As a sealed book, The Book of Mormon still waits for its readers to desire to reach the inner soul and teachings the book contains. 

The inner soul of the Book of Mormon can change and transform the hearts and souls of both Jews and Gentiles. Through the soul of the Book of Mormon a radiance is provided to restore the light of Sinai.  Through it an umbilical cord of light was created by which the light of Heaven could once again connect with earth.  But rather than unleashing the full power of the soul of this Heavenly Gift the book itself remains sealed with access to this radiance being obscured by a veil of unbelief.

"Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.

Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel." (Ether 4:13-15)


Copyright December 22, 2019 Robert Kay

(To be continued)








Monday, November 25, 2019

JOSEPH SMITH AND THE MYSTERY OF THE AHMAN



Over the past few years, I have had many people ask me questions in regard to the name of God as revealed to the House of Israel and a modern revelation of the name of God as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is well established that the name of God as revealed and used for thousands of years among the House of Israel is:


In many of my articles you will notice that I often refer to the four letter name of God using the English letters YHVH (Yod Hey Vav Hey). It is often referred to as Adonai, Ha Shem, The Name, the Tetragramaton, etc.  The pronunciation of the name is greatly debated with varying camps usually taking sides along various phonetic pronunciations  such as YeHoVah, Yahuah, YahWeh, Yahveh, Yahu He, etc.  The four letter name of God carries with it the numerical equivalent of 26 (in Hebrew the letters of the alephbet also have numeric values which are part of an ancient system of teaching). 

With the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and other revelations, a revelation was penned by the Prophet Joseph Smith around March 20, 1832 called Sample of Pure Language as cited below:

A Sample of pure Language 
given by Joseph the Seer as copied by Br Johnson1
Question What is the name of God in pure Language
Answer Awmen.2
Q The meaning of the pure word A[w]men
A It is the being which made all things in all its parts.
Q What is the name of the Son of God.
A The Son3 Awmen.
Q What is the Son Awmen.
A It is the greatest of all the parts of Awmen which is the Godhead the first born.
Q What is is man.
A This signifies Sons Awmen. the human family the children of men the greatest parts of Awmen Sons the Son Awmen
Q What are Angels called in pure language.
A Awmen Angls-men
Q What are the meaning of these words.
A Awmen’s Ser◊◊◊ts Ministerring servants Sanctified who are sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awmen the greatest part of Awmen Son. Sons Awmen Son Awmen Awmen

(see The Joseph Smith Papers, Sample of Pure Language)

Here the name of God as revealed by Joseph Smith in the "pure language" is Awmen or as later penned by Orson Pratt- Ahman.  We can see its' usage in D&C 95:17 as follows:

"And let the higher part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for the school of mine apostles, saith Son Ahman..."

To many modern Christians the usage of the name Ahman/Amen is foreign. At first glance, to the Western Gentile mind the names YHVH and Ahman appear to have no connection. The usage of the name Ahman (Awman) as found in many revelations and varying talks among early Church History has led many to question the veracity of the the revelation even to the extreme of some saying that Ahman is another God altogether.  I have received many questions asking how then can we reconcile this revelation regarding "Ahman" and the Hebrew Name of God YHVH.

First reference to the great Ahman (Awman) or Amen is not unique to the restoration.  John in the Book of Revelation makes reference to this name as well:

"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Revelations 3:14)

In fact we see this ancient tradition of using the word Amen in many places in scripture as well as in the closings of prayers both ancient and modern.  While many have translated the name as a statement meaning "So be it" or "let it be done" there is actually a hidden mystery that goes much deeper.  

In Hebrew the word Amen sometimes pronounced Ahmain in some Jewish sects is written in Hebrew as follows:


Here we see the word Amen constructed by the letters Aleph, Mem, and Nun.  The word itself carries the numerical equivalent of the number 91 (Remember this for later)!!!

Sometimes, however, some of the greatest of mysteries are hidden in plain sight with the intent to both reveal and conceal.  It is true that the name of God as revealed to Moses and used in the scriptures is YHVH. The name is considered so sacred that according to some it was not meant to be spoken aloud.  Instead the Hebrew word Adonai (meaning Lord) was often used in its place.  We see this carryover in the translation process as demonstrated below:

"Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:' (Isaiah 26:4)

The word Adonai as written in Hebrew as follows:


Adonai (or LORD) carries the numerical equivalent of the number 65.


A Great Mystery Revealed:


By combining the numeric value of YHVH or 26 with the numeric value of Adonai (65) we reach the sum of the two Hebrew words at:

91


 The Hebrew language often reveals and conceals many mysteries both the Hebrew Letters and the numeric value of the letters:

Adonai + YHVH = AMEN =91

How's that for spiritual algebra!

The secret of the Amen/Ahman being a combination of the names of God in Hebrew. With Jesus Christ being referred to as the Son of God or Son of YHVH etc. then the usage of the term Son Ahman or Son of YHVH Adonai is a correct name or title?

There is a great mystery concealed in the names of God- YHVH, Adonai, and Amen.  In examining the underlying Hebrew we see an ancient connection and equivalence with the name YHVH and the Name Amen/Ahman:

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Mystery of Nephi's Broken Bow


"Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley which he called Lemuel." 
(1 Nephi 16:6)

Interwoven in the stories we read in the Book of Mormon are ancient Israelite teachings designed to communicate essential principles of salvation. The story of Nephi and the breaking of his bow is one such story.  This portion of Nephi's account begins with a description of the ball or Liahona leading them in the wilderness along the more fertile paths.  


The symbol of the wilderness represents our journey of correction like the Children of Israel who were lead into the wilderness by Moses on their ascent to the Mountain of The Lord. The Liahona as a symbol of the Tree of Life and the 32 Paths of Wisdom serves to direct an individual through this wilderness journey. (See article: The Mystery of the Liahona & The Paths of Wisdom)

Nephi then records:

"And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer." (1 Nephi 16:13)

The mention of the four days journey directs the reader to the creation account as recorded in Genesis 1:14-19):


"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." 

The mention of the the sun, moon, and stars as mentioned are associated in ancient thought not only with eternal principles of astronomy but also are a prophetic marker highlighting a wisdom teaching. The mention of "south-southeast direction" being tied to the endowment and development of the attributes of mercy (chesed) and beauty (tipheret). The usage of the word Shazar connected to the Hebrew word sazar meaning twist or intertwine as would be depicted by the twisted or intertwined path of the Tree of Life:



Nephi then goes on to record that as he went forth to slay food he broke his bow:


"And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food." (1 Nephi 16:18)

The mentioning of the bow of fine steel is also meant to connect the reader to the Song of David in 2 Samuel 22:31-37 when he was delivered our of the hands of Saul:


"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.

This Psalm containing a very ancient Israelite teaching of YHVH as the rock (Malkuth) of our redemption and our source of strength (gevurah) and power (hod).


The Bow of Hope


In the minds of The Fathers, Hope was not mere wishful thinking, but an expectation based on a promise. To claim the fruits of the promise, certain conditions had to be met. This condition was a condition of the soul wherein the heart of the person resonated with the conditions that existed in the Heavens- As Above, So Below, As within, So Without.  In order to connect with God, the disciple had to be in a true alignment with the center pillar or “The Way”.  It was a condition where the heart, mind, and desire of the disciple were in a state of oneness with God.  The more aligned a person was with God, the greater the connection.  In ancient Israel prayer is equated with a bow and arrow.  When the disciple’s intention or desire was aligned with Heaven their prayer like an arrow shot with a bow would reach the Throne of God.  The diagram below depicts this relationship:



In this teaching regarding the Bow of Hope, the "holder of the bow" was termed The Maggid or teacher while the group who followed the teacher was said to hold the arrow of intention or desire.  As Nephi relates, the journey toward the Promised Land does cause fatigue and hunger just as the Children of Israels journey in the wilderness caused much fatigue and hunger.  Nephi and Moses as a Maggid must realign the arrow of intention or desire from one of complaining to one of humility and hope which can hit its' mark-Judgment without criticism and Mercy without over indulgence leading to true charity.

"And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow." (1 Nephi 16:24-25)

In so doing, they obtained the necessary chastisement, mercy, and instructions to obtain food and deliverance with Nephi's ascent up the mountain being a symbol for his ascent into the Heavens to obtain food (prophecy, instruction, revelation) for his group. 

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.  And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.

 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him. (1 Nephi 16:30-32)

Instead of just a story of "What's for Dinner?" and "I am starving to Death Dad!" we see that the ancient teaching of the Bow of Hope becomes instruction for how a teacher like Nephi and his followers must  not only follow the paths of wisdom, but must also have the correct intention to launch the arrow of desire to it's target and obtain the food from Heaven they so desperately need. 

"The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.

It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me, And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore." (2 Samual 22:47-51)



Monday, October 28, 2019

THE POWER OF REMEMBRANCE-UNVEILING FAITH IN THE WARFARE ON DOUBT


"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren..." (Alma 46:12-13)

God's prescription for doubt is found in the Hebrew word zachor (remember).  It is in remembrance that we find our connection to the faith and experiences of the ancients.  In remembering Captain Moroni and his Title of Liberty we remember that the foundation of our liberty is found in memory of our God, our religion, our freedom, our peace, our wives and our children. It is when these things come to danger that our faith is revealed. In these times, there stirs in the heart of every man and woman-father and mother- son and daughter- an intrinsic force that awakens deep within the confines of our soul.  This force of love and life is the light of faith that awakens the defender within each of us to protect those things we hold most precious.

It is in remembrance of the captivity of our Fathers in Egypt that we find deliverance and that road out of our trials and tribulations.  It is in remembrance of The Passover that we embrace our identity and salvation as the Children of Israel:

"And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten." (Exodus 13:3)

It is remembrance of Shavuot that we receive the blessings of God's covenant.  It is remembrance of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) that we receive and embrace the presence and name of God (YHVH).  It is in remembering Sukkot that we remember the Joy of Israel at Sinai and the promise of the restoration of all Israel and the presence of God through all generations of time.

The gift and power of remembrance is designed to unveil the faith that is already available in its fullness in our very soul.  It is in the principle of remembrance that we awaken to our true identity amidst the clouds or darkness that rise up to steer us down forbidden paths.

"Remembrance" is an ancient key to unleash the power of God in our lives in everything we do. We unleash its power on a weekly basis as we remember the sabbath day:

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8)

We unleash the power of remembrance as we partake of bread and wine:

"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." (Moroni 4:3)

and

" 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." ( Moroni 5:2)

Whether it be the Appointed times of Israel, the Weekly Sabbath, or the partaking of Sacramental bread and wine these days and tokens of remembrance are designed to unveil our faith and to release the light that the world so desperately seeks to extinguish.  Is it any wonder right now that there are forces that seek to destroy the remembrance of God's holy days and tokens of remembrance?  Is it any wonder right now in the United States of America that there are forces seeking to destroy the historical memorials to the faith and freedom upon which this nation was founded? 

Our Adversary is here stirring up the hearts of many in our nation to anger and forgetfulness regarding those things which are sacred.  We see it in the removal of the 10 Commandments from our State Buildings and Courtrooms.  We see it in the revisionist history of the founding of America and the labeling of the Founding Fathers as evil.  We see it in the removal of God and his word from our homes and schools.  And when there is nothing left to remember, the veil of darkness is upon us and we will find ourselves in the strong chains of the Evil One:

"And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.

For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.

He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw call men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.

Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.

Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.

Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden... for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them ball to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." (2 Nephi 26)

Let us never forget this Legacy of Faith!