Monday, December 22, 2014

What Does it Mean to Call Upon the Name of the Lord?

Are you calling upon the name of the LORD or are you saying prayers?  As we read the scriptures and hear sacred words quoted in our temples we hear the command given to “call (qara) upon the name of the Lord”.   When we hear these words spoken the first thing that usually comes to mind is to pray (palel).   In hearing this phrase we usually recommit to doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling our efforts to say our prayers morning, noon, and night—in the kitchen, in our car, in the bathroom, at the bar (you get the idea).  Sometimes we get frustrated because in our efforts to reach up unto the Most High we cannot discover what keeps us from rending the veil of unbelief that separates us from him.

When we think of God as our “Heavenly Father” we often visualize God like our Daddy and ourselves as five year old children running up to give Daddy a hug and ask for a piece of candy.  While God does have a “Daddy” aspect to his character the concept of Father in a Hebraic culture is more closely in line with that of a tribal Patriarch—Ruler, Judge, Protector, and Enforcer of Law.  In fact, the phrase “calling upon the name of the Lord” is best understood as covenant language that can be likened to a subject calling upon (or appealing to) the King who is the owner and ruler of everything.  Like Job who makes his appeal to God and the Court of Heaven, we are dealing with a covenant concept that has more in common with our modern court room and legal proceedings than our nightly dinner with Dad.

In Ancient Israel salvation is seen as drawing near or coming back into the presence of God from where we have fallen.  Because of our fallen state we cannot enter directly back into the presence of God because no unclean thing can reside in his presence.  In his mercy God is continually inviting us to come (boh) unto him by creating a place for him to come to.  The temple is an example of this sacred space.  How close we want to be to him depends upon us.  Are we content to dwell in the outer court or do we desire an audience with the King of Heaven before his throne?

Calling upon the name of the Lord is similar to making a covenant/legal appeal to the throne of heaven.  Behind the veil of the Holy of Holies is the place where God’s Throne resides.  What is called the Mercy Seat or the Ark of the Covenant is literally the throne of God where his presence sits.  The Holy Place where the menorah, the horned altar, and the table of shew bread sits is his Throne room where the High Priest goes to offer up  appeals to Heaven and to inquire for further light and knowledge (instruction) from God to carry out his laws or to seek judgments and dispensations from the King of Kings based upon the needs of the people, the laws, and the terms of his covenant.  In fact words such as the “way”, the “truth”, and the “life, as well as the “gate”, etc. are all terms that draw upon this imagery of God’s throne room/ courtroom.


The Brother of Jared calling upon the name of the Lord is a key example of a man appealing to God before his courtroom.  In Genesis 11 God rendered judgment on mankind with the penalty of scattering them and mixing their language.  The King of Heaven looked down upon the earth, saw what was going on, and declared his ruling upon them:

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.” (Genesis 11:7-8)

The language would be mixed and the people would be scattered as a result of God’s ruling.  Similar to obtaining favor with a King by honoring the King and being obedient to his decrees, the Brother of Jared had obtained favor with God.  As such he could approach the Throne of Heaven and Intercede for his people.   The Brother of Jared then cried out (Hebraic thought—made a legal request or proclamation) to God regarding the two judgments God rendered:

“And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.” (Ether 1:34)

1.        The Brother of Jared made a legal request for God to stay his judgment upon him and their relations regarding the confounding of their language:

“And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.  Then Jared said unto his brother: Cry again unto the Lord, and it may be that he will turn away his anger from them who are our friends, that he confound not their language.  And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded. (Ether 1:35-37)

2.       The Brother of Jared made a legal request for God regarding their scattering:

“And it came to pass that Jared spake again unto his brother, saying: Go and inquire of the Lord whether he will drive us out of the land, and if he will drive us out of the land, cry unto him whither we shall go. And who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth? And if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, that we may receive it for our inheritance.” (Ether 1:38)

As of a result of the Brother of Jared crying unto the Lord, God stayed his judgment upon them in regard to confounding their language and directed his judgment in regard to them being scattered.   The Brother of Jared’s requests were not a tirade of fake emotional outbursts but making a legal plea before the Judge of all the earth to reduce or alter the ruling sent forth from God’s courtroom.  Because the Brother of Jared had honored God and found favor with him he could act as an intercessor between God and his people.

In the Torah the Prophets were agents of God. They were God’s authorized prosecuting attorneys. They brought  covenant lawsuits against nations. They reminded the common people as well as rulers of the covenant that God had made. Then they reminded the listeners of the statutes and judgments of that covenant. They charged people under the terms of that covenant.  Then they warned the nation of the fact that God, the one true king of Israel, would bring His curses against the nation unless they came back to the terms of the covenant (i.e.  such as war,  disease, pestilence, famine and economic ruin).

The prophets called the nation to repentance reminding them of the promised blessings for honoring God and keeping the laws of his Covenant.  If the breach of covenant was healed then deliverance and blessings followed.  If the breach was not repaired then the nation was destroyed and the people were scattered and taken into captivity.

After making his plea before the Judge of Heaven and Earth, the Brother of Jared and his people were taken to a place where they rested for four years.  Judgment had been passed and the sentence carried out.  While their language was not confounded they were still taken away into another land.  The judgments were for national sin not the personal sins of the Brother of Jared or his people.  The judgment having been carried out the next step was complete legal restoration.  Just as the rendering of judgment is a legal process the process of restoration is a legal process.  God does not cast judgment lightly nor does he take restoration lightly. 

His process of restoration includes cleaning the people up, teaching them his laws, conditioning them to live his commandments, and finally bringing them back into his presence before his throne. 

So What?

So what then does all this have to do with the Brother of Jared “Calling upon the name of the Lord” in several places.  In fact after being led away from the Tower of Babel and being delivered from the mixing of the languages, the Brother of Jared was chastised for not “calling upon the name of the Lord”:

 And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. (Ether 2:14)

To be chastised by the Lord for the space of three hours must give us an indication of the importance of “calling upon the Lord”.  But is “calling upon the name of the Lord” really the same thing as praying, “Lord, Lord” and then thinking we have called upon his name?  Remember, our scriptures were given to Israelites in an Israelite culture and then translated into English.  As such there are expressions that have different meanings in their culture and language—in other words something is getting lost in translation.

The key to understanding the phrase “calling on the name of the Lord” is to recognize that it is more than just directing a verbal petition to God.  The word call (qara) means not only to appeal to but to proclaim something (and to proclaim can be words, actions, or both).   It is a legal appeals process before God’s throne.  While verbal supplication to God is part of this process it also includes carrying out covenant laws, rituals, and edicts put in place for the people to be brought to Salvation (Heb. Returned into the Presence of the LORD).    As with any legal proceeding, we cannot appeal in ignorance or without any legal basis.  We have to know the charges and the judgment rendered and we also have to know that we are literally appealing to the court of Heaven. 

In the case of the Brother of Jared his failure to call upon the name of the Lord may have entailed a failure to enact, proclaim, or conduct the covenant appeals process for him and his people.  His prayer before coming into the presence of God speaks volumes as he approaches God in an ancient pattern or protocol that has been passed down in Judaism in a prayer called the Amidah.  This pattern of prayer is also known as the protocol of the king (as in a servant before a king) making his covenant plea before the Kings throne. (something I will post on later)

Paul and Calling Upon the Name

The idea of “calling upon“ as a legal appeal can be seen in the New Testament as well. As is recorded in Acts 25:11:

“If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

The word “appeal” (Greek: epikaloumai) is the same word translated as “call” (or calling).  The same wording that can also be seen in Acts 2:21 and Acts 22:16. Paul, however, was not on his knees by his bed praying to Caesar to save him.  As a Roman citizen he was appealing to Caesar under that system of law to have his case heard and judged by a court of Caesar.  As with any court of law, Paul had to submit to whatever legal requirements that were imposed by that system of law for his case to be brought before Caesar.   These legal requirements or ordinances were part of his appeal (calling upon) to Caesar.

Another example of what it means to call upon the name of the Lord is found in Acts 22. In speaking of his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus the Apostle Paul stated that Jesus instructed him to “arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do” (Acts 22:10).  As a result Paul demonstrated his belief in Jesus  by obeying the commandment he was given and he went into the city and waited there for instructions.  Over the next three days Paul as a sign of humility fasted and prayed but  his fasting and prayer was not the summation of his “calling upon the name of the Lord” or his legal appeal. 

Even though he was given the wake-up call of his life, fasted, and prayed to God he had yet to “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation. When Ananias came to Paul, he told him:

 “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (22:16)

Ananias knew that Paul had not yet “called on the name of the Lord,” or made his legal appeal before the throne of Heaven because he had not yet complied with the terms of the appeals process—baptism for the remission of sins.   The phrase, “calling on the name of the Lord,” describes what Paul was doing when he was baptized for the remission of his sins.   He was making a legal appeal to God by complying with the command of Heaven to be baptized for the remission of sins.  Every person who desires to “call on the name of the Lord” to be saved does not do so by just praying, “Lord, Lord” (Matthew 7:21), but by obeying God’s instructions to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  In doing this they call upon God or appeal to God under the terms of his covenant and as a result of sincere humility (submitting to God’s laws and will) in complying with God’s commands he fulfills the appeals process.

So when you awoke, heard the message that was given, and went into the water of Baptism according to the doctrine of Christ in sincerity you literally Called upon the Name of the Lord or Appealed to Heaven to commence the restoration process for full fellowship with God and the Church of the First Born.  Other appeals can and must be made to the throne of Heaven and further compliance with his instructions must be observed to restore honor.

This baptism is a literal fulfillment of calling upon the name of the Lord, but it is not the only appeal we make in the process.  This is why we must learn and follow God’s covenant pattern and laws he has given us.  Like Adam and Eve we have covenanted  to  follow this pattern of sacrifice forever:

“And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore. (Moses 5:5-8)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Zion Code (Part 4) – No Poor Among Them (cont.) - Stewardship


Before we can understand our responsibility to others we must understand our covenant relationship with God and his command for us to establish dominion—righteous dominion.  An essential to understanding the concept of “No Poor Among Them” is the concept of stewardship.  In our modern western culture we often give lip service to the concept of stewardship as one who manages the property of another.

The Israelite concept of stewardship is much more intimate and familial.  In Hebrew the phrase ben mesheq or son of possession is one term used to describe a steward.  Unlike a hired manager who really cares nothing for his employer and embraces his duty only to the extent he is paid a wage, God is calling us to be a son (or daughter) of possession.   In other words we are called to be a son or daughter of God and to watch over and care for the Fathers possessions.  In Israelite culture a faithful son or daughter is one who embraces and embodies the character, attributes, and laws of the Father.
As a son of possession God created Adam and Eve in his image to establish his righteous dominion upon the earth.  This authority is DELEGATED authority given to mankind for which they will stand accountable to God who granted it.  In the very beginning God established this covenant of righteous dominion with the creation of man:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28).

This same relationship of stewardship and dominion was made again in these latter-days:

“It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; that every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.

For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.  I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.” (D&C 104:11-14)

God’s dominion spreads and covers the earth as we properly interpret and carryout his instructions.  As represented in the endowment epic, we follow the pattern of strictly performing the instructions given by God (doing nothing more or less) and then returning and reporting our labors each day.  In observing his instructions strictly we are found to be true and faithful servants or stewards of those things entrusted to us.  As we prove ourselves true and faithful we added upon.  If we fail to follow his instructions and render our due report, we may find ourselves diminished.

At the same time there is another kingdom seeking to establish its’ dominion.  The Kingdom of the Adversary disguises itself as the kingdoms of men.  It is also a kingdom established by covenant.  This Kingdom offers dominion to men over the earth and by implementing its laws of dominion its ruler also makes promises, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)

Remember, we are being presented with the options that you can buy anything on this earth with money or living with sufficient for our needs.

Borrowing and Lending

Our Babylonian Society thrives on the creation of scarcity and lack.  In order to maintain control, we are bombarded with propaganda and marketing designed to create a psychological need to consume.  The science and lifestyle of covetousness is the rule of the day and rather than being made prosperous and free under the stewardship of God we are being led with flaxen cords of comfort until we find ourselves bound with the strong chains of debt.

The illusion of dominion through seduction, force, and acquisition has enticed many into following the economic laws of the adversary and as a result they are establishing the kingdom of an illegitimate ruler.  He claims that which is not his own and entices men with power, glory, and security through the riches of this world.  Using these riches he buys armies, navies, false priests, and political leaders and reigns on this earth with blood and horror.

At first glance the power of this false ruler appears to be awesome and overwhelming and we can find ourselves in shock and fear if we heed his message.  The legitimate ruler, however, gives us a strikingly different picture and promise:

“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.  And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” (D&C 104:14-17)

As agents we are given a choice between these two opposing systems.  The scriptures (Torah) delivered by Moses demonstrates this choice also in terms of credit and debt- blessing and cursing. Who is the lender, and who is the borrower? Moses declared:


“And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them “(Deut. 28:11-13)



“The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee” (Deut. 28:43-45).

By enacting God’s covenant relationship of stewardship we will find ourselves founded upon his rock and working to establish his righteous dominion.  In doing so, we become the head and not the tail- the lender and not the borrower.  For Israel debt is a mark of bondage and servitude. 
King Solomon confirmed this principle. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7). In our day God has reconfirmed his command, “Behold, it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get in debt to thine enemies” (D&C 64:27)

We may find ourselves under the bondage of home mortgages, consumer debts, student loans, medical loans, etc.  We can start practically today by beginning to implement God’s laws of righteous dominion by foregoing taking on more debt.  After making this decision, we can then approach God and ask him to remember his promise, “And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good (Heb. that which leads us to fulfill his commandments), in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.” (Moroni 7:26)

Surely the Lord God gives no commandments to his children except that he prepares a way for them to fulfill his commandments. As we learn and approach God to enact his laws (even financial laws) in our lives, we then create the vessel of obedience for God to fill with his covenant righteousness and prosperity (both spiritual and financial).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Zion Code Part 3 – No Poor Among Them!

"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)

Because of the ignorance of God’s economic laws provided to Moses many have postulated and developed man made, experimental efforts for achieving Zion through socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism, united order, and united disorder.  I have seen people literally liquidate all their assets and give everything they have blindly away to corrupt leaders who then claim the property as their own and “redistribute” the wealth usually starting with their own families.  They make threatening pronouncements that the tithing belongs to the priesthood and that the people have no voice in the management of funds, distribution of funds, or even the literal burning of the funds.  Translation—“SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN IN THE PEW, SHUT UP, AND GIVE US YOUR MONEY!”

Modern Gadianton Robbers have infiltrated the church.  The truth is the laws regarding tithing have been altered by mega-corporations called “churches” who twist the scripture under the guise of their “authority” to strip the people of any surplus.   Their followers are left to scrape by from day to day or from paycheck to paycheck, while they themselves live lavish lifestyles, sit on corporate boards, and ensure their families have first claim on the first fruits of the people.  They position themselves using inside information and corporate positions to consume every last penny. They manipulate the people using parables such as “The Widow’s Mite” to emotionally guilt the people into giving everything they can just like this poor widow.  (The Widow being forced to give was an indictment by the Savior against the leaders of his day as it was not required for Widows to tithe under God’s law.)   And if the guilt trip doesn’t work they evoke the Fear Factor of Fire Insurance as a way to scare the people that if they don’t pay their tithing their roasts will be toast at the Lord’s Second Coming. (Read in context however the robbing of the tithes in Malachi 3 is actually done by the priestly leaders of the day in not bringing the tithes into the storehouse and using the tithes for business investments God had not appointed—thereby robbing not only God but the whole nation). 

These words of the prophet Mormon should ring loud and clear as we look at our current situation:  

“O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled. Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.  And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.” (Mormon 8: 33-41)

We are at a crucial juncture in history.  We are being given an opportunity to participate in bringing again Zion, but to do so means we must set aside the brainwashing of our modern churches and embrace God’s scriptural laws for tithing and financial prosperity. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel perhaps we should consider that God has already given us an economic system in the Scriptures. Consider for a moment that Moses who was the author of the phrase “and there was no poor among them” also made a similar statement in the Torah and gave the directions for an economic system so that there would be no poor among them: (Deuteronomy 15)

But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—if only you will strictly obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today (Deuteronomy  15:4-5)

Moses then proceeds to layout several laws regarding tithes and financial laws given by God designed to prosper his people whether in freedom or Bondage.  When these laws were given they were given to the individuals and families in Israel.  THERE WAS NO HOLY 501C-3 CORPORATION SET UP BY GOD!


We have been erroneously taught that tithing is a lesser principle to Consecration but if studied carefully this another lie in a series of lies.  Zion is a literal place with a literal economy.  Besides the mystical fairy tales of trees producing at will and sheep growing a celestial Armani suit, production and trade do occur in and go forth from Zion.  It is a complete and holistic Economic System established by God to bless his people and create a condition of, “no poor among them.”

So let’s get down to practicalities!  How does it work?  How do I do this in my family!

THE TITHE – God’s Law for Creating Surplus and Taking Care of the Poor

Great! Now he is going to tell me to tithe 10% of my income and God will magically bless me with money from on high to help me scrape by while by bills continue to mount!   ACTUALLY NO!

There is no law in scripture where God demand 10% of your gross income.  You will not find it.  It is difficult with limited space to go into all the details but In Ancient Israel the Law of the First tithe was 10% of your profitability or remaining assets after all expenses have been accounted for.  In other words, if a man makes a gross salary of $50,000 a year and it takes him $40,000 a year to provide for his family then his interest, surplus, or profitability would be $10,000 for the year.  While physical money may have been scarce in ancient days, the concept also applied to products and services.  The first tithe would then be 10% of the $10,000 interest income or $1,000 that would be paid to the Levites and the community storehouse for the taking care of the poor, needy, widows, orphans, etc.

This same principle of the First Tithe was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in D&C 119:
“Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion, For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.  And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.”

So let’s examine this in our circumstances today using a practical application.  Let’s take the same man who makes a gross salary of $50,0000 a year and take out the $40,000 a year for expenses it takes him to take care of his FAMILY INC.  This would leave the same $10,000 in surplus or interest income.  His monthly surplus/interest income  is approximately $833.  The first month he would donate his entire $833 of surplus or interest income into the community storehouse.

Assuming that he continues to generate the same $833 in interest income every month he would then be tithed 10% of his interest income to the community storehouse or $83.30 every month (this could also be calculated on a yearly basis as well).  This would leave the family $750 a month to keep in their own family storehouse/treasury to take care of emergencies, give freewill offerings, expand their businesses, etc.

So let’s see what would happen to this family in one year as well as what would happen with the community:

Family Inc. generates $750 a month surplus for their storehouse.  In one year, they would amass a family surplus for their family storehouse/treasury in the amount of $9,000.   As Zion’s Economy works on a 7 year cycle the family would have accumulated $63,000 in their private family storehouse.  Not bad considering most people are left with almost nothing under the church’s Babylonian flat tax tithe system.

Now let’s take a look at the community.  In Ancient Israel a community starts out with 10 families working together to form their community.  So for practicality sake let’s take 10 families and assume that each family only generates $500 a month in surplus income.

In the first month the community storehouse would obtain all the surplus funds of all 10 families (10 x $500) or $5,000.00.  In addition each family would then tithe 10% of their monthly surplus into the community storehouse ($50 x 10 (families) x 11 (remaining months) or $5,500. Over a 7 year cycle the community treasury would collect $38,500 in surplus income along with the $5000 donated up front for a grand total of $43,500.

The power in this system allows for people to not only take care of their family expenses but provides them the ability to grow their businesses and trades while avoiding debt.  The power of the purse stays dispersed among the families who generate the incomes while at the same time the community treasury would grow as well.  This also does not take into account fast offerings and other freewill offerings for the poor and needy, temples, etc. 

Instead of creating a mega-church with a ruling elite, the God empowers his people as a whole with a system designed to increase their wealth exponentially.  Imagine the prosperity and growth potential for a community for 25 or 50 families.  Instead of being the slave as a debtor who has to go begging the mega church for a pittance of assistance under unimaginable scrutiny, the people take the responsibility to be wise stewards through implementing God’s established laws.  Many people marvel at the wealth and economy of many Jewish communities. What they do not realize is that this wealth comes by obedience to these very laws God gave to Israel. These laws were designed to prosper and preserve God’s people whether in freedom or bondage.

Perhaps it is time to take another look at God’s economic system instead of being ruled by an elite caste of priests who feed themselves upon the flock. 

The true principle of the tithe is just the beginning of God's economic system, but it is the first step.  Future articles will explore other and even more powerful principles of prosperity and financial management given and designed by God to liberate his people from bondage and servitude.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dear Gentiles or Missing the Mark Too! (The Sequel)

Over the last few months I have been observing many different groups of people that have embraced the messages delivered  different self proclaimed "prophets" to one degree or another.  While God is setting his hand to do his own work, it is interesting to see the hand of the adversary moving quickly to infiltrate these groups to lead them down forbidden paths that will ultimately lead many to indifference, apathy, and destruction.

I am witnessing people engage in the scriptural definitions of  spiritualism, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, and outright lawlessness while at the same time proclaiming that they “connecting to Heaven”.    There are many who esteem the scriptures given to us as lesser and label them stumbling blocks as they attempt to “feel the force.”

To those gentiles who are engaging in such behaviors and ideologies, YOU ARE MISSING THE MARK!  What?  You don’t think Ancient Israel did the same things?  Do you actually believe it got them any closer to God?  If God didn’t spare the green tree of his covenant people Israel who broke his covenant (all the while engaging in these idolatrous practices), what do you think he is going to do to the dry tree of the gentiles who engage in the same behavior? 

Idolatry is Idolatry.  People can delude themselves by engaging in practices that are forbidden under God’s law all the while telling themselves that they are practicing things in an attempt to worship the Living God.  If such is the case with you, Repent!  Turn from your modern Golden Calves and do not attempt to worship or approach God in a way he has not appointed.

Like Moses who brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt to the base of Mount Sinai, you have been given an opportunity to be lead out of spiritual bondage.  Even as Moses went up into the Mountain and left his people for a season, you have been left to yourselves to see what you would do with the message given.  Will you follow God’s words strictly? Or in your impatience, zeal, and frustration will you erect the golden calves of spiritualism, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, and lawlessness in an attempt to force the hand of God into giving you the fruits of his promises without walking the path appointed?

If God’s voice were to speak from his holy mountain today or a messenger were to deliver additional instructions, would they be words of, “Come up the Mountain? Or Here is God’s Covenant for You?” or would it most likely be, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?!”

Many a Gentile cites the Book of Mormon about the Jews looking beyond the mark and stumbling:

“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14)

Is this scripture a correct assessment of Ancient Israel? YES!

For a people to be “stiffnecked” means that they are prideful and stubborn.  They actually believe in their own wisdom and self-importance rather than understand their true position as it relates to God.  In reality their wisdom is nothing and their importance is tenuous at best.   The “words of plainness” is a Hebraic expression referring to the Torah (i.e. God’s Scriptures and Instructions).  In other words they despised God’s written word! The scriptures were deemed as lesser when compared to their man made traditions or spiritualistic ideologies.  

They became blind (Heb. Unable to discern between right and wrong) because they looked beyond the mark.  In Hebrew the word Torah comes from the root Yarah which means “to hit the mark” like an arrow being shot at a target.  To embrace and uphold God’s commandments is to hit the mark.   Because they despised God’s laws and deemed them as lesser as opposed to their own teachings and practices he took away his word from among them (their understanding of the scriptures darkened and God removed his revelations from them).  Christ is the Mark and without following his words we cannot enter in by the way and approach him.

Without God’s scriptures (his words of plainness) and his voice, Ancient Israel was left to wander in the dark.  As a result priestcraft took over, false prophets arose crying, “Follow Me!  I have the secret teaching that will get you to God? “   In doing these things Israel stumbled (left the commandments) and were broken.  As a result centuries of traditions and practices developed among the people leading them even further from the Worship of the true God all the while the people being under the delusion that they were worshipping God through their abhorrent practices.

Gentiles Missing the Mark—Scene 2—Take 2

I am writing this not to cause a ruckus but to warn many that they are following the same path as Ancient Israel.  For many this opportunity to “remember the restoration” is being supplanted by the words of false prophets and prophetesses who claim to look through the veil and will tell you what to do or if you have a spirit stabbing you in the back.   There are those arising making fantastic claims of having tea with Heavenly Mother and who could write books like “Visions and Revelations for Dummies”!

“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’

It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’

No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.

For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.   (Deuteronomy 30: 10-16)

In all of this and with all these conflicting voices, I notice that the words of plainness are falling by the wayside.  Because the branches of Israel had become corrupt, God grafted in the wild branches of the Gentiles in their place.  For a time good fruit was produced, but when the Lord returned to his vineyard after a long period of time he noticed the following, “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)

Fruit is appearing but it is not the fruit that God desires.  By taking strength to themselves (thinking that they are the root and they have the sap of the spirit independently in them) they produce all manner of fruit and NONE OF IT IS GOOD! The root is the Messiah and the sap is the nourishment of his covenant word.

Because of this condition, the branches of the wild branches of the Gentiles will be cut off even as the natural branches of the House of Israel will be grafted back in in an effort to save the tree and bring forth the fruit God desires.  These scriptures serve as a clear warning to us:

“Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.” (2 Nephi 28:32)

In these latter days the fullness of the gospel (or message that was sent forth) was to come by way of the Gentiles.  Like Israel of old their failure to embrace and implement the message has set the stage for judgments to be poured out. For the Lord to lengthen out his arm from day to day is a Hebraic expression that his arm is poised to strike in judgment.   In other words, in spite of the fact that the Lord’s arm is poised to fall upon them in judgment the gentiles will deny him.  He promises them that if they turn to him, the God of Israel, and create a place for him to come he will grant mercy unto them during the time when his judgments are poured out.  While their repentance does grant them God’s mercy it does not stop God’s judgment upon the gentiles as a whole. The judgments that are poured out upon the gentiles are poured out even as the Lord’s Great and Marvelous work commences for the Gathering of his people O’ House of Israel.

 “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.  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.  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.
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  16:12-15)

Zion is the Messiah, a people, a covenant offered, and a land granted.  It is a real condition and place whose foundations must be laid according to the strict instructions given in God’s revealed word and further instructions.  Revelations from God will build upon the foundation of his word and will not contradict or break his words revealed in the scriptures.  The Spirit and the testimony must agree. 

This brief opportunity granted comes with a decision,  ascend the Mount along the path appointed or stand at the base with your golden calves.  THE DECISION IS YOURS!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Zion Code - Part 2 - Dwelling in Righteousness

Dwelling in Righteousness

For a people to be Zion they must dwell in righteousness. This expression contains a two fold meaning that gives us additional information on how to be Zion. If this characteristic was important enough to be used in Moses’ description of Enoch’s Zion then perhaps it would help us to understand what righteousness is and what it means to dwell in righteousness.
In describing Enoch’s Zion Moses stated:

“And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish. And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. (Moses 7: 16-18)

The phrase “dwelt in righteousness” although simple is packed with meaning. To understand what it means to dwell in righteousness we must understand what righteousness is from a Hebraic point of view.  

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law (Torah).” (Psalms 119: 5-9)

To an Israelite his walk with God is the path.  Just as the Hebrew word resha (wicked) carries the meaning of departing from God’s path, the Hebrew word tzadik (righteous) carries of the meaning of walking in God’s path.  God’s commandments and instructions are the path of righteousness.  To uphold, correctly interpret, protect, and carry out God’s commandments is righteousness.

Righteousness is not some mystical state of bliss but a condition of being where people establish and carry out God’s commandments or laws amongst them.  In describing who would dwell in the holy hill and in the presence of God’s tabernacle, King David demonstrates God’s definition of righteousness as condition, attitude, and most importantly actions:

 “[[A Psalm of David.]] LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” (Psalms 15)

God’s Presence- His Tabernacle

By establishing a community or society based upon God’s commandments and instructions we create a condition of dwelling in righteousness. In doing so we create a literal place governed by righteous, God given laws where people can dwell in peace (shalom).

Another important aspect connected to the idea of dwelling in righteousness is the realization of the presence of God.  When the people took upon themselves the terms of God’s covenants and enacted his covenant instructions God placed his tabernacle (or presence) in the midst of the camp of Israel.  Notice that in connection with the people dwelling in righteousness how Moses describes God dwelling among Zion, ““And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.”

God (YHVH) is righteous and to dwell with him in his presence is to dwell in righteousness.  Just as the ancient tabernacle in the wilderness was a fulfillment of establishing God’s throne among his people so do we also seek the fulfillment of establishing a community or society based on God’s law where his Tabernacle (Yeshua) can come and abide with us.  This condition of God dwelling with his people and his people upholding and carrying out his laws is what is called Zion.

“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)

What Law?

When we hear the word Law images of police cars, handcuffs, and swirling red and blue lights come to mind. When many Mormons read their Israelite scriptures their approach is that of western protestant Christianity that is based upon a Greek-Gentile Mindset and culture. They read Hebraic expressions such as “I have come to fulfill the law” from a gentile paradigm.

“2 And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he perceived that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would concerning the law of Moses; for they understood not the saying that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.
3 And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new. 4 Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses. 5 Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end. 6 Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled. 7 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. 8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me. (3 Nephi 15)

Verse 2-3: Old and New-- The word for new finds its root in the Hebrew word Chodesh. The word Chodesh that is translated "new" relates to the idea of the NEW MOON. It draws upon the picture of a cycle. The moon goes through its phases from Dark to light to back to darkness. What we call the New moon is actually a RE-NEWAL OF THE MOON every month. So for old things to become new in a Hebrew concept draws from the idea of a cycle of birth-maturity-death and then birth again, but in the end while we call it a "new moon" it is actually the same MOON Reborn. The Law God gave to Moses had its birth and through the applying of traditions and apostasy it matured and waned but through the Messiah it is re-newed just as our Moon is renewed every month. Same law in its original state and intent or as Mormons might understand it-- IT WAS RESTORED.

4-5 Fulfilled- From a Gentile point of view fulfilled means it literally has an end, i.e so we don't have to follow it anymore. As such that means I get to worship other Gods, disrespect my parents, steal, murder, and sleep with your wife, etc as the law is fulfilled and done away. To FULFILL the Torah to a Jew means to PROPERLY INTERPRET AND PERFORM THE TORAH. So when the Messiah says he comes to FULFILL the LAW he means that he comes to give us the correct Interpretation and performance of the commandments he gave to Moses at Sinai.

The part that trips us up is the "it hath an end" part. Hebraic thought is rooted in cycles-- what we in the LDS world might call an eternal round. In Greek culture and though to have an end is similar to the idea of crossing the finish line in a race-- it is done and you finished the race. In Hebraic thought "the end" is the purpose for which something is Given. Hebrew is rooted in function. Like a cycle of the Moon we go through a cycle but in the end it is still the same moon. To accomplish the "end" of something is to accomplish it's purpose. The section of scripture above is part of a poetic structure and if you will notice the Messiah himself tells you what the end or purpose of the law, "but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me." In other words the law given to Moses is to bring us to the Messiah. That is it's purpose. There is one path, one way, one Messiah

Just like the United State of America has a Constitution to govern its people and to establish unity or oneness so does God’s Constitution Found in the Scriptures provides us with the foundation for unity or Oneness.  The ultimate expression of this is found in the greatest law as expressed by the Savior:

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5, The Shema) The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (quoting Leviticus 19:18)’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:28-33)

To dwell in Righteousness we must dwell in Love. The Love that permeates Zion is no fleeting emotion or new age touchy feely rehashing of the doctrines perpetrated by the Greek love god.  The Love of Zion is a covenant love based upon God’s definition of love as taught in his instructions to his children:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments… Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”(John 14: 14,21)

The Master did not leave us without instructions.  Following classic Israelite style he gave the Sermon on the Mount as his “HOW TO” Manual to fulfill the commandments he gave at Mount Sinai. Lay the foundation of Zion.  Start by embracing the Ten Commandments as your covenant boundaries and the Sermon on the Mount as the Messiahs instructions on how to interpret and correctly perform those commandments.  In doing so, we will see the literal fulfillment of Nephi’s words:

“And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth. (1 Nephi 22:26)

Without God’s laws we live in a state of iniquity (lawlessness).  “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Zion Code - Part 1.

One Heart and One Mind

“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)

A call has gone forth to those who have ears to hear. We are being given an opportunity to come unto Christ that we may find protection and life under his covering.  Like a hen that gathers her chicks the Messiah is extending his covering to us that we may be “One”.  The idea of oneness has been pontificated on and speculated about by many scholars, religious leaders, and theologians.  As a result the doctrine of “Oneness” has been taken from its roots and been planted in a foreign soil of Western Greek Culture.

Over the years I have heard many proclamations and discourses in my experience in Mormonism about “Being One.”  While there are many who cite Moses description of Zion in the Pearl of Great Price wherein he states that the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them they completely ignore the rest of his teachings to Ancient Israel on how to be of one heart and one mind.  They ignore the commandments given to Israel on how to dwell in righteousness. They neglect the laws God gave to Moses to establish a society with no poor among them.

It only takes us two seconds to turn on the news and witness with our eyes the reality that we are living in the latter days.  We are witnessing curses being poured out and our children being taken over by a foreign culture.  We are receiving the curses of the covenant and in our ignorance and blindness we stand bewildered not knowing what to do as the chains of bondage wrap themselves ever tighter around us and our families. The truth is that Zion is not a mystery.  God foreknew our situation and preserved his word to us in these latter days:

 “In the future (latter days), when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations (gentiles) to which the LORD your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions.” (Deuteronomy 30:1)

God revealed to Moses that Israel would not be faithful in keeping his instructions.  Moses knew that we would be scattered to the ends of the earth.  We would be found living among nations that did not know the God of Israel and in conditions where we would forget his covenant instructions that he not only gave to all Israel that stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, but to all their future generations yet unborn.  Realizing this predicament God revealed:

“If at that time you and your children return to the LORD your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30: 2-3)

This promise that God revealed to Moses is the backbone of the Great and Marvelous Work wherein God will remember his promises he made to the Fathers and restore the House of Israel.

“Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!  The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! (Deuteronomy 30:4-6)

Pay close attention to these words because they are the “Heart” of Oneness with God and each other.  God is making his case very clear to his people.  He is God.  We are to follow his instructions.  In doing so he will change our hearts (Heb: Thoughts and desires) so that we may be one (echad) and live.  To an Israelite, this should cite our minds to the greatest commandment given by God, the Shema:  
“Hear (Listen and Obey), O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (echad). You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

One God, One Law, One People

For Zion to exist and all Israel to be gathered we must be one (echad) or united.  This unity does not come from a vacuum of speculation but on the knowledge that Yehovah is God and he alone is our God.  There is one law Given to all Israel.  It is the same Law delivered on Mount Sinai and renewed by the Messiah.  There is ONE people-Israel; whether by natural blood or adoption. 

Their Unity or Oneness comes from accepting God as their King and his laws as their Constitution. They are of one heart because their thoughts are centered on him and the embracing of his instructions  that he gave to Moses and reiterated through Messiah.  They are of one mind because their will is to carry out or implement those instructions given by God to Moses and reiterated by the Messiah in the physical world of the here and now.  

In doing so, God promises:

The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. Then you will again obey the LORD and keep all his commands that I am giving you today.”

“The LORD your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the LORD will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors.
The LORD your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 30:9-10)

By returning (teshuvah-repentance) to the God of Israel and his commandments that he delivered to Israel not only to say them, but to do them in the here and now we will obtain the covenant blessings that will overturn the curses coming upon us.  Rather than destruction we will have prosperity.  Rather than losing our children to a foreign culture we will establish an everlasting inheritance in the land to our God.

There are those who would have us believe we must make some metaphysical connection with spirits and heaven to learn the “secret” before establishing Zion, but in doing so they err.  The instructions of God are the words of plainness.  They are simple and practical.  We can begin to implement them in our homes and families in the here and now.  Zion is the result of loyalty and obedience to God.  It is our loyalty and obedience to God’s instructions that draws heaven to us—the connection.  There is no new revelation or hidden instruction that we need to begin.  God has provided these instructions to us in plainness in his Scriptures:

 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’

It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’

No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.

For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.   (Deuteronomy 30: 10-16)

“For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”

(This article is part 1 of a series on the building blocks of Zion.)

Friday, October 31, 2014

You say you saw what?

There are those who attempt to cast doubt on the Visitation of Moroni to Joseph Smith stating that if an angel appeared to Joseph in his bedroom then why didn't his siblings see what was going on? So you are telling me a room full of kids just didn't notice an Angel of God glowing like a 500 watt light bulb speaking with Joseph like one man speaks with another?
Yes and there is precedence for just such a thing. In the account of Jasher we find that when Abraham went to offer up Isaac God established a sign to designate the mountain that the sacrifice of Isaac was to take place:
40 And Abraham went with Isaac toward the place that God had told him.
41 And on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place at a distance which God had told him of.
42 And a pillar of fire appeared to him that reached from the earth to heaven, and a cloud of glory upon the mountain, and the glory of the Lord was seen in the cloud.
43 And Abraham said to Isaac, My son, dost thou see in that mountain, which we perceive at a distance, that which I see upon it?
44 And Isaac answered and said unto his father, I see and lo a pillar of fire and a cloud, and the glory of the Lord is seen upon the cloud.
45 And Abraham knew that his son Isaac was accepted before the Lord for a burnt offering.
46 And Abraham said unto Eliezer and unto Ishmael his son, Do you also see that which we see upon the mountain which is at a distance?
47 And they answered and said, We see nothing more than like the other mountains of the earth. And Abraham knew that they were not accepted before the Lord to go with them, and Abraham said to them, Abide ye here with the ass whilst I and Isaac my son will go to yonder mount and worship there before the Lord and then return to you. (Jasher 23)
There are scriptural accounts which demonstrate that the presence of a heavenly experience is not always visible to unintended third-parties. An experience with one man will leave another man standing right next to him without any knowledge or experience of the event. Another example of this is the prophet Daniel who alone saw the vision and his companions did not: In Daniel 10: 7, "And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves."
It is true of the vision in Joseph Smith's childhood bedroom, where others were also sleeping when the angel Moroni appeared. See JS-H 1: 30, "While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor."
To behold the things of God we must be quickened by the spirit of God. One wonders if someone had come upon the Messiah and his apostles at the Mount of Transfiguration would they have seen anything. In the Book of John 12: 27-29 the voice of God speaks and yet while some heard a voice others heard only thunder:
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!
Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”
When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him."
God works in patterns. In understanding how God works we must also investigate his patterns. Shalom.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Perilous Times Shall Come: The Latter-Day Spiritualist Movement

Looking around our Modern World there can be no doubt—THESE ARE PERILOUS TIMES! We have “prophets” who do not prophesy but instead teach for doctrine the commandments of men mingled with scripture.  They appease the masses with emotionally captivating speeches while remaining silent on declaring the commandments of God in the face of public opinion. Their hearts are set on monetary gain and popularity rather than upholding the justice and mercy of God.  Truly we can say that there is a famine in the land—a famine for the word of God.

In light of this void a titillating and enticing movement of spiritualism is developing among  many in the church.  Rather than hold to the “iron rod” of the word of God some are seeking the much needed revelation but instead of returning to the source they are engaging in witchcraft, sorcery (seeking drugs or other hallucinogenic substances to have “spiritual experiences”), and spiritual mediums (people who channel or consult the dead), etc.  Hungering and thirsting for apparitions and spiritual manifestations they throw the word of God and caution to the wind while embracing teachers ready and willing to give them what their itching ears so desperately seek.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to the gifts of the Spirit, the Ministration of Angels, Speaking with the Lord through the veil, and coming into the physical presence of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).  What I am opposed to is counterfeits who advertise that they can teach you how to play at the veil and obtain manifestations while ignoring God and his laws.

In exploring the different movements of spiritualism I have come across people offering classes to turn you into Luke Skywalker (or perhaps more accurately Darth Vader). I have read posts from little girls who “live without the veil” and little boys who meet 12 foot tall Angels.  While I do believe some of them have legitimate near death experiences, spiritual manifestations, and revelations what is disturbing is the dangerous idolatry their students (or fans) appear to engage in.  I suppose in a revelatory famine it would only make sense for the starving masses to rally around these new spiritual celebrities (however innocent they may actually be) but as with all celebrities the glitter wears off and there are those who have to re-invent themselves and obtain “new” revelations to maintain the attention and stave off their waning celebrity status.

Whatever “Good Intentions” people might have the truth is IDOLATRY IS STILL IDOLATRY!  While there will always be those spiritually co-dependent people who run from one spiritual celebrity to another seeking to fill the void that only God himself can fill, it is important to inspect the “revelations” and teachings these people claim lest we find ourselves letting go of the Iron Rod and becoming lost in mists of Darkness.

I came across one post from a person who had a near death experience a number of years ago.  I actually believe she did have an experience and I found the account of her experience very interesting.  It has now been years since her original experience and now claims that Jesus comes to her on a regular basis to teach her things that she shares with others.  One such message was when she was watching a particular television medium who consults the dead.  She then stated that Jesus told her that he was doing a good work and that she also needed to learn how to do that to help others. 

There is only one problem.  The “revelation” she obtained from “Jesus” contradicts the law of God.  Now there are those who would adamantly protest that she had a spiritual experience and we have no right to question it.  There would be those who maintain that she is a prophetess and we just can’t understand because we are living on a lesser plane or vibrational frequency.  Maybe. But there is still one major problem-“Does God give commandments that require people to break his covenant laws?”

Case in point, ““I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community.” (Leviticus 20:6) 

In addition we  also have the witness of the Prophet Isaiah about such matters, “Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.” (Isaiah 8:19-20)

From the law and the prophets we see that we emphatically have a law against consulting the spirits of the dead, but we have someone who may have had a legitimate experience who contradicts God’s law (the testimony- Torah) and states that the Messiah himself told her to do it.
Discernment in these latter days can become difficult, but the Apostle Paul gives us timely instruction on how to walk through these contradictions while holding to the iron rod:

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:1-4).

He tells us there will be trouble in and out of the church:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Trouble is brewing—trouble in the world, and trouble in the church. Paul then gives Timothy the  solution:

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them...All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:14-4:2).

The word of God is the Iron Rod that leads along the strait and narrow path that leads to the Tree of Life.  God does not contradict his word—though an angel of light declare it unto you, a prophet, seer, or revelator, a professional medium, or the President of the United States.  It is easy to get caught up in spiritual signs and wonders, but in truth it is only the Bread of Life that can truly fill the hunger in our spiritual stomachs.  We should actively seek the gifts of God, but we should remember they are given not to tickle our excitement, satisfy our carnal desires, or spiritual fancies.

 “Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given.  For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. (D&C 46:8-9)