Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What are the Plain and Precious Things?

The Book of Mormon together with the Bible contains a path as well as many great gifts meant for God's people in preparation for meeting his Son. As we feast upon the word of God we partake of precious truths that nourish the soul.  The scriptures contain many "Plain and Precious Truths" which are designed to lead us to and along the path of oneness with God.  We read about the "plain and precious things" being taken from the scriptures, but what exactly are the "plain and precious things" and why are they important?

In reading the Book of Mormon the Prophet Nephi relates the following:

“Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.  And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.
(1 Nephi 13:28-29)

In examining the concept of "plain and precious things" from a Israelite Mindset, we discover that there is more to the phrase than meets the eye.

Plain = {Nakoakh} = Straight, Uprightness

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. (Psalms 8:8-9)

The word "plain" comes from the Hebrew word Nakoakh which means straight or uprightness.  In its mechanical sense the concept of straight refers to the surface of the land or path which one walks. So while it can be used in phrases attempting to convey that something is straightforward or self evident its deeper meaning refers to a path which one walks.

Understanding that the concept of plain can refer to a path that is "straight" helps us to understand that the scriptures contain a pathway and that there were those who altered, changed, or obstructed that pathway by removing great truths.  Altering or removing stones from this path, causes people to stumble by placing or creating stumbling blocks along the path that should be straight and level.  In the mind of an Israelite a stumbling block is anything which causes you to leave the observance or correct understanding of God's commandments.  One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to remove stumbling blocks and to make the path level again.  This is why Nephi later states:

And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks. (1 Nephi 14:1)

In taking away our stumbling blocks we are led to the proper understanding and observance of God's commandments.  In doing so we are able to walk a path of betrothal with God's Son and arrive at a state of oneness with God.

Precious= {Migdanah} = Choice or Excellent Thing

When we think of the word "Precious" it draws to mind things of choice or excellent things of great worth.  But in the mind of an Israelite this concept draws upon much deeper understanding.  To understand the concept of precious it helps to draw upon Nephi's source material, The Torah.

The word "precious" comes from the Hebrew word Migdanah meaning Choice or Excellent thing. In context of the Torah we find this word first used in regard to the betrothal of Rebekah. The first place in the Torah where we find the use of the word "Precious" refers to the scene where Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, was sent to find a bride for his birthright son.  As the story relates he went to the well and came upon Rebekah who used her vessel to bestow water of life upon Abraham's servant.  Seeing that this was the bride God had designed to bring to Abraham's Chosen Son, Eliezer presented betrothal gifts to Rebekah's family.  These betrothal gifts given by the Servant of Abraham are designed to purchase the bride and to adorn her with gifts to prepare her for her betrothal to the son or bridegroom, among other things.

Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken. And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. (Genesis 24:51-53)

In Hebraic context the "Precious Things" are equated with the betrothal gifts given to the Bride for her purchase, adornment, and preparation in getting ready to meet her Groom- Abraham's Only Begotten or Birthright Son.

The message of the Book of Mormon contains God's betrothal gifts for the Bride that God designs to bring to his son.  There is much more that could be said in exploring what these gifts are and how they function.  Walking in the Wisdom (Chokmah) of God is the first of these gifts that enable us to commence our journey along the path to oneness with his Chosen Son and with him. When the records and the people of the House of Israel (i.e. The Bible and the Book of Mormon) run together we have a complete road map to the plain (level or straight) path we are to walk as well as the precious things of adornment that we as a bride must adorn ourselves with to make ourselves ready for the Bridegroom.

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