Friday, April 30, 2021

The Coming of the Hidden Servant-The Choice Seer

 


“But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.” (Mosiah 8:17) 

Great and Marvelous are the mysteries of The Book of Mormon. Through the coming of a Choice Seer, God brought forth this prophetic work and record of The House of Israel.  Within it pages rest many great mysteries some of which have come forth, some which are coming forth, and some that have yet to come forth. As a prophetic work, its pages contain the hidden things of God-things of great importance. 

The Coming of the Hidden Servant-The Choice Seer-The Righteous Branch

The Prophet Lehi in his final blessings to his son’s proclaims a great prophecy regarding his son Joseph.  In his blessing, the draws upon the words of the Patriarch Joseph of Egypt, his ancestor, to make know the coming of future events and servants:

“Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” (2 Nephi: 3:5)

Drawing upon the words of the Patriarch Joseph, Lehi reveals the coming forth of two prophetic figures that will come forth to The House of Israel:

1.      1. A Righteous Branch

2.      2.  The Messiah

The prophet Lehi then goes on to connect the image of a righteous branch to the prophecy of a Choice Seer:

“For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I braise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.” (2 Nephi 3:6-8)

 Lehi then goes on to equate the role of this “Choice Seer” with Moses and also goes on to declare that the name of the Choice Seer to be Joseph and that he would be named after his father:

“And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel…And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless…And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father…Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.” (2 Nephi 9,14,15,16)

Just as Moses was called by God to deliver the House of Israel, The Choice Seer would be called upon to bring forth the knowledge of the covenants God made with The Fathers to the seed of Joseph.  The writings of Joseph and Judah would then grow together to confound false doctrines, establish peace, and bring them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days.

By tradition and through prophetic correlation, we label this Choice Seer to be Joseph Smith as he was also called after his father Joseph Smith Sr.  We an initial fulfillment of this prophecy in the life of Joseph Smith:

“And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.” (D&C: 5:4)

And

“Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,” (D&C: 21:1)

The coming forth of the words of The Book of Mormon which contains the words of a remnant of Joseph is a fulfillment of this prophecy. Joseph Smith was a descendant of Joseph and called after the name of his father Joseph.  He was also commanded to do none other work than that which he was commanded. But while he was called after his father Joseph there is an interesting Hebrew play on words with the name Joseph which leads to a greater fulfillment of this prophecy.

Dayenu! Had this been all it would have been enough!  But couched in the words of Lehi to his son Joseph is a hidden and an even greater fulfillment of this prophecy.  The key to this prophecy and greater fulfillment being hidden in a “word”.

“Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever. And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.” (2 Nephi 3:16-17)

The idea of a “spokesman” is meant to draw the reader’s mind back to Exodus 4:16, “And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”  Here Aaron the brother of Moses is set to be his “spokesman”.  The word translated as “spokesman” here is dabar which does mean to speak or declare but is also connected in the prophetic tradition to the phrase, “After these things the word (dabar) of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

Here the “word” of The Lord is not just a spoken word but a messenger who is sent to fulfill the words (decrees) of The LORD (YHVH).  In Israelite thought our words bring about a fulfillment of that which is spiritual into the physical world where then then take shape and are put into motion. In other words a spokesman or “word” is a person/messenger who is sent to fulfill or properly interpret/establish that of the one who sent him or the one who precedes him. 

The Word of Fulfillment

Just as Moses never entered into the Promised Land and Israel did not ascend the Mountain of the Lord, Joseph Smith and his people never established Zion or The New Jerusalem. The prophetic mission of Moses found its prophetic fulfillment in Jesus Christ:

“And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become anew. Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled (properly interpreted and established) that was given unto Moses. Behold, I am he that gave the Torah, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the Torah in me is fulfilled (properly interpreted and established), for I have come to fulfil (properly interpret and establish) the Torah; therefore it hath an end (a purpose). (3 Nephi 15:3-5)

The Spokesman of the Choice Seer

Lehi then declares something quite interesting in regard to the “Choice Seer”:

“And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.” (2  Nephi 3: 17)

Historically this passage has been applied to Sydney Rigdon or Oliver Cowdery. They like Aaron served as a spokesman/word/messenger on the peshat (literal) level of interpretation. The prophetic tradition yields an even greater fulfillment. Just as Messiah was the fulfillment of Moses (both being Messiahs to the House of Israel) even so the spokesman/word/messenger of The Choice Seer will also be a Choice Seer who will fulfill the word of his predecessor (Joseph Smith- The Seer). Just as the life and mission of Moses was a type and shadow of Messiah, The life and mission of Joseph Smith is a type and shadow of a Future Choice Seer.  The first being a type of the second.  The difference?  The Future Choice Seer fulfills the mission of the first- The bringing forth of records, The establishment of Zion, and the establishment of a New Jerusalem.

The Coming of The Choice Seer

Unfortunately there are many false prophets who are just chomping at the bit to declare themselves to be "The Choice Seer", “The Servant”, “The Davidic Servant”, “The One Mighty and Strong”, “The Branch”, etc. etc.. In fact these ego maniacs go to great lengths to declare themselves and their authority. But before anyone get's delusions of grandeur, we should allow the scriptures to speak for themselves. 

After Lehi draws upon the prophecies of Joseph in Egypt, he then proceeds to declare unto his son Joseph:

"And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy. Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.

 And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren." (2 Nephi 3:22-24)




By evoking the phrase "And there shall rise up one might among them", Lehi is connecting the rising up of this mighty one to the dream of Joseph in Egypt:

"For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf." (Genesis 37:7)

Like Joseph in Egypt this descendant or Choice Seer will stand as both a ruler and preserver to the other tribes of the House of Israel.  Lehi then declares that this "mighty one" shall rise up among the seed (wheat sheaves) of Joseph the Son of Lehi (Joseph ben Lehi)-a modern Messiah ben Joseph if you will. He will have exceeding faith to work mighty wonders to the bringing to pass much restoration to the House of Israel and the seed of his brothers. Because of this blessing, the seed of Joseph son of Lehi would not be destroyed. 

Joseph Smith as a Choice Seer serves as a forerunner-type and shadow- of a Choice Seer who comes to fulfill his work just as Messiah fulfilled the words of Moses. Like Joseph Smith this choice seer will also be called by the Voice of God.  He will be a descendant of Joseph of Egypt. He will be a Messiah ben Joseph- a sheaf that will rise up, stand upright. He will be a descendant of Joseph son of Lehi. 

Copyright April 30, 2021 - Robert Kay





Saturday, April 24, 2021

What Is The Doctrine of Christ


"Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. The Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he." (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)


What Is The Doctrine of Christ?

We hear the phrase "The Doctrine of Christ" being thrown around various Christian and Mormon circles these days. The various definitions attributed to this phrase are a varied as the groups who tout it.  We see some of the most direct quotes using the phrase "The Doctrine of Christ" in both 2nd and 3rd Nephi.  We see this phrase first quoted by the Prophet Nephi the son of Lehi:

"Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying. For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:2-3)

The Hebrew word for Doctrine is the word lekakh meaning teaching, insights, or instructions. For an Israelite to say the "Doctrine of Christ" means the teaching, insights, and instructions of/from Christ (Messiah).  So in the Israelite mind the Doctrine of Christ would be better understood as the teachings and instructions from Christ (not only teaching or instruction about him, but teachings and instructions from him). 

Nephi then goes on to state:

"For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3)

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.

Here Nephi is connecting the phrase, "The Doctrine of Christ" not only to something that is straight or upright, but to a path. We see Nephi's words play out the idea of a path  later in his narrative when he says, "And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?" (2 Nephi 31:19)

In doing so, Nephi is communicating something that would be very common among Torah observant Israelites-that the following of God's teachings is a path, pathway, or as is sometimes referred to "The Way". It also had another meaning in that the idea of the path or way (Halakhah-a path or walk in life that someone travels) was to follow the teachings or instructions given by your teacher/rabbi-in this case the teachings or instructions of The Messiah. 

"And now, if the Lamb of God, he being pure and set apart, should have need to be immersed by water, to fulfil all righteousness (righteousness = Torah= God's Instructions), O then, how much more need have we, being impure and not set apart, to be immersed, yea, even by water!

And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness (God's Torah=His instructions) in being immersed by water?

Know ye not that he was pure and set apart? But notwithstanding he being pure and set apart, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments." (2 Nephi 31:5-7)

Here Nephi is explaining that Christ is immersing himself as an act of humility. In doing so he is witnessing that he would be obedient to his Father in keeping his commandments. We see this same action among many of the various sects of Judaism to this day.  When a person who becomes a son/disciple of a specific rabbi or teacher undergoes a ritual immersion, the immersion as a sign that the old person/life was dead and the person would be reborn to a new life/path with a new Father/teacher. Just as a baby is initiated into life through water, so too is the disciple born into a new family, life, or with his covenant father.  

Nephi then goes on:

"Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove." (2 Nephi 31:8)

When many Christians and Mormons hear this phrase they rightly connect the pathway or walk of following the Messiah/Christ with receiving the Holy Ghost (Ruach Elohiym). The phrase, "in the form of a dove" evokes the imagery of Christ being baptized by John in the Jordan after which the record of Matthew states that the Holy Ghost descended upon him in "like a dove". (Matthew 3:16)

When read outside of it's Israelite roots the phrase, "like a dove" is often believed to be describing a scene where the Holy Ghost gently descended on Christ like a dove descends in flight.  Unfortunately while the description is well meaning, it does not capture the true meaning of the phrase, "form of a dove".

In Hebrew the word for dove is the word yonah (english Jonah).  The name Jonah/Yonah should draw our minds to the prophet Jonah and his story.  But there is an even older teaching connected to the word Yonah or Dove and is found in the epic of Noah sending forth the dove:

"At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth." (Genesis 8:6-11)

In the mind of the Israelite the image or form of a dove was a symbol for the Shekhinah-the Glory of God-or The Divine Feminine.  In other words, just as Christ was born of water he was also then born of the Shekhinah, The Divine Feminine, or the Divine Mother. Thus the idea of being born of water and the spirit. The words "holy ghost" fail to fully describe the Divine Feminine or Shekhinah. It is an awakening to a divine consciousness, the mind of God, an indwelling of the life giving essence of the upper worlds.  Those who awaken to this level of spirit or consciousness, were then known as the Children of YHVH (God). 

Nephi then expounds:

"And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the agate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" (2 Nephi 31:9-10)

So like a disciple to their Master or like a child to their Father, the doctrine of Christ commences with being reborn in a covenant path or walk.  The covenant path consists in keeping (upholding or guarding) the commandments of The Father. It is the disciplined path wherein we conform to the image of Christ.

Baptism or Immersion In The Name

"And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.  And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost (Shekhinah), like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

When a person in our western culture thinks of baptism in the name of my Beloved Son they often think of someone pronouncing the words, "In the Name of Jesus Christ".  In Israelite thought a name is a condition of being.  The usage of the words "Beloved Son" representing not only Jesus Christ himself but the condition or state of the Messiah at the time of his immersion. So then the next question would be what is that condition?

In answer to this question, Nephi responds:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.' (2 Nephi 31:13)

If we were to translate these Israelite expressions into modern English it could be rendered:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with your heart filled with desire (kavanah), acting no hypocrisy (no double mindedness) and no deception before God, but with real intent, turning from a walk of rebellion, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the same condition of Christ, by immersion in water—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost (Shekhinah-The divine Consciousness)- yes, then comes the immersion (birth of your spirit or consciousness) through purification and the birth through the Shekhinah and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels (the true gift of tongues), and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.' (2 Nephi 31:13)

Nephi then goes on:

"And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.' (2 Nephi 31:15-16)

The words "endure to the end" are often misunderstood by our western culture. In our American minds it comes across a "grin and bear it", "suffer man suffer", or "he who dies in the most pain wins". In an Israelite mind set to "endure to the end" means to walk forward in the path/way until you reach the destination. This Israelite thought is expressed in Nephi's declaration, "And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall walk forward in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved." (2 Nephi 31:16)

Walking forward in the example of The Son is walking forward on a path of rebirth and re-formation/re-creation. It is the path of leaving Egypt or The World and walking in the wilderness until we reach the Holy Mountain.  It is the caterpillar in the cocoon in its' transformation process into a butterfly.  It is also the basis for Nicodemus' question, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" to which the Messiah answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Jn 3:4-5)

In understanding these distinctly Israelite concepts, we will understand our ascent from this world up the Ladder of Heaven into the presence of God.  We have entered in by the gate wherein we become the fold of the shepherd. Then we come to that strait and narrow path exemplified in Israelite thought as the path of the set apart ones- a disciplined life of faith (trusting loyalty to God), hope (expecting the things of God based on his promises), and tzedekah (charity-righteous acts-the path of mercy).

"Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.' And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word (teaching) of Christ with determined trust and loyalty in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word (teachings/doctrine) of Christ, and walk forward the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.(2 Nephi 31:17-19)

By following the covenant path laid out by Nephi, we see that the "Doctrine of Christ" is not just a doctrine about him, but his teachings and instructions in ascending the Ladder of Heaven. His words consists of those instructions that teach us not only about the path, but how we are to walk the path. It commences with a mighty change of heart or in our modern vernacular-it commences with a conscious desire and choice to bond with God and walk in the path he outlines according to his instructions.

"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way (path); and there is none other way(path) nor name (condition of being) given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, and the only and true doctrine (teaching) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."

Copyright 4-24-2-21- Rob Kay

To be continued:

Part 2- 3 Nephi and The Doctrine of Christ


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Do you have "The Fulness of the Gospel"?

"And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer." (1 Nephi 10:14)

Do we really have The Fulness of the Gospel? This is an often discussed and debated question among Mormons and Christians alike. Usually the outcome of these debates and discussions end with the idea that a particular group has The Fulness of the Gospel" because we have more scriptural books, continuing revelation, a living prophet, more people, more in number or more ornate buildings.  In other words, it often appears that the phrase 'Fulness of the Gospel" appears more like a contest of who has the most, more, or all of God's words and ordinances.

The Israelite View of  "The Fulness of the Gospel"

We do not find the phrase "Fulness of the Gospel" in the writings of The Old Testament (The Torah, The Prophets, and The Writings) or in The New Testament.  The closest rendering of the phrase is mentioned in Paul's letter to the Romans: 

"And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ."

Paul's usage of the phrase "fulness of the blessings of the gospel" reflects a correct Hebrew usage of the words "fulness" and "blessings of the gospel of Christ". 

Meleah - מְלֵאָה

In Hebrew the word for fulness is the word meleah meaning: abundance or full produce or fruit that is ripe.  We see these ideas communicated in the following portions of the Torah:

"Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits (meleah),  and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me." (Exodus 22:29)

"And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness (meleah) of the winepress." (Numbers 18:27)

The Hebrew word meleah draws upon images of fruit that has become ripened and or the fulness (i.e. ripened grapes etc) of the winepress.  In other words, fulness is related to the idea of the ripened fruit of an abundant harvest- specifically those ripened first fruits which are made as an offering to God.

Besorah - בְּשֹׂרָה

The word Gospel does not appear in the Old Testament. It is found in the New Testament and is an old English word meaning news or message and was translated from the Greek word euangelion. We find one of it's Hebrew equivalents through the usage of the Septuagint which leads us to the original Hebrew word "Besorah". "Besorah" is a Hebrew word that means news, message, or report- as in the results of a declaration, instruction, or message:

"He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”  (1 Samuel:4:17)

SHEMA - שְׁמַע - The Hearing

While the mechanical translation of besorah into the word gospel is one rendering, there is a much older word in Hebrew that gives us a deeper insight into the word Gospel.  It is the Hebrew word shema:

"As soon as Laban heard the news (ot-shaymah/shema) about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things" (Genesis 29:13)

"I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee." (Job 42:5)

The idea of "the hearing" is connected to the central affirmation of all Israel- The Shema:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

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

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

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

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

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


The Fulness of The Hearing- The Acceptable Fruit of The Shema

Hebrew is a picturesque language. Like a painter's palette, Hebrew words are used to create pictures that are meant to convey prophetic images and revelatory masterpieces with depth and contrast.  Where the western mind has been conditioned to an ultra literal and linear approach to interpreting scripture, the Israelite mind was conditioned to perceive scripture in block logic or pictures meant to convey messages and patterns. 

Where the western mind defines the phrase "Fulness of the Gospel" in more mechanical terms like:

"Fulness of the Gospel Means- We have much or all of the gospel message, ordinances, etc."

The Israelite Mind would define "Fulness of the Gospel" - The message that brings forth the ripe or acceptable fruit of God- The Ripe Fruit of The Shema.

In light of this, the declaration regarding The Book of Mormon in regarding the Gentiles receiving the fulness of the gospel takes on even greater meaning.

"And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer." (1 Nephi 10:14)

or perhaps an expanded translation:

""And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in other words, after the Gentiles had received the message( the hearing) that brings forth the acceptable fruit of God, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer." (1 Nephi 10;14)

Notice the connection now between the word fulness as ripened or acceptable fruit to the symbol of the Olive Tree. This should now give us new insight into the words of the Prophet Zenos and the allegory of the Olive Tree. 

The Book of Mormon contains the message/hearing that brings forth the culmination of THE SHEMA of Israel.  The instructions contained in the message/hearing are those teachings that help us to plant the seed, nourish it, cultivate it, and bring forth the good fruit. It is the message that brings forth the ripe/acceptable fruit to God (YHVH) through The Messiah. It is that message/teachings which allow the souls of men and women to transform from seeds into the First Fruits of God.

There are many who declare that they have the "Fulness of the Gospel".  To which I would answer-Do you produce the acceptable fruit of God?  

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them." (3 Nephi 14:16-20)


Saturday, February 13, 2021

THE MYSTERY OF THE JAREDITE BARGES-UNSEALING THE TWO STONES OF THE BROTHER OF JARED






 “Two stones build 2 houses

Three stones build 6 houses

Four stones build 24 houses

Five stones build 120 houses

Six stones build 720 houses

Seven stones build 5040 houses

From here on go out and calculate

that which the mouth cannot speak

and the ear cannot hear”

(Sepher Yetzirah)



TZOHAR STONES

In Ether chapter 3 we read regarding the vessels/barges/arks constructed by the Jaredites and the Brother of Jared’s interaction with the Lord and the necessity of having light within the vessels. The Brother of Jared records how he molten sixteen small stones out of Mount Shelem. The Brother of Jared then presents the stones to the Lord to touch and infuse with light.

This idea of illuminated stones was not unique to the Brother of Jared. We actually find the account in Noah's ark where God commands Noah to, "make a window for the ark." (Gen. 6:16) The word used in this passage for window is actually the word Tzohar (צֹהַר) meaning radiance or something that shines.  The usage of the word window (probably the closest thing the translators could come up with to demonstrate something that gives light) is translated from the Hebrew word tzohar meaning radiance, brilliance, or something that shines. While the word challown is actually the word for a window/or opening in a wall.  

The idea of the tzohar as a luminous stone finds its way in Judaism as demonstrated by Rabbi Geoff Dennis in his article, Tzohar: Gem of Noah, Light of Heaven:

“Targum Yonatan may be the first source to claim the tzohar was a luminous stone, pulled from the primordial river Pishon (T. Y. Genesis 6:16). This is elaborated on in Genesis Rabbah 31:11:
During the entire twelve months that Noah was in the Ark he did not require the light of the sun by day or the light of the moon by night, but he had a polished stone which he hung up – when it was dim, he knew it was day, when it was bright, he knew it was night.

Another version of this idea appears in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b:

“Make a tzohar for the ark.” R. Johanan said, The Blessed Holy One instructed Noah: 'Set there precious stones and jewels, so that they may give you light, bright as the noon [in Hebrew, this is a play on words between tzohar and tzohoriyim].The same idea is reiterated in the medieval Midrash Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer 23.”

There are other traditions citing that the Patriarch Abraham wore a luminous stone around his neck that allowed him to see and that Moses recovered a luminous stone from Joseph’s body and placed it in the tabernacle in the wilderness. Dennis also recounts the following tradition:

 “Abraham wore a glowing stone around his neck. Some say that it was a pearl, others that

it was a jewel. The light emitted by that jewel was like the light of the sun, illuminating

the entire world. Abraham used that stone as an astrolabe to study the motion of the

stars, and with its help he became a master astrologer. For his power of reading the stars,

Abraham was much sought after by the potentates of East and West. So too did that

glowing precious stone bring immediate healing to any sick person who looked into it.

At the moment when Abraham took leave of this world, the precious stone raised

itself and flew up to heaven. God took it and hung it on the wheel of the sun. 

This talmudic legend about a glowing stone that Abraham wore around his neck is

a part of the chain of legends about that glowing jewel, known as the Tzohar, which

was first given to Adam and Eve when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden

and also came into the possession of Noah, who hung it in the ark. See “The Tzohar, p.

85. This version of the legend adds the detail that the glowing stone was also an astrolabe,

with which Abraham could study the stars.”

(Sources: B. Bava Batra 16b; Zohar 1:11a-11b, Idra Rabbah.)

The peshat or literal interpretation of this passage and others regarding these interpreters or two stones would be that they were literally two stones (rocks) of some type.  The Remez or allegorical meaning may be related to Jacob and his vision of the Ladder of Heaven as he slept upon stones.  Its’ D’rash level may be related to Noah’s window or Zohar Stone (Luminous Stone) that gave light to the Ark.  But its' Sod level or at least those teachings that lead one to the Sod level of interpretation and experience may be something much greater than we have suspected. 

We see the concepts of the sealing up of the things witnessed by The Brother of Jared and his receipt of two stones or interpreters in the following verses:

“And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read.

And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.

For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write…

And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.” (Ether 3: 22-24,27-28)

Moroni like his fathers all the way back to Lehi was trained in the prophetic sciences and disciplines of Ancient Israel. These sciences and disciplines included the methods of sealing and encoding greater teachings into the story of the text so that those who were not ready to receive the greater teachings would be fed with milk while those who were searching and disciplining themselves for greater light and knowledge would find meat.  Like the Apostle Paul iterates, we feed people based on their maturity and ability to digest the food given to them.  

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Imagine the harm that would be caused if we fed a newborn steak.  Having neither the teeth nor the developed digestive tract to process the meat it would be deadly. This is why this same warning was given through Joseph Smith:

“And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me. For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.” (D&C 19:21-22)

The prophetic schools of Israel taught not only the foundational (Milk), but also the greater things of God (Meat). They also taught the methods of how to communicate eternal truths to their listeners based on their level of asking, seeking, and knocking (actions) in obtaining further light and knowledge. We see one such method of administration by the Messiah himself through the usage of parables:

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

“For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

“Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,

And seeing you will see and not perceive;

For the hearts of this people have grown dull.

Their ears are hard of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed,

Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

So that I should heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:10-17)

The methods of administering light and truth as practiced in ancient Israel leave us in a difficult position. While we are familiar with the reading of the literal account and sometimes venture into the allegorical meanings behind the account, we are uneducated in the keys of knowledge that unlock the greater portions of the word:

“And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:9-10)

From reading the words of Paul, Joseph Smith, The Messiah, and Alma we appear to be in a bit of a difficult situation. We are commanded impart the portion or parsha he grants to the children of men but at the same time we are condemned for hardening our hearts (Hebraism- closing our thoughts and desires) to the greater portion of the word or mysteries. Failure to receive leads us into the captivity of the chains of hell, yet receiving with an open heart leads us to spiritual rebirth.  This is why in the original manuscript that was the foundation of The Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price we find the following:

“& I have given an unto you another law & commandment wherefore teach it unto your children that all men evry where must repent for <or> they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God for no unclean thing can dwell there or dwell in his presence for in the language of Adam man of holyness is his name & the name of his only begotten is the Son of man even Jesus Christ a righteous Judge which shall come I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your Children saying that <in> as were <as much as they were> born into the world by the fall which bringeth death by water & <blood &> the spirit which I have made & so became of dust a living soul even so ye must be born again of water & the spirit & cleansed by blood even the blood of mine only begotten into the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven that ye may be Sanctified from all sin & enjoy the words of eternal life in this world & eternal life in the world to come even immortal glory for by the water ye keep the commandment by the spirit ye are Justified & by the blood ye are Sanctified that in you is given the record of Heaven the comfrorter the Peacable things of immortal grory [glory] the truth of all things that which quickeneth all things which maketh alive all things that which knoweth all things & hath all power according to wisdom mercy thruth <Justice> & Judgement & now behold I say unto you this is the plan of salvation unto all men the blood of mine only begotten which shall come in the maridian of time & behold all things has its likeness & all things are created & made to bear record of me both things which are temporal & things which are spiritual things which are in th[e] Heavens above & things which are on the Earth & things which are in the Earth & things which are under the Earth both above & beneath all things bear record of me & it came to pass when the Lord had spoken with” 

("Old Testament Revision 1," p. 14, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed November 15, 2020, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/old-testament-revision-1/16)

If as Moroni records that the Lord commanded him to write the things which the brother of Jared saw and to seal or encrypt them according to the Israelite methods of prophetic encryption, then the greater things can only by decrypted or interpreted by the interpreters given to the Brother of Jared-The Two Stones.


THE MYSTERY OF THE TWO STONES



“The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are called “stones”. The sages of Israel state that they are stones quarried from the great Name of God.” (Raavad, Pri Yizchak, Sefer Yetzirah- Aryeh Kaplan, pg. 190)

The Book of Mormon speaks of two stones called the Interpreters by the Nephites. We equate these two stones with the stones or Urim and Thummim as related by Joseph Smith’s scribe Oliver Cowdery:

““These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’” (JS History 1:75)

In The Book of Mormon we are first introduced to the idea of interpreters in the account of Ammon and the People of Limhi:

"Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer...

And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men." (Mosiah 8:13,19)

So, what are the two stones?  Are they literal rocks?  The peshat or literal level of Israelite interpretation says yes.  The other dimensions of Israelite prophetic interpretation, however, reveal something more.

In the ancient Israelite prophetic tradition, the letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet are equated with stones. If this is the case and Moroni was commanded to seal up (encrypt) the interpreters/stones, then according to the Israelite Prophetic science these two stones are also two letters received by the Brother of Jared. This then leads us to ask the question-What letters or stones did he receive?

In Jared’s account he fashions 16 stones out of the Mount Shelem and presents them to the Lord. The number 16 is associated with the divine name Ehyeh divine name expressing: "I AM". It is the divine name associated with the crown of the Tree of Life and the Throne of God. The record then relates how the Lord touches the stones one by one to illuminate them:

“And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord (YHVH) stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger . And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.” (Ether 3:6)

Like the tokens of a covenant, The Lord (YHVH) stretches forth his hand and touches the stones with his finger. The stones are then illuminated.  Can you see them?








Isn't it amazing that man is created in the image of God-Five fingers on each hand and five fingers/toes on each foot.





Copyright February 13, 2021 Robert Kay

(To Be Continued)

Sunday, February 7, 2021

THE ANCIENT PRACTICE OF CALLING UPON THE NAME & THE JAREDITE VESSELS



In the last post in this series, we discussed the connection of the Jaredite Vessels to the One Piece woven garment worn by the High Priest in the Tabernacle of Moses in the Wilderness. We have also discussed many of the encoded and encrypted teachings contained in The Record of Ether regarding language with specific reference to the ancient practice of "Calling Upon The Name".

In our "modern" culture we have been handed down traditions regarding prayer and supplication to God that are but a tithe of a tithe of the ancient discipline of 'Calling Upon The Name" and the Israelite Prophetic experience.  We read of the mighty feats of the ancients, the miracles of prophecy and healing, and the power displayed by God in his deliverance of various groups of people throughout the scriptures. We look around us in both our religious, spiritual, and worldly experience and find ourselves far removed from the spiritual gifts of God promised to all those who believe. We find ourselves asking the question, "Why do we not have these gifts demonstrated like the ancients?" , "Why do we not experience the intimate relationship with God enjoyed by Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham?", "Why do we not see the miracles of God displayed to us?"  In response, we receive the multitude of excuses and explanations of why we do not have these things.  We hear things like, "They do happen, but they are too sacred to share." or "Well we have too much of the world with/in us" to "You shouldn't expect these things because they are special cases that happen once in a blue moon over a long period of time." etc. etc.

To these excuses and traditions, the Lord's admonition to The Brother of Jared gives us the answer:

"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.

And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands." (Ether 2:14-15)

To call upon the name is an ancient discipline of prayer/meditation practiced by The Fathers.  The word "meditation" as we use it in American Culture does not convey the full meaning and ancient definition. In Hebrew the idea of devekut is a discipline or condition of bonding with God that draws his spirit from Heaven to earth. Or more accurately it represents the parting of the veil within the hearts of men and women to behold the bridegroom and to become one in a state of spiritual union. The purpose of the command to "Call upon The Name (YHVH)"  was given is related in The Lord's statement, "for ye shall remember that my spirit will not always strive with man." Here the word strive (diyn-see also Gen 6:3) means to plead, mediate, or abide in man. Because of this condition of separation from the Spirit of God, men were commanded to engage in the discipline of Calling Upon The Name (YHVH) to bond with God and draw his spirit from Heaven to Earth.


ENGRAVINGS UPON GOLD

The account of the finding of the plates of Ether is found in the Book of Mosiah. Of these 24 Gold plates the Book of Mosiah records:

"And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold...And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men." (Mosiah 8:9,11)

In Israelite scripture the words engraving and carved while literally meaning that they were cut into the gold plates the words symbolically mean 'meditations'.  The number 24 representing the perfect cube which is connected with New Jerusalem and the metal gold symbolizing their connection to the Celestial World and the Throne of God (Keter).  If I were to restate the above scripture using the Israelite prophetic, it might read something like:

"And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought the plates regarding a New Jerusalem which are filled with meditations, and they are of the Throne of God and the Celestial World...And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery (teachings regarding the sod level of meaning or those things related to the council of Heaven) is contained within these plates, and these interpreters (two stone or two letters) were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men."

In other words, to establish New Jerusalem without we first have to establish New Jerusalem within. The mediations or ancient discipline of "Calling Upon The Name" contained in the record of Ether is designed to do just that.

Climbing The Steps of Mount Shelem

The record of Ether gives us our first step in this bonding process.  The teaching is conveyed in Ether 3:1:

"And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the amount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying..."

The three letters Shin-Lamed-Mem form the basis of the words Shalom (meaning peace) and Shelem (wholeness, integrity, being complete).  In Israelite culture the words Shalom and Shelem are connected with the Temple with one of the names of the temple being Sukkat Shalom meaning Sukkah (like a booth or tent) of peace and is related to the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. Its' fuller meaning relates to the creation of sacred space, both within and without. We see this very Jewish idea expressed by the Apostle Paul/Shaul:

"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Cor. 3:17)

and by the Messiah:

"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)

The outer design or pattern of the Tabernacle of Moses serves as the pattern which we are to recreate in our temples.  In other words, just as there is an outward creation of set apart or sacred space so too must we create and inward place in our hearts and mind that is set apart.  Outwardly this creation of sacred space was accomplished by people ritualistically cleansing themselves to enter the physical temple. Inwardly the process of bonding with God serves as a process or discipline of bonding or connecting with God through a process which in our American language can only be described as condition of conscious/contemplative meditation. 

This idea of bonding with God or receiving his image in our countenance is a very real and literal practice by which true repentance (teshuvah) is experienced. Rather than bonding, oneness , and repentance being an outside-in approach true Israelite repentance is an inside-out process of transformation. This process is the journey of climbing the mountain. The idea being expressed is just like that of climbing to the top of a high mountain or to the process of the High Priest journeying from the outer court - to the inner court-to the Holy Place - to parting the veil on of Israel's most holy days-Yom Kippur-The Day of Atonement. Like the prophet Alma expresses:

"Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also." (Alma 60:23)

The process of creating sacred space within and bonding with God through Calling upon the name awakened the person to a connection that has always existed. In a sense, it is like turning on water from a faucet. The connection has always been there, but if we do not turn on the faucet the cleansing water does not flow. In calling upon the name, we turn on the water which then purifies and nourishes us.  It is only then that the seeds or desires of true teshuvah/bonding/reconnecting with God receives the nourishment that causes them to take root and bring for the fruits/works of repentance/teshuvah.  We turn on the faucet and it is God who brings about the transformation.  This is why the prophet Alma, after being knocked unconscious after his encounter with an Angel of YHVH proclaimed:

"And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned (condemned) soul.

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am bin the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.  Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there. But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God." (Alma 36:16-22)

By connecting with the source thru the pathways of the inward man and woman our spiritual bodies then awaken and are brought back into alignment with the image of God-the living soul here below corresponding with the pattern or image of God above.

Let us then in our hearts and minds follow the steps of the Brother of Jared in ascending inwardly our mount Shalem- a place and internal creation/visualization of spiritual peace and sacred space.  Whether it be in our closets or our temples, it is the condition and desire for oneness that creates the inward set apart or sacred space. In contemplative meditation, the ancient prophetic schools would be taught to visualize and experience these mountains of the Lord (YHVH) wherein they would go within filled with desire.

MOLTENING THE 16 STONES

While the Brother of Jared literally brought forth 16 stones, the prophetic meaning of the word is related to the Hebrew word masseka as found in Exodus 32:4 regarding the fashioning of the Golden Calf:

"And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

While the literal meaning of molten/masseka is related to the ideas of pouring out, a casting/forming of something like metal, it's symbolic meaning is related to the spiritual crafting/visualization/ or forming of thought.  

In Moroni's translation of Ether, he is drawing on this concept of moltening or spiritually creating within our inward temples.  In other words we are being instructed in an ancient discipline of spiritual creation the commences with the visualization that we infuse with our will, emotions, and desire.

The number 16 is also no accident.  While there were 16 stones, the number 16 conveys part of the ancient discipline of calling upon the name YHVH.

10 = The Letter Yod

6 = The Letter Vav

These two letters make up the part of the name of God, but notice that in this state while they had been molten they had not yet been infused with light.  To do this requires the interpreters or two stones given to the Brother of Jared.

(To Be continued- Unsealing the two stones, The Breath of Man and the Ruach Elohiym)


Copyright 2-7-2021- Robert Kay


Sunday, January 31, 2021

NEPHI'S STRANGE WORD- IRREANTUM & THE HIDDEN PROPHECY OF NEPHI


"And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters." (1 Nephi 17:5)

The Book of Mormon contains many hidden mysteries-hidden in plain sight. The word Irreantum is one such mystery.  Since the coming forth of The Book of Mormon there have been many critics who proclaim that this word along with many others are simply creations from the mind of Joseph Smith.  Unfortunately, many of these critics have approached word and the text surrounding it from a Gentile Paradigm.  When examined from the ancient Israelite prophetic tradition, we find a hidden teaching and prophecy.

As I have stated before, it has always been my contention that many of the "strange" names and words we find in the Book of Mormon are actually Hebrew word constructs. At first glance it appears that The Book of Mormon has a problem as the word Irreantum does not mean "many waters" in Hebrew (ravim mayim-בְּמַיִם רַבִּים).  Knowing this many scholars have attempted to search for words in other languages in the surrounding nations of Israel to find support for this strange word, Irreantum without much success.


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SETTING

To unfold the meaning of the word Irreantum, we first need to examine the setting in which the word is mentioned. In 1 Nephi 17, Nephi and his family were led to the land called Bountiful (because of its much fruit and wild honey- a connection with the themes surrounding Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashana). It was here that Nephi was commanded by the Lord to, "Arise, and get thee into the mountain" (1 Nephi 17:7).  After ascending the mountain, Nephi is then given a vision of The Lord and is shown how to construct the vessel that would take him and his family to The Land of Promise, "Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters." (1 Nephi 17:8)


IRRE -an-tum  and the Abrahamic Connection-  YHVH Yireh (Jehovah Jireh):


The usage of the word IRRE -an-tum is meant to draw the Israelite reader to a unique name or title of God/ YHVH.  This title is first mentioned in the account of Abraham who took his son Isaac up a mountain (attributed to being Mount Moriah-the location of the future temple of Solomon) to be sacrificed.  Instead of carrying out the sacrifice God offers his own solution:

"And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen." (Genesis 22:11-14)

Here the the title Jehovahjireh (YHVH Yireh) which actually means, " YHVH shall be seen" or "YHVH shall give a vision" connected to the Hebrew word ra'ah meaning to behold, a seer, and to have a vision.

The remainder of the word an-tum of IRRE-an-tom meaning an- as to eyes  and tom meaning amazed/wholeness/perfect or integrity.

By Nephi Calling the Place Irreantum he is describing the place where he like Abraham ascended a mountain and beheld The Lord in a grand or glorious revelation. It is also in this account with Abraham that we see a type and shadow of the Messiah and his deliverance/atonement.


WHICH BEING INTERPRETED IS MANY WATERS


But wait, doesn't Irreantum mean many waters?  The answer to this is in the word interpreted.  In the Israelite prophetic tradition to interpret something does not carry the same meaning of interpret/interpreted/ or interpretation as in our English vernacular. In the Israelite prophetic to interpret means to make a connection with something in The Torah (The 5 Books of Moses). In this case Nephi is connecting something in his Vision of THE LORD (Irreantum) with the words "MANY WATERS".

This idea interpreted is very foreign to us in our "modern culture", but was a device commonly used in ancient Israel.  In other words, Nephi is using the word Irreantum to connect his readers with a teaching related to the words, "Many Waters".  Now comes the task-where in the Torah do we find this teaching.


MANY WATERS-BALAAM AND THE BLESSING OF ISRAEL:


"He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted." (Numbers 24:7)

In Numbers 22-24 we are introduced to Balaam the Son of Beor.  He was a gentile or Non-Israelite prophet.  In this account Balaam is called upon by Balak the King of Moab to declare curses over the Israelites. In this teaching every time Balaam was called upon to curse Israel he was given prophecy by God to only pronounce blessings upon the House of Israel. The actual account contains three distinct prophecies regarding the House of Israel. This particular prophecy upon the House of Israel wherein we find the connection to "Many Waters" is found in Balaam's Third Prophecy:

"When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness.

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,  the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:

How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!

Like palm groves that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the LORD has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.

God brings him out of Egypt and is for him like the horns of the wild ox; he shall eat up the nations, his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces and pierce them through with his arrows.

He crouched, he lay down like a lion and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?

Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.”

And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times.

Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the LORD has held you back from honor.”

And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me,

‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak’?

And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” (Numbers 24: 1-14)

This particular prophecy of Balaam has in Israel has been traditionally understood to be related to the various exilic events of Israel with the promise of a future restoration.  It is also a teaching about the turning of cursings into blessings by God.  

In returning to Nephi drawing upon this teaching regarding "Many Waters" he is directing his reader to this account in the Torah. It is also very applicable as the family and descendants of Lehi were led away as part of a great exile of Israel from the Land-he being led away prior to the Babylonian Captivity.  Knowing that his readers would have the "record of the Jews" he connects his vision on the mountain in the land of Bountiful with not only that of Abraham, but also this prophetic blessing that is to come regarding the restoration of Israel- of which his people are remnant.


LEADING US TO BALAAM'S 4TH PROPHECY:


God blessed Abraham in the account of the sacrifice of his son Isaac and prophesied thus:

"I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22: 17-18)

This same blessing was also pronounced by Balaam in his blessing upon Israel. Just as God then provided his substitution for Isaac so also does he prophecy of a Messiah or Star who shall come out of Jacob in Balaam's 4th prophecy:

And he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.

Edom shall be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed. Israel is doing valiantly.

And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of cities!”

Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said, “Amalek was the first among the nations,

but its end is utter destruction.”

And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, “Enduring is your dwelling place,

and your nest is set in the rock. Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned when Asshur takes you away captive.”

And he took up his discourse and said, “Alas, who shall live when God does this?

But ships shall come from Kittim and shall afflict Asshur and Eber; and he too shall come to utter destruction.”

Then Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way." (Numbers 24: 15-25)

Nephi uses the Hebrew word construct Irreantum to connect his reader to the teaching of Balaam in Numbers 22-24. Like Abraham who experienced a miraculous vision upon the mount of the provision of God in place of Isaac, Nephi also experienced a miraculous vision upon the mount recorded in such a way to couch a hidden prophecy regarding not only an ancient prophecy regarding the exile and restoration of the House of Israel, but also of the coming of The Lord, and the power of God to restore or bless that which once had been set apart for destruction. Having seen the exile of his family and his vision of their rise as a great people and their subsequent destruction, Nephi couches this word Irreantum to show us that although exiles of Israel have been stricken, the beauty of their tents and encampments will yet be restored.  What great blessings await, "MY PEOPLE O' HOUSE OF ISRAEL" on this continent for they will yet be restored again as a covenant body: The Remnant of Jacob, The Jews, The repentant Gentiles, The Ten Tribes, and as many of the House of Israel as shall come!

Isn't it amazing what the "nonsensical" word Irreantum contains. 

Copyright January 30, 2021- Robert Kay


Saturday, January 23, 2021

THE MYSTERY OF THE JAREDITE BARGES-- Holes for Breathing, and Crossing the Deep


 


"And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish. And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood." (Ether 2:19-21)


From the Tower of Babel to their arrival in The Land of Promise, the account of the Jaredites was encrypted by Moroni to contain some of the most ancient and essential teachings of the Israelite prophetic experience.  Not only does the account intrigue us on the literal level, but it also provides us with ancient and lost information essential to our understanding of history, astronomy, language, and the Science of The Fathers that was to be restored to both Gentile and Israelite alike. 

Among the many sublime and encrypted (sealed) teachings in the record of Ether is the teaching regarding language, calling on The Name, and spiritual bonding with God.  In our last article, we explored the ideas of language contained in this record as communicated by the confusing of the languages at the time of the Tower of Babel. We continued our exploration in the symbolism of the Jaredite barges and their connection to Noah's ark and its' recorded dimensions as being related to words or language. We then finished with touching upon the ancient discipline of 'calling upon The Name' as admonished by God to the Brother of Jared. 

 Calling Upon The Name

In our "modern" culture we have been handed down traditions regarding prayer and supplication to God that are but a tithe of a tithe of the ancient discipline of 'Calling Upon The Name" and the Israelite Prophetic experience.  We read of the mighty feats of the ancients, the miracles of prophecy and healing, and the power displayed by God in his deliverance of various groups of people throughout the scriptures. We look around us in both our religious, spiritual, and worldly experience and find ourselves far removed from the spiritual gifts of God promised to all those who believe. We find ourselves asking the question, "Why do we not have these gifts demonstrated like the ancients?" , "Why do we not experience the intimate relationship with God enjoyed by Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham?", "Why do we not see the miracles of God displayed to us?"  In response, we receive the multitude of excuses and explanations of why we do not have these things.  We hear things like, "They do happen, but they are too sacred to share." or "Well we have too much of the world with/in us" to "You shouldn't expect these things because they are special cases that happen once in a blue moon over a long period of time." etc. etc.

To these excuses and traditions, the Lord's admonition to The Brother of Jared gives us the answer:

"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.

And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands." (Ether 2:14-15)

Because we do not have the essential understandings of the prophetic teachings of Israel, we have been left to our modern Christian/Gentile traditions.  We hear endless stories of how the Brother of Jared forgot to say his prayers for 4 years and why it is important to say our prayers everyday.  While this is a great way to teach a five year old to say their prayers, it is not the prophetic discipline being communicated by Moroni and The Brother of Jared. Do we honestly think a man who walked and talked with God forgot to say his prayers for 4 years?

To call upon the name is an ancient discipline of prayer/meditation practiced by The Fathers.  It is a discipline or condition of bonding with God that draws his spirit from Heaven to earth. The purpose of the command to "Call upon The Name (YHVH)"  was given is related in The Lord's statement, "for ye shall remember that my spirit will not always strive with man." Here the word strive (diyn-see also Gen 6:3) means to plead, mediate, or abide in man. Because of this condition of separation from the Spirit of God, men were commanded to engage in the discipline of Calling Upon The Name (YHVH) to bond with God and draw his spirit from Heaven to Earth.

BUILDING OUR BARGES

As we said earlier the Barges like Noah's ark carry an ancient teaching regarding language or words as well as the instructions on how to construct our vessels (words, language, bodies, etc.) so that they contain structure, light, and air to give us breath and to keep us buoyant on the waters of the great deep.

"And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water." (Ether 2:16)

As a symbol for words or language, we are given to construct our words or vessels after the instructions (torah) of The Lord. In doing so they were like the lightness of a fowl upon the water which is an expression related to angels and their language with fowl being related to angels and the waters being related to the creative element of waters as found in Genesis 1. 

A Hole In The Top and A Hole In the Bottom

 "And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish. And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood." (Ether 2:19-20) 

Many scholars and critics of the Book of Mormon have entered into much debate regarding this placing of holes in the tops and bottoms of the barges for the purpose of obtaining air.  The impracticality of obtaining air in this method for some type of vessel that they compare to a modern submarine does not seem to make sense as with the number of people on each vessel as well as the animals the occupants would quickly run out of air and suffocate.  While I do believe on the peshat (literal) level they are communicating something regarding some sort of breathing apparatus, on the symbolic level we miss the correlation Moroni is making to vestments found on the High Priest in Moses Tabernacle:

"And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent." (Exodus 28:31-32)

The robe of the high priest was woven as one piece and was the symbol of a vessel or garment; or what in ancient Israel was likened to Adam and Even being clothed in garments of light before the fall. The connection that Moroni makes between the Jaredite vessels and the robe/ephod is made in the phrase "And there shall be a hold in the top of it".   Here the Hebrew word used for hole is the word/letter peh which means mouth or something that blows (both figurative or literal).  We see this same parallel between the "hole in the top" in Ether 2:20 with the phrase "for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth (peh)" in Ether 2:24.

The ephod was worn upon the front of the robe and was connected into the robe along with two stones-one on each shoulder) of the vessel or robe similar to the Jaredite description described in Ether 6:2. 






"For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the stones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels."

RECEIVING AIR  AND CROSSING THE GREAT DEEP:

"and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood."

The symbol of receiving air has to do not only with an ancient pattern of breathing associated with the discipline of calling upon the name but also has to do with the receipt of light and truth/understanding as one enters into deep meditation symbolized by the depths of the waters- which is connected to wisdom/ruach/spirit, Holy Ghost -sometimes associated with the divine feminine.

The depths of the sea or the great deep are ancient symbols not only connected to the waters below and the waters above the firmament, but also the depths of consciousness or contemplative meditation that one would encounter as they enter in upon the meditative discipline of Calling Upon the Name:

"And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

(To be continued: Part 3: They Mystery of the Interpreters, Infusing the vessels with light, Constructing the Name, and The Image of Son