"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.
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