Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Death Of The Chief Judge and The Five Hidden Men


"Behold, now it came to pass that when Nephi had spoken these words, certain men who were among them ran to the judgment-seat; yea, even there were five who went, and they said among themselves, as they went..." (Helaman 9:1)


The Book of Mormon draws upon historical characters and events to communicate deeper teachings. Sometimes some of the greatest teachings are hidden in plain sight. One hidden teaching involves five men who ran to witness the murdered chief judge. The Book of Helaman tells the story of Nephi prophecying the murder of the chief judge:

"25 But behold, ye have rejected the truth, and rebelled against your holy God; and even at this time, instead of laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nothing doth corrupt, and where nothing can come which is unclean, ye are heaping up for yourselves wrath against the day of judgment.  26 Yea, even at this time ye are ripening, because of your murders and your fornication and wickedness, for everlasting destruction; yea, and except ye repent it will come unto you soon.  27 Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.  28 And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men." (Helaman  8:25-28)

In response, five men ran to the judgment seat to find out for themselves whether the words of Nephi were true. The text appears to not disclose the identity of the five men, but if we look at the text as a whole, we find that the author is not only conveying a narrative about a chief judge being killed but a hidden truth regarding the death of the Messiah and the prophets who testified of him. 

These five men ran and found the chief judge killed in the judgment seat, as the story goes. In astonishment, the five men fell to the earth. They were found at the scene of the crime, and it was assumed that they had killed the chief judge whereby they were then thrown into prison. 

The symbolic identities of these five men lead us to a great teaching. Just before announcing the murder of the chief judge, Nephi is in the tower in his Garden and draws his listeners attention to the brazen serpent lifted up by Moses in the Wilderness:

"14 Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up who should come.  15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.  16 And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham." (Helaman 8:14-16)




Nephi then goes on to delineate 5 prophets who testified of the Messiah:

"19 And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet Zenos did testify boldly; for the which he was slain.  20 And behold, also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah, and Jeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah. O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy?" (Helaman 8:19-20)

1. Zenos

2. Zenock

3. Ezias

4. Isaiah

5. Jeremiah


Like the 5 certain men who witnessed the death of the chief judge, these 5 prophets bore witness of the death of the true Chief Judge- even Jesus Christ.  As a result of their testimony, these five prophets were either killed or died in their testimony.  

The story then goes on to discuss the liberation of the 5 certain men from prison:

"18 And it came to pass that the five were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges in the words which they had spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them." (Helaman 9:18)

Like the 5 certain men who were liberated on the day of the chief judge's burial, we see a connection being drawn to those souls (among them those 5 prophets) that were resurrected and came forth at the time of the burial of Christ as prophecied by:

Samuel the Lamanite, "25 And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many." (Helaman 14:25)

and witnessed by

3 Nephi:

"9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?  10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled." (3 Nephi 23)

and Matthew:

"And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27:51-53)


A Little Deeper:

Just as the five certain men were liberated on the day of the chief judge's burial, the prophets Zenos, Zenock, Ezias, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were resurrected on the day of the burial of the real Chief Judge. Not only does the Book of Mormon couch this hidden teaching into the text of Helaman regarding this healing or resurrection from the dead, but it also contains an even deeper teaching regarding the 5 levels of the soul: Nefesh (Life Force), Ruach (spirit), Neshamah (breath of life), Chaya (living one), and Yechidah (oneness).  For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, these are the five points through which we fellowship, connect, or embrace God. 


Copyright August 29, 2021 (Robert Kay)


 







Saturday, August 21, 2021

THE THREE VOICES OF GOD: PAHORAN, PAANCHI, AND PACUMENI

 



"And now behold, it came to pass in the commencement of the fortieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there began to be a serious difficulty among the people of the Nephites. For behold, Pahoran had died and gone the way of all the earth; therefore, there began to be a serious contention concerning who should have the judgment seat among the brethren, who were the sons of Pahoran. Now, these are the names who did contend for the judgment seat, who did also cause the people to contend: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Now, these are not all the sons of Pahoran, (for he had many,) but these are they who did contend for the judgment seat; therefore, they did cause three divisions among the people. Nevertheless, it came to pass that Pahoran was appointed by the voice of the people to be chief judge and a governor over the people of Nephi." (Helaman 1:1-5)

Like other ancient Israelite prophetic works, The Book of Mormon draws upon historical characters and events to communicate deeper teachings. As discussed in my prior post entitled The Hidden Mystery of Hagoth, we learn that sacred engravings (meditations) comprise the record of Helaman. At first glance, this may seem strange to non-Israelite eyes, but the practice is quite common and quite ancient. What appears to be a record involving wars, robbers, fiery revelations, etc., is only the surface level of a quite transformative record.  In other words, there is more than meets the eye. 

THE THREE VOICES: PAHORAN, PAANCHI, AND PACUMENI

The record commences in the 40th year (mem) of the judges. Here we find that the Chief Judge Pahoran had died, leaving three sons Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Contending for the judgment seat, these three sons cause the people to be divided into three divisions. 

The meaning of their names has often eluded Mormon Scholars. But, as I have maintained, The Book of Mormon is full of Hebrew word constructs that can be deciphered using the components of the word and the context in which the word is used.

Let's begin by examining the name Pahoran. The word is constructed as follows:

Peh= Mouth or Voice

Horan= Hills or Mountain

Pahoran = The Voice From the Hills, Mountain

The symbolism behind the Voice from the Mountain is that it is the voice of God, the real Chief Judge. The phrase "Voice from the Mountain" is meant to take the reader back to Exodus 19 and 20, where the voice of God came down from Mount Sinai like a trumpet causing the earth to quake and tremble and the people to stand afar off:

"And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly..." (God speaks the 10 commandments)..."And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." (Exodus 19:16-18 and Exodus 20:18-19)

Pacumeni= The Voice of Power

Peh = Mouth or Voice

Cum (ani)= Powerful, visualize a mountain rising up, something awesome.


Paanchi = The Voice of Dedication (to Destruction):

Peh = Mouth or Voice

Anchi is related to Hanak (similar to Hanoch or Enoch), meaning dedicated. In this case, anchi meaning dedicated/ set apart to destruction.


The mentioning of these three voices encompasses some of the most ancient teachings of The House of Israel regarding the Three Voices of God (YHVH).  The Book of Mormon itself also provides the meanings of these names.  Unbeknownst to many, Helaman Chapters 1 thru 12 is a continuous record, with 13-16 being added later regarding Samuel the Lamanite.  Helaman Chapter 1 parallels Helaman chapter 12.  By examining the poetic structure of the text, we see this teaching regarding the Three Voices of God displayed:

"5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths!  6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide." (Helaman 12)

Here the Lord their God (YHVH Elohiym) is being compared to the chief judge who rules over the people.  We see the voice from the Mountain displayed in Helaman 12:7-9 (specifically 9)

"7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.  8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.  9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake."

Here we see the Book of Mormon drawing upon the same language regarding the trembling and quaking of the hills similar to the trembling and quaking of the mountains of Sinai as described above.

We see the Voice of Power displayed in verses 10-17:

"10 And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.  11 Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;  12 Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.  13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth -- Move -- it is moved.  14 Yea, if he say unto the earth -- Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours -- it is done;  15 And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.  16 And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep -- Be thou dried up -- it is done.  17 Behold, if he say unto this mountain -- Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up -- behold it is done." (Helaman 12)

In reviewing Helaman 12, we see the pattern of God as the Chief Judge, with the first two of his voices or sons being displayed. Now comes the third.

The Voice of Dedication:

"18 And behold, if a man hide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say -- Let it be accursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up -- behold, it shall be accursed.  19 And if the Lord shall say -- Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever -- behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever.  20 And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man -- Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever -- it shall be done."

In Hebrew, to be accursed is to be set apart or "dedicated" to destruction. So the voice of dedication (in this case to destruction). 

LITERAL OR FIGURATIVE?

As we discussed initially, The Book of Mormon draws upon historical characters and events to communicate deeper teachings. So one might ask, "What of the story is real and what was symbolic?"

The real or historical part of the story is that there was probably a chief judge in Nephite society who died and left three sons who contended for the judgment seat and divided the people.  Their names are the symbolic part in that their actual names were most likely not Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni.  The literal story being used to couch a much greater teaching.

The teaching regarding the Three Voices of God is connected to two fundamental teachings regarding mediation and revelation.  The first being the three spirits from which revelation can come.  The second and more ancient being connected to the Prophet Enoch and words of power, which I will not discuss due to the sacredness of the teaching. 




Saturday, August 7, 2021

My Father Dwelt In A Tent- Israelite Interpretive Keys To The Book of Mormon

 


The language of Hebrew captures and embodies multi-dimensional aspects of the word of God.  As a functional language, it is designed to be uttered by our physical tongue but embedded in this language is mathematics, geometry, chemistry, physics, grammar, etc. Knowledge passed down from Adam and the first civilization.  

In a way, the language itself is like a winding staircase or a divine helix of DNA that contains the essential building blocks of creation.  The knowledge of ascent through these dimensions has been preserved and transmitted by the Prophets of Israel.  The ascent through the four worlds or dimensions is taught to this day in Israel through a system of interpretation called PaRDeS.  PaRDeS is an acronym formed from the initials of the four levels or approaches to understanding the revelations of God:

1. Peshat – The simple, literal meaning of the word or account.
2. Remez – The allegorical or symbolic meaning of the word or account.
3. Deresh – A comparative meaning as compared to similar occurrences, accounts, or teachings.
4. Sod (pronounced with a long O sound)– The secret, esoteric, or mystical meaning


For many, the Book of Mormon yet remains a sealed book.  When we think of a sealed book, we often see images of ancient scrolls or plates bound by a material or metal band that forbids a person from opening the book.  While this is one type of seal, in the mind of an Israelite, a sealed record can also be one whose true meaning and interpretation are not yet understood or revealed. The Book of Mormon is such a record. It is a sealed record to many because while the literal (peshat) account is the literal story of Lehi and his descendants, we miss the deeper dimensions of light hidden in plain sight.

Peshat:


To demonstrate and apply this science of ancient Israel, let us examine the following scripture: “And my father dwelt in a tent” (1 Nephi 2:15).  As we discussed earlier, sometimes, the greatest of truths are hidden in plain sight.  How many times have you as a reader read through the Book of Mormon and simply passed over this one sentence verse, “And my father dwelt in a tent.”  The verse seems very straightforward, simple, and literal.  Reading this verse may draw images of desert Bedouins living in their tents in a desert wilderness surrounded by camels and stock.  This verse's very simple and literal (Peshat) reading is that Lehi literally dwelt in a tent.

To the initiated mind of an Israelite, this verse reveals so much more about the man Lehi and lends itself to a great truth of this hidden science.

Remez:


As we increase our awareness, we can begin to make the conscious associations demonstrated by the second dimension or level of interpretation. This dimension comprises allegorical, metaphoric, and symbolic.  In this dimension, an Israelite begins to ask, “Where has God revealed these things in the covenant God made with the Fathers”: (The TaNaKh – The Torah –Five Books of Moses, The Neviim –the Prophets, or the Ketuvim – the Writings). The verse, “And my father dwelt in a tent,” directs the Israelite mind to the Mishkan or “tent of dwelling,” often called the “tabernacle in the wilderness” or the “tabernacle of Moses.”   The parallels in the stories of Lehi leading his family in an Exodus from Jerusalem into the wilderness and Moses leading the children of Israel on their Exodus from Egypt into the wilderness are not accidental.  In fact, in true Israelite fashion, Nephi weaves these parallels into his account to compact great revelations about his Father, His Father’s connection with God, and essential knowledge preserved for his posterity on how they must also walk with the God of their Fathers.

The tabernacle (tent) in the wilderness is the appointed place where God would meet with Moses and Aaron. Here the glory of God (Shekinah) would dwell.  Here Moses would ascend into the presence of God by (1) “The Way” or outer gate of the tabernacle, to pass by the furnishings of (2) the outer court, in preparation to enter the (3) inner court or Holy Place, to then come before (4) The Holy of Holies or Throne of God.  In this tent of dwelling, instructions and decrees were delivered from God to his righteous ones.  In this tent of dwelling, the officiating priests stood as ministering servants or angels to assist in bringing the people into a condition of oneness (at-one-ment) with God.  Here, the earthly journey of ascension began and, as a type, symbolically ended with the reality of heavenly ascension realized.

The tabernacle in the wilderness serves as an allegory that Nephi draws upon. With this ancient connection established between Lehi and Moses, the verse, “And my Father dwelt in a Tent” takes on greater significance. In the world of Israel, this verse communicates that Lehi was a Tsadik (a holy or righteous one) who walked in the same pathway of the Holy Order, such as Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch, and Adam.  As he dwelt in a tent in the wilderness, he communed with God.  He received revelations, commandments, and decrees for his people.  In fact, in those places where Nephi relates that his “father dwelt in a tent” such as 1 Nephi 2:15, 9:1, 10:16, and 1 Nephi 16:6 (four distinct instances), we find connected four distinct manifestations of God to both Lehi and Nephi filled with simple commands, ancient allegory, divine instruction, and the hidden/esoteric teachings of ascension in their unadulterated form.

Deresh:


With the new dimension of understanding and consciousness added upon us from Remez, the next or third dimension of understanding begins to unfold.  The mind of an Israelite is then drawn to examine similar occurrences and teachings related to the tabernacle in the wilderness.  These occurrences and teachings have historical precedent, legal precedent, and instructional precedent passed down by inspired teachers. For example, one such ancient teaching associated with concepts of a tabernacle or tent has to do with an ancient teaching regarding prayer.

The concept of dwelling in a tent while foreign to many in the West is commonplace among cultures in the Middle East and Orient.  In Israel, all of God’s people were commanded to be tsaddikim (holy men and women), “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6)  Even as Moses declared, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

Like ancient Israel camping in tents in the wilderness, a tsaddik or holy man would often be found living outside the bounds of the cities in the caves and tents of the wilderness.  In doing so, these men lead a consecrated or set apart existence similar to Moses dwelling in the Tabernacle enwrapped in the Glory of the Lord (Shekinah).  This set-apart walk with God was embodied with the wearing of the four-cornered garment known as a tallit.








The tallit is a four-cornered garment that serves as a reminder that the wearer is wrapped in the authority of Heaven. It was every man and woman’s private Mishkan or Tabernacle.  It symbolized the righteous dominion and authority of Heaven over the wearer and a place of retreat from the world.  To this day, modern observant Jews are seen in the attitude of prayer under the tallit worshipping in their private tents (tabernacles) the God of Creation.






With this understanding of Israelite culture and teaching, our understanding can then be drawn to great teachings from the Prophets and the Messiah:

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:5-6, 3 Nephi 13:6

“And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.” (Alma 33:7)
“But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.” (Alma 34:26)

When we hear these scriptures in our modern tongue, our minds are often drawn to images of going into our bedrooms, going into our literal closets, and closing the door so no one can see us pray.  Whether Nephite or Jews, there was no physical concept of a closet like we think of today in ancient Israel.  The word closet refers to the “secret chambers,” which then brings the mind to the remembrance of the Holy Place and Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.  When a man covers his head with his tallit for prayer, this tent or secret place is what is being referred to as “entering into thy closet” ( i.e., secret chambers/place)- a living witness of a tsaddik or holy man/woman dwelling in a tent and connecting with God.

Sod:


The sod level of interpretation pertains to the mysteries or hidden things of God.  They pertain to those things of the divine throne or council of heaven. In the wisdom of God, great truths have been hidden from the world.  In the preserved science of ancient Israel, we are spiritual beings tabernacled in mortal element in this physical world (Malchut).  “Don’t you know that you yourself are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives within you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Just as the Glory of God filled the physical tabernacle in the wilderness, so too do we, as spiritual beings that are part of an eternally connected to God, dwell in physical tabernacles.  In all its physical glory, the temple represents the physical body of man and woman whose spirit has awakened and connected with the temple of God above. It represents the soul of a quickened individual in a state of at-one-ment with God, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing and the glory of kings to search out a matter!” (Proverb 25:2) As all Israel was called to be a nation of kings and priests to God, then it was the glory of kings to search out the concealed things of God. Like Lehi’s tent in the wilderness, we are called to walk the path of the tsaddik (righteous) and enter the tent's gateway and experience true oneness with the God who created us.  We go within the tent to receive wisdom, understanding, mercy, justice, judgment, enduring vitality, glory, and oneness with God.