Abraham 1

Abraham 1: Abraham Seeks Blessings of the Patriarchal Order

“…at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful to obtain another place of residence;” (Abraham 1:1) Abraham sought for a higher knowledge and the blessings that come from the Patriarchal Order, however Abraham lived in a home that discouraged his advancement in the Gospel or forbid him to practice the Gospel, so Abraham explained; “… I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right where unto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.” (Abraham 1:2-3)

Because Abraham was a follower of righteousness he desired to have the blessings of the priesthood and be able to bless with the priesthood. Abraham explains that this priesthood was; “…conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.” (Abraham 1:3) Abraham’s Authority was given to him from a long line of Authority through his fathers. Abraham explains that he had followed the commandments of God, whereas the rest of the people decided to follow after other gods; “For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my lifeby the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.” (Abraham 1:6-7) These people were wicked and had turned their hearts from the Lord to sacrifice children to idols that could not speak.

 

Abraham-facsimile-11

                “Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children. And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.” (Abraham 1:8-9)

Several hundred years after the flood, the inhabitants of the earth multiplied throughout. However, their knowledge of God had nearly disappeared. President Joseph Fielding Smith commented on the Egyptian Human Sacrifice;  “Abraham was of the [tenth] generation from Noah. Several hundred years had passed since the flood, and people had multiplied and spread over the face of the earth. The civilizations of Egypt, Chaldea, Assyria and the petty nations of Canaan, had been established. In the midst of this scattering the true worship of the Father was nearly lost. Sacrifice instituted in the days of Adam and continued in the practice and teaching of Noah, in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of Man, had become perverted. Instead of offering clean animals, such as the lamb and bullock, the apostate nations had dwindled in unbelief to the extent that human sacrifice was offered to their idol gods” (The Way to Perfection, 85).

Abraham was not alone in his desire to worship the one and only God, there were three virgins [direct decedents of Ham, who was the son of Noah] who were going to be sacrificed because of their virtue, for they; “…would not bow down to worships gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon the altar…” (Abraham 1:11) Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints compared these three virgins to the story of ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego – see Daniel 3:12-30’. He described these three women as; “marvelous models on enduring uncertainty and on trusting God… Matching those three young men are three young women whose names we do not have. They are mentioned in the book of Abraham, remarkable young women about whom I am anxious to know more. They were actually sacrificed upon the altar because ‘they would not bow down to worship [an idol] of wood or stone’. Some day the faithful will get to meet them” (“Not My Will, But Thine” [1988], 119–20).

Abraham explains that they came and laid violence upon him; “…that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar…” (Abraham 1:12) As they were about to take his life, Abraham cried out to the Lord; “…and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands; And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee…” (Abraham 1:15-16) God promised to deliver Abraham from these people and carry him away into a land in which he knew not. God then destroyed all of Potiphar’s Hill in the land of Ur.

Abraham went down to the land of Egypt, where he found a government which was patterned after the patriarchal governments of old, but was devoid of all revelation and priesthood. This ultimately lead the Egyptians into idolatry.  The land of Egypt was founded by the daughter of Ham; ‘Egyptus’ who had a son named ‘Pharaoh’.

The first government of Egypt; “…was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal” (Abraham 1:25)

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote:

“Egypt was not the only nation, in these early times, which attempted to imitate the patriarchal order of government. We have seen in Abraham’s record that this was the order of government in the reign of Adam, and down to the time of Noah.

“Naturally that form of government would be perpetuated in large degree by all tribes as they began to spread over the face of the earth. As men multiplied they organized first in the family group, then into tribes and eventually into nations. The greater powers would naturally occupy the most favored spots. Stronger tribes would overcome the weaker and force them to join the national government, or else they would be subdued and treated as slaves, or placed under tribute. As the patriarchal order was handed down from father to son so also would the political authority be perpetuated with the same claims to authority…” (The Progress of Man, 3rd ed. [1944], 100–101.)

Abraham explains that the rights of the priesthood were only handed down from proper Authorities and that The Pharaohs; “…would fain claim it from Noah…” (Abraham 1:27) Fain means “content or willing to accept an alternative when the more desirable thing cannot be attained” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, 2nd ed., 657). Therefore this “Fain Claim” was not proper authority.

Abraham ends this chapter by explaining that he had preserved records; “…concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.” (Abraham 1:31) Abraham kept records of the creation, the planets and the stars in order to preserve this record for the posterity that shall come after him.

1 Corinthians 8

1 Corinthians 8: Many God’s and Lord’s

                                Paul explains that knowledge is important, however we should not let knowledge go to our head. We should be humble and let Charity edify our knowledge. For “…if any many think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing…” (1 Corinthians 8:2) Those who believe that we as humans have all the knowledge are mistaken. This of course is NOT to discredit science, but we as humans need to understand that there is much more knowledge out there, that we have yet to learn. God of course is all knowing, and we being His offspring will also one day know everything.

Paul explains that there is ONE GOD, however there are multiples “gods” and “lords”; “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father…” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6) Paul explains that we are perfectly within our rights to eat meat that is offered unto an idol, for an idol is not a god or the God, it is made by man. Paul says that anything we do or do not eat will not affect our spirituality; “…for neither if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” (1 Corinthians 8:8)

Those with a strong conscience should respect those with a weak conscience and understand that judgment should be left unto God; “…take heed lest by any means this liberty [motivation to do good] of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9)

Acts 19

Acts 19: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

                While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper coasts of Epheus where he found certain Disciples of Christ who had not yet received the Holy Ghost;

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as head whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto the, Unto what then where ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2-6)

                When Paul had asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost, they knew nothing of it. These people thought they had received a valid baptism with the proper authority. However, Paul, an Apostle of the Lord told them that they had been baptized without the actual Authority. So when the people heard and understood this, they were RE-BAPTIZED, because a baptism without the proper Authority is just getting wet, and serves no purpose. Paul then gave them the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, by the proper Authority. Thus, it is important to have proper Authority to get a proper baptism. This Authority was lost some time after Paul was an Apostle, but has been restored in these Latter-days.

While in Ephesus Paul has a mixed response, but performs miraculous healings. The seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, try to exorcise by the name of the Lord Jesus. However, the evil spirits do not recognize them or their proper Authority and are beaten by the evil spirits. Many in Ephesus renounce occult objects. Demetrius, a maker of idols, opposes Paul because his business has suffered. A riot starts, which is finally calmed by a city clerk.

Isaiah 45-46

Isaiah 45-46

                These two chapters got me thinking… we know that there is no other god, besides God the Father… but verse 7 states that God creates evil and peace, lightness and darkness. But why, why would God create evil?

This is where most people who start to hate the idea of religion or God start to point fingers and say that if God loves us, why is there pain and suffering? To answer this question we have to go back to Deuteronomy 8:2-3; 5-6 during the 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness… which states:

“…thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna… man doth not live by bread only, but by ever good word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”

                “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; 5)

In the Book of Mormon we read further that “…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad…” (2 Nephi 2:11)

                Even though it sounds weird, God does love us and that is why bad things happen. We look at things as time is now… God looks at an eternal perspective which cannot be compared to our time here on earth and is ultimately for our own good.

Chapter 45: Come unto Christ

The Lord calls upon Cyrus to subdue nations. Cyrus and Israel will know the Lord, who formed the light and created darkness.

“I for the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

The skies are commanded to rain down righteousness, and the earth to bring forth salvation. Resisting the creator is foolish. God’s role as the creator of heaven and earth is emphasized alongside the deliverance of Israel via Cyrus. When the Lord is revealed as the true God, idolaters will submit and God’s people will be saved. The Lord has not concealed Himself, but let Himself be known. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth…” (Isaiah 45:22)

Chapter 46: Idols are not to be compared to God

False gods are carried away on carriages. The Lord will carry His people into old age. Golden idols are mute and incapable of offering help. The Lord knew the end from the beginning. A bird of prey shall be called from the East. Salvation will be placed in Zion, and glory in Israel.

Psalms 115-116

Psalms 115-116

Chapter 115: Idols are False Gods

Our God is in the heavens and not an Idol. In this Psalm the author explains why idols are False God’s.

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat” (Psalm 115:4-7)

                In other words, the author is telling us that idols are not god’s or even The God, because they cannot speak, hear, walk or feel. God the Father is like us, He has a body of flesh and blood. The only difference is that His body is perfected.  We are blessed of the Lord and we should always praise him and not idols, made by human hands.

Chapter 116: Precious in the eyes of the Lord, the Death of the Saints

The author starts off this Psalm by saying that he loves the Lord, because he hears his voice of supplication. He tells us that he will always call upon the Lord. The Lord preserves the simple and will help in times of trouble. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15)