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.

Hebrews 7

Hebrews 7: Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood

                In this chapter, Paul writes a letter to the Hebrews and starts off by telling them who Melchisedec was. Melchisedec was the King of Salem; “…who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all…” (Hebrews 7:1-2) This is very important to know, Abraham, who was counted by all as a very great man in the eyes of both God and men, was blessed by Melchisedec? Abraham also gave his tithes to Melchisedec, this would imply that Melchisedec was a very powerful and wise man in both the eyes of God and man.

Paul goes on to explain that Melchisedec was; “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7:3) Here we learn a lot about the character of Melchisedec, he had no parents, no ancestors and was made ‘like unto the Son of God’. If we were to take this scripture exactly as it is written, one could understand that Melchisedec was on the same level of Jesus Christ. However, more modern day revelation has revealed exactly what this scripture meant;

“This high priesthood [the priesthood that Melchisedec had] being after the order of his Son [Jesus Christ], which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things.” (The Book of Mormon; Alma 13:7)

                The Book of Mormon, which was written in the Americas during the time of the Old and New Testament of the Bible, explain that Melchisedec himself was not without father or mother, nor was HE himself made like unto Jesus Christ. Rather, the priesthood which Melchisedec held was without years. This priesthood was made from the foundation of the world and was made after the order of Jesus Christ. While we do not know much about Melchisedec, it is likely that he did actually have family. While we do not know all the facts, one thing we do know is that Melchisedec held a priesthood which was of the highest order. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through Jesus Christ we have been given this Priesthood Authority, which we call the “Melcizedek Priesthood” after the same order which Melchisadec belonged too.

Paul goes on to ask the Hebrews to consider; “…how great this man was, unto whom eve the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of his spoils.” (Hebrews 7:4) At this time, under the sons of Levi was the Priesthood after the order of Aaron, known as the Aaronic Priesthood. This priesthood was considered at the time to be the highest order. However Paul explains; “…what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisadec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”  (Hebrews 7:11) Paul, like the Hebrews was probably confused by this, but Paul clarifies that this priesthood did not come from the tribe of Levi. Rather it is “…far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there riseth another priest. Who is made, not after the law for a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (Hebrews 7:15-16)

Paul explains that when a priest would go into the temple to make a sacrifice for the peoples sins, they would often times have to make a first sacrifice for their own sins. This would make them pure enough to facilitate a sacrifice for the sins of others. However, with the high priests, who were after the order of Melchisadec; “…needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his owns sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:27)

Paul explains that a High Priest; “…is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26)

Psalms 109-110

Psalms 109-110

Chapter 109: Cursing’s of the wicked

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David

                David speaks of the wicked people who curse him with “…a lying tongue.” (Psalms 109:2) David prays that his adversaries will be confounded.

We also learn from David a little about how the church of Jesus Christ is set up and run and how priesthood authority and keys are transferred. “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” (Psalms 109:8). Here it is talking about the office of leadership. We read more about this in Acts… “…Let his habitation be desolate and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.” (Acts 1:20)

Chapter 110: Melchizedek

A Psalm of David

                Here we learn about Melchizedek, who was a great prophet. Jesus Christ shall sit on the Lord’s right hand and shall be forever “…a priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:4)

Unfortunately not a lot is written in the Bible about Melchizedek. We do learn a little more from Hebrews Chapter 7. Melchizedek or “Melchisedec” in the Bible was “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3) Melchizedek was compared to Jesus Christ, and after Melcizedek does the priesthood go to Jesus Christ.

Melchizedek was a great prophet and high priest that according to modern scripture in the Book of Mormon “…none were greater…” (Alma 13:19). Melchizedek was so highly esteemed by God, that it is after his name that we identify the highest priesthood “…the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:3-4)

                *as a side note: Verse 1 reads: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalms 110:1) This one verse of scripture is believed to be (by most historians) to be the most confusing and/or most talked about verse of the Bible. It is confusing for many reasons:

  1. Many people believe that Jehovah is speaking to God (or in other words “Jehovah” being Jesus Christ is actually speaking to God the Father or “Elohim”. This however doesn’t make sense, because “Jehovah” was the “God of the Old Testament”
  2. In the Hebrew text it reads: “Jehovah said unto Adonai” which ‘Adonai’ is a title or term of respect. Some believe that the other “Lord” was used as a substitution for “Adonai” and was actually speaking about David himself.
  3. However, David has used this to say he sits on the right side of God like he is Jehovah. (See Psalms 16:8 and 16:11)

Genesis 13-15

Genesis 13-15

Chapter 13: Abram’s Seed

Abram leaves Egypt with Lot and Sarai. We learn that Abram was a very wealthy man, with lots of cattle, silver and gold. They return to the place where they were before reaching Egypt, between Beth-el and Hai, where he had built an altar unto the Lord.

Lot’s herdmen and Abram’s herdmen get into a fight and Abram asks Lot (to avoid more contention and fighting) to just go his own way, Lot decides this is best as well and he separates from Abram. Lot journeys to the plain of Jordan, and Abram stays behind in the land of Canaan.  Abram pitches his tent toward Sodom, which we learn is full of wickedness and sin.

Once Lot and Abram were separated, God tells Abram that his seed will be numbered as the dust of the earth. God tells Abram that he can have any land he wants, and he decides to go to the plain of Mamre in Hebron, where he builds an altar unto the Lord.

Chapter 14: Melchizedek and Abram

In the days of…

  • Amraphel king of Shinar
  • Arioch king of Ellasar
  • Chedorlaomer king of Elam
  • Tidal king of the nations

Started war with…

  • Bera king of Sodom
  • Birsha king of Gomorrah
  • Shinab king of Admah
  • Shemeber king of Zebojim
  • Zoar king of Bela.

For twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

This battle goes on for a while, known as the “Battle of the kings”

They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Lot and all his goods. When Abram finds out that his nephew Lot was taken captive he takes 318 of his own men and pursues them into Dan. He continues to pursue them until he has all the goods and all the goods of Lot, Lot and his women.

Melchizedek, the king of Salem comes forth to bless Abram and breaks bread and brings wine to bless them, as he was a high priest of God. Abram gives Melchizedek tithes.

Chapter 15: Abram Receives Offspring

Abram is a little upset, because he has no offspring. He asks God in a vision why he cannot have offspring, the Lord re-assures him that if he can count the number of stars in heaven… so shall the number of his offspring be.