Ezekiel 17-18

Ezekiel 17-18

Chapter 17: Parable of Israel

Ezekiel shows in a parable of Israel, how Israel will be subject to Babylon.  It goes like this…

An eagle (Babylon) on the top branches of a cedar tree, takes it off. It also takes the seed of the land and plants it in a fruitful field. The seed becomes a vine. The vine bent to another eagle (Egypt), and is promptly destroyed by the first eagle. Changing his tone, the Lord says he will take the highest branch of the cedar tree and set it in the mountain of the height of Israel (Zion), where it shall prosper. This will happen in the last days from a goodly tree in the cedars of Lebanon.

Chapter 18: Punished for our own sins

The word of the Lord came unto Ezekiel and tells him that Men shall be punished for their own sins, sinners shall die, and the righteous shall save their souls. Anyone who sins and does not repent will not be saved.

The Lord says; “…all souls are mine… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4-5)

One important thing to get out of this chapter is that you are only responsible for YOUR OWN SINS! “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son…” (Ezekiel 18:20)

For this reason I don’t understand some religious beliefs that claim an “original sin” and for this purpose needing a baptism for this original sin to be “cleansed”. First of all we are not responsible for others sins, and therefore the idea of an “original sin” is blaspheme. In the LDS church we believe: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith, 2) Therefore if we are not to be punished for other’s sin, then why does a baby who has done nothing wrong in the world… therefore is innocent, need a baptism? Baptism is for people who can sin, and can understand they have sinned and are mentally able to repent of those sins. In the Book of Mormon it speaks of the horrible practice of infant baptism.

“Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician…  children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me… wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children… this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children. And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! (Moroni 8: 8-12, Book of Mormon)

Proverbs 11-12

Proverbs 11-12

Chapter 11: We Need to Save Souls

The works of good vs. the works of evil and their respective rewards are contrasted in this chapter.

“An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.” (Proverbs 11:9)

                Those who have no knowledge or very little knowledge will easily become a hypocrite. However, the righteous will overcome the hypocrite with knowledge.

“He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor; but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Proverbs 11:12)

Someone who is uneducated and completely lacking any class or wisdom will hate his neighbor, but the man who is righteous, with knowledge and class will just hold it inside.

“…he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) When it really comes down to everything in this life, the most important thing is to save your soul and the souls of those around you. Spread good will and be GOOD to everyone around you. Do as Jesus would.

Chapter 12: The Way of the Fool is Right… in his OWN EYES.

This chapter opens up with the simple “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” (Proverbs 12:1) Essentially this is saying that those who love knowledge and instruction love criticism, because they know it will make them better. Those however who hate criticism and don’t want to be corrected are like savages and beasts.

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is a rottenness in his bones” (Proverbs 12:4) I think this is a great verse, first we learn that women and men should be “virtuous, which is defined as: 1. with moral integrity: having or showing moral goodness or righteousness and 2. chaste: not having sexual intercourse with anyone except a partner in marriage, especially a husband.

So we learn that we need to be morally clean and have sex only in the bounds of marriage. If a woman is morally clean and generally a good person, a man should seek her out and desire those traits. When found, that man should hold his wife to high esteem and consider her precious and of great worth. However if a woman (or man for the ladies) comes a long and is not one of those things, then it really is like a rotten cancer that has no place in that person’s life.

In this chapter we also learn of the value of animal life; “A righteous man regardeth the life of the beast…” (Proverbs 12:10) Does that mean that we can’t kill animals? No, we most certainly can… if it is for food. In modern scriptures we read; “For behold the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment , and that he might have in abundance.” (Doctrine and Covenants  49:19) So like this Proverb states, we should regard the life of the animal and only kill when it is necessary.

Finally this Proverbs ends nicely with a great reminder to those who like to hear their own voice… “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness” (Proverbs 12:23) Those who claim to know it all and keep talking like they know it all will eventually (if not immediately) spew foolishness from their mouths.

Proverbs 3-4

Proverbs 3-4

Chapter 3: Trust in the Lord… Not your own Wisdom

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not be wise in your own eyes. We need to trust the Lord and not our own understanding of things. How much do we really know? Everyone claims to know everything, yet we still fight over questions like the meaning of life. While those who don’t believe or trust in God are fighting over those questions… those who do believe in God and trust in him already have answers to those questions.

“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:12)

This is like the “Don’t touch the stove, or it’ll burn you” A parent loves their children, unfortunately sometimes the children must learn for themselves… they touch the stove even though they were warned not too… and now they are hurting. God is the same way, he lays out commandments and then when people break them they cry out in pain. For example, God commands that we get married and refrain from pre-marital sex, then people decide not to follow this commandment and we are now left with teen mothers, single mothers, broken families and sexually transmitted diseases.

Chapter 4: Wisdom

“Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not; neither let it decline…” (Proverbs 4:5)

                “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)

As a father would instruct his kids, get as much knowledge as possible! Education is so important, life skills, experiences all these things that cannot be given to us… but they are the only thing that can be taken with us in the next life.

“Take fast hold of instruction… Enter not into the path of the wicked…Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day… Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:13-23)

                We need to take instruction when needed, listen to advice and respect those who go out of their way to give it to us. Don’t go down the path of the wicked, but follow the path that shines more and more daily. If we keep our heart clean, then we will know what is right and wrong.