Luke 13

Luke 13: Repent or Perish

Jesus tells us that the Galileans who were killed by Pilate at a sacrifice, or the eighteen people who were killed by a falling tower at Siloam, were not worse sinners than anyone else. He says; “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

He speaks of the Parable of the Fig Tree;

“…A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sough fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find non: cut it down…. he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well: and if it not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (Luke 13:7-9) Essentially the certain man was God, and He was coming to remove any fruit that did not produce good fruit, while the dresser of the vineyard, Prophets, Apostles and other men on earth plead with the Lord to give that tree or person another year to produce good fruit. If it were not for the dressers of the vineyard, the bad plants would have been cut and burned.

While teaching in the Synagogue a woman who had a problem with her spine came in and was healed and straightened out by the Lord. The ruler of the synagogue was displeased by this action on the Sabbath, and Jesus responds; “…Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?” (Luke 13:15) The man was a complete hypocrite and did not allow for a woman to be healed, but could lead his animals to drink.

Jesus then explains that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, and leaven. The Mustard seed is the smallest of all the seeds, yet is one of the biggest when fully grown. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate to salvation, which will eventually be shut, causing wailing and gnashing of teeth, for Jesus will say; “… I know you not…” (Luke 13:27) Jesus laments for Jerusalem and its unwillingness, saying; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather he brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34) 

Luke 6

Luke 6: Blessing for the Obedient… woes for the Wicked

                On the second Sabbath, Jesus and His Apostles travel through a corn field and plucked ears of corn because they were hungry. Without having stepped much further the Scribes and Pharisees were ready to find fault and begin questioning Jesus; “…Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” (Luke 6:2) Jesus responds; “…Have ye not read so much  as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? …the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:3-5)

The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus doing anything wrong, but even their so called mastery of the scriptures and the word of God was no match for the Son of God himself. The Pharisees did err, because they knew not the scriptures. How could they not see that Jesus was the Christ? The Son of God!?

Jesus continues His journey and enters into a Synagogue to teach, while He was there He saw a man whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and Pharisees again stood by waiting to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, and therefore find fault for having healed on the Sabbath. Jesus of course knew their intentions and asked the man to come near and stand up, He then asked the man; “…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) Jesus then asked the man to stretch forth his hand so he could heal it, and the hand was restored to a perfect condition.

The Pharisees were angered and communed with one another to figure out what to do with Jesus, for He was clearly violating what they had made up or misunderstood about His own law. The Sabbath day should be kept as a reverent, holy day unto the Lord. If at all possible we should avoid activities that draw away from the Savior or do not bring peace into our homes. Sabbath days are meant to be a day of rest, but also a day of service. The Sabbath is the time to go to church, worship God and spend time with Family. We should avoid working or shopping on this day, so that others can honor the Sabbath day.

Jesus leaves the Pharisees and goes to a mountain to pray (where He prays all night to decide who to call to be His Apostles), those chosen the next day are; Simon (who is also named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Phillips, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas and Judas Iscariot. Jesus speaks to His apostles and those gathered;

“…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus taught that all things will be made right for those trials we go through in life. Jesus continues to address the people gathered; “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, regardless of what they do to us.

Jesus explains that we must be charitable and give unto others. For what we sow, so shall we reap; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

Jesus continues by explaining that:

  • The blind cannot lead the blind (Luke 6:39-40)
  • Do not judge others when you, yourself are not perfect (Luke 6:41-42)
  • Every tree brings forth its own fruit, and is known by that fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Most importantly Jesus explains that those who follow Him, and actually do as He has taught will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock, with a solid foundation. However, those who don’t listen to Jesus or follow His teachings will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the floods come the one without a foundation will be washed away. This metaphor can be used in our own lives, if we do not ground ourselves in the doctrines of Christ and follow Him each day… when the storms of Satan come and he tempts us, we might just give into those temptations and wash away.

Jesus asks those who follow Him; “…why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Earlier in Matthew we read that Jesus taught; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in haven.” (Matthew 7:21) Because of this, we are Saved by grace and good works. We cannot simply say we believe in Christ. To believe in Jesus, means that you believe His teachings, and if you believe His teachings you are a follower. Therefore if you follow Jesus, you believe in Him, are a follower of Him and do the will, and good works.

Matthew 12

Matthew 12:

The Lord of the Sabbath 

Jesus goes through a cornfield on the Sabbath, He and His Apostles pluck ears of corn to eat. However when the Pharisees see this, they try to find Jesus in contempt of the Sabbath. Jesus tells them otherwise; “…Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat of the showbread…” (Matthew 12:3-4) Jesus tells them “…the Son of man is Lord even on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8) Essentially Jesus is telling them that when work has to be done or when someone is hungry, the rules of the Sabbath and keeping it Holy does not apply.

Jesus leaves the field and enters into the synagogue, there a man asks him; “…Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? … And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold of it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days?” (Matthew 12:10-12) The man in the synagogue wanted to catch Jesus in a trap and try to accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. However, Jesus makes it very clear that we are not to follow the old law (Law of Moses), where one would have to count steps on the Sabbath day. Jesus makes it very clear that we need to do good on the Sabbath. What good should we do? This is where we need to look at each situation on a case-by-case account. For example, someone is sick and you are out of medicine; In general is it acceptable to go to the store on a Sunday? No. However if someone is sick and no medicine is to be found, going to the store and “breaking” the Sabbath would be appropriate in order to follow the general law of “doing good” on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees continue to persecute Jesus and even hold a counsel on how they plan to destroy Him. Jesus hears this and departs; from here, someone who is possessed by an evil spirit comes across His path. Jesus heals him and makes the blind to see and the dumb to speak. People stand in awe and ask how this is possible. The Pharisees jump into to criticize Jesus; “…This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” (Matthew 12:24), essentially the Pharisees are saying that Jesus is not the Son of God, but a devil himself and by the power of the devil He is casting out devils. Doesn’t sound logical, right? Well Jesus knew their thoughts and their intentions of catching him in another trap to accuse him of doing wrong. Jesus tells them; “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? …But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:25-28)

                Jesus continues to tell the Pharisees that He could not be casting out devils by the Spirit of the Devil, but only by the Spirit of God. He tells those gathered; “He that is not with me is against me… Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:30-31)

                Jesus tells them that by speaking ill of the Son of Man and denying the Holy Ghost by not recognizing His power and authority they are in jeopardy of their salvation. He reminds them that good men seek good treasures and evil men, seek evil treasures. He tells them “…every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) Jesus is essentially telling them that they will be judged according to their works and their words. Our actions and words are recorded in heaven and will be put into account in the Day of Judgment.

The Pharisees continue to persecute Jesus and ask Him for a sign, Jesus reminds us that we should not ask for signs, but instead ask for the Spirit of God to be with us. Jesus tells us that “…An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it…” (Matthew 12:39), therefore we should not seek after signs to prove what we already know to be true through the Holy Ghost. Those who seek signs have denied the Holy Ghost and are in serious jeopardy of not being forgiven. Remember that all we do, good and evil are recorded in heaven for the Day of Judgment. So we need to focus on doing good and following God always.

Ezekiel 45-46

Ezekiel 45-46

Chapter 45: Offer sacrifices

Portions of land (inheritances of the Israelites) are appointed for the Temple, the city, and the prince. Regulations concerning weights and measures are given (see verses 10-17). Ordinances regarding provisions for the ordinary and extraordinary sacrifices (ie for the major feasts) are also given (see verses 18-25).

Chapter 46: Ordinances and sacrifices

The gate of the inner court facing eastwards is only opened on Sabbaths and new moons. The prince shall offer six lambs and a ram on the Sabbath. Further stipulations for new moon offerings are also given. The prince will leave by the gate he entered through, but at the big feasts, the people will leave by the opposite gate to the one they came in by. Stipulations are also given for princely peace offerings. Stipulations for daily offerings are also given. Ordinances prescribed for the gifts a prince may bestow on his sons and servants – a servant’s gift must be returned if the servant is set at liberty. Measurements of the courts appointed for boiling or baking of the holy oblations are also given.

Ezekiel 19-20

Ezekiel 19-20

Chapter 19: Ezekiel laments for Israel

Jerusalem is compared to a lioness – the first of her young is Jehoahaz, removed from power by the king of Egypt; the second is Jehoiakim, brought in chains to Babylon. The Jewish nation is a vine that flourished, but was plucked up in fury and planted in the wilderness, in dry and thirsty ground. Ezekiel laments for Israel, because their fruitfulness is gone.

Chapter 20: Failing to keep the commandments

The Elders of Israel come to ask Ezekiel’s counsel. God commands Ezekiel to speak of them and their rebellion and idolatry, in Egypt, and in the wilderness and in Canaan. Ezekiel tells them of the importance of the Sabbath Day, he tells them that the Lord said; “…hallow my sabbaths; and they hall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20). This shows us that by going to church and keeping the Sabbath day holy, we are showing God that we know he is there and likewise the Lord will return that favor and help us in our lives. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy? Well for starters church is very important, along with: reading scriptures, participating in family activities that are wholesome and refraining from doing work on that day. This also means that you shouldn’t make someone else have to work. Therefore, refraining from shopping is very important. However, Ezekiel reminds them that if they turn their faces towards the Lord, that they will be restored.  Jerusalem is represented as a forest doomed to be destroyed by fire.

Jeremiah 17-18

Jeremiah 17-18

Chapter 17: Keep the Sabbath Day

Judah is fatally inclined to idolatry. The happiness of the man that trusts in the Lord is contrasted with the man that trusted in man.

“…Cursed be the man that trusteth in man… and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:5) God alone knows the deceit and wretchedness of the heart of man. A comparison is made between a bird’s hatching the eggs of another species, which will soon forsake her, and the vanity of them is ill-acquired riches. Jeremiah talks of his sincerity, and prays that the evil intended him by his enemies may revert on their own heads. “Let them be confounded that persecute me…” (Jeremiah 17:18)

God will always fight our battles for us, if we follow His commandments. Therefore if someone is persecuting you, for what you believe… the Lord will protect you, by confounding them!

Jeremiah tells us that the people “…say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now.” (Jeremiah 17:15) Those who believe in the Word of God and know when something is from God, because they can feel His spirit, will know and accept the Book of Mormon as Word of God. The “Word” of God is not limited to the “Bible”, the Bible is indeed part of the Word of God, but is not His complete record or Word.

“…hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein.” (Jeremiah 17:24)

In Jeremiah 17:22-27 we read about the importance of the keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The Lord speaks to us through the writings of Jeremiah saying that we must not do any work on the Sabbath Day. This means that we should not be working to make money or make others work. We can however serve or do things that relax us and put us closer to God.

Chapter 18: Repent and God will Repent

The house of Israel is like clay in the hands of a potter. The inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem are invited to repent; their refusal is as unnatural as someone preferring the snowy Lebanon or barren rock to a fruitful plain, or other waters to the cool stream of the fountain. Those who continue to do in evil in the sight of the Lord will be punished, and those who repent will have the anger and wrath of God withheld from them. A conspiracy is formed against Jeremiah, who appeals to God, and curses his enemies. The Jews will be scattered.

Psalms 91-92

Psalms 91-92

Chapter 91: The Lord will deliver

Those who love the Lord will have a refuge and be placed under the “wings” of the Lord in His fortress. Terror, pestilence, and war will come and those who are with the Lord will be ok.

“There shall no evil befall thee… he shall give his angels charge over thee… they shall be thee up in their hands…” (Psalms 91:10-12)           

Chapter 92: A Song for the Sabbath Day

A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day.

                “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises… To shew forth… lovingkindness in the morning… and… every night.” (Psalms 92:1-2)

                We need to prayer, morning and night, simple yet important. We need to not only pray, but sing unto the Lord. “A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a food understand this.” (Psalms 92:6) Those who are wicked and bash those who believe in God or Jesus will never understand why we believe. They think it is stupid, but those who believe in God know the truth and know that He is there for us.

Nehemiah 9-10

Nehemiah 9-10

Chapter 9: Jews Fast and Confess Sins

On the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. They stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; and for another quarter they confessed and worshiped the Lord.

Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord. The Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said:

“Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day. And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.

                Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments;  And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage; but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and with eldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.

Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it. So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.” (Nehemiah 9:5-25)

Anytime a nation forsakes the Lord and his prophets, being disobedient to the Laws of God… Nothing GOOD will ever come from it!

“Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.

Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:26-31)

Even after people have sinned and gone against the words of the Lord and his prophets, if they turn to the Lord again, they can always have a chance for redemption. The prayer continues…

“Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.

Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.” (Nehemiah 9:32-38)

This chapter is for the most part a prayer to God, where the Jews confess their sins and he Levites bless and praise the Lord.

Chapter 10: Sabbath Day and Tithes

Those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.

The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel. Their brethren: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Bani, and Beninu.

The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The rest of the people; the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding; these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:

Those statutes, made by the above named individuals were as follows;

  • We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons;
  • If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:31)
  • Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God.

They cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord. They made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of their ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; to bring the firstborn of their sons and their cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of their herds and their flocks, to the house of God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; to bring the firstfruits of their dough, their offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of their land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all the farming communities. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.

In this chapter we learn a lot about the importance of tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy, see Nehemiah 10:31 and 38.

Leviticus 23-24

Leviticus 23-24

Chapter 23: Weekly Sabbath

In the seventh month on the first day of the month, the children of Israel are commanded to have a Sabbath that includes the memorial of lowing trumpets. For the first week of the seventh month shall be a week of sacrifices   On the 9th day of the seventh month shall be a Sabbath of rest from evening to evening. On the 10th day of the seventh month, shall be a day of Atonement.

Chapter 24: Law of Israel
A perpetual fire shall burn without the vail in the tabernacle. Anyone who blasphemes God, shall be stoned to death. Israel’s law is straightforward; an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Exodus 31-32

Exodus 31-32

Chapter 31: Sabbath Day

The Lord speaks to Moses and tells him that he has called Bezaleel to be an artisan for the  temple, working with God, Silver, Brass, cutting stones and carving timber.

The Lord reminds Moses and Israel that the Sabbath day is a holy day, where no work should be done. Those who work on the Sabbath shall be “put to death”. Really emphasizing the importance of the Sabbath day, and respecting it. This being one of the 10 commandments that God wrote into the two tablets with his finger on the Mt. Sinai.

Chapter 32: Golden Calf

 

The Lord speaks to Moses in the Mount, and while he is speaking to the Lord, the children of Israel sin. Aaron asks Israel for all the gold, so that he can make a “god”, a golden calf, so that they can worship it. The Lord tells Moses about this and commands him to come off the Mount to stop them. The Lord is angry, but Moses tells God to spare the children of Israel and to remember his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). The Lord “repents” of his decision.  Interesting point here: Does God, being all powerful and all knowing, REPENT? I don’t think so. That is why we have the Joseph Smith Translation of the King James Version:

 

King James Version (KJV); Exodus 32:14:

“And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people”

 

Joseph Smith’s “New Translation” of the King James Version; Inspired Version (KJV-JST); Exodus 32:14:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, If they will repent of the evil which they have done, I will spare them,

and turn away my fierce wrath; but, behold, thou shalt execute judgment upon all that will not repent of

this evil this day. Therefore, see thou do this thing that I have commanded thee, or I will execute all that

which I had thought to do unto my people.”

 

This to me is a testament to the changes that were made in the Bible, because the inspired version that Joseph Smith Translation makes much more sense and leaves me with a sense of understanding, knowing that this is truly of divine inspiration.

But to finish off the story, Moses asks the people of Israel; “…Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Exodus 32:26).

Moses tells the children of Israel that he will do his best to make an atonement for them. Moses goes before the Lord and pleads for the forgiveness of the people. The Lord tells Moses that he will “blot out” the names of those who have sinned from the book. Essentially excommunicating those who had sinned before God.