Sunday, July 26, 2015

Building my own Tower? Or Trusting in Him?

As we read in Genesis 11 we can learn again the patterns after which God works.

In this account of Tower of Babel we see the people come into unity. Unity is exactly what God wants for His children when we are in unity towards Him, His righteousness and His ways; however this unity was not the kind of unity that Jesus Christ teaches us to have.

. The unity that these individuals were forming could be compared to the unity of the Gadiantion Robbers; Those in the great and spacious building; Priest-craft Leaders and Anti-Christs. These individuals desired to have their own name to be known of. Considering one of the first things that Jesus Christ asks His disciples to do is take upon themselves His name, we can clearly see the opposing evil at work in influencing these actions.

In Genesis 9, one of the commandments of God within the covenant that He made with men concerning Him never flooding the earth again, He instructed them to " Be fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein." ( Vs. 5 )

From the writing of the Jewish Historian, Josephus, He mentions that God had commanded this people to send colonies abroad for the future abundance of people in the earth, but they enjoyed their prosperity of living together and they did not desire to follow God's commands. Thus understanding that they were being disobedient, they began to build a tower to reach the heavens not only because they did not trust that God would ever bring them to heaven, as they were disobeying Him, but also because they understood they were breaking their covenants with Him, therefore He was not bound to keep His covenant of not sending a flood to the earth again. ( Josephus, Flavius, " Antiquities of the Jews ", Book 1, Chapter 4, verse 1-3 )

One witness that we have manifesting truth in these Jewish writings is the fact that the tower was made with thick burnt brick and cemented together with bitumen and mortar which are water proof. 

 These individuals had the attitude that they could disobey God, avoid the consequences, glorify themselves with their own name , and get to heaven on their terms.

The result was God changing their language. God knew that if they could not put evil into each others minds, less evil would spread.....

The pattern that we can see is God taking evil, separating it, and trying to preserve the good.  We see this pattern in the Book of Mormon as we learn about the Lord's Vineyard:

Jacob 5:15  

 And behold, saith the Lord of the vineyard, I take away many of these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will; and it mattereth not that if it so be that the root of this tree will perish, I may preserve the fruit thereof unto myself; wherefore, I will take these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will.

Because of the Book of Mormon account of the Brother of Jared in the book of Ether, we learn that these people were scattered, or that they were grafted into another area of the earth that hey may be preserved from Babylon, or evil. 

The Jaredites left at the time of the Tower of Babel and their language was preserved because of their willingness to obey God's commands. ( Ether 1:42 ) 

As I consider these things and I ponder upon my own life and the way that these things can relate to me?  I ask myself if I am living my life in a manner that I know that I can trust that God will keep His promises to me? ( I thee Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no such promise. D&C 82:10 ) , or do I seek for my own name, and my own will, to do things in my way as those that were building the Tower of Babel were doing in their lives? 

I hope and desire to want His will in my life even more than I already do wish for His will....I want my desire for His will to be strong enough that I will seek more to know His will, and spend less time on the things that I think I can control because I am not trusting Him... Perhaps their are ways that I am spending time building my own tower because I lack trust or faith in His promises? These are the things I will consider and work on.

 I am deeply thankful for the scripture accounts that remind me of the things that I can do better in my life. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Genesis 11 

 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us aname, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Genesis 9

:9 I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed
We speak of the book of Genesis as one of the five books of Moses. However, the text was not written by Moses, or at least, it has been modified since it came from his hand. In fact, the scribes who wrote this text lived centuries after Moses. Three different scribes are responsible for the text in Genesis. Scholars have concluded, "It is thus impossible to speak in any strict sense of the author of Genesis." It was a compilation of written and oral traditions by scribes, or redactors, named J, E, and P. (The Interpreter's Bible, ed. by G. A. Buttrick et al [New York, Abingdon Press, 1952] vol. 1, p. 439-440)
These scribes did not understand any priesthood other than the Aaronic. They did fully understand covenants or temple ordinances pertaining to the higher priesthood. They had lost much of the doctrine related to the great prophet Enoch. Therefore, Joseph Smith had to change many verses to make up for doctrinal problems, especially in Genesis chapter 9.
Noah was to receive a new and everlasting covenant. It was new to him but it existed from everlasting to everlasting. The last recipient of the previous dispensation was Enoch. That is why the text was changed by the Prophet Joseph to read:
I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto your father Enoch, concerning your seed after you. (JST Gen. 9:15)
Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying:
I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods.
And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods that he would call upon the children of Noah.
And he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations, while the earth should stand; (Moses 7:50-52)
"In the King James Version there is no hint of any covenant between God and Adam or any of the patriarchs between Adam and Noah, a space of time covering some fifteen hundred years. And even the covenant that is mentioned in connection with Noah is not spoken of as a gospel or a priesthood covenant. Thus the King James Bible leaves the impression that there was no visible connection between Adam, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham.
"By contrast, the JST speaks of Adam's having had the priesthood and the gospel, and it shows that these were given also to Enoch, and then to Noah, and then to Melchizedek, and then to Abraham-the same covenant, the same priesthood, the same gospel." (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 122.)
Gen 9:13 my bow in the cloud... shall be for a token of a covenant
Bruce R. McConkie
The inference is that the rainbow is being shown forth for the first time and that for some reason unknown to us it had not been manifest before. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 415.)
Joseph Smith
The inhabitants of the earth are asleep: they know not the day of their visitation. The Lord hath set the bow in the cloud for a sign that while it shall be seen, seed time and harvest, summer and winter shall not fail; but when it shall disappear, woe to that generation, for behold the end cometh quickly. (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 1: 186.)
Joseph Smith
The Savior will not come this year, nor forty years to come. The bow has been seen in the cloud, and in that year that the bow is seen, seed time and harvest will be. But when the bow ceases to be seen, look out for a famine.
I have asked of the Lord concerning his coming, and while asking, the Lord gave me a sign and said: "In the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the bow should be seen, the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time [and] harvest during that year. But whenever you see the bow withdraw, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 113.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

God's Pattern of Covenant Making In The Old Testament

As we read in the Old Testament, in Genesis 9 we can learn a great deal about God's patterns or the ways in which He  teaches His children on the earth.

In these chapters we are given our first example of  God's use of signs and tokens with His children, as they make covenants with Him. 

As God gives instructions to His children; as He asks us to be obedient to His orders; many times He is establishing a covenants with us.

The highest order of covenants God makes with His children are made in His Holy House; His Temples; but as we take a closer look at these recorded patterns in the scriptures, we see God's glory in Latter-Day Saint Temples revealed.

The word Covenant means alliance, pledge, treaty or ordinance.

The  sign is the way one must observe instructions.

The Token is the blessing given or proof of recognition of the covenant.

One of the recorded covenants God made with man was made with Noah in these chapters. God told Noah to build the ark as a sign of his faith and obedience. Noah keeping his end of the covenant by building the ark and following all the instructions pertaining to this enormous task was not only a blessing given to Noah and his family, but also to all of God's children as this allowed all life on earth even us now to live and thrive.

Genesis 6:

 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

After Noah observed and kept all of his promises in this covenant God gave a token or proof of His end of the promise being kept in the form of a rainbow:

 Genesis 9:
 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

The beauty of making and keeping covenants with God is that although they are between Him and us, or Him, us and our spouses, they do bless EVERYONE that ever existed or that will exist.
Because Noah kept His covenants, we are all blessed upon the earth. So it is with us, as we keep our covenants we are blessing our future posterity and even those that our posterity will be involved with, as our blessings are manifested through the sealing power.

As we take a deeper look at the remembrance of the promise given, or the token of the rainbow in the sky, we can see Jesus Christ in this covenant...

Jesus Christ is the light of the world ( John 8:12 )

A rainbow appears in the sky, only after the rain, which can be representation of the cleansing that our repentance through Jesus Christ  brings. 

In a rainbow the raindrops create a prism in a sense that allow the light to come through and create beauty full of colors. 

As we repent we are washed clean and Christ's light can shine through us and create our own personal beauty; transforming us into holy creatures.

Each time that we see a rainbow we can remember the pattern after which God desires to work with all of His children; with in the law of covenants and the blessings that can come from keeping promises with Him. 

I am eternally thankful for temples and the sacrifices made by so many to allow the work in temples in making and keeping covenants with Him for ourselves, and all of His children, even if they are passed to go forth through out the world. 

As I keep my temple covenants I feel the strength of His Atonement working in my life. My desire is too keep my covenants more fully, until someday I can keep them perfectly through Him my Savior and love. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

( I found additional examples of signs and tokens given in the scriptures...for additional examples we can read in Exodus chapter 13 and many other books.) 

                    ( Photo taken from our car in SLC, Utah on family trip only two days ago )