Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Same Which Was from the Beginning

We're at a disadvantage here because we only have the English text, but 'beginning' translates very interesting words.  In the Hebrew of Genesis it's bereishit, 'with / in the principal one,' which one of the Targums translates as 'with Wisdom.'  In the Greek of John 1 and Genesis 1 it's 'arche,' which also means 'dominion' or 'power.'  I wish we had the underlying Hebrew of these verses, because they could imply either that Jesus and Satan (the "accuser") are sons of the same mother, Wisdom, or that they are both priests.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

To Dress It, and to Keep It

To "dress" the Garden in the Hebrew of Genesis is le'avdah, to "work" or "service" it, 'avoda being the technical work for service in the temple.  Adam is a priest, placed in the temple to do temple work.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Became Into Four Heads

This river starts in Eden, then flows out of Eden to water the garden.  This implies a water that exists both in the Holy of Holies and also in the Hekal, split by the veil, which is what Moses 2 also tells us.  Somehow, the waters of the Holy of Holies were fourfold, corresponding to the four directions (and the four cherubim?).

We're told the names of the rivers and the lands to which they flow.  Also, we hear that the river Hiddekel flows east, and the Pison "compasseth" (surrounds) Havilah, where there are gold, bdellium, and onyx.  "Havilah" is strikingly reminiscent of "Eve" in Hebrew: CH-V-I-L-H and CH-V-H.  Did the river Pison surround the tree of life in the land of Eve?  The temple furnishings, including the ark, are gold; bdellium is a myrrh-like spice, but the only other mention of it in the Bible is in a comparison to manna, a pot of which was kept in the ark; the high priest wore two onyx stones in his breastplate.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the river Pison encompassed the Holy of Holies.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spiritually, Before They Were Naturally

We know by now that the creation accounts of Genesis and Moses are rituals.  Moses clarifies that the rituals enact the spiritual creation of the world and its contents--the form, essence, design, or meaning of the world, and not its tangible substance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After Six Days

Tonight the kids and I read the account of the Mount of Transfiguration.  There's a lot to say about this, but tonight I noticed a particular detail.

The action begins with Jesus taking Peter, James, and John into a high mountain "after six days."

What else happens in and after six days?  In six days God creates the earth, and on the seventh -- after six days -- he rests.

Is that a picture of what Mormon is talking about when he says that the shalem followers of Christ "enter into the rest of the Lord"?  After six days -- after experiencing the creation -- they have an experience like the Mount of Transfiguration, with the preparatory prophet Elias, the three "tabernacles," the cloud, the voice of God, and the appearance of Jesus?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fowl Which May Fly

The fowls of the air are also part of both the creation and the Worship of the Shalems.  In the latter, whereas grass is clothed, the birds are fed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I, God, Made Two Great Lights

I'm not sure what to make of this, given the clear temple connections we've seen so far.

Might there have been separate lamps, one in the Debir and one in the Hekal?  Might this be part of the source of the confusion?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Let the Earth Bring Forth Grass

The earth brings forth grass (as it does in Genesis).  This is provocative because in Isaiah 40, following the revelation of the "glory of the Lord" the shalems collectively compare themselves, and all flesh, to grass.  The self-humiliating comparison to grass is part of the Worship of the Shalems, connected with the appearance of the Lord and the shalems' clothing at his hands.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Darkness for Light

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)

I read this verse today and realized that this is the moment when the lamp of the holy of holies was moved into the hekal, switching light and darkness, and the bitter and sweet waters. Cf. Exodus 15 and 1 Nephi 8.

Book coming in October.

The Mystery of the Religion of the Gospel

Found this on Wikipedia today.  Made my hair stand on end.

Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335–395), believed that the Prophet Esaias (Isaiah) ‘knew more perfectly than all others the mystery of the religion of the Gospel.’ Jerome (c. 342–420) also lauds the Prophet Esias, saying, ‘He was more of an Evangelist than a Prophet, because he described all of the Mysteries of the Church of Christ so vividly that you would assume he was not prophesying about the future, but rather was composing a history of past events.’

Let There Be a Firmament

The firmament I take to be the second occurrence in the creation narrative of the veil.  This suggests a division of the waters of the temple into waters in the Holy of Holies and waters in the Hekal.  This is striking in light of Nephi's vision, in which the flowing river is "living waters" and "a representation of the love of God" when beside the tree (i.e., in the Holy of Holies), but are "filthy" and the "depths of hell" when beside the mists of darkness (i.e., in the Hekal).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let There Be Light

The first thing God creates is light; he then divides it from the darkness.

I will omit the links, since I've posted them often, but John 1, Isaiah 9, Alma 5, 2 Nephi 1, 2 Nephi 31, 1 Nephi 8, Matthew 7, and other shalem texts teach us that the great lamp of the temple is in the Holy of Holies.  This image therefore suggests that the first and fundamental moment of creation is the placement of the lamp within the Holy of Holies, followed by the hanging of the veil.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Space of Many Hours

"The space of many hours" is a curious phrase.  It occurs in three contexts in the scriptures, all in temple situations.

Moses waits the space of many hours before Satan appears to tempt him.

Lehi travels the space of many hours in darkness before arriving at the tree of life.

In connection with Christ's appearance to the Nephites, Samuel prophesies "thunderings and lightnings" for the space of many hours.  Curiously, the account of his coming actually reports "silence" for the space of many hours.

These are all shalem texts, visions or prophecies or experiences whose reporting is shaped by the Worship of the Shalems.  Interesting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Satan Came Tempting Him

Satan's temptation of Moses has a clearly-identified temple context.

Shouldn't we also see temple ritual in the temptation of Jesus?  When Matthew tells us that the temptation occurred in the "wilderness," the "holy city," a "pinnacle of the temple" and "an exceeding high mountain," shouldn't these hints all tell us that we're inside the temple?

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Will Show Thee the Workmanship of Mine Hands

If Moses has met God, he is entering the Holy of Holies.  This is preeminently a place of vision -- Nephi shows us not one, but two visions of the Holy of Holies in the first chapter of his record.  Sure enough, once God has pronounced Moses his son, he offers to show him visions.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Behold, Thou Art My Son

In the moment of seeing God, Moses is pronounced to be his son.

The Brother of Jared had the same experience.   For John, the "sons of God" are those who grasp Jesus (Greek elabon; received is a bad translation).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

He Saw God Face to Face

Moses saw God.

This is one of the promises made to those entering the Worship of the Shalems, and one of the blessings they received in the actual ordinance.  Nephi tells us that he, Jacob, and Isaiah all had this experience.  So did the Brother of Jared.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Moses Was Caught Up

It's been a long time since I read the Pearl of Great Price.  It's striking to me as I start it again that the very first verse puts us on notice that we're going to be talking about temples... just like the first verse of the Book of Mormon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yea, Greatly Afflicted

I noticed this while reading with my kids.

The fifth year of the reign of the judges ends.  Immediately, the people are afflicted and worry about judgment.  "Affliction" is what you feel on the Day of Atonement, the great holiday forecasting the Lord's judgments, which comes ten days after the start of the new year.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Awake, and Arise from the Dust, O Jerusalem

Mormon's final exhortation to us is pure shalem imagery: come unto Christ, laying hold upon every good gift (take Christ's hand and come through the veil); awake, arise, and put on our garments (Lehi made the same exhortations to his wayward sons); be "perfected" (i.e., a shalem) in Christ.

Moroni himself goes to "rest" in "paradise" (temple imagery).  How can he meet us at the judgment?  Is it because he is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, and his role is to stand in the Lord's stead at the veil where each shalem is judged?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

If It Be Wisdom

Moroni tells us that if we receive the Book of Mormon, we do so because it is "wisdom" in God... "wisdom" being a hot-button word common in temple texts.  His invitation to us is not to consult our feelings to see if we get warm fuzzies from the book, but to consider the Lord's mercy from the "creation of Adam" to our own day.  This strikes me, at the end of months of reading the Book of Mormon closely from a shalem perspective, as an invitation to compare the Book of Mormon record to our own temple experience.

If we have faith, the Holy Ghost will manifest to us the truth.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Whilst in This Tabernacle of Clay

Mormon exhorts Moroni to continued labor in shalem imagery.  Life in the body is a tabernacle of clay; faithful workers will rest in the kingdom of God.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When All the Saints Shall Dwell with God

Mormon repeats Nephi's doctrine of Christ, with his own twist on the final step of it: he preaches repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and dwelling with God.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

His Holy Child, Jesus

This is the only Book of Mormon appearance of this apparent title of Jesus, Holy Child.

The title also appears twice in the New Testament, both times in this collective prayer apparently led by Peter and John after their imprisonment and interrogation.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Grasping the Word

I also taught the Elders yesterday.  Here's that lesson outline:

The Iron Rod
  • is the “word of God”, which leads to the tree (1 Nephi 11:25)
  • iron rod leads along strait and narrow path to the tree; catch hold, cling, hold fast: 1 Nephi 8:19-20, 24, 30

Is There A Rod in the Worship of the Shalems?
  • the shepherd has one: Psalm 23:4

Is the “word of God” the same as the “Word”?
  • John 1:1-12
  • vv.11-12 “received” is two different verbs; 2nd verb should be “grasped”
  • those who grasp the Word become the sons of God

The Brother of Jared at the Veil
  • Ether 3:1 they called the mount Shelem
  • Ether 3:6-16 veil removed, sees finger (hand), enters presence, become sons and daughters

Sermon on the Mount Revisited
  • Matthew 5:9: promised to become a child
  • Matthew 5:43-45: urged to behave worthily of being a child
  • Matthew 7:7-11: you are a child, asking for the heavenly gift

Grasping and Entering Imagery Elsewhere
  • Helaman 3:28-30 is Mormon’s commentary: lay hold on the word, strait and narrow course, kingdom of heaven
  • Moroni 7:3-4, mixed audience
  • 7:5 (cf. Matthew 7:15-20) Mormon is quoting from the Worship of the Shalems to cue in those who have ears to hear
  • 7:6-10 evil man gives an evil gift (cf. Matthew 5:21-24, Shalems bring their gift to the altar)
  • 7:12 all good things come from God
  • 7:22 good things come from God, in Christ: this is the doctrine of ministering angels
  • 7:19 lay hold of good things, become a child of Christ

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Helaman 5

Here is my outline for today's Sunday School lesson on Helaman 5.

·       3 rooms: ulam, hekal (great and spacious building), debir (place of speaking)
·       incense altar, table/bread, lamp/tree – confusion about tables and tree
·       veil, ark, stone, 2 x 2 cherubim
·       Temple is UP

Temple Visions:
·       Isaiah 6: throne, seraphim, glory, smoke
·       Ezekiel 1-2: four living creatures, firmament, throne, voice of the Lord
·       Daniel 7: four great beasts, ancient of days sitting on a throne of fire, the Son of Man comes on clouds of heaven
·       1 Enoch 14: three rooms (outside, great house, greater house), God on a fiery throne
·       1 Nephi 1... twice: pillar on the rock; then, heavens open, throne of God, singing angels, one and twelve descending

·       Hezekiah removed Nehushtan
·       Josiah removed “grove,” killed and burned priests
·       1 Nephi 13: temple visions, “precious above all,” “plain and precious things” removed

Sermon on the Mount:
·       not a Sermon.  Luther thought it was Satanic.  scholars think a collection of sayings.
·       ORDINANCE: 3 chapters = 3 rooms
·       priests = angels: Mal 2:7, Alma 12-13 (called, foundation of the world, teach Christ’s redemption), Alma 29 wants to “go forth” as an angel teaching the plan of redemption, but God in his “wisdom” lets people know what he sees fit
·       WALK THROUGH ORDINANCE WITH MODEL, note: blessings (seeing God, children of God, kingdom of heaven) / prison break / shalems / dress / kingdom of heaven / rock / authority and astonishment
·       1 Nephi 8, Gen. 14 shalem king, Ps. 23, Lev. 7 and Exodus 24 worship of the shalems, Peace

Shalem Imagery in Scripture:
·       Nephi 4:30-35 shows rock, prison escape by redemption, straight path and gate of heaven, encircled in robe

Helaman 5:
·       vv. 5-13, endowment from the father: private, many things not written (cf. 1 N. 1:16, 8:29)
·       v. 18-19 authority (not in 3 Nephi... ??)
·       vv. 21 ff.:
o       jail (21-22)
o       encircled (23)
o       pillar of fire (24)
o       cloud of darkness (28)
o       voice (29) (cf. 3 Nephi 11:36 – hear the voice three times)
o       kingdom of heaven (32)
o       good tidings and fear (29, 34; cf. Luke 2:9-10)
o       Aminadab (vv. 35, 37-39ff) = “John”, angel priest guide
o       faces shine (36) (cf. Alma 40:25, Matthew 13:43)
o       repent, are encircled (41-43)
o       Nephi and Lehi come to them (44), they are dressed and feel joy (1 N. 8:12)
o       “peace” (47)
o       heavens open (48)

Why Is Helaman Awesome?
·       It’s at the heart of the BoM theme – visionary men vs. Gadiantons
·       It’s genre fiction

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lay Hold Upon Every Good Thing

Mormon, preaching to a mixed audience of shalems and non-shalems, uses shalem imagery to communicate hidden layers to part of his audience.  All good things come from God.  They come from God in Christ.  Lay hold upon the good things, and you become a child of Christ.  This happens by faith (which is how the brother of Jared got through the veil) and the ministering of angels.

This same image is used by John.  As many as "took hold of" Jesus (elabon in Greek) became the sons of God.

This imagery shows us the shalem grasping the high priest after the order of Melchizedek to be pulled behind the veil and into the Holy of Holies.