Friday, November 30, 2012

These Two Facts Exist

What is a "fact"?  Ordinary English usage doesn't seem to work here, but a "fact," from Latin facio, can be a thing which is "made," a created object.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

One Revolution Was a Day

If these stars are priests, that suggests that Kolob is the Lord, who governs angels like Abraham.  I have no insight into the name, but I'll ruminate on it now... Hebrew and Egyptian possibilities, at least, are worth exploring.  The discussion of rotation reminds me of the "wheels" of Ezekiel 1, which move with and seem to correspond to the cherubim.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nearest Unto the Throne of God

Abraham has a vision of stars.  The lexicon of the visionary men suggests that these are angel-priests.  The use of the words "governing ones" and "order" tend to confirm that view.  Also, the final phrase of verse 3, "I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest," says that Abraham is standing on a star... which tells us that we're not being told facts about physical space, but about something else.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dwelt in Tents

Because they dwelt in tents, Abraham could say of his people "eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation."  The rock and the salvation are the Worship of the Shalems and the Day of Atonement.  "Covering" is one way to understand the Hebrew root underlying the word we translate as "atone," "atonement."  "Eternity" is 'olam, the world, the cosmos, that which endures forever with God.

All this because they dwelt in tents.  What kinds of tents were these?  Were they the tents of the people of Shum?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Will Bless Them Through Thy Name

If people who receive "this" [temple and priesthood] Gospel" are called after Abraham's name, that must mean that Abraham is a Melchizedek priest, who stands in for the Lord, whose name worshippers take on themselves.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas, the Temple Holiday

Christmas as a Temple Holiday

Three rooms of the temple.  Incense altar, veil, strait and narrow gate, tree-lamp, table of bread, the rock, throne-chariot of God.  Worship of the Shalems is entry (Matthew 5-7, Genesis 14, Exodus 24, Psalms 23, Isaiah 40), covenant making, instruction in prayer and fasting, being led forward by a priest, the Lord-Melchizedek descends, feast of bread and wine followed by the song of JOY (1 Nephi 8:12, Job 38:7, Isaiah 12), worshipper is dressed by the Lord, meeting the Lord at the veil, entry into the Holy of Holies.  “PEACE” or “WORSHIP OF THE PEACEABLE ONES” is the name of the ordinance (Leviticus 7:11), and the Prince of Peace is the Lord who descends to officiate at the feast and dressing (Isaiah 9:6, Alma 13:18, Abraham 1:2).  Holy of Holies is a place of vision (1 Nephi 1, 1 Nephi 8, Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1-2, Daniel 7, John 1 “come and see”). 
The New Testament Nativity narratives are full of the images of this temple worship.
Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12)
Temple door faces east.  To come FROM THE EAST is to enter into the temple and ascend within it.  Stars and angels are both priests within the temple.  To FOLLOW A STAR is to be led within the temple by a priest (this is the scene of John 1, where John the Baptist leads his disciples forward and introduces Christ).  Magoi are themselves priests of some kind, in particular Persian astrologer-priests who interpret dreams.  The dream-interpreter and temple visionary Daniel was in charge of Babyon’s Magoi (Daniel 2:48).  GOLD covered all the temple furnishings, and the entire Holy of Holies (1 Kings 7); FRANKINCENSE topped the shewbread (Leviticus 24); MYRRH is in the anointing oil (Exodus 30).  The Lord who descended was THE KING (Melchizedek = king of righteousness) who was WORSHIPPED.  In 1 Kings 7, the rooms of the temple are “houses” – in the HOUSE, they FELL DOWN (compare with 1 Nephi 8:30).  BETHLEHEM = house of bread, and the second room of the temple was where worshippers ate the bread of the Lord.  The wise men experience JOY.  A DREAM (vision) warns them.
Shepherds (Luke 2:4-20)
BETHLEHEM again.  Mother DRESSES Jesus; “swaddling” clothes don’t necessarily mean “baby” clothes, they just mean loose clothes you wrap around someone (compare Job 38:9).  Jesus is laid in a phatne, which can mean a “stall,” but is also a “feed trough” (Isaiah 1:3 “crib”) – Jesus is dressed and that makes him FOOD (compare Isaiah 4:1, where the woman provides bread and clothing so that the man can be someone whose name can be taken by others).  SHEPHERDS are also priests (Psalms 23), and so are ANGELS.  These shepherds are faithfully watching their flock, so the shepherds in the field are faithful temple priests being taught by another priest within the temple, priests who waited for the Lord recognizing his arrival (story is the same as Matthew 2 and also John 1).  The babe is a SIGN (semeion), just like the Virgin and her children would be signs (semeia; Isaiah 8:18).  Angel-stars (and shepherds) SING in the temple (Isaiah 6:3, 1 Nephi 1:8-10), which is JOY, the song of the Lord’s coming (Isaiah 12).  PEACE on earth is the arrival of the Peaceable King, the Prince of Peace (Genesis 14, Isaiah 9). 
The folklore and practices of Christmas are also saturated with half-remembered temple images.
Extra-Scriptural Christmas Traditions
TREE OF LIGHT is the temple tree (Exodus 25, 1 Nephi 8).  CANDY CANES are the rod/staff of the Melchizedek priest (Psalms 23, 110, 1 Nephi 8).  GIFTS are the gifts of the magi, gifts brought to the altar (Matthew 5 = tithing of Genesis 14:20, Malachi 3:8-10), and the gifts you receive from the Lord (Matthew 7).  SINGING makes us part of the choir of angels, announcing the arrival of the Lord.  DECEMBER 25 is just after the moment of greatest darkness, and the return of the light (the winter solstice) = opening of the veil and the appearance of the Lord (John 1:5, Isaiah 9:2).  SANTA / FATHER CHRISTMAS is a dressed priestly figure who enters through the light of the house (John 8:12).  He lives at the top of the world and descends through the air to meet us, assisted by elves (1 Nephi 1:8-10) and riding in a SLEIGH (a chariot, like the throne of God in Ezekiel 1:4-28), pulled by eight REINDEER (the four cherubim in Ezekiel 1 have beast features and multiple faces).  JINGLE BELLS are the timbrels used in temple worship (Exodus 15:20, Psalms 149:3).

They Shall Bear This Ministry and Priesthood

Abraham has a royal marriage.  His seed has the priesthood.  His literal seed.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Dwell in Heaven

This verse is the self-description of the denizen of the temple.

Interestingly, the image of the Lord raising his hand over the sea and speaking to command it connects the two different versions of the parting of the Red Sea.  For Nephi, Moses speaks to the waters.  For Exodus, Moses stretches out his hand but doesn't speak.

We already know Moses as a temple figure.  One thing these verses together might suggest to us is that Nephi's reference to Moses speaking comes not from knowing a different version of Exodus, or some other text, but from knowing Moses as a character in a ritual temple drama.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Took Milcah to Wife

Milcah's name is interesting (she also appears in the parallel Genesis account).  Melekh (M-L-K) is a king, so Milcah (M-L-K-H) is a female, royal name.  This is only fair, since Sarah, "princess," is also a royal female.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Judge Executed Authority

Interesting how much this discussion of legal procedure tracks with this element in the Worship of the Shalems.  There are judges and officers, and in Matthew 5 an adversary -- an antidikos, the person opposite you in a lawsuit, or in Hebrew a satan.  In Alma 11 the passive voice formulation "he was complained of to the judge" hides the necessary counterparty, which in the narrative is of course Zeezrom.

So we see that the scene between Alma and Amulek on the one hand and Zeezrom on the other looks like a stop in the worship of the shalems, with Zeezrom playing the role of Satan.  No wonder Zeezrom is an expert in the "devices of the devil," and a "child of hell."

Amulek's response to Zeezrom is interesting.  Does his description of himself as "the righteous" mean that Alma has made him a Melchizedek priest?  Is he jolting the scene out of joint by telling the Satan Zeezrom that he's tempting the wrong person, trying to test the angel-priest rather than the initiates?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In My Hands

Amulek says angel-priests announce the Lord's coming with "equity and justice" in his hands.

In the Worship of the Shalems, initiates are taught to do eleemosyne (verse 1) and dikaiosyne (verse 2). These are both translated as "alms," but a better translation would be "equity" and "justice."  How do they do these things?  With both their hands (verse 3) and in secret (verse 4).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Being First Discovered by a Woman

A land that rises from the waters is a temple being founded.  See, for instance, the Song of the Sea and the Book of Moses.

Abraham is talking about a temple that was founded by a woman.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Partaker of the Blood of the Canaanites

This seems to tie Abraham into the Book of Moses, with its story of the people of Canaan upon whom a curse of blackness falls.

That tends to suggest that if Moses and Abraham both contain pseudonymous history, Moses is first and Abraham second.  I need to do a lot more exploration, but my intuition is that Moses contains an account of the righteous priests from Isaiah to Josiah's reforms, maybe including Lehi, and Abraham is an account of Josiah's time and a different migration.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Into a Strange Land

Abraham is directed by the Lord to flee an apostasy.  In this he is compared to Noah.

Is this a record of a righteous refugee into Egypt in Lehi's time?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

That You May Have a Knowledge of This Altar

Abraham is careful to point us at Facsimile No. 1 to make sure we have a "knowledge" of the altar on which the virgins were sacrificed.  The altar is a lion couch, which identifies the sacrifice and the cult in question with the tribe of Judah.

Is it possible that the Book of Abraham preserves writings from the time of Josiah's reforms?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Because of Their Virtue

Abraham lives in a time in which the righteous are sacrificed on altars for refusing to cooperate with the state religion.  This is exactly the sort of circumstance in which the visionary men write pseudonymous history.

The righteous in question are identified as "virgins," which may mean priestesses,  "daughters of Zion."      This echoes the reforms of Josiah.

"Potiphar's Hill" is a curious name.  It suggests a corrupted woman, a vengeful ruler, and a priestly innocent who flees leaving his clothing behind.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Having Turned from Their Righteousness

This is a visual image.  Abraham's people ceased to follow the Melchizedek priest behind the veil, or turned away when he presented the feast.  They do not hearken to the voice of God calling them from the Holy of Holies.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Appointment of God Unto the Fathers

We seriously need to study the word "seed."  Abraham here connects it with being ordained a priest.  "Raising up seed" connects a strange and hard to understand series of texts: Tamar and Judah, the widow of seven brothers, and the Nephites' whoredoms in Jacob's day.  The priesthood has to do with seed.

Lehi's party brought with them "seeds of every kind."  So did the Jaredites.  Might this be a reference to carrying a genealogical right to the priesthood in their midst?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Blessings of the Fathers

This verse is astonishingly clear.  The man writing under the name Abraham is a shalem, because he has had happiness (joy), peace, and rest.  He has followed Righteousness behind the veil.  He wants knowledge, instructions, and to keep the commandments.  He wants to be a prince of peace, a title whose only other possessors in ancient scripture are Melchizedek and the Lord.  He wants ordination in the higher order of temple priesthood.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Three Hundred Sixty and Five

Genesis seems to make Enoch a cosmic figure, with his age of 365 years, equal to the number of days in the solar calendar (also, this suggests that the Jews didn't always have a lunar calendar).

Moses changes the cosmic imagery.  Zion, the temple city, is cosmic, rather than the man Enoch.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Will I Send Down out of Heaven

Righteousness descends from heaven because it is the Melchizedek priest.  This verse sounds like Truth is the Elias priest, who meets Melchizedek's descent as a witness.

Together they gather people to be a Holy City and dress them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Mother of Men

There's a divine woman in the Holy of Holies with Enoch and God.  She is visualized as the earth.

Her 'rest' is what Enoch wants, and hopes will be achieved by the ministry of the Son of Man.

Monday, November 5, 2012

When Shall the Day of the Lord Come?

The Day of Atonement is the day the Melchizedek priest himself will be the sacrifice.

"Day of Vengeance" is a phrase used by Isaiah here, though it's translated as "visitation."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Man of Counsel

God tells Enoch his titles in the Holy of Holies.  They're all interesting.  In particular, I'm struck by the title "Man of Counsel."  If the linguistic background of the Book of Moses is Hebrew, then this title of God is ish etza, which can also mean 'husband of the tree.'

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

High and Lifted Up

Enoch is the Melchizedek priest.  Being in the "bosom" suggests that he is in the vestments of the Father and the Son.  He is the Word.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Had Not Place Among Them

Canaan and Cain are both cursed, and therefore marked as black.  If the Nephites had some version of the Book of Moses, that would help explain why blackness was the mark of the Lamanites' cursing.

Cain's sin, in the Book of Moses, is to be the first master of the secret combination.