Monday, December 31, 2012

Wherefore, Holy Brethren

The "Apostle" is the sent one, which in the context of the Worship of the Shalems is the same thing as a high priest.  Those who share in the heavenly call are fellow hearers of the voice of the Lord, calling from the Holy of Holies.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Partakers of Flesh and Blood

There's a playful ambiguity in verse 14.  On the one hand, Jesus took a body of flesh and blood like any mortal.  On the other hand, the writer alludes to the feast of the flesh and blood of Melchizedek, the bread and wine eaten in the hekal.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Will Declare Thy Name

The writer continues with liturgical quotations.  Psalm 22 appears to be the collective cry of a congregation urging the Lord to appear to them.  That makes it a good complement to Isaiah 8, in which the Melchizedek priest who is the Lord is still hiding, but he -- the child of the Virgin -- will be a sign and a wonder for Israel.  This reminds us of Hebrews 2:4 and suggests what signs and wonders the writer is there referring to: the appearance of the Virgin's Son.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It Became Him

Christ leads God's other sons into "glory."  He is made "perfect through sufferings," and the word that means 'make perfect,' teleosai, comes from the same root that appears in Matthew 5:48.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Little Lower than the Angels

The writer quotes Psalm 8, identifying it as the testimony of someone "in a certain place" (Greek pou, somewhere).  This Psalm is about the exaltation of a man or men.  These men are created "lower than the angels," which in temple geography means that they rise from outside the temple, or perhaps are created in the first of the three rooms.  Nevertheless, God crowns and enthrones them -- they are exalted with God.  This is the Worship of the Shalems, and Hebrews uses this imagery to describe the exaltation of Jesus.

Monday, December 24, 2012

We Ought to Give the More Earnest Heed

The writer exhorts his audience to give heed to the things they have heard -- the "word spoken by angels" -- which have been confirmed by signs, wonders, miracles, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in view of the imminent judgment.  Since he's told us that angels are leitourgoi, ordinance priests, he imagines his readers in a temple context, preparing to meet the Lord at the veil.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

All Ministering Spirits

The mere angels are not anointed as Melchizedek-the king.  Here again is a quotation from Psalm 110.

The writer of Hebrews wants to make sure we don't miss what he's talking about.  The Son-Melchizedek-the Lord-the king and the angels are all "ministering spirits," leitourgika pneumata, sent forth to the service, diakonian, of those who will inherit salvation.  This is a straightforward statement that he is talking about priests in temple functions who will help worshippers through an ordinance in which they will inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thou, Lord, in the Beginning

The Melchizedek priest is the creator.  The Greek, both here and in Psalm 102, says not "in the beginning" but "according to dominions," showing again that the Melchizedek priest always acts by power, authority, and dominion (the Hebrew doesn't have this phrase at all).

Psalm 102, by the way, is a "prayer for the ptochos."  The ptochoi are the "poor in spirit" of Matthew 5.

The garments of the Melchizedek priest are eternal.  The garments of others are mortal, and will pass away.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let All the Angels of God Worship

Liturgical quotations continue.  Who worships the Son?  In Hebrews and the Greek of Psalm 97, the angeloi, angels.  In the Hebrew of Psalm 97, it's the "Gods," elohim.  In the Greek of Deuteronomy 32:43, the huioi theou, sons of God.  (This line is missing from the English translation and the Masoretic Hebrew, but it appears in Deuteronomy as discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.)

These are all the same thing.  The Worship of the Shalems ordinance is how one becomes the light, which is to say, the Son, and a teleios / shalem, like the Father.

The "angels" in verse 7 are parallel and equivalent to the "ministers," which in Greek are leitourgoi, priests who perform ordinances.  So we see for the umpteenth time that angels are priests.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thou Art My Son

Hebrews now launches into a series of Old Testament quotations, all of which have a temple ritual context.  It starts with the begetting of the Melchizedek priest, the king, with quotations from Psalms (in the Greek Old Testament the early Christians used, Psalm 110:3 also refers to begetting -- the "dew" of the Hebrew version may be anointing oil) and from Samuel.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A More Excellent Name

This verse further suggests a Worship of the Shalems context.  The "angels" are the priests acting beneath the Holy of Holies.  What distinguishes them from those who enter the Holy of Holies is possession of the Lord's name.

Monday, December 17, 2012

At Sundry Times and in Divers Manners

Hebrews starts with a distinction between God and the Son, and both are identified by their temple roles.  God speaks, as the unseen person behind the veil, in the Debir, which means "place of speech."  The Son is seen because he is the "image," he is the Word, and, as a Melchizedek priest, he acts in "power."  After purging our sins, the Son returns to the Debir to sit on the right hand of the Majesty.  The purging of sins may allude to the sacrifice of the Lord's goat (sheep) on the Day of Atonement, or the Shalem Feast of bread and wine, which are counterparts to each other in the counterpart ordinances.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Gods Had Not Appointed Unto Adam

The fact that Adam is to have a reckoning of time is corroboration that Kolob, with its reckoning, is not a planet as we understand it but a star-angel-priest.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Seventh Time

Some think Abraham's use of "time" instead of "day" saves the creation account making a six day error by virtue of permitting each "time" to have lasted billions of years.  I think the book's use of "time" shows us that these are ritual directions, and we should imagine the "times" as intervals marked out by singing, or a ritual cry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Cloud of Darkness Having Been Dispelled

Nephi knows the "goodness and the mysteries of God."  The "mysteries" are God's sacred and private ordinances, of course, but what is the "goodness"?

Ammon seems to tell us that God's goodness is the "light" of "life," which is behind a "veil."  That makes the goodness of God the temple lamp.

Monday, December 10, 2012

They Shall Be Very Obedient

Abraham has this distinctive note, repeated twice (see verse 31), that the things and actors ordered within the temple will all be obedient.  First, it confirms our thinking that the lights are people, possessors of will.  Second, it suggests that the author of Abraham knew a time and place when the temple priests had not obeyed the Gods who put them in their stations.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Moving Creatures that Have Life

Now we see the fowl and the whales -- creatures of the waters.  We know that the fowl are associated with the food of the shalem feast; the Father "feeds" them.  Does this mean that the whales are associated with the drink?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Lights in the Expanse of Heaven

Following Abraham 3 with its equation of stars and intelligences, this sounds like an organization of priests in a ritual context.  I think the greater light is the Sun-the Lord-Melchizedek, who emerges from behind the veil.  Would this mean that the lesser light -- which also "rules" and therefore has authority -- is the Elias priest in the second room of the ordinance?  And stars are the other assisting priests?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great Waters

The Abraham account is the most interesting of the three temple creation versions we have.  One interesting thing about it is this: the waters under the veil are called Great Waters rather than Seas.  This unavoidably reminds us of Nephi's name for the sea at Bountiful, Many Waters.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We Will Prove Them Herewith

We understand the first and second estate to refer to the pre-mortal and mortal existence, respectively.  That's fine, I think that's true.

We should see that this "proving" in two stages of trial and a stage of reward also corresponds to the Worship of the Shalems and movement forward into the temple, through two rooms of covenant making, trial, and teaching, and a third and glorious room of rest, the kingdom of heaven.

This would suggest that Satan's appearance would be in the first room of the Worship of the Shalems, since he "kept not his first estate."  And in fact, that's exactly where it is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012