Friday, July 31, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 8)

Here is Ezekiel's great prophecy on the importance of gathering all of Israel to the temple in the latter days. Notice that Ezekiel declares that it is there (in the temple) that they will serve the Lord and be acceptable to him. We should never underestimate the importance and the power of the temple.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 7)

As has been pointed out in a previous post, the Abrahamic Covenant is administered in the temple. Sometimes we refer to what we receive in the temple as an endowment because it is a gift from God to us. Just as the Gift of The Holy Ghost is given in an ordinance, the full blessing of the ordinance is not realized until the Holy Ghost actually comes to the person to function in their life. So it is with the endowment, there are blessings and gifts which are to be attendant with the ordinance as pointed out by the Prophet Joseph Smith,

Remember, you are not to go to their nations till you receive your endowments. Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high. You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence such as you never had. Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there may be no mistake. The world cannot receive the things of God. He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade. He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence, and that power, which characterized the ancient saints, and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world.
(Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts, 2:, p.197)

Again, the Prophet had this to say about the endowment,

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 6)

Abraham received the promises from the Lord in Abraham 2:9-12, by speaking with the Lord face to face. The Abrahamic Covenant is designed to bring man back into God's presence. The Prophet Joseph Smith had this to say about being taught the things of God,

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 5)

In an earlier post (July 9) I presented the concept of "HESED" a Hebrew word which depicts a very close and loving relationship between two people. This is the relationship that the Savior wants us to have with him and he with us (see Hosea 6:6). To have this relationship we need to have the Savior foremost and constantly in our thoughts. As he said to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, "Look to me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

It is also pointed out in the scriptures that the Savior considers his relationship with us as a marriage covenant. Each party is to have the other preeminent above all other people, things, objects, etc., in the relationship.

The relationship that we have with our spouse should be patterned after our relationship with the Savior and should include "HESED." Our spouse is to be preeminent in our lives above all others. We are sealed to each other in the Abrahamic Covenant which allows us the power to do the same thing that God does - create life in our own image and likeness. This power that we have together makes us more like God than any other power. It is imperative that children be brought through the veil into a loving and secure relationship between a husband and wife. President Spencer W. Kimball explained the priority that a husband and wife should have for each other,

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 4)

As mentioned in an earlier post, sacrifice is a part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Just as Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac pointed us to the Father's willingness to sacrifice his Only Begotten Son (Jacob 4:5) so also we are to follow the example of the Father and Christ in this law. There are many aspects to sacrifice that we are to learn. The angel that taught Adam about the Law of Sacrifice explained that part of the sacrifice is doing all that we do in the name of the son,

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Not only are we to do all that we do in the name of the son, but the apostle Paul counsels servants in the Roman Empire to serve their masters as they would serve Christ and for that they would be rewarded in heaven,

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In the book of Omni we learn that the actual sacrifice is our whole soul,

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 3)

Just as the promise for a land of inheritance forever was cryptic language that the earth was to become a Celestial Kingdom, so also is the promise of infinite posterity adumbrative language that man can become like his God with the power to create life forever. The following scripture helps one to see this concept,

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Abrahamic Covenant (Part 2)

Elias the prophet restored the Abrahamic Covenant with all of its attendant blessings. The full blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant are administered in the temple,

In the temple, with the authority of the sealing power, blessings of the Abrahamic covenant will be conferred. There, we may truly become heirs to all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
(Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, and Other Favorite Discourses , p.206)

There are many ramifications to the Abrahamic Covenant but they can be condensed into two basic promises.

1. A land of inheritance forever (see Genesis 13:15).
2. Posterity as the dust of the earth (see Genesis 13:15). According to the Lord's promise to Abraham in Abraham 2:11 the priesthood is assumed in the posterity.

The first promise listed above appears to be adumbrative language that is referring to the fact that the earth is to become the Celestial Kingdom. This concept is reinforced in the restored gospel in the following two scriptures,

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

"For thy Maker is thine husband" (Isaiah 54:5)

Isa 54:5
5 For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

The marriage relationship is one of the most sensitive and intimate relationships that exists on the earth. It is considered sacred and holy by our God. He chose this relationship to help us understand his true feeling for us and the covenants that we make with him and what he would like from us. Years ago I wrote the preface for the book written by Donna Nielsen, "Beloved Bridegroom." This book goes into detail to describe the ancient form of marriage and how it is a type for the Lord's relationship with covenant Israel.

Meridian Magazine has a wonderful article written by Larry Barkdull, using Beloved Bridegroom as a reference, entitled, Zion: The Holy Marriage, How Marriage Symbolizes God's Covenant With Us.

By using marriage as a metaphor for his relationship with covenant Israel, the Lord is able to convey to us his deep and sensitive feelings for us. In the Old Testament the story of Hosea is one of deep an poignant feelings. Hosea is a metaphor for Jehovah, and he is commanded by the Lord to marry the daughter of a prostitute named Gomer, who becomes a metaphor for covenant Israel.

Hosea loves Gomer and together they have three children who are given names by the Lord himself. The names of the children relate to the the declining relationship between Jehovah and covenant Israel. The names of the children are as follows:

Jezreel, which means God sows, indicating that the House of Israel is about to be sown (scattered) into all the world.

Lo-ruammah, which means, no mercy, apparently indicating that the covenant has been so damaged that Jehovah can no longer bear the strain of the relationship.

Lo-ammi, which mean, not my people, apparently Gomer has been unfaithful and this child may not belong to Hosea.

Gomer leaves with her lovers and Hosea sends the children to plead with their mother to come back but to no avail.

After an undisclosed period of time Hosea finds Gomer being auctioned off in the slave market. He is commanded to buy her back and test her loyalty before he re-establishes a covenant with her.

In Hosea 6:6 the Lord explains what he has always desired from covenant Israel,

6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

The word "mercy" in the above verse is the Hebrew word "Hesed" and depicts a deep and sensitive relationship such as a very close husband and wife who think of each other often and long to be together often and to serve the needs of the other. The word knowledge comes from two Hebrew words which mean to come to know through close experience. The image below depicts the essence of the Hosea and Gomer relationship,

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The Lord had a similar message to the Kingdom of Judah who had also defiled their covenant relationship with Jehovah. In this instance the Lord used a linen sash, referred to as a girdle, as a metaphor for his relationship with Judah (see Jeremiah 13:1-11).

The Lord asked Jeremiah to get a linen sash and to wear it but not wash it. Later he asks him to bury the sash in the wet dirty banks of a river. He later is asked by the Lord to retrieve the sash. When he did retrieve it, it was filthy and "profitable for nothing." The message of Jehovah for the House of Judah and the House of Israel was as follows,

Jer 13:9-11
9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.
10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.
11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

All the Lord ever wanted from them was a close relationship (HESED) that they gained by experiencing him at a deep emotional, personal level. He wanted them to think of him often as he has thought of them continually and cared about their safety and needs. He felt that they had abandoned him and gone whoring after other lovers or gods. He could never forget them as he said through the prophet Isaiah,

Isa 49:15-16
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of [my] hands; thy walls [are] continually before me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Priesthood is a Channel

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Priesthood was the channel through which the Lord would reveal his sacred truths. Thus, in the restoration of the gospel one of the first acts was to restore the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. This established the channel on the earth through which the Lord could restore the many keys, truths, and principles to us, his children.

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The following is a powerful statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith about the heavenly priesthood uniting with the earthly to bring about the great purposes of God:

The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, "the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth," "even in one," when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ. The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down from above, and it will dwell in our midst. The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize; a work that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family. (May 2, 1842.) (emphasis added)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.231)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrate The Fourth of July - Join the Patrick Henry Caucus

Our suggestion to help fulfill our patriotic and civic responsibilities, join the Patrick Henry Caucus and help America through some of its more difficult times.

Click here to learn about the Patrick Henry Caucus.