Sunday, February 27, 2022

Abraham’s Sacrifice (Genesis 15-17, 21-22; Abraham 1) QUESTIONS

READ Abraham 1:5,7, 15-16

What is Abraham’s father (and family) trying to do?

What is the problem?

Who saves Abraham from being sacrificed?

 

READ Abraham 1:18 and 2:3

What does the living God require of Abraham?

What did Abraham have to do to actually receive the promised blessings of priesthood, land and posterity?

Why does the Lord require sacrifice?

 

READ: Lectures on Faith 6: 7

"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do His will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek His face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.”

What sacrifices did the Lord require of Abraham to receive the promised blessings?

 

 

The Sacrifice of a Son

After years of childlessness, Sarah begged Abraham to take her handmaid, Hagar, as a second wife, that she might be able to supply Abraham with children, which he does (see Genesis 16:1-2).  They conceive a son, which an angel tells Hagar to name Ishmael.  Thirteen years later, the Lord comes to Abraham and tells him that the time of the realization of the blessings of his posterity is come.

READ Genesis 17:16-21

What is Abraham’s response?

Who is the covenant son?

What does that mean?

Does the Lord bless Ishmael?

 

Skip ahead three or four years… Isaac is born and is a toddler, and Sarah catches the teenaged Ishmael mocking him and goes to Abraham to banish Ishmael and his mother, so that he will not be a joint-heir with Isaac.

READ Genesis 21:11-20

Who is Ishmael and what is he symbolic of?

Who then is Isaac?

 

READ Genesis 22:2-13

What additional context adds weight to Abraham’s sacrifice?

Why would the Lord ask Abraham to do this?

What does it mean “God will provide himself a lamb”?

How was elderly Abraham able to bind his son?

What must Abraham been thinking with his arm stretched forth with the knife to sacrifice his son?

Who does the “ram in the thicket” represent?

Who does Isaac then become symbolically?

But are rams always found in thickets?

 

READ Hebrews 11:17-19

Did the Lord send a ram in the thicket to save Isaac from Abraham’s knife?

In this scenario, what must Abraham been thinking as he looked down at the body of his dead son?

 

Read Lectures on Faith 6:8

“It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.”

Is the sacrifice of all earthly things always necessary for faith unto salvation?

How does Abraham’s life teach us about the relationship between making a covenant by sacrifice and receiving the fullness of the gospel and the high priesthood?

What is the Abrahamic Sacrifice really about?

 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Lot and the City of Sodom (Genesis 13-14, 18-19)

From Genesis 11-13 and Abraham 1-2, what are the major events/movements in Abraham’s life up to this point?

Born in Ur of Chaldea.

Escaped to Haran (Gen 11:31; Abr 2:1-5).

Was promised a land of inheritance in Canaan by God (Gen 12:7).

But couldn’t retain his land of promise because of famine.

Had to flee to Egypt (Gen 12:10).

Returned back to Canaan from Egypt, a very wealthy rancher, with his nephew Lot (Gen 13).

Why did the Lord give Abraham the Land of Canaan but when he got there, he couldn’t inherit it and had to leave? (see Gen 12)

It was all part of the test of faith – do you believe the Lord when He personally promises something to you regardless of what then occurs?

There is a message in this experience for us: if you truly wish to obtain the blessings that Abraham was seeking for, the Lord will ask you to sacrifice; if you do it, He will then give you a blessing and then will ask you to sacrifice again (by losing the blessing) – it is all a test of our faith in both God’s power to deliver on His promises, as well as His love for us.

 

READ Genesis 13:5-9

What lessons does Abraham teach us regarding how to deal with conflict?

“Agree quickly while thou art in the way…”; we should deal submissively when it is not a matter of choosing a righteous way vs an unrighteous way (God didn’t command him to take a stand).

Abraham is still being tested to have faith in the hope he had received from the Lord, so what is the test Abraham is going through here?

Conflict over material possessions is a test of life, but it is a test we must pass: what does our heart treasure?

Do we really believe the Lord will take care of our material needs, according to His will for us?

 

READ Genesis 13:10-13

Why did Lot choose the plain over the Land of Canaan?

The plain was rich in resources.

The cities of the Plain had sophisticated cultures, wealthy economies and powerful armies to protect their people.

The land of Canaan was lesser in comparison.

What does it mean to “pitch” one’s tent “toward Sodom”?

He was looking to Sodom - for gain, at least.

He was interacting with Sodom (doing business with them) and needed quick access to get in to the city and back out again.

He was trying to keep one leg in the world while retaining his residence outside of it – it’s a tricky balance to maintain.

 

READ Genesis 13:14-17 (include JST 13:14 in footnote)

After Abraham had shown the Lord that his heart was not set upon material possessions, what did the Lord finally do?

Fulfilled His part of the covenant and gave Abraham the land of Canaan for his inheritance, forever.

Opened his eyes to the real goal - building again Zion! (which the Lord, and clearly Abraham, likely wanted Lot to be a part of).

 

READ Genesis 14:1-3, 7-16

What happened to Lot’s hope of military protection from Sodom and the kings of the cities of the plains for his ranching business?

He relied on the arm of (wicked) flesh and it failed him.

He and his goods were captured.

Abraham had to step in and save him and destroy the enemies of Sodom.

 

READ Genesis 18:1-2

Three strangers show up at Abraham’s door, how did he recognize them so quickly?

“Know ye not the master ye have not served?” - Abraham has been serving the Lord by keeping His commandments and following his example in serving others for years.

“We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” - Abraham has been seeking after the gift of charity; he is seeking to adopt the characteristics and attributes of his Lord.

“All shall know Him, from the least to the greatest” - the Lord has appeared to Abraham in glory several times before, although disguised this time, Abraham is spiritually in-tune enough to recognize the Spirit and glory that He and his servants inherently have.

 

READ Genesis 18:3-8

Using the Road to Emmaus and 3 Nephi 17 as precedent, what might have happened if Abraham had not constrained the three men to stay?

They would have delivered their message and left.

What implications can we draw from this experience?

Angels and the Lord Himself visit mortals in disguise.

We must constrain them to stay; implied is that while we may not see through their disguise immediately, we sense the spirit and glory of the Lord which accompanies them. 

After the message from heaven is delivered, the messengers are free to engage with the mortal on topics of their interest.

The Lord joins us where we are, and only stays as long as we want and ask Him to.

Angels (from Enoch’s city, no doubt!) and the Lord Himself enjoy righteous mortal companionship and will stay for a nice meal under the trees, if we invite them.

 

READ Genesis 18:13-14

What is the difference between the Lord/angel’s perspective on Sarah’s ability to have a child in her old age, and Sarah’s perception?

The Lord/angel “sees” things as they truly are, were and will be.

When we obtain the mind of God (Holy Ghost), the trials that are seemingly insurmountable fade away like the dreams of a night vision. 

Nothing that is the Lord’s will to do is “too hard” or impossible for the Lord.

 

READ Abraham 18:22-26 (including JST footnote)

What is the Lord’s intention in Sodom?

To save all those that will repent and come unto Him.

That is why He will save all of those wicked people for the sake of a few righteous - He is giving them as much time as possible to listen to the message, observe the righteous, and repent.

He will only destroy them when they are past feeling and will not repent - and are taking the remaining righteous (or innocent) down with them (“how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but you would not”) or they have cast out the righteous with either their laws or physically.

What is Abraham doing?

Interceding on behalf of the people, as Christ does for us before the Father.

 

READ Genesis 18:26-33

What is the lesson from Abraham’s negotiation with the Lord to save Sodom?

Salt produces "savor." That is, the taste of the whole is affected by the presence of a little. You don't need much to preserve the whole.

Abraham's negotiation to preserve Sodom demonstrated that only a little of the "salt" is required for an entire population to receive the Lord's blessings.

Progress is enough in our day (see Luke 13:30); as long as the wheat is still growing, it is enough.

 

READ Genesis 19:1-3

What is Lot’s situation in Sodom, post-war?

He has moved from outside of Sodom to within the walls of the city.

He lives in a house (Abraham still lives in a tent).

He has an official capacity within the City-State (“sat in the Gate” means he had official authority - perhaps as a judge (see v 9).

Does Lot recognize them as servants of the Lord, as Abraham did?

It seems that he does recognize them.

Why does Lot “press upon them greatly” to not sleep in the street?

He knows the wickedness of the city and what will likely happen - they will be attacked and raped.

 

READ Genesis 19:4-7; JST 19:9-15 (appendix), 19:11

What is the implication of Lot saying “let me plead with my brethren, this once only…”?

Lot is a righteous man doing his very best to navigate the knife’s edge of remaining a “servant of the Lord” while enjoying all of the advantages of living (and holding office) in Sodom.

But he knows that he can’t overstep his bounds or he will also lose favor with the citizens of Sodom.

 

READ Genesis 19:12-16

Why did Lot and his family stay the night, have to be awakened, have to be hurried, have to be scolded for lingering, have to be actually removed from the city, after the angels told them the night before that THEY were the ones under orders from the Lord to destroy the cities of the plain?

While nothing is “too hard for the Lord”, some things seem pretty unlikely in the full light of day if you don’t have the spirit with you sufficiently.

Plus, who doesn’t hate moving?!

 

READ Genesis 19:17-22

What is the angel trying to do when he urges Lot not look back but to escape to the mountain?

Mountains are acceptable temples for those who are destitute – and Lot will be destitute after his flight from Sodom.

He is urging Lot to “flee Babylon” once and for all, for Zion.

He is hinting to Lot that this is a watershed moment - “choose ye THIS DAY whom ye will serve” - there can be no more navigating the knife’s edge.

He is helping Lot to understand that you can’t serve the Lord and mammon – you have to be 100% in one camp or the other; ultimately, if you’re not with the Lord, you are against Him. 

Why does Lot say “oh, not so, my Lord”?

Like the children of Israel, when it comes down to it, Lot is afraid to enter the presence of the Lord.

Or, he doesn’t understand the “mountain as temple” analogy, and he lacks the faith to survive on the mountain wilderness temporally - he’s a city dweller.

Once he’s out of immediate danger, he “knows best” again and counsels the Lord/angel by figuring that Zoar seems far enough away and will probably be very safe (and more comfortable than the wilderness) - but Zoar is also a city of the Plain and was aligned with Sodom in the war - it is not significantly more righteous than Sodom.

 

READ Genesis 19:24-26

Why did Lot’s wife “look back” after being counseled by the angel not to?

While her body had left the city, her heart was still in Sodom.

She was an “active member” (she followed the guidance of the “Brethren”) but she loved the nice things of the world and mourned for them.

 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Lot and the City of Sodom (Genesis 13-14, 18-19) QUESTIONS

From Genesis 11-13 and Abraham 1-2, what are the major events/movements in Abraham’s life up to this point?

Why did the Lord give Abraham the Land of Canaan but when he got there, he couldn’t inherit it and had to leave? (see Gen 12)

 

READ Genesis 13:5-9

What lessons does Abraham teach us regarding how to deal with conflict?

Abraham is still being tested to have faith in the hope he had received from the Lord, so what is the test Abraham is going through here?

 

READ Genesis 13:10-13

Why did Lot choose the plain over the Land of Canaan?

What does it mean to “pitch” one’s tent “toward Sodom”?

 

READ Genesis 13:14-17 (include JST 13:14 in footnote)

After Abraham had shown the Lord that his heart was not set upon material possessions, what did the Lord finally do?

 

READ Genesis 14:1-3, 7-16

What happened to Lot’s hope of military protection from Sodom and the kings of the cities of the plains for his ranching business?

 

READ Genesis 18:1-2

Three strangers show up at Abraham’s door, how did he recognize them so quickly?

 

READ Genesis 18:3-8

Using the Road to Emmaus and 3 Nephi 17 as precedent, what might have happened if Abraham had not constrained the three men to stay?

What implications can we draw from this experience?

 

READ Genesis 18:13-14

What is the difference between the Lord/angel’s perspective on Sarah’s ability to have a child in her old age, and Sarah’s perception?

 

READ Abraham 18:22-26 (including JST footnote)

What is the Lord’s intention in Sodom?

What is Abraham doing?

 

READ Genesis 18:26-33

What is the lesson from Abraham’s negotiation with the Lord to save Sodom?

 

READ Genesis 19:1-3

What is Lot’s situation in Sodom, post-war?

Does Lot recognize them as servants of the Lord, as Abraham did?

Why does Lot “press upon them greatly” to not sleep in the street?

 

READ Genesis 19:4-7; JST 19:9-15 (appendix), 19:11

What is the implication of Lot saying “let me plead with my brethren, this once only…”?

 

READ Genesis 19:12-16

Why did Lot and his family stay the night, have to be awakened, have to be hurried, have to be scolded for lingering, have to be actually removed from the city, after the angels told them the night before that THEY were the ones under orders from the Lord to destroy the cities of the plain?

 

READ Genesis 19:17-22

What is the angel trying to do when he urges Lot not look back but to escape to the mountain?

Why does Lot say “oh, not so, my Lord”?

 

READ Genesis 19:24-26

Why did Lot’s wife “look back” after being counseled by the angel not to?

Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, JST 14, 17; Abraham 1-2)

Abraham’s Desire

READ Abraham 1:2-5

What is Abraham’s greatest desire?

To receive that which the “fathers” had.

To become a High Priest in the Holy Order, like the fathers were.

To become a rightful heir (legitimate, adopted); which implies that you one could possibility become an illegitimate “heir” or beneficiary of priesthood (but not with God; this does speak to the idea of eternal law and how both light and dark beings – and all of the gradations in-between – can form associations with mortals through the veil, giving them priesthood of one kind or another.

To possess greater knowledge and be a greater follower of righteousness – he already possesses knowledge and is a follower of righteousness but this Holy Order is “greater”.

To become the father of many nations - a “prince of peace” like Enoch and Melchizedek - establish a Zion where “all know God” (i.e. the God of Light).

What must Abraham do to find this happiness, peace and rest?

He must reject his own father’s beliefs.

He must find the living God and receive Priesthood (the Holy Order) from Him – the appointment unto the priesthood according to the appointment of God.

 

 

Receiving Hope

In his ensuing trials, Jehovah visits Abraham twice and gives him a promise that he will receive the Priesthood he is seeking, sometime in the future - this is what is known as receiving a “hope” or promise from God.

READ Abraham 1:18-19 and Abraham 2:8-12

How many times does the Lord promise Abraham using the words “will”, “shall” or “shalt”?

16 times in 6 verses.

What does this “hope” or promise do for Abraham’s faith?

It gives him something concrete to have faith in.

But it is still tough to exercise faith in this hope or promise in the real world - Abraham laughed incredulously when the Lord finally told him that aged Sarah was going to conceive their long awaited child (see Genesis 17:17).

Abraham must find someone who can confer the Priesthood upon him; who does he find that holds the Priesthood?

Abraham is ordained to the priesthood by Melchizedek (D&C 84:14).

 

 

The Holy Order

READ JST Genesis 14:25-36 and D&C 84:39-40

Although Melchizedek confers this Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God upon Abraham, where does Abraham have to go to actually receive this priesthood?

To God Himself (see TPJS 205:2).

An ordination from a man is not enough to make this High Priesthood efficacious; God must give it or authorize it personally.

So how does God deliver this priesthood to a person?

By the calling or actual vocalization (as opposed to being in the mind – “calling” infers vibrating soundwaves through the atmosphere) of God’s own voice, such that others could hear it if they were nearby, although they might not recognize the words (see 3 Nephi 11:3-4), so that the angels and even earth itself is witness to what God has decreed (see D&C 128:21; Helaman 10:3-11).

Via an oath and covenant from Him to you (see D&C 84:33-48).

If this Priesthood only comes from God Himself, why does Abraham need to find Melchizedek to ordain him?

Ordination is an authorized invitation to live the terms of the covenant and receive the actual blessing - which in this case is the Fullness of the Priesthood!

Even from the beginning ordinance of baptism, we are commanded by God through ordinance of confirmation to “receive the Holy Ghost” - all ordinances must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be efficacious, and that only happens after we have lived up to the terms of the specific covenant.

It is interesting that the conferring of the priesthood, at least in this case, has to come from a man and not directly from God especially as the Holy Order cannot come from man; it speaks to the need for an “unbroken chain” of mortals – in this case from Melchizedek to Abraham – and the work that those mortals must engage in to establish that link.  For Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, there was no living mortal who held the Holy Order, so they each had to go directly to God to receive it. 

How did Melchizedek stop the mouths of lions and quench the violence of fire as a child without priesthood?

Through his faith alone.

That’s what it means by the phrase that he “wrought” (to form by work or labor; to perform) or produced “righteousness”; he exercised his faith (as a principle of power, see LoF 1:13-17) to perform these miracles without any priesthood (or formal association with angels or Gods).

It was through these acts of faith that he become approved of God.

Working by faith without priesthood means using one’s own energy or light (without the association with others, on either side of the veil) to affect something in the spirit realm or physical world via one’s intention and the focus of one’s energy/light upon a desired outcome. 

Faith in Christ requires obtaining the will of the Lord to pursue a specific objective or desire, but then turning one’s intention to manifesting God’s will in this mortal world without help from the powers of heaven; implied is that one might exercise faith without focusing that faith in Christ (but the wisdom in doing that is questionable, at best).

What does it mean that the Holy Order comes “not by man” neither by “father nor mother” neither by “beginning of days nor end of years”?

This priesthood is from eternity, not from mortality.

The Holy Order has not begun on this earth – meaning is it not a product of this earth and can only be brought to this earth to be given to one who has already received it in eternity; it is an activation of an association that is already in place in heaven, rather than a new state which has never been experienced before. 

What power does the Holy Order have?

The Holy Order has power or “dominion” over the elements of the earth – break mountains, cause earthquakes, divide the seas, dry up or move rivers.

Has power or dominion over mankind – to defy their armies and weapons and to be able to escape from them (it does not have the power to control their minds or impact their agency – only the affects of their agency in certain circumstances when it suites God’s will).

Has power or dominion over the powers and principalities of heaven (different levels of gods and angels – light and dark).

Enables the holder to be able to stand (not just exist) in the presence of God; to have a habitation with God (see John 14:23).

Enables the holder to be translated and taken up into heaven; perhaps (like Enoch, Melchizedek and Elijah) to stay but at least to visit (like John, Paul and Abraham).

Enables the holder to obtain and accomplish God’s will upon the earth; to reason together with Him and occasionally to influence His decisions as a friend to and Son of God (see John 15:15; James 5:16; D&C 50:10-12).

Where does this power come from?

A direct association with God the Father.

The Holy Order is the highest degree of priesthood available to mankind; Joseph Smith identified three levels of priesthood – the Aaronic holds the keys to the ministering of angels, so it is an association with angels that gives the Aaronic priesthood its power; the second degree is an association with Jesus Christ; the highest is an association with God the Father. 

Does this priesthood have the power to establish Zion?

To have this priesthood (to be a part of this Holy Order) is to be a “Zion person” or the kind of person who could live comfortably in Zion, where the Lord Himself dwells with His people.

This priesthood allows the holder to ascend to heaven and receive the promise of one’s exaltation, as such these people have obtained God’s word regarding how to make this journey and have accomplished it successfully, so they are the only ones qualified to teach others how to find and navigate the Way; to the degree that others open their hearts to their words and follow them – finding the Lord themselves, Zion can be established if these various individuals, couples and families gather together to form a community.

However, this priesthood cannot “establish” Zion if the word means anything but what I have just explained; holders of this priesthood cannot force righteousness in any way, and they cannot stand as a “mouth piece” or “strong man” between the people and the Lord; in verse 33 it says “his people” did the work – they wrought righteousness and obtained heaven for themselves – there is no magic that a holder of the Holy Order can perform to create Zion against the will of other participants.

Note: Melchizedek was called the King of Heaven by his people because he served them so diligently (see John 13:4-17); and because he was of the Holy Order and held dominion over the earth – and these two are intimately connected in a cause-and-effect relationship (see D&C 121:34-46).

 


The Abrahamic Covenant

When Abraham is older and has overcome many trials, the realization of the covenant promises that were given to him years before finally comes to pass.  The Holy Order was given to Abraham to help him overcome the trials but growing in his relationship or association with God (and trust in God, especially in the sacrifice of Isaac) was part of what had to be learned in the ensuing years. 

READ Genesis 21:1-5 and Abraham 2:6, 8-11

What are the promises God made to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant?

Land (Genesis 17:8).

Posterity (Genesis 17:4-6).

Priesthood (Abraham 2:11).

…All of which apply in this life and in the eternities.

Who is the “literal” seed of Abraham that will bless all of the families of the earth?

Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:16, 20JST, 26-29).

Who will make Abraham a great nation?

Christ.

Abraham is told that he will be a blessing unto his seed after him, who is “his seed”?

As many as receive the (fullness of) gospel AND (fullness of) the priesthood (i.e. the Holy Order) shall be accounted as his seed (Abraham 2:10) - they become his spiritual progeny because they must reject the false teachings of their own fathers and seek after the living god, as did Abraham.

It is not about the literal offspring of Abraham but those who are “adopted” into his direct line, as he was “adopted” as Melchizedek’s heir.

 

READ D&C 84:33-38

How do we become the “seed of Abraham” and inherit the same blessings?

We must obtain the Fullness of the Priesthood ourselves – we must obtain the covenant from God to us as Abraham did.

Then we must “magnify the calling” by overcoming all of the trials which will be put in front of us to test us and our association with God. 

What is the High Priesthood “calling” we must magnify? 

To be even as “I am” (3 Nephi 27:27) – we must follow Christ’s example in ministering, serving, loving, blessing, and interceding on behalf of those who are suffering or who have done us wrong (Alma 5:14 - have we received His image in our countenance).

To be a servant in supporting God in His work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of our brothers and sisters as a “savior on Mount Zion”.

 

READ D&C 132:4-6

What “land” does obtaining this Priesthood and Abrahamic Covenant enable you to enter and have?

Enter into the glory of God (while in the flesh).

Inherit the Celestial Kingdom to go no more out.

But you must abide the Law of that kingdom - “instituted for the fullness of Gods glory” means “in order to prepare mankind to withstand” the fullness of Gods glory.

But if you do abide the law, you will obtain an inheritance of land (i.e. have the right to live) in God’s heavenly kingdom.

 

READ D&C 132:7

What happens if the family bonds and vows we make in this life are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise?

They are void in the world to come.

Which results in not having eternal posterity because we will be single in heaven.

Being “single” without “family bonds” implies that we don’t have a family to belong to – i.e. we lack the welding link to the family of God.

 

Melchizedek and his city were translated to join Enoch, leaving Abraham as the new dispensation head.  Abraham is the model or prototype for the modern Saint: he is a convert whose immediate father was an idolater (as opposed to Adam and his family of directly descended “patriarchs” or fathers); he has to forsake his father’s beliefs and society’s culture, fight through religious and familial persecution, and seek for and embrace the living god, like we must do if we would rend the veil of unbelief and actually come unto Christ ourselves.

Is the Abrahamic Covenant unique to Abraham?  Was he the first one to receive it?

No - it was first given to Adam, and then extended to all the “fathers” or patriarchs who came unto Christ.

It is called the “Abrahamic covenant” in the same way that the Holy Order is called the Melchizedek Priesthood, in honor of one who held and embodied it; the Abrahamic Covenant is called that today because we receive the covenant as “children of Abraham”.

Why is it called the “new and everlasting” covenant?

It is everlasting because it was established before the foundation of the world.

It is new because it is extended new to US, if we will do what is required to come unto Christ (and then the Father) to receive it - we are not saved by covenants made to others. (That’s why God is called the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” not the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” - the same covenant was extended individually to each).

 

Abraham not only held this Priesthood but received the promise that all who received the Gospel after him would become his descendants.  From the time of Abraham to the present, every saved soul has had their heart turned to him, become his son or daughter, and received that same priesthood (see Abraham 2:10-11).

READ 3 Nephi 20:25-27

Who are the children of the prophets or the children of Abraham?

Those that have accepted, believed and followed the Lord’s true messengers back into His presence.

They have received the priestly authority sealing them into the family of God, joining the “fathers”, having their hearts turned to the fathers in heaven.

They are the fruit or result of any successful restoration of the Gospel.

They are those that through the word given to those who have gone before, have also obtain the same light and truth; they received knowledge of the path that leads back to Christ in the flesh and also, like their fathers before them, become people who know God and are His friends and companions while living here in this fallen world; and when you have a group who all know God individually, you have Zion.

What does “turning the hearts of the children to the fathers” mean?

It speaks to the need we have of becoming part of the House of God via a “welding link” or familial adoption to those who have gone before (“fathers”); we must “turn our hearts” to the fathers or in other words, we must understand the need we have to become part of the family of God and become a “link” in the chain of those who have been saved from Adam to the last saved mortal being – and then seek after the fathers as Abraham did when he left the land of his nativity to find Melchizedek or as Joseph Smith did by rending the veil and associating with angels and Gods and receiving promises or “hope” of salvation, administered via covenant, to him.

It is a reference to the restoration of sealing authority, allowing a connection between mankind living on the earth and the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) in heaven.  In this dispensation, that restoration occurred when Joseph Smith was given the sealing authority and High Priesthood or Holy Order, and having his calling and election made sure, whereby he could ask and receive answers (see D&C 132:45-47, 49), sometime between 1929 and 1831.

Abraham received the Holy Order which came down from the beginning but had been lost to his own fathers (see Abraham 1:2-3) and received the promise that all who received the Gospel after him would become his descendants; from the time of Abraham to the present, every saved soul has had their heart turned to him, have become his son or daughter, and received that same priesthood (see Abraham 2:10-11); when Joseph Smith received this, he was not merely sealed up to eternal life, but he became part of the family of Abraham – being grafted into the “family tree” or House of God.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, JST14, 17; Abraham 1-2) QUESTIONS

Abraham’s Desire

 READ Abraham 1:2-5

What is Abraham’s greatest desire?

What must Abraham do to find this happiness, peace and rest?

 

 

Receiving Hope

In his ensuing trials, Jehovah visits Abraham twice and gives him a promise that he will receive the Priesthood he is seeking, sometime in the future - this is what is known as receiving a “hope” or promise from God.

READ Abraham 1:18-19 and Abraham 2:8-12

How many times does the Lord promise Abraham using the words “will”, “shall” or “shalt”?

What does this “hope” or promise do for Abraham’s faith?

Abraham must find someone who can confer the Priesthood upon him; who does he find that holds the Priesthood?

 

 

The Holy Order

READ JST Genesis 14:25-36 and D&C 84:39-40

Although Melchizedek confers this Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God upon Abraham, where does Abraham have to go to actually receive this priesthood?

So how does God deliver this priesthood to a person?

If this Priesthood only comes from God Himself, why does Abraham need to find Melchizedek to ordain him?

How did Melchizedek stop the mouths of lions and quench the violence of fire as a child without priesthood?

What does it mean that the Holy Order comes “not by man” neither by “father nor mother” neither by “beginning of days nor end of years”?

What power does the Holy Order have?

Where does this power come from?

Does this priesthood have the power to establish Zion?

 


The Abrahamic Covenant

When Abraham is older and has overcome many trials, the realization of the covenant promises that were given to him years before finally comes to pass.  The Holy Order was given to Abraham to help him overcome the trials but growing in his relationship or association with God (and trust in God, especially in the sacrifice of Isaac) was part of what had to be learned in the ensuing years. 

READ Genesis 21:1-5 and Abraham 2:6, 8-11

What are the promises God made to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant?

Who is the “literal” seed of Abraham that will bless all of the families of the earth?

Who will make Abraham a great nation?

Abraham is told that he will be a blessing unto his seed after him, who is “his seed”?

 

READ D&C 84:33-38

How do we become the “seed of Abraham” and inherit the same blessings?

What is the High Priesthood “calling” we must magnify? 

 

READ D&C 132:4-6

What “land” does obtaining this Priesthood and Abrahamic Covenant enable you to enter and have?

 

READ D&C 132:7

What happens if the family bonds and vows we make in this life are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise?

 

Melchizedek and his city were translated to join Enoch, leaving Abraham as the new dispensation head.  Abraham is the model or prototype for the modern Saint: he is a convert whose immediate father was an idolater (as opposed to Adam and his family of directly descended “patriarchs” or fathers); he has to forsake his father’s beliefs and society’s culture, fight through religious and familial persecution, and seek for and embrace the living god, like we must do if we would rend the veil of unbelief and actually come unto Christ ourselves.

Is the Abrahamic Covenant unique to Abraham?  Was he the first one to receive it?

Why is it called the “new and everlasting” covenant?

 

Abraham not only held this Priesthood but received the promise that all who received the Gospel after him would become his descendants.  From the time of Abraham to the present, every saved soul has had their heart turned to him, become his son or daughter, and received that same priesthood (see Abraham 2:10-11).

READ 3 Nephi 20:25-27

Who are the children of the prophets or the children of Abraham?

What does “turning the hearts of the children to the fathers” mean?

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Noah (Genesis 6-9, 11; Moses 8)

Master Mahan & the Fullness of Iniquity

READ Ether 2:11 and D&C 101:11

What is the “fullness of iniquity”?

The point of no return, after which the Lord releases His angels to destroy that civilization.

 

Joseph Smith was quoted as saying “Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire” (Journals of Abraham Cannon).  If the time of the Flood is a model for the days before the Second Coming of Christ - it would benefit us to learn more about what led to their destruction and how the righteous survived. To begin, we need to go back to the time of Adam.

 

READ Moses 5:12, 16, 18, 29-34

What does the fact that Cain became “perdition” imply on the statement that he loved Satan more than God?

He knew them both.

He knowingly chose between them.

While objective wickedness will enable a civilization to go toward the fullness, sinning knowingly against the light is a much more efficient way to get there.

What is the Master Mahan principle?

(Your) life for (my) money – to murder and get gain.

I am not my brother’s keeper.

Freedom from consequences (earthly, at least) - it is a secret covenant taken with an oath of death for any who betray the covenant (Moses 5:49-52).

It is the governing principle of success in this world as life doesn’t have to mean murder – grinding the faces of the poor to become more wealthy is another way to impact someone’s life for money – and this happens all of the time in this world.

On what principles are the “Two Ways” or more accurately the “Two Directions” of Zion and Babylon based?

Babylon or the Mahan Principle = My treasure at your expense.

Zion or the Doctrine of Christ = Sacrifice my whole soul and every material thing to/for Christ (and by extrapolation, my fellow men).

 

READ Moses 5:49-52

How is Lamech’s murdering different from Cain’s murder of Abel?

Lamech kills people who reveal the secret oath of Cain – the Master Mahan covenant.

Cain killed to get gain – specifically the Holy Order and the power of dominion that it enables.

They are the same in that the Mahan covenant enables you to get gain, but Lamech is killing to carry out the terms of the oath of secrecy and preserve the Mahan covenant while Cain is actually killing to gain (or so he thought; while he did gain Abel’s material possessions, he did not gain the right to the Holy Order).

What is an abomination?

That which is exceptionally loathsome or detestable.

That which is forbidden.

The religious justification of wrongdoing - it is motivated out of a false form of religious observance.

It is a true religious rite or principle that has been turned to evil - not used in the way God intended it, to worship Him and do all things according to His will - these things have been either been made profane (common) or used for evil (impacting the spiritual realm in a way not intended by God).

 

READ Moses 7:26 and Alma 12:11

What is the great chain that Satan uses to veil the whole earth in darkness?

Sin and iniquity.

It comes as a result of hardening hearts.

Rejecting the truth for what is pleasing to the world.

Loving Satan more than God.

 

READ Moses 7:32-34 and Moses 8:20-22, 28-30

Why is the Lord going to send in the floods – how can you tell they have reached the fullness of iniquity?

They have knowledge.

They have agency.

They have chosen to use that agency to disobey the knowledge they have been given (God lives, He has commanded us to be like Him and love each other, and to choose to follow and love Him not Satan).

They hate their own family.

They have embraced the Mahan principle - and uphold it through secret combinations.

They have left God’s covenant (from baptism of water and fire/born of the spirit to eternal marriage to the Second Comforter) and covenanted with Satan instead.

They are filled with pride - which is an imagination, not reality (because mankind is in reality less than the dust of the earth) - “mighty men of renown”, like unto “men of old”.

They do evil continually (they do not submit or even now understand the will of God, and they don’t care to).

As a result of this, the Earth had been corrupted.

And is filled with violence.

Who are the “men of old, men of great renown” that these “sons of God” are referring to?

Does it refer to Adam, Seth and Enoch? (Do they think they have spiritual power like the Patriarchs and hold the Priesthood after the Holy Order?).

Or is it Cain and Lamech? (who were mighty in material possessions and had spiritual power albeit dark power through an association with Satan and his dark spirits through the veil).

 

READ Moses 7:27 and Moses 8:24

What is happening to those that choose to humble themselves and receive the truth from the angels?

They are caught up to Enoch’s City of Zion, which is no longer on the earth.

Just because they missed the initial city of Zion and it’s ascendence doesn’t mean they can’t join it later – this is an example of the Lord’s mercy with His “wings” being “stretched out still” to receive all who will come unto Him until the end (see 3 Nephi 10:4-7).

 

 

Lessons from the Great Flood

READ Moses 7:42-43; Moses 8:13,19,25-27; Genesis 6:18

Why did the Lord save Noah’s family on the Ark instead of catching them up to save them in Zion?

They covenanted with God to continue the “experiment” on the Telestial sphere (mortal earth).

Almost sounds like God wanted to throw in the towel with regards to this earth - when His prophets (Noah “repenting” and Enoch “weeping”) feel the same.

For the golfers, it's a mulligan; for the gamers, it’s a reset.

What is an ark?

A large ship.

Something that affords protection and safety.

Something that represents the presence of God among mankind.

A repository for that which is most sacred.

 

READ Moses 7:61-62

What hope have we to escape the same fate as the people at the time of Noah?

We must follow the doctrine of Christ: believe in Christ, repent of our sins and be baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.

Embrace ALL the “righteousness” and truth that the Lord will send, through whatever means or people He chooses to send it – including “wild men” who are not socially acceptable, like Enoch.

We must acquire our own covenant with Him through the ordinances of the Gospel – but it is in the living of those ordinances and the reality of the gifts of the spirit occurring in our lives which is key; dead rites will not help us. 

Become part of Zion - become able to abide the presence of the Lord.

 

READ Genesis 7:11-13

What were the weather conditions when Noah started and finished building the Ark?

Sunny with not much of a chance of anything peculiar.

“There was no evidence of rain and flood.  His warnings were considered irrational… How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual!  But time ran out.  The ark was finished.  The floods came.  The disobedient and rebellious were drowned.  The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building.”  (Spencer Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p5-6).

What kind of courage must we have to testify to the world that we must all repent and come unto Christ through covenant that we might walk with God, as did Noah and his family?

A great deal of courage because the world will hate you and fight against you.

The world will not believe you, but they will also feel threatened and want to stop the mouth of the messenger.

 

 

The Tower of Babel

READ Genesis 11:3-4

What are they trying to do in building a tower?

They are not trying to build a tower so tall it will get to heaven – the fact they had enough engineering knowledge to attempt to build such a tower suggests they realized it was impossible to do, even if it was built upon the top of the highest mountain.  

They were constructing a building which has special properties that allows access to the heavenly veil and enables man to actually enter the presence of God while mortal: a temple. 

 

READ Genesis 11:5-7

What is really going on here?

They have special knowledge about how to access the powers of heaven (the angels and Gods).

That knowledge is legitimate (likely from Noah and his sons, who had received the Fullness of the Priesthood and could stand in the presence of God), otherwise God would not be worried.

They will gain a great deal of power on earth from this association with spiritual powers.

They are “one” as a people in this endeavor.

For some reason, God is not happy with this building project - it is unauthorized: so it is an abomination.

How does God stop the project?

He confounds or changes their language.

He introduces an element that makes it difficult for them to remain one.

These people were attempting to build Zion but they were going about it the wrong way - what was wrong?

God had not authorized it - they were “partaking of fruit out of season”.

Zion is built as people come unto God and are one with Him, not with each other, regardless how noble their mortal objective might seem to be.

If they had each truly been one with God, how would the confounding of their language have affected them?

They could have done as Mahonri did and prayed for mercy.

Being one with God, they would have figured out how to overcome this new challenge to Zion through the Spirit.

Did anyone from this group or period actually end up experiencing Zion?

Shem/Melchizedek (Alma 13:14-18), who were not likely among this group.

Mahonri the Brother of Jared (Ether 1-3), who were a part of this group.

 

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