Thursday, March 31, 2022

Moses and the Passover (Exodus 1-3, 5-6, 11-14)

Egypt

There are two different accounts of how long the children of Israel stayed in Egypt - anywhere between 200 and 400 years, but regardless, what affect did it have on their cultural and religious beliefs?

You cannot live in a country without adopting their values and beliefs to some degree – even if you attempt to separate yourselves. 

The pyramids had already stood for a thousand years.

There began to be some affinity towards the Gods of Egypt – or at least the Pharoah, who has regarded as divine. 

Grandeur and greatness of Egypt influenced everyone who lived there.

Did the Israelites need to get to Canaan for the Abrahamic Covenant to be made available to them?

No, like Abraham himself, they needed to get the Egypt out of them – the covenant is reliant on where the inner person is, not the physical body.

The Israelites had come to enjoy the things that would keep them separated from God - there hearts were not fully turned to Him.

But having said that, there are many examples of the Lord leading people into the actual wilderness because it was the only way for them to separate themselves, spiritually and emotionally, from the culture in which they were living – which was not conducive to them receiving the covenant.

How would you describe the nation of Egypt back in the time of Moses?

The great, global, western “superpower”.

The sophisticated center of culture and economics.

What country in the world today could be described as today’s “Egypt”?

The United States of America – the “culturally sophisticated” world economic and military leader.

And like ancient Israel, we have been “nourished” by a long dead prophet named Joseph the Seer or in our case, Joseph Smith.

How is America in bondage to false gods, as the Egyptians were?

Egypt worshipped many false gods – the Nile, the Sun, cattle, its Pharaoh.

The United States worships many false gods - materialism, military might, and celebrity. 

 

 

Moses is Rejected by Israel as their Deliverer

READ Acts 7:17-34

What status and experience did Moses have, growing up in Egypt?

Unlike the rest of Israel, who had been enslaved by the Egyptian king who “knew not Joseph” the Seer, Moses grew up as a prince in the household of the Pharaoh.

He was educated in the best schools and was “mighty in words and deeds”.

He did not associate with the Israelite slaves at all until he was forty years old, although the text implies that he knew he was Israelite.

It is interesting that he never was discriminated against for not being Egyptian – perhaps it was hard to tell his ethnicity?  If the Egyptians couldn’t tell that he wasn’t one of them (likely, as the others were all enslaved and he would likely have been rejected by the daughter of the Pharaoh when he was found as a baby), it makes you wonder how he found out himself; perhaps he didn’t know his own ethnicity until God revealed it to him in a vision.

Why did Moses kill the Egyptian overlord?

Because he had been told by God that he would deliver the Israelites from slavery – this was a way to identify himself to Israel as the one prophesied to deliver them – the “first blow” of the war.

Because he was incensed at their treatment by the Egyptians.

How did the Israelites react to Moses?

They rejected him.

They taunted him.

How did Moses react to this rejection by Israel?

He was frustrated that the Israelites failed to recognize him as their promised deliverer.

He fled into the desert.

He was betrayed to the Egyptians by the Israelites who witnessed the killing; now a criminal (albeit a royal one), he had to escape justice, as Israel would not follow him as the leader of a rebellion.

What lessons can be learned from this experience?

When Moses attempted to begin the mission he had been told about by God, his attempt failed.

The mission was only successful when the Lord commissioned Moses to begin it.

We control nothing and have no right to move the Lord’s hand or “hasten the work”; the timing of the Lord’s assignments are entirely His to control – even if we have been told what we should do, we may have to wait years before we get the “green light” to proceed.

As with Moses, sometimes it is us that needs the preparation – in this case, the experience of going from being a prince to being a desert vagabond; Israel was just as hard-hearted and faithless when Moses came back 40 years later than they were when Moses first tried to deliver them but it was Moses who had to change to enable the Lord’s deliverance of Israel to happen.

 

 

The Burning Bush

READ Exodus 3:1-2

Where does the Lord speak to Moses?

In a holy place – made holy by His presence.

On Mount Sinai, the Lord’s temple in the wilderness.

What is happening with this “burning bush”?

The conduit of fire from heaven has been opened right above a bush or bramble, such that the glory seemed to be lighting the bush on fire, despite it not burning.

This is a very similar scene to Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision where he originally thought that the grove was on fire.

 

READ Exodus 3:3-6

Who is the “angel” who appears to Moses?

It is the Lord.

He is appearing here in a similar way to how he appeared to Jacob during the “wrestling” incident (see Genesis 32:24-30) – in such glory that the mortal man is fearful for his life and shields his eyes from the glorious sight of a god of light standing in front of him.

It is interesting that the account of Moses 1 occurs after the Burning Bush (see Moses 1:17) but before the delivery of Egypt (see Moses 1:25-26); in that account, the Lord covers Moses in His glory or transfigures Him, so that He can speak with the Lord with much more comfort than He does during this initial visitation at the Burning Bush (see Moses 1:2); this is so that He can show him a vision of the eternities and the creation of the world (see Moses 2-7). 

 

READ Exodus 3:7-10

Why is the Lord delivering Israel?

As a result of their prayers for help.

As a result of promises made to the Fathers.

Who will deliver Israel?

The Lord (v3:8).

 

READ Exodus 3:11-12

Due, in part, to his previous failure 40 years before, Moses worries that he is not a capable tool for the Lord; what token does the Lord give Moses?

The Lord will be with Moses (in power and actual presence).

Moses will have power to actually deliver Israel – and against all odds, he will accomplish the task.

And after they’ve left Egypt, Moses will come back to Sinai and “serve God”; he will enter into God’s presence in a way he has not experienced yet.

 

READ Exodus 3:13-14

When the personage says “I will go with thee” into Egypt, what name does He give Moses when asked?

I AM THAT I AM.

YHWH or Yahweh.

Jehovah.

Why is this name significant?

It means “I exist” – not only that but it implies that He has life in Himself.

Knowing His name or who God truly is, is also knowing who you truly are.

Knowing the name of God means that you are His friend – a Son of God.

How does this set Yahweh apart from the gods of Egypt?

They don’t really exist.

Except one: Pharaoh, but he is a man, albeit the most powerful (“…interesting?”) man in the world.

In a way the Egyptian gods do exist – meaning that their magician priests were able to conjure similar “miracles” to what Moses did with his signs; so they had knowledge of the spirit realm and had the power to reach through the veil and manifest things in this physical world – likely with the assistance of entities or powers in the spirit realm.  The only difference is that they were not accessing help from the “living god of light” but other spirits or “gods”.

 

READ Exodus 3:16 and 4:1-9

What series of signs does the Lord give to Moses, in case the Children of Israel don’t believe that he has been sent from God to deliver them?

Turns his rod into a snake and back.

Hand was made leprous and healed.

Changes the river water turned into blood.

 

 

The Main Event: Moses versus Pharaoh

READ Exodus 6:6-7

What is the key to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt?

They must “know that I am the Lord your God”.

This implies acknowledging God’s power but really requires “knowing” Him on a personal level.

It is interesting to wonder how much the “law of Lot” was in play – meaning how many righteous souls were living among the children of Israel which resulted in the Lord saving the whole group, because clearly most of them didn’t qualify on their own as they loved the culture and lifestyle available to them in Egypt, despite being slaves. 

 

READ Exodus 4:31

This time, do the people believe that Moses is sent to deliver them?

Yes.

 

READ Exodus 6:9-12

But how does the faith of the Children of Israel hold out?

At the first sight of trouble (Pharaoh makes them find straw to build bricks - see chapter 5) they fall apart again.

Egypt still has power over their hearts (they have more faith in the power of Egypt and Pharaoh than Jehovah and Moses).

 

READ Exodus 7-10

The Lord has Moses inflict Egypt with ten plagues - why does He do this?

To show Israel and Egypt that Jehovah is the only God with power to save.

In the face of the greatness of Egypt, the children of Israel need to see the Lord’s might displayed in the real world.

Pharaoh’s magicians were able to copy several of the plagues, what does that teach us?

Satan has real power in this world through his “priesthoods”.

Satan’s powers did not have the power to prevent Jehovah’s plagues, only copy some of them.

There is no reason to believe that Satan and his followers have lost any power in the last 4000 years - he has the same power to work miracles today as he ever had.

How do the plagues explicitly target the weaknesses of Egypt’s gods vis-a-vis Jehovah’s power?

River to blood = river god (Hopi).

Darkness = sun god (Ra).

Livestock = bull, cow and ram gods (Apis, Mnevis, Hathor, Khnum).

Hail = livestock gods (see above).

Boils = livestock gods and Pharaoh.

Frogs = frog god (Heqt).

Locusts = Pharaoh.

Lice/gnats = Pharaoh.

Flies = Pharaoh.

Death of the Firstborn = Pharaoh.

Why was it important to expose the “god”, Pharaoh, as powerless?

He was the only “living” god the Egyptians worshipped - but Pharaoh, despite his worldly power, was really just a man.

Christ has power over all of the dark entities that exist in the spirit realm; He has power over the man Pharaoh, too, but honors his agency as a mortal, to submit to the true and living God or to continue his charade as a “living god” himself. 

 

READ Exodus 11:1-10

While the Israelites were spared from most of the first nine plagues, why did they have to do something to be spared the deaths of their own firstborn?

Salvation comes only through obedience to following God’s word.

The death of the first born son was symbolic of the death of Christ; to make sure the salvific outcomes of Christ’s death are not “in vain”, we must submit our whole souls to Him and be saved – the “Passover” ritual speaks to this.

 

 

The Passover

READ Exodus 12:1-51

What was the outward ordinance the Lord commanded as a way to deliver Israel from death?

The “Passover”.

The sacrifice of a male lamb without defect (12:5).

Care for the lamb for five days (12:6).

No bones can be broken (12:46).

All spill the blood of the lamb together (12:6).

Apply the blood to the top and sides of the door frame (12:7).

Eat the flesh of the lamb (12:8) – his death sustains their lives.

Remove all yeast from the house (12:15).

Eat unleavened bread (12:8).

Eat bitter herbs (12:8).

Remain ready to act on a moment’s notice, on the Lord’s instructions (12:11).

Keep the Passover and teach it to your children (12:14).

Obey the ordinance with exactness (12:24,28).

The Lamb saves Israel by saving each family (12:3).

Change the calendar to always remember the sacrifice (12:2).

The symbolism of the lamb without blemish is obvious, but why were they commanded to care for the lamb for five days?

We must come to KNOW and LOVE the Lamb of God - he must become “dear” to them before the sacrifice is made.

The ordinance or killing of the Lamb alone is necessary but not sufficient.

Why does the whole congregation spill the blood of the Lamb?

His suffering was for us all.

He suffered all that a god could suffer - infinite and eternal suffering - if we had sinned less individually, He would not have suffered less.

Why was the lamb to be roasted?

Fire is a purifying agent.

We should “eat of the Lamb’s flesh” in purity.

To dwell with God is to live in “everlasting burnings”.

Why was all the Lamb’s meat to be eaten?

There is no salvation in particle truths.

Or partial acceptance of the whole truth.

Christ represents perfection or being "whole".

Why does each family unit partake of the Lamb together?

No priest stands between us/our family and God - it is us, the Father and the Lamb - no priest is present to officiate.

The family unit is central to our exaltation in the eternities - we are saved together or we are not saved.

Because of the need for an “Elohim” relationship - father and mother god.

Because of the fact that we will damn ourselves if we do not do everything we can to help save each other – we must lose our lives to find them (some are here on a rescue mission).

The “house of the Lord” can also be the “family” of the Lord - we are to be adopted in, first to Christ and then back with the Father.

What do the bitter herbs symbolize?

Sufferings in Egypt.

The fallen man that we have need to be redeemed from.

The buffetings of Satan.

The bitter dregs of the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Why did the yeast have to be removed from the house?

Yeast is a corruptible agent - we must remove all corruption from our lives.

Yeast rises and without it, we are like the unleavened bread - Christ is the “leaven” of mankind, which causes us to rise up.

Why did they eat unleavened bread?

In addition to the above…

It is “poor bread” of the slaves of Egypt - representing the natural man and our condition as slaves to sin and death.

The dough did not have sufficient time to be leavened, when the Lord revealed themselves to the House of Israel and redeemed them.

He comes “quickly to His temple” - “which temple, ye are” - like the parable of the Ten Virgins, we know not the hour of the bridegroom’s coming - we will not be fully prepared for Him; do not let the guilt of Joseph in Egypt’s brothers stop us from going to Him when He comes to us.

Why were they commanded to eat in haste, with shoes on feet and staff in hand?

They needed to be ready to leave Egypt in haste, at the Lord’s command.

We must “go where you want us to go, dear Lord”.

Shoes symbolize accepting the new upward path of light and truth - heading toward Sinai - which you never remove after you’ve first put them on… unless you turn altogether from the Lord.

Staff symbolizes power in the priesthood.

Why was the blood of the lamb applied to the door frame?

Home = temple = body (the Lord dwells not in unholy temples but in the hearts of the righteous - their garments made white through the blood of the Lamb; Alma 34:36 and Alma 13:11-12).

Door = entrance = eye (when you eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light).

The blood of the Lamb keeps out the angel of death from the opening of the home.

The blood of the Lamb overshadows the entrance and exit of a person.

Blood was sprinkled on the altar of the temple in likeness of the Passover - reminding us that the “house” is also sacred like a temple, a place where god might come and abide, a “house of the Lord” – which temple you are.

When the Feast of the Passover was celebrated in ancient Israel, the youngest male present would ask “why is this night different from all other nights?”  How would you answer this?

For the children of Israel, it is the last night of their slavery, due to the sacrifice of the first born sons of Egypt and the subsequent release of the slaves by Pharaoh.  It is also the last night that they will not be actively hunted (after Pharoah changes his mind).

On this night, in 33 AD, the true Lamb of God suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and was slain for the sins of the world.

If we seek after Christ and find Him ourselves, that night (that we come unto Him) will be different from all other nights because we will KNOW the living God whom we have been seeking after and our lives will never be the same – we can’t unsee that level of sure knowledge once we’ve experienced it.

 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Moses and the Passover (Exodus 1-3, 5-6, 11-14) QUESTIONS

Egypt

There are two different accounts of how long the children of Israel stayed in Egypt - anywhere between 200 and 400 years, but regardless, what affect did it have on their cultural and religious beliefs?

Did the Israelites need to get to Canaan for the Abrahamic Covenant to be made available to them?

How would you describe the nation of Egypt back in the time of Moses?

What country in the world today could be described as today’s “Egypt”?

How is America in bondage to false gods, as the Egyptians were?

 

 

Moses is Rejected by Israel as their Deliverer

READ Acts 7:17-34

What status and experience did Moses have, growing up in Egypt?

Why did Moses kill the Egyptian overlord?

How did the Israelites react to Moses?

How did Moses react to this rejection by Israel?

What lessons can be learned from this experience?

 

 

The Burning Bush

READ Exodus 3:1-2

Where does the Lord speak to Moses?

What is happening with this “burning bush”?

 

READ Exodus 3:3-6

Who is the “angel” who appears to Moses?

 

READ Exodus 3:7-10

Why is the Lord delivering Israel?

Who will deliver Israel?

 

READ Exodus 3:11-12

Due, in part, to his previous failure 40 years before, Moses worries that he is not a capable tool for the Lord; what token does the Lord give Moses?

 

READ Exodus 3:13-14

When the personage says “I will go with thee” into Egypt, what name does He give Moses when asked?

Why is this name significant?

How does this set Yahweh apart from the gods of Egypt?

 

READ Exodus 3:16 and 4:1-9

What series of signs does the Lord give to Moses, in case the Children of Israel don’t believe that he has been sent from God to deliver them?

 

 

The Main Event: Moses versus Pharaoh

READ Exodus 6:6-7

What is the key to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt?

 

READ Exodus 4:31

This time, do the people believe that Moses is sent to deliver them?

 

READ Exodus 6:9-12

But how does the faith of the Children of Israel hold out?

 

READ Exodus 7-10

The Lord has Moses inflict Egypt with ten plagues - why does He do this?

Pharaoh’s magicians were able to copy several of the plagues, what does that teach us?

How do the plagues explicitly target the weaknesses of Egypt’s gods vis-a-vis Jehovah’s power?

Why was it important to expose the “god”, Pharaoh, as powerless?

 

READ Exodus 11:1-10

While the Israelites were spared from most of the first nine plagues, why did they have to do something to be spared the deaths of their own firstborn?

 

 

The Passover

READ Exodus 12:1-51

What was the outward ordinance the Lord commanded as a way to deliver Israel from death?

The symbolism of the lamb without blemish is obvious, but why were they commanded to care for the lamb for five days?

Why does the whole congregation spill the blood of the Lamb?

Why was the lamb to be roasted?

Why was all the Lamb’s meat to be eaten?

Why does each family unit partake of the Lamb together?

What do the bitter herbs symbolize?

Why did the yeast have to be removed from the house?

Why did they eat unleavened bread?

Why were they commanded to eat in haste, with shoes on feet and staff in hand?

Why was the blood of the lamb applied to the door frame?

When the Feast of the Passover was celebrated in ancient Israel, the youngest male present would ask “why is this night different from all other nights?”  How would you answer this?

 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 40-45)

Joseph the Egyptian Prisoner

READ Genesis 39:21-23; Genesis 40:14-15, 23

Talk about the inmates running the asylum!  How did Joseph came to gain the trust of the Prison Warden to this degree?

He was a man of integrity and though wrongly imprisoned, would not seek to escape.

Even after the butler forgot Joseph for 2 years, he would not escape.

 

READ Genesis 40:1, 8-13, 16-19

If dream interpretations belong to God, how was Joseph able to understand them correctly?

He has a spiritual gift.

God inspired him with the understanding; by this point in his life, Joseph was animated by the Holy Spirit (mind of God), so God’s thoughts flowed into him as if they were his (and they were, as he and God were becoming one in spirit as Joseph continued to submit his will to God’s and honor the situation God had placed him in by staying in the prison).

What is the objective of spiritual gifts?

To help others to come unto Christ - they are ministering gifts not self-aggrandizing gifts.

 

READ Acts 2:17-18

Who can have these gifts?

Anyone, as God is no respecter of persons - including a youngest brother of 11 or a young, foreign prisoner.

There is no gender or age requirement for spiritual gifts: women have the right to receive them as much as men do, and the young can receive these gifts as easily as the elderly.

Spiritual gifts must be sought for from God; who ever does the spiritual work can have the spiritual gifts.

 

READ Genesis 41:1-8

What do you think the dreams mean?

7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine.

As Ebenezer Scrooge might point out, Pharaoh needs to change his diet or make sure he isn’t eating so close to bedtime.

 

READ Genesis 41:14-16, 25-32

Why does God speak to people in dreams?

It is a very subtle test.

It is a precursor to receiving a more.

He can appear to people in dreams without having to shield them from His glory.

What would happen today if a political leader like the President of the United States or the Russian Prime Minister received a dream like this and not the President of the LDS Church?

People would think he was crazy if the leader thought it meant something… dreams are just dreams! (like Hitler being into astrology).

Church members may not believe them unless they were legitimized by the “authorized” leader (unless the political leader was a Republican…).

What lessons can we learn from this experience of Pharaoh and young Joseph?

You don’t need to be a “Church member” to receive revelation or be spiritually gifted.

You don’t need to be a Church leader to receive or interpret revelation.

God may show a vision to one person and the interpretation of that vision to another person; this would not be done out of whim but because it is important for both parties to have this shared spiritual experience.

 

READ Jeremiah 31:33-34 and D&C 84:98-99

What does the Lord tell us about who shall KNOW Him in the Last Days?

ALL shall know Him, from the least to the greatest.

What does KNOW him mean?

To know is to KNOW He lives but was slain - see 3 Nephi 11:14-15.

To know Him because He has taken up His abode or habitation with you and you have spent lots of time with Him (see John 14:21-23).

 

 

Joseph the Egyptian Leader

READ Genesis 41:37-41

What does this experience teach us about Pharaoh?

He wanted someone filled with the Holy Spirit to help him lead the people; perhaps he doubted the degree to which he had that Spirit, though; or perhaps he wanted those who governed with him to share it, too.

He was righteous enough to recognize/discern that Joseph had the Spirit of the living God in him.

 

READ Genesis 41:47-49

Did it cost Egypt to store the excess food?

Yes - they would have had to have built granaries and spent the labor to carefully store it.

Would they have done this without Joseph’s warning to Pharaoh? 

It’s doubtful.

The world usually assumes that when things are good, there is no reason why they won’t continue that way (especially if they think that their success is attributed to their own efforts and smarts); plus, as resources are never infinite, any expenditure of time and money on one project, takes away from other projects that could have been accomplished – it’s opportunity cost.

 

READ Genesis 41:54-57

If they had the foresight to store the grain, in the case of an international crisis like this today, what would the “world power” likely do?

Either sell the food at a premium or…

Gain power over the countries and people who bought or were given the food - “you owe me”.

Not to be too cynical but all organizations work to create value for themselves; this is why God wishes that we would personally be engaged in good causes and do many things of our own free will (see D&C 58:27) rather than leave it to an organization with an agenda (however “good” that agenda might seem to themselves).

 

READ Genesis 42:5-8, 14-15,19-27

What does Joseph do to his brothers?

He disguises his true identity from them.

He gives them the food.

He accuses them of being spies.

He tells them that they need to bring back Benjamin.

He keeps Simeon in prison as ransom.

He listens to them “repent” of killing Joseph.

He hid their money in their sacks.

So, they know they are in big trouble if they ever return for Simeon.

They come back for more food, bringing Benjamin.

Joseph has his precious silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack - stealing it is a death sentence by Egyptian law.

Judah (who sold him to the Arabs in the first place) begs to be punished in Benjamin’s place.

 

READ Genesis 45:1-8

When Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, what does he tell them?

That God sent him to Egypt.

While the brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery, God had a plan the whole time.  God took advantage of the (poor) use of agency by the brothers to enable Joseph to become the person the Lord wanted him to become – and to save the brothers at the same time.  However, God did not inspire the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery. 

Last week we talked about Joseph’s two dreams - How did the temporal salvation dream (about the grain) play out?

Joseph is “broken off” to a place apart from the House of Israel.

Joseph resides in a distant land, unknown to his family (where he will live until his death).

Joseph’s experience (slavery, temptation, wrongly accused, prison, forgotten, finally triumph) in the distant land prepares the way for the salvation of Israel.

Israel began to be saved when they learned of Joseph (or what he had caused to happen as the Captain of Egypt), who was separated.

They bow down to him and he makes himself known unto them - their temporal salvation is also the reunion with their lost brother who they had sold.

 

READ JST Genesis 48:8-11

How does the spiritual salvation through Joseph (the “star” dream) mirror the temporal salvation he provided?

Joseph had the birthright to receive the High Priesthood or Holy Order (the Coat of Many Colors or Coat of Light was a proof of his having the birthright).

Through his faithfulness to the Lord throughout all his trials in Egypt, he had gained the ordination from God; and through that High Priesthood, his seed (Ephraim and Manasseh through Lehi) would bless all of Israel in the last days.

 

READ JST Genesis 50:25

What part of Joseph’s family is broken off and removed to a place apart from Israel?

Lehi and his family.

Where is the distant land and how do we know it was unknown to Israel?

The Americas are promised to Joseph (Ether 13:6-7).

Christ told the Nephites that Israel didn’t know about them (3 Nephi 15:19-21).

How do the experiences of the tribe of Joseph in the distant land prepare the way for the salvation of Israel?

The Book of Mormon is the means of bringing salvation to Israel by restoring the true doctrine of Christ and the covenants through which the remnant of Israel can know Him (JST Genesis 50:31-32).

The work of the gentile Egyptians in growing, harvesting and storing the life-giving food mirrors the work of the latter-day gentiles.

The Egyptians were saved by the food first - Israel came only after the famine had been two years into its seven-year cycle. (2 Nephi 30:3); the gentiles are the “last” that would become “first” in the latter-day restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Christ.

How does Israel begin to be saved by learning about Joseph of Egypt? (READ 2 Nephi 30:4-7)

They learn that THEY are the lost ones because they don’t know who they are - until they read the Book of Mormon.

They learn the truth about the Messiah - that he is Jesus Christ.

They learn about the covenants they’ve been promised and HOW great things the Lord has done to them.

How does Israel bow down to Joseph in the last days?

They receive the gospel from Joseph (Ephraim) where they fall down before “him” and are crowned with glory (D&C 133:30-34).

They receive it at the hand of Joseph Smith (2 Nephi 3:6-7, 15) – one “like unto” Joseph of Egypt – via the Book of Mormon.

How is Joseph’s saving of the House of Israel from physical and spiritual death a type of Christ?

He is the beloved son.

It is divinely revealed that he will rule over Israel.

The children of Israel reject him out of jealousy and hate.

Notwithstanding their treatment of him, he seeks out his brothers on behalf of his father.

The children of Israel conspire to kill him.

He is betrayed by the hand of Judah (Greek = Judas).

He is sold for the price of a slave.

This very attempt to destroy him sets in motion the events that will eventually save the House of Israel from death.

He resists temptation perfectly.

He begins his public mission at the age of 30.

He provides “bread” for Israel (sacrificing His body to death and the resurrection He then attained) - saving them from death.

He offers that bread without price (as Joseph of Egypt gives his brothers their money back).

In the offering of that bread, he offers them the opportunity to repent.

And if Joseph is a type of Christ, then who are we?

The children of Israel.

 

READ AGAIN Genesis 45:1-5 and 42:21-24

If Joseph is a type of Christ, why does He weep for us?

When we finally see Him for who He is, we hold ourselves back from Him, we prefer to shrink into the shadows because of the guilt we feel over the pain we’ve caused Him.

And the realization that each of our sins has been a failure to love Him, but we would rather “sell Him” and profit.

So, He weeps for the separation that we MAINTAIN, even when He is before us and has revealed Himself to us in the flesh.

But He continues to plead to us “come near to me, I pray you”; He begs that we “lay aside the sins and guilt and allow me to heal you with the bread of life”.

 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 40-45) QUESTIONS

Joseph the Egyptian Prisoner

READ Genesis 39:21-23; Genesis 40:14-15, 23

Talk about the inmates running the asylum!  How did Joseph came to gain the trust of the Prison Warden to this degree?

 

READ Genesis 40:1, 8-13, 16-19

If dream interpretations belong to God, how was Joseph able to understand them correctly?

What is the objective of spiritual gifts?

 

READ Acts 2:17-18

Who can have these gifts?

 

READ Genesis 41:1-8

What do you think the dreams mean?

 

READ Genesis 41:14-16, 25-32

Why does God speak to people in dreams?

What would happen today if a political leader like the President of the United States or the Russian Prime Minister received a dream like this and not the President of the LDS Church?

What lessons can we learn from this experience of Pharaoh and young Joseph?

 

READ Jeremiah 31:33-34 and D&C 84:98-99

What does the Lord tell us about who shall KNOW Him in the Last Days?

What does KNOW him mean?

 

 

Joseph the Egyptian Leader

READ Genesis 41:37-41

What does this experience teach us about Pharaoh?

 

READ Genesis 41:47-49

Did it cost Egypt to store the excess food?

Would they have done this without Joseph’s warning to Pharaoh? 

 

READ Genesis 41:54-57

If they had the foresight to store the grain, in the case of an international crisis like this today, what would the “world power” likely do?

 

READ Genesis 42:5-8, 14-15,19-27

What does Joseph do to his brothers?

 

READ Genesis 45:1-8

When Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, what does he tell them?

Last week we talked about Joseph’s two dreams - How did the temporal salvation dream (about the grain) play out?

 

READ JST Genesis 48:8-11

How does the spiritual salvation through Joseph (the “star” dream) mirror the temporal salvation he provided?

 

READ JST Genesis 50:25

What part of Joseph’s family is broken off and removed to a place apart from Israel?

Where is the distant land and how do we know it was unknown to Israel?

How do the experiences of the tribe of Joseph in the distant land prepare the way for the salvation of Israel?

How does Israel begin to be saved by learning about Joseph of Egypt? (READ 2 Nephi 30:4-7)

How does Israel bow down to Joseph in the last days?

How is Joseph’s saving of the House of Israel from physical and spiritual death a type of Christ?

And if Joseph is a type of Christ, then who are we?

 

READ AGAIN Genesis 45:1-5 and 42:21-24

If Joseph is a type of Christ, why does He weep for us?

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Joseph & the Coat of Many Colors (Genesis 34, 37-39)

“It was red and yellow and green and brown, and scarlet and black and ochre and peach…”

Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, but only two by Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin (who she died bearing), but they were the youngest of the family. 

 

The Coat of Many Colors

READ Genesis 37:1-3

Why did Jacob love Joseph more than all the rest of his children?

He was the oldest son of his beloved wife, Rachel.

Rachel had been barren, so they waited a long time for Joseph (“son of his old age”).

He was a righteous son, unlike his brothers.

What was the “coat of many colors”?

Not a coat of many colors or patchwork pieces.

It was a tunic reaching down the arms and to the ankles, such as princes wore.

A token of the birthright.

A “coat of pasaim” or ceremonial robe; a priestly robe.

Translation of the word used for coat (“kethoneth”) is the same word used in Genesis 3:21 describing the “coat of skins” made by God for Adam and Eve; the Hebrew word for “skins” is “ore” which has a homonym (“or”) meaning light, so the phrase “coat or garment of skins” conveys the meaning “garment of light”.

There is a Jewish legend that states that while Joseph was imprisoned in the pit, prior to being sold to the Arabs, that Gabriel appeared to him and placed upon him a special garment of protection which he wore throughout all his Egyptian experiences (Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews. 7 vols. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909. 2:17); this would have been a second “coat of light” or “priestly robe” as the first was covered in blood and taken back to Jacob as proof of Joseph’s death (see Genesis 37:23, 31-33).

 

 

Joseph’s Dreams

READ Genesis 37:4-11

Why would the Lord send revelation or inspiration in a dream?

Dreams are the will'o-the-wisp so insubstantial that our sophisticated society dismisses them without thought.

Accepting inspired dreams is a step on the ladder of faith.

Acting on the inspiration is required - i.e. Nephi will "go and do" by going back to Jerusalem to get the plates after Lehi’s dream.

God has a history of sending dreams to people: the 3 wise men and Joseph the step-father of Christ all had dreams which had to be acted on to save the baby Jesus’ life.

What did the dreams mean?

The family of Israel would bow down to Joseph (including his father Jacob).

He would have dominion over them.

So why was Joseph naive enough to tell his brothers about his dreams as they already hated him for his coat!?

Joseph tells us in the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith was “like unto” him - perhaps it was innocent naiveté (with his Methodist minister friend Joseph Smith, “took occasion to give him an account of the vision… I was greatly surprised at his behavior” - JSH 1:21).

Perhaps he was commanded to by the Lord, as a trial, knowing the dreams were true but would heap upon him persecution - either in being hated for being a prideful fool without savvy or for being a “new-agey” crazy person.

Why did the Lord send two dreams with seemingly the same meaning?

The first dream concerned the “field” and “grain” - pointing to an earthly dominion and specifically to Joseph’s later role in Egypt’s and Israel’s being saved from the famine.

The second dream concerned the “sun, moon and stars” - suggesting a heavenly rule or bringing a spiritual salvation to his family.

 

READ Genesis 37:17-20

Why would the brothers resort to murder?

Not for gain – selling him was an afterthought to make some pocket money.

Not for the coat/priesthood – they didn’t care about the birthright or Holy Order.

To disprove the “dreams” - prophetic mantle or spiritual gifts.

To stop Joseph from ruling over them temporally.

They are fallen - carnal, sensual and devilish; Joseph’s favor by Jacob had made them jealous.

 

READ Genesis 37:23-28

Why did they sell Joseph for 20 pieces of silver?

It was the price of a slave and he was being sold into slavery.

There must have been some satisfaction knowing that this favored and naïve child knew that he’d been sold for the price of a slave (only).

 

 

Joseph in Potiphar’s House

The Arabs then sell him to the Egyptian Pharaoh’s Captain of the Guard, Potiphar.

READ Genesis 39:2-3

Who was Joseph’s “master”?

The God of Israel.

Not Potiphar.

 

READ Genesis 39:4

In whose eyes did Joseph find grace in?

The Lord’s.

… and then Potiphar’s because he saw that Joseph was blessed.

 

READ Genesis 39:4 again, this time capitalizing the “H’s” to make it refer to God!

What does this verse mean now?

Joseph finds grace in the eyes of the Lord (receives blessings he doesn’t deserve).

Joseph serves the Lord.

The Lord makes Joseph “overse-er” or “over-seer” of His House (of Israel).

The Lord blesses Joseph with all of His blessings - Holy Priesthood, Posterity, Eternal Life.

 

READ D&C 122:9

What is the relationship between fearing men and worshipping God in faith?

They have an inverse relationship.

The more you fear man, the less you worship God and exercise faith.

The more you worship God and put your faith in Him, the less you fear what men can do – even unto death.

 

READ Genesis 39:7-10 and Alma 39:5

How is fornication or adultery sinning against God?

The body is part of the immortal soul which Christ has redeemed; you are not your own - you have been bought with a terrible price - all that a god can suffer; one that exploits the body of another abuses the central purpose and processes of life and crucifies Christ afresh.

Sex is the ultimate physical symbol of total union: of hearts, hopes, lives, love, future, everything - “be one”; it is a sealing of two souls into one.  You risk moral and mental schizophrenia from pretending you are one because you are giving, temporarily, only part of what was meant to be a total and permanent union.

Symbolic of a shared relationship between the couple and their Father in Heaven - uniting with Him spiritually.  “I never knew you” or “you never knew me” where “knew” is the same word also translated as intercourse.  Also, God’s create - that’s what they do - and mankind is their greatest creation, their work and their glory; this act is a sacrament in that we are literally using the power of God - the only time that you will be permitted to do so, unless you quality to become as god is yourself.

 

READ Genesis 39:11-12

Why was this attempt different from the others?

Whether it was a deliberate plan or not, this time the two of them were alone - such that he felt he needed to flee to escape the situation.

Why did he flee?

Engaging the devil directly is usually a losing proposition – even for someone of Joseph’s spiritual stature.

In most situations, it’s better to disengage and get out.

 

READ Genesis 39:16-20

Why did the Lord allow Joseph to be punished after he “chose the right?”

He honors the agency of others.

He is a “fourth watch God” and Joseph is not in the fourth watch yet.

He is setting up Joseph’s, and ultimately Israel’s, temporal salvation – although it seems to be the opposite.

 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Joseph & the Coat of Many Colors (Genesis 34, 37-39) QUESTIONS

“It was red and yellow and green and brown, and scarlet and black and ochre and peach…”

 Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, but only two by Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin (who she died bearing), but they were the youngest of the family. 

 

The Coat of Many Colors

READ Genesis 37:1-3

Why did Jacob love Joseph more than all the rest of his children?

What was the “coat of many colors”?

 

 

Joseph’s Dreams

READ Genesis 37:4-11

Why would the Lord send revelation or inspiration in a dream?

What did the dreams mean?

So why was Joseph naive enough to tell his brothers about his dreams as they already hated him for his coat!?

Why did the Lord send two dreams with seemingly the same meaning?

 

READ Genesis 37:17-20

Why would the brothers resort to murder?

 

READ Genesis 37:23-28

Why did they sell Joseph for 20 pieces of silver?

 

 

Joseph in Potiphar’s House

The Arabs then sell him to the Egyptian Pharaoh’s Captain of the Guard, Potiphar.

READ Genesis 39:2-3

Who was Joseph’s “master”?

 

READ Genesis 39:4

In whose eyes did Joseph find grace in?

 

READ Genesis 39:4 again, this time capitalizing the “H’s” to make it refer to God!

What does this verse mean now?

  

READ D&C 122:9

What is the relationship between fearing men and worshipping God in faith?

 

READ Genesis 39:7-10 and Alma 39:5

How is fornication or adultery sinning against God?

 

READ Genesis 39:11-12

Why was this attempt different from the others?

Why did he flee?

 

READ Genesis 39:16-20

Why did the Lord allow Joseph to be punished after he “chose the right?”

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 24-32)

Isaac and Rebekah

READ Genesis 24:3-4; 26:34-35; 27:46; 28:8-9

What does it matter who the sons marry, as long as they truly love, serve and sacrifice for each other as a married couple?

Those things are vital because they are fundamentals upon which the sealing of the covenant depends; however, they are NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT.

For the Abrahamic Covenant to be in effect, both the husband and the wife have to be able to enter the presence of the Lord, as Adam and Eve did - this cannot happen if one knows nothing about the living God or does not believe - both have to enter the covenant and abide in it.

 

READ Genesis 24:12-14

The servant has brought 10 camels with him, each of which can drink 200 liters (53 gallons) of water a day; what kind of person is he looking for as a wife for his master Isaac?

Selfless.

Hardworking.

Kind.

Intuitive/empathic.

Able to discern the spirit of the Lord and do His will.

 

READ Genesis 24:17-21

What is Rebekah like?

All of the traits listed above – and she has them intuitively, plus she is fast or gets to work immediately (she “hastens” to her work…).

 

 

Jacob and Esau

Rebekah consents to go back with Abraham’s servant and become Isaac’s wife.  Some years later she becomes pregnant with twins, Esau and Jacob, who are born in that order - which means Esau received the birthright as the first born.

READ Genesis 25:27-28

How would you compare Esau and Jacob?

Esau = cunning, hunter and farmer, focused on the material world; a “man’s man”.

Jacob = “perfect” or in other words, he has focused on connecting with the spiritual world, not just the material world; as the world’s ways are not the Lord’s ways culturally, this may imply that Jacob was a bit “different” from most people – and not in ways that the world appreciates. 

 

READ Genesis 25:29-34

What is the birthright?

It was temporal and spiritual blessing connotations.

It is the right to receive the covenant of Abraham – to be the “one” holding the mortal right to preside in the Holy Order. 

Why does the firstborn get the birthright?

It is symbolic of Christ’s being the firstborn of God in the spirit and the flesh.

It is symbolic of our need to be born again of Christ and become a member of the Church of the Firstborn.

Why does Esau sell the birthright?

He is starving – about ready to pass out from hunger; he thinks he’s going to die.

Esau is like 99.9% of people and sees no value in a “birthright” if he is not alive to enjoy it.

He does not value or he does not have sufficient faith in the spiritual or eternal aspects of the covenant, such that he would choose death over losing them. 

 

In Genesis 26, Isaac enters into the presence of the Lord and receives the same promises and covenant that his father, Abraham did.  In chapter 27, Jacob deceives his father Isaac and “steals” Esau’s covenant blessing.  Esau weeps at the loss and then promises to kill Jacob.

READ Genesis 26:1-5 and 24-25

Why does the Lord appear to Isaac and give him the same covenant He’d given to Abraham?

Isaac was now the rightful owner of the birthright, as Esau had abdicated his right to it and sold it to Isaac.

But receiving this promise from the Lord is SO much more than a 1+1=2 calculation; meaning that just because one has a temporal right through birth order to receive something from God doesn’t mean that the person will actually receive the blessing – they must have faith in God and abide by the guidance of the Spirit such that they connect with God Himself and receive the actual promise from His lips; and THEN they must abide by the terms of the covenant to actually receive the blessings on earth and in eternity.

While it doesn’t say how much time has passed between the end of chapter 25 and the beginning of chapter 26, the fact that they are right after each other suggests that the Lord was just waiting for Esau to make his decision regarding his own candidacy for the covenant; Esau had first right of refusal (or first right to rise up), given his birthright status – the Lord honors our agency and gives us opportunities to rise up, if we will; but if we do not, He will pass the opportunity on to another. 

The Lord continues to try Isaac over time and continues to bless him as he chooses to align his behavior with the Lord (see v 6-23) – after which trials He continues to appear to Isaac and bless him; it is a process of growing or quickening – of choosing to become more like the Lord in the face of opposition, over time. 

 

READ Genesis 27:1-38

Can Isaac bestow the Abrahamic Covenant on either of his sons?

No.

Isaac’s blessing is an ordination, a “legal” invitation to go obtain the oath and covenant from the Lord – but it isn’t the actual covenant itself; that can only be extended to a mortal by the Lord Himself.

But the Lord hadn’t waited for this “blessing/ordination/invitation” anyway; after Esau had “sold” the birthright to Jacob years before, the Lord immediately taken over the process personally – there was no real need for a mortal invitation, as the Lord had already begun the work of sanctification and relationship building (between Him and Jacob).

While there may be more to this last blessing from Isaac than I understand (likely there is!), it is interesting to note that it is Rebekah not the Lord that tells Jacob to engage in all of this trickery and cooking and disguise; it would have been interesting to find out what the Lord would have said about this whole adventure if Jacob had stopped to inquire first of Him.  Since the Lord Himself had already promised Jacob the blessings of Abraham (and of Isaac) after Esau had abdicated his right to them, I wonder if Isaac’s blessing mattered at all.

What does this story teach us about God’s covenant?

Esau doesn’t understand what he is asking for - he is thinking of the temporal part of the covenant: posterity, land and power, not eternal increase, a celestial kingdom and God’s high priesthood power.

Esau either doesn’t understand the link between the birthright and the blessing or he has conveniently forgotten that he’d already sold it – fair and square (although he hasn’t because he accuses Jacob of “stealing” both the birthright and the blessing).

God extends opportunities for us to receive blessings and our agency governs the results; and God honors our agency.

God can do His own work with us and doesn’t need a mortal to intercede on His behalf (which is not to say He doesn’t use servants to do this – it’s just that He doesn’t NEED to use them). 

 

READ Genesis 27:39-45

What is Esau willing to kill Jacob to receive?

Esau wants the temporal blessings promised in the birthright.

If Esau were after the spiritual blessings and had ANY idea of the requirements, he would not want to kill anyone regardless of what they had stolen from him, and he would have realized that killing his brother is the best way to prevent the realization of those blessings he said he was seeking for.

While Jacob wants the ordination that will enable him to obtain the true spiritual covenant for himself.

 

 

Jacob’s Ladder

READ Genesis 28:10-12, 16-18

What is this ladder that Jacob is seeing?

It is a “stairway” or “gate” to heaven - the pathway we must use to ascend to heaven and those who dwell in heaven use to descend to earth.

It represents the stages we must progress through in order to enter the presence of the Lord, who stands at the top of the ladder.

It represents the various levels of glory that the Powers of Heaven (angels) possess; and that we must each pass obtain and pass through ourselves if we are to rise up to become precisely like Christ is and nothing else and be saved (see LoF 7:9).

"When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave." (King Follett Discourse, TPJS, p.348.)

"When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings—blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord…” (President Marion Romney, Ensign, March 1971, p. 16)

No one can arrive at the throne of God in any other way than all have taken to arrive there. Everyone develops the same way, through the successive stages of Jacob's Ladder.  Combining these two quotes, though, implies that not all of the covenants we must make with the Lord will happen in this life or world – we will continue to climb the ladder after the life on this earth is over. 

Did Jacob just happen to camp on an ancient temple site?

It’s possible but likely not true - it is not the land but the person standing on it that makes it holy.

If Jacob’s body is a temple that the Lord can come to and abide within (through a fullness of the Holy Ghost or mind of God), wherever Jacob stands is holy ground.

Having said that, light attracts light (and darkness attracts darkness) and congregates to places on earth with certain properties – some of these can be electromagnetic or energy based in nature and some come as a result of the deeds done there.  If someone rends the veil and communes with the heavens in a place, there will be a residual amount of light or energy which will remain there (the same with the dark). 

 

READ Genesis 28:13-15; 20-22

Why is Jehovah called the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac but not of Jacob?

Jacob must receive the covenant directly from God, which he has not yet done, officially, as of this encounter (he’s received promises that he will receive it from the Lord on multiple occasions but hasn’t actually received the covenant yet).

Implied is that to be the god of someone, that person must have obtained a covenant directly from God to them.

What happened to Jacob at Beth-el?

He received for himself the Abrahamic Covenant from God - or at least the PROMISE or hope to receive it if he is faithful (see Gen 31:13).

Why is God not just called the “God of Abraham”?

Because Isaac, and now Jacob – at this point, have also entered God’s presence and have been received as sons of God through covenant.  So, He is now their “God” too.

 

 

Jacob Wrestles an Angel

Jacob follows the path of his father and leaves the land of “gentiles” to go back to Haran to marry in the covenant.  He meets and falls in love with Rachel and serves her father 7 years as a dowry for her but is tricked by Laban into marrying his older daughter Leah instead.  Jacob then must work another 7 years for Rachel.  Between Leah, Rachel and their two handmaids (who Jacob also marries), he is bourn 12 sons - the “House of Israel”.  After 20 years of service, Jacob is commanded to leave Haran for Canaan. 

READ Genesis 32:3-8

Why is Jacob afraid?

He had “stolen” the birthright from Esau and had fled.

It had been 20 years of possible hatred brewing in Esau’s heart.

Esau had threatened his life (see Genesis 27:41)

 

READ Genesis 32:9-15

What does Jacob do?

He prays to ask for help and to remind the Lord of His covenant.

Prepares an extravagant gift of livestock for Esau.

How is Jacob’s response similar to Nephi’s attempts to get the Brass Plates?

He is using his own ingenuity and wealth.

But he is also putting his life in the Lord’s hands.

What does Jacob most need in the face of an ordeal that could mean the death of his family?

Greater light and knowledge.

To connect with God and obtain a promise of salvation (temporal and spiritual, because the former without the latter doesn’t really matter and Jacob is spiritually mature enough to know this – even in the face of physical death).

He needs an assurance of the fulfillment of the promises received 20 years ago - he needs to be “sealed up” to eternal life.

 

READ Genesis 32:24-30

How does Jacob seek to obtain this blessing from the Lord?

Despite the exhaustion that was likely overwhelming him, he spends the entire night alone in focused, intense prayer.

He must “wrestle” the blessing from the Lord or as Joseph Smith was quoted as saying “weary the Lord until He blesses you.”

He must ascend “Jacob’s Ladder” to heaven and pass the one appointed to guard the portals of heaven; he must somehow rend the veil and encounter a heavenly being authorized to give him the blessings he is seeking.

What happened to Jacob – why “wrestle” - what does that imply?

The wrestle is a challenge to overcome, after which the blessing is received - with physical and spiritual aspects that require and test faith.

Jacob must approach and make contact with the spiritual realm.

As with the Tree of Life after the fall of Adam, the way or portal to heaven is guarded; some believe that part of John the Beloved’s mission as a translated being is to guard that portal from the earth while Elijah or Enoch or Melchizedek/Shem guards the other end in heaven (as all were translated, and the latter three taken up)

As the Lord Himself employs no “gatekeeper”, it is also possible that (on this occasion at least, given the objective that Jacob was seeking for) that the Lord Himself came down to Jacob, like He came to Mahonri, in His pre-mortal, glorified physical body (see Ether 3:17-18); it is interesting that Jacob calls the place Penuel, which means “face of God”.

Instead of appearing in a dream, where Jacob’s mortal body would have been protected from the glory of the heavenly being, He comes in His glory; implied is that this is a being who cannot mask His glory but could be touched physically – so it can’t be a translated being after all, because they can mask their glory.

He appeared in an impulse of light and fire some distance from Jacob, like the breaking of the day or a lightning strike and with such energy or explosive force that it physically threw Jacob back and he sustained an injury to his leg from which he never fully recovered – popping the bone out of the hip socket.

The glory of the being “pinned” Jacob to the ground on his face (it’s a wrestling analogy, after all) – it is not like earthly fire where warmth and brightness are the only physical manifestations; this light pierced or permeated Jacob’s entire being.

Rob Smith has an interesting take on the nature of the “wrestle” – I will summarize it: in extreme distress and trying to shield his face from the light, Jacob struggled for what must have seemed like an eternity to hold on in the presence of the being, as He waited patiently.  The light penetrated his shielding arm and closed eyes and began to purify Jacob’s flesh by burning out the impurities; the pain gradually began to ease.  Eventually Jacob was able to remove his arm and open his eyes; too bright at first but as his eyes adjusted, he made out the shape of a man.  Most people, knowing they were in the presence of the Lord in His glory would have long since recoiled and said “it is enough Lord” but Jacob mustered every ounce of strength left and inched forward, towards the personage.  Slowly, he crawled to the being and grabbed His feet, clinging to Him.  The Lord blessed Jacob for wrestling all night with His glory and overcoming it by coming unto Him.

Why does the personage give Jacob a new name?

It is symbolic of the power he has just received from God - an endowment or “power with God and men”.

Why does Jacob say “I have seen God face to face” and “my life is preserved”?

Either Jacob passes the Guardian’s test and enters the presence of God.

Or the Lord Himself came down to minister to Jacob.

His “eternal” life is preserved or ensured - Jacob is sealed up to eternal life.

What was it about these circumstances that caused Jacob to “wrestle” for this blessing?

He thought that it was very probable that he and his family might die.

This was his “moment of great alarm” – a very real and deadly threat – something worth doing whatever it took to be saved from.

Why did the Lord put Jacob’s family’s lives in mortal danger?

Despite all the promises and blessings he had already received throughout his life, Jacob had not sought the fulfillment of this, the highest of all blessings, with the required urgency and earnestness.

This was the ultimate kick in the pants to get him to muster the faith and effort to rend the veil in order to obtain the blessing of safety, and like Mahonri in Ether 3, the Lord had much more to give Jacob besides preserving the mortal lives of his family.

If this is true, why do we continually petition the Lord to avoid all trials or be immediately released from trials when they come?

We are afraid - we lack faith.

We don’t want the prize badly enough when we begin to realize the cost.

We have been deceived by the devil that a loving God wouldn’t ask this kind of sacrifice of us.

Or that He has changed His plan and doesn’t require sacrifice at all.

The Return to Israel & the Second Temple (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai) QUESTIONS

Returning to Israel Background: The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC, when they sacked the city, killing or ta...