Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Story of Job (Job) QUESTIONS

The Afflictions of Job

READ Job 1:1

What were Job’s traits?

 

READ Job 1:2-3

What was his standing in the world?

 

READ Job 1:6-12

What is being described in heaven?

What does Satan spend his time doing?

What does it mean that the Lord has made a “hedge” around Job?

Why would the Lord remove the “hedge” from Job and allow Satan to exercise his power?

 

Satan gets right to work and in a single day he destroys Job’s wealth (animals and servants) and kills his children (who Job seems to be extending protection to, see Job 1:5)

READ Job 1:20-22

Why does Job react this way?

 

READ Job 2:1-7

What do we learn from this exchange between the Lord and Satan?

 

Job remains faithful, even when his wife asks him why he doesn’t just curse God and die (Job 2:9-10) and when his friends falsely accuse him of offending God through some secret wickedness (Job 3:7-9).

READ Job 10:15-17

What is Job confused about?

How would you counsel Job if you were one of his “friends”?

 

 

Job Finds Knowledge Through Sacrifice

READ LoF 6:3-5, 7

What is the Lord counseling Job (us) to do in these verses?

 

READ Job 13:13-16

What decision has Job made?

 

READ Job 19:25-26

How does Job achieve the level of faith that will enable him to know God in the flesh? 



Job as a Type of Christ’s Suffering

READ Alma 7:11-12

What does the phrase “he shall go forth suffering” imply about the nature of Christ’s physical suffering?

Why did the Lord have to suffer these physical afflictions?

 

READ Isaiah 52:14 and 53:2-4, and Luke 4:23

What is Isaiah telling us about Christ’s mortal appearance?

Like Job, whose friends esteemed him smitten of God after viewing his marred body, how did many treat Christ?

 

 

Valiance Revisited

READ Job 39:19-25

How would you describe this horse?

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Wisdom (Proverbs; Ecclesiastes)

These books were supposedly written by King Solomon and represent the wisdom he gained from his failure to be valiant to the testimony of Jesus he had received.

 

READ Proverbs 1:2-5

What is the Book of Proverbs primarily about?

Knowing wisdom.

Receiving wisdom.

Increasing in wisdom/being more filled with wisdom.

 

READ Proverbs 1:6

What is the implication of the word “interpretation” in this verse?

That the book is more than a collection of proverbs with obviously transparent meaning.

There is hidden meaning (“dark sayings”) in the book for those with eyes to see.

We truly understand these proverbs only when the hidden meaning comes to light.

 

READ Proverbs 3:5-7

Why does the Lord tell us to “lean not unto thine own understanding”?

His ways are not our ways - we have a hard time comprehending the things of God as we are not filled with enough light.

We need to be humble and admit that fact or we will never get more light and knowledge, in fact we will lose all we have (see Alma 12:10-11).

 

READ Proverbs 4:7

How is wisdom the “principal” or most important thing to gain?  What about charity?  Or faith in Christ unto salvation?  Or knowing God, which is eternal life?

Solomon gained great wisdom and did great “folly” and sinned – so how could wisdom be more important?

Wisdom is understanding the light and the dark – both sides of the “pendulum” of any element of knowledge or intelligence; and from that full understanding comes context and judgement regarding what is most important and how/when to apply that knowledge. 

But there must be more to understanding the meaning of the word “wisdom” than the common definition, for wisdom to be more “principal” than faith, charity or knowing God. 

 

READ Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

How does the insight from this scripture (wisdom = grief and knowledge = sorrow) square with wisdom being the “principle thing”?

You can’t know light without comprehending darkness; same with health vs sickness, good vs evil, sacrifice vs selfishness, etc. (see Moses 5:11).

Things are only known in opposition, and through our personal experience – again, it is the pendulum principle but in the context of personal experience and learning; it is the idea of karma – which we must work through – the full consequences of our actions and thoughts. 

But there is also the idea of comprehending the darkest abyss so that one can truly understand the highest heaven – walking in the valley of the shadow of death to be able to save others from eternal death.

 

 

What is Wisdom?

In the following Proverbs, what are the characteristics and power of Wisdom?

READ Proverbs 1:23

If you repent, she will pour out her spirit unto you and make her words known to you.

 

READ Proverbs 1:24-26

Those who don’t listen to her, disregard and disdain her word, and will not follow her, will Wisdom allow to be destroyed by their own calamity.

 

READ Proverbs 1:28-31

She is slow to hearken to those who have persisted in their disobedience.

They will not find her, in that day; they will lose their knowledge of her.

Finding her is connected to seeking after knowledge (John 17:3 again) and choosing to respect/worship (i.e. “fear”) the Lord God.

 

READ Proverbs 3:13

Finding her leads to happiness and understanding (see TPJS 365:1).

 

READ Proverbs 3:16

She has power over death - how long we live.

She has power over “riches and honor” (earthly or heavenly?).

 

READ Proverbs 3:17

ALL her paths are peace.

This is interesting, because some of her “paths” lead through the valley of the shadow of death.

 

READ Proverbs 3:18

She is a Tree of Life - she exceeds all beauty, she is bright white in glory, she is precious above all, she is the love of God (see 1 Nephi 11:8-23, 25).

She “bears fruit” which will make you happy/fill you with joy, and is the sweetest tasting thing in the world (see 1 Nephi 8:10-12).

 

READ Proverbs 3:19

Hers is the power by which the Lord created/established the earth and the heavens.

 

READ Proverbs 4:8

She promotes those who exalt (honor/worship/cause her to increase in glory…) her.

She brings those who embrace her to honor.

 

READ Proverbs 4:9 (also 8:15)

She lays the Crown of Glory on the heads of all those who receive it through grace.

 

READ Proverbs 8:1-2

She calls or cries out to us all from the top (throne) of the high places (the heavens).

 

READ Proverbs 8:7-8

She speaks only truth and righteousness.

 

READ Proverbs 8:14

She is a being characterized by her counsel.

She is strong/powerful in and of herself.

 

READ Proverbs 8:17

She loves those who love her and seek for her early (naturally, without duress).

 

READ Proverbs 8:18

The riches/heavenly honor that she possesses are eternal (durable).

 

READ Proverbs 8:22-26

The Lord possessed her in the beginning; before his “works of old”.

She existed eternally (from everlasting).

She existed before the earth was formed.

She did not make the earth (“he” did).

 

READ Proverbs 8:27-31

She was with God when He prepared the heavens and created the earth.

She was by God - brought up with Him.

She was God’s daily delight.

She was delighted with His creation.

She delighted in mankind.

 

READ Proverbs 8:32

We are her children.

We are blessed if we keep her ways/commandments.

 

READ Proverbs 8:35

Those who find Wisdom, find life.

If they find her, they will obtain the Lord’s favor.

 

READ Proverbs 9:1-5

She has built her house and prepared a feast.

She has sent her messengers to the “highest places of the city” to find the “simple” who want understanding to bid them to the feast.

Her meal of bread and wine is free to those who will “come, eat”.

 

READ Proverbs 1:7

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Knowledge: truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24); “knowledge implies more than faith” although “through faith they were to obtain this knowledge (of God) - see LoF 7:18.

Wisdom then converts that knowledge into understanding; it is the application of that knowledge in alignment with the mind of God (Holy Spirit).

Why is wisdom personified as a woman?

Wisdom is Heavenly Mother, the Eternal Consort; the Goddess; the Queen and Priestess.

Wisdom is Mary the Elect Lady and consort or wife of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mary Magdalene).

Wisdom is the Goddess of any man who also becomes a God…but they must rise to that height together or not at all; it cannot be done separately or individually.

 

 

How Do We Find Wisdom?

READ 2 Nephi 9:27-28

What is the difference between learning and wisdom?

The learned think they are wise because of their learning.

But the world’s learning will never lead to wisdom.

This does not just refer to “book learnin’ vs. common sense” – wisdom is much more than applied “pattern recognition” or even intuition. 

The learned go to man to be educated while the wise go to God and counsel with Him/Them.

 

READ 2 Nephi 9:41-43

How do we find Wisdom?

Through our adversity – by walking through the valley of the shadow of death, as every woman does who gives birth in this fallen world.  Wisdom is found by experiencing both sides of the pendulum – the highest heavens and the deepest abyss. 

To find wisdom, we must go through Christ (see also John 14:6); Elohim is revealed to us through Jesus Christ – and Elohim is a plural word for God = the Father and the Goddess/Mother. 

 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Wisdom (Proverbs; Ecclesiastes) QUESTIONS

These books were supposedly written by King Solomon and represent the wisdom he gained from his failure to be valiant to the testimony of Jesus he had received.

 

READ Proverbs 1:2-5

What is the Book of Proverbs primarily about?

 

READ Proverbs 1:6

What is the implication of the word “interpretation” in this verse?

 

READ Proverbs 3:5-7

Why does the Lord tell us to “lean not unto thine own understanding”?

 

READ Proverbs 4:7

How is wisdom the “principal” or most important thing to gain?  What about charity?  Or faith in Christ unto salvation?  Or knowing God, which is eternal life?

 

READ Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

How does the insight from this scripture (wisdom = grief and knowledge = sorrow) square with wisdom being the “principle thing”?

 

 

What is Wisdom?

In the following Proverbs, what are the characteristics and powers of Wisdom?

READ Proverbs 1:23

 

READ Proverbs 1:24-26

 

READ Proverbs 1:28-31

 

READ Proverbs 3:13

 

READ Proverbs 3:16

 

READ Proverbs 3:17

 

READ Proverbs 3:18

 

READ Proverbs 3:19

 

READ Proverbs 4:8

 

READ Proverbs 4:9 (also 8:15)

 

READ Proverbs 8:1-2

 

READ Proverbs 8:7-8

 

READ Proverbs 8:14

 

READ Proverbs 8:17

 

READ Proverbs 8:18

 

READ Proverbs 8:22-26

 

READ Proverbs 8:27-31

 

READ Proverbs 8:32

 

READ Proverbs 8:35

 

READ Proverbs 9:1-5

 

READ Proverbs 1:7

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Why is wisdom personified as a woman?

 

 

How Do We Find Wisdom?

READ 2 Nephi 9:27-28

What is the difference between learning and wisdom?

 

READ 2 Nephi 9:41-43

How do we find Wisdom?

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The “Reformers” Hezekiah & Josiah (2 Chronicles 29-34)

King Hezekiah

READ 2 Chronicles 29:2-10

When Hezekiah did “right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David had done,” what does this mean?

He was a “righteous” king to the level of his knowledge, which knowledge he got through his reading of the record of David and/or through family traditions.

The record does not show that Hezekiah ever saw the Lord himself (see Isaiah 38:11) but while he prayed to the Lord, the Lord worked through Isaiah to answer his prayers (see Isaiah 38:2-4).

Why does he command the Levites to sanctify themselves and the Temple?

The Temple had been desecrated.

They wouldn’t have done it otherwise – it took a command from their king to repent; or perhaps former kings had compelled the priests away from the living God.

They cannot sanctify the Temple unless they first sanctify themselves - as they are temples themselves.

What happened to the people when they turned away their faces from the Lord?

They had been killed in war.

They had been taken captive.

They had become humiliated as a people.

The Lord left them to their own strength - the natural man relies on the arm of the flesh – it is natural consequence of turning from God (see 2 Chronicles 32:7-8).

Can we propose a covenant to God that He will honor?

No - we can keep HIS covenants, but He extends them to us - and then they can become a new and everlasting covenant FOR US (and irrelevant to all others, unless they receive their own covenant from God).

We can make a vow to Him, but only we are bound by it - we can’t “bind the Lord” through our attempts at righteousness (for are we not all beggars anyway?  We cannot “score points” on God).

 

 

Fast forward to Hezekiah’s great grandson…

King Josiah the Deuteronomist

READ 2 Chronicles 34:1-3

Who is 16-year-old King Josiah seeking after?

The God of David, his ancestor.

How does he seek after God?

By purging Judah of idolatry.

But not by actually finding the Lord Himself.

So, he’s not really seeking after God but is seeking after the religious traditions of the fathers, as he understands them.

 

READ 2 Chronicles 34:14, 18-22

What did they find in the Temple?

An old copy of the Book of Deuteronomy - the Law of Moses.

Why did the King rend his clothes when he heard the Law?

Because it had not been read or followed for so long, the difference between what the King thought was right and what the book said was right was so great that he rent his clothes.

Why did the King ask that group to “inquire of the Lord for him?”

He really needed to get an answer and didn’t feel that he could on his own.

The priests stood between the people and God.

Who did the priest and the scribe go to for the answer from the Lord and why?

Huldah the prophetess.

Because she actually communed with the Lord. 

She seemed to have “priesthood power”. 

She had the right to say “thus saith the Lord” because she had an audience with Him and had heard His words.

 

READ 2 Chronicles 34:23-28

Can the people still repent?

They CAN repent but it sounds like the Lord knows they will not repent…

Either that or something else is going on here… the story in the Old Testament as we have it has been tampered with…

Who will be spared?

The humble, soft hearted, repentant folk - regardless of station or calling or knowledge of the Lord - true seekers will be spared.

“Spared” is used in an interesting way here - it means they won’t have to go through the trials, not that the trials won’t be caused to happen.



Revisionist History

How might the events of World War 2 have been changed in the history books if Germany had managed to create an atomic bomb first and won the war?

Unfair/cruel/inhumane sanctions against Germany were imposed by the Allies after World War 1.

Hitler saved Germany economically in the 1930’s.

The Third Reich was divinely inspired and blessed.

Either “Jews are inherently evil from the pre-mortal life” or “reports that millions of Jews were killed was horrific Allied propaganda”.

Atom bomb technology and use was needed to quickly end the war and prevent the killing of many more soldiers and civilians on all sides.

How will descendants of people who have perpetrated these lies find out they have been deceived and lost the truth?

There are usually artifacts of the truth left behind, even when it is being obscured, and the truth has a habit of getting out eventually, for those who know what to look for – especially if you have an internet, where even the least person can share information; it’s hard to keep a false “narrative” alive forever – or at least to convince all of the people, all of the time, that it’s true.

Through a new revelation from heaven… (see Mosiah 4:9) - God reveals Himself to man or He remains forever unknown.

How might these descendants react when confronted with the truth, especially if it is from an un-bonafide source?

Reject it because they don’t believe the messenger (they don’t know God themselves so they rely on “authorities” that they hope know Him).

Reject it because it puts their ancestors in a bad light (pride).

Reject it because it seems foreign and wrong (contradicts everything they have been taught).

Reject it because “we are the good guys, after all - we are right, and we are righteous/chosen” (again, pride).

Reject it because they like their current state (the truth can be inconvenient; actually, it can shatter everything you believe, which is very difficult to take, psychologically).

What would have to happen for them to accept the truth?

Be truth seekers.

Be naturally humble individuals - don’t assume they know it all or that they are right.

Be soft hearted.

Be humbled by the Lord.

They must realize that scholarship will never be enough to restore lost truth; they must exercise the faith to go to God Himself and receive direct revelation regarding the truth.

How has Satan used these strategies with regards to the gospel?

The New Testament writings/letters between 70 AD and 150 AD - the Hellenist Christians.

The Old Testament books between 640 BC (Josiah) and 539 BC (conquest of Babylon by Persia and return of Jews to Jerusalem) - the Deuteronomists.

LDS church history: the narrative and doctrine has changed from the days of Joseph Smith to today.

How do we know that his happened to the Old Testament between this time period?

The Book of Mormon record is SO different from the Old Testament in its direct testimony of Christ.

The Brass Plates had not been altered or destroyed, so the changes could not have taken place too much earlier than this.

Plain and precious things about Christ had been removed from the Old Testament such that when Christ came to the Jews, very few of them understood His mission or recognized Him.

New discoveries show discrepancies (Book of Enoch, Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag-Hammadi, Margaret Barker research, etc).

When did Lehi leave Jerusalem?

Right before the Babylonian invasion.

When Judah was ripe for destruction.

While they were losing the word of the Lord.

The Plates of Brass were less prone to change than a scroll due to the nature of the plates.

Why would Satan want to revise the scriptures and change the ordinances?

“Knowledge saves a man”.

“A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge”.

If we change the ordinances, we break the covenants.

What is knowledge?

Truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24).

“Knowledge implies more than faith” although “through faith they were to obtain this knowledge (of God)” - see LoF 7:18.

What knowledge saves?

“This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

“And… all shall know me…even from the least unto the greatest” (D&C 84:98).

“An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to His will” (LoF 3:5)… “requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that, when those sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God” (LoF 6:5).

 

READ JST Luke 11:52

How do the scriptures enable us to gain this knowledge?

The scriptures teach us the way back to God’s presence.

The scriptures enable faith through the written testimonies of those who have made this journey.

The scriptures teach us that God is no respecter of persons - all are able to gain these blessings if they will exercise the faith necessary.

The scriptures contain God’s invitation to us: “come unto me!”

What is the best way to avoid having the words of the Lord changed by people with ill intent?

Write them in a way that they are disguised (like Isaiah or the Parables) OR…

Hide them in plain sight (like the Proverbs).

Why did the Lord destroy much of Judah and take the remaining people captive if Josiah was restoring truth to them?

Because Josiah did not restore the truth but sought to distort it – Josiah is actually the villain of the piece but because his side “won”, his followers rewrote the history to make him look like a restorer of lost truths.

His changes to the Gospel were why Jeremiah, Lehi and all the prophets were called to preach repentance.

The Book of Mormon, with its Brass Plates influence and direct revelation from God is a true account of the religion of the Jews at the time – a religion that Josiah changed and then used the principles of revisionist history to make it seem like he had restored the truth when really he had destroyed it.

The other proof is in the fact that the Lord allowed the Babylonians to come in and force the Jews “out of their place” as a curse for rejecting the fullness of the Gospel; God would have protected them otherwise (see D&C 124:27-50).

Why was this allowed to happen?

At the time, this “Reformation” or “purge” must have caused a great deal of rebellion, and it did, as there are many tales of groups besides Lehi who fled Jerusalem and took their more ancient religion with them (see Margaret Barker’s talk “What Did King Josiah Reform” given at BYU on May 6, 2006).

But this would never had happened if the Priestly leadership had not been complicit to one degree or another in the coup; they had something to be gained by aligning themselves with the interests of the kings – staying in power and perhaps cementing their power base in new doctrines they could create but pretend they were a restoration of what was once had or that continuing revelation was leading them in some new direction despite the unchangeable nature of God; apostasy is always an inside job, and as it usually wins, it has the power to rewrite the history and the scriptures, in its favor.

From God’s perspective, He has given us our agency and what we do with it is completely up to us (see Alma 42:27).

 

 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The “Reformers” Hezekiah & Josiah (2 Chronicles 29-34) QUESTIONS

King Hezekiah


READ 2 Chronicles 29:2-10

When Hezekiah did “right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David had done,” what does this mean?

Why does he command the Levites to sanctify themselves and the Temple?

What happened to the people when they turned away their faces from the Lord?

Can we propose a covenant to God that He will honor?

 

 

Fast forward to Hezekiah’s great grandson…

King Josiah the Deuteronomist

READ 2 Chronicles 34:1-3

Who is 16-year-old King Josiah seeking after?

How does he seek after God?

 

READ 2 Chronicles 34:14, 18-22

What did they find in the Temple?

Why did the King rend his clothes when he heard the Law?

Why did the King ask that group to “inquire of the Lord for him?”

Who did the priest and the scribe go to for the answer from the Lord and why?

 

READ 2 Chronicles 34:23-28

Can the people still repent?

Who will be spared?



Revisionist History

How might the events of World War 2 have been changed in the history books if Germany had managed to create an atomic bomb first and won the war?

How will descendants of people who have perpetrated these lies find out they have been deceived and lost the truth?

How might these descendants react when confronted with the truth, especially if it is from an un-bonafide source?

What would have to happen for them to accept the truth?

How has Satan used these strategies with regards to the gospel?

How do we know that his happened to the Old Testament between this time period?

When did Lehi leave Jerusalem?

Why would Satan want to revise the scriptures and change the ordinances?

What is knowledge?

What knowledge saves?

 

READ JST Luke 11:52

How do the scriptures enable us to gain this knowledge?

What is the best way to avoid having the words of the Lord changed by people with ill intent?

Why did the Lord destroy much of Judah and take the remaining people captive if Josiah was restoring truth to them?

Why was this allowed to happen?

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Elisha (2 Kings 2-6)

Elisha Receives the High Priesthood from God

READ 1 Kings 19:16

What is the Lord asking Elijah to do to Elisha?

Anoint or ordain him to the High Priesthood.

 

READ 2 Kings 2:3 and 5

What does the term “sons of the prophets” imply?

There were more prophets than one (Elijah wasn’t the only prophet - remember the Lord said there were 7000 followers of Jehovah in Israel, see 1 Kings 19:18).

There were men who were “sons” or disciples or followers of the prophets; they formed “guilds” or monastic communities and learned at the foot of the prophet.

They were not biological children of the prophets.

 

READ 2 Kings 2:9-10

What is Elisha asking when he pleads for a “double portion of thy spirit”?

He is asking for power in the High Priesthood, as Elijah has (or twice as much, if the verse is taken literally).

Why would Elisha ask for this power if he has already been ordained/anointed to the High Priesthood by Elijah?

Receiving or possessing the actual power of God is not the same thing as anointing or ordaining someone to “authority” in the priesthood; Elisha knows this as he has already been ordained to the priesthood by Elijah, but he lacks power in that priesthood.

Ordination is an official invitation, which is necessary but not sufficient to truly receive that which is offered (the High Priesthood).

Why does Elijah say “thou hast asked a hard thing”?

Giving power in the High Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God is not something that one person can give to another.

This is not the same as passing an office or calling or ordination from one man to another.

 

READ D&C 84:40 and JST Genesis 14:28-32

Did Elijah have this priesthood?

Yes!  Evidence includes: the drought, the barrel of meal, raising the dead, calling down fire from heaven, and his translation and ascension into heaven.

How does one receive this High Priesthood?

Directly from the Father, by His own voice.

There is no other way because this priesthood is an association or direct relationship with God the Father Himself; so be definition, there is only one way to receive it.

 

READ 2 Kings 2:11-12

Why does Elijah say to Elisha, “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee”?

If the heavens are opened to Elisha and he sees the angels and chariot and fiery ascent into heaven, he will receive the High Priesthood at that time.

The proof for Elisha is whether or not he can see through the veil; if he witnesses Elijah’s ascent and sees God there, he will have the priesthood he is seeking because you cannot see God without it (see D&C 84:19-22).

What does Elijah saying “but if you don’t see me ascend when the heavens are open, you don’t have my priesthood power” imply?

It’s not up to Elijah - he can’t give the power or “mantle” to Elisha.

This is not a High Priestly succession issue - it’s up to God.

He is giving Elisha a clue: if your spiritual eyes are opened enough to be able to see my physical body be quickened and transform such that it can ascend the “way” of light into the heavens, you have received the power in the priesthood you are seeking – as manifested via the spiritual gift you now have.

Why does Elisha cry out “my father, my father” when the heavens are opened?

When the heavens opened and Elijah was taken up, God was there, too, with the angels, and gave Elisha the High Priesthood.

Elisha saw God, his “father”.

It is possible that Elisha was “sealed” to Elijah via the Law of Adoption – as the next “heir” to the High Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God.

Note: Elijah is not Elisha’s father (see 2 Kings 3:11 - his biological father is Shaphat); and if Elisha was engaging in some kind of fawning idol worship of Elijah, he would never have received the high priesthood because God will have no others before (or between) Him (and you).

 

 

Where is the Lord God of Elijah?

READ 2 Kings 2:14

Why does Elisha say, “where is the Lord God of Elijah”?

He is calling upon God in his first use of the High Priesthood to come out from behind the “pavilion” or veil which hides Him.

It requires faith but he acts in faith and watches while the waters part, showing he has power over the elements, as Elijah had.

“The point I want to take from this is that miracles and faith go together and that Elijah worshipped the Lord and had that power and understanding of priesthood things and spiritual things so that he, through his life and through his ministry, manifested the power of God among the people.  And then… Elisha, worshiping the same God and having the same faith, proceeded to do precisely, in principle, the same things.  Now I say, where is the Lord God of Joseph Smith?  Here we have the great prophet of the latter dispensation who saw angels, received visions, had miracles performed under his ministry in great number, and in due course was called home to his eternal reward.  He laid the foundation, he taught the doctrine, he gave us what we need to know to chart our course toward eternal life in this final dispensation.  One of the things that he said was this, ‘God will not reveal anything to Joseph, that He will not reveal unto the Twelve, and to the least and the last Saint as soon as he is able to bear it.’  Now I ask, are we walking in the path that Joseph Smith trod?  Are we receiving the revelations and the visions and working the miracles, doing the things that he did?  And if we are not, to the full measure that we should, well might we ask ourselves, where is the Lord God of Joseph Smith?” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Lord God of Joseph Smith” BYU Speeches, January 4, 1972).  A very good question indeed: where IS the Lord God of Joseph Smith today?

Does Elisha’s receiving of this High Priesthood preclude anyone else from also receiving it concurrently?

No - remember Moses said “would to God that all of God’s people were prophets” (see Numbers 11:29) and tried to get the whole group of the Children of Israel to receive it so that they could enter into the rest or presence of the Lord on Sinai (see D&C 84:23-24).

This is not a Church Prophet/President/High Priest office succession scenario; remember the Levites are the only ones with Priestly authority under the Law of Moses to direct the “Church” at this time and they are in Jerusalem at the Temple - even Christ in mortality submitted to their authority, in that regard.

But it might be a “one person on the earth holding the keys to this power” scenario; but one must ask what the word “keys” refers to: authority and hierarchy or knowledge.

 

READ 2 Kings 2:23-24

What can we understand from this event?

Don’t mess with Elisha.

Elisha is bald but not happy about it.

Elisha is touchy when it comes to people mocking him (see also the “sons of the prophets” and Elisha’s “hold your peace” statement).

Elisha has power to curse, as well as seal.

Elisha is probably a “thinker” or “rational” personality type rather than a “feeler” – he may even be on the spectrum; he targets children as well as adults.

Although Elisha has the High Priesthood, he is clearly not perfect; implying that the Lord will give the High Priesthood or Holy Order to those who are not perfect, which should give us all some hope.

God’s knowledge of righteousness and our ideas of virtue are not aligned.

 

READ 2 Kings 3:11-14

Elisha was not known to righteous King Jehoshaphat of Judah, so how could he tell that Elisha was a true prophet of God?

The word of the Lord is with him: Elisha speaks the word of God as confirmed by the Holy Spirit within Jehoshaphat and any other listener who has that Spirit.

The Word of the Lord is with him: Elisha stands in the presence of the Lord and receives His words which he then shares with others (see v.14).

It is NOT about credentials or recognized priestly authority - Jehoshaphat’s priests in Jerusalem legitimately hold that authority and have those credentials before Israel.

For all the King knows, Elisha is an unknown man from the apostate Northern Kingdom, but the King of Judah recognizes him as a prophet of God.  This is particularly interesting given the backhanded compliment that Elisha gives him (“if I didn’t respect you as a righteous man, I wouldn’t pay any attention to you as the King of our rival nation”).

 

 

The Woman of Shunem

A “great” woman of Shunem asked Elisha to eat with her and her family whenever he was in the district.  She even built a room at her estate for him to use.  Elisha wanted to do something to repay her for her kindness.

 

READ 2 Kings 4:14-20

Why would the Lord give the woman what she most wants, only to take it away?

It is the Abrahamic Test.

God gives us opportunities to sacrifice all things, that our faith might be strong enough to learn our standing before Him, as He tells us we are saved, by His own voice.

 

READ 2 Kings 4:22-24

What is her response to this test?

Find the man of God.

Even though she has no idea where he is, she has faith that the Spirit will lead her, which it does.

This speaks to the woman’s backstory: How did she recognize Elisha in the first place?  What other sacrifices is she making besides helping Elisha?  She could have asked for anything from the prophet but what did she request? 

 

READ 2 Kings 4:27-28

What does she mean by “did I desire a son of my Lord” and “did not I say, ‘do not deceive me’”?

Asking for a son was too much to ask for - it was a hope she had given up on having - it was too close to her heart - perhaps she was “over it”, only to have Elisha read her heart and grant her fondest wish when she felt it was everlastingly too late?

The only hurt worse than not having a son was the fear of losing him once she was given him. 

And the Lord had done just that - taken her son.

Now she has spent a life in pain yearning for a righteous desire that looked to never come, and then when it did, it was taken away.

Why would the Lord not tell Elisha what was happening to the woman?

A test of his faith in the High Priesthood and in the Lord, too.

Perhaps he would have been tempted to use the priesthood to try and stop the death?

 

READ 2 Kings 4:32-37

Why did Elisha heal the child the way he did?

He lacked the faith to just command the boy to arise from the dead.

He understood how “virtue” or light/energy/love travels from one person to another and that proximity is key to the exchange (especially if you lack faith).

The nature of this trial (a dead child) led him to try to maximize the proximity or touchpoints between himself and the dead boy, to best enable the flow of light from himself to the boy.

It is interesting that he breathed into the boy – performing mouth to mouth resuscitation, but on a dead child; remember that Christ breathed upon the Apostles and they received the Spirit (see John 20:22) and God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (see Genesis 2:7; Moses 3:19; Abraham 5:7).

 

 

Naaman the Syrian

Naaman the Syrian General contracted leprosy.  He was told by his wife’s servant, an Israelite, that he could be healed in Israel. 

 

READ 2 Kings 5:9-14

What does Naaman’s reaction to Elisha’s counsel teach us?

Our pride is the #1 reason we don’t receive all the Lord has for us - we have hard hearts instead of soft.

Our expectations of God or His messengers may be incorrect - God’s ways are not our ways.

Sometimes we mistake the ritual for the real thing (Did the Jordan River heal Naaman? Was it “magic” or “holy” water?).

Why was Naaman more willing to do some great thing than a simple thing like wash in the river?

The world loves a big show but the Lord works through the meek things of this world.

There is a difference between focusing for a finite time on accomplishing a big task and turning your whole life over to the Lord so that everything you do - big and small - is in line with His will (the first is easier because the second tells the Lord where the desires of your heart really lie over time).

 

READ Luke 4:27

What does the fact that Naaman was actually healed when he washed in the Jordan imply?

He had faith in the Lord God of Israel - faith enough to be healed.

None others in Israel had such faith, otherwise they would have both 1) come to Elisha and 2) washed in the Jordan and be healed themselves.

The Lord is no respecter of persons - you don’t have to be one of the “chosen people” to know God and exercise faith.

We can doubt, then repent and act, and the Lord will respect the act.

 

 

Lifting the Veil to See God’s Army

Later, the King of Syria set two traps for the armies of Israel, both of which were revealed to Elisha through the Spirit, who then foiled them.  Syria then decided to send an army to capture Elisha…

 

READ 2 Kings 6:14-17

What did Elisha ask the Lord to do for the boy?

Lift the veil from over his eyes so that he could see the truth - things as they really are.

In the same way that the unseen sub-atomic world is a part of the seen physical world we interact within, the spiritual realm is also part of the same ecosystem and impacts they physical world.  Just because you can’t see subatomic particles doesn’t mean they aren’t there and don’t impact you very literally – and the same goes for the unseen spiritual elements.

Is this how things really are?

Yes - we are mostly oblivious of what is going on across the veil - for good or for evil.

What can this heavenly host do for Elisha?

They are not just there to hang out - they can actually provide help in the mortal/physical/telestial world.

Part of the definition of priesthood power is a connection between this world and the one through the veil – an association between humans and gods or angels/spirit entities.

The spiritual realm and the physical world are connected in ways most of us do not see or understand - there is a cause-and-effect relationship; the degree to which spirit realm events impact the physical world, directly addressing spiritual issues is the best way to affect certain things in the mortal world.

These angels can affect the mortal armies that are menacing Elisha – either to protect him from them miraculously (as it appears from this side of the veil without seeing what actions the angels are taking on the others side) or to destroy the wicked soldiers who are seeking to thwart God’s work or do harm to His servant to whom He has promised protection while he is on His business or to guide him to escape their attack in one of various ways – from the miraculous to the mundane.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Elisha (2 Kings 2-6) QUESTIONS

Elisha Receives the High Priesthood from God

READ 1 Kings 19:16

What is the Lord asking Elijah to do to Elisha?

 

READ 2 Kings 2:3 and 5

What does the term “sons of the prophets” imply?

 

READ 2 Kings 2:9-10

What is Elisha asking when he pleads for a “double portion of thy spirit”?

Why would Elisha ask for this power if he has already been ordained/anointed to the High Priesthood by Elijah?

Why does Elijah say “thou hast asked a hard thing”?

 

READ D&C 84:40 and JST Genesis 14:28-32

Did Elijah have this priesthood?

How does one receive this High Priesthood?

 

READ 2 Kings 2:11-12

Why does Elijah say to Elisha, “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee”?

What does Elijah saying “but if you don’t see me ascend when the heavens are open, you don’t have my priesthood power” imply?

Why does Elisha cry out “my father, my father” when the heavens are opened?

 

 

Where is the Lord God of Elijah?

READ 2 Kings 2:14

Why does Elisha say, “where is the Lord God of Elijah”?

Does Elisha’s receiving of this High Priesthood preclude anyone else from also receiving it concurrently?

 

READ 2 Kings 2:23-24

What can we understand from this event?

 

READ 2 Kings 3:11-14

Elisha was not known to righteous King Jehoshaphat of Judah, so how could he tell that Elisha was a true prophet of God?

 

 

The Woman of Shunem

A “great” woman of Shunem asked Elisha to eat with her and her family whenever he was in the district.  She even built a room at her estate for him to use.  Elisha wanted to do something to repay her for her kindness.

 

READ 2 Kings 4:14-20

Why would the Lord give the woman what she most wants, only to take it away?

 

READ 2 Kings 4:22-24

What is her response to this test?

 

READ 2 Kings 4:27-28

What does she mean by “did I desire a son of my Lord” and “did not I say, ‘do not deceive me’”?

Why would the Lord not tell Elisha what was happening to the woman?

 

READ 2 Kings 4:32-37

Why did Elisha heal the child the way he did?

 

 

Naaman the Syrian

Naaman the Syrian General contracted leprosy.  He was told by his wife’s servant, an Israelite, that he could be healed in Israel. 

 

READ 2 Kings 5:9-14

What does Naaman’s reaction to Elisha’s counsel teach us?

Why was Naaman more willing to do some great thing than a simple thing like wash in the river?

 

READ Luke 4:27

What does the fact that Naaman was actually healed when he washed in the Jordan imply?

 

 

Lifting the Veil to See God’s Army

Later, the King of Syria set two traps for the armies of Israel, both of which were revealed to Elisha through the Spirit, who then foiled them.  Syria then decided to send an army to capture Elisha…

 

READ 2 Kings 6:14-17

What did Elisha ask the Lord to do for the boy?

Is this how things really are?

What can this heavenly host do for Elisha?

 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Elijah the Tishbite (1 Kings 16-19; 2 Kings 2)

Background: In the Northern Kingdom of Israel, roughly forty years after the death of Jeroboam and during the reign of Asa in Judah and Ahab in Israel, a prophet named Elijah the Tishbite came to minister to the Northern Kingdom.

Ahab is married to Jezebel, daughter of the Phoenician king (possibly done for alliance purposes to protect Israel from Syria).  Ahab transitioned Israel from worshipping an apostate version of Jehovah (Jeroboam’s religion), to the worship of Baal and Ashteroth.

 

READ 1 Kings 16:30-33

What does it mean to “walk in the sins of Jeroboam”?

Idolatry - it doesn’t matter if it was worshipping Jeroboam or Baal.

In response to all of this, the Lord sends Elijah, a prophet from east of the Jordan River in the land of Gilead.

 

 

Elijah and the Drought

READ 1 Kings 17:1

What does this pronouncement imply?

Elijah has the fullness of the Priesthood, with sealing power over the elements (see Helaman 10:5-7 and D&C 84:17-22 and D&C 84:39-40).

Why does Elijah choose drought instead of war?

Moses had prophesied that if Israel would ever turn to worship other gods, the Lord would cause a drought (see Deuteronomy 28:23-24).

In a war, you can blame an enemy, but who can you blame for a drought?

Losing food and water removes our strength and energy and refocuses our thoughts from the pleasures of the world to the necessities of life.

A drought, with its accompanying famine, is like a heavenly imposed fast.  And if people are humbled by that “fast” and choose to pray, then all the better.

 

READ 1 Kings 17:2-6

What does the fact that Elijah lives by a brook and is fed by ravens despite his possession of the sealing power (where he could do all of the miracles of Jesus, presumably) teach us?

Those who possess this power ONLY use it as the Lord directs (see Helaman 10:4-5) - no “freelancing” is allowed.

This power is not meant to make life easy for the possessor but to guide people back to Christ.

 

 

The Widow of Zarephath

READ 1 Kings 17:7-9

Where is the Lord sending Elijah next?

Zarephath is near Tyre, in Phoenicia; it is Queen Jezabel’s country.

He is crossing Israel from east to west.

 

READ 1 Kings 17:10-16

What is this widow’s backstory?

Converted to the Lord God of Israel despite living in the land of Baal worshipers - which no doubt required her to repent and turn wholly to the living God.

Sought the Lord diligently, which would require the sacrifice of all earthly things.

Had some means at one time - they have a house with an upper chamber where Elijah would eventually stay (v 23).

She lost her husband but still retains her young child.

Her land got caught up in the effects of the drought (although they themselves had some water left).

She eats through all of her food – implied is that at one time she had a storage or enough money to go and buy regularly.

Either she has no family or they are in similar straits - she is left to herself, a person of little consequence (female, widow) in this society.

She still is charitable and faithful enough that when a person asks for water, she stops what she is doing (preparing a last meal) to help a foul looking stranger - a weather-worn wayfarer.

What is really happening to the widow at this moment?

It is the beginning of her Abrahamic test - to see if she will sacrifice all earthly things (LoF 6:7).

The Lord is using Elijah to prove her – he is administering the Abrahamic test at the command of the Lord, who has been monitoring and enabling her progression for a long time prior (see Abraham 3:25).

What is the opposite or antithesis of fear?

Love (see 1 John 4:16-19) “casteth out fear”.

Her test is not just to sacrifice all earthly things but to do it with love.  “He that feareth is not made perfect in love”.

How could she have faith such as this?

She had progressed from grace to grace - this is the beginning of a capstone test not an initial one.

She has faith in the Lord - if He makes a promise, it will be fulfilled (see D&C 1:38).

She has already gone through her Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego moment in preparing the final meal for herself and her son… (see Daniel 3:16-18)… she would be faithful even if in her slow death by starvation.

 

And now we move to her ultimate Abrahamic test, which will also provide one for Elijah…

READ 1 Kings 17:17-24

Why is this trial the widow’s ultimate Abrahamic sacrifice?

Losing her son while she still lives is a worse sacrifice than her own death or their deaths together - it constitutes her “all in sacrifice” (LoF 6:8).

It seems so arbitrary - they have been saved from the famine, only to have the son die from a random disease.

It truly does try her faith: “What have I to do with thee… art thou come unto me to … slay my son?”

How is this a greater test for Elijah than the drought?

He is asking the Lord to allow him to raise the dead (“there was no breath left in him” v17).

He is not receiving the command of the Lord but asking to use the sealing power.

It took Elijah three times to enable the healing… three times, hmmm…!

 

READ Lectures on Faith 6:11-12

What did the widow REALLY learn from this experience?

Not that Elijah was a prophet - she knew that.

She learned that she was accepted in the sight of the Lord.

That she had faith sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life that Elijah had already laid hold upon; if she had not exercised faith in the Lord’s ability to bring her son back from the dead through Elijah, the prophet’s own faith may not have been sufficient, as this was clearly as much a test for him than for her (obviously much more of a test for her).

That she can endure as seeing Him who is invisible - her Lord - and enter His presence in the flesh.

 

 

Elijah versus the Priests of Baal

After some time of drought, the Lord tells Elijah to meet with King Ahab. 

READ 1 Kings 18:17-21

What is Elijah doing?

Setting up a confrontation between the Gods.

Creating a situation where the people would be left without excuse – “choose you this day whom you will serve” (see Joshua 24:15).

Baal is a god of weather, so the drought already has him looking impotent; Elijah is doubling down on “Baal”.

 

READ 1 Kings 18:23-24

What is the challenge that Elijah makes to Ahab and his priests?

Two sacrifices - but no fire to consume them.

Which god is the living God and can create the fire themselves.

 

READ 1 Kings 18:26-29

What are the priests doing?

Panicking.

Rain dance, “cut a covenant”.

The priests of Baal seemed to have faith in him, so why did they fail?

Faith in incorrect doctrine will not save - it leaves doubts in the mind, albeit deep.

Baal isn’t real and unless Satan or some other dark entity picked up the burden of playing the part of Baal, nothing was ever going to happen on that mountain top in the name of Baal.

Why did Elijah mock the priests?

He had a sense of humor

He was a trash talker; despite knowing God, Elijah is still a human with a personality and traits – some of which may not be perfect OR not accepted by the sensibilities of the world.

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision” (Psalm 2:4); perhaps the Lord enjoys a bit of trash talking under certain circumstances?

 

READ 1 Kings 18:30-35

What is Elijah doing?

Ensuring that the people see that there is no sleight of hand trick (lighter fluid and a match from an accomplice); they must see that this is clearly a miracle from God.

12 tribes = altar is ready when the 12 stones are placed and the sacrifice is ready when the 12 water jars/barrels have been empty on to it (baptizing it, in a way).

 

READ 1 Kings 18:36-40

What is Elijah doing when he says “I am thy servant”?

Bearing testimony against them.

Sealing them up to a curse - in this case, to their death.

What does “the Lord, He is the God” mean?

He is the living God (unlike Baal, who is not real or at best is a dark spiritual entity without the power to cross over into the physical world).

He is the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth (see 3 Nephi 11:14).

 

READ 1 Kings 18:43-45

Why does the Lord end the drought, as Ahab does not seem to have repented?

Another great show of God’s power, given to Elijah as the Fullness of the Holy Priesthood.

There are still 7000 people in Israel who have not given their hearts over to Baal (see 1 Kings 19:18).

 

READ 1 Kings 19:3

Why does Elijah flee for his life from Jezebel (after the Baal incident)?

Possessing the High Priesthood and having power over the elements doesn’t mean the wicked still can’t kill the righteous.



Mount Horeb

Elijah travels to Holy Mount Horeb to be taught and the Lord comes to him and asks him what he wants.

READ 1 Kings 19:11-12

What is the Lord teaching Elijah?

How to recognize the voice of God forever thereafter.

The difference between the actual voice of God and the signs God sends to teach us.

What is the secret?

Listen for the still, small voice; block out the “illusion” of this physical world (“maya” in the Indian tradition) so that you can see/hear/understand the truth about how the Holy Spirit emanates directly from God to fill the immensity of space and creates the world in which we now live.

It is not from outside or a show of power but speaks to the soul – the kingdom of God is within YOU – you are a being of light that is co-eternal with God – but are now housed within an avatar in a world that seems very real but is a “matrix”.

Others in the same room may not hear it (or see a vision or receive a visitation) – God can communicate with you or even take up a habitation with you without anyone else realizing it.

 

 

Elijah’s Accent to Heaven

READ 2 Kings 2:1-2 and 11-12

What is happening to Elijah?

The heavens are opening - a fiery conduit to heaven with angels (“horsemen”).

Elijah is being translated.

He is ascending “Jacob’s Ladder” up to be with Enoch and those in Zion.

He is going home, meaning that he has already spent enough time in heaven that he feels more comfortable there than he does on earth; his mission has been finished successfully and he is going home again.

All those who are translated are transitioned or quickened for a reason or “mission”; he is taking up his new position as sentinel of the fiery conduit to heaven - on the heavenly side of that boundary; John the Beloved would later take up the position to guard the earthly entry to that conduit.

 

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

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