Abraham Chapter 1

Abraham had been raised in a land with the same types of beliefs as the Egyptian people. This first chapter begins:

1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;
2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.

Abraham left his homeland, and sought for the blessings of the priesthood and of righteousness. We learn from Acts that he was from Mesopotamia, and we learn here that he was Chaldean. My understanding is that he knew of the priesthood because of his ancestors and the records of his people, but that his father had turned away from the gospel. Because he had a knowledge of the priesthood, he had a desire to know the gospel and follow the commandments. Abraham knew that he had a patriarchal right to the priesthood, and so he went looking for it. It is a good thing to desire for more knowledge of the gospel and for greater blessings of the priesthood. The scriptures tell us to seek after righteousness, which is exactly what Abraham was doing. In Doctrine and Covenants 84, we read that Abraham did eventually receive the priesthood through Melchizedek.

5 My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;
7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.

Abraham was raised among people who believed in heathen gods. Abraham was several generations from Noah (see Genesis 10-11), through the lineage of Noah’s son Shem, and they followed some of the traditions of the Egyptians. By this time the people had become set in their ways of believing in many Gods, and they would not listen when Abraham tried to teach them to be righteous believers in Heavenly Father. The people of his day were involved in human sacrifice to the Gods, including that of sacrificing their own children. They wanted to kill Abraham for what he believed, and I think that this meant that Abraham’s own father was prepared to offer him as a sacrifice for their customs. It must have been so hard for Abraham to stand up for what he believed, when everyone around him was so firm against it. I would hope that I would have that courage and strength, if I was in the same situation.

8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.
9 And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.
10 Even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphar’s Hill, at the head of the plain of Olishem.
11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.
12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar; and that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.
13 It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
14 That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics.

By this time, the holy custom of sacrificing in similitude of the sacrifice of the Savior, which was started with Adam, had been wickedly changed. Now they would sacrifice humans instead of the first-born of their flocks. It is amazing to me, just how many records we have of people all over the world, who resorted to human sacrifice in the name of their worship of Gods. The false priests of Pharaoh, took Abraham so that he would be able to sacrifice him, just as they had sacrificed others who were virtuous and good. I did not realize that there was a record in the scripture of three virgins who were sacrificed for their righteousness. I am grateful for the example of good women who chose to do what was right, rather than give in to wickedness to save themselves.

15 And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands;
16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
17 And this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
18 Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee.
19 As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee; but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.
20 Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea. And the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died; and there was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh; which Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood.

Abraham was saved by Jehovah just as he was about to be sacrificed. The Lord told Abraham that he would be moved from this land of his fathers, and lead him by His hand to be a model of righteousness forever. The altar which Abraham was laid upon, was broken by God, and the wicked priest was destroyed, just as the Lord had said. Abraham probably could have avoided this experience if he had denied his faith. He was, however, a man of great faith, and he remained strong, true, and willing to sacrifice himself for the truth. Because of his faith and turning to God in prayer, he was saved. We all have opportunities to give our own sacrifices to God, which rarely requires us to give our life, but may require a lot from us in our own circumstances. We can look to Abraham’s example and turn to God in the times of our sacrifices. This doesn’t mean that the Lord will always come to rescue us physically from the trials we have to suffer, but I know that he will bless the righteous with the strength to get through it and with the power to be saved eternally.

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;
24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;
28 But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time.
29 Now, after the priest of Elkenah was smitten that he died, there came a fulfilment of those things which were said unto me concerning the land of Chaldea, that there should be a famine in the land.
30 Accordingly a famine prevailed throughout all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he repented of the evil which he had determined against me, to take away my life.
31 But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.

In these verses we learn how Egypt began, which is something that I studied a few weeks ago, when I learned about the posterity of Cain. The king of the land that Abraham was from, was a descendant of Ham and Egyptus. Egyptus was a descendant of Cain and I believe that she and Ham fell away from the righteous ways of their father, Noah. They had a daughter named Egyptus, who I believe was the one who discovered the land of Egypt, not too long after the floods. Her son became the first king of the land, Pharaoh. He was a good man and tried to rule righteously, but because of his lineage to Cain, he could not hold the priesthood. Their leadership followed a patriarchal order, meaning that the kingdom was passed from father to son. Because the posterity of Pharaoh were not allowed the blessings of the priesthood, they were led away by Satan into worshipping false Gods.

Chaldea was far from Egypt, but I believe had gained their customs from the descendants of Pahroah, and so they were part of the same land filled with idolatry. Verse 20 says that all the altars of the Gods in the land, were broken by the Lord, which is why their was mourning in the court of Pharaoh, as well as in Chaldea. A famine came over the land of Chaldea, just as the Lord had told Abraham. His father, thinking it was because he wanted to sacrifice his son, repented of that desire. Abraham, had the records of his ancestry going back to Adam, and a record of the creation, which he intended on passing on to his posterity. It is very impressive to me, that Abraham was able to pull himself away from such strong and influential customs, especially since his own family was held so closely to them. He is a great example of clinging to righteousness and turning to the Lord to get himself out of bad situations. I am grateful for this example in my life.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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