Posts Tagged 'Order'

1 Chronicles Chapter 23

Solomon was the son of king David and his wife, Bathsheba. He was raised knowing that he was chosen to follow David. He was prepared from a young age, to build the temple of the Lord. He was taught to walk in the ways of God. David made it his purpose to prepared Solomon as much as possible before he, David, was too old or died. This chapter begins with the following:

1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:
5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

When David was very old in age and he knew he would not live much longer, he made Solomon king of Israel. (see also 1 Kings 1) He gathered the princes, priests and Levites. Those levites who were of the age to serve in the work of the Lord, totaled 38,000. 24,000 of those men were appointed to work with the house of the Lord. This left 6,000 as officers and judges, 4,000 as porters, and 4,000 as musicians to praise the Lord with instruments commissioned by David. David divided the sons of Levi into the groups based on the patriarchs of the Levites, which were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The work of the Lord is best done, with order and purpose. Throughout the history of the gospel, those who served in the priesthood have been organized into groups to better serve the Lord, just as David divided the men at this time.

David had a history of making music an important part of his life and of worship. When he was young, he played for Saul. Several times in the description of his rule, music is mentioned as a part of praise to the Lord. Music is an amazing tool for expressing the feelings of the heart, and for inviting the spirit of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” It should not be a surprise that many musicians were given the duty or calling of playing in the tabernacle and temple of the Lord.

7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.
8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.
10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.

All those belonging to the Gershonites were the family of Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan, were Jehiel, their leader, Zetham and Joel. The sons of Shimei, were Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran as leaders; and Jahath, who was chief, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah.

12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.
14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief.
17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief.
19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.

The sons of Kohath, the second son of Levi, included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Amram was the father of Aaron, the spokesman for his brother, Moses. Aaron was singled out, or rather set apart, to be over the most holy things in the house of the Lord, including burning incense and ministering to the Lord. The sons of Aaron, were those who served with the priesthood. The men of the family of the Levites, assisted the sons of Aaron. Moses was the father of Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom was the father of Shebuel, who was the leader. Eliezar was the father of Rehabiah only. Rehabiah had many sons. The second son of Kohath, Izhar, was the father of Shelomith. The third son, Hebron, was the father of Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel and Jekameon. Finally, the forth son, Uzziel, was the father of Michah and Jesiah.

21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.
22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.
23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

Finally, the sons of Merari, youngest son of Levi, were Mahli and Mushi. Mahli was he father of Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died without having any sons, but did have daughters who married the sons of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth.

24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;
30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even;
31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the Lord:
32 And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the Lord.

This listing was those who were called to serve with the temple as soon as they came of age. David told the people that God had given rest to those who lived in Jerusalem and with the building of the temple, the Levites would not have to carry the tabernacle any longer. Some of the responsibilities of the Levites included serving in the courts and chambers of the temple, purifying the holy things, taking care of the shewbread, flour for the offerings, and all the unleavened cakes. They were tasked with expressing thanks to the Lord both morning and night, offering burnt sacrifices at all the times required by the Lord. They were also in charge of the tabernacle of the congregation and the holy place. They were to help the sons of Aaron with their duties of the priesthood, as they served the Lord.

The work of the temple is such an important duty, that an entire tribe of Israel was set apart for it. That duty continued from the tabernacle established by the Lord, to the temple that Solomon was to build during his reign. Temples have been important from ancient times, as designated places of worship and making covenants with the Lord. This work continues to be an important duty today in the temples that dot the earth. I am sure that all those who have served in the temples, in any capacity they were called to serve, have been greatly blessed for their service.

1 Kings Chapter 2

When King David was getting nearer to the end of his life, he passed his kingdom to his son, Solomon. Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah, had desires to be king, and had attempted to claim the throne before anyone else had taken it. Is plans were thwarted by David, when Solomon took the throne. Adonijah had made a promise to Solomon and the newly appointed king had allowed him to go in peace. However the plans of Adonijah, did not end there. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.
6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
7 But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

David was upon his death bed, and so he gave parting words to Solomon. David told Solomon to keep the commandments of the Lord, so that he would prosper in all he did and wherever he went. David had been promised by the Lord, that so long as his children would walk in righteousness, his posterity would remain on the throne in Israel. David also told Solomon to remember the things that Joab had done against David and his captains, which was to kill the captains and cause unnecessary bloodshed. David charged Solomon to not allow Joab to die in peace. David told Solomon to show kindness to the family of Barzillai, who had helped him during his time in hiding from Absalom. He also told Solomon to deal with Shimei, who had cursed David and had received a promise that the king would not kill him. After giving counsel to Solomon, David died and was buried in the city of David after 40 years of ruling in Hebron and Israel. He was about 70 years old at this time.

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

Solomon began to reign in his father’s stead.

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord.
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

Adonijah continued his plans to get the kingdom, by going to Bath-sheba and after pointing out his desires to have the kingdom, but acknowledging that it was given to Solomon by the Lord, he asks her to give him Abishag to wife. Abishag was the last wife of David who had been given to him in his old age. Bath-Sheba said she would bring it up with the king.

19 Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
24 Now therefore, as the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.

Bath-Sheba took the matter to king Solomon. She asked for Abishag to be given to Adonijah. Solomon responded by pointing out that this desire was a way to try to gain the kingdom from Solomon. As his older brother, allowing him to marry the wife of King David, would be a way to give him the kingdom. He saw this attempt by Adonijah, as going against the king, and worthy of punishment by death. Solomon called for the death of Adonijah, and it was done.

26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Abiathar was sent away, spared from death that he deserved for his acts of rebellion, because he had been one to serve the Lord while King David had reigned. He had served Solomon’s father, through all his trials. Solomon showed mercy to Abiathar, but was cast out from his service as high priest to the Lord. In their time and in his life of service, this consequence probably felt worse than death itself. There must have been so much shame in no longer being able to serve, which was his life’s calling.

28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.
31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.
32 And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the Lord.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

Joab learned what had happened, because he had conspired with Adonijah. In fear, he went to the tabernacle and held onto the horns of the altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to fall upon Joab. Joab was commanded by the words of the king, to come forth, but he refused and said he would die there. Solomon was told what Joab said, and told Benaiah to kill Joab and bury him, so that justice for the innocent, would be had. This was because Joab had killed Abner and Amasa by his own design and they had been good men who had served David faithfully. The Lord had commanded Israel to purge themselves of those who had guilt of innocent blood, or who had killed the innocent (see Deuteronomy 19:13). Since Solomon needed to start his reign free of the damage done by Joab, he needed to follow through on the instructions of his father. So, Benaiah did as he was commanded by the king.

35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.

Benaiah became the captain over the host of Israel, and Zadok became the new high priest.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
37 For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.
40 And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.
43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?
44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;
45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.
46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Shimei, the man who had cursed David, was commanded to build a house in Jerusalem and remain there. Solomon told him that if he was to leave the house, he would surely die. So, Shimei did as he was commanded and lived for a while in Jerusalem. After three years, a few of his men left the house and ran away to Gath. Shimei learned that his servants were in Gath, and he went himself to get them. Solomon learned that Shimei had gone to Gath and back, and so Shimei was called before Solomon. Solomon reminded him that he had made an agreement with the king, that if he was to leave, he would die. He had not kept the oath made to the king, and because of those things which he had done to King David, Solomon commanded Benaiah to kill him. Benaiah did as he was commanded. The kingdom was established with Solomon.

With the death of David, it was necessary for Solomon to put his kingdom in order. This meant that he had to do away with those who had caused rebellion and disloyalty under the reign of his father, David. The decisions to be rid of men, such as Joab and Abiathar, were necessary for the line of David to remain on the throne in Israel, which had been promised by the Lord. Unity, peace, success and happiness, are not fostered in a place where dissenters, rebels, and those without loyalty, are left to influence and persuade others to join them. It was time to ‘clean the inner vessel’ of Israel, so that the nation could be strong. A lesson in this, is that it is good to take a look at our own house (those things which we have stewardship over, as Solomon had stewardship over Israel) and see that it is in order. What are those things that should be done away with in order to keep us strong? If we were preparing to leave this mortal life, what would be the things we would ask of our own family members? Knowing those things, what could we do now? If we desire to be like our Father in Heaven, following after the Lord, we should have a desire to have a house of order, because God’s house, is a house of order as well.

Numbers Chapter 2

The children of Israel were, at this point, being prepared for the journey in the wilderness. They had been given the commandments and statutes of God, they had made covenants and had the blessing of the tabernacle being raised in their midst. They had a prophet and leader to guide all of the hose of Israel, as well as men of the priesthood and patriarchs to lead each of their tribes. The organization of the people continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
3 And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah.
4 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.
5 And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of Issachar: and Nethaneel the son of Zuar shall be captain of the children of Issachar.
6 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.
7 Then the tribe of Zebulun: and Eliab the son of Helon shall be captain of the children of Zebulun.
8 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.
9 All that were numbered in the camp of Judah were an hundred thousand and fourscore thousand and six thousand and four hundred, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth.

Each tent or family was to have a banner or something like a flag of their tribe. They were to dwell as a family, where there own banner was raised. I believe that they were to live with their tents facing towards the ‘tent of meetings’ or towards the tabernacle. The locations for each tribe was given by the Lord. The armies of Judah were to be located on the east side of the tabernacle, with Nahshon at the head of their army. Those numbered in the army with Nahshon were 74,600. Next to the tribe of Judah, was the tribe of Issachar, with Nethaneel at their head. His host was of 54,400. Next was the tribe of Zebulun, with Eliab at the head of his 57,400. This was to be the camp of Judah, on the east side of the tabernacle, which totaled 186,400 men. They would lead the Israelites as they journeyed.

10 On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies: and the captain of the children of Reuben shall be Elizur the son of Shedeur.
11 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.
12 And those which pitch by him shall be the tribe of Simeon: and the captain of the children of Simeon shall be Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
13 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.
14 Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel.
15 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and five thousand and six hundred and fifty.
16 All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben were an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank.

The next group, who would move second, were those to the south of the tabernacle. This was the camp of Reuben, which included the tribe of Reuben with Elizur at the head of 46,500. Also in this camp was the tribe Simeon with Shelumiel as the captain of their 59,300 and the tribe of Gad with Eliasaph in the lead of their 45,650. In total, 151,450 men would move in the camp of Reuben.

17 Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.

The next group to move, was the camp of the Levites. They would move the tabernacle of the congregation, and were not numbered with the armies of the Israelites.

18 On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud.
19 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty thousand and five hundred.
20 And by him shall be the tribe of Manasseh: and the captain of the children of Manasseh shall be Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
21 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.
22 Then the tribe of Benjamin: and the captain of the sons of Benjamin shall be Abidan the son of Gideoni.
23 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.
24 All that were numbered of the camp of Ephraim were an hundred thousand and eight thousand and an hundred, throughout their armies. And they shall go forward in the third rank.

The third rank of soldiers in the army of Israel, were the camp of Ephraim. They were to camp on the west side of the tabernacle. The tribe of Ephraim would be lead by Elishama and numbered 40,500. Along with their tribe was the tribe of Manasseh, led by Gamaliel and numbered 32,200. Finally, the camp would include the tribe of Benjamin, with Abidan leading their 35,400 soldiers. The camp of Ephraim included a total of 108,100.

25 The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies: and the captain of the children of Dan shall be Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
26 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.
27 And those that encamp by him shall be the tribe of Asher: and the captain of the children of Asher shall be Pagiel the son of Ocran.
28 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.
29 Then the tribe of Naphtali: and the captain of the children of Naphtali shall be Ahira the son of Enan.
30 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
31 All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan were an hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go hindmost with their standards.

To the north of the tabernacle, was the camp of Dan. In this camp, was the tribe of Dan led by Ahiezer and with 62,700 soldiers in the army. Also, there was the tribe of Asher, with Pagiel as the captain of their 41,500 men. Finally, this camp included the tribe of Naphtali, with Ahira as captain and 53,400 in the army of men. The total number of soldiers in the camp of Dan, was 157,600. This camp would bring up the rear of the host of Israel.

32 These are those which were numbered of the children of Israel by the house of their fathers: all those that were numbered of the camps throughout their hosts were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.
33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses.
34 And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.

In total, the host of the armies of Israel, was 603,550. The Levites were not numbered, just as the Lord commanded (see the previous post on Numbers Chapter 1). This is how the host of Israel moved about the wilderness on their way to the promised land.

I think one of the things to note from this chapter, is that God is a being of order. Here he had a prophet leader, with priesthood leaders as well as an army broken down into four camps, each of three tribes with their own patriarchal leaders and captains. This reminds me of when the early saints of this dispensation were also called to make their own exodus to a promised land. When the pioneers were instructed to leave to head to the Salt Lake Valley, the Lord commanded the prophet to organize them into groups. In Doctrine and Covenants 136 we read:

2 Let all the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and those who journey with them, be organized into companies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God.
3 Let the companies be organized with captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, and captains of tens, with a president and his two counselors at their head, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles.

I believe that there is safety in order and organization under the direction of the priesthood. This is why we are organized into family units, who are then organized into wards, branches, stakes, and areas throughout the world.

I wonder if there is significance to the placement of certain tribes, and our general location in the world today. I find it interesting that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were on the west side of the camp. Today, many saints have been adopted into the tribes of Israel, through baptism and making sacred covenants. I am a part of the tribe of Ephraim, as are a great majority of saints in this part of the world, meaning North America. I have heard that those in the area of South America tend to be part of the tribe of Manasseh. The tribe of Judah, however, was located on the East side of the camp of Israel, just as many of the descendants of the Jews are still located in the Eastern parts of the world. This is something that I will probably remain curious about until the coming of the Lord and the literal gathering of Israel and restoration of the tribes.

Also, something I noticed, was that the marching forth of Israel was to start with the camp on the East, where the sun would rise. I think there is also an order to this. Those who rose according to the sun, would wake up earlier on the east side of the camp of Israel. Something interesting, but not of any huge significance probably, it just seems to make sense to me.

It also seems to make perfect sense that the Levites would move in the center of the ranks, with protection all around, for the tabernacle and other very sacred things. There is righteousness in protecting those things that are sacred to us. Satan will come at us from every direction, and we need to be sure that those things will not be destroyed, but remain strong and firm both physically and spiritually. There is strength in numbers and strength in doing all we can to fortify ourselves.

The most common theme I have heard learned from the organization of the encampment of Israel, is that the temple should be the center of our lives, just as the tabernacle was the center of their camp. Our homes and families should be facing the temple in order to make it the priority in our lives. When we do this, our hearts and minds will be reminded often of the covenants we have made, and the spirit will be able to dwell with us always. All of this order and organization provided strength, safety and great blessings to the Israelites. If we can apply these things to our lives today, we will also receive great strength, safety and blessings of the Lord.

Are We Dedicated to Strengthening Our Homes?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.

Our homes should be a sacred place to us and a place where the spirit can dwell. I believe a strengthened home, is one that is protected against the world and the evil that is there. It is a safe haven, where love and peace can be found. As an LDS woman, I strive to make my home as close to the temple as I can. I know that this is the best way to work towards building the strength of my home. In instruction on the temple, the Lord has said the following found in Doctrine and Covenants section 109:

8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
9 That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High—

Our homes should be a house of prayer. We need to make time to go to the Lord personally in prayer, at least morning and night. Really, we should be turning to him at all hours and in all places and times of our lives. In Alma 13:28 we read the following about prayer (emphasis added):

27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;
28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

I know that prayer can give us personal strength, guidance, patience, love, hope and more. These qualities will make for a better attitude in us personally and help us to bring them to others in our home. In addition, we need to teach our children the importance of their own personal prayers. In Doctrine and Covenants 68:28 we read, “And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” Each individual in the home has such a great influence on the strength of it, that we cannot shirk this responsibility and hope for the strength we need to endure life well. Second to personal prayer, for those who are married, should be couple prayer. A husband and wife should pray together to bring the Lord and Spirit into their marriage. With prayer, a couple can face any of the difficulties they face in life, and they can know that God is there supporting together. And finally, we need to make prayer important as a family. In 3 Nephi 18:21 we read, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” I’ve known for years that praying as an entire household was important, but I just learned recently that praying with other individuals in our family, other than just our spouse, is also very important. We should pray with our children and siblings should pray together. When a relationship is strained, or when we need any kind of help, there is no better thing than to invite God in through prayer. Because our homes are made up of individuals, married couples, and families, making prayer a matter of faithful diligence for all the members of a household, will strengthen the home as a whole.

Our homes will be strengthened when we make fasting a part of our lives. Again, this applies to individuals, couples, and families as a whole. Fasting is an act of faith and hope in the blessings of God. When we fast, we draw closer to Him, because we put our spiritual selves above our physical appetites. Omni 1:26 reads, “And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” When we fast with a willing heart, we become more humble and soften our hearts to the inspiration of the Spirit. Humility and guidance of the spirit are both necessary for a righteous home to be strengthened.

Faith is a Sunrise

Both prayer and fasting are actions of faith. A house of faith is one of strength. In 1 Nephi 7:12 we read, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” If we desire to have a strong home, the Lord will give that to us according to our faith in him. To increase in our faith, we must be more willing to follow His commandments and draw closer to him. As individuals and families, we must be more trusting of the Lord. I know from personal experience, that real strength comes from being faithful each day, to the best of our ability, and remaining true in the more difficult and challenging situations.

If our house is like the temple, it should be a house of learning. In 2 Nephi 28:30 we read, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” The Lord blesses those who seek for knowledge and wisdom, with just the right amount they need to gain understanding. The scripture does not say that it should be a house of scholars, it says learning. This is an ongoing, steady process that we need to be engaged in continually. Parents should be studying things that are both spiritual and secular. There is no way to properly teach children, without having an understanding of things ourselves. It is the duty of parents to teach their children and not leave this up to others. In Proverbs 22:6 we read, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 93:40 it says, “But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.” This teaching in not particular to things of the gospel, because there is truth to be found in all things. However, the most important things that should be taught, are gospel truths. In Isaiah 54:13 we read, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (See also 3 Nephi 22:13) It is the responsibility of every member of a household, to be learners. We read of learning for children in Alma 37:35, which reads, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” Learning is such an important part of having a strong home, because our knowledge or intelligence is one of the few things that we will take with us after this life. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:7 we are instructed, “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

A house that is strong, is a house of glory. A house of Glory, is one where God is worshipped, reverenced, honored, praised and thanked for all that he does. In 2 Nephi 33:6 we read, “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” Having a heart full of gratitude towards God, is to glory him. When we humble ourselves and recognize that God is the reason for all that we are and that he blesses us beyond measure every single day of our lives, we glory in Him as we show our gratitude to Him. A house full of glory is strengthened, because our perspective is focused on what God would have us do, and not on being selfish and prideful. We cannot be a house of strength if we rely on man and the wisdom of man. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:61 we read, “Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.” God will give us strength as we glory him.

A house of order, could mean a couple different things, but I think in this case it is a house where every individual understands their own duties and lives them the best they can. There is a way that God has established the family and their are specific responsibilities that are expected of individuals and families, which when followed draw them together and make them stronger. There are of course, times when this ideal does not work out perfectly, but the ideal is what will give a home the greatest strength. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is a great source for understanding this kind of order that should exist in a home. It says the following:

We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

The man and woman of the home, should be married lawfully before starting their family. Then, as possible, a married couple has a responsibility to keep the same original commandment given to Adam and Eve, which is to have children. The proclamation goes on to say:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. . . . Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

In a house of order, a husband and wife will remember to take care of one another first and their children second. Children should not come before a spouse and in addition, no one (and nothing) else should come before family. Parents have a duty to raise and teach their children what is right. Continuing in the proclamation, it says the following:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

In the home, a father has a duty to preside, provide and protect their families. While a mother has a duty to nurture and guide the growth of children. Within the strengthened home, a husband and wife will do all they can to work together and love and support one another in these responsibilities. Then whenever necessary, they help each other so that children are not neglected in any of these things.

Children have the responsibility of helping others in the home, being teachable, loving and respecting others, and honoring and obeying their parents. In Ephesians 6 we read the following:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Each individual has their responsibilities and the family as a whole also has duties and responsibilities. As a whole, we have the duty to love one another, and to show love to those outside of our home as well. In John 23:34 we read, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” As a household, we need to be willing to support each other and work together to build our home. As these things are done in order, to the best of our ability, our homes will be strengthened.

Finally, our homes, should be a house of God, where all that we do (incomings, outgoings, and salutations) will be done in the name of the Lord. Everything we do, should reflect what the Lord would have us do. In John 14:23 we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” God will make our homes, His home, if we follow the commandments and live as he would have us live. A strong home, is one that comes as close to the home of God, or heaven, as possible. In the song “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” it teaches us the following:

1. Home can be a heav’n on earth
When we are filled with love,
Bringing happiness and joy,
Rich blessings from above—
Warmth and kindness, charity,
Safety and security—
Making home a part of heaven,
Where we want to be.

2. Drawing fam’ly near each week,
We’ll keep love burning bright.
Serving Him with cheerful hearts,
We’ll grow in truth and light.
Parents teach and lead the way,
Children honor and obey,
Reaching for our home in heaven,
Where we want to stay.

3. Praying daily in our home,
We’ll feel His love divine;
Searching scriptures faithfully,
We’ll nourish heart and mind.
Singing hymns of thanks, we’ll say,
“Father, help us find the way
Leading to our home in heaven,
Where we long to stay.”

These are the things that we should do, to strengthen our homes. I am so grateful for the foundation of gospel principles that I have in my life, which teach me these things are true. I have witnessed my home becoming stronger every day, as my family and I work together to follow these principles. I am so glad for the Relief Society and its focus on helping women to know how we can apply these principles to the best of our abilities. My home is a blessing to me, and I cannot thank God enough for it. My family mean the world to me, and I know that it is vitally important that I help to provide a strong home, full of peace and love, for them.

Genesis Chapter 1

The book of Genesis is an account of the beginnings of the world. It is a book written by Moses. I believe that there were portions of this record that were altered over time. Therefore, I rely on the book of Moses and Abraham, found in The Pearl of Great Price, to clarify the truths in this book. Genesis opens as follows:

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The creation of the world as we know it, started when God, through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, organized the heaven and earth. This creation was not the beginning of all things, but the beginning of time and this earth as we know them. We learn this when we study the book of Moses. In Moses 1 we read the following:

33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

The worlds that have been created, go on in number for eternity. The creation began with light and darkness – day and night. The book of Genesis continues:

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The creation continues with the atmosphere and waters of the earth and atmosphere being separated. The atmosphere was necessary first, so that all living things could be sustained by the air and moisture it provides.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Next, God gathered the water on the earth, and created the land which produced grass, herbs, trees, fruit and all other plants. Plants came before animals and man because they are necessary to sustain us.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

In the fourth period of time, God created the stars, sun and moon to give light to the earth.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Next, the animals were created physically on the earth, and each was patterned after it’s species in the animal kingdom. They came before man, I believe, to have the time to be a plentiful resource for man. Man would immediately have the need of what animals are able to provide for them.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Finally, God created man to rule over all things that were living on the earth. We, mankind, have been created in the image of God. God has a being that we are patterned after, which means that he is not in some mysterious and unknown form. He made us like Him, because we are His children. I think that man was created last in part because the world needed to be established to provide the necessities of our lives. I think also that knowing we were created last helps us to realize that we are dependent on all of God’s creations and this can be a very humbling understanding.

I love that as He created all things, he looked them over and saw that they were good. I have written before of how I feel about this. It makes me think about reflecting on my own creations and pondering on whether they are indeed good or if they need some kind of shaping or alterations. Knowing that God saw all his creations and saw that they were good, helps me to appreciate them even more. I am learning to see my own creations as good and find an appreciation for them rather than see every little thing as a possible flaw. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to be creators in our own lives. When God was finished with the creating periods, and was reflecting on all that He had created, he saw that all things were very good. I hope that someday when I reflect on the product of my own acts throughout my life, that I will be able to say that they are very good as well.

I know that there was complete wisdom in the way this world was created. This gospel explanation of the creation makes complete sense to my soul, where any other theory does not. I am so grateful to the Lord for his creations and for the beauty of the world around me. I am so glad that he is a being of order because it gives me a foundation that I can stand on and trust in completely. I believe that God works in an orderly manner, because he is ruled by laws just as we are. There are laws of nature, space, and so on, that must be in place or all the purposes of eternity would be lost. We have laws to follow and a proper order to things. When I follow these laws and the order in my own life, I can feel safe and secure in the things I do. Finally, I know that all of God’s creations serve a purpose in the greater plan of salvation. I know that ultimately all of these things are designed to give us the means to be live on this earth, to create families, and to be able to work towards our goal of eternal life with our families.

For more about the creation story as found in Moses, see my previous posts from The Pearl of Great Price.

Abraham Chapter 4

One of the many things revealed to the prophet Abraham, was the plan of salvation. In this chapter, Abraham wrote down what he knew of the creation. This chapter begins:

1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

This is one of three writings which tell about the creation. The Lord has said that two to three witnesses will establish his gospel. I have a testimony that the scriptural accounts of the creation is true. Our Father in Heaven, as the ultimate creator, directed His Son, Jesus Christ, to create the heavens and the earth. We learn earlier in the Book of Abraham, that other righteous foreordained leaders assisted Him in the physical creation. I believe that when it says “the Gods”, it is referring to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The creation of the heavens and the earth, were from matter that already existed. It would not make sense to organize them from nothing. I think that you can only organize things which already exist. In this sense, I don’t believe that their was some “big-bang” that made them exist.

2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.

The spirit of God brooding over the world. The word brooding is the word used for the work of a mother bird. My understanding of this is that the spirit watches over the creations of God, just like a mother bird broods over her eggs or babies after they are hatched. The spirit continues to watch over God’s creations, and we can feel this watchful eye when we feel the guidance and comfort of the spirit. God cannot physically be with us or we would never learn the gospel for ourselves. Instead, the spirit is there to watch over us and to help us to find our way.

God created the light and called it day. It was separated from the darkness, or the night. The footnotes in verse four, say that God saw the light and it was good. I can picture God as an artist who created the light and then stood back to view His work, making sure that it was exactly the way he wanted it. Then He decided that it was good, gave it a name and then moved on to the next step. These verses teach us about the origin of what we know as days and nights. God established that the time from morning until evening was day, and that the time from evening until morning was night. This idea is not a man-made idea. I think it is important for us to recognize this, because there are many references to day and night throughout the scriptures. With this understanding, we may comprehend what is meant and be able to live the gospel more fully.

6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.
7 And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.
8 And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.
9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.

The waters of heaven were divided from the waters of the earth. I believe that this is referring to the atmosphere being separate from the water on the earth. Then the waters of the earth were gathered together, and the land was gathered as the earth. I believe that it was at this time that the cycles of water began to work on the earth.

11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
12 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time.

Once the earth was prepared to receive seeds of plants, God created the grass, herbs, and fruit which grow from the ground. This is noted here as the third time, instead of the third day as in other versions of the creation. I think that this is a reminder that our version of time is not the same as God’s. This was probably more like a period of time marked by the light. We don’t know how long the days were at that time, and it is likely that they were a lot longer than we know them to be now.

14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years;
15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;
17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.
18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.
19 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.

God created the sun, moon, and stars which were set to distinguish the day from the night. It was at this time, that they were organized into their times and seasons as well. There is no coincidence to how the stars come and go. They were placed specifically to serve their own purposes. They truly are a beautiful site to see. Another note here, is that Abraham calls the sun the greater light, which rules the day. In the previous chapters, we have learned that the use of the word greater can mean closer to God. I think that this is true. The sun is the greater light, because it is closer to God, or closer to being a celestial body. It’s power is therefore greater, which is why it can more fully dispel the darkness of the night.

20 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.
21 And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.
22 And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth.
23 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time.
24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.
25 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.

The water and earth were then prepared for the animals of every kind. All things were created to reproduce “after their kind”, meaning that the fish have been fish, and that the monkey did not come from the waters. I don’t know everything about the beliefs of evolution and such, but I do believe that animals were created to be what they are and that one did not come from another. I do understand that within our own species, there are changes to adapt to our environments, but that is as far as it goes for me.

26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
28 And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.
31 And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.

In the sixth creation period, man was created. Here is another account, that teaches us that we are created in the image of God. This belief has always made perfect sense to me. I am created like God, and I am able to become like God as well. Mankind was given dominion over all living things on the earth. I know there was great wisdom in man being created last on this earth. It makes logical sense that man was after animals, which would provide food and clothing among other things. Animals and man came after the sun and moon, because they needed to be able to have light to survive. Plants came before the animals, because that is how the animals would have food. The water and earth were separated and prepared in order for the plants to grow and animals to have the proper place to live. The waters were separated so that the cycle – water in the atmosphere giving water to the earth, and the earth giving back its water to the atmosphere – would sustain everything living, and so on. This is just another example that God is a being of order.

I am so grateful to have all the beautiful creations of God around me. I know that all things serve a purpose in the plan of salvation, and that I can be blessed because of the perfection in that plan. I am so grateful to be created after the image of my Father in Heaven. I have a great hope and faith in being able to become like Him someday.

D&C Section 107 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of a previous post (Section 107 Part 1)

In the first part of this section, the prophet received revelation about the organization of the priesthood. There are two offices of the priesthood, the Melchizedek and the Aaronic, but both are necessary to the fullness of the priesthood and both have specific important duties to fulfill. There are quorums in the priesthood organization, such as the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies. Each quorum is given specific duties as well as far as duties in leading the church and bringing the gospel to all the world.

The section continues:

39 It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation—
40 The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.
41 This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:
42 From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam’s) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth;
43 Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age.
44 Enos was ordained at the age of one hundred and thirty-four years and four months, by the hand of Adam.
45 God called upon Cainan in the wilderness in the fortieth year of his age; and he met Adam in journeying to the place Shedolamak. He was eighty-seven years old when he received his ordination.
46 Mahalaleel was four hundred and ninety-six years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
47 Jared was two hundred years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
48 Enoch was twenty-five years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam; and he was sixty-five and Adam blessed him.
49 And he saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually; and he walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years, making him four hundred and thirty years old when he was translated.
50 Methuselah was one hundred years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam.
51 Lamech was thirty-two years old when he was ordained under the hand of Seth.
52 Noah was ten years old when he was ordained under the hand of Methuselah.

In verse 39, we learn that the twelve that are called to a certain area, meaning the stake high priests today, are to call an evangelical minister. The footnote for this, references Doctrine and Covenants 124:91, which is the calling of Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch. A patriarch is called to give patriarchal blessings to the saints. The rest of this bit of the section is a record of the patriarchal order, which started when Adam was ordained by the Lord. The right of the priesthood is passed down to worthy males from their fathers. This patriarchal line went from Adam to Noah. In the old testament we have a record of this lineage, but I believe that the verses, in Genesis 4, only tell that it is the lineage, not that it is also the patriarchal order of the priesthood. According to the manual I am studying, it said that when we will live in the celestial kingdom, the patriarchal order will be the order of the government. I think that this means that the patriarchs will rule in order the kingdom.

53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.
54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
55 And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.
56 And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.
57 These things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time.

Adam gathered the high priests of his lineage and those who were living righteously, to bless them. I imagine that he knew he was getting close to leaving his life on this earth, and that he wanted to give a parting blessing to his family. Then the Lord appeared to them, blessed Adam and through the gift of the Holy Ghost, they all were blessed by revelations from Adam. I am sure that this was an amazing experience for these men, which gave them the strength and knowledge to lead generations after Adam had died.

58 It is the duty of the Twelve, also, to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the church, agreeable to the revelation which says:
59 To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business—
60 Verily, I say unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts, there must needs be presiding elders to preside over those who are of the office of an elder;
61 And also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest;
62 And also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner, and also the deacons—
63 Wherefore, from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.
64 Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all.
65 Wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed of the High Priesthood to preside over the priesthood, and he shall be called President of the High Priesthood of the Church;
66 Or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church.
67 From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.

The Twelve were instructed here, to set all other officers of the Church in order. They were to assign members of each office and quorum of the priesthood, to preside over that office or quorum, so that the church would have order. All of this was to be done by revelation from the Holy Ghost. I am really glad that the Lord has set an order to the leaders of His church. I am an organized and ordered person by nature and it gives me a sense of security to know that things of God are set in order as well, so that there will be no confusion about how His church should be organized. I feel that these revelations are such a blessing to the world.

This section will be continued.

D&C Section 28

Historical Background

A man named Hiram Page had been deceiving members of the church by saying that he had a stone he was receiving revelations from. The early members of the church had not been sure of who was able to receive revelations for the church. The manual points out that this was a time when anyone of congregations in other churches could speak doctrine as long as everyone agreed on it. It would have seemed like a normal thing to have someone else telling them what the doctrine was. Hiram Page had said things that contradicted the New Testament and modern revelation. Oliver Cowdery was one of those who had been deceived by him. The prophet, Joseph Smith, prayed for guidance and this revelation was given in response. This revelation was given through the prophet, to Oliver Cowdery. This revelation taught the members of the church that only the prophet was able to receive revelation for the church. Hiram Page and the others that followed him, renounced the stone and its revelations.

Why Did the Lord Tell the Church to Listen to Oliver Cowdery?

“BEHOLD, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given (v. 1).” Oliver Cowdery had been called to preach to the saints and he was the second elder of the church. As long as he was led by the spirit, his words would be what the Lord wanted the people to hear. Likewise, we have apostles and church leaders who have been called to teach us. We should listen to their counsel and follow the spirit as well.

In What Way Did Hiram Page Violate the True Order of Divine Guidance for the Church?

“But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses (v. 2). And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church (v. 3).” This is a reminder to Oliver, and the other members of the church, that Joseph had been called to be the mouthpiece of the Lord.

The Lord works with order in all things. There is a hierarchy in the church for a reason. We are called to receive revelation for those that we have stewardship over, but not for those who have stewardship over us. We may receive personal revelation in any manner, but we will not receive revelation for anything that the Lord has not set us over.

“Thou Shalt Not Command Him Who Is at Thy Head”

“And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it (v. 4). But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom (v. 5); And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church (v. 6); For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead (v. 7).” This was an important lesson for Oliver Cowdery. He may have been inclined to disagree with the prophet, and this was necessary to let him know that Joseph had been called of God to lead. Only the prophet could reveal the doctrine and commandments of the church. Oliver Cowdery was called to add his testimony of the truth and to teach the people how to come unto Christ. This revelation made it clear, that there was order in the church and who was its leader on the Earth. I am sure that this also helped in later years when new prophets were called. It is such a blessing to have the doctrine and order of the church established by God, so that we don’t need to worry ourselves about it.

Oliver Cowdery Is Called on a Mission to the Lamanites

“And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment (v. 8 ).” Oliver Cowdery became one of a group of men who went to the Native Americans to preach the gospel. Many received the Book of Mormon and some were baptized and ordained to the priesthood.

“It Shall Be Given Hearafter”

“And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites (v. 9). Thou shalt not leave this place until after the conference; and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee thou shalt tell (v. 10).”

In Moses 7:62 we read, “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.” Here the Lord tells us that a New Jerusalem would be built. Many wanted to know, where it would be built. The Lord was telling Oliver Cowdery that it would be revealed at a later time. Sometime we can become impatient, while waiting for revelations both personal and for the church. The Lord will teach us that all things will be done and fulfilled by his time table and not by ours.

This was revealed later. In D&C 57:2-3 we read, “Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion (v. 2). And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse (v. 3).” And just as was learned in this revelation to Oliver Cowdery (section 28), it was “on the borders by the Lamanites”.

Church Covenants

“And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him (v. 11); For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants (v. 12). For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith (v. 13). And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites (v. 14). And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do (v. 15). And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen (v. 16).”

It had already been revealed to the church, that the Prophet was to lead and direct the church (see section 20). Everything that Hiram Page had said he received as revelation was in contradiction to the doctrine that had already been revealed. Anything that contradicts the principles and doctrines of the gospel, is not of God.

D&C Section 10 (Part 1)

Historical Background

Martin Harris had taken 116 translated manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon and they had been lost. In order to learn a lesson, the prophet had had the Urim and Thummim taken away from him. When they were returned, this revelation was given to him through the Urim and Thummim.

“Your Mind Became Darkened”

“NOW, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them (v. 1). And you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened (v. 2).” Joseph’s mind had become darkened with sorrow for the loss of the pages. His entire family felt the loss and were in mourning because of it.

Why Would the Lord Warn Joseph Not to Run Faster Than He Was Able?

“Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun (v. 3). Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end (v. 4).” I am sure that he was so happy to have the power of translation returned to him. In this happiness, he may have felt like he needed to work even harder and make up for lost time and the lost pages. But the Lord knows us and I am sure that the prophet would have gotten burned out and perhaps not been able to have the strength of mind to translate correctly. The Lord needed to make sure that there were no human errors in the translation of these sacred records.

Also, I have found in my life that my involvement in things of a spiritual nature, I use more energy than I do with most of what I do physically. I am always tired after working in the temple, even though less is required physically than dealing with my children for that same amount of time. I am sure that translating required all the energy of his mind and soul and over-doing it would have wiped him out. He may not have been able to do other things that were required of him, such as helping his family and he may not have been able to keep them protected from other outside forces at work against them. When I over-do it, it usually does not take long for me to catch a cold or something else, because my system does not have the strength to hold these things off. I could understand if over-doing the work of the Lord at one time, could have cause the prophet to become ill.

We are blessed when we follow this same counsel in our own lives. We cannot do everything all at once. In Mosiah 4:27 we read, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” If we take it slow and steady, with diligence and faith, we will be able to accomplish anything that is asked of us.

How Does a Person “Pray Always”?

“Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.” I feel like to pray always, is to keep the thoughts of our prayers in our heart and mind as we go through our days. When I make a conscious effort to continue to think of the things that I have asked for in my prayers, answers come to me clearly. Praying always, is remembering to keep your mind open to communication between yourself and Heavenly Father.

President Joseph F. Smith said, “It is not the words we use particularly that constitute prayer. Prayer does not consist of words, altogether. True, faithful, earnest prayer consists more in the feeling that rises from the heart and from the inward desire of our spirits to supplicate the Lord in humility an in faith, that we may receive his blessings.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 219.) When we continue to think of God and be grateful to him for all that we have been given, we are continuing in humility and faith. Our thoughts and desires will then be able to stay in line and in tune with the spirit of the Lord. In Alma 34:27 we read, “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” When we are not vocally saying our prayers, which we should do regularly, we need to be thinking of those things that would help us and those who are around us to come unto Christ.

When we keep our hearts and minds open and ready to receive guidance from the spirit, we have the strength of the Lord on our side. We will “come off conqueror” and we will be able to “escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work”. Temptations cannot bring us down, if we remain faithful and grateful to God in all things. Satan is always on duty, therefore it is necessary that we are always praying.

How Did These Men Seek to Destroy Joseph Smith?

“Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you (v. 6).” The men who took the lost manuscript, were seeking to destroy the reputation of Joseph Smith. The wanted to discredit him, so that others would not follow him. “And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift (v. 7). Martin Harris had his desires and they were more about himself then the work of the Lord. He may not have been trying to discredit the prophet and stop the work, but he could have, if he had continued to go after his personal desires.

Satan Is Extremely Well Organized and Has Devised a “Cunning Plan”

“And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you (v. 8 ). Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness (v. 9). And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands (v. 10). And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written (v. 11); And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work (v. 12); For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate (v. 13).” Satan’s desire was to stop the work of the Lord, by persuading wicked men to change the translation into something false. They would have used this to discredit the translations and the prophet, if Joseph Smith had been allowed to re-translate the portion that was lost.

Satan uses many tactics to attack truth. Here he was manipulating the words of truth (see v. 9 above). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good (v. 20). . . Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work (v. 24).” Satan stirs people “up to iniquity” and to anger. Satan has the power to influence our emotions and passions. With our emotions unchecked, truth is blurred. When our anger takes control, we are blinded to the truth. He also uses lies to distort the truth. When we have lies and anger one toward another, it leads to contention. When we are contentious, we cannot have the spirit with us to influence us and show us what is truth. The hardest thing is that Satan knows us well and knows which of these tactics will work the best on us. He knows our weaknesses and will do whatever he can to stop us from seeing the truth.

About My Scripture Study Buddy

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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