Posts Tagged 'Priesthood Blessings'

Deuteronomy Chapter 27

The children of Israel had heard the laws of God from the prophet Moses, and had made covenants with the Lord, that they would keep this law and God would in turn bless them and their families in the land of promise. At this time, they were still camped on the Eastern side of the Jordan, preparing to enter the land that had been promised to them through the blessings of their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This chapter begins with the following:

1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.
2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster:
3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee.
4 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster.
5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.
6 Thou shalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord thy God:
7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the Lord thy God.
8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

The Israelites were given the commandment to follow the law of Moses. As a memorial, they were commanded to establish a monument of stones just after they would cross the Jordan. These stones were to have the law written upon them. Then they would go into the land of inheritance and build and altar there. They were commanded that the altar was to be of stones that had not required the use of iron tools, but were whole. They were to use this unpolluted altar, to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. This ritual of giving of their offerings was a way of showing their gratitude to the Lord for allowing them to finally enter the land of promise. Likewise, when we give of our own offerings to the Lord, especially when prayers are answered and blessings received, we show gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done for us.

It is so important to build up our own monuments in our lives, in order to remember the Lord’s promises and blessings. This is another lesson for me, of the importance of putting things in my home that remind me of what is really important to the Lord, and what should be important to me. If we fill our homes with things that remind of us worldly things, or those things that are not really of any lasting value, those will be the things that we remember on a daily basis. It’s the difference between putting up a poster of our favorite sports celebrity or entertainer, and a picture of the temple where we want to make, or have made, sacred covenants with God. Not that a picture of temporal things is bad, but how much more are we focused on those things in comparison to the things of eternal importance. What will our mind think about throughout the day, if we choose to place reminders around us of our families, covenants, and the Lord? I am grateful for the reminders in my own life, which keep me in remembrance of those things that I know are of the greatest importance.

9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God.
10 Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.

As covenant people of the Lord, the Israelites were the Lord’s people. As such, the Israelites were held to the higher standard and expected to keep all the commandments of the law. When we make covenants with the Lord, we become His people as well, and therefore are also held to the standard of keeping His commandments.

11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying,
12 These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:
13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

Those who were representatives of all of the tribes of Israel, I am guessing the Elders of the tribes, were charged with what I think was consecrating the land and the people of the land. They were to proclaim a blessing from mount Gerizim and a curse from mount Ebal.

14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.
18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.
22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.
24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.
25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.
26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

After the blessing and the curse were proclaimed upon the people and the land, the Levites were to proclaim a cursing upon all those who did wickedly in the land. With each declaration of wickedness, the people were to answer the priests with Amen, I believe as they made covenants to abstain from these evil things. Among the acts of wickedness, were making secret idols, disgracing or dishonoring parents, changing their neighbors inherited property borders, being a stumbling block to the blind, perverting the just acts with regard to strangers, fatherless and widows, committing adultery with their mothers or sisters, performing sexual acts with animals, murdering their neighbors, or being paid to kill another. In other words, these were the people of God, and any who ever did wickedly and went against the law, were to be cursed by this proclamation given by the priests.

It is a good thing to dedicate lands to the Lord and His holiness and purposes. Likewise, it is good for places of worship to also be dedicated. Our homes should also be places dedicated to the Lord and His work. Dedication of these places, is our promise to use them in the way the Lord intended, and it invites and allows the spirit of the Lord to dwell among us, so long as we are faithful to the commandments of the Lord. Moreover, we can make covenants in order to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and His work. When we do this, we too are able to have the spirit of the Lord dwell with us all the time, if we remain faithful to the commandments of God.

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Deuteronomy Chapter 10

This portion of Deuteronomy, is the second to last sermon from Moses recorded in the books of Moses. In this sermon, the Israelites were reminded of the ten commandments, blessings that would come from God for the righteous, the importance of teaching the younger generations of the laws and blessings, the consequences of disobedience, the role of Moses as their mediator when they have rebelled, and more. This teaching continues as follows:

1 At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me.
5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.

Moses reminds the Israelites, that the Lord commanded him to prepare two new tablets after he had broken the first. After the Lord wrote on the tablets for the second time, though the second set were the lesser law (the ten commandments), they were to be placed in the ark, which contained the most sacred things of the Lord. The Joseph Smith translation of verse 2, reads, “And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest, save the words of the everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood, and thou shalt put them in the ark.”. (see also JST, Exodus 34) The everlasting covenant, was then reserved for a later time of restoration of the priesthood.

There is great value in keeping a physical record of sacred things. Only so many things recorded, will remain through great amounts of time, but I believe that as these sacred things are recorded on earth, the angels can record them in heaven, where they will be eternally. It is important for us to record sacred feelings and learning that we gain in this life, for our remembrance, and to be able to pass that learning on to our posterity.

6 And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.
7 From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.

They are reminded of Aaron’s death and how his son Eleazar became the priest who served them in the tabernacle, in his place. Perhaps part of the reason that this needed remembering, was that the people needed to know that the Lord would not cause the priesthood go from among them as long as they were a righteous and God-fearing people. I think that they needed the rituals of worship in their lives, and seeing that God had caused that the ordinances could continue without interruption, meant they did not need to turn to another form of worship to fill that need.

8 At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him.
10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee.
11 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.

The tribe of Levi were set apart to carry the ark of the covenant, and to serve with regard to the attending to the tabernacle. I love the reminder here, that they were also called to bless in the name of the Lord. Part of the duties of the Levitical Priesthood today, is to share the blessings of God with the people. I think that this is done by sharing the gospel and more so by physically laying their hands on individuals and blessing them. In this thing, men of the priesthood, are serving as the hands of the Lord on the earth today. This is such a beautiful honor and worthy of sacrificing to live a righteous life.

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Moses taught the Israelites, that all the Lord required of them, was to love and serve Him. As a people, they had been chosen from all the nations, because their ancestors had been chosen. To show their love, the Israelites needed to be committed to the Lord by keeping the commandments and ordinances. They needed to keep them physically as well as in their hearts, purifying themselves and showing that they followed God. Moses taught them that God was not a respecter of persons, but had a love of all men. God had done many great things for them, including causing that they should multiply and become a great nation of people.

This is all the Lord asks of us as well. We are still commanded to love the Lord, with all our hearts, and to serve him all our days. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 we read, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” The Savior taught us that we show our love, by following His laws, when he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). We have been taught that we need to write these things in our hearts, or make them part of our very beings and character. In all this, we are not above any other when it comes to the love of God, and we are also commanded to love others as God loves them. The Savior taught us in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” God will love those who follow him and is still no respecter of persons. He does not withhold his love, but He will not look upon sin with the least bit of allowance whether committed by those in His church, or the stranger. In Mosiah 2:24 we read, “…he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you…”. He has blessed us, and will continue to bless the righteous people today.

Numbers Chapter 6

The children of Israel, were organized into an ancient-day church of God. After many generations in bondage with the Egyptians, they had to be taught the laws of God. Moses had received commandments and instruction from the Lord, and as their prophet, had been teaching the people how they needed to be living. We see this same kind of significant teaching at the time of the Savior, when he established his church on the earth during his ministry. We also see it when the Lord’s church was restored in latter-days with the prophet Joseph Smith. We have these records and these teachings, so that we can have and live the gospel in our lives today. The Lord continues to reveal the law in this chapter with the following:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:
3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.
7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.
8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.
9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.
10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.
12 And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

The Israelites were established as a covenant making people. The Lord reveals here, the law of the Nazarite. In this law, the Israelites could dedicate themselves to the Lord by vow. Those who consecrated themselves this way, were set themselves apart from the world and its ways during that time. They were not to partake of strong drinks or wine. These drinks have the ability to cause drunkenness, which was not the way of the Lord. Today, the Lord has revealed the word of wisdom, which also teaches us that we should not partake of any wine or strong drinks. The Nazarite was to avoid all the parts of the grape vine and grapes. Sometimes when we want to avoid something, the best thing to do is to avoid those things associated with it. In the case of avoiding strong drinks, or alcoholic beverages, we would want to avoid situations that promote drinking. Someone who desires to follow the word of wisdom, would be better off not going into a bar.

The Nazarites were not to shave, but were to let their hair grow naturally. I am not sure what the significance is of not shaving, but a devout and devoted man of God was not to shave his head. There is no mention of this in our modern revelations, so my thought is that the purpose was a physical representation of consecration to the Lord. They were not to defile themselves by being near the dead, even if it was close family. I also don’t know the reason for not being near the dead, but this was part of the law of Moses as well. It was one of the things that caused a person to be unclean or unholy. Nazarites were to live according to the laws of righteousness, being holy to the Lord. If someone were to die near them, they were to go through the cleansing ritual, shaving on the seventh day and offering a sacrifice on the eighth day. Then, they were to continue with the dedication of themselves to the Lord. Just to make sure I understood it correctly, I looked up ‘Nazarite’ in the Bible Dictionary.

A consecrated man. A man under a vow to abstain from wine, from any cutting of the hair, and any contact with the dead. The vow might be lifelong, or for a short, definite period.

The life of a Nazarite, was a life devoted to God and His work.

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
14 And he shall offer his offering unto the Lord, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,
15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.
16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:
17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.
19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:
20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

At the ending of their dedication of the law of the Nazarite, they were to go to the tabernacle and give burnt, sin and peace offerings to the Lord. Then they were to shave their head and burn the hair from their head as part of the peace offering. As part of the ritual, the priest would give them part of the cooked peace offering as a wave and heave offering. Then, it says the Nazarite was able to drink wine, which I think is a way of saying that the man may then return to his normal way of life.

22 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

Aaron and his sons were given the words to use as a blessing for the children of Isreal. They are familiar words to me. These are lyrics found in the song “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” which I have heard sung often:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
To shine upon you and be gracious
And be gracious unto you

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
The Lord lift His countenance upon you
And give you peace, and give you peace;
And give you peace, and give you peace

What a beautiful blessing for the righteous followers of the Laws of the Lord. We can be blessed with this same blessing if we will keep the commandments of God. He will bless us. He will keep us, or we will be His people. He will give us a portion of His light, which will show in our countenance. He will bless us with more than we can even know, and then we will have His promised peace in this life as well as in the life to come. These are such amazing promises and blessings.

Finally, those who desire to follow the Lord, were to put His name upon themselves. In other words, to take his name upon them. Today, we take the name of the Lord upon us, when we make the covenants of baptism and then strive keep those covenants. When we do this, we stand as a witness of God, at all times, in all things, and in all places. In return, the Lord blesses us with His light, His peace, His safety, and His spirit. Living the laws of God can seem really hard at times, but these things make it worth every effort we have to give.

Blessings of the Priesthood

And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. (D&C 42:44)

Because the priesthood has been restored to the earth, worthy men have the ability to hold it today. One of the blessings of the priesthood, is that Elders may bless the sick and afflicted. My heart is full today as I have watched my own child suffer from an illness that was going to be temporary, but still was scary for her. We spent Tuesday evening in the Urgent Care and then the ER because she could no longer support her own weight to walk or even stand on her own due to pain and inflammation. On Wednesday morning, my husband and another Elder from the ward, gave her a priesthood blessing. We talked to her about blessings of the priesthood and the faith she would need to have that Heavenly Father would do what was best for her. Then I watched as throughout the day she regained her strength and ability to stand and then to walk slowly with only a little support. This morning she was even better, and by late afternoon, she was walking normal again. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven, for her seemingly speedy recovery. We still have to watch her for possible relapse, but I have faith that no matter what, she’ll be good. The priesthood is real and through it, we can do miracles on earth today. Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He loves my daughter, because she is His precious child as well.

Genesis Chapter 48

Jacob (Israel) was getting near the end of his life at this point in the Old Testament. He had made sure that when he died, he would be buried with his family in Canaan, rather than in Egypt where he was living at the time. At this point, I believe that Jacob had a desire to bless his family before he passed on.

1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

Joseph learned that Jacob was ill and so he took his sons with him to visit Jacob. Jacob told Joseph of the appearance of God when he was in Luz. He told him of the blessing he had been given that he would be the father of a multitude of people and that they would inherit the land forever.

5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Beth-lehem.
8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?
9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.
10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.
12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.
14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Jacob told Joseph that his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were also his children, just as Reuben and Simeon. In the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 5, it says that they would be called the children of Israel. It also says in verse 6, that they would be called the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob wanted to give them blessings. He was grateful to God that he had been able to see Joseph again, even after thinking he was dead, and also that he was able to see his grandsons. He placed his hands on their heads, in full knowledge of what he was doing, even though Manasseh was the older and firstborn of Joseph.

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day.
16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

Jacob gave a blessing to them both and through Ephraim, who was the younger son, he blessed that his seed would be a multitude. Joseph wanted his firstborn to have this blessing, so he tried to stop Jacob. Jacob insisted that the blessing go to Ephraim, which was that his seed would become a greater nation than his brother’s seed. Manasseh was also blessed that his seed would be a great people. Then, Jacob blessed Joseph that their seed would once again be restored to the land of their inheritance and also blessed him with a greater blessing then the others sons of Jacob. In the Joseph Smith Translation, it goes into greater detail as to why Joseph was blessed with a greater blessing than his brothers. It tells of how he had been preserved by God, to save the family of Jacob. Jacob said that because of this, his seed would be blessed over his whole house, or rather the blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh would be greater than that of the rest of the children of Israel. He also goes on to say that the seed of the brothers would bow down to his seed for generations and that the seed through Joseph would bring salvation to the rest of the children of Israel. Through his sons, Joseph was given the greater inheritance of all the children of Israel.

This is interesting to me, because it shows that Jacob was a man, endowed with the priesthood and the right to give blessings to his family. However, blessings of the priesthood are from God. Even though we may have traditions we follow and such, God knows what is best and will lead men of the priesthood to act in the way that he has planned. Throughout the rest of the bible, there is evidence that this blessing is fulfilling and it is through the line of Ephraim that Salvation is come. Likewise, through this line, the restoration of the gospel has come and the tribe of Ephraim is standing as a light by bringing the gospel to the world in these days. I know that the awesome power to bless by the priesthood, is a power of God and I have witnessed for myself the knowledge and love of God for me personally because of priesthood blessings. I am so grateful to have the priesthood in my home and to know there is that direct line of communication with God whenever I need it.

Genesis Chapter 14

In the book of Genesis, we learn of Abram (Abraham) and his son Lot. They had left the land of Ur together and with their families, traveled to Egypt and then to the land of Canaan. After some contention over the land, they decided to separate from one another, so they would not fight. Lot went towards the land of Sodom, and Abram took the land in Canaan. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

There was fighting among the kings in the land where Lot had chosen to make his home. The people of the land fled when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell. The other kings took Lot and his family captive and stole all his belongings.

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Abram learned of Lot’s captivity from a man who had escaped. He took his servants to help him rescue Lot. Abram and his servants rescued Lot and all of his family and belongings.

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

Melchizedek and the other kings in the land went to meet Abram. Melchizedek was a high priest of God and he gave a blessing to Abram. According to the Joseph Smith Translation, Melchizedek also blessed bread and wine. Abram payed tithing to Melchizedek, who had been called of God to be over the Lord’s storehouse (see Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14). In Alma 13:15 we read, “And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.” It is interesting to learn how much of what we still do today as members of the Lord’s church, was done in ancient times. It must have been a great honor to receive a blessing from Melchizedek, who was a righteous king and servant of the Lord.

The king of Sodom offered Abram the belongings that he had brought back. Abram refused the belongings and said that he owed it to God. I believe that he did not want to be bound in any way to the king or to have to give the king credit for his status. Abram knew that the Lord gave him the only riches worth what he wanted. If he was to become wealthy, it would be through the blessings of the Lord and not because a king gave them to him.

I continue to learn through these verses, that Abraham was a great man and a great example to me of how to live my own life. There is righteousness in protecting your loved ones, as he did Lot. It is important to show our gratitude for the blessings of the Lord, by paying tithing and partaking of the sacrament. We owe our wealth, physically and spiritually, to the Lord and there is nothing on this earth that is more valuable then the treasures from God. I am very grateful to have Abram as an example of these things.

Genesis Chapter 13

At this point in the book of Genesis, Abram (Abraham) has been guided by the Lord, to the land of Egypt, where his family could have refuge from the famine in the land. This chapter begins:

1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai;
4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Their family left Egypt after it was discovered that Sarai was Abram’s wife and not his sister. They returned, with all their many belongings, to the same area where Abram had built an altar to pray (see Genesis chapter 12). Again, he prayed to the Lord, in the area which was his promised land from God. The footnote in verse 4, references scriptures in the book of Abraham, which tell us that he did not simply pray. In Abraham 1:2 we read, “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.” He wanted to know what the will of God for himself. He wanted to keep the commandments and live more righteously. He had a desire to be a better man and therefore be deserving of the blessings promised to him. This is a great example of what we should be seeking for in our own lives. What can we do to be more righteous and more deserving of our own promised blessings from God?

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

Abram’s nephew was Lot, who had traveled with him from Ur to Egypt and then out of Egypt again. There were not able to continue to live together because they both had been greatly blessed in numbers of animals. There was contentions between those that were with them over the herds of animals. Abram did not want them to fight, so he suggested that they each separate from one another, which they did. Lot took the land of Jordan and Abram took the land of Canaan. In Jordan was the land of Sodom, which was already a wicked area. Lot’s family turned towards the wicked city of Sodom.

14 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

The Lord promises Abram all of the land he could see, for himself and his family forever. He also promises him that he will have a great posterity, which would be number as the dust of the earth. His descendants would become the house of Israel, which continues to grow on the earth even today. The promises made to Abram or Abraham, are eternal priesthood blessings from God. Any who are members of the house of Israel, either by blood or by taking upon the name of Christ, can receive the same eternal blessings of seed forever and a promised land. If we want to be a partaker of these blessings, then we need to make and keep our own sacred covenants with God, as he has commanded. I am so grateful for the hope in these blessings. I am glad that they give me a reason to live a righteous life.


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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