Posts Tagged 'Prophet'

2 Kings Chapter 19

Hezekiah was a righteous king of Judah, who lived at the time when the children of Israel were scattered and the tribe of Judah was nearly all that was left of them in the promise land. He had worked to remove all the idols found in the temples of the land. The Assyrians had captured much of the land surrounding Jerusalem, and were prepared to fight to take the capital from Hezekiah and the Jews. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, had sent men to speak with Hezekiah and his people: to convince the Jews that they could not rely on Hezekiah or the God they believed in. The servants of Hezekiah represented him at the meeting place, and were not moved by their enemies words. Likewise, the Jews that were present did not listen to their words. The story continues with the following:

1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.
2 And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
4 It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.
5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

Hezekiah went to the temple in morning and decided to send his servants and the elders to find the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah wanted to know how to save the people of Jerusalem because they were too weak to bear the burden in front of them. They asked Isaiah to plead to God in their behalf.

6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

Isaiah told them to return to Hezekiah and tell him that the Lord told him not to fear the words of the Assyrians that were blasphemous to God. The Lord told him that the leader of the Assyrians would be caught up in a blast, which is something that comes like a windstorm, and hear a rumor which would cause him to leave and return to Assyria. In Assyria, Sennacherib would die.

8 So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying,
10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?
12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?
13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?

When Rabshakeh, the servant and messenger of Sennacherib, returned to his king, he had left Lachish and was at war against Libnah. Tirhakah of Ethiopia, was heard to be coming against him to fight, so he sent messengers to Hezekiah. Again, the message was that they would be deceived by God it they were led to believe that He would save them from the Assyrians who had captured so much of the surrounding lands. The kings of those lands had been unable to defeat the Assyrians.

Rabshakeh and his master, Sennacherib, did not know the Lord. Had they known God, they would have known that the Lord is a living God of truth. God is not a liar or a deceiver. Those who live in faith, know this to be an eternal truth. God could not be God, if there was any deceit in Him. The reason those other nations were unable to defeat the Assyrians, was because their gods were not real gods. Their gods were false and fake idols, made only because men had been influenced by the adversary to find another source to turn to, instead of the true God of men.

14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
16 Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
17 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.

Hezekiah received the word of Sennacherib and after reading it, went to the temple to pray. He placed the letter before the Lord, before the mercy seat of God, praying that the Lord would hear the words that Sennacherib had spoken against God. Hezekiah realized that the words in the letter about all the other nations, was in fact truth. The lands had been destroyed and their false gods were cast into the fire. This was because they were not gods, but just wooden and stone idols made by men. He prayed for deliverance from the Assyrians, so that the nations would see and know that the Lord was the only God.

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
21 This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.
23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.
24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.
25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.
26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

The prophet Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah, which told him the word of the Lord. The Lord had heard his prayer against Sennacherib. Prophecy was then given by Isaiah, which said that Sennacherib had spoken against God. Sennacherib had used his messengers to boast proudly of the victories he had in the land: bringing his army into the land, destroying the mountains and forests, drying up the rivers, besieging cities. But the Lord had been the creator of these things in ancient times, not the Assyrians. The people had been weak and destroyed before their time.

This brings to mind the importance of going to the temple because it is a house of prayer. Hezekiah knew this communication with the Lord was needed and so he took his plea to the temple. What would it have been like, to have had a prophet tell him that his prayer was heard, and specifically what that prayer was about? It is something of wonder. It was a blessing because of the faith of Hezekiah and evidence that the words that followed were the words of the Lord. This answer was of great importance to the preserving of the Jews, and so, the answer came through the prophet.

27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
29 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.
30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.
32 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.
34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

The Lord knew the Assyrians. He knew when they went in and out of their home. He knew the rage they had against the Lord. The Lord would reign them in and turn the Assyrians around back to where they came from. As a sign that He was the Lord, He said that they would harvest and eat food for three years. The people of Judah who had escaped, would build themselves up again. A remnant of the people of Jerusalem would escape with the zeal of the Lord. The king of Assyria would not enter their city, or even come against it with arrow or shield. Rather, he would return the way he came. The Lord would defend the city of Jerusalem for his purposes and for the promise made to David.

35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

The word of the Lord was then fulfilled, when that night, an angel went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. This was the ‘blast’ sent upon the Assyrians. When Sennacherib and his army woke the next morning, they saw the dead and went back to their homes. Defeated by the Lord, Sennacherib went to Nineveh, and as he was worshipping in the temple of his god, Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him. They escaped to Armenia and his other son, Esarhaddon became the king of Assyria. In studying the history of ancient civilizations, including Assyria. I have read about this miracle that saved the people of Jerusalem and destroyed so many of the Assyrian army. It is interesting to see records of history show the effects on the world, of an event recorded in the bible.

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. He was able to be saved, because he had devoted himself to following after the commandments of the Lord. He was a righteous king and he knew to pray to the Lord for help, and to turn to the prophet for guidance. His people and city were protected by the hand of the Lord, without any of his people doing anything. This was a witness of the strength and power of the Lord in behalf of the faithful. The prayer of the faithful in our day, will not go unheard. If we follow after the example of Hezekiah, keeping the commandments, improving our lives, then turning to prayer and the words of the prophets in our times of difficulty, the Lord will hear our prayers. Blessings will come to the faithful followers of the Lord.

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2 Kings Chapter 7

During the time of Elisha the prophet, there was a famine in the land of Samaria. The hosts of Syria had sieged Samaria and the people were in desperate times. The king of Israel had sent a man to kill Elisha, because it would seem to him, that Elisha and his God had caused their trouble. Elisha had the man stopped and held in place at the door. The servant of the king openly blamed the Lord. This chapter goes on to say:

1 Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
2 Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.

Elisha prophesied that things would turn around quickly for the people in Samaria. In fact, he said that within a day, the price of their goods would fall. A lord, or an officer of the king, doubted that this would happen and Elisha said that the lord would see it happen, but would not experience it himself.

3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.
5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.
6 For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.
7 Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.
8 And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.
9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.
10 So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.
11 And he called the porters; and they told it to the king’s house within.

Four men with leprosy, who had been living at the entrance of the city, wondered why they would stay there until they died, since the city was in a time of famine. They would die from famine in the city or die where they were, so they had nothing to loose. They decided to go against the Syrians and see if they remained alive with the Syrians or died at their hands. When they arrived at the center of the camp of the Syrians, they found it deserted. The Lord had caused the Syrians to flee from the sounds of chariots, horses and a great army, possibly an army much like the one that had been surrounding Elisha when he had reassured his servant (see 2 Kings 6). Thinking that a large host of men of other nations was upon them, they ran away, leaving everything behind. The lepers went into one of the tents, ate and drank what was there, and took the spoil from the tent and hid it. After doing this a second time, they realized that this was not the right thing to do. They had good tidings to bring to their people, but they kept it to themselves. They knew that if they kept it secret, something bad would happen to them, so they knew they needed to get word to the king. They returned to the city and passed word along of what they had found.

12 And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.
13 And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.
14 They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.
15 And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king.
16 And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.

The king suspected that the Syrians were going to trick them. He told his servants that since they were a starving people, when they went out to the Syrian camp, they would be caught by the Syrians, who were most assuredly in lying in wait for them. They the Syrians would take over the city. A servant of the king suggested that they have a few men take five of their remaining horses and see what happened. So, two chariot horses and a few men went by the direction of the king. As they headed towards Jordan, they found all the things that the Syrians had left behind as they fled. The men returned to the king and told him what they saw. The people of Samaria, went out and gathered the spoils of the Syrians, and the words of the Lord were fulfilled, as they had been spoken by Elisha.

17 And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.
18 And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:
19 And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
20 And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.

The lord, or officer, who had doubted the prophecy, was placed in charge of the entrance of the city. The people trampled upon him where he worked and he died before eating of the spoils, just as Elisha had prophesied.

In this chapter, the Lord blessed the people in Samaria. When they had ‘hit rock bottom’ and had nothing left to loose, he spared them from a fight against the Syrians. Moreover, He blessed them with the things they stood in desperate need of having, such as food. It was yet, another miracle, and because Elisha had prophesied of their prosperity, it was another witness that the Lord was the God of Israel. It took a measure of faith in the prophesies of Elisha, small as it was, for the king of Israel to allow any men to go and see if the word of the lepers was the truth. Because he allowed his men to check, all of his people were blessed. The Lord blesses people today with many things, even miracles such a this. He continues to give us opportunities to witness that He is the Lord of all the earth. I am so grateful for the blessings and miracles, both those seen and those that have been hidden from my natural eyes, that have been a part of my life. I know that I am the woman of faith and testimony that I am today, because of the trials of my faith and the resulting blessings and miracles of the Lord.

2 Kings Chapter 2

Elijah was a prophet in Israel during the reign of Ahab. He had performed miracles, showing that the Lord was God of Israel. Israel was in a state of wickedness, and they worshiped false gods, in particular Baal. Many of the prophets of the Lord had been destroyed by the hands of the leaders in Israel. Elijah had done a great amount of work for the Lord, and had been told through the spirit, that Elisha was to be called to follow after him. When Elijah found him, he cast his mantle on him, and Elisha joined Elijah and walked with him for a time.

1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

The time came for Elijah to be taken up by the Lord, and Elijah and Elisha were traveling together. Elijah told him to stay where they were, but Elisha was committed to stay with him, so they both travelled to Beth-el. The prophets in Beth-el went to Elisha and asked if he knew that the Lord was about to take Elijah from him, and Elisha told them not to worry because he already knew that. Elijah prepared to continue on to Jericho and told Elisha to stay in Beth-el, but Elisha would not leave him. They went to Jericho and the prophets there asked if Elisha knew that the Lord would take Elijah. Again, he told them not to worry because he knew it. Elijah told Elisha to stay in Jericho, because he had been told to go to the Jordan, but Elisha would not leave him. They went together to the Jordan. Fifty prophets watched from afar, as Elijah and Elisha went to the water of the Jordan. Elijah smote the waters with him mantle, and they divided. Then, Elijah and Elisha traveled on the dry ground.

Elisha is a good example of devotion and dedication. He had given up his own wants when he had willingly followed after Elijah. Then, here in this chapter, he was given every opportunity to let Elijah go on his own, but he would not leave him. He had committed to be his companion in the work of the Lord, and remained faithful to Elijah as he journeyed. The Lord prepared Elisha for his own calling as a prophet, by inspiring the prophets of Beth-el and Jericho to tell Elisha that Elijah was about to leave him. Elisha knew the time was coming, and decided that he would continue with Elijah, further preparing himself for his own call. He never turned from following after the prophet. We are currently living in a time much like Elisha. Not that anyone would want to say it, but it is clear that our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is growing weary and may not be with us for much longer. We can follow the example of Elisha, by remaining faithfully devoted and dedicated to our prophet, dear. Now is not the time to turn away from him. It is important for disciples of Christ, to continue to listen and heed his words, for he will be the mouth-piece for the Lord, for as long as he lives.

What would be the purpose of repeating the miracle of dividing the waters, as Moses had done, and as Joshua had done with the Jordan as well? It might have been done as a witness to those who watched from afar. That they would know that Elijah was indeed prophet of the Lord.
Furthermore, it stood as a witness to Elijah and Elisha, that they were doing what God desired for them, because the power to do this miracle was in fact given by God. Additionally, it was a reminder that these men were true men of God, to be heeded and followed just as the people of Israel had followed Moses and Joshua. Another possible reason, is that they were doing was God was commanding Elijah to do, and as mortal men they needed a way to get to the other side of the Jordan. As Nephi teaches in 1 Nephi 3:7, “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” The Lord prepared a way for Elijah to go where he had been told to go. The Lord will always prepare a way for us to go and do those things He commands.

9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Once they were on the other side of the Jordan, Elijah told Elisha if there was anything he wanted to ask of him before he was taken away from him. Elisha asked that he have a double portion of the spirit that was with Elijah to be with him. A double portion was how the people of ancient times referred to the inheritance of the firstborn son. It is like Elisha was asking him to bless him as a firstborn son, in the things of the spirit rather than with physical things. Elijah told him, that it would happen, if Elisha witnessed him being taken away by the Lord. If he did not see him, it would not happen for him. They walked and talked together, when a chariot of fire went between them and Elijah was taken by a whirlwind into heaven.

It may have been possible for Elijah to tell Elisha that his desire was fulfilled, but doing things this way, gave an added witness to Elisha that the Lord was there for him in his service. Also, Elijah was not going to do anything contrary to the will of the Lord, and so he left this miracle to the Lord. This way of performing miracles, was why the Lord could trust Elijah with the sealing power he held. Only those who would not do anything contrary to the will of God, would be authorized to have the sealing power and use it among men on earth.

12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

Elisha did witness it and tore his own clothes as he mourned for Elijah. Elijah’s mantle had fallen, so Elisha picked up the mantle and went back to the waters of the Jordan. Then, Elisha used the mantle to part the waters of the Jordan as Elijah had. He crossed on the dry land and the prophets witnessed it. They recognized that the same spirit that had rested on Elijah, was with Elisha. The went to him and honored him as they had Elijah. The miracle of parting the waters could not have been done by a man alone. This is why it is such a spectacular event in the histories of the Israelites. Only a man, who has the power of the Lord with him, could do this thing. Both Elijah and Elisha were able to perform this miracle though the power of God.

When I think of the power to control the waters, I am reminded of a story in the life of the Savior. The story of being caught up in a horrible storm with his disciples. As he slept, they worried they were going to perish. When they woke him, He spoke and used His power to calm the waters and the wind. The men with him were amazed at this miracle, and wondered about the man Jesus (See Luke 8:22-25). Only with the power of God can things of nature be controlled in this way. A great lesson in this, is that with the power of God, things that seem impossible are possible. We can and should seek to have this spirit and power with us, just as Elisha did in his day.

16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.
17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.
18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

The prophets told Elisha to send strong men to look for Elijah in case he had been moved to a mountain or valley some where, but Elisha refused. They continued to tell him to do this, until he gave in and told them to send men. The men looked for three days, but did not find him. They returned to Elisha in Jericho and he told them that this is why he had said not to send them.

19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.
21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

The men of Jericho went to Elisha and told him that the city there was great, except that the waters were not good and the land was not producing. He told them to bring a jar or a bowl, with salt in it. They did and he went to the waters of Jericho and threw the salt into it. He told them that he had healed the water by the word of the Lord, and that the land would no longer be barren and the people would not die because of the waters. The waters were healed according to his words.

23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

Elisha left Jericho and went back to Beth-el. On the way, some youth came out of the city and mocked him because he was bald, meaning possibly that they saw him as old. It seems like this was much like a gang of youth, who would do this same type of thing today. These are the type of people who would try to instill shame or fear in others just for the sport of it. Elisha cursed them for mocking him, and two bears came and killed 42 of them. Elisha returned to Samaria, by way of Mount Carmel.

One of the things that this chapter causes me to reflect on, is the idea of a mantel in a calling. When a person is called and set apart by the Lord (through his servants), they have a spiritual mantel placed upon their shoulders. It is that thing, which gives them gifts of the spirit particular to the needs of that assignment. It is not something you can physically see, but I believe it can be seen with spiritual eyes. For example, just prior to the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, I watched Thomas S. Monson speak without sensing the mantel of his calling. Then, the first time he spoke after he became the new President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had been praying for confirmation that he was called of God to be the prophet and president. When I saw him speak, my prayer was answered and I could see and feel, with my spiritual eyes, the mantel that was now upon his shoulders. It was a huge blessing to me, to know that he was called of God to lead the church. I am certain that President Monson feels the weight of the mantel upon his shoulders spiritually, just as Elisha would have physically felt the mantel of Elijha upon his own.

I think it is good to note also, that the Lord did not leave his people without a prophet to lead and guide them. There have been times when people did not have prophets because of their own transgressions and how they used their agency to kill the prophets, but at this time, the mantel was passed to another. We live in a time of continuing revelation. In order for revelation to continually come from God, we must continue to have prophets called to lead and guide his people. I feel that it is important to have a testimony of a newly called prophet in our modern times, and so I have taken to the habit of fasting and praying to know that a man has been called to lead and guide us as I mentioned above, before they are sustained by the vote of the church in conference. Since doing this, I have been blessed time and time again, by a witness of the spirit, that the new prophet or apostles are indeed called of God to do this work. This is the kind of experience that the men who watched had, as Elijah left and Elisha returned and parted the waters.

2 Kings Chapter 1

In The First Book of the Kings the story of the kings of Israel continued from David, through the division of Israel into two kingdoms, and on to the death of Ahab. The Second Book of the King’s, or the second half of the book of Kings, continues the account of the kings of Israel from that point. Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, ruled over Israel after his death. Ahaziah was a wicked king much like Ahab had been before him. This chapter continues to tell of the things that happened in Israel during his short reign.

1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.
2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?
4 Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

The Moabites had been subdued by David during his reign in Israel. From that time, and through the reign of Ahab, the people of Moab had been servants and given tribute to Israel. With the death of Ahab, the people of Moab rebelled against Israel. This act shows that other nations did not fear Ahaziah or Israel at this time in history. Ahaziah was in his palace in Samaria, when he fell from an upper room. He was sick, or badly injured, and asked his messengers to ask the Ekron god, Baal-zebub, if he would recover. Ekron was a Philistine town, which worshipped this false god that he felt would reveal his fate to him. At this time, an angel of the Lord spoke to the prophet Elijah, and told him to meet the messengers and tell them that the reason they went to ask the god of Ekron was not because there was not already a God in Israel. When he did this, Elijah told them the word of the Lord, which was that Ahaziah would not recover, but would die. Then Elijah left them.

5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?
6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
7 And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.
10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.
12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

The messengers returned to Ahaziah and when asked why they had returned, they told him about what had happened with a man as they traveled to Ekron. Ahaziah asked what the man was like, and the messengers described his appearance. Ahaziah knew that it was Elijah by their description. He sent a captain and his fifty men to Elijah. The captain found Elijah on the top of a hill, and commanded Elijah to come down, by order of the king. Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down from heaven and destroy the captain and his men. Then, fired came from heaven and consumed them. Ahaziah sent another captain and his fifty men to tell him to come down quickly, and again Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down and consume them. Fire came from heaven and consumed them.

13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.
14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

A third captain and his men were sent to bring Elijah down, but this captain went to Elijah and fell down before him. He begged Elijah to spare him and his men from the fire which had killed the two captains and their men before him. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go down with the captain without fear, so Elijah went down to the king. Elijah told the king, that because Ahaziah had sent his messengers to the god of Ekron instead of turning to the God of Israel, he would not recover and would certainly die.

17 So he died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Ahaziah died just as Elijah had prophesied. Ahaziah had no sons, so Jehoram, another son of Ahab, reigned in Israel. This was the end of Ahaziah in this record, but more was recorded in the record of the kings of Israel.

King Ahaziah had failed to recognize the God of Israel, and turned from Him to look towards the false god of Ekron for revelation. In so doing, God allowed him to suffer death from his injuries. I am sure that there may have been a chance for recovery, if the king had sought counsel from the Lord, but I am also sure that the chance would have included a call to repentance from the Lord. It is possible that Ahaziah did not seek answers from the Lord, because he had no intention of doing what would have been expected of him by God. It does not actually tell the reason why he sent his men to Ekron rather than seeking for answers from the prophet of the Lord, but what is known, is that Ahaziah made this choice against the Lord and suffered the consequences of that choice.

The Lord is ready to bless each of us, but He will not if we are not willing to turn to Him. Just as He was there for Israel, and for their king, He is there for each of us today. He will answer our questions as we pray to Him. If we choose to avoid seeking after Him, when we know that He is there, He will not force His will upon us. That is against the eternal nature of God. Rather, He will let us deal with the consequences of the choices we make, even if it brings our destruction. All the while, He will remain there with open arms prepared to receive us, and the love of a true and living God and Father. God wants us to seek Him and turn to Him, so that he can help us and bless us every day.

1 Kings Chapter 20

The Israelite nation had seen peace in the days of Solomon, when he ruled in wisdom. Then, he fell away from righteousness and the Lord, bringing the threat of other nations upon his people. When the nation split into two kingdoms, the people of Israel were led further away from the Lord, through idolatry and wickedness. The Lord’s protecting hand could not be over the people because of their choices. They had suffered greatly through drought and famine, and in this chapter it tells us of the struggle they would have with other nations.

1 And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.
2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad,
3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
5 And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;
6 Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.
7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not.
8 And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.
9 Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
10 And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
11 And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
12 And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.

The host of Syria surrounded the city of Samaria, which was the capital of Israel. The leader of the Syrians, Ben-hadad, sent a message in to Ahab, claiming all the treasures that belonged to Ahab, as well as his wives and children. Ahab responded with submission to the claim. Ben-hadad then threatened Ahab by saying that he would also send his servants to search and find anything with value to take away. Ahab told the elders of Israel that he had given all that the Syrians had asked from him, and their king was still trying to get more. The elders told Ahab that he should not hearken to him or give into the demands. Ahab followed their council and sent a reply to Ben-hadad, which said that he would hold up to the first agreement, but he would not allow the servants to search and take anything else. Their exchange continued with a threat from Ben-hadad to take the dust of Samaria for his people, and after Ahab said a man should not boast as much in putting on his armor as the man who causes it to come off of that man. Ben-hadad ended their exchange by commanding his servants to go against the city.

13 And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.
14 And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.
15 Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.
16 And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
17 And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.
18 And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.
19 So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.
20 And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.
21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.

A prophet went to Ahab with the word of the Lord. The Lord said that he would deliver the host of Syria into Ahab’s hands and Ahab would have a witness that He was the Lord. Ahab asked who would be able to do this, and the Lord said young men would fight. Ahab asked who was to start the battle, and the Lord said that Ahab was to start it. Ahab gathered 232 young men, who would lead the fight, with an army of 7,000 Israelites. The army went out while Ben-hadad was drunk along with 32 kings he had gathered to his side. Ben-hadad commanded his men to take the Israelites alive, whether they came out in peace or to make war. The Israelites fought, killing the Syrians, who began to flee. The army of Israel went after them, Ben-hadad escaped, and Ahab destroyed the horses and chariots, and killed a great number of Syrians.

22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
23 And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
24 And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
25 And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
27 And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.

The prophet told Ahab, to take the time to gain strength and prepare for what he should do, because the Syrians would return in a year. The servants of Ben-hadad told him the Isrealites had strength because their gods were the gods of the hills, but if they fought them in the plains, the Syrians would be stronger than them. The Syrian servants suggested that he replace the kings he had gathered, with captains. Then, they suggested that he gather an army of the same size they had fought with the first time, even to the horse and chariot. They thought that they would then be stronger, if they took the fight to the plains. Ben-hadad listened to the council of his servants. When the year came again, he took his army to Aphek, to fight against the host of Israel. Israel went against them with a host that was much smaller than the Syrians.

28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
29 And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

A prophet came to Ahab again, saying that the Syrians said the Israelite God was God of the hills, but not the valleys or plains, so the Lord would deliver them into his hands and show Ahab that He was the Lord. The armies camped for seven days, and on the seventh day, the battle began. The Israelites destroyed 100,000 footmen in one day, and the rest of the Syrians fled towards the city of Aphek. A wall of the city fell on 27,000 of the Syrians and Ben-hadad fled into an inner chamber of the city.

31 And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
33 Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
34 And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.

The servants of Ben-hadad told him, that they heard of the mercy of the kings of Israel, so they would go to him in humility, begging to save the life of their king. They did this and asked that Ahab spare his life. Ahab called Ben-hadad his brother and told the servants to bring him. They brought Ben-hadad forth, and Ahab had him come into the chariot. Ben-hadad promised to return cities to Ahab, which had been taken by his father. Ahab made a covenant with Ben-hadad and let him go free, even though the Lord had delivered the king into his hands.

35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.
36 Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
37 Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.
38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
39 And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.
41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
43 And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.

A man, who was one of the prophets, told another to strike him. The other refused. The prophet said to the other, that because he had not listened, he would be killed by a lion once the prophet had left him. As he left, a lion found the man and killed him. Again, the prophet found a man and told him to hit him, which the man did and wounded him. He left wounded and waited for Ahab on the side of the road, in disguise. When Ahab went by, he cried out to him that he was a servant who had gone into the middle of battle. The prophet told Ahab that a man turned to him and brought another man to him, telling him to keep the man with him. If the man went missing, his life would be taken for the other, or he would have to pay a talent of silver. He said that as he was going here and there, the other man was gone. Ahab told the disguised prophet that he would have to fulfill his agreement with that other man, because he had made that choice. The prophet quickly took the disguise off of his face, and Ahab recognized the man. The prophet told him, that because he let the king of Syria go free, when the Lord had appointed him to destruction, his life would be taken for the life of Ben-hadad, and the people of Israel for the Syrian people. Ahab returned to him home with a heavy heart.

Ahab was a king who wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to rule in wickedness, causing that his people should turn away from the Lord. At the same time, he wanted to be a blessed king, ruling over a strong, and wealthy nation. He followed the council of the prophet and elders, only to let the enemy go when he should have destroyed him. This, because the enemy offered him the things he wanted. He was not expecting to be told that this had brought the promise of destruction upon himself and his people. We likewise, cannot choose to live a life away from the Lord and his promises, expecting to have all the blessings of heaven to come to us.

The Lord continued to look after his people. He gave them an opportunity to listen to His council, witness His power, and return to Him. He will give all of His children, many opportunities to turn to Him. We can use our agency to follow the council given by his prophets, or follow after our own desires. On the one hand, we can have the blessings attached to obedience and coming unto Christ. While on the other hand, we can be promised eventual destruction to our souls, should we choose to make covenants with the enemy. This weekend is general conference again, and the perfect opportunity to hear the council of the Lord’s chosen servants. I am looking forward to hearing their words and I hope that I can be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, by applying the teachings to my life.

1 Kings Chapter 14

Jeroboam was the idolatrous leader of the ten tribes of Israel after the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Ahijah was a prophet of the Lord, who had prophesied that Jeroboam would become the king of the ten tribes. The prophesy also contained the promise of maintaining the kingdom, if Jeroboam was faithful to the Lord, but he had not been faithful. When the threat of loosing subjects was a possibility, he turned to false gods. Another prophet had told of death and destruction that would come at the altar of a temple of Jeroboam, to which Jeroboam was offended. The Lord had cursed him for trying to stop that prophet, and he still did not repent of his wicked ways. In the southern kingdom, Rehoboam ruled. Rehoboam had been the ruler of all of Israel, but in his pride and foolishness, he had tried to place greater burdens upon the people. His people had revolted and he had the majority of his kingdom taken from him. Rehoboam was left to rule over Judah. He did not rule in righteousness. This chapter begins a follows:

1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.
3 And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.
4 And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

The son of Jeroboam became sick, so he sent his wife in disguise, to the prophet Ahijah. He sent her with a gift offering of bread and honey, and she was to ask what would happen to their son, Abijah. She went to Ahijah, but he was blind in his old age.

5 And the Lord said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.
6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.
7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:
10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the Lord hath spoken it.
12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
14 Moreover the Lord shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
15 For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger.
16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

The Lord revealed to the prophet, that the wife of Jeroboam was coming to ask about her child, but that she would be in disguise. He was told to tell her he knew who she was. So when he heard her footsteps, he said to come in, announcing her as the wife of Jeroboam, then asked her why she hid her true identity, as he was a prophet who had heavy tidings to tell her. She must have recognized this was a man of God, since he was able to know who she was even though he could not see her and she was in a disguise. Ahijah told her to tell Jeroboam that God had chosen him to rule over his people, but instead of following after the Lord, he had made false idols. Since he had been an unrighteous leader, the house of Jeroboam was cursed to be cut off and taken away from Israel, or rather, destroyed completely. He was promised that the dead of his family would be eaten by the animals, possibly as a curse that showed they would have no respect given to their dead. The wife was told to return home, and as she did, her child would die. Also, that the people of Israel would mourn and bury him. This child would be the only one, or the last one of their family to be buried in a grave, because there was good in him. The prophecy continued, saying that a new king would rise up and cut off the house of Jeroboam, and the Lord would smite Israel and scatter them from the promised land, because they had done evil with their false gods and places of worship. The Lord would do these things to Israel, because Jeroboam had been a wicked ruler who led his people into this great sin.

17 And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.
19 And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

So, the wife of Jeroboam went home and as she entered the threshold, her child died. Then, just as was foretold, he was buried and all of Israel mourned for him. Here it says that any more about Jeroboam is told in other records. He ruled for 22 years and then died, leaving his son, Nadab, to rule in his place.

21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

Rehoboam was king of Judah, the southern kingdom, for 17 years. The people of Judah were not righteous, but were worse in sins then any of their ancestors. The land was full of idols and places for worship of their false gods. They had also been influenced by wicked nations and all the gross sins, including prostitution, that existed in the land before it was cleansed for the Israelites, had returned through this generation.

25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
27 And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.
28 And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.

Solomon had built a grand and glorious temple and palace in Jerusalem. It was likely a tempting place for any other nation to attack. The Egyptians, under king Shishak, came against Judah, and took all the treasures of the temple and the king’s house. He took all of the golden armor that Solomon had made during his reign. So, Rehoboam made brass sheilds and gave them to the guards of the palace. They used them to protect the king.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.

Again, these verses say that the rest of the actions of Rehoboam were recorded in the chronicles of the kings. In short, Rehoboam and Jeroboam fought one another for the rest of their days. Rehoboam died and was buried in the city of David, where his fathers were laid to rest. His son, Abijam, reigned after him.

This is such a depressing chapter to me. Two men who loved wickedness more than God, led their people into great wickedness. The entire land of promise, was full of wickedness and becoming ripe for destruction. The once strong and prosperous land of Israel, was divided and falling into the hands of other nations. Prophecies were made against the people, which were of destruction and death, and these prophecies were being fulfilled as the Lord withdrew his protecting hand from his people. The promise given to the children of the Lord was that they would prosper in the land so long as they worshipped the Lord and turned not from Him and His ways. Additionally, they had been promised that if they turned away, the Lord would allow others to remove them from the land of promise. There are similar promises made to the disciples of the Lord today. If we choose to follow the example of Christ, we will be blessed to prosper in our own promised land, and if we fall away into temptation, God will allow us to have the blessings removed from us. Greater things come to those who choose to turn their hearts towards the Lord.

Deuteronomy Chapter 9

In this chapter, Moses continues his final sermons to the Israelites. They are being prepared and strengthened for the final part of the journey into the promised land. We read:

1 Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
2 A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
3 Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee.
4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.
5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6 Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

In order to go into the promised land, the Israelites would need to cross the Jordan River. They were on the verge of this task, as well as going up against the inhabitants who are stronger and larger than they were, with cities that were fortified with great walls. Some of these people were the giants of their day, and most men feared them. They were reminded here, that the Lord would go before them. He would be their strength and deliver them to the Israelites, who would then be able to destroy them and drive them out of the land. These things were not done because of the great righteousness of the Israelites, but rather, because of the great wickedness of the other nations and to keep the promises that had been made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The children of Israel were a hard nation, who had not turned fully to the Lord and were quick to forget Him.

I think that they needed this reminder, so that they would not turn too quickly to boast of themselves in their accomplishments. We can learn from this, that sometimes we are blessed in life because of others, and not for our ourselves. In some cases, others loose their own blessings and they fall upon us. Sometimes others are righteous and we are blessed because they have been faithful. It would be great to recognize either of these causes in our own lives, because it can help to keep us more grateful and humble.

7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyed you.
9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
10 And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
12 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
13 Furthermore the Lord spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
15 So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also.
20 And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.

Moses reminded the people that as a nation, they had been entirely too rebellious towards the God that blessed them at this time. He spoke of Horeb, or the area of Sinai, when Moses left them for a time to receive the law from the Lord. While he fasted and spoke with the Lord, they had turned back to their evil ways of idolatry. The Lord was angry for this rebellion and told Moses that he would destroy them and raise a mighty nation from Moses. Moses saw for himself, that the people had returned to worshipping a false god, and broke the stone tablets that contained the law of the Lord. Moses fasted and prayed to the Lord, that the anger of the Lord would be turned away from the people and Aaron, for their sin. Moses took the sin of the Israelites, the wicked idol which they had worshipped, and destroyed it.

22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the Lord to wrath.
23 Likewise when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
24 Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.
25 Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you.
26 I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
28 Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.

Moses also reminded them of other times of rebellion, when they had murmured for water and food, and when they had feared the strength of the nations in the land. At these times they had brought the wrath of the Lord upon themselves again. They had had great moments of weakness, doubt, and the fear of men – moments when they had not believed in God, and had been led them away from Him. Moses had fasted and prayed again for the people of Israel. Moses knew the promises of their fathers, and that this people were the Lord’s chosen people. Other nations were aware of them as well, and Moses had prayed that the Lord would spare them destruction, so that others would not think that God was not a God of great power, or that God hated His own people so he destroyed them. Moses had done so much for the people, through pleading for their lives, when they deserved the punishments of God. In effect, Moses, took the sin of Israel upon himself and paid the price along with those who had lost faith. We can look at this choice for Moses, and see an example of Christ. Christ has taken the sin of all the people upon himself, and paid the greater price so that we can live eternally with God. Just as we owe our lives and gratitude to the Savior, the Israelites owed much to their own mediator, Moses. This is the burden of the prophets. I wonder how much pleading is done by the modern prophets in behalf of the saints today. I hope that I can live my life with greater faith and trust in the Lord, and with a more grateful heart for the blessings I receive from Him, through the Atonement.

Joseph Smith-History (Part 3)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Joseph Smith-History Part 2).

So far in this record, we have learned what kind of boy Joseph Smith was. This history has explained what happened in his vision of God and Jesus Christ. He learned that none of the churches on the earth were true. He tried to share what he had experienced and learned, but many people persecuted him for it. This record goes on to say the following:

27 I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision.
28 During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.
29 In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

Three years after receiving the first vision, Joseph continued to bear his testimony through trial and persecution due to the vision he had witnessed. He had been faced with a lot of temptations in these years and had at times given into them. No one is perfect and even the best of us will falter when faced with temptations. Joseph says that these were not some great sins, but he had sinned nonetheless. He says that he was not behaving as a man who was called of God should behave and that he felt badly for his weaknesses. He decided to pray for forgiveness of his sins. The first part of the repentance process, is recognizing something we’ve done is not right or recognizing that there are things we are not doing that we should be. I think the more faithful we are, the more we notice all the little things we don’t do quite right. These are things that the average person would see as normal and simply as part of who we naturally are. As members of the church, we are not striving to be normal, but to be better than we naturally are. Joseph recognized his mistakes and then decided, as we should, that he needed to confess them to the Lord so that he could be forgiven.

He also went in prayer to the Lord because he was still waiting for more information about the true church and gospel. Because he had been called of God and seen a vision, he knew that he would be able to have more revealed to him. This is how faith and knowledge work. At first he had to test his faith by acting without an absolute knowledge of the result. Then after receiving the first vision he knew what the outcome could be when he prayed. This knowledge allowed him to have confidence in the answers to his prayer. We can use this active pattern of faith to build upon our own knowledge.

30 While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
31 He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
32 Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

In answer to his prayer, Joseph was visited by a messenger from Heaven. This messenger was Moroni, who was a prophet from the Book of Mormon. With this visit came a great amount of bright light. Every time we read of visits from Heavenly messengers, they are always accompanied by a light. The footnote here, references a scripture that talks of a pillar of fire. I think that this heavenly light is probably one that cannot be truly explained in a way that we can understand, but that the closest descriptions are a brightness greater than the sun, or a fire. I think it is so interesting that Joseph would be inspired to share what the angel Moroni looked like, even so far as how he was clothed. His robe, like that of other messengers found in the scriptures, was a brilliant white. Joseph could see the glory of the angel Moroni in his appearance. I believe that we will all have a glorious countenance when we are in heaven and that those who are transfigured to witness marvelous things such as this, take on a glorious countenance as well so that they can stand to see just how bright it is.

I sometimes wonder if the fear that they talk about when heavenly messengers are seen, is more like being struck with awe or perhaps having the feeling of being less than worthy to see something so wonderful. This is a common thing for the prophets of God to feel. The accounts of angels often tell of the angel telling them not to have fear. Joseph records that the fear did not last long, and this was probably due to being changed (transfigured) to be able to witness these things.

33 He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

Our names have such a personal meaning to each of us. Knowing that an angel of God knew his name, must have given the value of his words an even greater meaning to Joseph. When we are addressed as a group, it can be easy to only pay attention to the things we think apply to us. In contrast, when we are addressed by name, we can know that each word is for us specifically. It is not surprising to me, that when we receive blessings through the priesthood, that they are addressed to us personally. It helps me to know that I have a purpose in God’s plan, and that God knows us personally.

The angel Moroni told Joseph that he had a job to do. This job would make his name go down in history. Some would understand the good he would do, while others would see it as evil. This is so true. Joseph Smith is a name that is known by many people today. Some understand that he was a prophet and called of God to do a great work, which has brought many people to the salvation of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who do not understand that he was a man of God. They think that the things he taught and testified of were false and some even go so far as to call him evil. There is no way that Joseph Smith could have written this revelation and known from his own mind that he would have become a name known throughout the world. To even think such a thing, especially in the time when he lived, would have been ridiculous. He said these things, because they were revealed to him by a messenger from God. I wonder how it must have been to be a boy of around 17 years old and to be told this. I would have had an overwhelming feeling and probably greatly felt the weight of that revelation.

34 He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

The angel Moroni told Joseph about the Book of Mormon, which is a record of the people who lived on the continent we know now as America. He told him that the gospel, which Joseph had been searching for, was in that record. He told him that the Savior had brought the gospel to those people, which is the first revelation in modern times that the Savior had indeed visited other people. Moroni also told him of the tool used for translating the record, called the Urim and Thummim. Those who used this tool, were the seers of old. The Bible Dictionary teaches us “A seer is a revelator and a prophet also”. It is completely fitting that Moroni would reveal these things to Joseph, because he was the person who had preserved the records during his own life. He had placed them in the ground many years before this, and they were kept safe from the hands of men until the perfect time according to the plan of God.

36 After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:
37 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
38 And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
40 In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
41 He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.

The Angel Moroni quoted many scriptures to Joseph. Moroni quotes scriptures of prophecy, which were yet to be fulfilled. Joseph Smith played a key role in some of these prophecies, and in the restoration, which prepares us for the coming of the Lord and the destruction of the wicked. The priesthood was restored to the earth, through Joseph Smith and also the sealing powers which bind fathers to their children and children to their fathers. Moroni told him Isaiah 11 was about to be fulfilled, which is a chapter about the gospel being brought to the gentiles and the beginning of the gathering of Israel. It was fulfilled in the coming years during Joseph’s life.

42 Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.

The location of the gold plates was revealed to Joseph with a warning that he must not show them to anyone, but those who he would be commanded to. This seems to be pretty common when someone is shown heavenly revelations, there are things that either cannot be expressed or must not be. There are many sacred things that are not meant for the world because they would be treated lightly or worse.

43 After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
44 I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.
45 He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.
46 By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I could not get them.
47 After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me for the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.

Moroni left Joseph to think about the things that he had seen and heard. Then he came again and repeated the same things to him, adding information about the judgments that would come to the people of the earth. Then he left again, leaving Joseph to ponder on what he had witnessed. Then Moroni appeared a third time, repeating the same thing again and adding a warning of the temptations of Satan, which he would be faced with. Then Moroni left again. This to me is an evidence of just how important this message was for Joseph. He had to understand the sacred purposes of the restoration and specifically of the plates of Gold. He had to know that if he was not righteously prepared, he would not be able to fulfill this purpose. The idea of repeating the same teachings and lessons time and time again is so common throughout the scriptures. Heavenly Father knows that we need to have repetition to truly have eternal principles sink into our hearts and minds. In addition to the repetition, the teachings were built upon. He had time to process what he had heard the first time, and then to have it added upon. Then he had the time to process it all again, and then it was added upon again. I have learned that this truly is the pattern of how we learn in the gospel. Once we have an understanding of something, the spirit can take us to the next level and add a little more to our understanding.

48 I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.
49 The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.

Since he had not only been awake all night, but also had the draining spiritual experiences that he had, he was unable to do his daily work. He fell down from exhaustion, and was unconscious when he was visited again by Moroni. Joseph was told to go back and tell his father what he had experienced and the commandments that were given to him. In my study it seems as though he had already been told this the night before, but he did not do it right away because of the time of night that it was. I think it was extremely important for Joseph Smith to have the support and sustaining power of his family to be able to accomplish the things that would be required of him. All things in the gospel are based on the priesthood which has a patriarchal order. Even though they did not have the priesthood restored yet, I think it was perfectly fitting that he should tell his father of these things, as the patriarchal head of his family.

50 I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.
51 Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
52 Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
53 I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.
54 Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.

His father, in his wisdom, told him that if it was a commandment from God then he should do as he was commanded. This teaches us a bit about the character of Joseph Smith Sr.. He clearly was a man who loved his son, and respected him enough to hear what he had to say without judging him and getting back to his own work without counseling him. He was a man who understood that commandments are for keeping and supported his son in his calling. Joseph, was also an obedient son, who followed the counsel of his father and immediately went to see where the plates were hidden. They had a great relationship, which I wish more family members had today.

Joseph found the rock where the plates were hidden, and had another visit from Moroni when he attempted to remove them from their box. Moroni told him that they would not be ready to be removed for four more years and that he would need to come back annually to this place to meet with him. In my study I read that he was told that he would not able to collect the plates until he obeyed the commandment to only do it for the purposes of the Lord. Joseph was obedient and returned each year as he had been commanded. At each of these meetings with the angel Moroni, Joseph was taught how things that seem like preparation specific for the prophet of the church in the latter-days.

I am glad to know that the things of the Lord must be taken seriously and treated as sacred, or the Lord will not allow them to be had. I am grateful that Joseph Smith was a young man of good character. It is good to know that he was not perfect and had temptations to face, just as we all do. Even with his imperfections, he could be forgiven, taught and prepared for the many great things that he would do. The Lord knows our weaknesses. He knows how Satan will tempt us, and He has the power and desire to keep us safe from these temptations, if we will make good choices and obey the commandments.

What is the Book of Abraham?

In short, the Book of Abraham is a group of translations done by the prophet Joseph Smith, during the early days of the church. He had come in possession of ancient Egyptian papyrus in 1835 through a purchase by the members of the church. One of the records was about father Abraham during his time in Egypt. Abraham is a patriarch of the Bible. We read about him starting in Genisis. He is the source of really great scripture stories such as the sacrifice of his son Isaac, and from where the Abrahamic Covenant came. Through his seed came the tribes of Israel as well.

I believe that these things are true. I have not seen any physical proof of this, but I feel in my heart that the Book of Abraham was an inspired translation of an ancient record. I believe that they were translated by a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and that they have been included in our standard works (scriptures) for our learning and benefit. I look forward to a deeper study of these things and to applying the teachings to my own life.

D&C Section 135

The prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum, were arrested for the charge of treason during June of 1844. They were taken captive to Carthage Jail in Illinois. Elder John Taylor, as well as Elder Willard Richards of the Twelve Apostles were with them. John Taylor wrote the words of this section, as a witness to the awful event that occurred on June 27th, 1844.

1 To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. They were shot in Carthage jail, on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o’clock p.m., by an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons. Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a dead man! Joseph leaped from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both shot after they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received four balls.
2 John Taylor and Willard Richards, two of the Twelve, were the only persons in the room at the time; the former was wounded in a savage manner with four balls, but has since recovered; the latter, through the providence of God, escaped, without even a hole in his robe.

The prophet and his brother, were martyred by a mob in Illinois. I think it interesting that years earlier, the Lord would say (Doctrine and Covenants 5:21-22), “And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and to yield to the persuasions of men no more; And that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you; and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.” I think the prophet knew that there was a good possibility that his enemies would kill him, even from the beginning of the restoration. Even knowing of this possibility, he still did all that the Lord commanded him, and sealed his testimony as is says here.

I think that this is the evidence of God’s hand in all things. Two were martyred as a testimony of the restoration of the gospel, and two were there as a witness to it. In Matthew 18:16 we read, “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” We have two witnesses of each of these things, to establish that these things are true. Based on this principle, we will all be held accountable for believing these things or not. If we did not have these two witnesses, who did not even have to be there in the jail (they had not been accused of the crime but were allowed to be there), there is no way of knowing what stories would have been made up to cover up the truth. Because of these witnesses, we have the true account, that even in the face of death, the prophet turned to God.

3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

The words of this verse are so powerful to me. If there is any doubt in your mind of whether or not Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, I highly suggest studying the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon, praying about the words of this verse to know for yourself. I have had a witness of the spirit borne to my soul, that this is truth. I know that the prophet, Joseph Smith did these things for our benefit and for the salvation of mankind. Because of the Savior, we will be resurrected and we have the ability to be forgiven of our sins. Because of Joseph Smith, we have the fulness of the gospel and the priesthood has been restored, which allows us the opportunity to make necessary covenants and to do the work for all of mankind. We know the true mission and purpose of the Savior, and so much more, because of the service done by Joseph Smith. All that Joseph did for the saints (and for us), was under the direction of the Lord and in obedience to the commandments given to him. Joseph’s works are the greatest of all the prophets, and his service was pleasing to God, the Father, and the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

4 When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood.”—The same morning, after Hyrum had made ready to go—shall it be said to the slaughter? yes, for so it was—he read the following paragraph, near the close of the twelfth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, and turned down the leaf upon it:
5 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I … bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force.
6 Hyrum Smith was forty-four years old in February, 1844, and Joseph Smith was thirty-eight in December, 1843; and henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption. They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified.
7 They were innocent of any crime, as they had often been proved before, and were only confined in jail by the conspiracy of traitors and wicked men; and their innocent blood on the floor of Carthage jail is a broad seal affixed to “Mormonism” that cannot be rejected by any court on earth, and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the everlasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach; and their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States, is an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations; and their innocent blood, with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen.

Joseph Smith and Hyrum, knew that they were being set up for death, and yet they knew that they were innocent and were going to be found in favor of God. They willingly gave themselves up, knowing that they had done nothing wrong. Knowing that they were nearing the end, they said nothing to deny all that they had done and said, and standing strong in the face of death, they sealed their testimonies forever. I know that those who murdered them, will be held accountable. I also know that anyone who claims that the things they stood for are not true, after knowing the truth, will be held accountable as well. I know that Joseph Smith stands with the Lord and with God, and that he lived worthy of all the promised blessings from God. The Lord told him, “And even if they do unto you even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory (D&C 6:30).” I am so grateful for the work and teachings of the prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that he is a prophet of God, and that he restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. I know that if I can follow his example, and be obedient in all righteous things, I will be greatly blessed.


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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