Posts Tagged 'Record Keeping'

1 Chronicles Chapter 5

A Family Tree

A genealogy record of the children of Israel is given in this chapter of Chronicles. A record of the sons of Judah and Simeon were recorded already, and this chapter will list some of the line of Reuben. (Note: The wording of these genealogies is not always easily understood, but this is what I gather from these verses.) It begins as follows:

1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)
3 The sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
4 The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,
5 Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son,
6 Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.
7 And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,
8 And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baal-meon:
9 And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.
10 And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.

Reuben was the firstborn son of Israel (Jacob), by his first wife Leah, but his birthright was taken from him when he slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. The birthright, which as the firstborn was a double-portion, was given to the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph was the firstborn of Jacob’s second wife. The genealogy is not continued with the birthright, because the tribe of Judah became the chief tribe. It is the tribe of the King of Kings, even Jesus the Christ. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. The sons of Joel were Shemaiah, Gog, Shimei, Micah, Reaia, Baal, and Beerah. Beerah, prince or leader of the Reubenites, was carried away captive by Tilgath-pilneser of Assyria. The genealogy continued with the leader, Jeilel, Zechariah, and Bela, the son of Azaz, who was the son of Shema, who was the son of Joel of Aroer. At the time of the rule of Saul, the Reubenites made war with the Hagarites, who were defeated. They lived in the eastern part of the land of Gilead, which was apart from the majority of the land belonging to the tribes of Israel and separated by the Jordan.

11 And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan unto Salchah:
12 Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.
13 And their brethren of the house of their fathers were, Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.
14 These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;
15 Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
16 And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.
17 All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.

The descendants of Gad lived near them, in he land of Bashan. Their leader were Joel, Shapham, Jaanai, and Shapha in Bashan. Their seven brothers were Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jachan, Zia, and Heber. Abihail, son of Huri, was the patriarch of the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jehishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz, Ahi the son of Abdiel, and the son of Guni who was the leader of their family. These people lived in Gilead. They were counted in the days of Jotham of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel.

18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.
19 And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.
20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him.
21 And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.
22 For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.

A war was made with the Hagarites, Jetur, Nephish and Nodab. 44,760 valiant and able fighters from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, gathered together to fight this war. They cried to God and were helped for putting their trust in Him. The Hagarites were delivered into their hands. They also took their cattle, 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys and 100,000 men. Many of their enemy died because God fought for them. They lived in their homes, until captivity.

23 And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baal-hermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.
24 And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.

The children of the half tribe of Manasseh lived in the land and increased in number. Their leaders were Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel. There were famous and mighty men.

25 And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.
26 And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.

Eventually, the Reubenites, Gadites and half of Massaeh, transgressed against God. They turned to idolatry, as did so many of the children of Israel. The spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, was stirred up against these tribes, and he carried them away captive to Assyria, to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan.

It is important that every tribe of the children of Israel recorded a genealogy of their family, however the reason why there is little in this record of the Reubenites, is because the tribe of Judah became the leaders of the land. King David was from Bethlehem and his kingdom was established in Jerusalem. A king reigned in Judah until the time of capture when Zedekiah reigned. Most ancient records that we have of genealogy, contain records of kings and leaders. As for the tribe of Reuben, I think that this chapter includes those who were leaders of the tribe as well. Not much can be learned of these individuals of the children of Reuben, from the Bible, but this chapter teaches me the importance of keeping these records for all people, even if all we have is a name. A single name can connect us to the generations of the past, all the way back to Adam and Eve. I may not become anything great in the grand picture of mankind, but I hope that my name is at least known to my family in the generations to come.

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Joshua Chapter 24

This is the final sermon of the prophet Joshua, to the Israelite people. Joshua had been one who had walked with Moses during the wanderings in the wilderness. He had remained to see and enter the promised land while the rest of his generation had passed away. He was a man of faith and courage, and was called to be the prophet to conquer and settle the promised land. He trusted the Lord, and the Lord was there to help him. His words to the Israelites follow:

1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

Joshua gathered the people to hear his words, and then called the elders of Israel and other leaders, to present themselves. He begins to speak to them of their history. The family of Abraham had lived in a foreign land and worshipped the gods of that land. Abraham was led away from the idolatry, by the Lord, to the land of Canaan and was blessed with his son Isaac. The Lord blessed Isaac with two sons, even Jacob and Esau. He told them how Jacob’s family went to Egypt, and that the Lord sent Moses and Aaron and gave plagues there. Then the Israelites were led out of Egypt by the Lord. Then when they were chased by the Egyptians, the Lord protected them and destroyed their enemy in the sea. Then they wandered in the wilderness, and the Lord led them into the land of the Amorites and delivered their enemies into their hands. The Lord stopped Balaam from cursing the Israelites, and caused that he should bless them instead. Finally, the Israelites were led into the land of Canaan, to Jericho, and the Lord delivered their enemies into their hands again. The Lord helped them to gain the promised land, where they had plenty, but they had not prepared it for themselves.

14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
17 For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18 And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.
19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Joshua called the people to honor and serve the Lord, and to put away the practice of worshipping false gods, or idolatry, as their ancestors had. He reminded the people that they were free to choose whom they would serve, but they needed to make their choice. Joshua, their prophet and leader, declared that he had chosen to serve the Lord. In response, the people spoke of the commandment God had given them to serve Him alone and to forsake other gods. The congregation of Israel recognized the hand of the Lord in bringing them out of bondage, and preserving them in their wanderings. They knew that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their hands and had driven them out of the land. The Israelites chose to serve the Lord as well. Joshua told them that if they would follow after other gods, they could not serve the Lord and would not be forgiven of their transgressions or sins. The Lord would destroy them if they turned against Him. The people wanted to choose the Lord still, and so Joshua said they were witnesses against themselves, which they agreed to. He called on them again, to put away other gods and turn to the Lord, to which they made a covenant to serve and obey the Lord.

We have the same obligation to choose if we will strive to serve the Lord, or if we will serve other gods. We cannot stand on both sides of the fence, but if we choose to serve the Lord, we will be held to His standard. It is our privilege, to be able to stand and firmly say we will serve the Lord. When we make covenants of baptism, we promise to serve the Lord all our days. If after making covenants, we go against the Lord, destruction will eventually come upon us as well. I hope to be able to remain steadfast and firm all the days of my life, and continually serve God.

26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

A record was made of these things, and a stone was raised as a reminder to the people, of the covenant they had made with the Lord. Then all the people were sent back to their homes.

29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.

Joshua died at the age of 110. In the days of Joshua, the host of Israel had server the Lord, as well as in the days of all the elders that served with him.

32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

The bones of Joseph were buried in the land that his father Jacob had purchased many years before. This was a fulfillment of the request of Joseph which he made while in Egypt, because he knew that God would one day deliver the people of Israel and led them to the land of promise. Then, Eleazar, the priest and son of Aaron, died and was buried in the land of his son, Phinehas.

Idolatry was a sin which plagued the children of Israel in their time. This is why there was a need to continually remind them to love and serve the Lord alone. In our time, we have idolatry of other forms, which plague our generation. We need to be continually reminded to live in the world, but not be of the world. I feel like the greatest reminder we have from our current prophets, is that our focus must be on the family or Satan will destroy us. The strength of the Lord’s people, as a whole, depends upon the strength of our family units. If we allow Satan to break down the family, we will each stand alone and we will fall. It was so important for the congregation of Israel to heed the words of the prophet Joshua, as they heeded the words of Moses before him. Is is just as important for us to heed the words of our own modern prophets, because they speak the word of the Lord for us today. I am so grateful for the prophets which the Lord has called in our day. I am grateful for times when I can hear their words and apply them to my life. I know that they are true and can help us to be strong and courageous in our day.

(If you are interested in listening to the modern prophets and apostles, you can watch or listen to the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here for more information.)

Joshua Chapter 12

Joshua led the Israelite army to victory in the land of Canaan, under the direction of the Lord. They destroyed several kings and their lands. This chapter is a review of all those whom they destroyed.

1 Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:
2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
3 And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Beth-jeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdoth-pisgah:

On the eastern side of the Jordan, they destroyed and took some of the land. The first mentioned here, was king Sihon.

4 And the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei,
5 And reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.
6 Them did Moses the servant of the Lord and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the Lord gave it for a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

The second king was Og. The land from these two kings, was given to the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh.

7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions;
8 In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:
9 The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Beth-el, one;
10 The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;
11 The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;
12 The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;
13 The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;
14 The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;
15 The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;
16 The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Beth-el, one;
17 The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;
18 The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;
19 The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;
20 The king of Shimron-meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;
21 The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;
22 The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one;
23 The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;
24 The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.

On the western side of the Jordan River, the Israelites conquered 31 kings and their lands.

The Old Testament, is more than just a record of the laws of the lord. It is a record of the history of the people of God. In this record, we need to see just how powerful the Israelites were at this time. They had been promised by God, to have the power to destroy the enemies of their lands. This is showing that the Lord fulfilled this promise and made the Israelites a mighty nation. If the children of Israel had failed to follow the commandments of God, given to them at this time, they would not have received this blessing. If they had chosen to ignore the leadership of the prophets Moses and Joshua, they would have failed. It is also important to see how mighty they were at this point, because in their wickedness they would later have a great fall and be taken captive. We can also find hope in the promised blessings for our faithfulness to the commandments of God. If we are obedient, we too will be blessed. If we choose disobedience, we will not receive the blessings.

Deuteronomy Chapter 32

In the previous chapter, Moses was commanded by the Lord, to make a record of the teachings he had given. As part of that record, we have this chapter, which is known as the song of Moses. It begins:

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

I love the imagery of learning that is given to us in verse 2. When we are tender in our learning of the gospel, the teachings of Moses are simple as the dew in the morning, which is there waiting for us as we arise. When we have grown a little, his teachings are a light rain, and when we have grown in our gospel learning, the teachings are like rain showers on established grass. In all things, we grow line upon line and our learning builds upon what we have already come to know and understand. Likewise, if we do not allow the rain to come upon us in any quantity, our grass will wither and die.

The words of the scriptures, are a testimony of the Lord and His greatness, spoken to heaven and earth. When people go wrong, it is because they choose that for themselves. Those who live a perverse and crooked life, are not behaving as children of the Lord should. We are all His children, because He has created us and given us all, including His grace through the power of His atonement. However, when we are disobedient to His laws, we choose to no longer be considered His children and refuse the promised blessings for after this life.

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

If any of the Israelites wondered about the history of their people, they should have been able to go to their fathers and elders, to learn of it. I know there are some people today, who would claim that we should not look to our history for learning, but everything about the scriptures teach us that this is not true. We need the stories of the people in history, to know how we should live now. They are a great example for us.

The people of the Lord, have always been led by his hand as His chosen people. He has taught His people and protected them.

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

When the righteous people have been greatly blessed, they forget the Lord who gave them all. Time and time again, the people of the Lord have turned to other gods and false idols, both old and new. The people forget the Rock of salvation, or the Lord, who brings their salvation.

19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
27 Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this.
28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.

The Lord would hide himself from the people, because they forgot him and turned to other gods and wickedness. They would have mischiefs, fire, animals, poison, swords and terror come upon all the people, to destroy them. The people would be scattered and forgotten. These things would come because they would choose not to listen and heed the word of the Lord.

29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
36 For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Wisdom is being obedient to the counsel of the Lord. The people would not understand that the Lord was the reason for their deliverances. They would choose wickedness over righteousness. I think the idea that the vine was the vine of Sodom, is to say that the fruit of the wicked, is wickedness. Instead of sweet fruit of the vine, they would have fruit of gall and bitterness. The Lord would bring vengeance and recompense upon the people and those who deserved wrath at His judgement, would receive it. Some day, the people would see that false gods could not be there for them in their need, but that the Lord is the only god. The Lord is the only living god. He can bring life, death, resurrection, and deliverance. Those who served the Lord, and would be his people, would be avenged and receive the Lord’s mercy.

I think of the rock mentioned in these verses. Our rock, is the thing that we choose to build our foundation upon. The only true rock that will not fail us, is the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The rock that the disobedient people would choose, would not remain in their times of difficulty. We can choose to place our faith and trust in a lot of things in this world, but only the Lord will remain a sure foundation for us.

When Lot first chose Sodom as a place for him to settle, it seemed a good idea. The land of Sodom was very desirous and it says in Genesis 13, that it was as the garden of the Lord. There are a lot of things in this world that look pleasing at first, and we are naturally drawn to them. Like Sodom, however, if these things are not pointing us towards righteousness, they will lead to an awful result of bitterness and destruction.

44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

Moses and Joshua spoke these things to the people of Israel. At the end of his words, Moses told them to take his words to heart, or to listen and follow all that he had taught them, and to teach their children to be obedient to them also. He promised them that if they were obedient, they would have their days prolonged in the land. Then Moses was told by the Lord, to go into the mountain to die and be gathered to his people, just as Aaron had done. Before he died, he was going to be allowed to see the land that he was not allowed to enter because he had trespassed against the Lord.

I love music. For me, a song can be in my mind and heart much easier than words alone. I don’t think I am alone in this, because we teach basic principles to our children through music, such as the ABC’s. Calling this chapter the song of Moses and reading that they were to take these things into their hearts seems quite fitting. This is part of why it is important for us to learn and know righteous and inspired hymns, which help us to remember the principles of the gospel, the purposes of life, and the amazing things that the Lord has down for his people. I am so grateful for beautiful music and the messages that I can learn from it.

God speaks to all people of the earth, and always has. While not everyone has always had the privileges of knowing the gospel, it is still for all people. I believe that their is one God who created all people. He knows and loves us all, and speaks to the world today through His chosen prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Just as He led the people through Moses, he leads today through the modern prophets. It is amazing to live in a time when a prophet can lead us and teach us the word of the Lord for our day.

Deuteronomy Chapter 31

At this point in the books of Moses, the prophet had finished preaching the word of the Lord to the people. They had made covenants to keep the law, so that they could prosper in the land of promise. Moses was near the end of his mortal life at this time, and was ready to help them finish the final preparations before they continued on their way to their inheritance. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.
2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
3 The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said.
4 And the Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed.
5 And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

At the age of 120, after about forty years of being their leader, Moses could no longer lead the Israelites. The Lord had told him that his work was done and that he would not enter the promised land. (Side note: Moses lived as an Egyptian prince for about 40 years, then he fled and lived with the family of Jethro, a priest of Midian, for another forty years. At the age of 80, the Lord called Moses to save his people, and then after about 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and leading the children of Israel, he was taken from this life. It is interesting how his life was broken up into these 40 year periods, each marking a major change for him.) Moses told the people that God would go before them, with Joshua as their prophet and leader. The nations in the land would be destroyed with the Lord’s help. Moses told them have courage and to not fear the other nations that would be in the land, because God was with them. The Lord’s promise that he would not fail them or forsake them, is a promise to all the people of God today as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 68 we read the following:

5 Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

Anyone who serves God and strives to live righteously during the constant battle we wage against the adversary, has this promise. The Lord will always be with those who are fighting for His cause.

7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Moses gave counsel of encouragement directly to Joshua, where he again told him to “be strong and of good courage”. Joshua had the responsibility of leading the people to victory, so that the promised inheritance would be received by all the children of Israel. They would have to fight nations that were stronger and more numerous then they were. They would also need to continue to be strong in keeping the commandments, in order for the Lord to remain on their side. Joshua needed confidence in the Lord at this time, because the task he was facing was going to be extremely difficult. He also needed confidence in himself. It would have required a great deal of faith and trust in the Lord, to go forward in this calling and it must have been difficult following in the footsteps of a spiritual leader, such as Moses. I am sure that this counsel was needed and appreciated by Joshua. The fact that Moses was instructed to say these things to Joshua and the people, reminds me of the love of God for each of us. He wants us to know that He is aware of us and our difficulties, and that he can help us to accomplish great things. The Lord promises us help as well, if we will go forward with faith in our own callings in life. I am so grateful for this promise and I believe that it is the power of the atonement that gives us the strength to endure. If we have faith in the Lord and His power, we will have the ability to endure all things well, even the giants that we have to conquer.

9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel.
10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
11 When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

Moses gave a record of the law to the elders of Israel. They were commanded to read the law every seven years in the feast of tabernacles. This they were to do, so that they would know the law and continue to obey it. It would not have been long, before the message would have been forgotten, so it was important that they have the opportunity to be reminded. We are told to gather often, so that we can be instructed and edified by the word of the Lord as well. In this, we will be able to remember the commandments we have been given, the covenants we have made, and the love of God for His people. The strength that comes from gathering and hearing the word of the Lord, provides the knowledge to be obedient, and the ability to endure through the difficulties that every day life throws our way.

I think it is important for us to realize that because Moses had these words recorded and preserved, we have the words today. The books of Moses were part of the brass plates which the family of Lehi took with them to the Americas, and so they effected the people of the Book of Mormon who would then live the law of Moses. Without the law, they would not have been able to continue in righteousness for the times that they did. The books of Moses were also preserved in the old testament of our bible today, which allows us the opportunity to have these words, so that we might know and live the way God wants us to live. Record keeping is vitally important, especially when it comes to things of a spiritual or eternal nature nature, such as inspirations and commandments received from the Lord.

In their days, they did not have the ability to provide all the words of Moses in every home. They had been told to keep the commandments and covenants written and carried on themselves and placed around their homes so that they could remember, but they needed to gather together in order to hear the complete law. We are so blessed to live in a time when not only can we have a copy of the written word of the Lord in a physical book, but we have devices of all sizes and computers, which mean we can easily keep the word of the Lord with us at all times. This is such a blessing and I think it is taken for granted by many. We need to be grateful for the access we have to these words, and show that gratitude by studying them regularly and making them a part of our lives.

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
15 And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.

Moses, who was nearing the end of his life, was commanded to call Joshua to go with him to the tabernacle. They presented themselves there and the presence of the Lord appeared there.

16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.
19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.
21 And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.

Moses was told that it was his time to die and be with those who had gone before. He was also told that the Israelites would follow after false gods, forsake the Lord and brake the covenants they had made. The Lord told the prophets that this specific law being broken so many times throughout the Bible, and it makes me think about the things that our prophets and apostles warn us of today. I that the some of the sins that are spoken about and warned against quite frequently, are those of sexual nature. One warning in particular is about the effects of seeking after and indulging in pornography, which can lead to destruction of those things that should matter most. I know that the modern prophets continually repeat their warnings, because they know this is a challenge in our day, the way idolatry was in the days of Moses. We can look back at the story of the Israelites and see that if they had listened to the warnings of the prophet, Moses, they would have been able to continue with the Lord by their side, but do we look at ourselves the same way? We have modern prophets called to lead the Lord’s people in the ways of righteousness, and we need to listen to their words of warning, so that we can also have the Lord by our side.

The Lord told Moses that the people would be forsaken and the Lord would no longer be among them. The curses that had been promised, would come to pass among the Israelites. Moses had to record the law as a witness against the disobedient, so that the judgements that would come upon them would be just. The Lord knew their weaknesses and knew what they would do in the face of temptation. I hope that I am a person who the Lord can see as loyal and faithful. I know that having the word of God in my life is the key to remaining obedient to the commandments.

22 Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.
23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

Moses did as he was commanded by the Lord, both in giving the words to the people, and in charging Joshua, who would be his successor in leading the people, with the responsibilities of leadership and sharing words of faith and hope with him.

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying,
26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?

The written law was to be put in the ark of the covenant as a witness, along with the commandments received at Sinai, and I believe a basket of manna. All these were to be kept there by the Levites, to be had in remembrance of the commandments, covenants, promises and blessings that the people had received from the Lord. Moses knew that the people were not a perfect people, and that the natural man in them was an enemy to God. He also knew that they would grow further from the Lord after he had been taken from them, because greater knowledge and priesthood would go with him, and they would not always remember these things they had been given. It is so important for us to have the law of God, but it is more important for us to live it so that we can be worthy of the spirit. The spirit helps us to recognize truth, and he will continually testify of Christ to our hearts, if we will listen and obey. We can keep the spirit with us, when we hold a remembrance of our own covenants, blessings, promises, and commandments.

28 Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.

Moses called the elders of Israel again, so that he could speak to them of those things that were most important. If Moses had not done this, he would have been held accountable for not doing all that he could to bring the Israelites to the Lord. In doing this, his words were a witness against all those who would choose to rebel against the commandments. Moses gave the words to those who were gathered, as he had been commanded.

There are many things that we can fear in the world today. In this day, there is easy access to some of the most dangerous and frightening things. The adversary of us all, is seeking to do all that he can to destroy the happiness of mankind by causing us to fear. The message to have courage and not fear, is so important for us today. We cannot win our own battles without the Lord on our side. We can know that we have the promise of His companionship, if we follow the commandments and put the Lord first in our lives. When we do what is right, in the sight of God, he can bless us with greater courage and faith. We will know what is right, if we make a constant effort to read, study and ponder the scriptures. These books of Moses, as well as all the other inspired words of the prophets, need to be a guide in our lives. I am so grateful that Moses was obedient to the commandments he was given, and that because of his obedience, we have these ancient scriptures today. I know that these words are for us today, as much as they were for the people of ancient Israel. My life as been greatly blessed by striving to learn and live the principles found in the scriptures. My hope is that I can influence others around me, to have a love of the scriptures as well, so that they can obtain the courage needed to endure in our day.

Deuteronomy Chapter 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exodus Chapter 24

The Lord gave the Israelites the commandments and judgements they were to live by, through His prophet, Moses. They had been encamped around the base of Mount Sinai and had received a witness of the Lord. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

The Lord called Moses, Aaron, and two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, near to Him, out from among the people, to worship, along with seventy elders. Then Moses was called directly to the Lord, while the others were left behind. No one else was to come with these men.

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.

Moses took all the commandments and judgements or ordinances to the people, and the people agreed, by a unanimous voice (or what we call common consent) to follow the word of the Lord. Moses recorded all that had been told to him and then he built and altar at the base of the mountain, to the Lord. The altar also had twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel, who were going to make sacrifice and covenants with the Lord. They offered their sacrifice to the Lord and then made a covenant at the altar, that they would obey the law. I think about the idea that they sent young men to make the offering for the people. When I read this, I think about our young men today, who are just ordained to the priesthood and then pass the sacrament to each of us. I don’t think that the church was organized too different in ancient times from what it is now. And again, this was a type for the Christ to come, just as the sacrament we take from the altar in our churches today, is a way to look to Christ as well.

Once again, we can learn from this that we are to keep a record of sacred things. Records lead to remembrance of things that would otherwise be forgotten by men. I had an experience with this just this weekend. I had an impression during church and intended to share it with my family. I know it was something that I felt strong in my heart, but I did not write it down as I usually do. Because of this, I had forgotten what the thoughts and feelings had been once I arrived home. I was sad when I realized I couldn’t recall it to share it with them. It is easy to forget because we are mortal and at the mercy of our minds with all that is going on in our lives. I believe that we should always record our personal revelation, just as Moses recorded revelation received for the people of the Lord.

9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

The elders that had been called of the Lord, went with Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and witnessed God and worshiped him. This sounds a lot like a quorum of The Seventy going with the First Presidency of the church today, to a meeting of worship. A description is given of what he was standing upon, which was a paving of sapphire, which was clear as the heavens. The Lord did not touch them, but was seen as God, by these men.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

The Lord commanded Moses to come to Him, to receive the law on tables of stone, so that he could teach the people. Often times, the prophets have received greater instruction from the Lord and other messengers, so that they are capable of teaching great things to the people of God. Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the people, while he went to see the Lord. The glory of the Lord remained on the mountain and was covered by cloud for six days, where Moses was. Then Moses was called out of the cloud and the children of Israel witnessed the glory of the Lord. It was like a great fire on the mountain. Moses went into the cloud and up the mountain, where he was gone from the Israelites for forty days and nights.

In this chapter we learn of the covenant or testament made between the children of Israel and God. The Israelites covenanted that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them through his prophet Moses, which we learn in the last 3 chapters studied. We have the privilege of making covenants with God as well. When we make the covenants of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and those made in the holy temple, we are in a sense adopted into the tribes of Israel. When we sanctify ourselves and become worthy, we are capable of attending the temple and experiencing sacred things, just as these men of old experienced. We need to keep these experiences in our remembrance, so that we will remain true and faithful. I believe that in the coming chapters, we will see that the Israelites struggled to remember their own covenants with God and failed to receive the blessings because of that. I am so grateful for my covenants and I know that if we strive to live up to them each day, we will be greatly blessed and our testimonies and knowledge will grow.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn

A Family Tree

I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting, on the topic of the hearts of the children shall turn, based on the talk given by Elder David A. Bednar in the most recent general conference. We hear this phrase often in the church, and today I’m going to talk about what this means to me.

The work of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind (see Moses 1:39). This is brought about by our making and keeping sacred covenants with God. This work, is centered around families. Elder Russel M. Nelson said, “The earth was created and this church restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally. [Whenever scriptures warn that the “earth would be utterly wasted,” the warning is connected to the need for priesthood authority to seal families together in holy temples.]” (Russell M. Nelson, “Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 92-95.) As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to have a knowledge of the gospel and the blessings that come from the priesthood power and authority being available on the earth today. There are many who have gone before us without this knowledge and, at times, without the priesthood. If they do not have the same opportunity as we do, than the work of God would fall short. I cannot imagine this as a possibility and therefore, I believe in the priesthood authority and power to do work for the dead. This authority of the priesthood is on the earth today because of the work of Elijah, the prophet. In Joseph Smith History 1:38-39 we read the words of Malachi as spoken by the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. “. . . 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 (v. 38). . . . 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 (v. 39).” Elijah did come to the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, and he restored the sealing power to them. We read about that in Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-15. “After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said (v. 13): Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come (v. 14)—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse (v. 15)—”. Now is the time when the promises of the ancient prophets have been planted in our hearts and our hearts need to turn to our fathers.

How do we turn our hearts to our fathers? The prophet Joseph Smith explained that “. . . the word turn, here should be translated bind, or seal.” In other words, how do we bind or seal our hearts to our fathers? In his talk, Elder Bednar uses the words of Joseph Smith in telling how we, the saints, do this. He said, “By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah . . . .” (History of the Church, 4:569; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 27, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff).

Both Joseph Smith and Elder Bednar spoke of the chain that binds us to our ancestors. This image stuck out to me. When I think of it, I picture the master blacksmith, working hard with his hammer, to forge every link of our eternal chain, which binds our eternal family together forever. A strong chain needs each individual link to be shaped and bonded to the one before it. Likewise, in our eternal family chain, each individual must be prepared and forged to those who have come before them and then attached to those who come after, through the work of the master. This preparation for those who have gone before us, is family history work. We are blessed with the opportunity to assist the Master in His work, by doing family history work. President Brigham Young said: “We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere. Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, p. 406).

Family history work is for all of us. There is nothing in the scriptures or teachings of the prophets, which qualifies when we should be doing this work. In Elder Bednar’s talk he directed a lot of his words to the youth of the church and I think that those of us who are parents, leaders, and teachers of the youth, can do a lot to help the younger generation realize all that they can do to further this work. Doing family history work is something that I have enjoyed for years. I can remember as a young primary child, having the strong desire to find out about my own ancestors. I have been blessed to have a great-grandmother who was a world-renowned genealogist. She published many books during her lifetime. My parents had one of these books, which was a history of my family on my maternal grandfather’s side. I enjoyed reading through the stories in that book and learning about the things my family had experienced. Her example to me, gave me a strong desire to seek out my family for myself. I know that because family is central to God’s plan, there can be a desire in each and every one of His children, no matter the age we are, to be bound to their family eternally.

The incredible work that my great-grandmother did for our family, required hours of searching through physical records, countless trips to the libraries, frequent trips to other states and even to Washington D.C. to look through records in the national archives. But, just as new tools have replaced the blacksmith’s hammer in making chains, new tools have been provided for us to do family history work. The advances in computers have made this work so much easier for us to do. There is no longer the need to spend all our time traveling, digging through books, or scanning the micro-fiche for records. We have amazing tools, including newfamilysearch and familysearch. There are other great tools available online from the comfort of our own homes or at the family history library.

Before listening to Elder Bednar’s talk, I had not thought about getting my daughters involved in family history or on new familysearch, but after hearing what he said, I decided to go to lds.org to see what the church leaders had there for the youth and primary. The youth section of the site, has several videos which explain how to use new family search. There are sweet testimonies of young men and women who have started their own work. These examples are inspiring and motivating. I also looked on the primary section of lds.org, and they have a section titled “Family History 1-2-3“, which links directly to new family search. It is clear that the leaders of the church feel that children should be using newfamilysearch as well. Those of us who are older, should take the time to learn for ourselves how to do our own family history work, so that we can teach and guide our children in this work. Elder Bednar said, “It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord— not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.”

The Lord has blessed us with these tools, so that we can further His work. There are four things that we can and should be doing. First, we need to gather our family history. The least we should do, that has been suggested by church leaders, is four generations of our ancestors, but I think that you’ll find that as you do this work, you will gain the desire to go back even further. Find the records in your home. Ask your family for information. Go to newfamilysearch.org and start your family tree. Use the old family search site to find records of your family members. There are many other resources that can be helpful in this work as well. My parents and grandparents have done a great deal of family history work. I was struggling with where to begin, so I decided to compile the work that they have been doing. It’s been a fun thing to do. Last year, my grandfather passed away and I had the opportunity to gather information from several family members and to create a record of his life from their thoughts on him. It is something that I hold dear and I am so happy to be able to pass that on to my children.

Second, we need to record our own personal and family histories. This one is a big one for me. I’ve attended several family history workshops in the past ten years, and one of the things that has stuck with me the most is that each of us will most likely be forgotten after three generations. How many of us can say that we know all about our great-great-grandparents? What do you want your great-great-grandchildren to know about you? What can you do today, to make their work easier? How much easier would it be for you to have information from your life compiled for them? Keep a journal. Keep your physical records safe. Teach your children to keep journals as well. Keeping records of your living family as well as those who have passed away, is so important. If you question that statement, than I’d ask you to look to the example of Lehi’s family in the Book of Mormon. Lehi was commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem to gather his family records. In 1 Nephi 3:2-4, we read, “And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem (v. 2). For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass (v. 3). Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness (v. 4).” Then in 1 Nephi 5:21 we read, “And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.” Royden G. Derrick, formerly of the Seventy said, “A personal history becomes a family treasure that enables children to emulate the virtues and personal characteristics of their forebears. Their forefathers become the David, the Samson, the Moses, and the Abraham of their lineage. Writing family and personal histories is becoming the popular thing to do. More and more people throughout the world are becoming interested in this exciting pastime to them, but sacred responsibility to us. The hearts of the children are indeed turning to the fathers.” (“The Heritage of Royal Families,” Ensign, May 1979, 26.) Preserve your own records, so that your life can be an example to those who come after you.

Third, we need to perform temple ordinances for our family members. We need to do this often. We need to do this now. I love serving in the temple, but nothing has ever been quite as meaningful and spiritual as doing work for family members. I’d like to share a very special experience for me. In fall of 2009 I prepared several names for a Stake Relief Society night of baptisms. One of these names was Maria Schmidlin. I performed the baptism for her as planned and then held on to the paperwork so that I could follow-up with more of her work. I had several names to do and this one kept going to the bottom of my stack. Finally, in February of this year, I felt the strong impression that I needed to go do a session. For 2 weeks, it seemed like everything I heard at church, from my visiting teachers, and so on, was pushing me to go do a session, so we made plans to go. I planned to do the work for Maria that night. Our drive was worst then usual, causing us to be a bit later than expected, so we started talking about just doing initiatories. Then, I had the impression that we needed to do a session, even if we had to wait longer. We decided to side with the feeling to do the session, and I know now why that feeling was so strong. As I prepared myself for the session, I said a silent prayer to Heavenly Father and I immediately felt the presence of Maria with me. I felt her joy throughout the entire session. I know she was there with me and I know that because I was willing, she was able to accept and receive the necessary ordinances to progress. I feel so privileged to have been able to do that for her. There are temples being built all around the world, which will are here specifically for this purpose. We need to be preparing ourselves for the work that we can do in the temples.

Fourth, we should help others to do this work. If you know how to do family history, take time to show others in your family, in the ward, or even friends who may not be members of the church. I had a great experience with this last year. I had a less-active family in our ward (a father, daughter and grand-daughter) who had heard me talk about family history work. We had a ward Relief Society temple night scheduled and had asked the sisters to prepare names to take for baptisms and confirmations. I was approached by this family to help them prepare to do the work for the father’s wife who had passed away, so that she could be baptized and confirmed. Helping them prepare the name was fairly simple and it gave me the opportunity to share my testimony of this great work. However, the best part of the entire experience, was helping the grand-daughter when she went to the temple the night of our temple trip. It was amazing to watch this young sister do work for her grandmother, and witness her own testimony grow through the process.

You can help others by locating records and other information for them or with them. This is a job that I think the younger generation would be great at. There are a lot of us, who may not be very savvy with the computer. Last year I went to my Mom’s family history library with her. She was serving as the assistant in the library at the time and was really excited to show me how to use the record search pilot, which was a tool to find ancestry documents that has since been added to family search. I’ve been blessed to marry a computer nerd, and he has helped me to learn a lot, so this was pretty simple for me. She got me started on the site and within less then a minute I had located a birth record for a family member that my Mom had not been able to find before. I helped our family by finding this one record. The record was made available because of volunteers giving their time. I know that we don’t all have a lot of extra time in our busy lives to be working on a lot of family history work. The church has a truly inspired way for the busiest of us to actively help others. It is called indexing. Indexing is what made my family record easy to find. Indexing is for anyone who knows how to read and enter data into a computer. You can spend as little as five minutes working on it at a time. In short, indexing is downloading a batch of records that have been scanned and prepared and then using the data entry form to type what you think the record says. Two different people with do the indexing for one record and then an arbitrator looks to see if things match and if their are any questions. Then that information will be made available for searching, and the records can be more easily found by family members. If you have any free moments in your days, I would highly suggest participating in indexing.

In closing, I’d like to quote Elder Bednar again. In addressing the youth he said, “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.” I know that this promise can apply to all of us no matter what our age. I am so grateful for the desire in my own life, to do family history work. I love that we can learn about the lives of those who have gone before, and I love knowing that I have the ability to leave a legacy for my own posterity. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple and for the love of a Father in Heaven who wants each and every one of us to be sealed forever as a part of His eternal Family chain.

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.

Moses Chapter 7

At this point in the scriptures, the Lord has revealed himself to Enoch and has taught him about the plan of salvation and all things that will happen for men on the earth. Enoch has been called to be a prophet and a seer, and to call the people to repentance. He has gone to the people and reminded them of the things which Adam had taught about the gospel.

1 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his speech, saying: Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.
2 And from that time forth Enoch began to prophesy, saying unto the people, that: As I was journeying, and stood upon the place Mahujah, and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.
3 And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory;
4 And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.
5 And it came to pass that I beheld in the valley of Shum, and lo, a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum.
6 And again the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents.
7 And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying: Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;
8 For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.
9 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked, and I beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof;
10 And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.
11 And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son.
12 And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;
13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
14 There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea.
15 And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God;
16 And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.

Enoch bears testimony of the experience he had of talking with the Lord face-to-face. He had gone to pray to God, when he was instructed to go Mount Simeon. When he did this, he was blessed to be transfigured through the glory of God. Because he was transfigured, he was able to witness things that cannot be seen by mortals. At this point, he saw the Lord and was shown many marvelous things.

It seems to me that whenever there is a manifestation of this type, where one is transfigured and shown the generations of the world, they are asked to tell what they see. We find this pattern throughout the scriptures. I think that it is important to notice this because it is how we learn and grow more. When we have a spiritual experience, it is better for us to share what we learn from it, then to be told what we should learn. If someone else tells us what we should be getting out of it, we do not grow as much as we can. I have noticed in my own life, that I am touched more by the spirit when I share what I learn and believe, rather than hearing the words of another.

Enoch was commanded to preach to the people he saw. He was to tell them to repent and then give them the opportunity to be baptized. Enoch did as he was commanded, and called the people to repentance. He baptized the people and began to lead the children of God. Enoch was blessed with great power. I believe that this was the greatness of the power of the priesthood which he held, and the faith which he had. With his priesthood, he changed rivers, shook the earth, and caused mountains to move. Enoch and the people of God were faithful and righteous, and they were greatly blessed for it.

17 The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.
18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
19 And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.

Zion was established with the righteous people of God, because they were unified in heart and mind. I have experienced small times of unity in my life and these times have been the most peaceful and loving times I have known. If we could live in a way that was truly unified in the ways that God would have us live, we would be able to be have the same blessings as the city of Zion did in the time of Enoch.

20 And it came to pass that Enoch talked with the Lord; and he said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch: Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.
21 And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever.

As I read this, I was thinking about how it is that we have this account of what happened to the prophet Enoch. We have this account, because Moses, like Enoch, was shown and taught by the Lord. Even further, this account is available to us now, because Joseph Smith was given the power to translate the records of Moses. It is because of great, righteous leaders, that we have records of so many amazing things that have happened throughout the history of the world. I believe that these things are true. I am glad that the Lord has commanded that records should be kept, because it would be so much harder without the teachings found in the scriptures.

Enoch was blessed to see that his people would be brought up to heaven. The people of Zion were eventually going to be translated because of their righteousness. In the study guide, it teaches that this did not mean they would be immediately with God. The people of Enoch lived before Christ, so at this point, no one had been resurrected. Instead, the people of Enoch would be able to live out their lives as translated beings. When it became their time to die, they would experience an immediate change and would be spirits ready for their mission after this life. These spirits would still have to wait for the resurrection and admittance back into Heavenly Father’s presence.

22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.
23 And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him;
24 And there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man; and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.
25 And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying: Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth.
26 And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.

Enoch saw the time of the world after the city of Enoch was taken. He witnessed Satan’s works. This imagery of Satan is so dark and awful. Satan uses the chains of sin to bind us to his own will. Light and darkness do not take up the same space. When the darkness of sin is in our lives, it covers us and blocks out the light of Christ. I can imagine Satan and his angels rejoicing over their power over us. It takes very little effort for us to allow darkness to take over, but all our energies must be used in order to overcome the darkness of sin. Thankfully, their are angels of God in our midst, with more power than Satan and his angels could ever hope to have.

27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

On the opposite side of the spectrum from the darkness of Satan and his wicked angels, we have God and the angels of heaven. The imagery in these verses is full of compassion and love. God, who is the creator of all that we know and is eternally holy, would rejoice over each of us receiving the Holy Ghost. God, the greatest of us all, weeps for each of us who remains in darkness because of wickedness. Enoch, seeing this, questions why God weeps for us. The footnote for the word weep in verse 29, brings up the amount of compassion the Lord has for us because he has a complete understanding of our experiences. When we allow ourselves to suffer in sin, the Lord understands and weeps for what we put ourselves through. I think that part of what is meant when the Lord says that if we repent, He will remember our sins no more, is that when we allow Him to take those sins from us, he will no longer feel the need to weep for the sadness of our wickedness and mistakes. Instead, he will rejoice with us because of our righteousness. I think if we think more personally about how our actions affect God, we will live in a way that would keep Him from weeping for us.

32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
34 And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.

Agency is a gift that we all have been given by God. God has also given his commandments to mankind and we are expected to follow them. With our agency, we choose if we will be obedient or not. The greatest consequence of wicked disobedience is that the wrath of God will come upon us. Those who were being so wicked in this time that Enoch experienced these things, were going to experience the floods from the righteous anger of God. (These floods came in the time of Noah and the ark.)

35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?
38 But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.
39 And that which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment;
40 Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.
41 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.
42 And Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation;
43 Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up.
44 And as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens: I will refuse to be comforted; but the Lord said unto Enoch: Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look.

God knows us all, and he explained to Enoch that they people of his day were the most wicked so far on the earth. However, he says their sins would be upon their fathers’ heads. I think this means that those who were extremely wicked at this time, had been taught in the ways of wickedness by their fathers or their ancestors. The blame of their wickedness would therefore fall upon those who had been taught what was right and made the choice to do wickedness. All of them who are wicked would suffer greatly and give the heavens a reason weep or pity them for their sufferings. God would place all those who would be destroyed by the floods, into spirit prison, where they would await the sufferings of the Savior. If at the time of His resurrection, they would hear the gospel as preached my messengers of Christ, and then repent and choose to worship God instead of Satan, they would be forgiven. If not, they would continue to suffer in torment in spirit prison, where they would be the servants of Satan.

Enoch was shown the great wickedness of the people and he felt great compassion for them. In a very tiny way, I understand this feeling. When I had a stewardship with the women of my old ward, or congregation at church, I knew of choices that they were making that would surely lead them away from the gospel of Christ. I found myself pleading with the Lord for these women and feeling overwhelming feelings of compassion and concern, which always caused me to weep for them. This is a great lesson in finding the love of Christ within myself and I hope that I will not forget it.

Enoch was also shown how Noah and his family were physically saved from the floods because of their righteousness. The rest of the world was destroyed by the floods, which made Enoch extremely sad. I cannot even imagine witnessing that event and the sorrow which would accompany that experience. I think any caring person would feel like there must have been something else they could have done to prevent all those people from being destroyed. When Enoch had seen so much that he felt he could never get over the experience, the Lord told him to be glad and see what else would happen.

No matter what sadness we have in this life, over the decisions of others and how they choose to live in this life, we need to turn to God and find the happiness. He has prepared the way for all of us to find comfort and to have a glad heart, if we are willing to follow Him. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am glad that I know that if I am trying my best to live according to God’s commandments, even though I make mistakes and have to repent often, I will be able to have eternal happiness and joy.

This section will be continued.


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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