Posts Tagged 'Sanctification'

1 Chronicles Chapter 15

In chapter 13 of Chronicles, David attempted to move the ark to Jerusalem, but after the incident with Uzza, who was destroyed for touching the ark, and out of concern for what may happen if they continued, he placed it in the house of Obed-edom. David’s intent to relocate the ark was not removed, and in this chapter the story relating to this continues. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.
2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.
3 And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place, which he had prepared for it.
4 And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:
5 Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty:
6 Of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty:
7 Of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty:
8 Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred:
9 Of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore:
10 Of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve.
11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab,
12 And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it.
13 For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel.

David took some time to prepare the city of David with his home and a resting place for the ark. He recognized that the Lord had called the Levites (in particular the sons of Kohath) to bear the ark of God, and so he called for them to be the only ones who should carry it. It is not stated directly, but it seems that Uzzah (who was destroyed for steadying the ark), may not have been a Levite given authority to touch sacred things, which would be part of the reason for the consequence he received. David may not have known the specific responsibilities defined by the Lord, but he had done what was needed to learn how God wanted this done, so that no one else would be harmed.

David gathered the Israelites together again, in order to finally move the ark to Jerusalem, where he had prepared a place for it. Specifically, David called upon the Levites and sons of Aaron. Among them were Uriel and 120 men of Kohath (the second son of Levi, in whose line were Moses and Aaron), Asaiah and 220 men of Merari, Joel and 130 men of Gershom, Shemaiah and 200 men of Elizaphan, Eliel and 80 men of Hebron (the Levitical city where Abraham was buried, which became the inheritance of Caleb, where David had reigned initially), and Amminadab and 112 men of Uzziel. He called for these six leaders along with Zadok (who officiated in the priesthood at Gibeon with the tabernacle) and Abiathar (who officiated at David’s camp), the priests, and commanded them to sanctify themselves and their men to bring the ark to Jerusalem. He told them that they had not been prepared properly the first time, and this is why the breach with Uzza had occurred. They needed to seek the Lord first and be prepared for this undertaking. The priests and Levites did as he commanded and sanctified or prepared themselves for the task of moving the ark of God.

It is so important for us to take the commandments of the Lord seriously and observe them with strictness. According to the words of David, the men who attempted to carry the ark the first time, had not done so. It is possible that the strict instructions of how to handle the ark had not been reviewed by Uzza, and so he had not realized what his choice would result in for himself or those who were with him. When we do things of a sacred nature, such as participating in sacred covenant making and renewing, we need to have our hearts turned to the Lord through our own sanctification, otherwise the consequences will be serious from our own offense to God. Before participating, we should prepare to administer or partake of the sacrament, and prepare to serve or make our own covenants in the temple of the Lord.

15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.
16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.
17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah;
18 And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters.
19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass;
20 And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;
21 And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel.
22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.
23 And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark.
24 And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.

The Levites carried the ark as the Lord had instructed Moses to have them do. David asked that some of the Levites be called to sing and play music of joy. Heman, Asaph (cymbal player mentioned in Psalms), Ethan, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Matithiah, Elipheleh, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, were called. Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, carried brass cymbals. Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, Benaiah carried psalteries (large harps). Mattithiah, Elipheleh, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah carried the harps on the Sheminith. Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was called to lead the music because of his skill. Berechiah and Elkanah were called to be doorkeepers. Shebaniah, Jehoshaphat, Nethaneel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, were priests called to play trumpets before the ark. Finally, Obed-edom and Jehiah were called as doorkeepers for the ark.

Of all the people called to serve with the movement of the ark, the musicians are named specifically. This is a testimony to the importance of music in worshiping the Lord. Moreover, David was a skilled musician himself, and he knew the value of worshipping God through beautiful music.

25 So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy.
26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.
27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.
28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.

David, along with the elders of Israel and an army of thousands, went to the Obed-edom and took the ark of the covenant of the Lord. They did this with joy. The Levites that carried the ark, had offered a sacrifice of seven bulls and seven rams to the Lord. David dressed in fine clothes, along with all those involved in carrying the ark and providing the music. David wore the ephod of the priests. So, the ark was carried to the city of David with great joy and rejoicing.

29 And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.

When the ark reached the city of David, Michal, who was the daughter of Saul and David’s first wife, saw David out of her window, and she despised him deeply.

So, David accomplished the thing he felt inspired to do, and did it according to the pattern the Lord had established. This is an example of good, righteous leadership. He knew this thing was something to honor and celebrate, and so he called for the musicians and made this time, one of joy and rejoicing. It was a huge blessing for the ark to be with the Israelites in the place designated for worshipping the Lord.

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1 Kings Chapter 9

Solomon had been a good king for Israel so far to this point. He had reorganized his kingdom, wiping out those who would have brought strife from within. He had established peace with their neighboring nations. He had built the temple, as the Lord desired. And he was living as a righteous leader of the people, who trusted in God. He ruled with wisdom and desired to do right. This chapter continues the story of Solomon, after the building and dedication of the temple.

Temple

1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do,
2 That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
3 And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.
6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house?
9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.

The Lord appeared again to Solomon, as he did in a dream when He offered him wisdom. He told Solomon that he had heard his prayers and accepted the house built in His name. More specifically, in verse 3, the Lord told Solomon that he hallowed the temple. To hallow is to make holy, to consecrate, to purify or to sanctify. Without this act by the Lord, the temple could not have been a place where sacred rituals and promises could have been made by the children of Israel. It would have just been a beautiful building made by men. The Lord makes temples the places of holiness that they are, by the sanctifying power of his Holy Spirit.

The Lord promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established forever, if Solomon (and his people) would live righteously and keep the commandments. Likewise, if Solomon, or his descendants, turned from the Lord to other gods, Israel would be taken from the land of promise, and the temple would no longer be found acceptable to the Lord. Instead, Israel would be made an example to all the people, of consequences that happen when those who are blessed by the Lord, turn from Him to other gods.

10 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king’s house,
11 (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
12 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.
13 And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.
14 And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.

Solomon finished building the temple and the palace after twenty years. When he was done, he gave Hiram, king of Tyre, twenty cities in Galilee, for all the work he had done. Hiram did not find the cities acceptable, and they became known as the land of Cabul, which means something like dirty. He sent gold to Solomon. I don’t know why he sent gold, when he found the cities as undesirable as he did, but it seems he did not having anything against Solomon for this.

15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife.
17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether,
18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
20 And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,
21 Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
23 These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.

Solomon had used a levy on those who were not Israelites, to build the temple, his palace, fortifications and the wall of Jerusalem, and to build and restore several cities, including Gezer. Gezer had previously been destroyed by fire when taken by Pharaoh of Egypt. Pharaoh had given the land to his daughter, the wife of Solomon, as a gift. The levy was not something new, especially to those who lived among them when they could have been destroyed by the Israelites. They had previously been spared and allowed to remain, so long as they gave service to the Israelites. Cities were built by Solomon, to store and maintain all that he had, such as chariots and horses. The men of Israel, became his army, his servants, and rulers of the land. He had 550 men, who ruled over the people who served him.

24 But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.

Pharaoh’s daughter went to live in the house that Solomon built for her. Then, Solomon began work on the fortifications.

25 And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house.

Three times a year, Solomon went to the temple and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

26 And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
28 And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Solomon built a navy of ships, with some of the men of Hiram as shipmen along with the servants of Solomon. They brought Solomon gold from Ophir.

I think the important part of this chapter, is that the Lord made a covenant with Solomon, as he had with his father, David. This promise is often repeated in the scriptures, which is that the righteous followers of the Lord, will be blessed in the land, and those who choose to harden their hearts and turn away, will be cursed and cast off. I believe this promise holds true for all disciples of Christ today. If we are truly striving to come unto Christ and live as He would have us live, he will bless our lands, our places of worship, and our lives individually. I have a great hope in these promises, as the time we live in seems to be more and more wicked. I know that if more people could see the value in coming unto Christ, and try to turn away from worldly things, this world would be a better place. I also know that the scriptures teach us things will continue to get harder and more wicked as we grow closer to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I pray that I may continue to love the word of God and strive to follow the teachings of the Lord, so that I will not be cut off from Him, but receive the blessings offered by my own covenants with the Lord.

Ponderizing- Week 5 Thoughts

I have chosen a verse this week, which was referenced in a talk called “The Sabbath is a Delight“, given by Elder Russel M. Nelson in the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It a great talk for anyone looking to improve their Sabbath day observance. The verse I chose to ponderize, is Exodus 31:13, which says the following:

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

Observance of the Sabbath day is an eternal principal, which was established during the work of the creation of the world. I believe it is one of the most commonly ignored commandments worldwide, which is incredibly sad and telling. In 1991, President James E. Faust said, “In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance”. I hope for this kind of protection for my family. This scripture teaches us that our choices to either keep or not keep the Sabbath, are a sign from us to God. Our choices show how we are willing to keep this commandment, or how we are willing to live our covenant with God.

For years, I have been considering this idea and changing the things that I choose to do. I have tried hard to set this day apart from the rest of the week, which is hard considering my daily labor is taking care of my children and home. But there are simple things that can be done. I turn on beautiful, uplifting music as we prepare for the day. We spend time reading the words of the modern prophets and apostles as a family. My husband and I have chosen to replace our normal nightly t.v. shows, with couples study of the scriptures. We try to talk to our extended family members more often. These things, among others, have helped myself and my family to remain focused on those things that matter most, especially our relationship with our Savior. We are blessed when we consider what sign we are choosing to give to God, and do those things that bring us closer to Christ instead of seeking after our own pleasures.

I saw a video this week, on the lds.org blog based on a post by Linda Clyde called, “My Heart-to-Heart with God about the Sabbath”. It is a great example of how we can consider our observance of the Sabbath day. You can watch it at this link: My Heart-to-Heart with God about the Sabbath

One of the things that I have thought about more this week, is the end of the verse, which teaches us that through our Sabbath day observance, we “may know that [He is] the Lord that doth sanctify [us].” Keeping the Sabbath day holy, brings us closer to Christ. It helps us to remember that we become better through Him and the gift of the atonement. He is the one who has the ability to make us pure and clean. He is the way to our personal perfection or to becoming whole in both body and spirit. He has the power to make us the best version of ourself. This verse promises us, that if we desire to know the Lord better, to become better, to be healed, or to feel clean, then we can, by keeping the Sabbath.

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

I love the Sabbath day. It is my favorite day of the week. It is the gift of rest from every day labor. It is the opportunity to feel enriched, uplifted, and unburdened from worldly cares. It is a special time to focus more on family relationships. It is a time to renew covenants and show God that I am willing to remember Christ and to put Him first in my life. I love the feeling of renewed energy, peace of mind, and comfort, that I feel when I have done my best to reverence the Sabbath day. I hope that more people can experience the wonderful blessings of the gift of the Sabbath day.

What sign will you give on this Sabbath day?

Joshua Chapter 3

The Israelites were commanded to prepare their things, because in three days time, they would be starting their movement into the promised land. The first city they were going to arrive at, would be Jericho. Joshua, as their leader, sent spies into the land, who returned to say that the people there had heard of the great and terrible things the Israelites had done, and feared them. God had told Moses and Joshua that this is how the nations would feel, and so with faith, the Israelites continued to prepare.

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Joshua and the people left the camp in Shittim and arrived at the shore of the Jordan River. They stayed there for three days. The instruction was given to the people, that when they saw the ark of the covenant and Levite priests go before them, they were to follow it. They were specifically instructed to have a distance between themselves and the ark, so that the Lord could lead them into this unknown land. The Lord was not going to send them into this land, without his guidance as to where they should go. He would lead them, much like he had led them before with the cloud that went before them in the wilderness. This reminds me of the story of the Book of Mormon, when the family of the prophet Lehi were guided to their promised land by the Liahona, which was a gift from God.

Joshua instructed the people to sanctify themselves because the Lord would do wonders for them. Finally, Joshua gave the command to the priests, to take the ark and go before the people, which they did. This command to be sanctified for the wonders of the Lord, was much like the commandment given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they would witness the glory of the Lord on the mount. They had physically prepared themselves for the journey to come, and now they were being called to be spiritually prepared to receive the blessings of God. I imagine it is a lot like the call for us today, to become worthy to enter temples. The latter-day saint temples are dedicated houses of the Lord, in which the righteous can receive great blessings from the Lord. People must be sanctified to enter, because the spirit of the Lord dwells there.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua is given a promise that the Lord would show the Israelites that he was indeed the prophet of God, just as Moses had been. It is so important for us to have a testimony of the Lord’s prophet, so that we will not doubt that we are being guided by the words of God. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had in my life, which have strengthened my own testimony in the modern prophets, and help me to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today.

God told Joshua to tell the priests that bore the ark, to go into the first part of the water and stand still in it. This was to be an act of faith on the part of the priests. Moses, when he parted the Red Sea, had to first stretch out his hand as an act of faith in God. We can follow these examples in our own lives, by taking a step in the direction of the council we are given by the Lord and his servants. When we go forward in faith, rather than waiting for something to happen first, we can do great things, just as these worthy men of the priesthood would do.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua called the people forward and told them that the Lord would show them that he was there with them and would lead them to victory over the nations of the land. Then, he gave the instructions to the people that twelve men, one from each tribe, were to be chosen. He also told them that as the priests took the ark into the water, the Lord would cut the waters off and cause them to stand up in a heap. This would have been much like the waters of the Red Sea, when Moses parted them by the power of God.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

The Jordan River, which is described here as being high water at the time of harvest, was stopped when the feet of the priests went into the brink. I think the additional description of the Jordan, was given so that we could know that the water was not some simple stream, but an overflowing river. Once the water stopped, the people of Israel crossed over on dry land. It is interesting to me to see that the waters mark the journey of the Israelites. The beginning of their journey through the wilderness, involved the parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites crossing the dry land. Then, their journey ends with the waters stopped in the Jordan, and the Israelites crossing the dry land again. Both times, the Lord, who is the living water, made the waters of the earth do His bidding. Both times proved to the people that the prophet was indeed a man of God, chosen to lead them forward. The water was the symbol of the next phase of their lives.

Baptism

Water is a very symbolic thing in the gospel. I can’t help but reflect on the most significant moment in my life that is relating to water, which was my baptism. In my own life, entering into the waters of baptism, marked the next phase of my existence. It is a time I can often reflect on, and remember the decision that was laid before me. Taking that faithful step into the water, has led me on a path of discipleship and great blessings. Additionally, the Lord caused that water to do His bidding, which was to cleanse me and give me new life. I am very grateful for that choice and the opportunities, lessons, and growth it has given to me.

Leviticus Chapter 22

The Lord called Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his family to be holy to the Lord. The men of his family were set apart to be the priests who served in the tabernacle of the Lord. They had been given specific instruction on how they should live, so that they would be sanctified and prepared to do the work of the Lord. The instruction to the family of Aaron continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord.
3 Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.
4 What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him;
5 Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath;
6 The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water.
7 And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food.
8 That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the Lord.
9 They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the Lord do sanctify them.
10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.
11 But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.
12 If the priest’s daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.
13 But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof.

Those of the seed of Aaron, who were set apart, were to separate themselves from the things of the world. They needed to be sanctified and worthy. I think that part of this, was that those who would later serve in the tabernacle when receiving ordination to the priesthood, were to be raised already set apart for the service of the Lord.

Likewise, those who were not clean, holy or set apart, were not to be near the things that were set apart as holy. Any of the seed of Aaron who had leprosy, or was unclean because of any of the previously mentioned physical items (from other chapters in Leviticus), was not to partake of the holy food until he was made clean again. Anyone who had become unclean through touching things that were unclean or an act that made them unclean as prescribed by the Lord, was unclean until the end of the day and was not to partake of the holy food. He was to wash with water and after the sun went down, he was considered clean and could eat.

The priests were not to eat of the animals who died on their own or were killed by other animals. They were to keep these commandments or they would be held accountable for that sin and be separated from the spirit of God for it. Those who were not of the priesthood of Aaron, were not to partake of the holy food, even if they were staying with the family of Aaron, with the exception of servants and those born of Aaron’s family. If the daughters of Aaron, married outside of the family, she was no longer to partake of the holy food, unless she returned to the family as a widow, divorced and without child.

14 And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing.
15 And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord;
16 Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the Lord do sanctify them.

If someone ate the holy food unknowingly, they were to give to the priests a fifth part as an offering and were not to be made to feel guilty.

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;
19 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.
20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.
21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.
22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord.
23 Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.
24 Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.
25 Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.

All who were with the children of Israel, from the house of Israel or stranger within, were to offer sacrifices of perfect animals without blemish. Those with blemish were not acceptable for them because thy were not acceptable to the Lord. The sacrifices were to be a type of Christ, who was sacrificed for all, and who died without spot.

26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
27 When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
28 And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day.
29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.
30 On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the Lord.
31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the Lord.
32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,
33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.

Those animals that were just born, were to be kept with their mother for seven days and then on the eighth day, they were acceptable as offerings to the Lord. An animal and its young was not to be sacrificed in the same day. All offerings of thanksgiving were to be freewill offerings, eaten the same day as it was sacrificed with nothing left for the next day. Here is a reminder again to keep the commandments of God and reverence Him who had led them out of the hands of their oppressors in Egypt. God would be there for the Israelites if they obeyed His word.

God has not asked any less of us today. We are commanded to become Holy through Jesus Christ. We are to give sacrifices of our bodies, hearts and minds. This means that we are to do all we can in this life to further the work of the Lord. We have the scriptures, which teach us the commandments that we are expected to live by. When we are worthy through keeping His commandments, the spirit of God can dwell with us and sanctify us.

Leviticus Chapter 20

The book of Leviticus teaches the laws and rites of the law of Moses, and a lot of it is repeated several times. This chapter is no exception. These laws were revealed to the children of Israel as they were in the wilderness, so that they would be His holy people, thus the need for repetition. The book continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.

The Lord commands that the death penalty be the punishment for any who sacrificed their children to Molech. I think that Molech was a devil-god of Biblical times. Some of the canaanites and other people were superstitious of Molech and so they made child sacrifices to him by fire. Those who did this, were to be put to death by stoning for their sacrilegious sacrifice against God and his holy name. Anyone who knew of this and looked the other way were to be cut off from the people of God. His sin would be carried not only by himself, but by his family and any who followed after him. Any who followed after the ideas of Molech, were also cut off from the people. This was probably going to be a real temptation for the Israelites as they were returning to the promised land.

6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

The Lord would turn from any who sought after wizards and speaking with the dead or evil spirits. They would be excommunicated from His people.

7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.
8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.

Those who live according to the commandments of God, seeking to be holy by turning to Him each day, would be sanctified by the Lord. This remains true for us today as well. Every day that we try our best to do those things that the Lord has commanded, we become a little more sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Those who cursed their father and mother were to suffer the death penalty and would would eventually be held accountable for it. I learned that in biblical times, the word curse often meant that one would withdraw. When the Lord cursed the people, He would withdraw his blessings and protection. I think that this same principle applies with our parents. We curse them, when we refuse to be there for them and separate ourselves purposely from them. There were those who would refuse to take care of their parents when they needed it, as I am sure there are many who do the same today. We have a duty as members of our family to take care of one another. God placed us here as families for a reason. If our parents need us, we need to be there for them, as they have been there for us as we have grown.

10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11 And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
14 And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19 And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
20 And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
21 And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

Those who committed adultery of any kind, were to be put to death, and they would be held accountable for this sin. Any homosexual behavior was worthy of the death punishment. All involved were to be put to death if a man had intimate relations with a woman and her mother. Any who participated in bestiality were also to be put to death. A brother and sister who became intimate were to be publicly cut off or excommunicated from the people. Those who were intimate when a woman was considered unclean, were also cut off from the people. Intimate relationships between a man and his aunts were committing sin and it she was married, they were to be put to death. Also, those sinful relations between a man and his sister-in-law, were unclean, impure and unholy, and would leave them childless.

22 Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
24 But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.
25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

The promised land was being prepared for the holy people of God. Anyone who wished to remain there, needed to live in holiness to the Lord. The Lord admonished them to keep His commandments, so that they might live in the land. They were not to follow after the ways of the world, as the nations who he would cast out of the land for them. They were a people separate from the world, because they were the chosen people of God. They were commanded to make a distinction between those things that were clean and unclean, like animals, and they were not to partake of those things that were considered unclean by the Lord. If they would keep the commandments, they would be the holy people of the Lord, who were set apart from the world. We should all desire to be set apart from the world as the holy people of God.

27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Again, those who sought to seek after the spirits of the dead, or what I think was called spiritualism, or had some kind of wicked spirit in them, were to be put to death by stoning. The individual would also be held accountable for this.

It may seem a bit much to repeat these commandments so frequently, but it is no different today. The prophets repeatedly tell us to keep the commandments of God. We hear lessons and talks given time and time again on the same topics. This is a basic pattern of learning for people. We need to hear something repeated many times for us to begin to gain an understanding of it. Some things will need to be taught to us many times over the course of our lives, before we will even start to grasp it in the way that our Father in Heaven does. If we get to a point where we say we have heard it enough and have learned it already, that is probably when we need to hear it most. I’ve heard it said that when the Lord stops inspiring our church leaders to teach us his commandments on a topic, is probably when we need to be concerned. It’s in those times that the trial of our faith will be tested by the Lord and we will either live to receive the rewards or we will reap destruction. I’m grateful for the frequent reminders of the commandments of God, which keep me in remembrance of how He would have me live. I know that if I can draw nearer to Him in holiness, I will be better prepared to live with Him again someday.

Leviticus Chapter 8

The Lord gave the Children of Israel the commandments and statutes to follow as His covenant people. They were told how to build the tabernacle, so that they could make offerings and sacrifices. Moses was given strict instructions as to how each offering and sacrifice were to be given and received there. The Lord promised the Israelites, that with proper priesthood service, He would be in their midst. Moses was told how Aaron and his sons were to be ordained and anointed to the priesthood, in order to serve the Lord. The book of Leviticus continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3 And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.
6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses.
10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.
12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
13 And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.
14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
15 And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
16 And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the Lord commanded Moses.

The Israelite congregation, the covenant people, were gathered under the direction of Moses, who had been commanded by the Lord to bring them to the tabernacle. There they were to witness the setting apart and consecration of the priests of Israel. Moses brought Aaron, the sons of Aaron, the holy garments made for priesthood temple service, the oil made solely for anointing, the sin offering of a young bull, two rams and a basket of unleavened bread. Aaron and his sons were washed, clothed, and anointed. The footnote for the word robe in verse 7, references 2 Nephi 9:14, “Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.” The robes of the tabernacle, just as the robes of the temple today, are robes of righteousness. The temple clothing sets individuals apart for the work of the Lord.

The Urim and Thummim are a specific tool used by seers to do the work of God, such as translation. I had not thought of this before, but Aaron was given the tools to be a seer for the Lord. He was responsible for the judgment of Israel and because of this, this tool of revelation was necessary.

Moses also anointed the tabernacle as he had been directed by the Lord. The sons of Aaron were washed and clothed as well. A sin offering was made with the bull, which was offered by Aaron and his sons. This was done in front of the congregation of Israel. I think this priesthood ordination was performed publicly, so that the Israelites would know they had done as the Lord commanded. And because the priests of Aaron were to make atonement for all the people of Israel. These holy men would sanctify the people. Doctrine and Covenant 84:23 reads, “Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;”. They needed to be sanctified in order to see the face of God someday.

18 And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
21 And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then one of the rams was offered as a burnt offering. It was offered by Aaron and his sons, and then sacrificed as commanded by the Lord.

22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
23 And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
24 And he brought Aaron’s sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
25 And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
26 And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the Lord, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:
27 And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the Lord.
28 And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
29 And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the Lord: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses’ part; as the Lord commanded Moses.
30 And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

The second ram was offered for the consecration of the priests. Aaron and his sons made the offering by the laying on of hands and then it was sacrificed as the Lord had instructed. The blood of this ram, was used to consecrate Aaron, his sons and the altar of the tabernacle. The parts of the ram were used as a wave offering, as well as a cake of unleavened bread, a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer. This offering was made by Aaron and his sons and then burnt on the altar by Moses as he had been directed. Then part of the ram was used as a wave offering by Moses. Then Aaron and his sons were sanctified by the anointing oil and blood.

31 And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
32 And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
33 And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
34 As he hath done this day, so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

Aaron and his sons were commanded to boil the rest and then eat the meal of the offering. They were commanded to burn anything remaining, and to stay at the door of the tabernacle for the seven days of consecration. Then they would be sanctified and consecrated for service in the tabernacle. The priests did as they were commanded.

It is such a blessing to have the priesthood on the earth today. It is clear that the duties of the priesthood and the house of the Lord, are very important to the Lord, because of how often we hear of them in the scriptures. I cannot imagine that God would feel any less about them today. Although the law of Moses, has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we still have our own laws of offerings and sacrifices. We should be working each day to keep ourselves clean from the stains of the world, so that we can be worthy of the power of the priesthood. Our worthiness will allow us the opportunities to serve in the holy temples, which is a duty of the priesthood. All those who wish to experience the fullness of the blessings of the priesthood, should do all that they can to worthily serve in the temple.

Exodus Chapter 40

The Israelites have crafted all the pieces to the tabernacle, as they were instructed by the Lord through the prophet Moses. The tabernacle was the sanctuary to the Lord, where they were to give offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. Aaron and his sons had been called to the priesthood and were to serve in the tabernacle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
3 And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the veil.
4 And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.
5 And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle.
6 And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
7 And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein.
8 And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate.
9 And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.
10 And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.
11 And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it.
12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.

At the beginning of the month, as their calendar recognized it, Moses was to set up the tabernacle as instructed by the Lord. Moses was to place the ark of the covenant within the holy of holies of the tabernacle and cover it with the veil made for that purpose. In thinking of all the veils mentioned with the tabernacle, I think of the sacred nature of them. When the Lord commands a veil or a covering for something, that thing is very sacred in nature. When the sacrament is prepared, it is covered because it is sacred. I think that when I see veils related to sacred things of the Lord today, I will look at the thing they are covering as more sacred and holy then I have before.

Moses was to set up the table for the shewbread, the incense altar, the burnt offering altar, and the water basin for washings. He was to set up the outer court as well. Then he was to anoint the tabernacle and all those things within it, to sanctify it as holy to the Lord. Next, he was to perform washings and anointings for Aaron and his sons, to sanctify them for their service there. They were to be clothed in the holy garments made for this purpose. The sons of Aaron, were to be set apart with an eternal holy calling, for all the sons of Aaron through all eternity. I believe that there is now a birthright, of those who are descendants of Aaron, to hold the Aaronic priesthood, because of this holy anointing. Moses did all these things as the Lord commanded him. I am again, so glad that the scriptures teach us the commandments of the Lord. I am more grateful that they also show us that faithful followers of the Lord, do what He has commanded. We can look to Moses as an example of exact obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.

17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
18 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars.
19 And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses.

The tabernacle was raised and covered as Moses was commanded by the Lord.

20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:
21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the Lord commanded Moses.
22 And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil.
23 And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
24 And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.
25 And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.
26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil:
27 And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the Lord commanded Moses.
28 And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.
29 And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Moses put the ark of the testimony together with the mercy seat, placing the commandments of the Lord within it. Then he placed it within the tabernacle with its coverings, as he had been commanded by the Lord. He placed the table for the shewbread outside the veil in the placement the Lord had commanded him. Moses placed the candlestick and the lamps, the golden altar for incense, the door of the tabernacle, and the altar for burnt and meat offerings just as the Lord had commanded him.

30 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal.
31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat:
32 When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses.
33 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.

The washing basin was placed where he had been instructed, and then Moses, Aaron and his sons washed. The outer court was raised also, as commanded.

34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

When the tabernacle was complete, a cloud covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord was there. What a blessing it would have been to have completed this commandment from the Lord. To add to the feelings they must have felt, they were blessed to know the Lord accepted their offering, because his glory rested there in a cloud. I can only imagine how great that would have felt to those who had worked so hard to make it happen. The cloud was the way the Israelites would receive direction from the Lord, just as they had been guided in the past. When the cloud was with the tabernacle, they did not travel. They were only to move, when the cloud was no longer covering the tabernacle. Just as before, it was a cloud by day and a fire by night. It was a constant reminder to the Israelites that the Lord was there.

Temples are amazingly beautiful houses of the Lord. In 2010, my family made the decision to move based on inspiration of the spirit. We planned to move in mid-2011 to a small town just outside of Boise, Idaho. In the April conference of 2011, the prophet announced that a temple would be built in Meridian, which was another town just outside of Boise. Even though we knew we would be moving to a different town at first, the spirit told me then that we would live near that temple. I was filled with an amazing feeling in my entire body, that is hard to describe. Since that time, we did follow that inspiration, and now we are living in a home just about 10 minutes away from the proposed location of that temple. The temple is still in the early planning phases 2 years later, but I am so excited to see it built and to be able to serve there someday. So far, it has been announced and designed, but has yet to have its groundbreaking, building, inspection, open house and dedication. In the meantime, I have been able to experience the rededication of the temple in Boise, which is still very close to home. That experience was also amazing for our family. I know that the Israelites must have felt wonderful to have the tabernacle raised near them. I am sure they felt blessed to know that the presence of the Lord would be among them, to lead and guide them. We can look to the temple today, for guidance in our own lives. I am so grateful for this blessing which I have available to me and my family.

Exodus Chapter 30

Moses and the children of Israel received instruction from the Lord while encamped around Mt. Sinai. As Moses spoke with the Lord, the details for a tabernacle were revealed. In the past several chapters, we read of how the tabernacle would be built with an inner court, holy place and the holy of holies. They were instructed on the crafting of items such as the ark of the covenant and mercy seat, as well as how to make the sacred clothing which Aaron and the sons of Aaron were to wear as they served in the tabernacle. Moses was told how they were to consecrate the priests and specific sacrifices which were to be given upon the sacred altar, and much more. For more specifics, see Exodus chapters 25-29 (or my posts regarding these). The instruction regarding the tabernacle continues as follows:

1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.
2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.
3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
6 And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

A golden altar was to be made for incense. It was to have horns which were attached with the altar as one piece. It needed to be able to carry when they traveled, just as the other pieces of the tabernacle, so they would bear it with staves through golden rings. It would be placed before the veil of the holy of holies. Aaron was called to burn incense there every day, when he took care of the lamps there. There would be continual light and incense for generations. Once a year, the ritual of a sin offering of blood, was to be performed on it. I think this ritual may have been performed to consecrate its purposes to the Lord, to continue to keep it holy and sacred. These sin offerings were another way of looking forward to the ultimate atonement given by the Lord for all the sins of mankind.

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.
16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.

They were to count the Israelites like in a census, and keep a number of those who had covenanted with the Lord. Everyone was to pay half a shekel as an offering as soon as they were twenty (according to the header, this was for the men over twenty). This was an offering for their sins, that their souls would be saved by the Lord. This money was to go towards the service in the tabernacle. Today, we offer tithes and offerings to the Lord. Our tithes are based on our increase, which we each receive because of the blessings of the Lord. When I think of this, I think of how we would not have an income if it were not for our talents and knowledge, both gifts from God. I don’t think that the Israelites had a lot of money while living in Egypt, since they were slaves. However, when they left, the Egyptians gave them many riches. If it had not been for the Lord, they would not have been led out of the hands of the Egyptians. This offering of money to the Lord, was a small sacrifice in comparison to the great blessings that the Lord had given them in order for their increase. Throughout time, people have always been in debt to the Lord, and He asks very little of us in comparison. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to give something back through tithes, which help to further the work of the Lord on Earth.

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:
21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

In the tabernacle, there was to be a brass basin for the priests to wash their hands and feet when the entered the tabernacle of the congregation. This was to make them clean and worthy to perform their temple duties.

22 Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

The Lord told Moses what spices and oil was to be used. They were to use myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and olive oil. The oil would be used for anointing, or consecrating, the things found inside the tabernacle, as well as the priests. They were not to make this particular oil for any other purposes outside of the temple, or for any other person outside of the priesthood, because it was a holy oil. Anyone being found to make it, would be cast out from the Israelites.

34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
36 And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.
38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

Additionally, they were to use stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense, to make a holy perfume for the tabernacle of the congregation. I imagine it was a lot like a potpourri, used to make the air of the tabernacle smell sweet. Again, anyone making it for any other purpose would be cast out from the Israelites.

There is so much of these details about the building of the temple, that is pleasing to the senses. It was to be made of the finest materials, best needlework, and the sweet aromas of incense and perfume. I imagine this would set it apart greatly from the rest of the encampment. In my minds eye, I can picture how beautiful this was, even though it was not a permanent structure and it was to be set up in the wilderness of the ancient lands. It makes me think about the beautiful temples today and how breathtaking they are. I think that it is just a taste of the beauty of heaven that I look forward to seeing someday.

Exodus Chapter 29

Moses had been commanded to build a tabernacle to the Lord. He was given strict instruction as to how it was to be built. He knew the size, shapes and materials to use. Then he was instructed to call Aaron and his sons to officiate there with the authority of the Aaronic priesthood. All of this instruction had been received while Moses was called up into Mount Sinai to talk with the Lord. The children of Israel were encamped at the base of the mount at this time. This part of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,
2 And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.
3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.
4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
6 And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.
7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
8 And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.
9 And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.
10 And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.
11 And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
12 And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.
13 And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.
14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.

The Lord instituted a ceremony of washings and annointings, to consecrate Aaron and his sons (set them apart) for this purpose. They were to bring with them, a bullock (young bull), two rams, and unleavened bread, cakes and wafers in a basket. Once washed, they were to be clothed in their holy garments (see previous chapter for more about the garments). Moses was instructed as to how to make the burnt offering to the Lord, including which portions of the bullock, which were considered worthy to offer to the Lord. This was a sin offering, meaning I think, that their sins would be cleansed by the Lord for their offering.

15 Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
16 And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar.
17 And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.
18 And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Moses was instructed to sacrifice a ram next. The entire ram would be a worthy sacrifice to the Lord.

19 And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
20 Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.
22 Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:
23 And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord:
24 And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the Lord.
25 And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the Lord: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
26 And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the Lord: and it shall be thy part.
27 And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons:
28 And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the Lord.

The second ram was to be sacrificed as well, but it was to be a sacrifice of consecration. Each part of the ram would have a part in a ritual of consecration performed with those of the Aaronic priesthood. It is worthwhile to note that with each step of this process, the priests were to lay their hands upon the animals. The laying on of hands is an important part of the use of the priesthood in ordinances and blessings. It reminds me of the Savior’s hands. His hands cause me to think of the sacrifice He made for us. His atonement is what makes all ordinances and blessings possible. I’m not entirely sure why it is that the Lord established this as a pattern for the use of the priesthood, or if it is how things are done in the eternities, but it is how the priesthood was used from the beginning of our records. The priests were therefore consecrating each animal for its purpose in the offerings to the Lord. I think that the “wave” offering or “heave” offering, was possibly a way for them to show to the Lord, that this was given to Him as an offering by raising that portion with their hands. It is also a reminder that they were humble before the Lord, to raise a sacrifice above themselves in the presence of the Lord.

29 And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.
30 And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.

The sacred temple clothing, that had been made for Aaron to wear as he served in his office of the priesthood, was to eventually be passed down to his sons. Perhaps this also refers to the length of their work in the temple. I don’t imagine that Aaron was expected to serve in the temple every day, but that his sons would in fact, take their turn serving for seven days. The garments would be consecrated for the work in the temple.

31 And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place.
32 And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
33 And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.
34 And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.
35 And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.
36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
37 Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.

The ram of consecration and the shewbread were to be eaten by Aaron and his sons, where the covenants had been made in the tabernacle of the congregation. No one else was to eat it because it had been consecrated for that purpose, unto those who had sanctified themselves to serve there. Whatever was left over, was to be burned the next day, and not eaten. They were to be consecrated and perform these rituals for seven days to covenant with Lord. After each time, they were to clean the altar, and anoint it again, and sanctify it again. The altar in the tabernacle was to be holy and only those things that were holy were to touch it. A portion of the header for this chapter reads, “Atonement is to be made for the sins of the people…”. This ritual was to be performed for the people, not just for those serving in the temple.

38 Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.
43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.
44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office.

In addition, they were to offer a lamb in the morning and in the evening each day. The Lord instructed Moses how each was to be offered along with other things, such as flour and oil. As they did these things in all holiness, the Lord and his spirit would be with them and speak to them. If they did these things according to the instructions given to Moses, the tabernacle and those of the Aaronic priesthood who served there, would be sanctified by the glory of the Lord.

45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.

The Lord’s portion of the covenant made at the altar of the temple, was that He would dwell with the children of Israel. This would be a reminder of all the tender mercies of the Lord towards these people, and that He was their Lord.

The temple is a holy and sacred place. All those who enter there, should be worthy to make covenants and serve the Lord. In order to make those covenants and do the work, one must be sanctified for that purpose. There exists washing and anointing today, just as in the days of Moses and Aaron. As I have been studying these things this week, I had the opportunity to serve in the temple and to perform proxy washing and anointing ordinances for the dead. What an experience that was for me, to reflect on the establishment of these ordinances in the days of the children of Israel. I was overcome with gratitude and joy because of the simple understanding I have been gaining over the past few weeks. I suggest to anyone who is planning on serving in the temple, to study these things to see how the ordinances of God have not changed just because we are living in these modern days. I am once again, filled with an incredible gratitude for the temples on the earth today. If any of my readers are seeking to draw closer to God, I encourage you to become and stay worthy to serve in the holy temple of the Lord. It is there, that we can show our true devotion to Him.


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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