Posts Tagged 'Scriptures'

2 Kings Chapter 22

Hezekiah had been a righteous leader in Judah. On the other hand, his son Manasseh, was extremely wicked, and brought the people of Judah along with him into great sin. Manasseh’s son, Amos, followed in the wickedness of his father and continued to lead the people in idolatry. All of these had died and at this point, Josiah, the son of Amos, had become king. This chapter begins with:

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

At the age of eight, Josiah became king of Judah. He ruled for 31 years, or until he was about 39 years old. He was not like his father Amos, but lived and ruled in righteousness like King David. (see also 2 Chronicles 34)

3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:
5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house,
6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

After 18 years had passed, Josiah being about 26 at the time, he sent a servant, named Shaphan, to the temple priest, Hilkiah, to take total of the money gathered from the people for the work of repairing the temple. This money was the tithes and offerings of their day. The priests had been faithful and did not require a reckoning of the money they were given to have the work done, because they could be trusted.

Tithes and offerings are for the purposes of building up the kingdom of God on Earth. Today, this money goes to the building and maintaining of temples and other church buildings around the world. The churches and temples are sacred places, consecrated for the faithful to gather, teach and uplift one another, worship God, covenant and serve. In ancient times, the temple of the Lord served the same purposes. It is right, that a faithful and righteous leader would desire to use the offerings of the people to rededicate the house of the Lord. If you would like to see more about temples in the LDS faith, I just saw this great, simple video about them: Mormon Temples

Trust in the work of the Lord, is so important to the uplifting and edification of all those who serve. Trust in God, of course, is of greatest importance. Those who serve in His kingdom, need to trust that God will keep his promises and covenants, and that He will be there to help them when they ask for help. Trust in others is also needed. So much of the work of the Lord, is Priesthood leaders, such as the prophets and high priests, giving callings and assignments to others, such as these priests in the temple, and then trusting that they will do their part in the work. When the work is accomplished the one who delegates is able to continue His work, others are able to come and participate in worship and service to the Lord, and most of all, those who were trusted and followed through, have opportunities to learn; grow in testimony, wisdom and knowledge; and become more as individuals. Additionally, we each individually, need to have trust in ourselves, that we are strong enough to do the work of the Lord. In one of the greatest paradoxes of the gospel, we are strong enough, when we become completely humble and submissive to the will of the Lord, becoming, in a sense, our weakest, in order to grow the most. Trusting the Lord, others and ourselves, is the only way that we can truly further the work of the Lord and reach our greatest potential as individuals.

8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.
10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
13 Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

The book of the law was found in the temple and given to Shaphan, who read it and returned to Josiah to give a report of what had happened. He told Josiah that the money of the temple had been gathered and given to workers. He also showed the king that the book of the law had been found. He read it to Josiah. Josiah responded by renting his clothes. He told the Shaphan, his son Ahikam, a man named Achbor, and his servant Asahiah, to ask the Lord about the words of the book of the law, in behalf of Josiah and the people of Judah. Josiah was concerned for the people because their ancestors had so often willingly disobeyed the words of the book. The men went to Huldah the prophetess, to her home in the northwest part of Jerusalem, and communed with her.

What a huge blessing it must have been, to have found the record of the law. This was their scriptures, even the record of the law of Moses. Nations who loose the records of their laws, forget what that law is and create their own laws in order to make civilization work. The lessons from the past, especially those found in our own scriptures, show that the nations who are strongest, both physically and spiritually, are those who know the law because they keep the records and use them. People who are raised up without the laws, are so much more likely to fall away from the traditions of the past. (This is one of the themes we can read about this throughout The Book of Mormon.) The laws of God, such as the law of Moses for the ancient Israelites, had not changed. This law was still in complete effect at the time the book was given to Josiah. Because it had not been preserved by the kings, as they had been commanded when first given to Moses and passed on to Joshua, it had been forgotten. Josiah did not know the fulness of the law, until he was able to read it. Our scriptures our precious, but only if we read them and apply them to our lives.

15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,
16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.
20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

Huldah prophsied that evil would come to the people of Judah just as the book of the law had said it would, or rather all the evil and curses brought upon the wicked found in the record, because they had chosen to worship other gods of their own creation. The words of verse 17, sound as though the curses would come because the people deliberately turned to idolatry to upset the Lord. Their wickedness may have been more rebellion than being raised in ignorance of what was right. Their choice to practice wickedness would have strong consequences. However, to Josiah, the Lord had heard his humble weeping and she prophesied that he would die in peace and not be the one to see the destruction of his people. The men returned to Josiah and told him what she had spoken.

Josiah would be blessed for his choice to do what was right, once he had learned of it from the word of the Lord. Three things happened to him in order to receive these blessings. First, his heart was tender. This sounds like he had an open heart, softened to the word, sensitive to it and ready to receive it, because he was willing. Second, he humbled himself to the Lord. In Alma 32:14, Alma was teaching the Zoramites who were poor and brought to humility by their circumstances. He said, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” Greater blessings come to those who are humbled when they learn the gospel, just as Josiah had done. In his humility, Josiah was concerned for others who would be destroyed, and was mourning for their loss. This humility and care for others, was seen by the Lord and blessings were promised as a result. If we are compelled into a situation where we become humble and then turn to the Lord with greater commitment, we will be blessed, but the greatest blessings and the most growth to our souls, comes in actively studying the word of God, and choosing for ourselves to have faith in that word and live what is taught. And third, Josiah heard or read the words and heard the spirit’s influence and inspiration. The word of the Lord will do nothing for us, if we read them, but refuse to hear what they can teach us. The blessing that was his, and can be ours if we follow this example and pattern, is peace. Peace is something that men desire for their lives, and he was promised to have this, even knowing what would come of his people.

As I read this chapter, I think back on a time in my life, after having three of my six children, when the hard drive that held all my digital photos and videos, had stopped working. I had lost all of them and experienced a mourning for something non-living, that I had never known was possible. (It seems a given to mourn for the loss of something living.)
I was beside myself with grief for weeks, as we did all that we could to possibly get something back. I felt as though I would not be able to remember my children as babies, and memories are so important to me. After several weeks, we got word, that the majority of the files had been recovered. My joy was so full. I know now, just how much I could mourn for the loss of non-living things of great value to me. This taught me to have greater gratitude for these things. Likewise, I am so grateful for the scriptures. I love them more than other things of this world, much like family photos, because of the happiness I feel as I study them. I am so glad that there are so many ways to have the scriptures available to us, because if they were lost to me now, I would be heartbroken. I know I would mourn them, because my memory will not always hold on to the words I study. I would forget them and yearn for the peace they bring. Knowing that the scriptures have not always been as available to mankind, and reflecting on just how short a time anyone in the world has even known about the Book of Mormon, enlarges my gratitude for being able to live today and have them. Finding the scriptures in the temple, truly was a blessing for Josiah and the people of Israel.

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Joshua Chapter 10

At this point, the Israelites were near the land of the Gibeonites, where they had made peace with the people and taken them as servants. They had already taken the area of Jericho and Ai, and the kings of the land had gathered together to fight against them. This chapter begins:

1 Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
3 Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying,
4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

The fact that Gibeon, a large and royal city, had given in to the Israelites, was a disheartening thing to Adoni-zedek of Jeresalem. In fear, he called for the neighboring Amorite kings to send their armies to him, so that they could fight the city of Gibeon for making peace with Israel. They sent their armies and began to fight Gibeon.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.
7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.

The Gibeonites, fearing the Amorite kings, asked Joshua and the Israelites for help to defeat the Amorites, so Joshua took his army towards Gibeon.

8 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.
9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.
10 And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

Joshua, turned to the Lord, and had the assurance of the Lord that He was on their side, and that the Israelites would be able to conquer the Amorites. Joshua led the army quickly in the night, and they were able to destroy many of the Amorites in Gibeon. Those who tried to get away, were chased to Azekah, where the Lord helped Israel by sending great hailstones from heaven, which destroyed the fleeing Amorites.

12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.

Joshua prayed to the Lord and called the sun and moon to stand still. Then the Lord listened and fought for Israel, in a manner that had not been done before. In Helaman 12 we read the following:

13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.
14 Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done;
15 And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.

It seems like there would have been nothing quite like a miracle of stopping the sun and moon from their typical movement, or stopping the earth, so that the sun and moon appear to stop moving. This is a testimony builder for me, that the God of Israel was indeed the one true and living God.

It is interesting hear that the book of Jasher is mentioned. This is one of many occasions in the scriptures, when the book of a prophet is mentioned, which is lost to us today. I look forward to the time, when all the books will be revealed, because I think the evidences of truth in the gospel, will be too great to be ignored.

15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.
17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.
18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them:
19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hand.
20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.
21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.
23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.
25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.
27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

The Israelites returned to camp and the five Amorite kings went into hiding in a cave. Joshua learned where they were hiding and had the cave opening covered with great stones, to keep them in. Then, the army was to go after the enemy armies and destroy them before they could return to their cities. All this was done, with the knowledge that God had delivered their enemies into their hands. The Israelites destroyed the enemies and returned to their camp. The five kings were then brought to Joshua and he had his captains bring the kings low and place a foot on their necks, to show their submission to the Israelites. Then, he had them killed and hung on trees for the remainder of the day. When evening came, the bodies were put back in the cave and stones were placed in front of the mouth of the cave.

28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.
29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:
30 And the Lord delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.

The Israelites took over the land of Makkedah, and destroyed it and all its people. Then the city of Libnah was delivered into their hands and they destroyed it as well.

31 And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:
32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

The Israelites fought against Lachish and they were victorious on the second day, destroying it completely.

33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

Next, they destroyed the army of Gezer, and their king, Horam, who had joined the fight against Lachish.

34 And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:
35 And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
36 And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:
37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.

After this, the Israelites moved onto a place called Eglon and then to Hebron, which they destroyed also.

38 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:
39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.

They fought next against Debir and destroyed its cities and king.

40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.
41 And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.
43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.

Under the command of the Lord, many cities and kings were destroyed. This they were able to do, because the Lord fought for Israel and delivered the nations into their hands. Once they were done, they returned to the camp in Gilgal.

In the destruction of these cities and kings, Joshua and the Israelites were following the commandment of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 20, we read the following:

17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee:
18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.

The purpose for this destruction, is explained in these verses. They had to destroy and, in a way cleanse, the land, so that the other nations would not teach the Israelites to commit the sins and abominations that were a part of their everyday lifestyles. It would have been easy, and eventually was easy, for the Israelites to fall into the ways of the nations around them. The Lord wanted them to have the best foundation possible for settling in the promised land and being His people. There are times in our lives, when we will need to dispel fear or get rid of the destructive temptations around us. If we leave any hint of them, it will be easy for us to fall back in the habits of turning to them and the ways of men, instead of turning to the Lord. This process is not easy, just as fighting these people was not an easy task for the Israelites. They could not have been victorious without the help of the Lord. When we have fear or temptations creep into our lives, we need to have the Lord on our side as we fight our battles. When we follow this counsel, we can find great blessings of peace and happiness from our choice to draw closer to God.

Joshua Chapter 8

The Israelites have begun to take over the promised land. They were part of the miracle of the walls of Jericho coming down, which allowed them the ability to take that city. They attempted to take over the people of Ai, but failed because the Lord was not with them at that time. They gained the support of the Lord again, by destroying the cause of the loss, which was a man and the forbidden items he took while in Jericho. At this point, they were once again ready to take the city of Ai.

1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

Joshua was told by the Lord to take the army of Israel to fight against Ai. This time, the Lord told them they could take the spoil and cattle of the city for themselves. They were to ambush the city.

I notice that in the previous chapter, it does not say that the Lord told them to fight against Ai. As far as we can tell, there was no commandment given to the Israelites at that time. I think that if Joshua, as their leader, sought direction from the Lord before going straight into battle, the Lord may have instructed him to sanctify his people first. Perhaps the loss of several men, would have been avoided. In this chapter, it seems that Joshua waited upon the Lord for the instructions to go up to battle again. Because he waited, the army of Israel was prepared and instructed as to what strategy to use in order to be victorious. In Doctrine and Covenants 98:33, modern revelation teaches us, “And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.” It is important for the people of God, to have the Lord on their side in times of battle.

3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

30,000 men of the Israelite army, were chosen to go lie in wait, behind the city, in the night. They were instructed to be ready, while the rest of Israel would go towards the other side of the city. When the people of Ai would come to fight against them and the Israelites flee from them, but would be followed from the city. Then the 30,000 would ambush the city of Ai and it would be delivered to them by the Lord. They were commanded to burn the city.

9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

The men went in the night and prepared to ambush the city. Joshua and his people approached the city to fight.

14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Beth-el, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua.
28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

Not knowing of the ambush that awaited him, the king of Ai took his men out to fight against the Israelites. The men with Joshua, began to flee and were followed by the people of Ai. The city was left open for the taking. The Lord told Joshua to point his spear towards Ai. At that, the men ambushed the city and burned it. The men of Ai had nowhere to go, so the Israelites were able to go against them and destroy all of them. They brought the king to Joshua. The people and city were completely destroyed and they only took the spoil and cattle, as they had been instructed. The king was hung and his body left at the gate of the city on a pile of stones.

30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal,
31 As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.

Joshua gave thanks to God, by building an altar of whole stones in mount Ebal. The Israelites gave burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.

32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

The blessings and cursings were given at mount Gerizim and Ebal, as they had been commanded by the Lord through the prophet Moses. In Deuteronomy 11:29, we read, “And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.” (See also Deuteronomy 27).

Here, the Israelites are blessed for repenting of the wrong previously done, and being strictly obedient to the directions of the Lord. Joshua made a copy of the law of Moses, which was read to the people of Israel. We can see here the importance of keeping a record of the word of the Lord. They had been given the commandment to make and keep this record, while Moses was the prophet. Joshua understood the importance of this commandment, and followed through just as they had been instructed to do. The people of Israel would fall without the commandments in the teachings by the leaders. We also need the scriptures to teach us what is right and how to keep our lives focused on the true and living God. When we stop looking to the word of God, we stop living it and that leads to destruction physically and spiritually. I am so glad to have the scriptures in my life and the blessings keeping the commandments brings.

Do We Love Learning?

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

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

Something that I have always loved is to do is learn. I fully believe in the idea that we should be continual learners until the day we die. This is because I believe that we can always be better or do something more than we have done before. This next question is such a fun one for me. Do we love learning? My immediate answer is, if we don’t, we really should.

The scriptures teach us a lot about learning and what we should be focusing that learning upon. I particularly love Doctrine and Covenants 90:15 which reads, “…and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” There is great benefit in having a well-rounded knowledge. If we hope to become like God, and God is the founder of all that is good, as well as being all-knowing, then it makes perfect sense that we should be learning all that we can from all that is good. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 we read, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” You cannot separate secular learning from spiritual learning in the eternal perspective. That is a distinction that man has made and I think it is part of the reason that we are loosing so much valuable spiritual learning in every-day life. If we make all our learning a matter of study and faith, we will know what is good and we will find a sincere love for learning.

There are many ways to learn. Of course, I think we all should recognize the blessings of learning in a school-type setting. Gaining an education in the those things we learn from standard schools, is a benefit to all areas of our lives, even if we don’t recognize it at the time. I truly believe that in order for us to create, lead, guide and love as God does, we need to have an understanding of all things. And I truly believe that we will take our understanding and knowledge with us when we leave this mortal life. I believe the words found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” If we do not love the learning we can gain through school, we are denying ourselves that portion of understanding, which I fully believe God has. Even if we are not currently in school, we can continue to learn things of a secular nature, through books, online courses, asking others to teach us what they know and more.

For greater spiritual learning, we have personal study of the scriptures and other gospel books, which I have found to be a significant blessing and motivator in my own life. There is also family study of these, which helps us to learn from one another, become strengthened as a family unit, and gives us great opportunities to share and strengthen our testimonies. Likewise, we can study as couples, which I think is a great tool for a couple to grow together and keep their passions, goals, and desires in line with one another. The scriptures are there for our learning. In 1 Nephi 19:23 we read, “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” Likewise in 2 Nephi 4:15 we read, “And upon these [the plates] I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.” I have a great love for the scriptures and this is because I love learning from them. The scriptures are not some made up books for us to simply find entertaining, but rather the greatest books we could ever hope to learn from in this life.

We also have the great opportunity to learn at church or through programs such as institute, firesides and conferences. There was a talk I listened to recently, given by John Bytheway, where he talked about the need for us to go to church with an imaginary bucket we want to fill. Sometimes, we take something much smaller, or nothing at all, with which to put greater knowledge and understanding into, and we leave with so much less than we could get out of our Sunday worship. He suggests that if we go with the idea that we are going to fill our bucket and really get as much as we can out of each meeting, we will find our Sundays so much more enriching. I really think that his idea is right.

We continue to have the opportunity for learning in our counsels (meetings), in the family setting, out in the world, and at church. There is, of course, general conference, where we can learn what the Lord wants for His people. We can learn things of the spirit, by sharing our testimonies with others and listening to the testimonies of others. And finally, one of the greatest places to learn things of a spiritual nature, is in the temple. It is in the temple where we learn the things that God wants us to know that we simply cannot learn any where else in the world.

I often wonder if I am taking full advantage of all the opportunities that God has given me, to learn the things of both spiritual and secular nature. I have considered this a lot more lately, because over the last year, I have been involved in a program called Celestial University. The program was started in the ward I was in before moving earlier this year, but I was committed to seeing it through after we moved. I chose to try for a “degree” in theology, which meant that I would focus my goals for the year on studying and learning things of the gospel. I found, however, that I was able to work on study in all areas of my life and have really been blessed by it. Part of this program, focused on the goals that require us to learn from experience more than from a lesson or a book.

One of the ways that we learn the best is through experience. In Genesis 30:27, Laban, the father-in-law of Jacob (Israel), says, “I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” We can find a love for learning by experience when we recognize the blessings that come from it. I know that this life would not be worth it, if all we did was learn from books and teachers. While there is great benefit in this type of learning, I think the greater blessings come from living the things we have been taught and experiencing the consequences of our choices, both for good or bad. Psalms 119:71 reads, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” This is how we gain understanding and wisdom of the things of this world and of the spirit. The understanding and wisdom will bring us the joy and happiness we desire. When we learn by experience, we can do greater things, just as our Savior has done. In Hebrews 5 we read the following:

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

The Savior, whose life we should emulate, had to learn obedience through the experience of suffering in order to be made perfect. We should try to find a love for learning through experience as well, so that we will make greater attempts to become more like our Savior.

We show our love for learning, when we maintain a spirit of humility. If we are proud and take the attitude of ‘we know better’, than we are not teachable and nothing is gained. In Alma 32:12 we read, “I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.” We cannot learn, and therefore love learning, unless we recognize that we are not perfect in our knowledge and understanding. We would do good, to humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to the teachings of others and especially the teachings of the spirit.

We should love learning about the commandments of God, because they are of such great importance. In Alma 37:35 we read, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” Our lives will be easier if we learn these when we are younger, so that we can live them. In Deuteronomy 5:1, Moses, who gave us the ten commandments directly from the Lord, taught, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.” When we learn the things that God would have us learn, we are able to have greater peace and happiness in this life. In Matthew 11:29 we read, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” That thought is also found in Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, which reads, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” Becoming wise from our learning is only a benefit if we are willing to live what we learn of the things God has taught us. In 2 Nephi 9:29 we read, “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” It is conditional. If we learn, but do not obey the things of God, we will not benefit from that learning. In fact, if we learn of the counsels of God and then choose not to hearken to them, we are doing ourselves a greater disservice in the more eternal perspective of our lives.

There is wisdom in learning. In proverbs 1:5 we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;…” If we aren’t continually striving for greater knowledge, we will get nowhere in this life or the next. I believe that when we seek, the Lord will openly bless us with the learning that we seek. In Matthew 7 we read the following:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (See also 3 Ne. 14:7)

God has also given us this as a guide in more modern times. In Doctrine and Covenants we read 1 we read the following:

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. …
26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; …

Of course, we receive greater wisdom and knowledge from learning the things of God first. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 we read, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” In are love for learning, we need to be mindful of what is better for us to learn. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:7 we read, “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.”

Why do we learn and why should we have a love for learning? Because, we will benefit from it in this life and after it. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:19 it says, “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” If this is too deep and all we can focus on, is the here and now, then we should recognize the great benefits that come from us continuing to learn. When we learn, we are not only giving ourselves greater opportunities in life, such as better occupations and the ability to make better decisions, but we will have greater opportunities to use our knowledge for good. We can only teach others, if we know for ourselves. Learning will help us to be better teachers as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. Learning helps us to be able to contribute more to our communities and in our churches. I know that when we are able to help those around us because of the things we have learned, we feel so much happier and a greater love for learning.

I am so glad that I have been given the capacity to learn and I know that this is a reason for this mortal life being what it is. We have trials and difficulties so that we can learn. We have joys and blessings, so that we can learn. We have the scriptures so that we can learn. We have the gospel and prophets today, so that we can learn. We have the amazing gift of agency, so that we can learn. We have the even greater gift of the spirit, so that we can learn. And all of these make us better people now and in the eternities. Learning will make us more like our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that I am blessed when I learn. I believe that as women and people of faith, we are happier when we have a love for learning.

The Old Testament

I am a bit excited and nervous to start this study of The Old Testament. Why? Well, this book has always seemed like a difficult one for me to remember and understand. I am hoping that this time, I will gain a clearer understanding and that it will help in my grasp of the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. I am sure that as I study this, I will be looking to the rest of the standard works for clarification and understanding.

I will be studying the King James Version of the Bible (including LDS footnotes), along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen. There is probably no need for introduction, but I’ll go ahead and quote the Bible Dictionary. The Bible is “the collection of writings that contain the records of divine revelation. . . . The Bible is the work of many prophets and inspired writers acting under the influence of the same Holy Spirit; but at the same time it came into being “in many parts and in many modes,” by a gradual growth extending over many centuries, and we can see in the books themselves evidence of the varied conditions of time and place and thought under which they were composed. (See Bible Dictionary, “Bible“)” There are two parts to the Christian bible, the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is the first portion of the Holy Bible, which covers the history of the people of the Lord from the beginning of the creation. I think that it mostly has to do with the covenant people of the Lord, who had been given the laws of God. In particular, most of these people lived what we know as the law of Moses.

I am so grateful that ancient records of the prophets and people of old were preserved for our day. I know that there is great truths to be found in The Old Testament. I know that the word of the Lord is to be found within its pages and I am thrilled to be taking some time to study and ponder them.

Built After the Manner of the Lord

Nephi was commanded of the Lord to build a boat. In 1 Nephi 18, he tells of the process of workmanship on the boat.

2 Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.
3 And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.
4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

As I read this today, I was brought to reflecting on the things we are commanded to build in our own lives. We are told to build our own testimony, so that we can be found immovable in our faith. We are to build a family that can be eternal. And we are taught to build a home that can be our own temple in this world and a refuge from the filth and hardships of the outside world. We are given the tools to build these things, just as Nephi was given the tools to build the boat. He was not directly handed some perfect tool, but he was told by the Lord how to make the tool that would be perfect for him to use. We are not simply handed the tools, but it requires work and study on our part to find the perfect tools. These tools are found in the scriptures. With these perfect tools, we can build ourselves, our families, and our homes. When we use the tools the Lord has given us, and with the guidance of the Lord, which Nephi also relied on heavily, we can make these things with exceedingly fine workmanship, just as Nephi did. More importantly, these things will not be after the manner of men, because they would fail us, but rather they would be after the manner of the Lord. With the products of fine workmanship, inspired by the Lord, we can weather any storm towards our own promised land.

Why Do We Need the Scriptures?

This question has more than one answer, but I am thinking today about one in particular. In 1 Nephi 4:15 we read, “Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.” Our life has a purpose, because God has give us one. This purpose, according to the plan of salvation, is to gain immortality and eternal life. That is the will of God for all of us. In order to fulfill that, we need to follow his commandments. This verse questions how we can follow the commandments, if we do not have the commandments. We need the laws of God, which are found in the scriptures. Without the laws of God, we cannot have consequences, good or bad. Therefore, without the scriptures, we cannot expect to have the amazing consequence of eternal life. I am so glad that I have the scriptures and the commandments in my life. Some may find these things restrictive and outdated, but to me they are the key to being able to have the saving grace of Jesus Christ and eventually have eternal joy with God.

The Eighth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

The Bible is an inspired collection of writings including revelations from God. We believe, however, that some parts of the Bible have been lost in translation throughout time. This is due to the errors of man and also to the persuasions of Satan to remove certain truths from the record. We do believe that the majority of it has been translated correctly and that it is a true testimony of Jesus Christ. It is made understandable and clear through the record found in the Book of Mormon. We believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that it also includes many of the revelations of God to man, but it is from the perspective of those who lived on the American continent. It was translated by the power of God and is therefore true and correct in its current state. Together, these records will teach us all what we now need to know regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our own personal responsibility to study the scriptures and to seek for answers and guidance in our own lives through their teachings. I am grateful for both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I believe there is eternal truth to be found if we take the time to study them and apply their teachings to our lives.

Moses (Chapter 6)

In this chapter, we continue to learn of the history and beginning of the time on earth. There is a combination of righteousness and wickedness among the people. Adam is still living at this point, and his posterity continues to increase.

1 And Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent.
2 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
3 And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.
4 And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;
5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.
7 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.
8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
9 In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God.
10 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth.
11 And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he begat many sons and daughters;
12 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
13 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos, and prophesied in all his days, and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also.
14 And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years, and begat many sons and daughters.
15 And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.
16 All the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
17 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan. And Enos and the residue of the people of God came out from the land, which was called Shulon, and dwelt in a land of promise, which he called after his own son, whom he had named Cainan.
18 And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat many sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
19 And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; and Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
20 And Mahalaleel lived sixty-five years, and begat Jared; and Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
21 And Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begat Enoch; and Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God.
22 And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed.

The commandment to write a book of remembrance was given to Adam in the beginning. God’s commandments are eternal and unless we are given a new commandment which changes one, it is still a commandment for us today. Therefore, we have a commandment to keep a record of our own people. I know that we learn a lot from the records of the past, which can keep us on the right path in life. These records are so important. I cannot imagine what my life would be like, if Lehi had not recognized the importance of these records. Because of that recognition, we have the Book of Mormon today, which is where the majority of my testimony comes from. Our own records can be used to teach and lift our own posterity and more.

In the time of Adam and his children, the priesthood was already established on the earth. The priesthood is eternal and is the same priesthood which worthy men may hold today. The line of the priesthood follows a patriarchal line, which I think is the reason we have the genealogy of the posterity of Adam listed here. The righteous priesthood holders who followed Adam included his son Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared and Enoch. I’m not exactly sure how many held the priesthood, or if perhaps these were the sons who held the higher priesthood or specifically held all the keys of the priesthood (like the prophet does today), but I understand that these were the righteous priesthood leaders in the early years of this earth.

At the same time that the righteous generations were growing, so were the wicked generations. With the wickedness among men, came wars, death, and secret combinations, which I am sure tormented all those who were living. The righteous people, moved away from the wickedness, to the land of promise, also known as the land of Cainan.

23 And they were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.
24 And it came to pass that all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
25 And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah.

All of these righteous priesthood leaders, preached repentance to the people. These verses are another testimony to me of what the first principles of the gospel are. Faith and repentance must be taught in order for men to be saved. We cannot build upon our foundation, unless we first have faith in Jesus Christ and are willing to repent of those things we do, which are unrighteous and wrong.

26 And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him.
27 And he heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off;
28 And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.
29 Wherefore, they have foresworn themselves, and, by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death; and a hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not;
30 And this is a decree, which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from my own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the ends thereof.
31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.
35 And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.
36 And he beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

Enoch was called to serve and preach to the people. The Lord told him that if the people did not repent, then they would experience death and hell. This death is a spiritual death, or a separation from God both during and after this life. The hell that God has prepared, is the spiritual prison that causes souls to be halted in the progression and live in eternal torment for their choices in this life.

Enoch was a righteous man, and a prophet of God. He was humble. I find it interesting, just how often the prophets of God have asked why they would be called to do such great things when they do not think they are gifted enough to do it. Then they act in faith, and do such marvelous things through the power of God. Enoch was blessed at this time, for his righteousness, by being allowed to see things that cannot be seen by our natural eyes. We just had a lesson in church about the seemingly simple things that we are asked to do to show our faith in God, and to receive great blessings. Enoch was told to put clay on his eyes and wash them, which he obediently did. Then he was blessed to see wonders that we cannot possibly perceive with our own earthly vision.

37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.
38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.
39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.
40 And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?
41 And he said unto them: I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day. And my father taught me in all the ways of God.
42 And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.
43 And Enoch continued his speech, saying: The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God, and your God, and ye are my brethren, and why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?
44 The heavens he made; the earth is his footstool; and the foundation thereof is his. Behold, he laid it, an host of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof.
45 And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam.
46 For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.
47 And as Enoch spake forth the words of God, the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence.

I have had the experience of being in a position of leadership in the church. It was difficult at times, because I was prompted to say things that could have been considered as calling others to repentance. Sometimes those things can be hard to hear. Those who may not be in the right place in their lives, sometimes choose to take offense to those things, instead of realizing that we all have areas of our lives that we need to work on and trying to work on those things themselves. I am sure that there were many who found the words of Enoch to be difficult to hear. Nevertheless, the people came to hear his speak and he told them why he came to preach to them. Then he bore testimony of God, which was so powerful that the people could not stand near him.

48 And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.
49 Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God.
50 But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent.
51 And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

Those who Enoch preached to, had access to the teachings of Adam through the writings that had been passed down through their generations. However, Satan had placed his temptations and distractions in the hearts and minds of men. These things had replaced the teachings of Adam, so Enoch was called to remind them of the truth. Part of these truths was the basic teaching of the plan of salvation. He taught the people that God created the world and that we all are subject to the fall through Adam’s transgression. He taught them that the fall is overcome through faith in Jesus Christ and baptism by water and the spirit. He taught them that we are born in this mortal life to experience the bitterness so that we know the good in life. He reminded them that we have been given agency, so that we can choose for ourselves to keep the laws and commandments, or not. With this agency, we must repent or we cannot be redeemed by the blood of Christ. He reminded them that if they are baptized, after repentance, they can have the spirit with them, which will teach them and testify of all things.

I love that we have a record in these verses, which tells us that Adam was forgiven by God for his original transgression. This is proof that we are not responsible for this. We are, however, responsible for our own sins. The Savior’s atonement is the only way that we can be forgiven of our own transgressions and sins. We can only partake of His atonement through proper repentance.

64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

Baptism

Enoch taught the people that Adam was baptized by water and the spirit. At that time, Adam then received the priesthood. Adam was our first example of faith and obedience to the commandments to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Through these ordinances, we can all become sons [and daughters] of God. I am so grateful that I was raised in the church and have had the gospel in my life. I am glad that the scriptures have helped me to gain a testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe that He was the creator of this world and that through Him, we have the opportunity and privilege to live with God again someday. It is so amazing that we have the stories of such great prophets and teachers as Adam and Enoch, which teach us simple gospel truths that we can learn and grow from.

The Pearl of Great Price – Introduction

I am so glad to be back at this. The past few weeks have been a bit hectic with our move out of state. I really enjoyed reading some great things about specific topics of the Doctrine and Covenants, but I really missed posting. I think I am officially back now.

I have decided to go ahead and move on to The Pearl of Great Price. In the introduction we learn that the things found in this book of scripture, were originally printed material (revelations and writings) that were made available for distributing throughout the church. They were so widely used and referenced that they eventually became part of the Latter-day Saint standard works (scriptures). The things that are currently included are the books of Moses and Abraham, pictures from Abraham and their explanations known as facsimiles, the Joseph Smith Translations of parts of the book of Matthew, Joseph Smith History, and the Articles of Faith.

The title page says that this book is “A Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Furthermore, the introduction gives more detail on what each of the books of the Pearl of Great Price are. As a preface, we learn from the study of the Doctrine and Covenants, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, had been translating a portion of the Bible. In the book of Moses, found in the Pearl of Great Price, some of the translations from the book of Genesis are included. Then there is the translation of the book of Matthew, which is also included. The book of Abraham is translation from an Egyptian papyri, or a ancient record from the patriarch Abraham. Joseph Smith History is a record of the marvelous experiences of the prophet, including the first vision, where he saw God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Finally, the Articles of Faith, are included, which are writings of our faith which were written by Joseph Smith.

The great thing about this book of scripture, is that it is modern revelations which clarify scriptures that may otherwise be confusing and misinterpreted. It further unifies the understandings of the saints of God. It tells of the beginning of the restoration of the gospel to the earth, and it shows us how we can gain more personal revelations. Matthew 13:45-46 tells a parable, which gives greater meaning as to why this title is fitting.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (emphasis added)

These revelations are of an eternal value. We should treasure them up, just as the merchant man did. I am really looking forward to studying this small, but truly great book.


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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