"And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar."
After surviving the flood and coming out of the ark Noah offered sacrifices to the Lord. I realized this wasn't an offering because of something he wanted. It was an offering in gratitude for what the Lord had done for him and his family. I'm sure there was an element of mourning for those that were lost. But in my heart I feel it was more to rejoice. This caused me to ask myself "Do I express my gratitude often enough to the Lord for all that he has done for me?" I realized the answer is no.
We don't offer animal sacrifices any more, because Christ fulfilled the law of Moses. I sat and pondered on what sacrifice I can make today to rejoice in all that the Lord has done for me. For some reason I thought of fasting for joy. For in fasting my heart is the most broken and contrite, which is what Christ said he wanted of me. Is there anything in the scriptures that show people fasting for joy?
I found in Doctrine & Covenants 59:13-16
"...that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.
Verily, this is a fasting and prayer, or in other words rejoicing and prayer.
And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours,"
I have come to realize I need to make my fasting more joyful. It should be a time of gratitude for all the Lord has done for me. A time to just draw closer to him, and not looking for something I want. I have much thinking to do on this, for this coming Sunday is my day set aside to fast. I think this could be a paradigm shift for me regarding the law of the fast.
"And Noah did according unto all the Lord commanded him.
And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood."
I sat thinking about the age of Noah when the flood came. How old were his sons? Did they have little children with them? I went back to Genesis 5 and reviewed the generations of Adam and the ages they had their children.
Adam begat Seth at 130
Seth begat Enos at 105
Enos begat Cainan at 90
Cainan begat Mahaleleel at 70
Mahalaleel begat Jared at 65
Jared begat Enoch at 162
Enoch begat Methuselah at 65
Methuselah begat Lamech at 187
Lamech begat Noah at 182
Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japeth at 500
In Moses chapter 8 I find that Noah begat Japheth at 452, Shem at 494, and Ham at 500. Noah's sons are between 148 to 100 years old when the flood came. Not considering Noah's age, the age range for the father's in this genealogy are 65-187 years old, making their average age 117. Adam was 130 when he had Seth, and this was after Cain killed Abel. So Adam was even younger when he had his sons. Noah had nearly 400 years to have children prior to Japeheth, Shem and Ham's birth. By then these sons could have had children. I further read in Moses 8:15 that God told Noah "The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves". This would mean at the time of flood Noah at least had grandchildren.
I just sat and grieved for Noah, for he must have experienced the loss of many sons and daughters in the flood. That is something I never thought about. It's one thing to leave your friends and neighbors outside of the ark, hearing their screams and pleading to prevent their drowning, but to hear your own children's voices that would break my heart. How hard it must have been to not open the doors and let your child in. To have done that would have broke God's commandment and they would have all perished.
The words of the Savior keep coming back to me, when the apostles asked for the signs of his second coming. "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:37)
So I believe one of the signs is losing children of the covenant to wickedness. It fits what I have noticed in at least the past ten years. I used to hear parents proudly say "All of my children have served missions and married in the temple." The parents were proud of their righteous sons and daughters. They were good strong anchors in the church. But in at least the last decade those words have changed. Those that I would think are strong anchors, having taught their children righteous teachings, have broken hearts over the wickedness of their children. Some parents tell me all their children are lost. Now I am seeing some of the parents lost. There is hardly a family that is not effected. What I realize I am seeing now is a prophesy coming true.
Up until the day of the flood, Noah preached the gospel to the children of men, which must have included his own children too. Then the day comes that it is done, and the doors to the ark are closed. For the safety of all that are within we must keep the commandments of God, otherwise we are all lost.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.
But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
This is the story of Noah and the flood. Sadly, I can see the world fast becoming wicked like in the days of Noah. These are the latter-days. The question I felt impressed to ponder on was what saved Noah and his family from the flood? From these verses I could see it was the ability to make and keep covenants. They could not even enter the ark until that covenant was established. The ark had the ability to protect them from the coming storms of destruction. But, it wasn't really the ark that did the saving, it was only a tool. What saved them was their personal righteousness, and ability to make covenants and then keep them. I realized reading this that what Noah had I have too. These verses impressed upon me the importance of the temple. How going to the House of the Lord and making sacred covenants there is my shield and protection from the gathering storms. The temple is as important to me as the ark was in the days of Noah. It is not only a place where I can be saved but my family also.
"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him."
I noticed that it said Enoch walked with God three hundred years before he was taken. Three hundred years is a very long time. I did some scripture chasing and found this verse in Moses 7:21 "And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever."
Yesterday, I was pondering on the process of time it took for someone to apostatize. So today I pondered on the process of time to be translated. Neither action happens over night.
Hebrews 11:5-6 "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
What a powerful thing faith is. Faith to believe in God is everything, and yet so basic that a little child can comprehend it. Faith that as I seek him, I will find him. Faith that one day that sure testimony will come, that I am walking in God's ways and please him. Faith will become a knowledge that I will live with Him one day. I absolutely do not need to be a translated being like Enoch, to have the same reward of eternal life. Receiving that testimony as he did is what should be sought. What a comfort this brings to me.
"And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
When I was reading Moses chapter 5 a couple weeks ago I pondered on Cain's offering and why it was offensive to God. As I read this story again this time I noticed the path to apostasy. No one jumps from righteousness to wickedness over night. It takes a "process of time" for Satan to "carefully lead us down to hell". Eventually the desire to please the Lord is completely removed from us. It can even turn to mocking. Then when it's pointed out to us that what we are doing is not acceptable to the Lord, anger comes and the spirit is completely gone from that man.
So there are signs to watch out for. First is where my heart is, and who I am trying to please. I'm sure there are not many wicked people that would say they are trying to please Satan. What they think they are trying to please is themselves. That is the very lie Satan would have them believe. For to please themselves is to please only Satan. To please the Lord and do his will, the master I am serving is clear. So as soon as I stop trying to please the Lord I know I am in dangerous territory.
The next sign is anger at any type of reproof or correction. At that point I would have lost the ability to be humble and teachable like a little child. If the desire is to please myself and get ahead, I wouldn't want anyone to deviating me from that path. The wicked do take the truth to be hard. The very fact of that is the anger that comes from them.
Of course I know where all this lead Cain. But, no one is beyond becoming a Cain even me, if the desire of my heart is no longer to please God, but only myself.
"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
As I read this verse I remembered hearing something about the coats of skins that I had been meaning to look up. The theory was that the coats of skins were made from the animals in the Garden of Eden that were also immortal. So the skins never rotted. This same coat of skins was handed down and is what Jacob gave to his son Joseph as the Coat of Many Colors. I went looking for the source of the story. I found things but nothing to my satisfaction. There was one article on http://thetorah.com/primeval-coats/ that was very interesting. It went through Primeval Coats - the fate of the first clothing in the hands of Adam, Nimrod, Esau, Jacob, Joseph and the High Priest. It covered various Jewish traditions in the Torah.
I was struck by the concept that the skins came from the serpent itself. God lopped of the serpents arms and legs, making it to crawl on its belly and eat dust. God then commanded the serpent to shed its coat. That shedded serpent skin was used to make the garments for Adam and Eve. I could see a loving God force the serpent to shed his skin for exposing the nakedness of Adam and Eve, instead of killing innocent animals for their skins. There are animal sacrifices in the Mosaic law but I couldn't see God making a sacrifice to himself, since he was the one making the coats of skins. I had read several things about the Coat of Many Colors and one was that it had the design of fish scales and was multi-colored. Wow, serpent skin could look like fish scales and actually be quite colorful and beautiful. I don't know if any of that is what really happened, but for some reason out of all that I read this tradition clicked.
This will be one of the very interesting things I would like to know when this life is over. For now what I do know is that if I follow and keep God's commandments I will be covered from my nakedness. The garments of the Lord are a protection from all the darts of the adversary.
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
I had to do a little scripture chase for I was pondering on the breath of life, and the soul of man. This verse in Genesis doesn't mention putting in the spirit of man as other verses do.
Abraham 5:7 "And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man's spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."
Doctrine & Covenants 88:15 "And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
I went back to Genesis 2:5 and read that God created "every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew.." This is referencing the spiritual creation of everything before it was physically created. I think in verse 7 it implies that man's spirit was created before the physical body was made. So then I wondered what the breath of life is?
As I have been pondering this, I have come to believe the breath of life is when the spirit enters the body. The spirit being like the hand inside a glove bringing it to life. When the spirit leaves the body it is an empty shell. I had never thought about God giving even me the breath of life just like he did to Adam. For it is God that controls when the spirit enters or leaves the body. It is God that determines when I became a living soul.
"And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
I am reading the King James version of the bible. I love how poetic it is, and how the spirit flows as I read it. The language style is very similar to the other scriptures of my faith. I know it is the word of God. I believe the King James version is one of the most correct versions of the bible available. What gratitude I have for those that sacrificed their lives to bring about the English translation of the bible for me.
As I read this chapter I thought about my scripture reading yesterday. That God the Eternal Father, his Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings. As I read this verse in Genesis I can see an echo of that here in this verse. "God said, Let us make man in our own image.." Who is the us that God is referring to? It is his very son Jesus Christ that did the will of the Father in preparing this earth for all of us. I am sure there were other great ones with them, that by the power of the priesthood they were able to create this earth. What a beautiful earth it is. I am so grateful for all that the Father has done for me to be here. I am so grateful for a physical body created in His image. This was no freak of nature to have created such a marvelous thing.
"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."
I am at the end of the Pearl of Great Price. Tomorrow I will start on the Old Testament. When Joseph Smith was asked to define the Latter-day Saint religion he wrote out 13 basic beliefs of our faith. As I read through them I asked myself which is the most important? Which means the most to me? They all do. Yet to go back and review, the very first one is a vital key. That the Godhead is made up of three distinct individuals. God the Eternal Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
The Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in the sacred grove as he humbly asked which church to join. The thought that the Father and Son were separate beings was no longer known among men. Joseph was persecuted as a young 14 year old boy for saying it. This testimony he could never deny. I have been raised on this belief of a loving Heavenly Father, that sent his only begotten Son to die for me. That the Holy Spirit can confirm all the words of Christ, and personally tutor and direct me in my life. Knowing they are separate beings, but one in purpose, means so very much to me. It is so part of every fiber of my being. I cannot read the scriptures and not think of them any other way. To take that from me I would be lost. For this is a mystery of God, that is now clear to the understanding of men, because a young boy thought to pray.
Today's Favorite Verse: Joseph Smith - History 1:19, 26
"I was answered that I must join none of them for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for the doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."
I had not got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned - that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true - that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided."
The last time I read this verse was in answer to a prayer on who to vote for, when the nominees for several primary parties had been selected. My soul was troubled about my choices. I prayed to know God's will in the matter. I acknowledged the flaws I had found in each of them, but my absolute willingness to vote for whomever I needed to, regardless if I abhorred them, and I sincerely meant it. I was absolutely willing to do that. In answer to prayer this verse came to mind and I was told to choose none of them. I had never thought of the story of Joseph Smith's first vision in this manner before. I was also told I could choose between a very minor third party candidate or write in a name. The choice was mine free to choose.
Since that time another candidate has come on the scene and I have felt I would not be against my moral principles to vote for them. I have been weighing this matter on my mind. I was almost there, like 99% there, something wasn't right, so I have been waiting. For I know Satan can tell you 99% truth, but the 1% lie is where he gets you. Today as I read this chapter I tried so hard to not look at it in a political way. I wanted with all my heart to read it in a spiritual way, as I always had. But, all of this just came back to my mind. Even the answer I had previously been given. The spirit could not be rejected in this matter. I realized as in verse 26 I "had not got my mind satisfied", and I needed to "continue as I was until further directed".
I have spent most of the day listening to that minor little candidate that no one seems to ever hear about. I have been pouring over interviews with him and my heart has been touched. More than touched. I have been in tears. So far I find nothing that is amiss, or what I have to settle on. I am going to continue listening to these interviews, because I never gave him a fair chance before. Then I will go back to that candidate I had started to consider, and compare. Maybe I will learn something about the 1% that seems off. I have time, the decision doesn't have to be made today. But, I know I am on the course I need to take. Then I will take this matter to prayer, for confirmation.
What I have decided is that my relationship with the Lord, and where my heart stands is of the utmost importance to me. I know whomever I vote for won't win, and I am ok with that. I have an absolute confirmation to choose none of the major political candidates. I cannot be swayed, and anyone that tries to change my mind in the matter does not understand how I love the Lord more. How answer to prayer is answer to prayer, regardless of the outcome. I also understand the answer to my prayer may be different than the answer someone else gets. Not everyone over the ages, asking the same prayer as Joseph Smith, got the same answer either. Sometimes the roles we are meant to play are different than another's. Receiving a different answer does not bother me or change my mind in the least. When there is peace in a matter, on what is right for me, there is peace. It is God that knows what is right for each of us.
Today's Favorite Verse: Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:9
"And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;"
I have finished the book of Abraham and am now in Joseph Smith - Matthew. The chapter headers says it is "An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet in 1831: Matthew 23:39 and chapter 24."
As I read this I could see why this chapter was chosen. It speaks to the Second Coming of the Son of Man. As I read I had so many thoughts, but the verse I chose struck me because it has also been something I had been noticing around me. Trying to put my finger on what I have been seeing.
What is a false prophet? I would think it is someone that teaches the philosophies of man and tries to make them appear to be the words of Christ. They are setting themselves up to be a light to others, when what they preach contains darkness to deceive. What has been troubling my soul is seeing good people twist scripture stories to uphold wickedness. I have seen the stories of Samson, King David, Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, Alma the younger, and others used to basically say "God will save us in our sins". That God will use wicked people for his purposes. Sadly the false belief is that the purpose will be to their good. There is never acknowledgement that God used earlier prophets and saints as examples of what happens when we do repent and when we don't. He could only use the prophets when they humbled themselves and repented. The only way God can use a wicked man, that does not repent, is to punish the wicked.
Now I know what I have been seeing around me, false prophets, and there are many of them. They are lying to us that God will save us in our sins. God can only save us when we turn from sin and come unto him. Every time I see a false prophet I have turned away. I don't even comment or argue. There is no point. They have been deceived and their ears will no longer hear. Satan has taken a great hold upon their hearts and they are blind. All that would come from my words is uncontrollable anger from them. The only protection I have from them is to turn away. I know they feel they won the battle, because I would never fight. Instead what I have been doing is keeping the spirit close within my heart. The only protection from a false prophet is to have the spirit as my constant companion. Right now that is something I cannot afford to lose. For tonight I realized another sign of Christ's coming is fulfilled in my eyes.
"But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning."
In the time of Kolob one day equals a thousand years to man. I have often thought about the serpent tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. Telling them they won't die by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Of course the serpent was Satan and all he can do is lie, and deny God's word. For God told man that in the day that they ate of that fruit they would die. As it happens once they eat of the fruit neither of them dies right away. So did God lie because they didn't die within the day? No, for the reckoning of time was 1,000 years to equal the day in which Adam would die. For Adam in our time lived to be 929 years old. So he did die within the day counted by God. This simple story shows me how God never lies and everything he says is fulfilled. It's man that just doesn't understand his ways.
"And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping things that creepeth upon the earth.
So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them."
To simply know that my body is designed after the image of God helps me feel like I am one of his children. I have believed this since I was a child. It helped me understand the concept of God being a loving Heavenly Father. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to think of God without a body but just everywhere. I think I would feel much more distant from him. To think that God wanted me to be formed in his image means he expects me to become like him.
"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;"
Abraham was shown the order of the heavens and their times and seasons. As I read I could see how small of a creation I am. Yet as I read these verses I see how my eternal progression is important to God. My life has a purpose in the eternal plan. Every minute of my life I am given agency to decide if I will do as the Lord commands. That is the essence of my life experience. To be tried and tested and proven worthy or not. God's commandments were never meant to be put on a shelf, so I could follow my own will. In every breath I take, every decision I face, the question is do I follow Him?
"Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee;"
As I read this I thought "Here is a truth, anyone that earnestly seeks the Lord will find him." No will be denied. The invitation is for all. The more I seek Him, the more I come to know him. This is a promise the Lord will never break. The only time I am lost is when I turn away.
"And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers."
I am in the Book of Abraham now. The introduction to the Pearl of Great Price says this about the Book of Abraham. "An inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri. The translation was published serially in the Times and Seasons beginning March 1, 1842, at Nauvoo, Illinois." The book of Abraham begins with the following added in italics by Joseph Smith. "A translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus."
Inside this chapter it gives the origins of Egypt. Noah's son Ham married a Canaanite women, named Egyptus. Her name in Chaldean means Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. The Canaanites having been cursed to the right of the holy priesthood. Their daughter Egyptus first discovered the land. She had a son named Pharaoh, which signifies king of royal blood, and he established the first government of Egypt. He was a righteous man and ruled after a patriarchal order, and was blessed by Noah with wisdom, but cursed pertaining to the priesthood.
As I was reading this I sat and wondered "Why didn't God just lift this curse against the Canaanites after the flood?" He had just removed the wicked and was starting over? These were good righteous people. I sat pondering on that for quite a while. Was it simply because we needed opposition in all things?
It wasn't until I read the first and last part of verse two by Abraham again, that I could understand. "I sought for the blessings of the fathers....I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers." It was because of the promises God made to their fathers that things continued the way they did after the flood. God is showing us he does not break his promises. Even a curse is a promise God made to a father. God can make new promises, and remove cursing, but they are in his own due time. This was not the time, and his ways are not our ways.
"And it came to pass that Methuselah, the son of Enoch, was not taken, that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch; for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of his loins."
The City of Enoch, with Enoch and the saints were taken up to heaven, leaving behind his son Methuselah. If my math is right Methuselah and his son Lamech both witnessed the testimony and death of Adam, along with the City of Enoch being taken up. Lamech's son is Noah, and his grandson's are Shem, Ham and Japhath. Noah was born just a few years after Enoch and his city were taken up to heaven. Noah and his sons were also born after Adam's death so they could not witness his testimony face to face. The witness they received was from their grandfathers.
Jewish tradition says Methuselah died 7 days before the great flood. Lamech died 6 years prior. I just sat and pondered on these great men Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhath all being together. Grandfathers, sons, and great-grandsons. They survived the most wickedness of times together. They were together to prepare for the great flood that would cover the earth. I thought on the importance of family and our witness of the truthfulness of the gospel to our children. What an important role grandparents and great-grandparents play. Noah needed the witness of Methuselah to fulfill his mission on this earth. The church may flee, but the basic family unit will remain for the eternities. The basic family unit is where the essence of the gospel should be taught.
"And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;
And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth; to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and the righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shall thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;"
My wish would be to live to see the return of the City of Enoch to the earth. I want to fall upon their necks and kiss them, and hold them very, very tight. It has been such a desire of my heart my whole life. Though I don't know if I will ever live to see that day in the flesh.
As I was reading this, and pondering on how glorious a scene it would be, a thought came to me. During family scripture reading we talk about the days event, and the increasing wickedness in the world. We say all the time "I can't believe what we are seeing. It's like we are in some type of dream." I realized I have thought upon the return of the City of Enoch also like some type of dream. You know it will happen, but doesn't seem real. I don't know why I exactly had to think of this future event in quite that parallel, but there must be something to it. I do not feel I will see this tomorrow, once again no knowledge I will live to see it. But, what was once unreal in this world is now becoming real. We really do live in particular times.
"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."
As I was reading this verse the part "peaceable things of immortal glory" rested on my mind. I was in awe that not only can I have peace here but in the eternities it would remain with me forever. With it I will know all things, be full of wisdom, truth and judgement. That is such an amazing promise. Then my mind rested on those that may not obtain eternal life. Would they be forever blind to the fullness of truth and be angry? For indeed the opposite of peace is anger. My soul felt such sorrow for them. I wish desperately that I am not counted among them. I wish desperately that no one has this as their eternal fate..How much is at stake with the brief time we call mortal life.
"And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan command him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord.
And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground and offering unto the Lord.
But unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
I was wondering why the fruit of the ground wasn't an acceptable offering to the Lord. If your a farmer and that is all you raise wouldn't that be acceptable? Then I went back and read what had been asked of them. In verse five no where does it mention vegetables. The more I thought on it, and the offering being in a similitude of the sacrifice of the Savior, there was a need for blood to be spilled. Vegetables don't have blood, just like Satan doesn't either. What a mockery Satan was making of the Savior's atonement and sacrifice to inspire Cain to offer up vegetables. The sacrifice of an animal was not an impossibility for Cain because he was a farmer, he could have traded his vegetables for the needed animal. He just didn't want to. He had no desire to please God. Satan knew that the sacrifice of a vegetable was a reference to the Father who Cain was really worshiping. The one who had no blood, not His only Begotten Son. That is why Satan inspired Cain to do that very thing.
"And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying - Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surly I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me - Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down."
God is telling Moses how Satan became the devil. I found it interesting that Moses experienced prior to this the reality of Satan and his demands to be worshiped. It was only through calling on the name of Christ that Satan could be commanded to depart. Moses knew from his own experience exactly who God was talking about.
Satan is still trying to destroy the agency of man. This is the most precious gift I have been given by the Father. The ability to chose. Though those choices do have consequences. My heart is so full of gratitude for my Savior and his willingness to atone for my sins. It is the only way possible for me to make it back to the Father's presence. I just had to sit and reflect on that for a while. What a marvelous plan this is.
"And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;
And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and earth,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; "
As I was reading this chapter I ran into a little trial of my faith. For some reason as I read it I thought it was saying God rested on the seventh day and then created man. I didn't think that was right. I went back to Genesis and the scriptures were as I recalled, God rested after he created man. I can't tell you all the thoughts that went through my head. But, I knew there was an explanation and the issue wasn't the scriptures, where they had come from, or who translated it, the problem was me. I wasn't looking at this the right way. The only way to receive an answer was to pray. I humbly asked that my eyes would be made to see and my heart would understand.
I started the chapter over and read more carefully this time. It took several attempts before I could finally see God was recapping the generations of the heaven and earth, and how they were created. Only this time he added the part about creating man in great detail. What a simple explanation. Why didn't I see that earlier? Why the little trial of my faith? Then I knew trials are how I am tested and can grow. I had already come to learn that questions that pop into my head while reading, are the spirit wanting me to sit and ponder over something. This is when I am ready to be taught. The experience today was a new type of gospel question that the spirit gave to me. It was also an opportunity to understand how people can have doubts about the scriptures and the manner in which those questions can be resolved.
"And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.
And I, God, called the Light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake; and the evening and the morning were the first day.
And I God, said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years;
And I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser light was the moon; and the stars also were made even according to my word.
And the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;"
In this chapter God reveals to Moses the creation of this earth. My, my, my, what an explosion of thought. I can only attempt to explain my thought process on it. I did so much pondering on light and darkness. The very first act of the creation of this earth was light and darkness and each stage of creation became one creation day, or period. Yet it isn't until the 4th day that the sun, the moon and the stars are created to rule over the light and darkness. This would be what I know as a period of 24 hours making a day. So I have to conclude that the light and darkness period called a creation day is not the same. Meaning God didn't complete the creation of the earth in 6 physical days of 24 hours. He created it in a period of light and darkness, called a day, which could be any length of time.
So now I pondered on what this light and darkness was. What did he put here first to make darkness? Was it the earth's spirit or some other thing? Then it came to me that the natural man is an enemy to God. So, is the darkness the natural earth? I know there are people that worship the earth or mother nature, leaving God out of their lives. What and who is mother nature? Then I thought about how the earth also needs to go through baptism of water and by fire, just like me. The baptism of water was during the great flood. The baptism of fire will happen at Christ's coming. What is the earth repenting of? Is it its natural element?
I noticed for the first time the phrase repeated during the creation "And I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good." It made me pause and ask myself "Is there a distinction of something here?" I had to wonder was someone or something else creating things too? So I wondered if the light period was the beginning of God's creation, and the darkness period was the natural earth's creation period. Was the natural earth an active participant in its own creation, similar to how a baby grows? Couldn't the creation periods be any length of time then? If that is true, than each creation period is called a day, because it went through a period of both light and darkness. I could then see how physical evidence on the age of this earth can completely go hand in hand with what God said he did when creating it. They fit. Even evolution fits (to a point) because there would have been a period of darkness after God's light.
There is so much, much more I pondered on over the creation. I know I am just seeing a tiny part of it. There is so much to learn by the spirit. I do love this earth. The natural part of it can be extremely powerful and destructive and cause much darkness and sadness. Though I think there is something here about not worshiping it. The part in God's hand is most glorious and light. I know I have much, much more to learn about this light and darkness, but I know all things come in time.
"And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me."
I am in the Pearl of Great Price which is a small selection of choice materials that were translated and produced by the Prophet Joseph Smith. They were published in the Church periodicals of his day. They cover significant aspects of the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are considered part of our scriptures called the Standard Works, which include the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The "Selections from the Book of Moses" is an extract from the book of Genesis in Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. Members of the LDS Church still read the Kings James version of the Holy Bible. In the footnotes of the LDS edition of the King James Bible are minor translation changes by Joseph Smith. In the back of the Bible are larger sections. The parts in the Pearl of Great Price run into chapters. Joseph Smith was martyred before he could finish the translation of the bible. Someday I would love to read the Joseph Smith translated version of the bible that the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS) printed. It would just be interesting to read the bible put together like that. I don't believe they sell that edition anymore.
As I was reading this chapter there were so many verses I pondered on. I thought they are all very precious. Then of course the naming of this set of scripture the Pearl of Great Price enforced its meaning.
In this verse I pondered on how Satan shows in just a few words his character. He is foremost a liar, saying he is the Only Begotten, who is Jesus Christ. So he projects one thing on the outside but inside he is totally something else. So he is a deceiver. He desires to take Christ's glory from him. Something he never earned a right to. He is a thief. He seeks glory and the worshiping by others of himself. So he is self-absorbed and prideful. He would have to be the ultimate narcissist. In doing all this he cries with a loud voice and rants, and then commands others. He seeks power and control. It just made me think of people that align themselves with exactly these same traits. Indeed these qualities would make you a follower of Satan. The sad thing is if your self-absorbed you have no idea how others see you. In fact in this chapter Moses knew immediately that Satan did not have the glory of God upon him. The only way Moses knew this is because he knew the glory of God. So to be able to discern Satan and his characteristics in others you would need to know God first. Not only that you would need the spirit to always be with you so you could discern him and his tactics, that continually lay in wait to deceive.