OldTestament Supplements 2010


OLD TESTAMENT STUDY – 2010

LESSON ONE:
The true nature of God was known anciently. His nature was anthropomorphic, meaning the giving of human characteristics to noon-human beings. The O.T. and Dead Sea Scrolls contain references to God in ‘human terms’.The prophet Moses (Moisheh): The law he transmits to the Jews in Torah embraces far more that the Ten Commandments. The Jews are instructed to love God as well as to be in awe of Him, to love their neighbors as themselves, and to love the non-Jew as themselves. He was raised as an Egyptian, yet was called of God to lead his blood – the Israelites, from bondage to begin a new nation.

The Spanish Jew, Moses Maimonides, (Moses ben Maimon) , renowned philosopher, jurist, physician and the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism, codified the works of others into the Thirteen Articles of Faith. He said that God could not be explained. He argued that God could be known because of the idea of motion, since motion is finite and must have had a Prime Mover = God.

But he said there is no direct positive evidence of God’s existence and that it is ultimately a question of faith.We know the Essenes (see article, scroll lower left) inferred a belief in a pre-existence because their scribes referred to the expected Messiah as known by previous prophets. Maimonides (8th century)eliminated these references.

LESSON TWO:

There is a Jewish tradition (Aggadah) of a conflict in the creation process. Angels were consulted… In the end… the Holy One decided to create man. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

References to Satan as a personage have largely disappeard from Jewish thought. “In the Talmud, Satan is at times identified with the yezer-ha-rah, the evil inclination. but he also assumes aspects of a fully personalized entity. Thus, he is the angel of death, or he is the tempter lying in ambush…or he is the accuser…
 

 LESSON THREE:
Written correspondences between peoples in the Middle East were common. Oldest – Ebla Tablets. 18 thousand ceramic plates in once unknown language. Now transcribed, they are earliest records of the Creation – a Genesis apocryphon (secret writings)scroll – 20 centuries old. Text similar to revelatory testimonies of Moses, Abraham. “Midrash (study)…each newly created from of life ruled over what preceded it in order of creation. Adam…Eve…created last…that they should rule over all creation, and in order that they should be able to enter a banqueting hall that was waiting ready for them.” Encyclopedia Judaica, Jr. and www.israelrevealed.com

Gen 4:4-5, Heb 11:4).” means subsequent, as though it emerges from what has preceded it. The origin of sacrifice is unknown. Was it initiated by express command of God?(toledoth)  Creation: Genesis l describes it as a whole, but Hebrew word for it “

 LESSON FOUR:
The fall of Adam is one of the faded doctrines of Judaism. A scholar, Judah Halevi wrote that Adam was possessed of the divine power that enables mankind to achieve communion with God. Adam’s sin is understood allegorically by Maimonides as a failure to resist the demands of physical passion. Joseph Albo interprets the whole of the story of the Garden of Eden allegorically, regarding it as a “symbolic allusion to man’s fortune in the world”.
 

 Thus, Adam represents…mankind… just as Adam is placed in the Garden, in the midst of which steand the Tree of Life, so man is placed in the world in order to observe the commandments of the Torah…
 Concerning free will, Talmudic literature points to two natures in man, an inclination to do good and to do evil. Sages even said God gave both to man so he could choose for himself. The term “anoint thine eyes” is close to the biblical expression of keeping God’s word in front of you at all times. Jews remind themselves of this by binding leather phylacteries (tfillin) on the arm and foreheaad as well as on all Jewish doorposts (mezuzah). Some of the words in the Mezuzah, written on parchment:
From sources that include Daniel Rona’s masterful site: www.israelrevealed.com – his LDS Supplement section

Repentance in Hebrew is called teshuvah, which literally means “return”. A person who repents his/her sins is called a ba’al teshuvah. Many rabbis believe this person is greater than one who has never sinned, especially when he repents out of love of God. This is a mitzvot, an act of pure unselfishness and part of the first commandment. Click on the link to find more on these supplements from Daniel Rona. 

 LESSON FIVE:
In Judaism, physical death is explained: “The Talmud explains that ther are three partners in the creation of a human being; the father and mother who supply the physical parts, and God Who supplies the spirit. At death, God reclaims his part, and the spirit lives on even though the body has died… the souls of the righteous enter Gan Eden (Paradise). From Encyclopedia Judaica Jr. and http://www.israelrevealed.com/ .
 
 LESSON SIX: 
Noachide Laws, seven laws which were supposed by the rabbis to have been binding on all mankind even before the revelation at Sinai. They are referred to as “Noachide” because of their universality, since the whole human race was supposed to be descended from the three sons of Noah, who alone survived the flood. Exegetically derived from statements made by God to Adam and to Noah, six of them are negative: not to 1) worship idols; 2) blaspheme the name of God; 3) kill; 4) commit adultery; 5) rob; 6) eat flesh that had been cut from a living animal. One is positive: to establish courts of justice. These seven laws are binding on all non-Jews even today. Whoever observes them is considered to be among the “Righteous Gentiles.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)*****************************************************Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, our God is one LORD. This is the Jewish creedal prayer. More is taken from Deut. 6:4-9. Keeping the word of the Lord before our eyes at all times is repeated in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple: D&C 09:16-19.
 
 LESSON SEVEN:
It can be considered that the “Abrahamic covenant” was in existence before Abraham’s time. The honor bestowed on this faithful dispensation leader was to have the covenant that eternally binds God and man named after him. A few others have been honored similarly, such as in “The Law of Moses” and the “Sign of the Prophet Jonah.”
  
  
 A physical sign or ‘token’ of the Abrahamic covenant (it had hygenic as well as spiritual value) was when Abraham was commanded to circumcise himself and all male members of his family. “Abraham accepted this new commandment without faltering. Until the mitzvah of circumcision, the patriarch had been known as Abram and his wife as Sarai. Another sign of the covenant was the inclusion in their names of the Hebrew letter heh which is one of the abbreviations for the name of God.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.  

It is a common practice among religious Jews that a special Hebrew name is given to the newborn child. It is an additional name to the one the person is usually known by. A girl receives her name at birth and the boy at eight days of age, at the circumcision. Conversion to Judaism is always accompanied by giving a new name, for men it is usually Abraham or Ben Avraham (son of Abraham). When blessings are given for health, at marriages and at other festive occasions, often the ‘new’ or ‘special’ name is used. Daniel Rona –  www.Israelrevealed.com 
Name of Priesthood, Name of God: The Hebrew word “Zaddik” is reflected in one of the names of the Lord, “Melech Zaddik,” which means King of Righteousness. Alma tells us that Melchizedek was a king of Salem. (Alma 13:17-18). He is thought to be Shem, son of Noah. The Order of Melchizedek is the higher patriarchal order. Jesus was identified in the NT as a High Priest after that order. Abraham paid him tithes. Gen 14:18-20). In Hebrew, his priesthood is the cohain godol.

LESSON EIGHT:

It is a common practice among religious Jews that a special Hebrew name is given to the newborn child. It is an additional name to the one the person is usually known by. A girl receives her name at birth and the boy at eight days of age, at the circumcision. Conversion to Judaism is always accompanied by giving a new name, for men it is usually Abraham or Ben Avraham (son of Abraham). When blessings are given for health, at marriages and at other festive occasions, often the ‘new’ or ‘special’ name is used. Daniel Rona – www.Israelrevealed.com  
 

Rabbi Isaac the Babylonian said that Melchizedek was born circumcised.in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, Melchizedek is described as “a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions.” Because he was a righteous and God fearing man, Melchizedek was “ordained a high priest.” The Translation also describes Melchizedek as establishing peace in his city and being called “the king of heaven” and “the King of peace” (JST Bible Gen 14:25-40), that he and his people were also translated, like Enoch (ancestor of Noah)‘s people were.
Prayer alone is not enough, needs to be connected with works: “Prayer begins when we sense the beauty and mystery of the world and when we yearn to be close to its Creator. Communal prayer opens the worshiper to the needs of others, it “takes the mind out of the narrowness of self interest.” “Prayer is a way to master what is inferior in us . . . it helps us discover our true aspirations . . . Prayer teaches us what to aspire to . . .” “However, prayer is no substitute for action.” Through prayer we deepen our commitment to righteous living.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

 
LESSON NINE:
 Abraham, who was saved from a pagan human sacrifice in the Ur of Chaldees was later instructed by the Lord to sacrifice his firstborn son of Sarah. Later we see that Isaac was saved from human sacrifice as well. Those two men experienced a profound way of being taught about the planned atonement. The firstborn Son of God, however, would actually be the one to be sacrificed. Daniel Rona

“The Hebrew term for sacrifice, korban, is from a root meaning “to draw near,” and originally denoted that which was brought near, or offered, to God. It is also possible that the term signified “that which brings man near to God”. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

The place where Abraham was commanded to bring Isaac was Mount Moriah. In Hebrew, ‘moreh’ refers to teacher and ‘Yah’ is the shortened version of the sacred name of the Lord, Jehovah. The sacrifice of Isaac was an experience being “taught of the Lord.” It was part of the profound teaching moment about the Lord, the firstborn son, the Lamb of God, who would be offered at the same mount.

LESSON TEN: MISSING

LESSON ELEVEN:

The account of ancient Joseph is a chiasmas and is a prefigureing of the Savior’s mission: He is chosen by his father, rejected by his brothers, saves those around him in slavery, yet is unknown, later he serves and saves his brothers before identifying himself.

Jacob laid hands on Joseph’s head: This is symbolic of transferring blessings and passing on authority. In talmudic times, scholars received their rabbinic ordination through the symbolic act of placing of the hands (semikhah).

LESSON TWELVE:

The concept of being a servant is paramount in Judaism: “Being the Chosen People means receiving God’s love and protection, but it also means accepting responsibilities. The prophet Isaiah says that Israel, God’s servant, has been chosen for the task of spreading salvation….”

The first Israelite temple in the land of Israel was in the hands of the tribe of Ephraim. The latest temples outside the land of Israel are now in the hands of Ephraim – the Latter-day Saints. The destiny of Joseph and Judah will eventually be fulfilled when they are united to build the temple in Jerusalem.

Lesson Thirteen 
 

Passover Starts as a Sabbath: The seven-day deliverance feast of Passover is called the “Seder.” Celebrated on the first full moon after the first day of spring, the first day is a “high day” and is treated as a Sabbath. That “high-day Sabbath” can be on any day of the week. The day before Passover is the preparation day when all leavened products are removed from the home. It is even the custom in Israel for the Chief Rabbi to “sell” all the grain and leavened products to an Arab so that Israelis don’t own anything that has or might “rise.” Passover is to remember “rising” quickly and being delivered from Egyptian slavery. It is a symbol of a future “rising” or deliverance that would be even greater than the first Passover. Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.   Lesson Fourteen

 

Manna, the “Bread” That Kept Israelites Alive: “From Talmudic times, it was the special duty of the housewife to bake the bread for the Sabbath . . . also called “hallah.” Two such loaves are placed on the festive Sabbath table as a symbol for the double portion of manna which the Israelites in the wilderness received every Friday, and because of the Showbread in the Temple, which was displayed each Sabbath.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Israel Complained–not Enough Water: Moses provided them with a miracle source of water as he struck the rock. The greatest lesson he learned – so that he could teach the Israelites – was that he, Moses, was not their “deliverer.” The deliverance always comes from “The Rock of Salvation,” “The Fountain of Living Waters.” “. . . the Torah describes the sacrifices . . . at the dedication of the sanctuary, and the kindling of the candelabrum . . . (in memory) special haftarot are prescribed for the Sabbaths of Hanukkah. In the Ashkenazi rite, a hymn called Ma’oz Zur (O Fortress, Rock of my salvation) is sung.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

From Daniel Rona’s excellent site: www.israelrevealed.com

  Lesson Fifteen:

Difficult to Recognize past Revelation Without Present Day Revelation:
 “Any event in which the Divine presence is felt is called a revelation, but the term is applied more particularly to communications of the Divine will as revealed through God’s messengers, the prophets. The Bible itself, and later the rabbis, discerned among the prophets a hierarchy of form and degree, with that of Moses as supreme and unique. At Sinai, the principal revelation of God to man took place. At that time, all the assembled “heard” the Voice of God, and through the mediation of Moses (who, according to the rabbis, functioned there as a scribe), received the complete text of the Torah and its interpretation, the Oral Law.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
Archaeological Discoveries: “Seals employed from the beginning of historical time as the most common means of identifying property, appear both functionally and incidentally in various biblical stories, and many seals from biblical times have actually been uncovered by archaeologists.” “Jewish seals were distinguished from others by their inscriptions in Hebrew and the absence of the human figure.” “Sometimes seals . . . bore emblems with . . . a serpent on it, since the Hebrew word for snake was numerically equivalent to the word for Messiah.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Lesson Sixteen:
Balaam Speaks of a Latter-day David: Balaam was very politically involved and apparently prophesied of a latter-day King David: “Even in parashat-Bilam, the prophecy in that section bears upon two Mashiachs; the first, namely David, who helped to save Israel from the hand of their enemies, and the future Mashiach, a descendant of David, who will help Israel.” (Torah and Existence – Dr. Chaim Zimmerman)
 
Still to Be Fulfilled: “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Numbers 24:17-19) 
Tradition: There is a Jewish tradition that after a good life, an evil spirit entered Balaam and he “counterfeited” God’s word. All from Daniel Rona’s website:  http://www.israelrevealed.com/ 

Lesson Seventeen:

The Deuteronomic code is a series of commands, forming extensive laws, admonitions, and injunctions to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in Canaan, the land promised by God as their permanent home. Great emphasis is placed on Israel’s separateness from the other peoples of the land, and they must especially refrain from worshiping the Canaanite deities. The following list divides the code into three categories: religious laws, rules governing political affairs, and laws covering civil and criminal matters. The list is not exhaustive, and it should be noted that the categorization is artificial. In fact, all of the Deuteronomic laws are characterized as commandments from God.
  Religious laws: Priests worship at the Temple of Jerusalem. 
  • Altars and shrines devoted to Canaanite gods must be destroyed. (12:2-3)
  • Yahweh must not be worshiped in the Canaanite way. (12:4)
  • The death penalty is prescribed for anyone—whether it be a prophet, a miracle-worker, or a member of one’s immediate family—who encourages people to worship other gods than Yahweh. (13:1-11)
  • Towns or villages guilty of worshiping other gods are to be wiped out: “all who live in that town” are to be killed. (13:12-18)
  • A central place of worship is to be established, and sacrificial offerings must be brought there alone.(12:4-7)
  • Sacrifices to Yahweh are banned outside of this central location, but meat may be butchered and eaten locally. (12:8-23)
  • Levites who move to the capital from outlying areas are to be recognized as authorized priests. (18:6-8)
  • A strict ban is imposed on religious prostitution. Earnings from any type of prostitution may not be used in connection with Temple offerings.
  • Various kosher dietary principles are enjoined. (14:3-21)
  • A tenth of all produce and cattle is to be brought to the central sanctuary each year and offered there as a sacrifice. Those living in distant places may sell their produce for money to purchase offerings in the capital. (14:22-26)
  • In addition to tithing, firstborn male cattle are to be offered as sacrifices in the capital. (15:19-20)
  • Only unblemished animals are to be offered as sacrifices to God.
  • Every three years, the tithe is to be given to the local Levites and those in need of charity, rather than being brought to the capital. (14:28-29)
  • Yahwistic religious festivals, including Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot are to be part of Israel’s worship. (16:1-16)
  • A ban is instituted against erecting sacred pillars dedicated to the goddess Asherah next any altars dedicated to Yahweh. (16:21-22)
  • Sacrificing one’s children and/or dedicating them to foreign deities is strictly forbidden, as are divination, sorcery, witchcraft, spellcasting, and mediumship.
  • A regular Jubilee Year is instituted every seven years, during which all debts are canceled. (15:1-11)
  • Emasculated men are prohibited from the joining religious assemblies, as are Ammonites, Moabites, and children of mixed marriages through the tenth generation (23:1-5)
  • Purity laws are instituted prohibiting the mixing of fabrics, crops, and beasts of burden under the same yoke. (22:9-11)
  • Commandments are given for ritual cleanliness, general hygiene, and the treatment of skin diseases. (23:9-14)
  • Cases of serious skin diseases are to be decided by the priests. 24:8
  • God will raise up a prophet like Moses to guide the Israelites. Men who prophesy falsely in God’s name, however, must be put to death. (18:14-20)

Lesson Eighteen: The Saving Step: The name Joshua means “Jehovah saves.” In Hebrew it is pronounced “Jeho-Shua.” That is the original pronunciation for the Savior’s name. Through Greek and then into Latin and finally into English it has transformed into “Jesus.” Accepting the Savior, Jeho-shua, re­quires stepping into a spiritual “gateway” or entering His kingdom. “Since the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the Jordan to enter Erez (land) Israel after the Exodus from Egypt, the Jordan river has come to have a deep significance for Jews, symbolizing the gateway to the homeland after years of wandering in exile in the desert. Folk­lore and mythology have popularized the Jordan as the gateway to Paradise, and cross­ing it is seen as stepping from a world of troubles to one of peace. The river is also important to Christians be­cause John the Baptist performed baptisms on its banks and Jesus was baptized there.” “Since the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the Jordan to enter Erez Israel after the Exodus from Egypt, the Jordan river has come to have a deep significance for Jews, symbolizing the gateway to the homeland after years of wandering in exile in the desert.” (Encyclo­pedia Judaica Jr.)

Lesson Nineteen: Spiritual Blindness: Samson was “blind” to his gift from the Lord–his strength. The scripture writer called his gift “The Spirit of the Lord,” which Samson abus­ed to seek selfish revenge. Samson, a Nazarite, covenanted to abstain from anything that would draw him away from the Spirit of the Lord and would have nothing to do with the dead other than the firstborn, unblemished sacrifices at the appointed Altar of the Lord. Blind to his covenant, he slew an unclean carnivorous lion (not Kosher) with his bare hands but did not tell his parents. He later ate honey from the carcass of that lion and gave it to his priestly parents. In those acts Samson was triple non-kosher!

Lesson Twenty: Understanding Jewish Thinking: This can assist Latter-day Saints (who are truly a part of the House of Israel) in improving their “Gentile” way of thinking. “An undoubted factor in the survival of the Jews as a people with a common identity has been their shared experience of persecution at the hands of gentiles (non-Jews). “. . . gentiles were either natives living in Erez Israel or travelers pass­ing through it. Resident gentiles were protected by traditional hospitality and by contractual agreements made between Israel and the neighboring states. Native gentiles were expected to be loyal to Israel’s civil laws in return for protection, but were generally in a humbler position than the Israelite pop­ulation.”  

To see the Jewish 13 Articles of Faith, scroll down page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_principles_of_faith

Lesson 21: Redemption of Firstborn Ceremony: “In the case of a human bekhor, this ceremony . . . consists of redeeming the child from a kohen (priest) by giving the kohen five silver coins. During the ceremony, the father presents his son, often on a specially embellished tray, to the kohen, who asks him in an ancient Aramaic formula, wheth­er he wishes to redeem the child or to leave him to the kohen. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Fasting: “Both the prophets and the rabbis stressed that mere fasting without repentance for our bad deeds is valueless.” “Fasting is an act of repentance or of supplication seeking divine forgiveness or the prevention of disaster. Public fasts also commemorate catastrophic events in Jewish history . . . On fast days one neither eats nor drinks. On major fasts, other prohibitions are wash­ing, wear­ing leath­er shoes, using ointments or perfumes, and other physical plea­sures. There are special prayers and the Torah is read in the synagogue. Yom Kippur and Tishah be-Av are observed from sunset to sunset. All other fasts are from sunrise to sunset.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

 

Lesson 22: From the Heart or From the Head: Even prayers and benedictions are prepared – to be followed, rather than be spoken from the heart. However, some of these benedictions still carry an admonition to go beyond the “do” to embrace “faith” (Emunah) in God. “They advise man not to put his trust in earthly rulers, but rather to have faith in God Who made heaven and earth, Who helps the oppresse­d, and heals the broken-hearted. “Let every living soul praise the Lord, Hallelujah!” . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Choosing of a New King: After Saul, this was to become a spiritual exercise rather than using human comprehension. It resulted in finding, in obscurity, as a child and a shepherd, a king of the Lord’s choosing with the Lord’s spirit (who turned out to be the finest king Israel would ever have). That principle is still not really recognized in popular Judaism, yet notice the commentaries that keep referring to a spiritual connection.

Lesson 23: Inferred Meanings: When David had cut Saul’s garment and show­ed him the piece, Saul realized that David could have killed him. Yet David used the opportunity to bear his witness. He would not kill the Lord’s anoint­ed. Saul probably understood that the statement was also valid in reverse . . . neither should Saul kill the Lord’s anointed. This logic is bet­ter understood by realizing that Hebrew is a language of inference. Often things said contain more meanings than the obvious words.

Special Friendships: The friendship of David and Jonathan is still reflected in Israeli society. Long term, true friend­ships are created as young men and women serve in the military at the age of eighteen. In the army a bank president can be a jeep driver for an officer who is his employee. They trust and depend on each other. Their friendship transcends their civilian relationship.

Lesson 24: Latter-day Joseph and David: There are rabbinic suggestions of expected heaven-sent visitors that include a latter-day Messiah, Ben-Joseph, latter-day Messiah Ben-Joseph who will receive the keys of the gathering of Israel and restore temple worship. This was referred to by the Chief Rabbi Abraham HaCohen Kook when he explained that the Temple could not be built right away because there was no priesthood. There are other versions of this tradition of a Joseph of latter days. Also a latter-day David is expected (this is implied at almost every Bar Mitz­vah as the congregants sing “David King of Israel” to the young lad). Their expectation is of a David who will emerge from obscurity to be a great king or leader in these last days. “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jeremiah 30:9) “And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.” (Ezekiel 34:24) “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:5)

Lesson 33: The story of Jonah is his poetic way of bearing a humble testimony that he, Jonah, was nothing, that he Jonah sank to the depths, that he, Jonah was to do the Lord’s work instead of his own. His humility and confession may be mistaken as a “less than willing” prophet. He is one of the greatest, and in fact, the most important prophet of his day.
Lesson 34:
Hosea is to be understood as a motivator of choosing the right, which opens the gateway of hope. “Petah Tikvah is a city seven miles east of Tel Aviv, was founded in the 1870s by a group of religious Jewish pioneers from Jerusalem, who decided to become farmers and establish a village. They called it Petah Tikvah (“Gateway of Hope”) after the divine promise uttered by the prophet Hosea (2:17): “And I will give her… the valley of Achor for a gateway of hope. “It was the first Jewish village in the country, and later became known as “the mother of the moshavot,” or cooperative smallholders’ villages.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Hosea’s recurring reminder for repentance is repeated in Jewish Sabbath services that lead to the Day of Atonement. That day is a fasting day and the entire book of Jonah is read. It’s symbolism of atonement is in the three nights and three days of Jonah’s experience and the Savior’s use of Jonah’s experience as a sign of His atonement for our sins.
Gad honored his prophets, assigning their names to events and covenants. Examples include: “The Abrahamic Covenant” that existed before Abraham and the “Law of Moses.” Jonah received that honor as the only sign the Lord would give of his Messiaship. A little further in this article you will see how Jesus referred to the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Lesson 35:“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Since the Biblical Hebrew has such a small vocabulary, it is fascinating to know that words with related meanings are placed in precise order for a rainbow of meanings. Secrets, counsel, advice, insight are all related in meaning!
“AMOS, the shepherd, was called from following his flock to become a prophet of Israel. His prophecies began two years before the great earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam, king of Israel, in the eighth century B.C.E.”

“The third of the twelve Minor Prophets, Amos preached a powerful message that sounds as relevant in the Western world of the twentieth century as it did in Erez Israel in Amos’ own day.”

 

 

Lessons 36,7,8 are missing!

 

 

Lesson 39: The lesson title invokes a unique geographical consideration. In this case, geography lends its testimony of the Lord. In ancient times, the word of the Lord came from the “tops of the mountains,” Jerusalem, where the tribe of Judah and the prophets of Israel lived. These mountains create a backbone of the country of Israel. In fact, the land of Israel has mountains from its northern to its southern borders. It is a mountain range that is “everlasting.”

Lesson 40: It seems that the “camp” of Israel was organized in a “City of the Lord” which was likened to the “House of The Lord.” The families were on the outside, the priests (Levites) were next. They surrounded to holiest place (the Ark) where the Lord’s prophet communed with God. It may be likened to the terms telestial, terrestrial and celestial.

“. . . it seems, the ancient Israelites were commanded to build a sanctuary so that God may dwell amongst them (Exodus 25:8). The Tabernacle became the place to which sacrifices were brought in times of joy and in times of sadness. It became the place to which Moses retired when he wanted to communicate with God. When the Children of Israel camped in the desert, the Tabernacle was erected at the very center of the camp; when they moved, the Tabernacle was taken apart, and was moved with them. Physically and spiritually it was the central object for the Children of Israel and it was through the Tabernacle that they felt their connection with God.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Lesson 41:There are numerous metaphors used in the scriptures that denote materials that were made into vessels. Iron and clay are most notable. “Isaiah describes the smith’s technique of working iron with the help of charcoal to produce a metal suitable for making vessels.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Jeremiah’s life showed how the Lord “formed” him to make him a vessel to represent the Lord. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

The concept of a pre-existence has long since disappeared from Judaism, yet inference of life before birth can be seen in Dead Sea Scroll writings and in the discussions of Jewish sages earlier than Maimonides eight hundred years ago. It seems that since his compilation of Jewish thought and the code of laws the concept of a pre-existence has been rejected or at least it has disappeared from Jewish thought.

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