Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Book of Mormon’ Category

Last Sunday I gave a talk in my church at the request of my bishop. The assigned topic was “The Five Elements of Missionary Preparation,” presumably for the benefit of young men and women.

I have been concerned, however, that many of our young people who earnestly want to serve missions cannot do so for medical and other reasons beyond their control. They often feel disheartened as a result. I thus wanted to reassure them that there are plenty of other ways for them to serve the Lord and their fellow man.

From there, it was an easy step to reach out to all those in the congregation who are suffering from health problems or other afflictions.

I am including a link to my written talk. The one I actually gave had some minor variations. And I gave the talk with a depth of emotion that the written words may be unable to convey.

Yes, I strayed from the assigned topic, but several of the members were moved to tears. We are a very perfection-driven people in my church. We need to pause and admit that we are imperfect people living in a fallen world. And acknowledge that salvation comes only through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Download Link/Tom_talk2013.pdf

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

Matthew 10:38

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

* * *

Luke 9:23

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

* * *

2 Nephi 9

[18] But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

* * *

True Happiness

Why does life seem so difficult? Why does there seem to be so much sadness, hate, and unhappiness in the world? Why do the innocent suffer? Why are there so many unhappy people? Many are unhappy because they do not know the plan of salvation; others do not believe the plan of salvation; and others, although they believe, are not willing to pay the price for happiness now and for all eternity. Do you believe in the plan of salvation? Are you willing to pay the price for happiness?

Jacob described those who are willing to pay this price: “Behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.”

Elder Adhemar Damiani, The Merciful Plan of the Great Creator

* * *

See also: President Thomas S. Monson, Be of Good Cheer

* * *

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

veil

Both the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem had an inner room called the “Holy of Holies” which had a thick curtain or veil that separated it from the outer room. This inner room was God’s special dwelling place in the midst of his people.

Once a year the high priest solemnly lifted a corner of this veil to enter the room bringing blood and holy incense. This occurred on a prescribed day called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The high priest then passed into the immediate presence of Jehovah.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 9:7)

* * *

The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

[50] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
[51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Matthew 27

Blood sacrifices from an unspotted firstborn lamb are no longer required. Christ’s sacrifice answers the ends of law unto all who have broken heart and contrite spirit. (See: Psalm 51:17 & 2 Nephi 2:7)

[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
[20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

Hebrews 10

* * *

Furthermore, the tearing of the veil upon Jesus’ death laid open the sacred place.

The veil rent top to bottom gives ample space for all to enter, to approach the throne, receive God’s grace and to commune with Him.

God’s presence is now accessible to all who humbly seek Him.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

One of the first references to Zion in the Bible is:

Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. (2 Samuel 5:7).

This scripture refers to a military battle in which David captured a fortress on Mount Zion from the Jebusites.

Mount Zion is a hill outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The name Zion also became a synonym for Jerusalem itself.

Zion is used 197 times in the King James Bible. This number includes the alternate spelling Sion.

An example which foreshadowed the exile of the Jews to Babylon is:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (Psalm 137:1)

“Return to Zion” refers the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile to the Land of Israel after the destruction of the First Temple, following the decree of Cyrus the Great. These events are recorded in the Bible books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

* * *

Zion is also used to refer to Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. (Psalm 76:2)

The temple is understood to be God’s dwelling place.

* * *

The phrase “daughter of Zion (or Sion)” is given 28 times in the Bible.

The apostle John wrote of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the days before the Last Supper.

Fear not daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. (John 12:15)

This was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.

* * *

Zion is used 45 times in the Book of Mormon, mostly in reference to Isaiah scriptures.

An example is Mosiah 12:

[21] How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;

[22] Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

(Cross reference: Isaiah 52:7-8)

* * *

Zion is also used several times in the Doctrine & Covenants.

An example is:

Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn. (Doctrine & Covenants 97:21)

* * *

“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory.”

– The Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.

* * *

“Zion is both a place and a people. Zion was the name given to the ancient city of Enoch in the days before the Flood. ‘And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion’ (Moses 7:19). This Zion endured for some 365 years (see Moses 7:68). The scriptural record states, ‘And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled’ (Moses 7:69). . . .

“The Lord called Enoch’s people Zion ‘because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them’ (Moses 7:18). Elsewhere He said, ‘For this is Zion—the pure in heart’ (D&C 97:21).”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, Nov. 2008

* * *

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

“There is nothing that we are enduring that Jesus does not understand, and He waits for us to go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. If we will be obedient and if we are diligent, our prayers will be answered, our problems will diminish, our fears will dissipate, light will come upon us, the darkness of despair will be dispersed, and we will be close to the Lord.”

–Robert D. Hales, “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure”, Ensign, May 1998

* * *

In 1968 a marathon runner by the name of John Stephen Akhwari represented Tanzania in an international competition. “A little over an hour after [the winner] had crossed the finish line, John Stephen Akhwari … approached the stadium, the last man to complete the journey. [Though suffering from fatigue, leg cramps, dehydration, and disorientation,] a voice called from within to go on, and so he went on. Afterwards, it was written, ‘Today we have seen a young African runner who symbolizes the finest in human spirit, a performance that gives meaning to the word courage.’

For some, the only reward is a personal one. [There are no medals, only] the knowledge that they finished what they set out to do” (The Last African Runner, Olympiad Series, written, directed, and produced by Bud Greenspan, Cappy Productions, 1976, videocassette).

When asked why he would complete a race he could never win, Akhwari replied, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; my country sent me to finish the race.”

He knew who he was—an athlete representing the country of Tanzania. He knew his purpose—to finish the race. He knew that he had to endure to the finish, so that he could honorably return home to Tanzania. Our mission in life is much the same. We were not sent by Father in Heaven just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with honor.

Jesus chose not to be released from this world until He had endured to the end and completed the mission He had been sent to accomplish for mankind. Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus commended His spirit to His Father with a simple statement, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Having endured to the end, He was released from mortality.

We, too, must endure to the end. The Book of Mormon teaches, “Unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved” (2 Ne. 31:16).

May we be able to say as Paul said to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept [my] faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

– Elder Robert D. Hales,

Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure, April 1998

The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom, October 2000

Read Full Post »

The English Book of Mormon uses the term “Christian” four times. See Alma 46:13, 15, 16 & Alma 48:10. (There is also a reference to Christian Whitmer, a nineteenth century witness to the Book of Mormon plates.) This usage is well and good for English speakers.

A challenge is that “Christian” is derived from the Greek word “Christos” which means “anointed one.” The ancient Book of Mormon people were almost certainly unfamiliar with Greek. Rather they spoke Hebrew, or a modified version of Hebrew. They wrote in reformed Egyptian. Instead of a phonetic term for “Christian,” they would have probably used the equivalent Hebrew title “follower of the Messiah.” (לַתַּלְמִידִים מְשִׁיחִיִּים)

I need to verify the pronunciation of this title, but “The Messiah” is “HaMashiach.”

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

See vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi chapters 8 and 11.

1 Nephi 11

[33] And I, Nephi, saw that he (Jesus Christ) was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.
[34] And after he was slain I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb; for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord.
[35] And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
[36] And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

* * *

2 Nephi 4

[34] O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

* * *

2 Nephi 8:7 (See also Isaiah 51:7)

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

* * *

Alma 5

[52] And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.

[53] And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?

[54] Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance —

[55] Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?

[56] And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.

[57] And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;

* * *

Alma 39:14

Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.

* * *

Mormon 8

[33] O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

[34] Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

[35] Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

[36] And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

[37] For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

[38] O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies — because of the praise of the world?

[39] Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

[40] Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

[41] Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

* * *

Moroni 8:16-17

. . . and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear. And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love . . .

* * *

Moroni 10

[32] Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

* * *

See also:

Forsaking Worldliness: Old Testament

Forsaking Worldliness: New Testament

Forsaking Worldliness: Doctrine & Covenants

Forsaking Worldliness: Stories & Quotes

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »