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Archive for the ‘Obedience’ Category

Noahide Laws

The Babylonian Talmud (dated to 300 CE) lists seven laws which God gave to the Children of Noah (B’nei Noach):

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

Reference:  Chabad Universal Morality

The Talmud states that the instruction not to eat “flesh with the life” was given to Noah, and that Adam and Eve had already received six other commandments.

Jewish scholar Maimonides (13th century) taught that gentiles may have a part in the world to come (Olam Haba) just by observing Noahide law.

But Jews are obligated to observe the whole Torah which is comprised of 613 commandments.

– Tom Irvine

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The united tribes of Israel had grown steadily in wealth, power and glory or 120 years, under the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon.

Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the next king. Rehoboam raised the taxes, which caused the northern tribes to rebel against him.

Jeroboam became the king of the northern tribes. He was a wicked king who set up his own worship system using non-Levites as priests.

Jeroboam also built two golden calves as idols and placed them in the cities of Bethel and Dan. He instructed the people to worship the golden calves:

It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (1 Kings 12:28)

* * *

1 Kings 13

[1] And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
[2] And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
[3] And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
[4] And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
[5] The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

The Lord then healed King Jeroboam’s hand.

King Jeroboam then invited the man of God to come to his home and to receive a reward.

But the man of God refused.

“If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.”

The man then began his journey to his home in the land of Judah.

An “older prophet” who lived in Bethel then appears in the story and invited the man of God into his own home.

The old prophet proclaimed to the man of God:

“I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water.”

But the old prophet lied unto him.

The man of God then entered the old prophet’s home and ate dinner with him.

The old prophet then chastised the man of God.

“Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee. But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.”

The man of God was then killed by lion, soon after he left the old prophet’s home.

* * *

David R. Reid wrote the following.

In the tale of two prophets, most likely the older prophet was a believer in the true God, and was not directly a part of Jeroboam’s false system of worship. But rather than stir up trouble for himself by speaking out publicly against King Jeroboam I, or moving south to Judah as others had done, he remained in Bethel, retaining his local prestige as a “retired prophet.” Rather than “rock the boat,” he went along with the system for his own selfish purposes. Perhaps he was like one of the 7000 silent believers who lived in the idolatrous northern kingdom in Elijah’s day. (See 1 Kings 19:18.) But when the younger prophet from Judah boldly denounced the king and his false system of worship, the older prophet was stirred into action.

Unfortunately that action was not channelled in the right direction. Maybe the older prophet was miffed that God had left him on the sidelines–even though his passive lifestyle and lack of commitment had made him unsuitable for God’s use as a messenger. Maybe he had an exaggerated notion of his own importance as a prophet in the Bethel area. Maybe he was jealous of the youth of the prophet from Judah. Whatever the case, the older prophet lied to the younger prophet. He misdirected him–and actually persuaded him to disobey the Lord’s will!

* * *

This is an extreme story. But it is worthy of careful consideration for application to our own lives.

I am skeptical that the people we personally meet in our religious settings would intentionally lie to us and tempt us to disobey God while simultaneously claiming authority from God. Yes, there is an occasional wolf in sheep’s clothing, but these individuals are rare.

The far greater concern is well-meaning but misguided people who would dissuade from some mission or purpose that the Lord has charged us with. These individuals might even claim some authority as they attempt to correct us.

Yes, we all have need of correction.

But we must follow the Lord first. We should prayerfully seek to develop discernment using the Holy Spirit to guide us. We must also become thoroughly grounded in the holy scriptures. We can then discern whether the words of others are truly from God.

* * *

I came across this Biblical story as I recently sat in a dentist office waiting room. A Bible was sitting on a small table in the room. I said a prayer in my heart asking the Lord to give me a personal message from his holy book. I then opened the Bible to what otherwise seemed to be a random location. The result was the story of the man of God from Judah.

* * *

After I wrote the initial blog post, I came across Joseph Smith’s commentary.

Smith’s interpretation was that the old prophet was truthful in the sense that an angel really had commanded him to invite the man of God into his home for dinner, but that this was all a devised test of the man’s obedience.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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The Ten Commandments were given by Jehovah to the Children of Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament, Exodus 20.

* * *

Exodus 20

[1] And God spake all these words, saying,
[2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
[4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
[5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
[6] And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
[7] Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
[9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
[10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
[11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[12] Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
[13] Thou shalt not kill.
[14] Thou shalt not commit adultery.
[15] Thou shalt not steal.
[16] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
[17] Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

* * *

Which is the first of the Ten?

The “Sunday School” answer is:

[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

But a Rabbi taught me that the first is actually:

[2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thus the first commandment is to remember the mercy of the Lord and to express gratitude to Him for all of the blessings that He has given to the Children of Israel, to our forefathers, and to ourselves.

– Tom Irvine

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This morning I took a walk around my neighborhood. My family and I live in an area with hills and pine trees.

I remembered that the Bible has hundreds of verses containing the verb walk. Here are just a few…

Adam and Eve heard the Lord in the Garden of Eden.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8.

The children of Israel crossed the Red Sea.

But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Exodus 14:29.

* * *

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.

* * *

In Matthew 5:41, Jesus instructs, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”

This teaching deals with the Roman practice of commandeering civilians to carry soldiers’ luggage for, in this case, one mile.

* * *

Jesus healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda by commanding him “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” John 5:1-9.

Jesus walked across the Sea of Galilee to rescue his disciples who were in boat rocked by wind and waves. Matthew 14:22-33.

Jesus, as a Resurrected Being, walked with Cleopas and another disciple along the road to Emmaus. He taught the two disciples from the scriptures as they walked. The disciples did not recognize Jesus but nevertheless invited him to stay with them. The story continues…

Luke 24

[30] And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
[31] And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
[32] And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

* * *

The scriptures teach us that we should walk by faith, in obedience and in truth.

Luke 1

[6] And they (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

2 Corinthians 5

[7] For we walk by faith, not by sight:

2 John 1

[4] I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
[5] And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
[6] And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

* * *

And let us walk with gratitude.

[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
[7] Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving

Colossians 2

* * *

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23

* * *

Let us learn and contemplate our duty. Let us be willing and worthy to serve. Let us in the performance of our duty follow in the footsteps of the Master. As you and I walk the pathway Jesus walked, we will discover He is more than the babe in Bethlehem, more than the carpenter’s son, more than the greatest teacher ever to live. We will come to know Him as the Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer.

– President Thomas S. Monson, Willing and Worthy to Serve, April 2012

* * *

Out of the darkness and the horror of Calvary came the voice of the Lamb, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And the dark was no longer dark, for He was with His Father. He had come from God, and to Him He had returned. So also those who walk with God in this earthly pilgrimage know from blessed experience that He will not abandon His children who trust in Him. In the night of death, His presence will be “better than [a] light and safer than a known way.”

– President Thomas S. Monson, May We So Live, August 2008

* * *

May the Lord bless you as walk with him,

– Tom Irvine

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To my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ . . .

The Ten Commandments were given by Jehovah to the Children of Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament, Exodus 20.

* * *

Exodus 20

[1] And God spake all these words, saying,
[2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
[4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
[5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
[6] And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
[7] Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
[9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
[10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
[11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[12] Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
[13] Thou shalt not kill.
[14] Thou shalt not commit adultery.
[15] Thou shalt not steal.
[16] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
[17] Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

* * *

A friend asked me “Are these laws and commandments still relevant to us after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ?”

The answer is Yes!

Jesus taught “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Jesus of the New Testament is the same being as Jehovah of the Old Testament.

* * *

Our Lord reaffirmed the Ten Commandments in the following New Testament scriptures. He also gave higher laws built upon the foundation of the Ten Commandments.

Matthew 5

[21] Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
[22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

[27] Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
[28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Mark 12

[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
[30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 10

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
[18] And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
[19] Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
[20] And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
[21] Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
[22] And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

* * *

The Apostle Paul warned:

Romans 6

[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
[2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

* * *

The Apostle Paul reaffirmed the Ten Commandments after Christ’s death and resurrection.

Romans 13

[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

* * *

Please remember that obedience to the voice of the Lord is greater than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22)

And to revere God and obey him are the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

* * *

We are unworthy creatures. We can only be saved through the Grace of Jesus Christ.

But we must still obey the Lord’s commandments in order to become his disciples and to have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom

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As I translate the Book of Mormon into Hebrew, I reuse the translated phrases as they reoccur. The following summarizes the Book of Mormon via a composite of reocurring phrases. The number of occurrences in noted in parentheses………

The Book of Mormon gives Christ’s invitation to “come unto me” (37) and to “keep the commandments” (39).

We can thus take our place in the “House of Israel” (122) by making “covenants.” (154)

He will then deliver us from “bondage” (33) and loosen the “bands of death” (12) through the “plan of redemption” (17).

And Christ proclaims “lift up your heads” (5), and reminds us “I would that ye should remember” (15) these blessings and commands.

We can then “break forth into joy” that “the Lord hath comforted his people” (4).

And “How beautiful upon the mountains” (5) will be our feet if we proclaim His gospel.

“As the Lord liveth,” (17) these scriptures are true. He is the “God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.” (8).

– Tom Irvine

See also:

BofM_Hebrew.pdf

 

http://www.vibrationdata.com/Book_of_Mormon.htm

http://www.vibrationdata.com/Book_of_Mormon_Hebrew.htm

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Naaman was a captain of the king of Syria’s army. Naaman had leprosy, a terrible disease, according to 2 Kings 5.

The maid of Naaman’s wife said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet (Elisha) that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”

The king of Syria then sent Naaman to the king of Israel, but the king of Israel was displeased.

Naaman next went to Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” He further complained “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?”

Naaman’s servant then pleaded, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”

Naaman then went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to Elisha’s instructions. His flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

* * *

This story provides many lessons. Naaman needed faith, humility and obedience in order to be healed.

Naaman was not healed after dipping himself the first time. Nor was he healed the second time. He was still a leper even after the sixth time,

What if Naaman had become discouraged or impatient and left the river after the sixth time?

But Naaman persisted. Finally, he was healed after the seventh time.

We should all consider ourselves as if we were Naaman. We must be persistent in obeying the Lord and patient while we await promised blessings.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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