Friday, October 30, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 14

Verse two has an intriguing phrase:  "...they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father..."  It seems to me that this could mean one of two things.  Either it means that the Gentiles who are converted and leave the Great and Abominable Church are included in the blessings promised to the seed of Lehi or it must mean that those converts shall literally become the seed of Lehi.  Oh, I guess there is a third possibility.  Perhaps the antecedent to thy father is Joseph or Israel rather than Lehi.

Our late Stake Patriarch often taught that it was the second choice - that we are adopted into the House of Israel through the lineage of Lehi.  I'm not sure that makes sense, though I wouldn't resist.  Lehi's choices led to the creation of The Book of Mormon and that book is vital to the restoration and the removal of our stumbling blocks with regard to Salvation and Exaltation.  Perhaps Lehi's choices did, not only enable him to lay claim to us spiritually, but also genealogically.  To me, it doesn't matter either way.  I just wonder why the phrase was stated ambiguously, when Nephi intended to be plain spoken.  Any thoughts?

I remember, growing up, that it was widely believed that the Catholic Church was the Great and Abominable.  That belief was put to rest by the First Presidency.  Today, it is much more obvious that the Great and Abominable Church is more generic than that and must include a much broader spectrum of error and evil and clearly extends beyond even the bounds of organized religion.

It surprises me too, that it is ever more evident that God is indeed pouring out His wrath upon The Great and Abominable Church and is doing so globally.  How provincially we viewed things 50 years ago, compared to now.  Clearly, the name Great and Abominable Church is a collective term representing the same group that is elsewhere metaphorically described as Babylon.  That makes the The Church of the Lamb of God a representation of Zion.  At least from my perspective, I can see no error in making no distinction between the terms.  One important message in it seems to be that conceivably members of the LDS Church could be lingering in Babylon, or actually members of The Great and Abominable Church.

I need to be very careful here.  I do not wish to make accusations or even to encourage anyone to scrutinize fellow Mormons, in order to spot the Babylonians.  I just know that when, during my many years of addiction, though I attended church regularly and went through all of the motions of being a Mormon, I was very much caught up in the belief systems of the whore of all the earth.  I was, as Elder Maxwell put it, "keeping a summer home in Babylon."  Membership in the Church of the Lamb is, in my view a sub-set of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To the degree that we, as Nephi puts it, "trust in the arm of the flesh," we remain in affiliation with the Great and Abominable Church.  Remember there are only two churches.  The distinction is not a matter of outward affiliation, neither is it one of perfection.  Imperfect people belong to both Churches.  The distinction lies in whether we rely upon the merits and mercy of Christ or foolishly trust in our own capabilities.


di said...

10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save atwo churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the bother is the church of the cdevil;

Black and White
Good and Evil
True and False
Opposition in all things
“That which persuadeth to do good, is of God”

D1Warbler said...

A trip to the cross references for verse 2 of this chapter brings up the following:

Gal. 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

2 Ne. 10:18 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, thus saith our God: I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles; nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel.

3 Ne. 16:13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

3 Ne. 21:6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;

Abr. 2: 10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;

All of these references seem to say to me that becoming a part of the seed of the "Father," pertains to a spiritual "adoption" rather than a literal one. In that case, I don't think it really matters which part of the house of Israel we are attached to as all have the same blessing in the end. However, our Patriarchal Blessings do give us our spiritual lineage -- which may or may not be an adopted lineage -- so there probably is some need for us to be an adopted or literal part of a particular tribe.

There may also be a factor of "order" in the idea that the Gentiles on this continent will be spiritually attached to Lehi, however, since his seed will eventually be judged by the Twelve Apostles (ministers) on this continent rather than the original Twelve Apostles of Christ in Jerusalem.

1 Ne. 12: (9-10) 10 And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them; for ye are of the house of Israel.

10 And these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed.

Thus, it may be that since the Gentiles mentioned in this verse will live on the American continent (North or South) that they then need to be attached to righteous Lehi so they can end up in the correct "judgment pool". (Just a thought.)

About the division between the Great and Abominable Church and the Church of the Lamb, I was grateful when the First Presidency clarified what should have already been clear from the Book of Mormon – i.e., that the Great and Abominable Church goes way beyond a single denomination and includes all those which fight against the true gospel of Christ and the Father. I also agree that it is very possible to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Church of the Lamb of God or Zion (perhaps in name only) and also to be a member of the Great and Abominable Church or the Church of the Devil of Babylon.

I know that if I look at my own life, there have been times when I have dipped at least my toe into Babylon when I wished instead to be immersed in Zion!

D1Warbler said...

(Just noticed a typo above -- the comment should read the Church of the Devil or Babylon -- not of Babylon.)

Also, here are two more references about the twelve who will judge Lehi's descendants:

3 Ne. 27: (25-27) 25 For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.

26 And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged.

27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.


Morm. 3:19 And I write also unto the remnant of this people, who shall also be judged by the twelve whom Jesus chose in this land; and they shall be judged by the other twelve whom Jesus chose in the land of Jerusalem.

The first reference may imply that those who are converted by the Book of Mormon will be those attached to Lehi and judged of that book (The Book of Mormon). The second may imply that those who live on the North or South American Continents will be judged by the disciples chosen by Christ when he visited the Nephites and thus will be numbered with Lehi’s descendants.

Candleman said...

Wow! Talk about some serious research and food for thought! Once again, answers to my questions!

D1Warbler said...

We know that many who are not literal descendents of Abraham (a righteous patriarch who was blessed because he turned from idolatry to a worship of the true God and whose descendents kept a sacred record and witness for Christ – The Bible) have been spiritually grafted into one part of his family tree – the house of Israel. This additional grafting occurred through spiritual adoption – thus significantly enlarging an already immense posterity – originally said to be as great as the sands of the sea. We also know from John 17:10 that having greater numbers of righteous posterity brings greater glory in the hereafter – even to the Father and to Christ -- “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine and I am glorified in them.” If this is true for the Father and for Christ -- why wouldn’t it be true for Abraham and Lehi. Thus, why wouldn’t Lehi (a patriarch who was blessed because he took his posterity to a Promised land where they could give the world a second sacred record and witness for Christ – The Book of Mormon) – be similarly blessed and glorified with added adopted spiritual descendents.