The Bow (JST Genesis 9)

Look up!

I apologize for the block of text, but I think you ought to read and review it. This is JST Genesis 9:15-25, a criminally underused scripture and one that only makes sense in light of the Book of Moses (really I think the Book of Moses should run through at least this chapter of the JST, because it ties into the earlier Enoch material). Read it if you’d like, then I’ll offer a brief interpretation of the bow.


        And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying:
        And I, behold, I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto your father Enoch, concerning your seed after you. And it shall come to pass, that every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, and of the cattle, and of the beast of the earth that is with you, which shall go out of the ark, shall not altogether perish; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto Enoch, concerning the remnants of your posterity.
 
        And God made a covenant with Noah, and said:
       This shall be the token of the covenant I make between me and you, and for every living creature with you, for perpetual generations; I will set my bow in the cloud; and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant, which I have made between me and you, for every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
        And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself. And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.
       And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth.

Now these verses read a bit like Monty Python and the Holy Grail but there’s good stuff nevertheless.
It seems in my reading (and I haven’t heard anyone else propose this idea), that the token of the covenant between God and Enoch (and then renewed between God and Noah) also operates as a symbolic prophesy. The bow represents the Enoch and his people who ascended up into the heavens and one day will return again down to the earth. Likewise, the bow ascends up into the heavens, but does not remain their forever.
Scream “blasphemy!” in the comments section.

Justice, my old friend

I view myself in my own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth (Mosiah 4:11). Indeed, it would be better I remain unformed, still dust. Why did God shape me and place me here? Every imagination of my heart is only evil, continually (Genesis 6:5). Why form me? Why give me the breath of life, to abuse? I grow tired of wasting this opportunity.

I am obstinate, my neck is iron, my brow brass (Isaiah 48:4). My lips draw near the Lord with my mouth, and with my lips I do honor Him, but my heart is  removed far from Him (Isaiah 29:13).

If I do well, I will be accepted. And if I do not well, sin lies at the door, and Satan desires to have me. (Moses 5:23). I have not done well, sin entered the door years ago, and Satan’s desires seem to align well with my own.

I nourish my soul with husks meant for swine (Luke 15:16). I have no inheritance, I squandered it long ago (Luke 15:13).

According to the justice of God, my spirit must become like unto the devil, and I become a devil, angel to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself (2 Nephi 9:9).

If God still loves me, He is a fool. If God is a fool, there may still be hope for me.

Psalm 130:3

The Bible and the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is brilliant. Before you even delve into its contents, it launches a subtle attack on the Biblical religious traditions.

Christianity defines God, Jesus Christ, and the gospel by their interpretation of the Bible. God is put in the Bible box.

But what if the Bible was not the only way to define God and His Son? In fact, what if the Book of Mormon said the Bible wasn’t a good box to begin with when we are trying to understand God? Incidentally, Nephi is told in a vision that the Bible is a corrupted text. It has “gone . . . through the hands of the great and abominable church [and] that there are many plain and precious things taken away.”

So let’s just turn to this new and improved book to understand God, right? Well, it may help you have a clearer understanding of who and what you are worshiping, but ultimately the Book of Mormon does not carry with it infallibility arguments (like Christians do with their golden calf). In fact, before page 1 of the Book of Mormon (you know the whole, “I, Nephi having been frequently read”) on the darn TITLE PAGE, it reads “if there are faults they are the mistakes of men.” That’s a vastly different kind of holy book. It up-front admits there may be faults in its pages. It’s hard to enslave a people to a book when you admit it is not inerrant.

So where is the pure source of truth if not the Bible and apparently not the Book of Mormon either? That’s the beauty of the Book of Mormon. By having it, we understand God is not limited to text (or an artificial box we’d like for him to exist in). There is no definitive, singular text that teaches us everything about Him. Because text is simply symbols carrying meaning, not the actual thing.

Look at this word:

God

Is that God? What is God? Is God a word? Or is God something beyond words?

Beyond the Bible and the Book of Mormon there is a God. They may testify of Him. But they are not Him. He is above them and the source of their inspired text. He is not limited to dwell within those pages.

Akedah

Leviticus 1:3-9 describes the process for a burnt offering (read the rest of chapter 1 for variations depending on the type of animal).
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
Now, I’ll admit there may be a difference between Mosaic burnt offerings and proto-Mosaic versions of the rite, but we have no evidence for or against that idea.
How does the passage in Leviticus change how we read Genesis 22?
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
How does it change our understanding of the modern (say pre-1990) temple rites? Of the atonement?

Polygamy Speculation

This came to me today and I thought I would share. [And as a side note, I am bit sick so if you want to send a brief prayer my way, I would appreciate that.]

There’s been a renewed buzz and argument about polygamy and Joe Smith lately on the world wide web. The church recently published an essay acknowledging what all these darn apostates have been saying for years. Like 200 years. Read here. Then we got Duster publishing giving another lecture. Read/Listen to here. And now people are flaming left and right about whether or not Joe Smith did X or Y, with A, B, and C, or not.

I’m not going to weigh in on whether or not he did. I’m going to propose a new reason why this whole mess even exists in the first place.

Why seems to be the big unanswered question anyway, not Y. Though I bet Y looked great in a bonnet!

Raawwr!

I guess that’s enough of an introduction. 3, 2, 1 . . .


 

In Alma 13:2 we learn a little something about priests (not the lanky, pizza forehead, pharisee uniform, son of bi-shop, you see blessing the sacrament worldwide, but priests as Alma defines it – ordained before the foundation of the world and have entered into the rest of the Lord).

And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

So priests are a type of Christ. They help us understand Son of God. And so this morning as I was pondering, I wondered is there an analogous act of the Son of God to polygamy? I’m not talking about President Young’s assertion that Jesus had a whole train of wives and children. But is there something symbolic and scriptural?

Revelation 19:6-9

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

That bride is later defined. In Revelation 21:2,9-10

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

. . .

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God . . .

D&C 109:73-74 alludes to these verses and even employs some lyrics from the erotic Song of Solomon.

That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth.

And so Christ’s bride is the “New Jerusalem” or the “church” (and I would argue that is the Church of the Firstborn) or, in other words, Zion. This is pretty common language throughout the scriptures (“thy Maker is thine husband” – Isaiah 54:5).

So I’ll just suggest (rather than assert) that perhaps polygamy is best seen as a symbolic marriage to a body rather than an individual. Christ is able to redeem the entire body of believers, complete the body, give the whole body his name.

If you understand Christ’s love for you, you understand it is beyond intimate, it is ecstasy. Of all the metaphors He could pick for his love for Zion, He chose to represent it as a marriage. A plurality of his true followers joined in marriage with him.

Maybe this is why Joe did what he did. Perhaps as uncomfortable a topic as this is to me and many fellow saints, it represents something Christ-like and godly. [Again, I’ll assure you that last sentence was not easy to write and I considered removing it.]

I await the day when the Earth will at last be granted rest.

Moses 7:62-64

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 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 shalt 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; And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made . . .