Handout #7: Pearl of GP, Chaldeans, Abraham , Idolatry, Kolob, Ooreem, Toomeem, New name, Laying on of hands, a theocracy, covenant protection, Abrahamic covenant February 2014

“The Pearl of Great Price is a book of dispensations… The key passages to all of these books appear at length in our wonderful Pearl of Great Price. Notice that Abraham is squarely in the middle; all things seem to zero in on him. He has been called the most pivotal and strategic man in the course of world history. In his position he binds all things together and gives meaning and purpose to everything that happened. The whole world was rent by strife and rancor, and Abraham was like a man who sews together a badly rent garment.

It was said that “charity . . . was asleep [in the world], and [Abraham] roused it.” He joined man to God when he and his wife won souls to God. “Were it not for men like Abraham,” said the Lord, “I would not have bothered to create heaven and earth, sun and moon.” Converting them was as if he had created them anew. He was the perfect one who brought man nearer to God. He entered into the covenant the world is based on, as if the world were firmly established for his sake, as if he were the Messiah come to establish the kingdom of God on earth.” From Abraham’s Temple Drama, Hugh W. Nibley

The Chaldeans were a tribe in Babylon, aggressive and warlike, highly educated, serving many gods. Libnah (whiteness) was a town in the Kingdom of Judah. Abraham lived in a time of small empires: Sumer, Akkadian, Egyptian. These people were idolatrous, worshipping many wood and stone images (polytheism). The most popular cults among the Hebrews were of Canaanitic origin, such as those of Baal, Asherah, and Ashtoreth. According to the Bible, the most thorough cultic purge in the history of Israel took place in Judah, during King Hezekiah’s reign.

The purge was directed primarily at long-standing native practices, including the brazen serpent whose origin was traced back to Moses. A strong criticism against the cult of Baal is voiced by Hosea (1–3; 11:2; 13:1) and Jeremiah (2:4, 9:13; 11:13, 17; others.) The Bible attacks idolatry on two independent grounds: it violates the Abrahamic Covenant, and it is useless. Since idolatry is specifically forbidden (Ex. 20), its practice constitutes a violation of the Covenant (Deut. 31:16, 20; Jer. 11:10). Since idolatry is a violation of the Covenant, it produces negative results; as a punishment God will turn nature against the idolaters (cf. Deut. 11:13–18; 28).

“The great power of the book (Book of Abraham) is sometimes overlooked precisely because its five chapters offer tantalizing tidbits about subjects that may seem mysterious or forbidding—Egypt and the universe. But the book of Abraham is a powerful, Christ-centered … main themes the eternal nature of the Abrahamic covenant, the preeminence of Jesus Christ as represented even in the vast scheme of planets and stars, and the role of Jesus Christ in the three great events of the plan of salvation—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement… Abraham 1 becomes very much a Christ-centered text of scripture when viewed in the context of Abraham’s entire life. (See Marlena’s handout #2 for Abrahamic and other covenants)

“The Book of Mormon declares that Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac was “a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5). The experience with Isaac undoubtedly helped Abraham to see the Crucifixion from the Father’s perspective. (Perhaps that is why Heb. 11:17 refers to Isaac as Abraham’s “only begotten son” even though Abraham had already fathered Ishmael.) Just as significant, however, for understanding the Atonement was Abraham’s earlier experience with human sacrifice, recorded in Abraham 1, because that horrible episode placed Abraham in a role or position like that of the Son. Few other mortals, if any, would be thus prepared to comprehend the atoning sacrifice from the perspectives of both the Father and the Son.

“Abraham learned that just as one planet or star is greater than another until one comes to Kolob—the great governing one (seeAbr. 3:9)—so, too, one spirit is greater than another until one comes to Jesus Christ—the great governing one (see Abr. 3:19, 24). A careful comparison of the characteristics of Kolob with the characteristics of Jesus Christ demonstrates that Kolob was, and is, a profound symbol of the Savior. We offer a few examples. Just as Kolob is “the great one” (Abr. 3:3), so Jesus Christ is “the Great I AM” (D&C 29:1). Just as Kolob is “the first creation” (Facsimile 2, fig. 1), so Jesus Christ is the first creation—“the firstborn” (D&C 93:21) of our Father’s most important creations, his children. Just as Kolob is the source of light for other stars and planets (see Facsimile 2, fig. 5), Jesus Christ is the source of light for the immensity of space, including the sun, moon, stars, and earth (D&C 88:5–13). “ (Andrew Skinner, Ensign March 1997)

LDS temple ordinances restore the Abrahamic Covenant and the New and Everlasting Covenant (see Handout #2) to those who are baptized into our Church. There are many symbols in the LDS temples that subtly remind of and administer the ancient Hebrew religious performances as LDS spiritual ordinances, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The Urim and Thummim (Hebrew: ארים, תמים=ooreem and toomeem) was a priestly device for obtaining oracles – placed within the breastplate (hoshen) of judgement worn by the Israelite High Priest=cohain gadol (type of Melchizedek). According to Exodus 28:15-19, it was attached to an ephod-a small, square article of clothing worn around the neck. Twelve jewels representing different minerals also represented the 12 tribes. Through the Urim, the priest inquired of God (YHWH) on behalf of the ruler (Num. 27:21) “only for the king, the high court, or someone serving a need of the community”). They were one of the three legitimate means of obtaining oracles in early Israel (Urim, dreams, prophets; 1Sam. 28:6). (The concept evokes “the Tablets of Destiny” in Babylonian mythology – the symbol of supreme
authority that lay on the breast of the chief god; The right to work this oracle was reserved for the Levitical priests (Deut: 33:8).

Interpreting Urim to mean “those whose words give light” and Thummim as “those whose words are fulfilled,” the rabbis explain that the oracle was effected by rays of light shining on the letters, or protruding from them and forming themselves into groups, so that the high priest could read them. Only priests speaking by means of the Holy Spirit and upon whom the Shekhinah (the presence of God) rested could invoke them. Talmud: Whoever sins in secret or walks with a proud and haughty bearing “crowds out the feet
of the Shekinah”.

Order of the stones never verified. First row: red (carnelian or jasper). Topaz, chrysolite, emerald green. Second row: coal=malachite, sapphire, lapis. Third row: amber or agate, blue agate, amethyst. Fourth row: topaz or lapis, beryl or onyx, ruby or hyacinth or emerald. According to Talmud (rabbinic commentary upon Torah) the wearing of the hoshen atoned for the sins in errors of judgment on the part of the Children of Israel.

New Name: 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. Your compiler, Marlena, has a Hebrew name…

Laying on of Hands: “Hands are also significant in the symbolic act of bestowing a blessing. In rabbinic literature the priestly blessing is known as “raising of the hands” and is pronounced with the hands uplifted, and the fingers spread in a special formation. In fact this special formation of the hands is often engraved on the tombstones of kohanim (priests).” “In the same way that priests lift their hands in blessing, so parents place their hands on the heads of their children when they bless them. Placing the hands on another person is symbolic not only of transferring blessing but also of passing on authority. In Talmudic times, scholars received their rabbinic ordination through the symbolic act of placing of the hands (known as semikhah).”

“The idea of man as conceived in the divine image is as central to the religion as the ban on idols… It is part of the foundation of Hebrew morality. As Man is in God’s image, he belongs to God; the concept helps man to grasp that he does not possess real ownership even over himself, let alone anything else he receives from God’s bounty. His body is a leasehold. But the principle also holds that man must be treated with respect and even dignity. Man has inalienable rights (natural, without price or transference) . The Mosaic code is a code of obligations and prohibitions, but also, in embryonic form, of rights. Thus the Israelites were creating a new kind of society… a theocracy…placing all sovereignty in the hands of God… through vicarious rule.” (From Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews)

Genesis 12:1-3 God initiated His covenant with Abram when he was living in Ur of the Chaldeans, promising land, descendants, and a world-wide blessing.

Genesis 12:4,5 Abram went with his family to Haran, lived there until he left at the age of 75for the land of Canaan with his wife and nephew, Lot

Genesis 13:14-17 Lot and Abram separate; God again promises the land to Abram and his descendants

Genesis 15:1-21 The Covenant is ratified when God passes between the three kinds of animals that Abram sacrificed and laid before God.

Genesis 17:1-27 When Abram is 99 the covenant is renewed and his name is changed from Abram [exalted father] to Abraham [father of a multitude]. God promises a son by Sarah through whom the covenant will extend. The sign of the covenant a circumcision is established for all males from the 8th day of birth.

Genesis 22:15-18 The Binding of Isaac: confirmation of the covenant through Abraham’s obedience: “and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing…

The Abrahamic Three-Fold Covenant was foundational to all other Biblical Covenants between Yahweh and His people:

1.The promise of land: Israel’s possession of the Promised Land ² Deuteronomy 30:1-10

2.The promise of kingly descendants in the Davidic Covenant through which the Messiahis promised 2 Samuel 7:12-16

3.The promise that all nations would be blessed through Abraham is fulfilled in the NewCovenant in Christ Jeremiah 31:31-40;
Luke 22:17-20

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