Handout #2 – Pearl of Great Price – Moses. Kingdom of Heaven , Israelite Covenants, Adhamah, Abrahamic Covenant January 2014
We read in the book of Moses (Moshe מֹשֶׁה in Hebrew) that this great Jewish leader was “caught up into an exceedingly high mountain” (a type of temple) and that he was spoken to by Yeshua ישׁוּע, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Father and that Moses was transfigured – he was made able to “abide the presence of God” (D&C 67:13) because “quickened by the spirit of God” (D&C 67: 11). Our Savior taught Moses that the celestialization of mankind is the only work of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (See Moses 1:39).
Moses was shown that there is an Adversary who seeks to deceive and eventually claim all mankind for himself to suffer temptations, bitterness and rebellion. As Moses learned about the work of God, he realized the importance of “not accommodating temptation” (Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness).
In the Second Edition of the Pearl – 1878, (the first edition was printed in 1851), edited and rearranged by Elder Orson Pratt, then Church Historian, numerous differences in the text of the Moses material were rearranged to be chronological corresponding to the order in which it is found in Genesis and also in the printed Inspired Version They were accepted by the general conference, Oct. 10, 1880. (Robert J. Matthews, Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible). The O.T.’s Genesis has the same sequence of events.
As we study the Hebrew Bible (in King James translation), we learn how our experiences gradually change us and affect all our decisions throughout our mortal lives. Evolution of the human spirit is slow and gradual, but ultimately will be positive if we can grow living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Moses 6:62)
The kingdom of God in this world is the supreme desire to do the will of God and an unselfish love of others. We enter the kingdom by faith, repentance, sincerity, trust in the Father, open-mindedness, hunger for truth, and the desire to find God and be like Him. Acceptance of God’s forgiveness creates a path that ensures the continuing progress of children of God toward righteousness. Heavenly Father loves us, His children. See 1John 3:6-8. The Father told Moses (Moses 1:26)
And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shall deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.
The term, “kingdom of heaven” was one that had many meanings in Jesus’ era. Jews thought of the kingdom as the Jewish community; gentiles thought of it as a church. Jews thought the kingdom would mark the coming of the Messiah who was to establish Jewish power on earth. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven centered in the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He taught the apostles to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” Christ will return to earth in glory and establish the literal Kingdom of God on this earth (Rev 11:15, Matt 6:33).
As Moses encounters our Lord in the wilderness, he is given a report of Creation (Moses 2). Moses can only refer to his small knowledge of mortal things. He is, as we are, hampered by the limitations of mortal language, his mortal mind, his inability to grasp an eternal viewpoint, the development of the universes, what is really meant by pre-existent or post-mortal life.
The root word for man is adhamah. Hebrew: אדמה, to be red. This also refers also to the noun and concept of “land”. The word occurs 221 times in the O.T. As a substance it forms cohesive earth, productive, to be cultivated by man. It is distinguished from wilderness in its arability. It is the dwelling place of man and the domain in which animals live. In the Fall, life and destiny connect mankind with the land – cursed because of man’s sin (Gen. 3:17-19) and he is alienated from the elementary base of his existence. The land loses its original fertility. But God swore (Num 11:12, 32:11, others) that He would give them land as their base.
In another view anciently, adhamah is the dry earth used for making an altar (Ex 20:24), so it can be regarded as holy ground. YHVH (God) is asked to bless the ground along with strict obedience to the law and guarantee the reward for labor. His people lost the land when carried into exile, but He will return the land to the Israelites if they obey His commands. Then he will give them menuchah (peace) on their land. Their allegiance to God and His Son will guarantee the promise of adhamah forever to Israel.
2Ne 29:14 tells us …my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions … I am God, and … I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever. The Hebrew root for a covenant is berit or b’rith, בךית. Our God is a covenant-keeping God. In one definition it reflects the ceremony performed when concluding the ceremony. Originally, the word implied a liability or obligation, a bond or oath of allegiance. Other words that relate are testimony and oath. Concluding a covenant is called in Hebrew karath berith, “to cut a covenant or oath” and denotes a superior prescribing terns to an inferior, granting rights and privileges. These commitments must be made with the whole full heart (2Kgs 23:3). Breaking covenants, hephar berith, means to transgress against, to forsake and be faithless. In addition to the Abrahamic covenant which binds the Jewish people and those who are adopted into that promise – to be recipients of God’s purposes and election.
The Israelites, those who traveled to Canaan in the Exodus were given the essential commandments of God and asked to covenant with Him to keep His word and His ways. Their faith was severely tested and they often failed, but they learned to understand the spirit of the commandments in their trials. God endeavored through his prophets to teach the Israelites the cardinal principles of the Kingdom of Heaven:
- True righteousness comes from within the individual – a personal religion of respect for all
- The individual is pre-eminent and his/her will determines the experiences that will unfold (D&C 84:46)
- We should seek spiritual fellowship with our Maker, God the Father, and serving mankind. Those who walk in the light receive the love of Christ and enjoy fellowship with the children of God. (Psalms 56:13, 89:15, Isaiah 2:5, John 8:2)
- Those who walk in the light receive the love of Christ and enjoy fellowship with the children of God. (1John 1:7)
- We should strive for the transcendency of the spiritual life over the material life to find personal fulfillment, because the Spirit of Christ, which is given to every person who comes into the world, “shall not always strive with man. (D&C 1:33).
These are the major covenants.
A covenant which guarantees that God will do His part when the human requirements stipulated in that covenant are met.
Distinguished from a conditional covenant by the fact that its ultimate fulfillment is promised by God and depends upon God’s power and sovereignty for its fulfillment.
The EDENIC covenant (conditional), Gen. 1:26-31;2:16-17
Made with Adam in which life and blessing or death and cursing depended on the faithfulness of Adam. Adam and Eve failed, died spiritually and physically and their sin plunged the whole human race into its pattern of sin and death.
2. The ADAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 3:16-19
Here God declares to man, after the fall, what his lot in life will be because of his sin. It includes the promise of the Redeemer.
3. The NOAHIC covenant (unconditional), Gen 9:1-18
Made with Noah and his sons after the flood, introducing human government to curb sin, the normal order of nature reaffirmed (Gen. 8:22; 9:2) and the permission for man to eat the flesh of animals. Also His promise never to destroy all flesh again by water.
4. The ABRAHAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 12:1-4;13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8
This covenant is one of the great revelations of God concerning future history. Abraham would have numerous posterity, personal blessing, his name would be great, and he, personally, would be a blessing. Through Abraham would come a great nation (Israel) and through him (via that nation) all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Messiah). Through Abraham’s descendents (the Jews) came the prophets of God, the writers of God’s written Word (the Bible) and Christ/Messiah according to the flesh.
5. The MOSAIC covenant (conditional), Ex. 20:1 – 31:18
It is contained in Exodus but amplified in many other portions of Scripture. It was given through Moses as its mediator for the purpose of governing Israel’s (national) relationship with God. It was mainly made up of (a) the commandments, the express will of God, (b) the judgments, the social and civic life of Israel, (c) and the ordinances. It was temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ. Though it had gracious elements it was basically a covenant of works. It could not impart life to the sinner in Adam (Gal. 3:21) but it served as a tutor which would lead those who were under its jurisdiction to the only One who could impart LIFE (Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:24).
6. The LAND covenant (unconditional), Deut. 30:1-10
It is erroneously called by theologians the “Palestinian Covenant.” However, the Bible does not recognize the land by that name. It is the land of Israel because it was divinely covenanted to Abraham’s descendents through Jacob (Israel). It is an unconditional promise regarding Israel’s final possession of their ancient land.
The DAVIDIC covenant (unconditional), 2Sam. 7:4-16; 1Chron. 17:3-15 God promised David an unending, royal lineage, throne, and kingdom. Though God reserved the right to interrupt the actual reign of David’s sons for chastisement, the perpetuity of the covenant cannot be broken. The Abrahamic covenant guaranteed the nation and the land. The Davidic covenant guarantees an everlasting Throne, King and Kingdom connected to that people (the Jews) and the land. Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is the rightful heir of this promised Throne (Matt. 2:2; Lk. 1:32-33) and on it He will reign over this literal, promised, earthly, future Messianic Kingdom from Jerusalem at His second advent.
The New and Everlasting Covenant (unconditional) Jer 31:31-40 is a new covenant with Israel in contrast with the old (Mosaic, “which they broke,” Jer. 31:32). Christ Jesus is the Mediator (in His blood) of this new covenant which was inaugurated at the cross and is described in Scripture as, “enacted on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The Mediator of this covenant has become, for all mankind, “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9) to all who obey Him; as well as the cornerstone and Head of the Church (Eph. 2:20-22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) which is being built during this dispensation; individuals called out from both Jews and Gentiles alike. Ultimately and literally, this new covenant with its unconditional and eternal blessings will be established with NATIONAL Israel at Christ’s Second Coming to earth. (Jer 31:31-33, Matt 26:28), Mark 14:24), Luke 22:20), others.
The Covenant of Circumcision – (Unconditional) Gen 17:11-13 Token of the Covenant and everlasting. The promise of a kingdom of 12 tribes (Gen 17:20). Ephraim “fruitful”. It is the birthright tribe (family). Judah ‘praise” is the scepter tribe. Heavenly Father wants these two parts of His kingdom to unite in brotherhood and works before the arrival of our Savior. Ephraim has the priesthood and the Savior, whereas Judah is protector of the faith, the temple, the people, the avenger and warrior. But without Ephraim, Judah is a sword of undirected energy!
Websites to research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Israel – Israelites. www.judaism.about.com – Brit Milah-circumcision. Also see www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/circumcision.html
|Blessings and Responsibilities of the Abrahamic Covenant|
|A promised land to live in (Abraham 2:6, 19; Genesis 12:7; 17:8)
|A great posterity (Abraham 2:9–10; Genesis 12:2–3; 17:2, 4–6)
|The gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood for Abraham and his posterity (Abraham 2:9–11; Genesis 17:7)|
|Eternal Parallels:||The celestial kingdom (D&C 88:17–20||Eternal marriage and eternal increase (D&C 132:19–22)||Exaltation and eternal life (D&C 132:23–24)
We are heirs to the blessings and responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant. • As the seed of Abraham, Church members are heirs to the blessings and responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant. How do we become heirs to this covenant? (When we are baptized into the Church, the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of salvation is renewed with us. When we are sealed in the temple, the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of exaltation is renewed with us. To receive the blessings of the covenant, we must fulfill the associated responsibilities and live worthily.)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “Abraham first received the gospel by baptism (which is the covenant of salvation); then he had conferred upon him the higher priesthood, and he entered into celestial marriage (which is the covenant of exaltation), gaining assurance thereby that he would have eternal increase; finally he received a promise that all of these blessings would be offered to all of his mortal posterity. (Abra. Abraham 2:6–11; D. & C. D&C 132:29–50.) Included in the divine promises to Abraham was the assurance that Christ would come through his lineage, and the assurance that Abraham’s posterity would receive certain choice, promised lands as an eternal inheritance. (Abra. Abraham 2; Gen. Genesis 17; 22:15–18; Gal. Galatians 3.)
By Marlena Tanya Muchnick-Baker: [email protected] Renton Stake, WA. May Creek ward. Please visit my blogs: http://judaicaworld.wordpress.com, http://mormonsandjews.net, http://judaicaworld.blogspot.com for more posts and articles.
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