2019 Study Summary 27: What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do? | Israel Revealed

2019 Study Summary 27: What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?

Acts 6–9

“What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?”

What is the similarity in religious offices throughout time?
The organization and growth of the Church in the Meridian of Times parallels the organization of the Church in ancient and modern times. These were and are offices and the men who were called to fill them, in their respective times, who had authority from God to bring light and truth to the people. Anciently, Moses had a “First Presidency:” two assistants, Aaron and Hur. Additionally, he had an organization of Twelve and Seventy.

How was the Church of Jesus Christ of Former-day Saints organized?
The parallel organization is seen in the primitive Church with Peter, James and John appearing as a “First Presidency” within the original Twelve. And, of course, we see a similar structure today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

How is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized?
“Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church. The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned. The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.” (Doctrine & Covenants 107:22-25)

How do the offices of the Church compare to the parts of the body?
The appointment of officers and leaders was compared to parts of the body. All parts were needed and had to work together. The metaphor of the Church and the body was used in ancient times, the Meridian of Times, as well as today. One beautiful attribute is His being, His body that He gave for us. Could Isaiah have been suggesting that everything around us can remind us of Him, that even “body language” refers to Him?

How does Isaiah reference the body?
Our Savior came from the womb, a perfect body with attributes; eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, neck, shoulder, heart, arms, hands, belly, leg, knee, and foot. Isaiah references these body parts almost forty-times. This constant use of body language can be seen as a metaphor of the “body of Christ.” “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

How did the Prophet Joseph Smith emphasize the same principle?
“The Church is a compact body composed of different members, and is strictly analogous to the human system, and Paul, after speaking of the different gifts, says, “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular; and God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all Teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? It is evident that they do not; yet are they all members of one body. All members of the natural body are not the eye, the ear, the head or the hand — yet the eye cannot say to the ear, I have no need of thee, nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee; they are all so many component parts in the perfect machines — the one body; and if one member suffer, the whole of the members suffer with it; and if one member rejoice, all the rest are honored with it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Five 1842-43 Pg.244)

What was biblical capital punishment?
Stoning is a capital punishment indicated in the Mosaic Law. Biblical punishments were based on the crime, unlike today’s punishments which are based on the person or the circumstances. Stoning was the punishment for a number of gross sins including murder (Numbers 35:30), adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22-24), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16), breaking the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-35), Apostasy (Deuteronomy 13:6-10), and rebellion against parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). A better insight into capital punishment can be seen in the Talmud. Rabbinic interpretations of the ancient Jewish law of stoning indicate that it was required that the convicted be thrown over a cliff. One of at least two witnesses and thereby accusers was responsible to make sure the criminal was dead. If not, one of the witnesses had to take the first stone and break the convicted’s heart. (Talmud, Sanhedrin 45) The intense aversion to directly taking another’s life would motivate the accuser’s success in having the fall cause the death of the accused A witness/accuser always had to cast the first stone and then all others threw stones to begin covering the body (the burial). Abandoned quarries (where the stone was rejected) would be likely locations for such rare executions.

What happened at Stephen’s stoning?
It is apparent that Stephen did not immediately die from the execution’s hurdle. The power and glory of his vision of the Father and the Son transcended the cruelty of those who waited to witness his bloody broken body disrespectfully obscured with stones. The likely place of Stephen’s execution is precisely where the Savior was crucified, the Place of the Skull, an abandoned quarry, and where He transcended death, beginning a process of redemption of all mankind.

What results came from Stephens failed stoning?
Stephen’s death, with his accompanying compassion and heavenly witness, was witnessed by Saul, a Pharisee. The “prick” of seeing and hearing this failed stoning and subsequent mass killing of Stephen (Acts 7:57), began a process leading to the redemption for Paul, the Apostle. Later, his own conversion would ultimately be followed by hurt, persecution, and even an execution attempt where the hurdle did not result in death.

How do Ethiopians connect to the Jews?
Another of the seven leaders of the Seventy, Philip, bore witness to an Ethiopian. Today in Israel, we have a better insight as to whom this Ethiopian might have been. Recent developments in Israel have brought the name of King Solomon to the foreground again. The most interesting development is the influx of more than 130,000 of black Jews from Ethiopia. They feel they are descendants of King Solomon through one of his wives, the Queen of Sheba. “In Ethiopia, members of this group refer to themselves as Beta Israel . . . They practice an early form of Judaism; the chief rabbis of Israel have recognized them as Jews” “The lion of Judah was the symbol of (Haile Selassi, 1892-1975) the emperor of Ethiopia (1930 to 1974).” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

How did African part of the “Gathering of Israel” begin?
“Operation Solomon” was the name of a remarkable plan to bring these Jews to Israel. In the early Nineties, fifteen thousand Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in thirty-one hours. One 747 Jumbo had more than eleven hundred Ethiopian Jews on one flight. In order to keep count and due to the basic illiteracy of Hebrew, each had a number stuck to his clothing. When they landed, two unnumbered disembarked – newborn babies in an old/new land.

What other references indicate the loyal and ethnic Ethiopian connection to Israel?
“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.” (Numbers 12:1) “Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.” (Jeremiah 38:10) “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,” (Acts 8:27) The conversion of the Ethiopian Queen Candace’s Minister of Finance brought him from his ancient Israelite connection to the restoration of the covenant in his own time. Through his reading, searching and letting his eyes be opened, he received the promised gift of forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

How did the “Light of Truth” spread?
Great things were happening in those days. Great and influential men from each end of the Crossroads of the East, Ethiopia, and Damascus were being touched by the light of truth. Men with worldly experience had their eyes touched with the greater heavenly light which was once again available. Saul’s “brighter than the midday light” experience on the way to Damascus blinded him physically so that his spiritual eyes would be opened. His experience of watching Stephen’s stoning, holding the witnesses’ clothes, ultimately became his own. As his eyes were opened, his commission as one of the Twelve was to open the eyes of the Jews and the Gentiles, to give them light and truth. “. . . that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:16-18) As the truth went forth, more and more people were enveloped in its light, and asked, “What wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)

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