2021 Study Summary 1: Hearken All Ye People
Doctrine and Covenants 1
“Hearken All Ye People”
This material was prepared by Daniel Rona who was born in Israel– educated in America– and has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1950. He was a well-known radio broadcaster in Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, as well as an international newscaster for the “Voice of Israel” in Jerusalem, Israel. In 1974, he returned to Israel with his wife, Marilyn, and their three children. Their family has grown to five children. Like all Israelis, his sons and daughters served in the Israeli Military before their full-time missions.
Brother Rona directs the nonprofit ENSIGN FOUNDATION which helps unite the people of Judah and Joseph in educational, cultural and scientific activities. The Ensign Foundation also provides learning experiences in the Holy Land. For mor than forty years, Brother Rona has been the only LDS licensed tour guide in Israel. His background is unique: he is an American, an Israeli, and a Jewish member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Latter-day Saints, who have experienced ISRAEL REVEALED with Brother Rona, tell of greater enrichment in their lives through his spiritual and cultural insights. He harmonizes the language, the culture, the time and the places of the Holy Land, sharing the deep feelings and spirit of ancient and modern Israel. These are reflected in this Come Follow Me Supplemental Study Material along with a weekly printable summary sheets which he also provides every week on the Internet, www.IsraelRevealed.com. His book, ISRAEL REVEALED, is an authoritative work bringing the ethnic cultures and traditions of the Holy Land into a spiritual and pictographic review. He also produced a TV mini-series about Israel. These six TV-films are also on home-videos and the YouTube channel Israel Revealed with Daniel and Steven Rona. Brother Rona has served many years in the presidencies of the Israel District and Jerusalem Branches. He and Sister Rona serve as Service Missionaries in the Church History Department since 2012.
It is important that the actual scriptures be read. These Holy Land and Jewish insights are added to help the teacher and student “go back” to the setting in which the scriptures were given, and to better understand the general Jewish views of those scriptures. Jewish views have varied with time and dispersion. Yet understanding the Jews (basically Judah) will help Joseph in the prophetic mission of reuniting “Joseph and Judah.” This knowledge will restore the original understanding and truths which God gave to his children, yesterday and today as well as tomorrow.
Doctrine and Covenants 1; Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, during a special conference of elders of the Church, held at Hiram, Ohio, November 1, 1831. HC 1: 221—224. Many revelations had been received from the Lord prior to this time, and the compilation of these for publication in book form was one of the principal subjects passed upon at the conference. This section constitutes the Lord’s Preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation. 1—7, The voice of warning is to all people; 8—16, Apostasy and wickedness precede the Second Coming; 17—23, Joseph Smith called to restore to earth the Lord’s truths and powers; 24—33, The Book of Mormon brought forth and true Church established; 34—36, Peace shall be taken from the earth; 37—39, Search these commandments.
What is the key to understanding–beyond the meaning of each word?
The young prophet Nephi gave us a substantial key to understanding the scriptures. Note how subtly he teaches us through a ‘chiasmas’ (an order of words listed in one direction to a center thought and then listed in the other direction in reverse order).
What is the center-point about?
The center point of his instruction is the gift he acknowledges, the knowledge of mysteries. A synonym for mysteries is the “subtle understanding” of God’s word. This is available through the Gift of the Holy Ghost. “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” (1 Nephi 10:19) “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:3)
So, what is the “sandwich?”
The center point is sandwiched by “learning of my father” and “learning of the Jews.” This material suggests some ‘learning of the Jews’ to add insight to the study of the same religion and scriptures that Nephi brought from Israel. Other Jewish insights may simply help Latter-day Saints better understand Judah and thereby bring our two families closer together. It is necessary for the giver and the receiver to relate and coordinate this information with the material provided in the scriptures.
How does the Torah apply to all people?
The basis of Jewish learning is based on the “Torah,” that is the first five books of the “Old Testament.” “The Bible is holy to Jews because it represents the Word of God. This is particularly true of the Torah which is, so to speak, God’s direct statement. The halakhah, or Jewish law, which is the authoritative guide for a Jew’s life, is mainly based on the Torah, so obviously study of the Torah as well as the rest of the Bible is one of the prime religious duties.” “The custom of reading the Torah publicly is very, very ancient — originating with Ezra in the fifth-fourth centuries B.C.E. At some later date a reading from the Nevi’im was added; this corresponding passage from the Prophets is known as the Haftorah.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The haftorah, is a series of selections from the books of “Nevi’im” (the Prophets and their writings) of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice. It may have started as a practice when Jews were forbidden to read the “Law” (Torah). Nowadays, the Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on each Sabbath and on Jewish festivals and fast days.
How do the Doctrine and Covenants fit in with the Torah?
The Latter-day Saints’ use of the Doctrine and Covenants is another part of LDS Haftorah. Literally, it is the reading of Nevi’im, the “Prophets,” in the land of America–with their explanations and heavenly insights–based on Eternal truths. The connection to the past prophets is that truth is consistent. The first verse of the Book of Mormon reveals this key of understanding God’s will, “learning of the fathers.” The Hebrew word for “going back” is the same as “repent.” The Doctrine and Covenants together with all the scriptures teach Faith in the Lord as taught by true learning of the fathers. That leads us to Repent, make the true covenant of Baptism and rewards us with the blessing of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The last verse of Section One in the Doctrine and Covenants is that the “. . . truth abideth forever and ever.” In Israel, a statement like, “the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion” conjures a picture of one of the stones in an arch angled to wedge the others in place. The center stone is equivalent to the center point. The center point in a chiasmas is the focusing on the Lord. Stones in a typical five stone Roman archway can be compared to the five “Standard Works (scriptures)” that Latter-day Saints use, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Every stone in the arch is necessary to have the advantage of the structure which holds a building in place as well as having the enjoyment of the beauty in something that holds itself together. How then can we connect the terms “cornerstone” and “capstone?” The Doctrine and Covenants are often called the “capstone” of the restoration in these “last days.”
How important is the word “stone” in the scriptures?
It is interesting to note that the metaphor of a building was used in ancient times to denote the structure and stability of the Lord’s organization in the “last days.” “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalm 118:22) “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?” (Matthew 21:42) “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
What is a building that has a chief cornerstone?
Since this is a visual image, picture a building fitly framed with all parts of it functioning and without apparent holes or breaks in it. From a western building style architectural view, a cornerstone really cannot be removed, and the building still remain “fitly framed.” Therefore, in the scriptures, picture an eastern building style, maybe a pyramid. Its chief cornerstone is the capstone. It can be removed, and the building is still “fitly framed.” A United States’ one-dollar bill has that image with the top, cap or chief cornerstone shown with rays beaming forth from an all-seeing eye. The pyramid also has twelve blocks as its foundation.
How can I use the “building image” as a life inspiration?
The imagery continues into the family. As the children start their own family, the parents are “removed” from their former role yet still maintain a spiritual influence through their previous teaching and subsequent prayers and spiritual influence on their children. The unity of the family can still be imaged as “fitly framed.” As with any home, protection from unwarranted outside influence is necessary. Security systems or defensive armor are part of the proper stewardship of the family’s leaders. Sustaining the Lord as the Chief Cornerstone and following His instructions to defend ourselves with His words in these latter days we can protect our families inside or outside of the home. As exciting as it is to know that heaven is open again, every “new” word from the Lord, as given in modern times, has a basis, a precedent, in the past. That gives an additional meaning to the term “The New and Everlasting Covenant.”