2022 Study Summary 21: Beware Lest Thou Forget The Lord
Deuteronomy 6-8; 15; 18; 29-30; 34
“Beware Lest Thou Forget The Lord”
Deuteronomy 6. Moses proclaims, The Lord our God is one Lord, and, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God—The children of Israel are commanded to teach their children—Moses exhorts them to keep the commandments, testimonies, and statutes of the Lord that they may prosper.
Deuteronomy 7. Israel is to destroy the seven nations of Canaan—Marriages with them are forbidden lest apostasy result—Israel has a mission as a holy and chosen people—The Lord shows mercy unto those who love Him and keep His commandments—He promises to remove sickness from the children of Israel if they obey.
Deuteronomy 8. The Lord tested the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years—Eating manna taught them that man lives by the word of God—Their clothing did not wear out—The Lord chastened them—If they serve other gods, they will perish.
Deuteronomy 18. How priests are supported—Divination, spiritualism, and the like are abominations—A Prophet (Christ) will arise like unto Moses.
Deuteronomy 29. The children of Israel make a covenant with the Lord under which they will be blessed if they are obedient, and cursed if they are disobedient—If they are disobedient, their land will be as brimstone and salt.
Deuteronomy 30. The scattered Israelites will be gathered from all nations when they remember the covenant—Moses places life or death, blessing or cursing, before the people.
Deuteronomy 34. Moses sees the promised land and is taken by the Lord—Joshua leads Israel—Moses was Israel’s greatest prophet.
How do Jews remind themselves to remember the Lord?
The symbolism in the term “keeping God’s word in front of you at all was taught in ancient days; “And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.” (Moses 6:35) Jews remind themselves of this by binding leather phylacteries (Tfillin) on the arm and forehead as well as on all Jewish doorposts (Mezuzah). These are the words in the ‘Mezuzah’ and in the ‘Tfillin’: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up .And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) “There should be a mezuzah at the entrance to every home and on the doorpost of every living room within the home—this, of course, excludes lavatories, bathrooms, storerooms and stables. It is also customary to place mezuzot at the entrances to synagogues and public buildings, including all government offices in Israel. In Israel, a mezuzah must be put up immediately when a house is occupied by a Jew— outside Israel, after the householder has lived in the house for 30 days. If the house is later sold to Jews, the mezuzot must be left on the doorposts. Today the mezuzah represents one of Judaism’s most widely observed ceremonial commandments.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What instruction do members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have in remembering the Lord?
Keeping the word of the Lord before our eyes at all times is repeated in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, a dedication suitable for our homes as well: “And that this house may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory and of God, even thy house; That all the incomings of thy people, into this house, may be in the name of the Lord; That all their outgoings from this house may be in the name of the Lord. And that all their salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with holy hands, uplifted to the Most High;” (Doctrine & Covenants 109:16-19) The principle of “return to the Lord” is a great motivating factor in Jewish life. Special ‘Yeshiva’ institutes have been established to help those who have “gone astray,” or have “forgotten.” “Repentance in Hebrew is known as teshuvah, which literally means “return,” and signifies a return to God. A person who repents his sins is known as a ba’al teshuvah. Many rabbis of the Talmud believed that the real ba’al teshuvah is greater even than a person who has never sinned and they furthermore said that when a person repents out of love of God (and not just out of fear of divine punishment), all the sins he had committed are considered to be mitzvot. This is perhaps the most comforting doctrine that Judaism has given to the world.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How would I become “chosen?”
“Jews have a history of being “chosen,” yet many ask as did Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof. “Could you maybe choose someone else?” “Being the Chosen People means receiving God’s love and protection, but it also means accepting responsibilities. The prophet Isaiah says that Israel, God’s servant, has been chosen for the task of spreading salvation. Israel must convince the other nations of the world that there is only one God, and must spread the true religion, and through it, happiness.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How did Jewish prayers become written texts?
The children of Israel did so poorly in keeping a “spiritual” standard that Moses endeavored to give them a more “physical” standard. The advantage of having physical items as “anchors” to keep reminding us of spiritual goals is evident and useful. However, to many people like the children of Israel, the physical aspects became more important the spiritual principles. In that sense, even Jewish prayers tend to be an order of things to be said. The references that refer to blessings the Lord gave to Israel . . . “when thou shalt have eaten and be full – beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage,” and, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:11, 8:12) have resulted in set prayers – before and after (Grace) every meal! The meal prayer is called, Birkat Hamazon and contains up to four blessings. The first three are deemed required by scriptural law: (1) The food: A blessing of thanks for the food, (traditionally composed by Moses, in gratitude for the manna which the Children of Israel ate in the wilderness during the Egypt exodus, (2) The land: A gratitude for the Land of Israel, (attributed to Joshua after leading the Jewish people into Israel, (3) Jerusalem: (ascribed to David), who established it as the capital of Israel and Solomon, who built the Temple. in Jerusalem – with a plea to have the Temple restored, and (4) God’s goodness: A blessing of thanks for God’s goodness, written by Rabbi Gamliel (Acts 5:34, 22:3) (thought to have died in in 52 CE).
What Jewish prayers call upon the “Rock of Salvation?”
The term “Rock of Salvation” is precious in Jewish terminology. As with many terms or phrases, the use of the familiar present tense will be a powerful reminder of their intended meaning in the future. In the following quotes, the references to “rock” have been underlined for emphasis. “The Synagogue Prayers—During the morning service the entire Hallel (praise) is said on each of the eight days and a special addition, Al Ha-Nissim (For the miracles…) is made in every Amidah as well as in the Grace After Meals. The reading from the Torah describes the sacrifices brought by the princes at the dedication of the sanctuary, and the kindling of the candelabrum; special haftarot are prescribed for the Sabbaths of Hanukkah. In the Ashkenazi rite, a hymn called Ma’oz Zur (O Fortress, Rock of my salvation) is sung. This song originated in Germany, probably in the 13th century. It consists of five stanzas, each of which describes a period in Jewish history, the last being the Hanukkah miracle. A final stanza is a prayer for the coming of the Messiah.” “During Remembrance Day itself, memorial services are held at public monuments to the fallen and in military cemeteries throughout Israel. All flags are lowered to half-mast. Special prayers include the recital of Psalm 9: ”For the leader, on the death of the son,” and Psalm 144: “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who traineth my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How personal is my “Rock?”
“ADON OLAM (“Lord of the world” is a rhymed poem of unknown authorship, which was probably written in Babylon around the tenth century. The present version, as it appears in the Ashkenazi service, consists of ten verses. The first six speak of God the eternal, all-powerful and ever- ruling Creator of the universe. The next four verses are more personal in nature. Here, God is much closer to the individual worshiper, his hopes and his fears. “He is my God, my Redeemer, my Rock in time of trouble” Because the worshiper is confident of God’s power and also aware of His personal concern, he closes his song by saying: ‘Into His Hand I entrust my soul, Both while I sleep and when I am awake And with my soul, my body too The Lord is with me, I shall not fear.’ In many congregations, Adon Olam is sung at the conclusion of the Musaf service for Sabbath and holidays.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What Messianic equivalence is there to the Jewish terms “Rock of Salvation” and “Fountain of Living Water?”
There is another sensitive parallel to be seen in the lesson Moses learned as he struck the rock. Giving “Living Water” to the Israelites, Moses was reminded who the real “Rock of Salvation” was. Peter (a Greek nickname) for Simon, son of Jonah, who—when sinking in the Sea of Galilee cried out to the Lord, “Save me,” was probably being taught—as Moses was taught— who the real “Rock of Salvation” was. The Lord’s highest trusted servants on the earth were honored with titles or names emulating their Master, reminding them that HE is the master.
How does the scattering and gathering of Israel reflect God’s plan for all of His children?
The “scattering and gathering” of Israel is a type or symbol of God’s spirit children being sent to earth for a mortal experience and then having the opportunity to be returned to Him with knowledge and progression in becoming like Him. “If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30 4-5) The House of Israel (old and new) will greatly influence humanity. Combine, they are a small part of the population of the world – slightly less than .25% of present-day mankind (in year 2022 the combined Jewish population (just under 17-million persons), and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints population (also just under 17-million persons) that will, represent God. “I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.” (Ezekiel 20:41-42) “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” (Ezekiel 37:26-28) The Ensign Foundation is in the process of producing a TV mini-series called “The Mystery of Kinship” documenting the influence on humanity by the Jews (Polio vaccine–Jonas Salk, Physics Nobel Prize –Einstein, ‘NaNose’ sniffing disease technology–Hossam Haick, etc.) and the Latter-day Saints (TV–Philo Farnsworth, use of digital science–Harvey Fletcher, Artificial Heart–Robert Jarvik, etc.).
How is the gathering of Israel progressing?
The gathering of Israel is taking place. There are slightly under 16-million Jews in the world. Just sixty years ago, there were approximately one hundred thousand Jews in what is known as the Land of Israel. By now, close to eight million Jews reside in Israel. Close to 15% of Israelis are Russian- speaking Jews who immigrated within the last twenty years. “Wandering from place to place, has been one of the major components of Jewish history, for since the time of the Patriarchs the “wandering Jew” has suffered from a lack of territory, government, and defense. Major Jewish migrations in search of favorable living conditions and in flight from harassment, persecution and expulsion, include the Exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian exile, Jewish settlement outside Erez Israel during the Second Temple period, the dispersion under the Roman and Near Eastern empires after the destruction of the Second Temple.” “Although the ten tribes disappeared, the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel promised that the time would come when they would be reunited with the remainder of the Jewish nation. This promise kept alive the hope that the ten tribes still existed and would be found.” “Many legends were created to explain how the tribes disappeared, where they went and where they are now. Their inability to rejoin their brethren was attributed to the fact that they were exiled beyond the legendary river Sambatyon, whose mysterious powers kept them from crossing.” “Numerous attempts have been made by travelers and explorers to discover the ten tribes, or to identify them with different people. Almost every nation, including the Japanese, Persians, the Falashas of Ethiopia, Red Indians, and the British, have been suggested as descendants of the lost tribes.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) In Tel Aviv, the Diaspora Museum displays the supposed travels and dispersion of the tribes of Israel. The museum curators also identify members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often referred to as “Mormons”) as those claiming to be part of the lost tribes, identifying themselves for the most part as “Ephraimites.” Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in the literal gathering of Israel: That even the “lost tribes” will be gathered together closer to the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Members of the Church receive patriarchal blessings which includes their lineage. They may be declared as being a descendent (literal or adopted) of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Most members of the church today are a part of the tribe of Ephraim, fulfilling the prophecy that Ephraim would have the birthright and responsibility for assisting in gathering scattered Israel in the last days.
What traditions surround Moses’ end of mortal life?
Concerning Moses’ death and burial, it is interesting that the Moslems have venerated the place where Moses was buried. It is west of the Jordan river, called “Nabi Musa,” at the beginning of the canyon that leads up to Jerusalem from the Dead Sea. The Jews are still waiting for the prophets Moses and Elijah to return. Two seats are traditionally and historically reserved for them in every synagogue. At one of the early meetings of the “Bnai Shalom” group (a support group for Jewish members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the late Apostle LeGrand Richards once remarked that he saw two beautifully decorated chairs fastened to the wall of a synagogue he was visiting. Knowingly, he asked the rabbi, “What are those two chairs for?” The reply came quickly that they were being kept for Elijah and Moses. Elder Richards, seizing the moment and using his wonderful sense of humor said, “Get ‘em down, they’ve already been here!”