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2019 Study Summary 15: Easter: “O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?”

Easter "O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?” What misunderstanding is there of “three-days and three-nights?” Many Christians struggle with the symbolism due to a mainstream Christian tradition of Good Friday as the crucifixion day and Easter Sunday as the resurrection day. That, according to the scriptural way of calculating twenty-four hour days, still is only two nights and two days. What did the Savior say about his death and resurrection?…

2019 Study Summary 14: “Thou Art the Christ”

Matthew 16—17; Mark 9; Luke 9 How does the literary rendering teach us a greater meaning for the transfiguration? The following verse excerpts show the chiastic teaching pattern in the chapter of Matthew 16. “. . . I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be…

2019 Study Summary 13: “Be Not Afraid”

Matthew 14–15; Mark 6–7; John 6: 5–6 What meanings do you see in the metaphors of water and rock? Moses struck the rock and out came water. It became the Rock of Salvation. Simon, son of Jonah (Bar Jonah in Aramaic) was affectionately nicknamed Petrus (“rock” in Greek) by Jesus. In that sense, Simon became “Rocky-1” in the scriptures! Jesus, knowing that He was the “Rock of Salvation,” was establishing…

2019 Study Summary 12: “Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear”

Matthew 13; Luke 8; 13 What are three tools of learning?They are seeing (visual), hearing (audio) and feeling (kinesthetic). These meta-programs (human perception modes) are reflected in the words we use to describe our reactions: “I see,” “Sounds right to me,” “I feel all right about this.” “. . . then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) “And Moses…

2019 Study Summary 11: “These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”

Matthew 10—12; Mark 2; Luke 7; 11 How is leading sheep done is Israel today? Near Jerusalem is an Arab house with more than a hundred sheep. A boy shepherd leads them out every morning and returns in the late afternoon. Leading sheep is typical in this country. Usually there are about a dozen lead sheep, older ones from last year's flock. The shepherd often has them marked with bells…

2019 Study Summary 10: “Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole”

Matthew 8—9; Mark 2—5 Do you believe in Miracles? Miracles are usually viewed with public amazement. Judaism sometimes views miracles as a part of God’s work with His people. The further a people stray from knowing God, the more their explanations of miracles become nebulous. In modern times, the late Israeli General and statesman, Moshe Dyan, was asked if he believed in miracles. He said, "No, we just count on…

2019 Study Summary 9: “He Taught Them As One Having Authority”

Matthew 6—7 What is the significance of studying Jewish Values? Judaism reflects a great history of instructions and traditions in giving charity and making offerings to assist the less fortunate. Philanthropy is a basic part of Biblical life, and hence, a religious life. To devout Jews, Biblical life means a Jewish life. "The obligation to help the poor and the needy and to give them gifts is stated many times…

2019 Study Summary 8: “Blessed Are Ye”

Matthew 5; Luke 6 Focusing Attention on Him: Most discussions of the Sermon on the Mount concentrate on our "attitudes." There may be an underlying and supporting doctrine teaching a higher law. Could it be that the Savior is saying, "No matter who you are, rich or poor, mournful or happy, popular or persecuted, come unto me and I will give you the Holy Ghost?" Mount of Beatitudes - A…

2019 Study Summary 7: “Ye Must Be Born Again”

John 2-4 The Land of Israel: There are many people who mistakenly think of Israel as a flat, dry and dangerous land. In contrast to popular opinion, Israel is mountainous, the rainfall equals that of London (average of 26-inches per year), and peaceful feelings envelope visitors the moment they arrive! Abundant Rainfall – "40-Days and 40-Nights!:"Water has always been a concern because most of the 26-inches of rainfall occurs within…

2019 Study Summary 6: “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me”

Matthew 4; Luke 4-5 Summary:Jesus fasts forty days and is tempted—He begins His ministry, calls disciples, and heals the sick.Jesus fasts forty days and is tempted by the devil—Jesus announces His divine sonship in Nazareth and is rejected—He casts out a devil in Capernaum, heals Peter’s mother-in-law, and preaches and heals throughout Galilee.Peter, the fisherman, is called to catch men—Jesus heals a leper—He forgives sins and heals a paralytic—Matthew is…

2019 Study Summary 5: “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”

Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3 Summary: John the Baptist preaches in Judæa—Jesus is baptized, and the Father acclaims Him as His Beloved Son. Jesus is baptized by John—He preaches the gospel, calls disciples, casts out devils, heals the sick, and cleanses a leper. John the Baptist preaches and baptizes—Jesus is baptized, and God acclaims Him as His Son—Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam is given. Christ is the Word of…

2019 Study Summary 4: “We Have Found the Messiah”

What and Who is the Word? Gospel writers had different approaches in describing Jesus’ life. John’s purpose is to explain WHAT He is and begins by describing Him as the WORD. To the Jews, the scriptures, the words of God, are so special they must never touch the ground. Many use a pointer to read the words rather than touch the scrolls with their fingers. The scroll cabinet, the “Ark,”…

2019 Study Summary 3: “We Have Come to Worship Him”

Bethlehem: Today many people travel to the Holy Land to look for Jesus in traditional spots. They expect a stable behind an inn. They come looking for scenes learned from Christmas cards. Let’s draw our attention to the East where it really happened. The traditional site for Jesus’ birthplace was established only 175 years after His birth. Three Christian churches, the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Catholic, hold separate services here…

2019 Study Summary 2: “Be It Unto Me According to Thy Word”

Levitical Cities Zacharias, a worthy priest in the temple, his wife Elisabeth, and John the Baptist initially lived in a city of “Judah.” Being priests, they likely lived in a town that was disciplined by priestly rules of cleanliness. “. . . there were 48 Levitical cities which were traditionally set apart, usually four from every tribe, for the exclusive residence of the Levites. Included in these were the six…

2019 Study Summary 1: “We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning”

How to Recognize the Truth in the Holy Lands: The 2019 New Testament study material has numerous Christian traditions to consider. Most traditional Holy Land sites significant to Jesus’ life were established hundreds of years after his mortal mission. Let me reiterate that there are four considerations which have helped me ascertain the truth as I guide thousands through Israel. They are (1) archaeology, (2) written accounts (especially scriptures), (3)…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 48: “The Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord”

Title Seems Foreboding, Yet Only for the Unprepared: Preparations are being made that include beautiful and sacred "Houses of the Lord" throughout the world. (There will be at least two temple cities, Jerusalem and Zion). ". . . his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem . . ." (D. & C. 124:35, 133:21) The "dress rehearsal" of today’s preparation and building – was before his "first"…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 47: “Let Us Rise Up and Build”

Some 1917 Parallels with Cyrus: The respect and honor Cyrus has in Jewish History is reflected by the Foreign Minister of England, Sir Arthur James, Earl of Balfour. His "Balfour Declaration" called for the return of the Jews to their homeland in 1917. Why Not Uganda? "In 1903 the Zionist movement was shaken by the introduction of the Uganda Scheme . . . rather than the disputed territory of Palestine.…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 46: “A Kingdom Which Shall Never Be Destroyed”

Historical Takeovers of the Little Land of Israel: Archaeology reveals close to thirty major different levels of conquering and habitation. The conqueror's quest was to secure the "Crossroads of the East." It reached from the north, sometimes governed by Assyrians, Babylonians and others and extended south to Egypt and the gateway to Africa. Babylon (today’s Iraq), was one of the major conquerors. Daniel Interprets: Prayer, alone as well as by…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 45: “If I Perish, I Perish”

Biblical Word of Wisdom: The Lord gave the Children of Israel a law of health. It could be called a "Word of Wisdom." The Jews call it the correct, proper or fit way of living, the Kashrut, or being kosher. The word kosher is also used as meaning correct. In this modern age, there are some Jews who will not eat meat because there are no sacrifices and the meat…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 44: “Every Thing Shall Live Whither the River Cometh”

Doom to Consolation: "Although the Book of Ezekiel starts on a note of doom, it continues with consolation, and the news of Jerusalem's fall is followed by consolatory prophecies of its restoration. Ezekiel is transported in a vision to the future Jerusalem and describes the future Temple in detail." (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Salt and Water: Ezekiel gives us the imagery of water and salt as he envisions living water coming…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 43: “The Shepherds of Israel”

Flock with Bells: One day on the Mount of Beatitiudes, we were surrounded by a flock of sheep. There were about a dozen older sheep, the "lead sheep" and they were fastened with bells. After about ten minutes of the flock spreading out and milling around us, I noticed that almost everyone had tears in their eyes. We were in the midst of experiencing a Biblical metaphor. The shepherd began…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 42: “I Will Write It In Their Hearts”

Higher or Lesser Law? Could it be that Israelites preferred to follow Moses the man rather than Jehovah the Lord when they said, "Moses, let God talk to you, and you'll talk to us?" Unable to recognize that with higher responsibilities (statutes) they would receive higher rewards (judgments), they chose a lesser way, resulting in many written commandments, rules and regulations. Instead of relying on the "Rock of Salvation," the…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 41: “I Have Made Thee This Day… An Iron Pillar”

Metaphor of Containing Things: Iron and clay are the most notable materials that were made into vessels. "Isaiah describes the smith's technique of working iron with the help of charcoal to produce a metal suitable for making vessels." (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The Lord "formed" Jeremiah as a vessel to represent the Lord. "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 40: “Enlarge The Place Of Thy Tent”

Living in the "City of Our Lord" with Our Lord: Dwelling places such as tents with their poles (stakes) and curtains may represent the organized facilities and order of heaven. ". . . The city of the LORD (Ether 13:5) The "camp" of Israel was organized in a "City of the Lord," likened to the "House of the Lord." The families were on the outside; the priests (Levites) were next.…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 39: “How Beautiful Upon The Mountains”

"Everlasting" Hills Testify of the Lord: In ancient times, the word of the Lord came from the "tops of the mountains," Jerusalem, where the tribe of Judah and the prophets of Israel lived. These mountains create a backbone of the country of Israel. In fact, the land of Israel has mountains from its northern to its southern borders. It is a mountain range that is "everlasting." "Utah" – Tops: In…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 38: “Beside Me There Is No Savior”

Isaiah Said What He Meant: The other day at the Western (Wailing) Wall, a young Orthodox Jew was observing and listening to us, said "Isaiah could not be understood in English, you are interpreting it incorrectly." Even though we were not reading about a "virgin birth," he said that there are different meanings for "virgin." I thought, what made him refer to the virgin when we were reading something completely…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 37: “Thou Hast Done Wonderful Things”

Isaiah Uses Simple Symbolisms and Metaphors: As he reports history in the making that becomes prophecy of the future, the knowledge of his surroundings and history removes the complications many people usually associate with his wonderful literature. Some of his meanings can still be seen in Jewish thought as subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) names of the Lord. Mercy, Justice: "The Hebrew word for justice is zedek . . . another…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 36: “The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense”

Two Keys to Understanding the Scriptures: We need the “learning of the Jews” along with the "knowledge of the mysteries of God." (1 Nephi 1-2) "Mysteries" are simply the subtle, God given instructions known by the gift of the Holy Ghost. The imagery of Isaiah can best be understood by knowing his political, cultural and geographic environment. He testifies of the Messiah through everything around him. After all, he is…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 35: “God Reveals His Secrets To His Prophets”

More to a Word: An oft repeated verse of Amos is the Lord's instruction that he needs his prophets to reveal his word and will. "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) Since the Biblical Hebrew has such a small vocabulary, it is fascinating to know that words with related meanings are placed in precise order for a…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 34: “I Will Betroth Thee Unto Me In Righteousness”

Same Message "Repent:" As with all prophets of God, the message is improving, changing and turning toward God ("to turn" "return" or "go back" is also the word repentance in Hebrew). Various metaphors were used by various prophets and Hosea chooses the tender subject of marriage and moral fidelity to emphasize the nurturing and forgiving nature of our Father in Heaven. Israel Compared to Unfaithful Wife: "In the aggadah, great…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 33: “Sharing The Gospel With The World”

Sinking to New Heights: The story of Jonah is his own poetic way of bearing a humble testimony that he was nothing, that he sank to the depths, and that he was to do the Lord’s work instead of his own. His humility and confession may be mistaken as a “less than willing” prophet. Yet he is one of the greatest, and in fact, the most important prophet of his…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 32: “I Know That My Reedemer Liveth”

Book of Job Focuses on the Lord Rather than on Job: The agency that mankind was given allows a choice of following the Lord with progress that develops Godlike characteristics or following our own inherent aptitudes accepting the less-than-maximum rather than the full possibilities that God gave us. A Look at Job's Home: : "Job, like Abraham, had open doors on all four sides of his house so that strangers…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 31: “Happy Is The Man That Findeth Wisdom”

The Wonder of the Word: In Judaism, it is completely irreverent to place any kind of writing on the floor or the ground. Scriptures are kept in special cabinets (reminiscent of the Ark in Temple times) If a book falls to the floor, it is the habit to pick it up, render a kiss and return it to its place. Since Biblical Hebrew (the Old Testament) was written with fewer…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 30: “Come To The House Of The Lord”

Hezekiah, Highly Favored among the Jews: We also know that several things in his life were powerful metaphors of the Savior. Bringing "Living Water" to Jerusalem and another was bringing the people to the Lord and the Temple by awakening the scriptures to them. "Hezekiah is remembered as a great king by Jews, both for his religious virtue and his political and military skill." ". . . a king who…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 29: “He Took Up… The Mantle of Elijah”

The Name Elisha Means "My God Saves:" It includes the inference that it is God, not the prophet, who is the maker of miracles. Jewish thought has alternated between recognizing the power of man or the power of God. "Elisha's prophetic powers were indeed increased after the master's death --- he performed 16 miracles compared to Elijah's eight, and brought back to life two people to Elijah's one." (Encyclopedia Judaica…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 28: “After The Fire A Still Small Voice”

"Rain" and "Life" Expressed in Jewish Prayers: These prayers include a subtle, recurring inference to the Messiah. ". . . Among the manifestations of God's power are His providing sustenance for all living creatures, His healing the sick, and His causing rain to fall. Stress is laid on the revival of the dead, and the benediction which concludes with Barukh mehayyeh ha-metim ("Blessed be... He Who revives the dead") is…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 27: “The Influence Of Wicked And Righteous Leaders”

Israel's Divisive Politics: It seems that the Lord wants the Children of Israel to learn and accept their true leader. Yet, surrounded by other peoples with governments of "men," Israel lost the vision of a Lord's government. "Following Solomon's death, dissension and rebellion broke out in Israel. Rehoboam, Solomon's son and heir to the throne, was unable to maintain the unity of the kingdom and the northern section seceded as…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 26: “King Solomon: Man Of Wisdom Man Of Foolishness”

Black Ethiopian Jews: "In Ethiopia, members of this group refer to themselves as Beta Israel . . . They practice an early form of Judaism . . . According to their tradition, their ancestors were Jerusalem notables who came with Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, when he returned home." "They said that he brought Judaic customs and civil law to Ethiopia." (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 25: “Let Every Thing That Hath Breath Praise The Lord”

Scriptures–Important Part of Jewish Life: Every congregation, whether Orthodox, Conservative or Reform reads the same Torah section on Mondays, Thursdays and Sabbaths (Saturdays). There are additional readings on High Days such as Yom Kippur, Passover, Sukkoth, Rosh Hannah, Shavuot, etc. In addition, readings from the "Neviim," the Prophets, and the "Ketuvim," their writings, are added. Over the years, these additional readings have been added to assist in explaining the Torah…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 24: “Create Within Me A Clean Heart”

Good Similarities Extend to Latter-day David: Jews expect a "latter-day" David who would be similar to the former David in that he would be militarily, politically and spiritually capable. However, Jews choose to reflect on David's good characteristics rather than on his grievous mistakes. His repentance is recognized. Yet, we feel that the results of his immorality and murderous conspiracy extends into times unknown to us. Comparing Paul with David:…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 23: “The Lord Be Between Thee And Me Forever”

Sources of Davidic History: Most of what we know about David, Saul, and his son Jonathan, comes from the Holy Scriptures. Some creative works have been produced, fired by imagination and legends. The only non biblical text ever discovered that includes the name of David with a time reference that connects it to his time was a stone used in a walkway leading to the entrance of "Tel Dan" in…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 22: “The Lord Looketh On The Heart”

Imbalance of Faith and Works: In Judaism, "belief" is super ceded by "doing." Hence the 613 commandments (365 do not's and 248 do's) have preeminence over faith. "The biblical word emunah (and its other forms) which is often translated as "belief" really means "trust" or "confidence," which is something quite different." (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Choosing of a New King: After Saul, choosing a new King was to become a spiritual…

Israel – Contrasts And Consonance

[caption align="aligncenter"]Israel Conquests[/caption] CONQUESTS The land of Israel is really quite small. The biblical borders of the "Jordan River to the Mediterranean" and "Dan to Beersheba" are about 65-miles wide and about 200-miles long, with virtually no natural resources, (there is no gold or silver or metal deposits). Even Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel, humorously chided Moses when she said, "He travelled the wilderness for forty years and…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 21: “God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him”

Samuel Means Dedicated to the Lord: Hannah, the wife of Elkanah and the mother of the prophet Samuel, is a devout woman who made an annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Shiloh. Anguished at her barrenness and vowing to dedicate any son born to her to the service of God, the high priest Eli heard her and added his blessing to her pleas. (1 Samuel 1:11) First fruits and first…

Sheep, Shepherds And The Son Of God

[caption align="aligncenter"]The Nativity Church In Bethlehem[/caption] THE NATIVITY CHURCH The traditionally accepted birthplace of Jesus is in a grotto located under the Church of Nativity. This is not inconceivable, in the sense that stables were usually on the ground floor or underneath the inn rooms. The tradition, however, only begins 175 years after the birth of Jesus. Three Christian churches, Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic, hold separate services here and…

The Mothers Of Bethlehem

[caption align="aligncenter"]Wild Oregano[/caption] LIFE GOES ON No matter the economic hardships one may encounter, this I know, life goes on. This family of Elimelech, with two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, settled in Moab for several years. Mahlon and Chilion took Moabite women to wife. Eventually, Elimelech died along with his two sons Mahlon and Chilion (whose names in Hebrew actually mean sickness and death). All that was left of Elimelech’s…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 19: “The Reign Of The Judges”

Defense Minister, Mr. Lightning: Barak ("lightning" in Hebrew), the military leader of Israel, was hesitant to follow Deborah's prophetic instruction to engage the enemy. He acquiesced after she agreed to accompany him. (There may have been fewer wars if presidents and prime ministers had accompanied their young soldiers to battle.) Kenites: Modern archaeology has discovered Kenite temples identical to Israelite temples. Jael, Heber's wife, of the Kenite people, apparently may…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 18: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”

"Prophet in Waiting:" The selection of Joshua to replace Moses was anticipated by the Israelites. There was (and still is) a system that God established that there would always be a worthy "Prophet in waiting." Known examples include Joseph for Jacob, Joshua for Moses, Nephi for Lehi and presently the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. These prophets were and are still led by the Lord. History some times…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 17: “Beware Lest Thou Forget”

How Are You Using Your Anchors? 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 than what they should be reminders of. The…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 16: “Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord”

What Do Jews Think of Balaam? The collection of Jewish traditions about Balaam are mostly negative and confusing. First of all, he is considered a "gentile prophet." What makes this of interest is the acknowledgment, or at least the inference, that there were prophets outside of ethnic Israel. Unfortunately, the same Jewish tradition distrusts "gentile" prophets. In the same breath, it diminishes the importance of the positive Biblical accounts of…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 15: “Look To God And Live”

True Concept of God–Revelation, Lost: For Judaism, "looking to God" and "revelation" are almost figurative and in modern times have become unexplainable. "There is no specific term corresponding to "revelation" . . . appearances are described by a series of anthropomorphic (i.e., human) expressions and concrete images . . . Thus, various phrases are used when describing appearances of the Divine, for example kavod ("glory") or shekhinah (. . .…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 14: “Ye Shall Be A Peculiar Treasure Unto Me”

Manna, the “Bread” That Kept Israelites Alive: ". . . it was the special duty of the housewife to bake the bread for the Sabbath . . . Two such loaves are placed on the festive Sabbath table as a symbol for the double portion of manna which the Israelites in the wilderness received every Friday . . ." (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Israel Complained–not Enough Water: In the exodus, Moses…

The Land of Miracles: Israel

[caption align="aligncenter"]The Hula Valley[/caption] THE HULA VALLEY The challenge to drain the ancient, stinking swamps called the Hula, was met by new Jewish immigrants in the 1940's and 50's. The land is now fruitful. Many of the returning Lebanese visitors are surprised to see the new landscape which has changed considerably since they last saw it almost forty years ago. New settlements and development towns like Kiryat Shemona dot the…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 13: “Bondage, Passover, & Exodus”

Extermination Order–Deliverer: Baby Moses being saved during an extermination order by the Pharaoh parallels the account of the baby Jesus being saved during an extermination order by King Herod. Moses becomes a "type" of the deliverer. Jesus is the real deliverer. Jesus Was Born on Passover: According to the biblical calendar, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized on April 6, 1830. It was Passover that year!…

Israel – It’s Ups & Downs

[caption align="aligncenter"]Mount of Olives[/caption] MOUNT OF OLIVES In the Judean hills, the Mount of Olives looks over Jerusalem. It is about 2700 feet above sea level and is the highest of the several hills in the immediate area of the Holy City. This mount is sacred as a place for the dead as well as for its biblically renowned orchards and vineyards. The graveyard has been the hallowed resting spot…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 12: “Fruitful In The Land Of My Affliction”

Ancient Joseph Learned a Profound Lesson in Becoming a Slave: He simply became the very best slave or servant he could be. "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant . . ." (Matthew 23:11-12) "He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all." (Doctrine & Covenants 50:26) Hiding…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 11: “How Can I Do This Great Wickedness?”

Joseph, Known and Unknown: The account of ancient Joseph is truly a chiasmas paralleled by the modern story of Joseph. It is a prefiguring of the Savior's mission. In slavery, his identity is really unknown, yet he serves and saves those around him. Later, he serves and saves his brothers before identifying himself. Latter-day Messiah Preceded by a Joseph Messiah? "According to the Talmud, the Messiah will be a descendant…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 10: “Birthright Blessing; Marriage In The Covenant”

Modern Finds Give Insights to Biblical Culture: The Biblical area of Haran may have been discovered in modern Iraq. Writings found in an ancient town of Nuzi give some insight to the culture of Biblical times: "NUZI is an ancient city in northeastern Iraq . . . discovered thousands of tablet-documents dating from the 15th-14th centuries B.C.E. . . . when deciphered, turned out to be extremely valuable . .…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 9: “God Will Provide Himself A Lamb”

Promise Kept: Isaac was a miracle child, born of Sarah who was ninety-years old and barren. One could ask, "what did the neighbors say?" Isaac in Hebrew means laughter, humor, amusing or delightful. Abraham and Sarah were delighted. A human impossibility became a God-given fulfillment. In the Lord's own plan, he kept his promises! A Chosen Birth Date: "According to the aggadah, Isaac was born to Sarah on the first…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 8: “Living Righteously In A Wicked World”

Dead Sea Scroll People Move to the "Great Salt Lake": The Dead Sea Scrolls people moved away from wickedness to establish a singular community of righteousness. Their leader was called the "Teacher of Righteousness" and he had two assistants. There was also a council of "Twelve Overseers." They had an order following the 'righteous king', which is said in Hebrew, "Melech Zedek." The Dead Sea sect shunned others, and probably…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 7: “The Abrahamic Covenant”

Abrahamic Covenant Before Abraham? It can be considered that the "Abrahamic covenant" was in existence before Abraham's time. The honor bestowed on this faithful dispensation leader was to have the covenant that eternally binds God and man named after him. A few others have been honored similarly, such as in "The Law of Moses" and the "Sign of the Prophet Jonah." New Name: It is a common practice among religious…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 5: “If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted”

References to Enoch: "Enoch" appears in several apocryphal works. The Ethiopian Jews who claim to be descendants of King Solomon (and the Queen of Sheba) have brought their holy books from Ethiopia to Israel. Although they are recent in terms of age (less than two-thousand years old), they do contain two apocryphal books, one of which is the Book of Enoch. "Probably the most important work in pseudepigraphical literature deals…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 4: “Because Of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened”

Who Remembers the "Fall of Adam" Anymore?: The fall of Adam is one of the faded doctrines of Judaism. Discovery of ancient scriptures (The Pearl of Great Price) and the restoration of temples in modern times have restored understanding that was on the earth before. Following is a collection of Jewish thought on Adam, Eve and sin. Literal or Allegorical? "For most of the medieval Jewish thinkers, the biblical story…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 3: “The Creation”

Texts Before the Bible was Written: Before the Bible as we know it was written there were written correspondences between peoples in the Middle East. The oldest known writing may be the Ebla Tablets found in today's Syria. Approximately eighteen thousand ceramic plates were found. They even contained a language that had never been known before. Even more astounding was a set of plates that contained a sort of dictionary…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 2: “Thou Was Chosen Before Thou Wast Born”

Pre-earth Life Exists Before New Testament: At the time of Jesus a Society of Jews that many call the Essenes lived at the Dead Sea. Their writings included inferences of "pre-existence." This seems evident because their scribes referred to the Messiah they expected as known by previous prophets and sages. Doctrine Changed: Again, the eighth century Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, eliminated references to a pre-earth life. Various writing of sages prior…

Old Testament Summary Lesson 1: “This Is My Work and My Glory”

True Nature Of God Known in Antiquity: The anthropomorphic nature of God was known to the Jews at the time of Jesus. The Old Testament, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls contain several references to God in 'human terms'. As the true nature of God is seen to diminish in history, true religion fades away. When Jewish Belief in God Changed: By the time the Crusaders were approaching the…

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