30 January 2015

Alma 41: Concerning Restoration

For the last two chapters, Alma has been busy giving advice to his wayward son, Corianton. It started out pretty interesting. We learned that Corianton forsook the ministry, and chased after the harlot Isabel in the land of Siron. Apparently he also was always bragging about his strength and his wisdom. Corianton sounds like quite the character, and it was going to take quite a bit for his father to straighten him out.

Chapter 39 was pretty interesting, because we learned all about Corianton. But then Alma decided to tell Corianton all about the resurrection in Chapter 40, which was fairly dull. Chapter 41 is all about the restoration, which might even be duller. You decide.

Alma could see that his son was concerned about the restoration. So he's going to take this chapter to explain it to him.
And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee. Alma 41:1
God's justice requires that everything be restored to it's proper order. If a man's works are good in this life, then he will be restored to the good place, but if his works are evil, then he wil be restored to the evil place. It's pretty simple: you reap what you sow.

I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself. 41:2 

And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. 41:3
And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame -- mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption -- raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other -- 41:4

Got it? Okay, I'll just take one more verse from this chapter, in case you didn't get it the first time.
[T]he meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish -- good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. 41:13b

That was a pretty short post, mainly because the chapter was so repetative, and not even in a funny way. But there is a lot more in the next chapter to get excited about. Alma finally finishes his speech to Corianton! Glory!

28 January 2015

Alma 40: Concerning The Resurrection

In this chapter, Alma continues his speech to his third son, Corianton. Unfortunately (as it was bound to do eventually) it takes a turn for the boring. He devotes the chapter to explaining the resurrection to Corianton. 
Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead. Alma 40:1
Alma is really proud of his knowledge of the resurrection. He takes 26 verses to explain it to his son, but it's shocking how little he knows about it, and how proud he is of the little he knows. I've tried to sum up his speech below.

It's going to happen, but only after Christ comes.
Behold, I say unto you, that there is no resurrection—or, I would say, in other words, that this mortal does not put on immortality, this corruption does not put on incorruption—until after the coming of Christ. 40:2
It hasn't started yet. 
Behold, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. But behold, my son, the resurrection is not yet. Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know—that is concerning the resurrection. 40:3
We don't know when it's going to happen. But God knows. 
Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed. 40:4
There might be two or three resurrections. It doesn't matter. God knows how many times he plans on doing it, though. And that should be enough for you. 
Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case—that there is a time appointed that all shall rise from the dead. 40:5
In the meantime, though, a lot of people are going to die. So God came up with a sort of pre-heaven and pre-hell for people who haven't yet been resurrected. Good people go to a state of happiness, which is called paradise. Bad people are cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. 

Everyone stays in their designated muster station until the resurrection. 

Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection. 40:6
 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection? 40:7
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. 40:11
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. 40:12
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. 40:13
Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. 40:14
Some people call this a "first resurrection". In the middle of the speech, Alma sort of says "Yeah, that makes sense. Let's go with that. First Resurrection". But then he changes his mind. "Aw, jeez, though... there has to be more to a resurrection than just being in a happy holding cell for a while... you have to be reunited with everyone, Adam and Eve and everybody who died before..."
Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea, I admit it may be termed a resurrection, the raising of the spirit or the soul and their consignation to happiness or misery, according to the words which have been spoken. 40:15
And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. 40:16
Now, we do not suppose that this first resurrection, which is spoken of in this manner, can be the resurrection of the souls and their consignation to happiness or misery. Ye cannot suppose that this is what it meaneth. 40:17
Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ. 40:18
Alma sort of continues is this way for a while, but none of it is really worth examining. He ends up sticking to his guns, that going to paradise or outer darkness is not really a true resurrection, and that the true resurrection is when Christ comes. I'm sure Corianton was like, "Okay, Dad. Whatever you say."
Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven. 40:20
So now you know all about the resurrection! 

Let's recap:

1. There is going to be a resurrection, but only after Christ comes. 

2. We don't know when it might happen, or how many resurrections there might be. But, luckily, God knows when, and how many he plans on doing. 

3. In the meantime, people are going to die. The good ones go to paradise, and the bad ones go to a scary place called "outer darkness". 

4. Some people call this process of deciding who goes to which place the "First Resurrection". Alma was almost convinced but he decided, after careful study, that this isn't a bona fide resurrection, because it doesn't meet all of his criteria. 

25 January 2015

EJ&T - First Chronicles: O Lord! You are so big!

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

I couldn't find any new commandments in Judges through 2 Kings. (Let me know if I missed any.)

But there are some new ones in First Chronicles. Here's what I've found so far. (They are well summarized in the following video.)

  1. Enquire of the Lord.
  2. Saul ... enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him. 1 Chronicles 10:14

  3. Don't touch the ark.
  4. The anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. 1 Chronicles 13:10

  5. Thank God.
  6. Give thanks unto the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:8

    O give thanks unto the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 105:1, 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, 136:1

    Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Psalm 30:4

    Offer unto God thanksgiving. Psalm 50:14

    Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Psalm 97:12

    Enter into his gates with thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4

    Be thankful unto him. Psalm 100:4

    O give thanks unto the God of gods. 136:2

    O give thanks to the Lord of lords. 136:3

    O give thanks unto the God of heaven. 136:26

    Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

    Giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

  7. Call on the Lord's name.
  8. Call on his name. 1 Chronicles 16:8, Psalm 105:1

    Call upon me in the day of trouble. Psalm 50:15

    Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3

  9. Make known his deeds among the people.
  10. Tell people what the Lord has done among them. 1 Chronicles 16:8

    Talk ye of all his wondrous works. 1 Chronicles 16:9

    Make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1

  11. Sing to God (preferably psalms on an instrument with ten strings).
  12. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him. 1 Chronicles 16:9

    Sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 1 Chronicles 16:23

    Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion. Psalm 9:11

    Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his. Psalm 30:4

    Sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Psalm 33:2

    Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. Psalm 33:3

    Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. Psalm 47:6

    Sing ye praises with understanding. Psalm 47:7

    Make a joyful noise unto God ... Sing forth the honour of his name. Psalm 66:1-2

    Sing unto God, sing praises to his name. Psalm 68:4

    Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth. Psalm 68:32

    Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon. Psalm 81:1-3

    O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD. Psalm 96:1-2

    O sing unto the LORD a new song. Psalm 98:1, Psalm 149:1

    Sing praise. Psalm 98:4

    Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. Psalm 98:5

    Come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2

    Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him. Psalm 105:2

    Sing praises unto his name. Psalm 135:3

    Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God. Psalm 147:7

    Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Isaiah 12:5

    Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth. Isaiah 42:10

    Sing unto the LORD. Jeremiah 20:13

    Sing, O daughter of Zion. Zephaniah 3:14

    Sing ... O daughter of Zion. Zechariah 2:10

    Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19

    Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

  13. Glory in God's holy name.
  14. Glory ye in his holy name. 1 Chronicles 16:10, Psalm 105:3

  15. Seek the LORD and his strength.
  16. Seek the LORD and his strength. 1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 105:4

    Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

    Seek the LORD. Amos 5:6

    Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. Amos 5:8

    Seek, and ye shall find. Matthew 7:7

  17. Seek the Lord's face continually.
  18. Seek his face continually. 1 Chronicles 16:11

    Seek his face evermore. Psalm 105:4

  19. Remember God's marvelous works, wonders, and judgments of his mouth.
  20. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. 1 Chronicles 16:12

    Declare ... his marvellous works among all nations. 1 Chronicles 16:24

    Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Psalm 96:3

    Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Psalm 105:5

  21. Don't touch the Lord's anointed.
  22. Touch not mine anointed. 1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15

  23. Don't harm God's prophets.
  24. Do my prophets no harm. 1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15

  25. Show forth God's salvation from day to day.
  26. Shew forth from day to day his salvation. 1 Chronicles 16:23

    Shew forth his salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2

  27. Declare God's glory among the heathen.
  28. Declare his glory among the heathen. 1 Chronicles 16:24

    Declare his glory among the heathen. Psalm 96:3

  29. Praise the Lord.
  30. The LORD [is] greatly to be praised 1 Chronicles 16:25

    Praise the LORD with harp. Psalm 33:2

    Make his praise glorious. Psalm 66:2

    Make the voice of his praise to be heard. Psalm 66:8

    Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH. Psalm 68:4

    O sing praises unto the Lord. Psalm 68:32

    Enter ... into his courts with praise. Psalm 100:4

    Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 104:35; 106:1, 48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:9; 116:19; 117:2, 155:21, 146:1, 146:10, 147:1, 147:20, 148:14, 149:1, 149:9, 150:1, Jeremiah 20:13

    Praise ye the LORD. Praise. Psalm 113:1, 135:1, 135:3

    Praise the LORD. Psalm 115:18, 147:12, 148:7

    O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. Psalm 117:1

    Praise him. Psalm 135:1, 148:4

    Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Psalm 148:1

    Praise ye him. 148:2, 3

    Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Psalm 150:1

    Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 150:2

    Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Psalm 150:3

    Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 150:4

    Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Psalm 150:5

    Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 150:6

    Praise the name of the LORD your God. Joel 2:26

  31. Give the Lord glory and strength.
  32. Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name. 1 Chronicles 16:28-29

    Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Psalm 29:1

    Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name. Psalm 29:2

    Thou shalt glorify me. Psalm 50:15

    Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Psalm 50:15

    Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name. Psalm 96:7-8

    Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

    He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:17

  33. Bring an offering and come before the Lord.
  34. Bring an offering, and come before him. 1 Chronicles 16:30

    Bring an offering, and come into his courts. Psalm 96:8

  35. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
  36. Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:28

    Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2

    O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 96:9

  37. Say: "The Lord reigns."
  38. Let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. 1 Chronicles 16:31

    Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth. Psalm 96:10

  39. Say the following things to God:
  40. Say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. 1 Chronicles 16:35-36

    Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. Psalm 66:3-4

  41. Possess your land and leave it for an inheritance for your children.
  42. Possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. 1 Chronicles 28:8

  43. Bless God.
  44. Bless the LORD your God. 1 Chronicles 29:20

    O bless our God, ye people. Psalm 66:8

    Bless the LORD. Psalm 134:2, Psalm 135:20, Psalm 135:21

23 January 2015

Alma 39: Corianton, The Sexual Deviant

Now Alma turned to his third son, Corianton. Turns out that Corianton needed the most work of all his sons, so he got the longest speech. Alma's advice to Corianton goes on for four chapters (39-42), but the meat of it is in Chapter 39.

Alma starts out by explaining that this speech is going to take a while because Corianton was so much worse than his older brother Shiblon. Uh oh, Corianton! When Alma says he's going to take a while, he usually means it. You had better go get some snacks.  
And now, my son, I have somewhat more to say unto thee than what I said unto thy brother; for behold, have ye not observed the steadiness of thy brother, his faithfulness, and his diligence in keeping the commandments of God? Behold, has he not set a good example for thee? Alma 39.1

Alma explains what he has against Corianton: he doesn't listen to Alma, and he brags all the time about his strength and wisdom. Also, he left the ministry and chased after the harlot Isabel in the land of Siron. Woah! Okay, this is getting interesting. Why haven't we heard any of this before?
For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom. 39.2
And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel. 39.3
Don't you know that is practically the worst thing you could do, Corianton? The only worse things are denying the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood.*
Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? 39.5
Look, son. I wouldn't bring up this embarrassing stuff unless I really had to. But I have to. So repent, because you can't hide your crimes from God, and if you don't repent you'll go to hell. And after you're done repenting, stop chasing after harlots.
And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good. 39.7 
But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day. 39.8 
Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things. 39.9
And please, listen to the advice of your older brothers.
And I command you to take it upon you to counsel with your elder brothers in your undertakings; for behold, thou art in thy youth, and ye stand in need to be nourished by your brothers. And give heed to their counsel. 39.10
And NO MORE HARLOTS, Corianton. No more. And don't be so greedy and vain.
Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. 39.11a
Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you. 39.14
Got that? Okay. Now let's talk about Jesus.
And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people. 39.15
I know that this is what you were teaching for years, but with all the whores and ouzo I thought you might have forgotten. So let me remind you. Jesus is coming. We don't know when, but he is coming.
And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming. 39.16
It might seem a little confusing why God would let us know so far ahead of time, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it a little bit, son. See, everything is easy for God, and he wants us to know our plan of redemption so that we can be saved before we are saved, because otherwise who knows what might happen.
And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming? 39.17 
Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children? 39.18 
Is it not as easy at this time for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us as unto our children, or as after the time of his coming? 39.19
*I'm writing this as Alma, to make it easier and more fun to read.

22 January 2015

Alma 38: Bridle your passions, Shiblon!

Chapter 38 is another boring chapter, so I'll go through it pretty quickly. If you remember, in Chapter 37, Alma is just giving each one of his sons a bunch of advice in a big monologue (like Polonius does to Laertes in Hamlet, only less poetic.)

He has already given his speech to Helaman, so now he moves on to his next son, Shiblon. Shiblon doesn't get any gold plates or anything, so this chapter is quite a bit shorter. All Shiblon gets is a measly 15 verses, some of which I've skipped because they don't add much of anything to his speech.
Alma doesn't even appear to be trying very hard -- He says right from the get-go that he's just repeating to him what he already told Helaman.

Keep God's commandments. If you don't, he'll abandon you. 

My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Alma 38.1
And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end. 38.2
But don't think that I'm just telling you stuff that I believe. This is stuff that God told me directly, through his spirit and by sending an angel messenger, with whom I spoke with face-to-face. 

Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things. 38.6 
But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth. 38.7

I'm telling you this so you can be wise, and so that you know that the only way to be saved is through Christ. In case you missed that before. 

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. 38.9
Also, keep teaching, and be diligent and temperate.  
And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. 38.10
Don't get too proud, and don't start bragging about your wisdom or your strength. 
See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. 38.11
Be bold, but not too overbearing, and hold in your passions while still being filled with love, and keep busy. 
Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. 38.12
Pray because you mean it, not just to be seen praying, like the Zoramites do. 
Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom. 38.13
Don't brag to God. He hates that. Be humble and apologetic, always. Acknowledge your unworthiness to God at all times
Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times. 38.14
And that's all I have to tell you. God bless you, son. Go teach the word to the people and be at peace. Oh, and lay off the bottle, ya filthy animal! 
And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My son, farewell. 38.15

10 January 2015

EJ&T: Joshua - The twelve stones and the accursed thing

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Meditate on the commandments night and day.
  2. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. Joshua 1:8

  3. Take twelve stones from the Jordan River as a memorial forever.
  4. Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

    Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

    And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

    That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

    Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

    And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

    And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. Joshua 4:3-9

  5. Show your children the twelve stones to remind them about how they should fear God forever.
  6. And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

    And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

    Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

    For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

    That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever. Joshua 4:20-24

  7. Destroy the accursed thing.
  8. Destroy the accursed from among you. Joshua 7:12

  9. Burn to death anyone who takes the accursed thing, along with his family and other possessions.
  10. He that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath. Joshua 7:15

09 January 2015

Possibly Gay Bible Stories: David and Jonathan

(From Chapter 4 of Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality by Steve Wells)
This story seems, to me anyway, the most likely of of all of the possibly gay Bible stories. There was a special relationship between Jonathan and David. And it involved a love of one kind or another. But what was the nature of that love? To decide that, we need to go through the relevant material in the Bible.

Knit with the soul of David

This is the first mention of the relationship between David and Jonathan in the Bible. Apparently it was love at first sight.

The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1
As a sign of his love, Jonathan took off his robe, garments, and girdle, and gave them to David.
Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments ... and his girdle. 18:3-4

Lord Frederick Leighton (Jonathan's Token to David, c.1868)

Jonathan (obviously) delighted much in David.
Jonathan ... delighted much in David. 19:2
The special relationship between Jonathan and David continued to grow. Jonathan swore he’d do whatever David wanted him to do, and together they went out into the field, where they pledged, once again, their love for each other.
David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes ... Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee. 20:3-4

And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. 20:11

And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 20:17

To the confusion of thy mother's nakedness

Saul was angered by his son's relationship with David and said, "do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion of thy mother's nakedness?"

Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness? 20:30

David and Jonathan "La Somme le Roy", 1290 AD

Here is how Jennings in Jacob's Wound makes sense out of the “confusion” and “mother’s nakedness” business.1
[I]n having an erotic/sexual relationship with David, Jonathan has had a relationship with someone who has had sexual relations with his father, and thus he has exposed his father’s nakedness. … Intimacy with David exposes the nakedness of David’s first lover (Saul) and thus of that sexual partner of Saul’s who is also Jonathan’s mother.
So Saul and David were lovers.2 Then Saul’s son, Jonathan, fell in love with David, which caused the confusion of Jonathan’s perverse mother’s nakedness. Or something like that.

And they kissed one another until David exceeded

David and Jonathan "kissed one another, and wept with one another" when they parted for, what they thought might be, the last time.

And they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. 20:41
And here’s what an article at ReligiousTolerance.org says about the whole David “exceeded” thing.3
The original Hebrew text says that they kissed each other and wept together until David became large. The word which means "became large" in this passage is "gadal" in the original Hebrew. The same word is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures to refer to King Solomon being greater than all other kings. Some theologians interpret "gadal" in this verse as indicating that David had an erection.

Jonathan Lovingly Taketh His Leave of David by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Passing the love of women

David loved Jonathan more than women. (And he loved lots of women!)4

I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 2 Samuel 1:26
Although conservatives deny that there was a homosexual relationship between Jonathan and David,5 liberals are certain that there was. Here, for example is what Tom Horner says in his book Jonathan Loved David: “There can be little doubt, except on the part of those who absolutely refuse to believe it, that a homosexual relationship existed between David and Jonathan.”6
  1. Theodore W. Jennings, Jr., Jacob's Wound, p. 17.

  2. See Possibly Gay Bible Stories: Saul and David

  3. ReligiousTolerance.org: Same-Sex Relationships in the Bible/David and Jonathan/1 Samuel 20:41

  4. No one knows how many wives and concubines David had, but he had at least ten of each.

    Michal, 1 Samuel 18:27
    Abigail, 1 Samuel 25:42
    Ahinoam, 1 Samuel 25:43
    Maacah, 2 Samuel 3:3
    Haggith, 2 Samuel 3:4
    Abital, 2:Samuel 3:4
    Eglah, 2 Samuel 3:5
    “And David took him more concubines and wives.” 2 Samuel 5:13
    Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11:27
    “David … took the ten women his concubines….” 2 Samuel 20:3

  5. “None of these texts, taken singly or as a collective whole, provide persuasive support for a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan.” Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 153.

  6. Tom Horner, Jonathan Loved David, p. 20.

08 January 2015

EJ&T: Where are the other 76 commandments?

For the last eight months I've been going through the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), listing all of the commandments that I could find. I've finally finished with Deuteronomy, but I've only found 537 -- not the 613 that are supposed to be there according to Jewish tradition. So where are the other 76?

The magic number (613) apparently dates from the 3rd century CE, when rabbi Simlai claimed that there are exactly 613 commandments in the Torah. And the rabbis have stuck with that number ever since, because the number 613 is so darned special.

What's so special about it, you ask?

Well, the number 611 is the numerical value (gematria) of the word "Torah" in Hebrew. And the rabbis claim that there are only two commandments (the first two in the Jewish list of the ten commandments) that are directly commanded by God. When you add 611 to 2 you get 613. So 613 must be the correct number of God's commandments.

And in case that isn't enough to convince you, consider this: There are, they say, 365 negative ("Thou shalt not....") commandments -- one for every day of the year; and 248 positive ("Thou shalt...") commandments -- one for every bone in the human body. (The the rabbis were wrong about the number of bones; there are only 206 bones in the human body. But they've tried to fix that by adding the number of major organs to the number of bones to keep the special significance of the number 248.)

Finally, the gematria of each of the four tassels (tzitzit) in the Jewish prayer shawl is equal to 600. Each tassel has eight threads with five knots, for a total of 13. Adding these numbers together makes 613.

So, clearly, we are completely locked in to 613 as the total number of commandments in the Torah.

I must, therefore, have missed 76 commandments. Let me know if you can find any of them and I'll add them to the list.

05 January 2015

EJ&T Deuteronomy 31-32: The song of Moses - I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Read the law to all the people in a place that God will choose.
  2. When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law. Deuteromony 31:12

  3. Teach your children the Song of Moses.
  4. Write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths. ... Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. Deuteromony 31:19-22

    Here is Moses's song:

    Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

    My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

    Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

    He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

    They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

    Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

    Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

    When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

    For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

    He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

    As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:

    So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

    He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;

    Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

    But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

    They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

    They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

    Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

    And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.

    And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

    They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

    For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

    I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.

    They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.

    The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.

    I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:

    Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this.

    For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.

    O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

    How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?

    For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

    For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:

    Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.

    Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?

    To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

    For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.

    And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,

    Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.

    See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

    For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.

    If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.

    I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.

    Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. Deuteromony 32:1-43

  5. Put the book of the law in the side of the ark of the covenant.
  6. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. Deuteromony 31:26

04 January 2015

Possibly Gay Bible Stories: Saul and David

(From Chapter 4 of Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality by Steve Wells)
Saul and David had a rough and rocky relationship, with lots of intrigue, warfare, and murderous plots. But some say there was a softer side to it -- that David and Saul were actually lovers. It’s a strange tale that is seldom told and seldom believed. Much of the argument hinges upon a single verse:
David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 1 Samuel 16:21
According to Keith Sharpe in The Gay Gospels, armour bearers were young men that were chosen for their good looks, who served as homoerotic companions to the older soldiers who selected them.1 Saul selected David as his, saying to Jesse, David’s father:
Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 1 Samuel 16:22
But there’s more to it than that. Apparently verse 16:22 can be translated to read, “David came to Saul and had an erection before him.”2 It all depends upon a single assumed vowel in the Hebrew text.

Donatello - David

  1. “The role of amour bearer at that time meant a lasting close emotional homoerotic bond that was established between an older warrior and a handsome younger male, chosen for his good looks, who would be his constant companion.” Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, pp. 126-7.

  2. “The Hebrew of 16:21 could have originally been intended to read … ‘and he had an erection in his presence.’” Kamal Salibi, The Historicity of Biblical Israel, pp. 138-39.

03 January 2015

EJ&T Deuteronomy 27 - Mount Ebal: The Biblically Correct place to display the commandments

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Write all of the commandments on big stones. Plaster them with plaster and set them on Mount Ebal.
  2. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee. Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. Deuteronomy 27:2-4

    And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly. Deuteronomy 27:8

  3. Build and altar of stones on Mount Ebal.
  4. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: ... Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones. Deuteronomy 27:5-6

  5. Don't use any iron tools while building Mount Ebal's stone altar.
  6. Thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. Deuteronomy 27:5

  7. Offer burnt offerings on Mount Ebal's stone altar.
  8. Thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon [on Mount Ebal's stone altar] unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 27:6

  9. Offer peace offerings on Mount Ebal's stone altar.
  10. Thou shalt offer peace offerings [on Mount Ebal's stone altar]. Deuteronomy 27:7

  11. Eat and rejoice on Mount Ebal's stone altar.
  12. Thou shalt ... eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God [on Mount Ebal's stone altar]. Deuteronomy 27:7

  13. Don't set light by your father or mother.
  14. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:16

  15. Don't pervert the judgement of widows.
  16. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the ... widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

  17. Don't have sex with your mother in law.
  18. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:23

  19. Don't smite your neighbor secretly.
  20. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:24

  21. Don't kill an innocent person for money.
  22. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:25