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This blog page is not an official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What is posted here is based on lesson materials with my own notes and opinions.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

24 August 2014

Lesson 30:  Come to the House of the Lord

I confess, I wanted to go in so many directions with this lesson, because there is so much of the Temple.  This is a lesson about some basics, however, and I wanted to stick with that.  Because of this, we are going to stick with the basic structure of the first "structural" temple.  Meaning that this one had walls (albeit fabric walls).  Temples have been used since Adam and Eve, however their Temples were altars built upon mountain tops.  This one was portable:  it was the Tabernacle of Moses.

Section 1:

2 Chronicles 29:3-5 - The cleanup effort.

The Altar of Sacrifice - where sacrifices of atonement were made.

Why was there a need to cleanse the Temple?  2 Chronicles 29:6-7

The people had turned away from the Temple - and from Jehovah and committed sin.  They needed to come to the Temple to offer burnt sacrifices unto God to cleanse them from sin and obtain forgiveness.

Section 2:

2 Chronicles 29:18-19 - cleansing the vessels for purification.

The Laver, or Sea, of the Temple - used by the priests to wash their hands and feet before entering the Tabernacle.

Why is it important to keep unclean things out of the Temple?  D&C 97:15-17

God will not accept nor dwell in unholy temples.

Section 3:

2 Chronicles 29:10 - Covenants

What did Hezekiah hope to achieve by cleansing the Temple and opening it up to the people again?

That the people would turn again to Jehovah to make and keep covenants in righteousness.

More on the Tabernacle of Moses, from the video "Between Heaven and Earth"

Okay, so we have the altar, the Laver and the Tabernacle, but what else are we missing?  The Wall of the Temple.  The Israelites in the kingdom of Judah rejected the Temple, which left them unprotected against invasion, just as we can find ourselves without Heavenly protection if we do not fortify our Temples - addictions, disease, sin, etc.

What happened as a result of the kingdom of Judah refusing to go to the Temple?

2 Chronicles 30:6-9

2 Kings 18:10-12

Section 4:  Judah is saved - for now.

2 Chronicles 32

The Assyrians overtook the Northern Kingdom - Israel and scattered the Jews - then began to invade Judah.

Hezekiah and the princes in the area devise the plan to divert the water to underground tunnels - causing the Assyrians to thirst.

It was, however, the prayers of Hezekiah and Isaiah that bring the Lord into the picture and the inhabitants of Judah are spared, while the Assyrians are slain.  Their prayers built the wall.

How are we protected when we go to the Temple?

D&C 109:24-28

Now that we have finally fortified this Tabernacle, what do these 4 symbols have in common with the 4th Article of Faith?

1 - Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the journey we make to the wall of the Tabernacle.

2.  Repentance is what we seek as we bring our sacrifice to the altar.

3.  Baptism by immersion is the first ordinance to cleanse us from sin.  The second is to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

4.  It is within the Tabernacle that the full manifestation of the Gift of the Holy Ghost is shown, in personal revelation and sacred covenants made and kept there.

We skip ahead by 3 generations to Hezekiah's great-grandson Josiah, who becomes a young King of Judah after his grandfather and father rule in wickedness - defiling the Temple that had been cleansed through Hezekiah.

2nd Chronicles 34

As a result of Josiah's humility and desire to serve Jehovah according to the Law, the people returned to Jehovah, to the Temple and to their covenants.  They helped to keep the Temple clean.

From the April 1990 General Conference:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

10 August 2014

Elijah: After The Fire A Still Small Voice Lesson 28 I've actually given this lesson a subtitle.

 While Decker was alive, we were together in the Mesa Temple and while waiting for a session to start, I said a prayer. While praying, I was shown a vision of my holding our newborn son. He looked just like Decker. He was dressed in white, but what confused me about the vision was that I was also dressed in white. But I didn't care, I had this beautiful little boy in my arms and he would be ours. For all eternity.

Then, out of the blue, Decker died.

Shortly afterwards, I was visiting with a few of Deckers family and I told them about the vision. I was told by one of the family that it was nice, but it will never happen. When Decker comes back, he will be resurrected and his body will no longer be capable of fathering a child.

I was devastated with these words. And angry. I felt set up by God. I went to the Lord, in tearful prayer, asking Him why He would give me this blessing, knowing full well He would never make good on the promise behind it.

The Lord understood my pain, and very lovingly sent me a message I still use in my life today:

"Why are you placing limits on what God can do?"

While the story behind the message doesn't altogether pertain to this lesson, the message from the Lord does.

When we meet Elijah, he has already lived a full life. Not only was he called as the Lord's prophet, he had already partaken of all of the ordinances required by God to hold the keys of sealing through the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood. We don't know anything of parentage, we also don't know if he ever married or had children. However, it is also apparent that this did not hold him back in the slightest from the work God had for him.

There are pieces of his ministry that mirror that of Moses, however the difference that decides his ministry is the fact that Israel was in the bondage of sin and had no desire to leave that bondage (vs. the bondage of slavery in Egypt at the time of Moses).

Beginning the ministry:  The Fast

All holy ministries begin with fasting:  Moses, Elijah and Christ are those that are most notable.  It's a way to cleanse the body of spiritual toxins as well as the physical.

Following this fast - where much guidance was probably given to Elijah as to what the Lord wanted him to do, God has Elijah declare a "fast" (or drought) for Israel.  God wants Israel to worship Him, and has sent in the big guns to do it.

Elijah seals the heavens from rain, according to the word of the Lord.

During the course of the drought, Elijah's water supply dried up and the birds feeding him must move to places not affected by the drought.  Elijah was sent to a widow, who had prepared herself and her young son to die.  Elijah is sent to one of God's holy widows, one who was willing to give the last of her food to a stranger - living the Law of Consecration.

Elijah then performs more miracles - this time challenging false priests worshiping the god Baal.  The priests find nothing in a false god, while Jehovah uses fire to consume the sacrifice, the wood it laid upon, the 12 stones (representing the 12 tribes of Israel) comprising the altar as well as the water used to make the sacrifice harder to burn.  The people witnessing this finally bowed in praise for God.

Water and fire for a sacrifice - could this also be symbolic of the water and spiritual fire for cleansing?  Had this truly converted the people, think of what could have happened with the people:  a prophet with the sealing power to bind families, including the widow of Zarephath.

Once everything had been consumed and the people bowed and praised God, Elijah unsealed the heavens and brought rain.

Did this last, though?  No.  They had not been truly converted in their hearts and Jezebel sought Elijah's life.  Once again he was in hiding, fasting and praying for peace after telling the Lord he was ready to give up and asking to die.

The Lord, through the Holy Ghost, provided instruction for Elijah.  While there were many still living in sin, there were some who were not worshipping Baal.  They worshiped the true God.  1Kings 19:18

Given the state of the world today, this is a message we could all use.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

3 August 2014

Welcome back to Gospel Doctrine class.

Sunday's lesson is on influence.  Namely the influence of wicked leaders vs. the influence of righteous leaders.

So, do you think leaders have any influence of how you live your life?

You would be amazed.

We all go through life with blinders on, and we seek direction for which way we should go in our lives.  Where we live, what degree to get in college, which job to choose, there are a myriad of choices we must make in our lives, choices we sometimes depend on others to help us make.

Were the students in this class guiding this teacher to the right place?

What do you think would have happened in this video if some of the students were giving false information?   While others gave the correct information?  How do you know which voices to follow?

Here is the link for the lesson in the Teacher's Manual:

Lesson 27

Here are the listed points to emphasize:

1.  Gives Service

2.  Trusts and obeys the Lord

3.  Has faith in God

4.  Teaches from the scriptures

5.  Follows the prophets

An additional resource can be found in the July 2010 Ensign.