27 November 2014

EJ&T Deuteronomy 17: Stone to death believers in other gods, kill whoever disobeys a priest, and accept the king that God chooses for you

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. Stone to death anyone who worships other gods.
  2. If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

  3. If something comes up and you don't know what to do, go to the place where the Lord chooses and ask a priest to tell you what to do. Then do whatever he says.
  4. If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. Deuteronomy 17:8-11

  5. Kill anyone who refuses to obey a priest or a judge.
  6. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. Deuteronomy 17:12-13

  7. Accept as king whomever God chooses.
  8. When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. Deuteronomy 17:14-15

  9. The king shall not have too many horses.
  10. He [the king] shall not multiply horses to himself. Deuteronomy 17:16a

  11. The king shall not take the people to Egypt.
  12. He [the king] shall not ... cause the people to return to Egypt ... forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way..Deuteronomy 17:16b

  13. The king shall not have too many wives.
  14. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away.Deuteronomy 17:17a

  15. The king shall not have too much silver and gold.
  16. Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold..Deuteronomy 17:17b

  17. The king shall write down, read, and follow the laws that the priests give to him.
  18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. Deuteronomy 17:18-19

24 November 2014

Alma 32: The Most Precious, Sweet, White, Pure Fruit

Alma and his brethren went among the Zoramites, and started to try to convert them. They preached in their houses, synagogues, and even in the street. After a lot of work, they started to have success, but mostly just with the poorer Zoramites. They were easy targets, because they weren't allowed in the Zoramite synagogues on account of the "courseness of their apparel". I've never heard of a church with such a strict dress code! 
And it came to pass that they did go forth, and began to preach the word of God unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yea, and even they did preach the word in their streets. Alma 32.1 
And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel— 32.2
Not only were they poor "as to the things in the world", they were also poor in heart.  Luckily, Alma was there to help. While he was preaching to others on the hill Onidah, the poor people started gathering around the hill, too.
Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart. 32.3 
Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world. 32.4
The poor people asked Alma what they should do. They wanted to worship their God, but they weren't allowed into their synagogue. The same synagogue that they had built with their own hands! Alma was pretty happy to hear this, because it meant that they were ready to hear his preaching.
 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do? 32.5
And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word. 32.6
Alma stopped preaching to the other people, and focused on the poor newcomers. He started off asking why they thought that they could only worship in the synagogue, and why only once a week? Then he goes on and on. The main thrust of his argument is that one has to humble oneself in order to truly know God. Luckily for his audience, they were already pretty humble.

And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word? 32.14 
 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. 32.15 
 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe. 32.16

He throws a little reference to the late Korihor, by explaining the difference between faith and proof.

 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. 32.17 
Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it. 32.18

Alma also gives us this puzzling line. I think the only person who knows what he is talking about is Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof.
Behold, I say unto you, that it is on the one hand even as it is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work. 32.20b

But then Alma gets to the heart of his sermon. You see, the Word is like a seed. If you make a little space for it in your heart, and give it a chance, and believe in it a little bit, then it will grow and you'll start to believe in it a little more. As you convince yourself more and more, you'll be more and more convinced. Wouldn't this convince you? 

Eventually the seed will swell within your breasts, and when you feel these swelling motions, you'll know that it's a good seed. 
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. 32.28 
Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge. 32.29
In case you have any doubt that any of this is real, this next verse should clear things up for you. Here are the cliff notes. It's real because it's light. Whatever is light is good, because it is discernible. So since the light is good, it's good. After you taste the light is your knowledge perfect? Of course it is. 
O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? 32.35
Alma continues in this fashion for some time. The only other interesting part is verse 42, where a little bit of the Book of Mormon's racism comes out again. Alma is describing how good the fruit of the tree of faith is going to taste, and he describes it as: "sweet above all that is sweet, white above all that is white, and pure above all that is pure". Oh boy! 
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. 32.42

EJ&T Deuteronomy 16: Don't plant trees near God's altar or set up images that God hates

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. Eat unleavened bread for six days during the Passover.
  2. Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 16:8

  3. Don't plant trees near God's altar.
  4. Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.Deuteronomy 16:21

  5. Don't set up an image that God hates.
  6. Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth. Deuteronomy 16:22

23 November 2014

Fox News loses Scripture Showdown with President Obama

In his recent immigration speech, President Obama referred to scripture, saying:
Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once, too.
Which is an accurate statement of Commandment 88:
Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9
And which also, of course, upset the true believers at Fox News. Here is what they had to say about it at Fox and Friends:

Steve Doocy began by saying:

So there the president of the United States in Cross Hall at the White House invoking scriptures, which I believe have to do with feeding the poor and hungry, and nothing about visas.
But Mr. Doocy's belief here is incorrect. The president's reference was nearly a direct quote of Exodus 23:9, which says nothing at all about feeding the poor and hungry, but rather how "strangers" ("immigrants" in The Common English Bible) should be treated. The Bible commands believers not to oppress immigrants. And that seems relevant to the immigration and visa policy debate.

Then came Elizabeth Hasselback, who began quoting scripture herself, challenging the president to a "Scripture Showdown" (begins at about 1:54):

I'm just saying, Proverbs 11:14, since we are in a scripture showdown: Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15

From which, I guess, we are supposed to conclude that President Obama is a fool for not taking the advice of congressional Republicans. (Seems like a risky thing to say in light of Jesus's words in Matthew 5:22.)

And finally, Tucker Carlson said (2:48) this:

But to quote scripture? That is totally out of bounds -- that is just out of bounds!

Which is really interesting, since less than 48 hours earlier, Fox News complained that President Obama didn't quote the Bible enough. Now, when he quotes the Bible in his speech on immigration, it "is totally out of bounds."

Of course, I (more or less) agree with Mr. Carlson here. It is out of bounds. The Bible is worse than useless as a guide to government and public policy (or anything else). In this case, the president referred to one of the Bible's few good commandments. But what if he decided to impose Commandment 87 instead of 88?

Not even Fox News would go along with that one!

20 November 2014

Alma 31: The Zoramites

After Korihor was *Ahem* dealt with, Alma heard of another problem in the land. Apparently the Zoramites, in the land east of Zarahemla called Antionum, were perverting the ways of the Lord. This concerned Alma because they might gang up with the Lamanites, and that could be really bad for his people. He considered his options, and decided that preaching to them would be better than fighting them, because in his mind, "it [preaching] had a much more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, that happened unto them". 

Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people. 31.1
For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites. 31.2
Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites. 31.3
Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites. 31.4
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. 31.5
Alma gathered together the dream team: Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Amulek and Zeezrom, and two of his sons: Shiblon and Corianton. He left Aaron's brother Himni and his son Helamon to hold down the fort.
Therefore he took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons. 31.6 
Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word. 31.7
Alma and his crew had a tough job ahead of them. Not only had the Zoramites stopped praying to God, they were actively involved in another cultlike religion. They had built "synagogues" that were almost like pyramids, where only one man could pray at once. He would climb to the top of the synagogue, stretch his hands toward the sky, and recite a prayer in a loud voice.

Here is an artistic rendition of a Zoramite synagogue, from LDS.org

Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them. 31.8
But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses. 31.9
Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation. 31.10
Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them. 31.11
Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld; 31.12
For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person. 31.13
Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying: 31.14

Here is the prayer (verses 15-18). Apparently every single Zoramite would recite this same prayer. (It must have taken a while.)

Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ. 31.16
But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.  31.17
And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen. 31.18
For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers. 31.20

Alma and his brethren were pretty shocked when they heard this prayer for the first time.
Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure. 31.19
And the second time. And the third time. And the 4th time. Yes, every single Zoramite made this exact same prayer once a week, and then they just went home and carried on with their lives until the next week, when they did the same thing again.
Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about. 31.22 
Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner. 31.23
While observing them, Alma also happened to notice that they were wicked, greedy, perverse people who bragged all the time.
Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods. 31.24 
Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride. 31.25
Alma finishes up the chapter with a long prayer to God, asking him to give them strength and success in converting the Zoramites. The prayer worked, and Alma and his brethren were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. 31.36
Alma's fellowship then split up to go preaching to the Zoramites. They didn't stop to think about what they would eat, drink, or wear during their mission. As luck would have it, though, God cast a magic spell on them so they wouldn't have to eat or drink during their mission, and they would have extra strength. How cool is that?
And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on. 31.37 
And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith. 31.38

19 November 2014

EJ&T Deuteronomy 15: Cancel all debts every seventh year

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. Cancel all debts every seven years.
  2. This law only applies to Jews. Loans made to Gentiles remain in effect during "the Lord's release."

    At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the Lord's release. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release. Deuteronomy 15:1-3

    That we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt. Nehemiah 10:31

  3. Lend money to other nations.
  4. Thou shalt lend unto many nations. Deuteronomy 15:6a

  5. Don't borrow money from other nations.
  6. Thou shalt not borrow [from other nations]. Deuteronomy 15:6b

  7. Don't do any work with your firstborn bull.
  8. thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock. Deuteronomy 15:19

  9. Don't shear your firstborn sheep.
  10. Thou shalt not ... shear the firstling of thy sheep. Deuteronomy 15:19

  11. Eat your firstborn bulls and sheep in the place where God chooses.
  12. Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household. Deuteronomy 15:20

Alma 30: Korihor (part 2)

This post picks up where the last one leaves off.  If you remember, Korihor, (the Anti-Christ!) was arrested for criticizing the church, and brought before the high priest of the land of Gideon, who, after interrogating him, didn't really know what to do with him. He decided to send him to Alma, the chief judge over all the land.

And it came to pass that when he was brought before Alma and the chief judge. Alma 30.30a
When Korihor arrived, he continued to "blaspheme" just like he did before.
...he did go on in the same manner as he did in the land of Gideon; yea, he went on to blaspheme. 30.30b
He was a little more specific with his criticisms of Alma, though. In addition to accusing the church of being wrong about their prophecies, the afterlife, etc., he also accused the church leadership of enriching themselves off of the members of the church. Alma was quick to defend himself against this charge. And I have to admit, the Book of Mormon makes this very clear: the church leaders were not paid for their work. It was an all-volunteer operation, except a small per-diem payment to judges (1 senine of gold, or a senum of silver per day in court).

And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people. 30.31
Now Alma said unto him: Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people; for behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people. 30.32 
And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and then we have received only according to law for our time. 30.33 
And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren? 30.34
Alma then pivots to the more pressing issue of the existence of God. Korihor denies that God exists, and then Alma says, "Will you deny it again? I'm telling you, God exists, bro."
 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? 30.37 
 And he answered, Nay. 30.38 
 Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come. 30.39

Alma then uses the oldest trick in the book: shifting the burden of proof. He asks Korihor to provide evidence that God doesn't exist.  After all, he had the testimonies of others. Alma also accused Korihor of being possessed by the devil, just for good measure.

And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. 30.40
But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true? 30.41
Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God. 30.42
Korihor asked Alma for a sign, and that then he would believe in God. But Alma wasn't having it. Weren't the testimonies of his brethren and the holy prophets enough for Korihor? Even the motion of the earth and the animals on it prove that there is a God. What else do you need?

 43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words. 30.43 

 44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. 30.44

Korihor sticks to his guns. He wants a sign, or he will continue to lead people away from the church.
And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign. 30.45

Alma warns Korihor that if he continues down this path, that he will "lose his soul". (Stop asking for a sign, man! Don't you know that God doesn't like that?) Alma warns Korihor that if he keeps denying God and asking for a sign, then he'll get a sign all right: God will strike him dumb, and he will never speak again.

And now it came to pass that Alma said unto him: Behold, I am grieved because of the hardness of your heart, yea, that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth, that thy soul may be destroyed. 30.46
But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more. 30.47
Korihor quickly clarifies his position, that he's not denying the existence of a god, but he doesn't believe that there is one, until he is shown a sign. This seems pretty reasonable, but it's enough for Alma to curse him in the name of God. So Korihor got his sign, after all!

Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe. 30.48
Now Alma said unto him: This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance. 30.49
Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma. 30.50
Then Alma taunts him a bit. "What do you think about God, now? Huh? Do you have any doubts anymore? Can you speak up a bit, I can't hear you... What's the matter, cat-got-your-tongue?"
And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand and wrote unto Korihor, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more? 30.51
Korihor grabs a notebook or something* and writes a quick note to Alma, explaining how he now believes in God, and how the devil made him deny God's existence, and everything else that Alma wanted to hear. He pleaded with him to make the curse go away, but Alma told him that he wasn't going to, because then he would continue to lead people away from the church.
And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God. 30.52
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. 30.53
Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him. 30.54
But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will. 30.55

Korihor became a beggar from that point on.

And it came to pass that the curse was not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food. 30.56
Then something really interesting happened. The story of Korihor spread like wildfire, but that wasn't enough for Alma. Alma make a proclamation throughout the land, threatening all of the other unbelievers that God would strike them dumb too, if the didn't "speedily repent". So much for freedom of religion!
Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them. 30.57
So everybody repented. And Korihor continued begging. Obviously.
 58 And it came to pass that they were all convinced of the wickedness of Korihor; therefore they were all converted again unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support. 30.58

Eventually he tried to beg from the Zoramites, and he was killed. I guess they had very strict laws against panhandling over there.
And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram—and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead. 30.59
And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell. 30.60

*I wonder what Korihor was writing on. You'd think that if they had paper, then all of their records wouldn't be chiseled onto golden plates... And how many people back then were literate?

18 November 2014

EJ&T Deuteronomy 14: Don't make any baldness between your eyes for dead people or eat any abominable 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. Don't make any baldness between your eyes for dead people.
  2. Ye shall not ... make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. Deuteronomy 14:1

  3. Don't eat any abominable thing.
  4. Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. Deuteronomy 14:3

  5. Eat these animals: oxen, sheep, goats, harts, roebucks, fallow deer, pygargs, and chamois.
  6. These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. Deuteronomy 14:4-5

  7. Eat clean birds.
  8. Of all clean birds ye shall eat. Deuteronomy 14:11

    All clean fowls ye may eat. Deuteronomy 14:20

  9. Don't eat animals that die by themselves. Feed them to strangers or sell them to aliens.
  10. Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien. Deuteronomy 14:21

17 November 2014

Alma 30: Korihor (part 1)

Remember back in Chapter 28, when the Lamanites attacked the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites rushed to their defense? Well, after the countless dead were buried from that battle, things were peaceful again for a few years. 

 Behold, now it came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, yea, and also after the Lamanites were driven out of the land, and their dead were buried by the people of the land— Alma 30.1
 Now their dead were not numbered because of the greatness of their numbers; neither were the dead of the Nephites numbered—but it came to pass after they had buried their dead, and also after the days of fasting, and mourning, and prayer, (and it was in the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) there began to be continual peace throughout all the land. 30.2
 Yea, and the people did observe to keep the commandments of the Lord; and they were strict in observing the ordinances of God, according to the law of Moses; for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be fulfilled. 30.3
 And thus the people did have no disturbance in all the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 30.4
 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the seventeenth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace. 30.5
 Which is another way of saying that something interesting in coming up. Because, as we all know, peace and prosperity is pretty boring and the Book of Mormon usually skips right over it. So, in the 17th year of the Judges, the Anti-Christ came into Zarahemla! He started preaching to the people, telling them that their priests were liars, and that all of their prophecies about Christ were wrong.
But it came to pass in the latter end of the seventeenth year, there came a man into the land of Zarahemla, and he was Anti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ. 30.6
And the church couldn't do anything about it! You see, even back then they had freedom of religion laws. Which, as it turns out, are kind of a pain when you are trying to silence any opposition to the established religion in the land.
Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds. 30.7 
Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him. 30.9 
For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds. 30.11

So the Anti-Christ (his name was Korihor) was free to go around and question the beliefs of the church, which he did pretty effectively. He basically said that they couldn't be sure of things they can't see, and that they were just believing in the "foolish traditions of their fathers" because they had "frenzied minds".

And this Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor, (and the law could have no hold upon him) began to preach unto the people that there should be no Christ. And after this manner did he preach, saying: 30.12 
O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come. 30.13 
Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.  30.14 
How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ. 30.15 
Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so. 30.16

Korihor is one of my favorite characters in the Book of Mormon. But I will admit that he took his moral philosophy a little far. In verse 17, he claims that "Every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength, and whatsoever a man did was no crime". I'm not sure exactly what he means by that last part, but it seems like he's a bit of an anarchist (which probably sounds like a pretty good option after living in Zarahemla for a while).
And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime. 30.17
But whatever his political beliefs were, his preaching was pretty darn successful, leading many of the people away from the church. He caused many of the women and the men to commit whoredoms, because he convinced them that there was no life (or punishment) after death.
And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof. 30.18
When Korihor tried to go to Jershon and preach, though, he didn't have as much success. They were wiser (according to the BOM anyway) than the people in Zarahemla that Korihor was preaching to earlier. You see, the Jershonites arrested him and brought him before their high priest. What happened to all of that talk about freedom of religion?
And it came to pass that he caused that he should be carried out of the land. And he came over into the land of Gideon, and began to preach unto them also; and here he did not have much success, for he was taken and bound and carried before the high priest, and also the chief judge over the land. 30.21
The high priest asked Korihor why he was questioning the teachings of the church, and he answers in a beautiful little speech about skepticism, evidence, and morals. One particularly nice part is verse 25, where he says that "A child is not guilty because of its parents." The rest of his speech pretty much just says: "You say that these ancient prophecies are true. But you don't know any better than the rest of us if they are true or not. You are just using your authority to manipulate and maintain control over people."
And it came to pass that the high priest said unto him: Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings? Why do ye speak against all the prophecies of the holy prophets? 30.22 
Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words. 30.23 
Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true. 30.24 
Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents. 30.25 
And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world— 30.26 
And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges. 30.27 
 Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God—a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be. 30.28

The high priest didn't have much of a response. He didn't say a word - he just tied Korihor up, and sent him off to Zarahemla for Alma to deal with. Alma was the chief judge and governor over all the land, so he would have to decide what to do with this troublemaker.
Now when the high priest and the chief judge saw the hardness of his heart, yea, when they saw that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words; but they caused that he should be bound; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and sent him to the land of Zarahemla, that he might be brought before Alma, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land. 30.29

And that's where we'll leave it for today. How will Alma deal with Korihor? You'll just have to wait till next time to find out.

13 November 2014

Alma 29: I Wish I Was An Angel!

I'm going to have trouble saying much about this chapter. Basically, Alma is wishing that he was an angel so he could be even more effective at converting people and doing God's will. 

O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! 29.1
 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. 29.2
 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. 29.3

But even though Alma wasn't an angel, he still was doing a pretty good job at converting people. Of course, he didn't do it alone. He was quick to thank his brothers, too. Their success just makes him so dang happy!

God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full. 29.13 
But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi. 29.14 
Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward! 29.15 
Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy. 29.16
That's pretty much the gist of it. Call me a minimalist, but if I were etching this story into plates, I probably would have skipped this internal monologue. But I peeked ahead, and there is some great stuff coming up in the next chapter. So stay tuned.

10 November 2014

Alma 28: A Tremendous Battle

After Ammon and his people were all situated in their new land of Jershon, there was a battle between the Lamanites and the people of Nephi. A big battle. In fact, it was the biggest battle anyone had ever seen since the very beginning of the Book of Mormon when Lehi and his children left Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of Lamanites died.
And now it came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, and a church also established in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites were set round about the land of Jershon, yea, in all the borders round about the land of Zarahemla; behold the armies of the Lamanites had followed their brethren into the wilderness. 28.1 
And thus there was a tremendous battle; yea, even such an one as never had been known among all the people in the land from the time Lehi left Jerusalem; yea, and tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad. 28.2
Other than the body count, though, we don't get too many of the details of the battle. Many Nephites died as well, and it was a very sad time for the people of Nephi.
Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi; nevertheless, the Lamanites were driven and scattered, and the people of Nephi returned again to their land. 28.3 
And now this was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi -- 28.4 
Yea, the cry of widows mourning for their husbands, and also of fathers mourning for their sons, and the daughter for the brother, yea, the brother for the father; and thus the cry of mourning was heard among all of them, mourning for their kindred who had been slain. 28.5
They do tell us a date here, though. The battle finished right around the end of the 15th year of the judges.
And thus endeth the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; 28.7
That's pretty much all of the action in this chapter. The rest is just them talking about how bad the battle, and how the bodies of the slain were "mouldering in heaps upon the face of the earth". Sounds pretty nasty. But although some of the people were mourning for their loss, others were rejoicing, because of how awesome God was and whatnot.

And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth; yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo. 28.11 
While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness. 28.12

09 November 2014

Alma 27: The Voice of the People

Chapter 27 gets a bit confusing, so let's recap a bit. Remember back in Alma 24 when the Lamanites attacked the Anti-Nephi-Lehis? The Anti-Nephi-Lehis wouldn't fight back, and this really disturbed the Lamanites. The nonviolent resistance worked, and it even converted a big portion of the Lamanite army. But the more evil Lamanites still wanted to fight, so they went up to Zarahemla to slay the Ammonihites, which they did pretty entirely. But then in Chapter 25 they overextended themselves, by continuing to fight the Nephites. 

Chapter 25 ends with most of the Lamanites deciding that they should probably just bury their weapons and join the Nephites, since they knew they couldn't beat them in battle. This leads to Ammon's long praise/boast about how much God loves them, because of the great Lamanite conversion.

So it is starting to look like we might run out of people to fight! But, don't worry. Joseph Smith borrowed an old trick from the Bible to help him out. "When no one is left, who do you fight? Amal-E-Kite! Amal-e-kite!"
Now it came to pass that when those Lamanites who had gone to war against the Nephites had found, after their many struggles to destroy them, that it was in vain to seek their destruction, they returned again to the land of Nephi. Alma 27.1 
And it came to pass that the Amalekites, because of their loss, were exceedingly angry. And when they saw that they could not seek revenge from the Nephites, they began to stir up the people in anger against their brethren, the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi; therefore they began again to destroy them. 27.2
But the Anti-Nephi-Lehis still didn't want to fight anyone. They had made their decision: they wouldn't fight, even if it meant every single one of them would be killed by the Amalekites.
Now this people again refused to take their arms, and they suffered themselves to be slain according to the desires of their enemies. 27.3
Ammon wasn't too happy about this. He didn't want to lose all of his new converts! He had a meeting with his brothers, and they decided upon a course of action, and brought it to the king. The plan was to go to Zarahemla and to live under the protection of the Nephites.

Now when Ammon and his brethren saw this work of destruction among those whom they so dearly beloved, and among those who had so dearly beloved them—for they were treated as though they were angels sent from God to save them from everlasting destruction—therefore, when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction, they were moved with compassion, and they said unto the king: 27.4 
Let us gather together this people of the Lord, and let us go down to the land of Zarahemla to our brethren the Nephites, and flee out of the hands of our enemies, that we be not destroyed. 27.5

But the king wasn't too thrilled with this plan. He thought that the Nephites would kill them, because of their checkered past. Ammon didn't think so. He asked the king if he would go if God told them to go to Zarahemla.

But the king said unto them: Behold, the Nephites will destroy us, because of the many murders and sins we have committed against them. 27.6 
And Ammon said: I will go and inquire of the Lord, and if he say unto us, go down unto our brethren, will ye go? 27.7
The king said "Yeah, I suppose so. But if we go, then we'll be their slaves until we fix our relationship, and convince them that we're not such terrible people"
And the king said unto him: Yea, if the Lord saith unto us go, we will go down unto our brethren, and we will be their slaves until we repair unto them the many murders and sins which we have committed against them. 27.8
Ammon wouldn't go for it, though. It was against their laws to have slaves. They would have to rely on the mercy of the Nephites. The king said, "Okay. Ask God and see if he wants us to ask the Nephites for shelter. If they say yes, we will go down there. Otherwise we'll just die here."
But the king said unto him: Inquire of the Lord, and if he saith unto us go, we will go; otherwise we will perish in the land. 27.10
Ammon asked God, and God told him to get going, because the Amalekites were angry this time. Then Ammon told the king, and they started gathering their flocks and herds for the trip to Zarahemla.

And it came to pass that Ammon went and inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said unto him: 27.11 
Get this people out of this land, that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites, who do stir up the Lamanites to anger against their brethren to slay them; therefore get thee out of this land; and blessed are this people in this generation, for I will preserve them. 27.12  
And now it came to pass that Ammon went and told the king all the words which the Lord had said unto him. 27.13 
And they gathered together all their people, yea, all the people of the Lord, and did gather together all their flocks and herds, and departed out of the land, and came into the wilderness which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla, and came over near the borders of the land. 27.14
When they got to the border of Zarahemla, Ammon told them to wait. It was going to be a tough sell to Alma anyways, and it didn't help his chances if he came barging in with a bunch of Lamanites behind him.
And it came to pass that Ammon said unto them: Behold, I and my brethren will go forth into the land of Zarahemla, and ye shall remain here until we return; and we will try the hearts of our brethren, whether they will that ye shall come into their land. 27.15
On his way into town, Ammon happened to meet up with Alma. It was a very joyous meeting. Ammon was so overwhelmed with joy that he fell to the Earth. Everyone else (Alma, Omner and Himni) were happy enough, but their joy didn't prevent them from standing. They all followed Alma back to his house in Zarahemla.
And it came to pass that as Ammon was going forth into the land, that he and his brethren met Alma, over in the place of which has been spoken; and behold, this was a joyful meeting. 27.16 
 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth. 27.17 
 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness. 27.18 
 Now the joy of Alma in meeting his brethren was truly great, and also the joy of Aaron, of Omner, and Himni; but behold their joy was not that to exceed their strength. 27.19 
 And now it came to pass that Alma conducted his brethren back to the land of Zarahemla; even to his own house. And they went and told the chief judge all the things that had happened unto them in the land of Nephi, among their brethren, the Lamanites. 27.20
At Alma's house they told the chief judge their story, and he sent a proclamation to all the people. The proclamation asked the people what they thought should be done, and he got back a remarkably unanamous answer. The "voice of the people" was to give up the land of Jershon, which was on the eastern seaboard, south of the land Bountiful. Sounds like a nice spot! The voice of the people also said to guard Ammon's people with their armies, but in exchange Ammon's people would be taxed to support the military presence there. What a solution! Don't you just love democracy?

And it came to pass that the chief judge sent a proclamation throughout all the land, desiring the voice of the people concerning the admitting their brethren, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. 27.21 
And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful; and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance. 27.22 
And behold, we will set our armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi, that we may protect our brethren in the land Jershon; and this we do for our brethren, on account of their fear to take up arms against their brethren lest they should commit sin; and this their great fear came because of their sore repentance which they had, on account of their many murders and their awful wickedness. 27.23 
And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit the land Jershon; and we will guard them from their enemies with our armies, on condition that they will give us a portion of their substance to assist us that we may maintain our armies. 27.24
When Ammon heard this, he went back into the wilderness to talk it over with his people. They were really happy about the arrangement.  A little concerned about taxation without representation, perhaps, but it was better than the alternative.
Now, it came to pass that when Ammon had heard this, he returned to the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, and also Alma with him, into the wilderness, where they had pitched their tents, and made known unto them all these things. And Alma also related unto them his conversion, with Ammon and Aaron, and his brethren. 27.25 
And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them. And they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after. 27.26
They stayed pacifists, and were good members of the church, and highly favored by God. Everything went really well with the Jershonites. (Until the next chapter, I'm sure.)

And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end. 27.27 
And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it. 27.28 
Therefore, they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflicted by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them. 27.29 
And thus they were a zealous and beloved people, a highly favored people of the Lord. 27.30

06 November 2014

EJ&T Deuteronomy 13: When to kill your family, a city, or a prophet for God

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. If a prophet gives you a sign or a wonder, don't listen to him. Kill him instead.
  2. If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. ... And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death ... So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. Deuteronomy 13:1-5

  3. Walk after God.
  4. Walk in his ways. Deuteronomy 10:12

    Walk in all his ways. Deuteronomy 11:22

    Ye shall walk after the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 13:4

    Walk ever in his ways. Deuteronomy 19:9

    I command thee this day ... to walk in his ways. Deuteronomy 30:16

    Do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways. Joshua 22:5

    Walk in thy [God's] ways. 2 Chronicles 6:31

    Commit thy way unto the LORD. Psalm 37:5

    Walk in the light of the LORD. Isaiah 2:5

  5. Obey God's voice.
  6. Obey his [God's] voice. Deuteronomy 13:4

    Obey my [God's] voice. Jeremiah 7:23, 11:4

  7. If your family or friends try to get you to worship another god, stone them to death.
  8. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

  9. If God gives you a city and some of the inhabitants believe in other gods, kill all the people in the city, along with all of their animals. Then burn the city for God.
  10. If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. Deuteronomy 13:12-15

  11. Don't cleave to the cursed thing.
  12. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee. Deuteronomy 13:17

    Keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed. Joshua 6:18

02 November 2014

EJ&T Deuteronomy 11 - 12: Special places to bless, curse, and kill animals for God. Don't forget the Levites.

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. Announce God's blessings on mount Gerizim, and his curses on mount Ebal.
  2. When the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. Deuteronomy 11:29

  3. Do all of your burnt offerings, heave offerings, sacrifices, vows, etc. in a special place that God will someday choose for you.
  4. There shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD ... Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.Deuteronomy 12:11-14

    Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand: But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose. Deuteronomy 12:17-18

    Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose. And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. Deuteronomy 12:11-26-27

  5. Don't forget about the Levites.
  6. Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth. Deuteronomy 12:19

    And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him. Deuteronomy 14:27