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Comments about ‘'Old Testament Explained' combines Bible, LDS revelations’

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Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

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Dennis
Harwich, MA

"Most" well read members of the Church understand the history of the Old Testament to be stories written by the Jewish ancestors as a teaching tool to bring to life the doctrines of the Jewish faith. It was never meant to be a written "history" of anything. I don't understand why the Church doesn't let this go and move on to more important issues that face the members day to day.

sigmund5
Salt Lake City, UT

Dennis, because that would make the church more like other churches and people would question and think. Not to be rude but they might decide they don't need to give 10% of their income to be included fully in the church.

mpschmitt
Boston, MA

Hi Dennis,

I'm not sure I understand your objection, could you say more? It seems from the article that the focus of this book is more theological than historical - an illumination of the doctrines contained in the old testament using modern revelation as a key and guide to understanding ancient revelation. That doesn't seem like a bad thing, and it seems there might be some good, personally relevant in the here and now kind of fruit for the reader. Also I'm not sure I understand your assertion that the Old Testament was never meant to be a history. It seems that all scripture which is narrative in nature has a journalistic/historical element to it, and latter-day revelation seems to support the historicity of the Biblical accounts of figures like Moses, Abraham, etc...

Dennis
Harwich, MA

@ mpschmitt.....I trouble over the notion that the Old Testament is treated as "revelation" and "The world of God", and a "historical account" of people that are fictional.
Imagine for a moment that the as an apocalypse and humanity kind of started from scratch. Hundreds of years from now someone found the Hobbit books encased in a box hidden in a mountain. Humanity takes it to heart and now Gandalf, Bilbo and Frodo are the new religious icons of the time. Same thing to me.
The Old Testament if taken literally is very bothersome. I doubt the God of Christianity being the God of "many" worlds before this one would change his thoughts so quickly over a few thousand years. Just my thoughts.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Mormons are hardly unique in seeking justification for their beliefs in ancient texts. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all do it and have done for centuries. And in a very real sense, they all have valid claims. No religious beliefs are conceived or developed in a vacuum.

Who owns the Bible? We all do, no matter how limited our understanding of it history or self-serving our interpretations. It is a highly accessible library from antiquity and that’s a good thing.

CDL
Los Angeles, CA

Dennis~ We don't live our lives based on the possibility of some catastrophe happening and all record lost. Besides that is not likely to happen since Govt.'s have places that protect important records in case of such possibilities, as does the Church and the Catholic Church have records stored in protective places, so you can feel at ease. The Hobbit will never be the next scripture. And the 'Old testament' certainly is not a 'fictional book,' simply because we did not know the people. And still as they continue to find records of other groups, excitingly, they do continue to support some information found within the Old Testament records. After all, peoples perceptions back then would have been different then today wouldn't it, so of course something's would not be exact. And we certainly, are still learning and studying and will likely never know exactly how things were, it's only by educated or best guess that people today put the pieces together.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

Dennis-

You can take comfort The Book of Mormon (BOM) is another witness to the validity of the Old Testament because of the Brass Plates. Modern day prophets and apostles also help us understand how to interpret the scriptures -- especially the Old Testament.

Here are some things the BOM said of the Brass plates / Old testament (1 Nephi 5:10-13):

"10 And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.

11 And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents;

12 And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah;

13 And also the prophecies of the holy prophets, from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah; and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah."

In short, the Old Testament is still very valuable to us in our day!

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

The Old Testament is a combination of allegories, superstitions, imaginations and some history. If one parallels it to modern day Mormon revelation one still has the same story: a modern day Hobbit.

mpschmitt
Boston, MA

@Dennis,

Ah, thanks for the additional info. I understand your position, now, though I disagree with it; but I respect your view and I'm not trying to argue, I guess I just take issue with the statement that most well read members of the Church would agree with what you are saying.

The Church doctrine, and modern and ancient scripture are both very clear that people like Adam, Eve, Ruth, Esther, Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, etc. were real people with real challenges and lives of faith, and a genuine connection to their God. I would even go so far to say that it is essential to being a believing and involved member of the Church that one accept the reality of these figures in the Old Testament. The entire foundation of the Church is based upon the notion of a line of real Patriarchs presiding over real periods of gospel dispensation from Adam down to the present day. Also from the time of David on, there is ample archeological evidence to support the reality of many of the events and persons portrayed in the Old Testament.

Again, though, not trying to be contentious or disrespectful...

SCfan
clearfield, UT

A lot of the OT is difficult to understand, particularly in regards to the locations and culture of the times it was written in. However, I do believe that the writings of Isaiah and some of the others, who talked of the coming Messiah and other signs to watch for, are very valuable for all Christians to know.

Skeptic

You might also like the writings of C.S. Lewis. He used allegorical tales but taught a lot of Christian doctrine in doing so. More than even J.R.R. Tolkien is said to have. If that is what is taken from some of the Bible stories, then so much the better.

garybeac
Chapel Hill, NC

I haven't read it, and I won't bother, but I feel secure in saying that it will be another post-Kimball-Mormon-culture gloss of the facts. The chiefest one being that the OT is an R-rated romp through a history driven by values and laws that Christ dismissed and replaced. More than any other Christians, the LDS should know that God has as little trouble working through bad men as he does through the good ones, there being very little difference between the types when all are compared to the Savoir. The future just keeps on coming.

1covey
Salt Lake City, UT

While reading books of this nature are very helpful; one also needs to read scripture while being open to the whisperings of the Spirit to find meanings and/or messages that are relevant to that particular individual.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7).

From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Lev 23.

The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks), and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the N.T.. The final three holidays (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall, all within a short fifteen-day period.

Passover (Lev 23:5) – The Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.

First Fruits (Lev 23:10) – The Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Cor 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead.

Leonard Wood
Fairfax, VA

There is a big difference between the historical books of the OT and the Prophets. The books of the Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are largely not inspired scripture as such (except where the writers are accurately quoting a prophet like Samuel or Elijah). Rather, they are merely the story of the Israelitish peoples during the subject times. Nevertheless, these accounts are sufficiently different from mere tribal propaganda that it has been argued that the Jews "invented history." In contrast, if one is to approach the matter consistent with the teachings of Christ, the prophetic works in the canon must be taken seriously as scripture. "Thinking for oneself" about such issues as tithing, as Dennis advocates, is (in light of the teachings of the prophets on the subject from Moses through Malachi to Lorenzo Snow) merely a self-important excuse for disobedience.

SparkyVA
Winchester, VA

My understanding of the way God works with his prophets is that he shows them a vision, and they write down a description of what they saw. Thus the creation story is filtered by the witness. One of the things I love is that there was suddenly light and moonlight and stars. While some would interpret this as saying the earth was created before the stars, I see it differently. When our planet was first "organized", our solar system was filled with dust which blocked out all light from the stars, and the sun had not yet gone nuclear so there was no moonlight. Then the sun gained enough mass to collapse into a star and the pressure of it's radiation blew away the dust from around the earth causing the stars to appear, and the moon to start reflecting sunlight. The story of the creation in the Old Testament is fundamentally correct according to astrophysics if you only assume that this was a vision shown to a prophet, and not God himself writing the book.

SparkyVA
Winchester, VA

The other thing that I never see is the idea that the book of Genesis was a compilation by Joseph, son Jacob. Those who look into the structure of the writing will notice that we have a series of stories of the Creation, and the story of Noah. Then we pickup with Joseph's great grandfather Abraham, his grandfather Issac, and his father Jacob (Israel). But most of the book is the life story in detail of Joseph including some very private scenes. These could have only come from Joseph even though they are written in the third person. The book abruptly closes with Joseph's death and burial. Consider that Joseph as the second most powerful man in Egypt, and a very literate man, had access to the greatest libraries in the world, as well as his father Jacob who knew the family's story. The last stitch in this story is when Moses stops the exodus and returns to Joseph's tomb to retrieve his bones. There in the tomb would be things associated with the life of Joseph, and perhaps this document put together by Joseph that became the first book of the Torah.

Sequoya
Stafford, VA

Too much here to address everybody/everything. But: My profession is Data Architect. I identify/define/manage data to build/expand databases. Some years ago, there was a project to design a species database for scientific use. Problem: There are at least four major scientific indexes of species that don't agree with each other. Why? Science doesn't agree with itself on what a species is.

Also in other areas, I find science disagrees with itself as much as it seems to with religion. Which church is right about Neanderthals? The Bone Church or the DNA Church? Science changes theories very quickly, with more discoveries. Basic revealed truth seems much more consistent and constant, even with religious differences.

All truth can be combined into one great whole. No difference between scientific/religious truth. Problem: Much of what we "know" about either is wrong; much we don't know about either. And, great gaps exist between the "truth pie" pieces that we actually (think we) have. The pieces often don't even touch each other; and they aren't neat wedges that Mom cut. More like where a 2-year old raked his/her fingers here or there.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

1.96 Standard Deviations,

Where are the Brass Plates confirming your claims?

antodav
TAMPA, FL

I need this book, so very much. Then again, so do all Christians who dismiss the Old Testament haphazardly, and thus fail to understand the nature of covenants, or the plan of salvation in its fullness.

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