Posts by Old Testamentor

“The Law and the Prophets” and the Second Great Commandment

»Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Articles | 0 comments

“THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS” AND THE SECOND GREAT COMMANDMENT In the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, after the Savior had silenced the Sadducees on an issue about the resurrection, a Pharisee, who was also a lawyer, came forward to confront Him with a question—in an obvious attempt at entrapment. “Which is the great commandment of the law?” he asked. It is important to our understanding of this man’s question to know that his reference to “the law” was specifically referring to the Law of Moses (or the five books written by Moses—the Pentateuch). The Savior of course knew the Law of Moses well (because He was the one who gave it to Moses) and He also knew the right answer.  He responded by quoting the scriptural passage found in Deuteronomy 6:5: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This,” said Jesus, “is the first and great commandment.” This answer was all that the question required, but He continued: “And the second [great commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”—here quoting part of Leviticus 19:18. But Jesus did not stop there either.  He not only cited these two commandments as the greatest and second greatest in the Law (of Moses), He went on to point out that these two commandments together comprised the most significant message in all the writings of the prophets.  Said He: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” When the Jews of the Savior’s day spoke of “the law and the prophets,” they were speaking of the scriptures—those writings of Moses and the prophets that were available to them.  This would have comprised what is now included in our Old Testament (give or take a few books), plus the Apocrypha. The scriptural writing in common usage during the Savior’s lifetime would have been the Greek Septuagint—the scriptural writings translated from Hebrew to Greek in the third century B.C. for the Greek-speaking Jews living in Alexandria, Egypt, during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (284–246 B.C.).  The title Septuagint derived from the tradition that it was translated in 70 days by 70 (actually 72) elders sent from Jerusalem.  In Old Testament commentaries, the Septuagint is often referred to by the designation LXX. As a matter of interest, I should point out that, in addition to the law and the prophets, the ancient scriptures also included books that were known as the writings.  These “writings” included the books that we usually think of as being more literary, including such works as the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Job, and Esther. To be sure, there were no greater commandments to be found in the Law of Moses than the two commandments mentioned in Jesus’s answer. But it is also important to observe that He later added some important enhancements to the second commandment.  Just as He specified significant changes in other matters, He also gave a higher law in the matter of loving our fellow beings.  Before I get to that, however, let us look at two other such enhancements to the Law of Moses as it was understoood by the Jews of Jesus’s day. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned various issues that required a higher standard than what the people knew from their interpretation of the Law of Moses.  For example, He told them… “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And whoso shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away”  (Matt. 5:38–42). Jesus also brought up the issue of loving our neighbors in the Sermon on the Mount.  The instructions He gave on that matter are interesting in light of His answer to the lawyer about the second great commandment of the Law.  His message was this: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the...

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The God of the Bible: What is He Like?

»Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Articles | 0 comments

THE GOD OF THE BIBLE: WHAT IS HE LIKE? Based on the creeds (Nicean [Nicene] and Athenasian Creeds) adopted by Christianity in the early centuries following the Savior’s earthly ministry, there is strong feeling among the “enlightened” in the Christian world that The Church of Jesus Crist of Latter-day Saints has a false concept of what God is like. The basis of this strong feeling is the fact that Latter-day Saints do not subscribe to those creeds.  The creeds proclaim a three-in-one God without body, parts, and passions of the while Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings and that the Father and Jesus have corporeal bodies of flesh and bone. And Latter-day Saints further believe that the Bible supports their position. In an effort to resolve this difference of understanding and to help us all better understand the God of the Bible, we ask all people to open-mindedly consider the following scriptures. These scriptures give ample support for the proposition that God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Only-begotten Son in the flesh, are two separate beings, that they have corporeal bodies (in whose image mankind was created), and that those bodies have parts. Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 5:1-2: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. ­Genesis 9:6:  Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 32:30:  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Exodus 24:9-11:  Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. Exodus 31:18:  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exodus 33:11: And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of  Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Exodus 33:22-23: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. Numbers 12:7-8: My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? Matthew 3:16-17:   16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 14:23 (Mark 6:46): And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. Matthew 17:5: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matthew 26:39, 42: And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. … He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. Matthew...

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DESERET NEWS MARCH 23, 2014

»Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Rosemarie Howard — Val Greenwood’s new edition of “How Often I Would Have Gathered You: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints,” is an easy-to-read guide through 229 Old Testament stories. “HOW OFTEN I WOULD HAVE GATHERED YOU: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints,” 2nd edition, by Val D. Greenwood, Edenwood Press, $19.95, 378 pages (nf) “How Often I Would Have Gathered You: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints,” by Val D. Greenwood, is an easy-to-read guide through 229 Old Testament stories. Arranged chronologically, the stories begin with the pre-Earth council in heaven and conclude with the return of Israel from captivity. Greenwood captures the essence of each story in clear, modern English without sacrificing the sacred nature of the scriptures. “Some books of the Old Testament — notably the literary writings and the books of many of the prophets — are not included within the scope of these stories merely because those books contain no stories,” the author writes in the book’s preface. The stories selected for retelling reflect the theme of the book’s title and illustrate the Lord’s willingness to bless his people when they are obedient and remember to worship him as the only true God, as well as the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the author writes from a Mormon point of view, referencing non-Old Testament sources such as the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. The book is divided into 12 sections, and includes relevant footnotes instead of endnotes; several helpful maps, a pronunciation guide, bibliography, name index and subject index. This second, enhanced edition of the book, which was first published in 2007, also contains additions, corrections and refinements to the text and footnotes. Although the book’s intended audience is adults, not children, it could certainly be used to assist adults in teaching children about the wonderful Old Testament stories. It is a valuable aid to a better understanding of the meaning and relevant messages of this often neglected book of scripture. Greenwood lives in Riverton with his wife, Patty. He also wrote “The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy,” now in its third edition. His website is at newviewoldtestament.com.   The Old Testament: understand it, love...

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DESERT SAINTS MAGAZINE

»Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

Val Greenwood’s How Often Would I Have Gathered You captures the essence of these wonderful Old Testament messages. His easy style brings the Old Testament to life without embellishing the stories and without fictionalizing the message. . . [The] stories are clear, cogent, and true to their sources.   The Old Testament: understand it, love it!

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DESERET NEWS

»Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

Dennis Lythgoe — The author has carefully gathered stories from the Old Testament that share the familiar theme of the title—then he has summarized those stories so that they can be quickly called to mind.   The Old Testament: understand it, love it!

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