Saturday, October 31, 2015

War in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is a scriptural record from a civilization with Jewish roots.  The book contains a narrative of the prophets and post-mortal visit of Jesus Christ to the people in the Americas somewhere.  It is also a story with symbolic merit regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ in that the sequence of events in the narrative supposedly mirror the sequence as it will occur in the last days.  In this way, the record is instructive in preparing for the second coming.

With that in mind, I looked at the sequence of battles where Captain Moroni, a heroic Nephite leader, successfully beats back a Lamanite invasion to see if there is any similarity between this war and World War II.  It is my hypothesis that there is a loose similarity which would support the idea that the whole book mirrors end times.

I can tell you for sure that there is not a Book of Mormon warrior that I would equate with Hitler although there is a similar use of flattery to gain political power. (Alma 46:3-7)

However, the similarities I found are interesting.
  1. There is a major exodus of Lamanites out of their homeland into Nephite-occupied territory before the conflict (Alma 27:14-15).  The similarity is that roughly half a million people left their homeland and fled to other countries in Europe and America because of conflict surrounding Nazi domination.  Source
  2. Massive defenses are constructed by Captain Moroni. (Alma 50:1-6)  During the 1930’s the French constructed the Maginot line.  (Source)  In 1942, Hitler started building the Atlantic Wall.  (Source)
  3. The citizens desire to change their form of government.  Nephites government has consisted of a secular rule by judges combined with a religious rule by a prophet.  The citizens want a king to supersede both. (Alma 51:5)  The similarity is that throughout Europe there was a collective interest in changing governments.  With capitalism in the middle, some advocated the political far right like Hitler, while others advocated the political far left like Stalin. (Source)
  4. The Nephite armies with Captain Moroni at the helm are faced with a two-front war. One Lamanite military general Jacob was unconquerable.  (Alma 43-62, 52:22, 33)  World War II was fought on two fronts, the European front and the Asia/Pacific front. The Japanese Kamikazi fighters were unconquerable.
  5. Young men turn the tide for the exhausted Nephite army. (Alma 56:5-7)  Young untrained men fly planes for the British Air Force and turn the tide against advancing German forces which makes it possible for US forces to land on British soil before invading France. (Source)
The Book of Mormon is a significant body of the prophetic words and counsel of God, the Father, to the whole world.  I believe it.  I see both practical truths for daily living and global truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God on Earth.  My testimony started when I asked God if this book is true.  It has continued to grow and develop as I search and discover the significance of each holy prophet in ancient and modern times.  Here is a second witness that the Book of Mormon is true.

Image credit:  2000 Stripling Warriors, painting by Arnold Friberg, used with permission

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Bride

I went to a wedding reception at the Paloma Pachanga, a ranch in Texas.  The bride was beautiful and beaming.  The groom was impeccably dressed and very suave.  The parents graciously greeted the guests and provided the feast.  All the guests celebrated the auspicious beginning of this couple’s new life.  It was all very traditional.

John the Revelator saw a wedding…
“The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white…” Rev 19:7-8

Join me as I explore the details of this wedding.  John said that the holy city, New Jerusalem, descends out of heaven like a bride. Rev 21:2

This is no ordinary wedding.  The groom is called “The Lamb.”  The bride is called, “New Jerusalem.”  New Jerusalem is a literal place and a gathering of saints. Isaiah speaks of a land that “shall be married” and that God will “rejoice” over it the way a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.  Isa 62:4-5

So is this wedding really an event?  If Jesus hadn’t told so many wedding stories, I might say no.  I think this is an event at the second coming that we need to watch for and prepare to attend.  Allow me to summarize briefly the stories Jesus told.  
  • The Ten Virgins:  Ten women wait at the gate to be admitted to a wedding.  Five leave to replace oil in their lamps and when they return, the gate is shut and they are not admitted. (Matt 25:1-13)
  • Men with Lights Waiting For Their Lord:  The Lord returns from a wedding and when he knocks, they open immediately because they have been watching. (Luke 12:35-48)
  • Great Supper with Guests who Wouldn’t Come:  The invited guests wouldn’t come so the poor and later the destitute were compelled to come. (Luke 14:16-24)
  • The Master Who has Shut the Door:  The dialogue that happens after the bridegroom has come, let the guests in, shut the door, and more come. (Luke 13:25-30)
  • When You Go to a Wedding:  Instruction to sit in the lowest seat, and how to invite guests (Luke 14:7-15)
All these stories talk about getting in to the event, not the actual ceremony or the feast thereafter.  Have you ever heard of a wedding where the invited guests weren’t allowed to enter?  I haven’t.  These stories emphasize being ready and waiting.

Why doesn’t John’s narrative include the feast?  Isaiah talks about a glorious feast when he says, “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa 25:6)  He talks about the people who waited for the Lord, but doesn’t mention that the Lord is the bridegroom.  The picture becomes clearer as the details are gathered from various locations in the Bible.

The bride wears a white dress as noted above.  Her skirts are symbolic of the gathering of people who come to her. (Isa 49:18) Unfortunately, the skirt is soiled with the blood of the innocents, which is why the Last Days will begin with destruction and end with a wedding. (Jer 2:32-36)  It is the peril of destruction that compels the destitute as mentioned in Luke 14.  When the Lord returns to the Earth at the second coming, those that are waiting for him will be invited into the marriage supper…and there’s going to be a rush for the lowest seats.

So if the bride is the church as clarified by Joseph Smith in D&C 109:73-75, and the church is a collection of saints as described by the Revelator in Rev 3:13-22, then here’s a proposition that requires some stretching.  There may be a correlation between the church as Grecian cities and the revelation Daniel saw of an entity called Grecia in Dan 8:5-8, 21.  If there is a positive correlation, then the collective “church” is going down because of the blood of the innocents.  Yet, individually, the saints will be saved as stated by Jeremiah, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

"And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jer 3:14-15  I truly believe that biblical prophets wrote so extensively about the Last Days to prepare us to weather great losses and still be found waiting for the bridegroom when he comes.

Image credit:  Wedding Reception In Gold - Flickr/Flower Factor