Throwing Down The Gauntlet

One really can’t be a Mormon who deeply and seriously studies the gospel of Christ without stumbling over Denver. Personally, this has meant (note imperfect verb form) that I could take an impartial look (yeah, like anyone could actually do that) at some portion of his teachings, opinions, and testimonies without having to make an actual commitment or declaration of belief, either for or against. Well, Denver has effectively thrown down the gauntlet. Those of us who have sat curiously on the sidelines watching and/or waiting for the Lord to make a definitive declaration concerning him may have to take up the gauntlet, or walk away. We’ve seen this before:

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Let’s face it straight on, nose to nose; the Savior didn’t leave them a lot of wiggle room. He played what might be called the nuclear option. Sheep or goats? Right or left? Here it is in more complete context (text key to this topic is highlighted).

John 6:22–69

The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks); when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Brother Snuffer has now provided an alternative (a replacement?), The Testimony of St John (download here). As an example, here is the parallel segment to that referenced, above. Please pay attention to the fact that this is not just a different translation, there is additional doctrine here.

From The Testimony of St John, Section 5

The next day, when the throng left behind on the other side of the sea discussed leaving, they realized there was no other boat than the one his companions had used. They knew that Jesus had not been with them on the boat. They saw his companions leave without him. But he was now gone away also. And so, when other boats arrived from Tiberias near to where they were fed barley bread after the Messiah had blessed it, they took the available boats and went to Capernaum to try to locate Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked, Teacher, from what source did you come? Jesus replied, In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, You follow after me, not because you intend to obey what I teach, nor because you witnessed miracles and believe, but you are slaves to your bellies and want to be fed more barley bread. Do not be preoccupied with food for your bellies, but for food from God, that is, light and truth, leading to endless progression upward. I am Son Ahman and can give you sustaining light and truth, for God the Father has declared I am His Son. Then they asked him, What do we need to do to enter God’s pathway of endless progress? Jesus answered and said, The pathway is before you in me, I teach and display what the Father wants you to witness and believe. They said in response, What sign will you give to us to confirm this pathway, so we can trust your message? What will you give to us? Our fathers were fed with manna in the desert for forty years. As the scripture states, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Feed us likewise. Then Jesus said to them, In the name of Father Ahman I tell you the truth, Moses was not the one who gave bread, it was my Father who did that. But now my Father is offering true life-giving bread from heaven, which is light and truth. For the Bread of God is sent from the Heavenly Council to give light and truth to the world. They responded, Master, feed us with this bread forever. Jesus said bluntly to them, I am the bread that gives life; he that follows the path with me will never hunger for light; and any who believe on me shall never thirst for truth. Unfortunately, as I have already told you, even though you have seen me, you do not believe me. But my Father has provided some who will heed my words, and those who follow me I will safely keep. I am descended from above as a Messenger sent to follow Father Ahman’s plan. Father’s plan is that by completing my ascent I will have the power to rescue creation, losing nothing. Moreover, those who are here on this journey with me will be added upon for evermore if they have faith in me. They will rise up to likewise generate endless lives, worlds without end.

The Jews loudly objected to his claim of calling himself, I am, and equating himself with God, and because he claimed to be the bread which came down from heaven. And they challenged his teaching, asking the people, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he claim to descend from heaven?  Jesus responded to them, Do not dispute my teaching between yourselves. No man can come unto me except he follows the path of my Father, who has sent me as His messenger of salvation. And this is what my Father expects of you, that you heed his Son. For the Father testifies he sent me, and anyone who accepts the Father’s testimony, and has the faith in him to heed his testimony, I will raise upward in the resurrection of the just. For it is written in the prophets, And these shall all be taught by God. Every person who has hearkened and has learned the will of the Father, accepts me as his messenger. None of you have seen the Father unless you first descended from God’s presence, as I have come; and all who have seen the Father can testify of him. In the name of Father Ahman I declare to you, He that has faith on me has endless lives, worlds without end. I am that bread of life. This is the bread that descended from heaven, that a man may eat of me and his life never end. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they perished. But I am the living bread sent from heaven to rescue you. If any man takes into themselves this bread, he will gain light and truth and the power for endless life. The staff of life I provide is to sacrifice my flesh, which I will surrender to rescue the world. The Jews argued among themselves, demanding, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, In the name of Father Ahman I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you will never have endless life in you. Those who eat my flesh, and drink my blood, will obtain endless life. I will raise him up in the resurrection of the just at the last day. Just as the Father provided this life for me, I will provide it for you if you have faith in me. For my flesh will fill you with light, and my blood will quench you with truth. If you receive these, I will fill you with light and truth and we will be brothers, sons of God. My sacrifice is the bread I descended from heaven to provide, not like the manna eaten by your deceased ancestors who rejected greater light and truth in their day. The light and truth I offer leads to endless lives, worlds without end.  The foregoing is what he taught in the Capernaum synagogue.

6 Many of his followers, after they had heard him teach this in the synagogue, concluded, This is hard to accept; who can agree with it? When Jesus understood that even his close companions balked at it, he said to them, Are you offended by that? How are you going to have the faith to witness my ascent back to the Throne of the Father where I have come from? I have spoken of the Spirit of light and truth that enlightens. The flesh is nothing, and my message is about light and truth. My teachings are Spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that do not understand because you do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who were faithless and foresaw who would betray him. And he said, Because of faithlessness I tell you that no faithless man can come with me. Only those who heed the will of my Father who sent me, will have power to rise with me. At that time many followers left, and ended their journey with him. Then Jesus asked the twelve, Are you also going to leave? To which Simon Peter answered, Lord, where else is there to go? You teach the words of eternal life. All of us believe and are certain that you are the Messiah, the Holy One of the Most High God.

There is so much that is interesting going on here.

Let’s take a relatively trivial example that shows the depth implied.

“Verily, verily” is replaced with “In the name of Father Ahman.” In the original Greek, this is, “αμην αμην” or in Hebrew, “אמן אמן” or in English, Amen Amen. This is a very interesting word. Depending on which lexicon you search (e.g., Thayer, Strong) you will see in the definition words like: sure, firm, faithful, of a truth, so be it, may it be fulfilled. But, like with most translations, those all come up a little short. Some other things to consider:

  • As mentioned in a prior post, there is a covenantal aspect to אמן
  • אמן derives from the root: אמן (same letters, different vowel markings), which is defined as:  — A primitive root; properly to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (in Isa_30:21; by interchange for H541) to go to the right hand: – hence assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.

See any names for God in there? Continuing….

  • You have probably already seen that “Ahman” would also be spelled אמן (AhMaN, AMeN)
  • You might find it interesting that א represents power (looks like the head of a bull) in ancient Hebrew, and is not infrequently found at the lead in various names: Adam, Avraham, Elijah, Adoni, Elohim, etc.
  • When coupled with מ (water, blood), we get: אמ or Mother. Some believe this signifies she who binds a family together (boil the bull in water and you get glue).
  • Then add ן (seed, continuance), we get: אמן
    • From Strong: The pictograph m is a picture of water or other liquid such as blood, the n is a picture of a seed representing continuance. Combined these mean “blood continues”. Each species (kind) continues by passing its blood to the following generation, which comes from the parent. Also the idea of strength through the blood…. Portion What: What comes from something else as one kind comes from the same…. manna, whosoever, who, whoso, what, instrument, from….
  • Then there is another Hebrew word  (aman) which is translated using words like: believe (in many of its forms), confirmed, doorposts, endure (in multiple forms), enduring, established, faithful, firm, fulfilled, guardian, assurance, last, nurse, reared, reliable, sure, trust.
  • And for just a little more fun, there is the word אָמוֺן who is an Egyptian, secret god, who hid himself and was difficult to find (Amon = concealment, hidden). He subsequently became the supreme god of the Egyptian Pantheon, the successor of the sun-god Ra and so-called Amon Ra (also from Strong’s Concordance).

So, the use of “Father Ahman”‘ and “Son Ahman” is particularly sublime. See also: Sample of Pure Language from the Joseph Smith Papers.

The Bottom Line?

While the prior example may seem to be simply an exercise in academics, it isn’t. Even the most trivial example has the potential to add layers of understanding for those who haven’t been previously exposed. This trivial example demonstrates, I believe, that there is significant and singular improvement to the many translations that are out there. But, that isn’t the most important question, is it?

If the answer to the first question is yes, then the second most important question is: is it true?

If the answer to that question is true, then the third must be some form of: therefore what (the implications are enormous)?

The gauntlet lies there on the ground. Pick it up, or walk away?

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