Snippets 2

Wisdom

An evening ago was reviewing “wisdom” references in the OT in Hebrew. Whew. I found a few places where wisdom might have an intentionally hidden reference to Wisdom. In no case do I see a place where “wisdom” is an incorrect translation. In some cases, switching wisdom to Wisdom might be outright blasphemous (e.g., Job 12:2; Eccl 1:18; 18:16). Still, there are a few where one might wonder what the author knew and what was being said and inferred:

  • job 11:5; 28:18-23 !!!
  • Psalms 20:12
  • Prov 1:2,20; 2:2,10; 3:19; 7:4???; 8:11-12; 9:1; 14:33; 17:24: 24:3; 29:15???
  • Eccl: 7:19
  • Isa: 11:2 !!!!!!!!I found this interesting (highlight mine; see other Hebrew constructs based on the same :disappointed: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/ahlb/hhet.html#2451( fem., חכמה / hhakh-mah ) Translation: SKILL Definition: The ability to decide or discern between good and bad, right and wrong; A deep understanding of a craft. KJV Translations: wisdom, wisely, skilful, wits Strong’s Hebrew #: h.2451 Strong’s Aramaic #: a.2452 (edited)

Tie to the tree of “knowledge” of good and evil? To know (da-at) is defined as discernment.

דַּעַת da-at Discernment 1847 The quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. An intimacy with a person, idea or concept.

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dictionary/modern-dalet.html

So, the tree of discernment of good and evil? The tree of Wisdom? (edited)

Testimony

Have joined with some friends to study Lectures on Faith. Thus far we discussed Lectures First and Seventh (of which I learned more than a snippet and need to share).

Tomorrow we’ll discuss Lecture Second. This might be summarized with a simple Q&A: how is it that we develop sufficient faith to search after God? Testimony. There is a problem here. The testimonies we have received, and the way this topic is treated vary greatly. I can’t help but wonder if the variance is due to the spiritual maturity of those that testify. Some testimonies seem clear and grand. Others seem to take the same words and dilute them to the point of near banality.

The remainder of this post elaborates on that point.

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Lecture Second spends a large amount of time establishing that with the exception of Adam, others who have approached God did so because of “the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers— this testimony having aroused their minds to enquire after the knowledge of God, the enquiry frequently terminated, in deed, always terminated, when rightly persued, in the most glorious discoveries, and eternal certainty.”

This closing statement is interesting. When taken out of context, “glorious discoveries, and eternal certainty” might seem ambiguous. Perhaps a glorious discovery for me might be pretty mundane for Joseph or all those referenced in this lecture from Adam to Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, et. al.

I took a spin (more exhaustive search than last time on this topic) through all the conferences (Journals of Discourses; Conference Talks, etc) for references to “more sure word of prophecy” and found a couple of interesting things. Juxtapose the statement above with this from 1857 (all this started pretty early) with Elder Amasa M. Lyman (highlights added):

Now, I do not quote that Scripture [2 Peter 1:19] to direct you to be overanxious to learn all that the ancient Apostles may have said that might be adapted to the Saints in that time and under those circumstances; but I want you to act in this as they were admonished to act in that time; and if you cannot judge perfectly by the portion of the Spirit of God that you possess, remember that you have a more sure word of prophecy that is imparted unto you from day to day, from Sabbath to Sabbath, from month to month, and from year to year, unto which you do well that you give heed.

JD 6, AML Unity, Etc. • JD 6:79 col. b

Mundane? Compare to D&C 131:5.

Marion G. Romney did a stellar job differentiating this from the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ here (entire talk is worthwhile):

My brethren, I pray, and ask you to join in that prayer, that while I speak we will enjoy the Spirit of Christ. If we don’t enjoy it, we won’t enjoy these remarks, because my topic is “The Light of Christ.” There are three phases of the light of Christ that I want to mention.

The first one is the light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world;

The second phase is the gift of the Holy Ghost;

And the third is the more sure word of prophecy.

1977, April, Marion G. Romney, ‘The Light of Christ,’ Ensign, May 1977, ¶ 3–6

He then follows up 6 months later with another bell-weather talk where he quotes Joseph Smith:

The Prophet also said that “after a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter.” (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3:380.)

1976, October, Marion G. Romneyᵇ, ‘Your Gift from God,’ Ensign, November 1976, ¶ 66

Compare these talks to another one from Elder Amasa M. Lyman where he seems to conflate (and thereby diminsih?) these very things (highlights added):

His knowledge comes to us with an assurance which is stronger and more convincing than the seeing of the eye, the hearing of the ear and the handling of the hand put together. For it is as Paul says, the sure word of prophecy, which is more satisfactory evidence to the human mind than all other evidences combined. And it comes to us with such convincing power that it cannot be gainsayed. And hence these young Elders stand up and say they know the things to be true whereof they testify by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost.

JD 20, AM Gospel of Christ • JD 20:236 col. b

Did he just say that there is an assurance greater than being in the presence of the Lord, hearing His voice, feeling the prints in his hands/feet/side? If so, why would the Lord bother? Hey, we don’t need our calling and election made sure, we have warm fuzzy feelings that we believe are from the Holy Ghost; we’re good.

Elder Bruce R. McKonkie seems to have picked up Romney’s thread in 1977 (perhaps it was the other way around?) and elaborated 10 blessings of the priesthood, including (highlights added):

Blessing eight: We have power, through the priesthood, to gain eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.

Blessing nine: We have power to make our calling and election sure, so that while we yet dwell in mortality, having overcome the world and been true and faithful in all things, we shall be sealed up unto eternal life and have the unconditional promise of eternal life in the presence of Him whose we are.

Our revelations say: “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131:5.)
During the latter years of his ministry, in particular, the Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded fervently with the Saints to press forward in righteousness until they made their calling and election sure, until they heard the heavenly voice proclaim: “Son, thou shalt be exalted.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150.)

Blessing ten: We have the power—and it is our privilege—so to live, that becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sin and sorrow.

1977, October, Bruce R. McConkie, ‘The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood,’ Ensign, November 1977, ¶ 52

Is that what Elder Holland had in mind when he said:

I know that President Thomas S. Monson, who moves devotedly and buoyantly toward the 50th anniversary of his ordination as an Apostle, is the rightful successor to that prophetic mantle today. We have seen that mantle upon him again in this conference. I know that 14 other men whom you sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators sustain him with their hands, their hearts, and their own apostolic keys. These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.”

2013, April, Jeffrey R. Holland, ‘“Lord, I Believe”,’ Ensign, May 2013, ¶ 20–21

What does that mean? Is it like the “young Elders” mentioned above, or is it more akin to this reference by Elder Joseph F. Smith in 1873 (highlights added)?

…we go farther than this—there is “a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto we do well to take heed.” There is revelation, a means of direct communication from God to man, a power which can rend the veil between us and God, open the eyes of our understanding, and bring us into proximity to him, so that we may know him as he is, and learn from his own mouth and from the mouths of his holy messengers his laws and will concerning us, as anciently. This is the principle by which Adam knew God in the garden where he was placed in the beginning. God came to him day by day, and conversed with him as one man converses with another, giving him instructions and counsel, for man was pure. And when he was cast out, God did not forsake him, but appeared to him, sent his angels to communicate with him concerning the plan of salvation, and gave him the Holy Ghost to be a light in his path through the world, made dreary to him by being banished from the immediate presence of God.

JD 15, JSF Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. • JD 15:326 col. b–327 col. a

Enough already. Perhaps I have a pessimistic bias. I miss these things. I was inspired by them back in the 70’s. Again, are they gone because those who teach have no such experiences? Are they, therefore, unable to bear testimony? Is this how light and truth is lost through the generations after it is revealed? Is dilution is foregone conclusion?

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