Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #1

It’s time again to dust off your Bibles, ladies and gents.  It doesn’t seem like it has been 4 years since we were studying the Old Testament, but it has come around again.  I will be posting lessons most weeks and providing links to the OT lessons I did 4 years ago, as well.

This time, I’ll be looking at many of the lessons from other angles, so you won’t get the same lessons as before (hopefully).

Lesson #1 is now online at my blog.  As always, read there and comment here.

9 thoughts on “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #1

  1. Rame, good to see your lessons on M* again. I actually have some questions on Moses 2, and I would like your input. I was reading this last night and I sat pondering it for about a half-hour. I *think* I understand, but maybe not.

    “2 And the earth was without aform, and void; and I caused bdarkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my cSpirit dmoved upon the face of the water; for I am God.

    3 And I, God, said: Let there be alight; and there was light.

    4 And I, God, saw the light; and that light was agood. And I, God, divided the blight from the darkness.

    5 And I, God, called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the aword of my power, and it was done as I bspake; and the evening and the morning were the first cday.

    6 And again, I, God, said: Let there be a afirmament in the midst of the water, and it was so, even as I spake; and I said: Let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was done;

    7 And I, God, made the firmament and divided the awaters, yea, the great waters under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so even as I spake.

    8 And I, God, called the firmament aHeaven; and the evening and the morning were the second day.

    9 And I, God, said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and it was so; and I, God, said: Let there be dry land; and it was so.

    Questions: what are “the deep” and “the face of the water” in verse 2? (This is before the dry land is created — does this simply mean the entire Earth was water for a long time before dry land is created or is there some heavenly act in which heavenly water is involved?)

    What do you think the Spirit moving on the face of the water means? (My thinking: the creation of life in the water, but maybe I am wrong).

    Why did the Lord cause “darkness” to come up on the face of the deep?

    What does this mean: “the great waters under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”

    What does this mean: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and it was so;”

    “and the evening and the morning were the first day.” Why is the evening before the morning — shouldn’t it be morning before evening? There has got to be some significance about this.

    These are the main questions I pondered.

  2. Lots of questions. You realize that Moses 2 is discussed in lesson 3? However, we’ll see what kind of justice we can do for you.

    First, we really have to look at the Creation Stories as allegorical. Genesis 1, 2, Moses, Abraham, the temple, and one other story reflected in the OT, all show the Creation from different perspectives and world views. We should not pretend to believe that God taught Moses calculus, chemistry, physics, geography, astronomy and a bunch of other sciences, so that Moses would understand the Creation in the way we would like to do so today. God revealed it to Moses in a way that a simple shepherd or even an Egyptian ruler would understand in his day: with a lot of symbolism.
    what are “the deep” and “the face of the water” in verse 2?
    They are the same thing. It signifies the waters, which in the Creation were all in one place and covered the earth. Think of it this way: as the earth cooled, the heavier matter sank (earth has an iron core), and much of the water would have been present above the earth. Our mountains were formed by earthquakes, volcanoes, and tectonic plates colliding, which would come much later. Our earliest understanding of earth sees a giant ocean with one landmass: Pangaea. The verse may be discussing the period prior to Pangaea’s forming.
    Many of the ancients believed the heavens were not very far above the earth, and believed God established a “firmament” of water in the heavens, as well. These would, according to that tradition, be the waters that flooded the earth in Noah’s time.
    Dark and water tie in directly with the “other” ancient Creation story. In the Sumerian/Akkadian Creation story, God must destroy Chaos in order to form the earth. To do this, he must destroy or control the three objects that define chaos: darkness, water, and the dragon Leviathan. So, we read:

    “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Is 27:1)
    “Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” (Psalms 74:14).

    Interestingly, there is a second dragon called Rahab. It seems one was destroyed in the Creation and the other is tied to the dragon in Revelation, which John saw destroyed in the last days, the final destruction of Chaos before Christ comes in glory and perfect order. I wrote an article on chaos/order/dragons a while back that you can read here.

    The Spirit flows over the waters in order to prepare chaos for the order, which God is about to inflict upon it. The land will soon appear, representing order.

    As for the evening before the morning, it is a Hebrew convention. The day “begins” in the evening. And in this case, aptly so. For the evening begins with darkness/chaos, and later the sun appears and brings order and life to the land.

    I hope I answered all of the questions. Let me know if I missed any.

  3. Unlike your blog post,the GD manual emphasizes that “members should understand that Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses.” I’m inclined to go that route, though it probably doesn’t really matter who is speaking to Moses, since both God and His son are one in purpose and unity. To teach differently, IMO, would cause further confusion. Historically, Christ/Jehovah has made numerous appearances to his chosen servants, and speaks with the Father’s authority. I know of no scriptural account where Heavenly Father made an appearance or spoke to mortals (or transfigured/translated beings) without His son being present (ie. First Vision–check, Christ’s baptism–check, Christ’s Nephite visit–check, visiting Adam and Eve–check, etc….). If we are to believe that Heavenly Father consistently defers to His son, then in Moses’ case, having been visited by an glorified individual, it would have to be Jehovah himself, wouldn’t you agree?

  4. As I believe I noted in my post, the Church states that Jesus is a stand-in for God in the OT. I have no problem with the Church making that statement. I am discussing things from a Biblical point of view, however.
    And there is at least one time when God the Father appeared solo: during the Kirtland Temple spiritual experiences, many saw a man, with flames wrapped around his body, walk down the aisle. Joseph exclaimed that it was God the Father. So, there are exceptions to any rule.

  5. OK. Can you cite the source for that Kirtland visit? And can you think of any more exceptions/solo visits?

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