I recently came across an issue that has troubled some members of the Church. It is simply that some scriptures and the words of some Church leaders seem to indicate that the Earth is only about 6000-7000 years old, and that there was no death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. This causes significant cognitive dissonance for some because it seems clear from geologic and biologic evidences that the Earth has been around for much longer than that, with birth and death throughout. Because of the conflict between these two thoughts, it has caused some to even lose their faith and leave the Church. Let’s explore these issues some more and see if there is a reasonably plausible solution or reconciliation of these views. [Read more…]
If you have not had the opportunity to read David Bokovoy’s inaugural article in the new Interpreter journal, I recommend it. It discusses Nephi’s experience in 1 Nephi 11 when he was caught away to “an exceedingly high mountain” where he had a question and answer exchange with the Spirit of the Lord, and thereafter was given higher spiritual knowledge.
High mountains have always been traditionally associated with temples, and as sacred spaces. Indeed, their physical height and altitude alone contribute to this symbolism; ascending the mount gets one closer to God on high. Many times throughout the scriptures, the prophets ascend high mountains to seek spiritual refuge and converse with God. Such is the case with Moses ascending Mount Sinai, for example. Whenever a prophet or other individual in the scriptures goes to, or is taken to, a high mountain, it is well to pay careful attention to what is taking place, as it is almost always a sacred temple-type experience.
The question and answer exchange format that precedes an endowment of further light and knowledge is also a pattern often found within these scriptural accounts. Bokovoy explains that these exchanges were often to consider the worthiness and faith of the individual who had approached God, and so that there could be a divine witness, or seal by the Holy Spirit of Promise, of such righteousness before higher mysteries were given by God to that individual. At the ancient Israelite temple, such question and answer exchanges also preceded even entering a temple, when those ascending to the temple would encounter the priests at the gate, and be interrogated as to their worthiness to enter there.
I’ve been impressed for some time by the many prophets we read about in the scriptures who have apocalyptic visions of the history of the earth, the creation story, it’s purpose, the reason for our mortal lives, and concluding with visions of the heavenly temple and God’s throne. I’ve often wondered if these prophets were, in fact, witnessing the same heavenly ascent vision, as it almost always includes the same or similar elements. It would be interesting to compare further these accounts.
What were some of your impressions of Bokovoy’s article? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
This scripture from the New Testament has often been used to describe our current estate in life, our vision and perception being a bit muddled as we go about our daily lives. We don’t understand everything, we can’t see everything, we don’t know why some things are the way they are. We don’t live by perfect light and knowledge. Indeed, it is a good scripture on the topic of faith, and how we must live by imperfect understanding, having a feeling for things but unable to grasp them fully. It also well describes what our LDS doctrine calls the veil (also spelled vail), this semi-impervious cloak and covering over God and his dominion. In a future day, the curtain will be drawn, and we will see with perfect clarity, and our understanding will become as clear as day.
Why must we live by this faith, why the separation from God by the veil? Why doesn’t God reveal himself? This is often the cry of the atheists, who seek evidence of God’s existence. I appreciated Dan Peterson’s explanation of this in his talk on “Humble Apologetics.” He said: [Read more…]
Music is a fundamental part of worship, and was even more so anciently than it is today. Before the printed word made the sacred word so accessible to the masses, it was passed on from generation to generation orally. But this was not just the spoken word. In order for the word to be remembered and said the same way over and over again, over decades and centuries, a mnemonic device was employed to facilitate the reciter. This device was music. The sacred word, every word, was put to music.
This can be seen in the way the Bible is written in Hebrew, one of the oldest languages in the world. In Hebrew, particularly the Hebrew Bible, there are cantillation marks that specify how the text should be sung: [Read more…]
Ancient Israelite Temples Timeline (1300 BC—AD 100) by Bryce Haymond is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. That means you can use this graphic however you please, as long as you attribute the original work to me and this website, and any derivatives must be licensed the same. See the Creative Commons link above for more details.
I am a visual learner in many ways, so sometimes I like to put things together visually so I can get a better grasp of them, and understand them more thoroughly. The history of the ancient Israelite temples is one of those things that I wanted to learn better, so I created this timeline to help me visualize it.
The timeline shows the basic history of the ancient Israelite temples from the Tabernacle of Moses, through Solomon’s Temple (First Temple Period), the Babylonian Exile, and Zerubbabel’s and Herod’s Temples (Second Temple Period). This spans about 1400 years. Major temple structures are noted, as well as lesser known Israelite temples. Major events which affected temple worship are marked and labeled, as well as other important dates.
The information on the timeline is sourced primarily from William Hamblin and David Seely’s excellent 2007 book, Solomon’s Temple: Myth and History (pages 9-49, 210). Other information was found at various sources online.
I’m sure there are many details I’ve left out, and probably some errors. If there are items that you think should be included (such as additional Israelite temples), please let me know. If there are errors, please tell me those as well. Just leave notes in the comments, and I will continually update the timeline here as I receive feedback. Thanks!
Update (10/31/2009): I’ve updated the timeline. I’ve added some temples in the New World, including the temple in the city of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful. I’ve also added several more Old World temples including Arad, Meggido, Lachish, Beersheba, Gilgal, Ebal, Shechem, Shiloh, Kirjath-jearim, and Gibeon. Many of the dates are approximated. There are still more to add, as soon as I find more details.
Update (11/2/2009): I’ve decided to make this strictly an Old World temples timeline, so I’ve removed the few references to temples in the New World. I may make a separate timeline which compiles what we know of temples in the Book of Mormon. I’ve added some details about the ruling parties in Judea between 515 BC and AD 100. I’ve also added a visual reconstruction of what the Elephantine Temple may have looked like. Other small details have also been added.