Recently I’ve been pondering the place of the temple in the Christmas story. Last week my wife and I attended the Conference Center performance of Savior of the World which was very well done and depicted the birth and resurrection of Christ. One of the first scenes involved the temple at Jerusalem. As I have read through the Christmas story in the book of Luke I found that the temple holds a central theme in the account. Here are some of my thoughts: [Read more…]
This morning I was listening to the ABC News report on the incoming hurricane Ike, which is heading straight towards the Galveston/Houston area of Texas, and the forecast of widespread destruction that it is provoking. The news anchor was reporting from Galveston Island, Texas, where the brunt of the storm is said to be bearing down quickly. The reporter ended his news clip by saying that there was a rainbow directly over Galveston Island.
It is destructive times like these that cause us to reflect on God, and His place in our world. It seems like cruel irony that the rainbow was placed as a sign of the covenant that God made with man that He would not flood the earth again. But then again, that was surely a deliberate decision, that each time we witness these horrific natural events like hurricanes we remember God is still there, and that He knows our trials and tribulations (cf. Hel. 12:3). Yes, even “if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). Events like these turn us back to God, and remind us to worship Him who is the Creator of heaven and earth. It is only by obeying God’s commandments and enduring trying times such as these that we can “triumph over all [our] foes” (D&C 121:7-8): [Read more…]
As you might have imagined, the first thing I did when my parents told me the story of the “seal of Melchizedek” on the San Diego temple, and of the connection with Hugh Nibley, I immediately did some searches to see if I could find if it was referenced in LDS literature. The only reference I found was an image caption in the article “Sacred Vestments” in the book Temple and Cosmos:
Another Ravenna mosaic, c. A.D. 520, shows the priest-king Melchizedek in a purple cloak, offering bread and wine at the altar (Genesis 14:18-20). The white altar cloth is decorated with two sets of gammadia, as well as the so-called “seal of Melchizedek,” two interlocked squares in gold. Abel offers his lamb as Abraham gently pushes Isaac forward. The hand of God reaches down to this sacred meeting through the red veils adorned with golden gammadia on either side. The theme is the great sacrifice of Christ, which brings together the righteous prophets from the past as well as the four corners of the present world, thereby uniting all time and space. (Nibley, “Sacred Vestments,” Temple and Cosmos, 109.)
The drawing of the mosaic by Michael Lyon shown in Temple and Cosmos is from a basilica in Ravenna, Italy, called Sant’Apollinare in Classe. This is the best color photograph of this mosaic I could find: [Read more…]
A member of another faith asked me the following question:
In the [LDS] service that I attended, the speaker said that service to the Temple is the most important service that we can provide. Is this opinion common across members of the LDS church? Why is service to the Temple held in higher regard than, say, service to the poor?
This is how I replied: [Read more…]
I had contemplated entitling this post “A Change in Temple Sacrifice Following Christ,” but since today is Father’s Day, I thought this title was more appropriate.
From the time they left Jerusalem until the time of Christ’s ministry among his descendants in the Americas 600 years later, Lehi and his family offered sacrifice and burnt offerings to the Lord (1 Ne. 5:9; 1 Ne. 7:22; Mosiah 2:3). Such was part of the law of Moses which they sought to keep diligently, as the Israelites had been observing for thousands of years (Mosiah 12:28-29; Mosiah 13:27-28; Alma 25:15-16; 2 Ne. 25:24, 30; Alma 30:3). But even then, they remembered that the law of Moses was in similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was to come to the earth and work out an infinite atonement by the shedding of his blood and body (Alma 34:14).
When Christ visited the inhabitants of the Americas he explained how the law of Moses was fulfilled in him, and how things were to become new:
And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.
Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses.
Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end. (3 Ne. 15:3-5)
The law of Moses was fulfilled, but this did not mean that the covenant ended: [Read more…]