Saturday, November 10, 2018

With All His Heart (part 3)

1 Nephi 1:5

"Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people."

Nephi stated something very important concerning the scriptures.

     "...I did liken the scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Nephi 19:23)

In our study of this subject of intercession we discussed the things in the two previous posts and likened them to ourselves in order to understand what type of persons we must become in order to be able to seek to intercede like Lehi was doing and why it is that we must become such persons and how it is that we can become such persons.

In the book Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil a couple of very important principles concerning this subject are discussed. We discussed the following together.

"In one sense, it is not possible for us to satisfy justice by providing mercy for ourselves. But in another sense, we certainly can do so for others. We cannot atone for other's offenses. But, we can forgive other's trespasses against us. Christ provided the way for us all to be forgiven. But He also taught we should forgive others. He said, "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." (JST Matt. 6:13; taken from Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible, Original Manuscripts. Edited by Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson and Robert J. Matthews. Prove: Religious Studies Center Brigham Young University, 2004; p. 247.) 
Forgiving others is our duty. Our own forgiveness is dependent upon it. Within our limited capacities, we must also provide mercy to others just as Christ provided mercy to us all. We, in our sphere, must act just as Christ did in His much greater sphere.
Remember that we must become "types" of Him whom we follow. To do so we must mimic Him to acquire His attributes. When we have acquired His attributes, He has claim upon us as one of His own." (Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil, Denver Snuffer, pgs. 272 - 273)

We, as a group, believe that Christ addressed these very things when He delivered the Sermon on the Mount in Palestine and then delivered the same sermon to the Nephites in the land of Bountiful.

He addressed what we must become like in order to be a "type" of Him.

     "And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (3 Nephi 12: 7)

We discussed in the previous post how Christ became "mercy".

     "...this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, ...And thus mercy (Christ) can satisfy the demands of justice,"(Alma 34: 15 - 16)

If we are willing to forgo our rightful claims upon justice against others who have either intentionally or unintentionally offended or hurt us we are imitating Christ by extending mercy to others. As those who profess to follow Christ, this action is necessary in order to typify Him.

     "And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (3 Nephi 12:9)

We have discussed this attribute of making peace.  We agree that those who make peace will for the most part in this world be abused and receive harsh treatment,desiring only to return a soft word. There is an example of this in the book of 3 Nephi.

     "...and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God." (3 Nephi 6:13)

This attribute of peacemaking from the above example seems to enable the possessor to qualify to receive the next two blessings the Lord mentions; "...blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake...blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." (3 Nephi 12: 10 - 11)

     "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement of God;  But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgement." (3 Nephi 12: 21-22)

We have determined that one who would be able to pray with all their heart in behalf of their people would be an individual who would not harbor anger against others. Christ, during his mortal life, exemplified this.

     "...I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.  And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;  But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;" (3 Nephi 12:39 - 44)

All of these instructions from the Lord to His followers about how to live a correct life of mercy are exemplified in the life of Christ.

If an individual lives a life following these principles they will be typifying their Master Jesus Christ in regards to mercy.

Christ taught many more principles in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at Bountiful concerning what type of person one must be or in other words how one must live in order to truly be His follower.  We are focusing right now on the parts of the Sermons that teach mercy.

It struck us that all of these instructions for living a life of mercy are so very impractical in this world.

"These are extraordinary standards for us to follow.  Not resisting those who are determined to do evil to us presents such a formidable barrier to living that all of us recoil at its implications.  Giving the unjust litigant all that he demands, and more, seems impossibly hard.  Loving our enemies, blessing those who curse you, and doing good to those who hate you are astonishing hurdles to contemplate. Yet, there it is!  Christ asking us to overcome and leave behind our pride, our tendency to defend ourselves and our need for approval.
Christ meant these things.  Not only that, He led the way in actually doing them.  As proof of His commitment to these standards of self-conduct Christ forgave the men who crucified Him.  He said, as the were in the act of killing Him; "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." (Luke 23:34.)  He did not resist those who were not only despitefully using Him, but who were determined to kill Him.  He did not resist the one who would sue Him for His cloak.  He permitted them to part His entire wardrobe among them without complaint.  These teachings may have been rejected by most of the audience He taught, but they were not rejected by HimHe did what He asks us to do.  If you accept Him as the guide and example to follow then you must accept this part of His example as well.
Remember Nephi's assurance: "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7.)  That promise has no limit on it.  If we are asked to do these things, and we are determined to follow God in doing them, then the Lord will provide a way for you to be able to accomplish it.  However difficult this proposition may seem to be, it is something within your reach.  Trust in that, and have the faith to reach out trying to follow HIm.  His yoke, you will find, is easy after all."(The Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil, Denver Snuffer, pg. 274)

All of the cited examples in the first part of this discussion about intercession are examples of individuals who were genuinely filled with these feelings of mercy towards their fellowman.

The Lord stated in the Sermon at Bountiful that it was necessary for those who would follow Him to love their enemies and pray for those who would despitefully use them and persecute them so that they "...may be the children of  your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good."(3 Nephi 12:45)

God making His sun to rise on both the evil and the good is the same way that we must be with regards to ourselves showing forth mercy to our fellowmen.  We decided that if we are to become the children of God that we must show mercy to all our fellowmen regardless of whether they deserve it or not.

We covered other things as well in our discussions together concerning what type of individuals we must become in order to possess this attribute of mercy but the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at Bountiful are a great summation of these things.

The next part will talk about the why we must each become this type of person.

Friday, November 2, 2018

With All His Heart (part 2)

1 Nephi 1:5

"Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people."

As a group, we have come to our own understanding concerning Christ; through study and through hearing the word of God.

     "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was the life ; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:1-5)

It is very clear that John is testifying of Jesus Christ in these verses.

One important item of note in this testimony of Christ is that John refers to Christ as the "Word".

What does that mean?

Christ Himself declared the following when He appeared to the Nephites.

     "...I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning." (3 Nephi 11:11)

During His mortal ministry in Palestine the Lord declared,

     "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5: 30)

We believe what has been spoken concerning Christ; that He is the "Word" or the "Word of God", precisely because He has sought to do the will of the Father from the beginning and did so and does so now with such precision and perfection that His very being personifies the words and will of the Father for His children.

To learn of Christ and to read of His life is to come to see a perfect manifestation of our Father's word or will in the flesh.

Given this, we studied some of the Saviors actions during His earthly ministry to see some of the Father's will in action.

There is an incident of note that ought to be considered as we talk about this.

     "And early in the morning he came again to the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down and taught them.  And the scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned:  but what sayest thou?  This they said, tempting him that they might have to accuse him.  But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?  Hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee:  go and sin no more." (John 8:2-11)

Notice that the Lord did not accuse her even though she was guilty; taken in the very act.

What is important to learn from this?

The book of Revelation tells us this concerning the war in heaven and Satan.

     "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night." (Revelation 12:7-10)

Notice that the Devil, Satan, the great dragon, that old serpent, is also the accuser.  He accuses us, his brethren, day and night before God.

It does not say that his accusations are false.

Is it apparent, the absolute opposite spirits that possess Christ on the one hand and Satan on the other?

Concerning the account of the woman taken in adultery we read,

"Here the woman had violated the law prohibiting adultery.  She was brought to Christ to find out His reaction to this breach of the law.  In spite of clear guilt, Christ found a way to avoid accusing her.  This incident shows the lengths to which the Lord will go to avoid becoming the accuser.  His title: "Our Advocate with the Father" is the antithesis of the role of the "accuser."  The Advocate helps defend us against accusations.  Even accusations properly brought, as was the one against the woman taken in adultery.  He will seek whatever reason or even excuse as may exist to warrant forgiveness for our mistakes and failings.  This role of Advocate He has adopted for Himself, is the role of Mercy itself." (The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil, Denver Snuffer, pgs. 276 - 277)

Concerning the reason used by the Lord to not accuse the woman who was clearly guilty, the footnote on page 276 reads,

"As the Dean of the J Reuben Clark Law School, Rex Lee pointed out to his Constitutional Law students that the woman was guilty.  There was no question about her violation of the law.  But since there was no accuser, and the law required two accusers for conviction, that was a technical procedural defect in condemning the woman.  Without this technical requirement being met, the woman would stand uncondemned under the Mosaic Law.  Dean Lee used this example to explain the concept of "procedural due process" to his students."

What is it that allows Christ to be our Advocate with the Father?

Amulek explained the following to the Zoramites.

     "Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.  For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which is expedient should be made." (Alma 34:8-9)

Remember that the accuser, Satan, can properly bring before God accusations against us.  We have all sinned and therefore are cut off eternally from God.  Amulek is pointing this out as the why for the need of an atonement.

Next he begins to explain the how.

     "For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice." (Alma 34: 10)

     "Therefore it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.  And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal." (Alma 34: 13 - 15)

Christ was infinite.  He declared that He had life in himself like His Father (John 5:26).  Likewise Christ was sinless.  He did not earn the wages of sin. "For the wages of sin is death;..." (Romans 6:23)  Rightfully He should have never died.  He should have lived forever by law.

What occured to the Lord in both Gethsemane and also by His death, on the cross, allows Him to extend mercy.

Amulek explains.

   "...this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, ...And thus mercy (Christ) can satisfy the demands of justice,"(Alma 34: 15 - 16)

"Christ's Atonement was an act of intercession by Him on our behalf.  We are barred from God the Father's presence.  Christ made it possible for us to overcome that barrier and return to Him.  He made mercy possible by satisfying the demands of justice." (The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil, Denver Snuffer, pg.272)

Lehi put it this way.

     "Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved." (2 Nephi 2:9)

How does this intercession for those who believe on Him happen, now that He has power through His sacrifice to satisfy the demands of justice?

     "Listen to Him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--- Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;  Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." (D&C 45:3-5)

He can point to His perfect fulfillment of the will of the Father in offering His infinite sacrifice and extend mercy to those believing souls, as imperfect as they may be.  He can forgive them of their sins  because of their repentance, or turning to face Him, because He has power to do so.  He holds the keys of death and hell.

So we learn through Christ, the personification of the Fathers Word, that the word or will of the Father is for intercession to be extended to all of the Father's children.

In the next parts we will discuss how this relates to what Lehi is doing and how it relates to what we are able to do.







Tuesday, October 30, 2018

With All His Heart (part 1)

1 Nephi 1:5

"Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people."

As a group we are extremely interested in this event.

I have mentioned a couple of times already that it is impossible to put across in this blog all of what we have shared with each other and what we have learned as we have discussed principles of the Book of Mormon together.  Now the lack will be even greater.  We spent several meetings delving into this principle and I will only be able to share a fraction of what we have found.

Please search on your own.  Hopefully this will encourage you to do so.

What Lehi is doing here, the very real feelings in his heart, for his people who he knows are under the judgments of God is very important to understand.

We first discussed that Lehi believed the words of the many prophets sent to cry repentance to those in Jerusalem.

We do not know all the details of how Lehi arrived to where he felt to pray with all his heart in behalf of his people but here he is now doing just that. He is seeking to intercede for his people.

We decided to review together other possible examples of individuals seeking to intercede for others in the scriptures.

We immediately found Nephi interceding for his brothers and his people.

     "But behold Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them." (1 nephi 2:18)

     "Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren." (2 Nephi 5: 1)

     "...I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people.  For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry." (2 Nephi 33: 3)

We decided that Jacob was filled with the spirit of intercession because of what he exclaimed.

     "...behold ye know that I have spoken unto you exceedingly many things.  Nevertheless, I speak unto you again; for I am desirous for the welfare of your souls.  Yea mine anxiety is great for you; and ye yourselves know that it ever has been.  For I have exhorted you with all diligence..." (2 Nephi 6: 2-3)

     "Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you." (Jacob 4: 18)

Next came Enos.

     "...I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto god for them." (Enos verse 9)

     "And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites." (Enos verse 11)

     "And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him -- that if it should be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation." (Enos verse 13)

Mormon in the Words of Mormon:

     "And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people." (Words of Mormon verse 8)

We considered that the sons of King Mosiah were also filled with this spirit of intercession.

     "Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren the Lamanites -- That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God,...that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God,...Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." (Mosiah 28: 1-3)

     "And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth..." (Alma 17:9)

The record shows the intercession of Alma the younger.

     "Now Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.  Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance." (Alma 7:9-10)

     "And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;" (Alma 13:27)

    "O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto the in Christ.  Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." (Alma 31: 34 - 35)

Those who were the children of God gathered together oft to intercede for those who knew not Christ.

     "Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God." (Alma 6:6)

We found record of Nephi son of Helaman interceding for the Nephites.

     "And it came to pass that in this year Nephi did cry unto the Lord saying: O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee." (Helaman 11: 3-4)

     "...And it came to pass that when Nephi saw that the people had repented and did humble themselves in sackcloth, he cried again unto the Lord, saying:  O Lord, behold this people repenteth;... Now because of this their humility with thou turn away thine anger, and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of those wicked men whom thou hast already destroyed.  O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this famine may cease in this land.  O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit, and her grain in the season of grain.  O Lord, thou didst hearken unto my words when I said, Let there be a famine, that the pestilence of the sword might cease; and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words, for thou said that: If this people repent I will spare them.  Yea, O Lord, and thou seest that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come unto them.  An now, O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again if they will serve thee?  And if so, O Lord, thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou hast said." (Helaman 11: 9-16)

Nephi son of Nephi did likewise.

     "Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.  And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God on behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the traditions of their fathers. And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day;..." (3 Nephi 1:10-12)

The Lord taught intercession to the Nephites as part of His law.

     "...behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you." (3 Nephi 12:44)

Again in the book of Mormon we see Mormon seeking to intercede.

     "Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my god all the day long for them..."(Mormon 3: 12)

Moroni, speaking of those saints who had gone before him in the land:

     "...behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.  And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren." (Mormon 8:23-24)

     "And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.  And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith;..." (Mormon 9:36-37)

Most of the first chapter of Ether recounts the intercessions of the brother of Jared for his brother Jared and their families and friends.

Here is the brother of Jared seeking to intercede again for those with him when they had to cross the ocean in the arks.

     "Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth , and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us.  o Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; ..." (Ether 3:3-4)

Moroni sought to intercede for us Gentiles.

     "And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity" (Ether 12:36)

These are the more apparent examples of intercession we have found in the Book of Mormon.  There are probably many more we have not found.

There are also examples in the other scriptures.

Remember that Abraham sought to intercede for those who were in the doomed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Moses interceded on the mount for Israel so the Lord would not destroy them.

One example from the New Testament that is quite touching is the example of Stephen.

     "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:59-60)

Stephen cried out to God, seeking to intercede for those who were in the very act of killing him.

The purpose of laying out these examples is to show that for ourselves we have established that the scriptures hold a great amount of evidence that living in such a way so as to find it natural to intercede for others is necessary in order to find God.

I will share more of what we continued to learn about intercession in the next part.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

There Came Many Prophets

1 Nephi 1:4

"For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah,(my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed."

It might be good at this point for us to remember something very important about the Book of Mormon.

When Nephi was making a second set of plates which he refers to in 1 Nephi 19, which are the plates that comprise the Book of Mormon up to Words of Mormon, he said this concerning his record.

     "...I Nephi received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them should be written upon these plates...I proceed according to that which I have spoken; and this I do that the more sacred things may be kept for the knowledge of my people.  Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred..." (1 Nephi 19:3, 5-6)

Because Nephi plainly stated that he did not record anything on plates unless he felt them sacred, should we consider that this reference to many prophets coming to Jerusalem is something that ought to be looked at?

What could we learn from this?

The Prophet Mormon asked a very important question.

     "And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing?  And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.  For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.  And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come.  And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.  Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing;..." (Moroni 7:20-25)

 According to the prophet Mormon, faith in Christ is the way to lay hold upon every good thing.

We know that faith in Christ is the only way to salvation. (Salvation is a very good thing! :))

Can we reasonably state that everyone in the entire world, being uniquely individual, is at different levels of exercising faith in Christ?  (From the level of zero faith or unbelief through belief to faith and on to the level of faith where they have come to the perfect day and they are passing from faith to knowledge where they now know for themselves like the brother of Jared having come face to face with the Lord.)

Why would God have "divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good" unless He was and is seeking to reach every one of His children at every level in order to invite them all to come to Him and lay hold upon every good thing?

Mormon is very clear in his teaching that prophets are one of the divers means that God uses to try and get through to His children.

Why?

Could all of God's children at all levels of unbelief, belief or faith understand or bear or give heed to heavenly instructors?

What kind of condemnation would come upon those who, because of unbelief or mere belief or weak faith, if they received something from a heavenly visitor chose not to heed what they had received?

The prophets, who are mortal, are able to teach those who are on the lowest levels where God and angels cannot teach.

How did Adam and Eve progress from the fall to where they had knowledge?

     "And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord.  And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord." (Moses 5:4-5)

They first heard the voice of the Lord,one of His divers ways, and were obedient to His voice.

   "And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?  And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me." (Moses 5:6)

The angel then proceeded to teach them. (Moses 5:8)

Then they had greater learning given to them as the Holy Ghost fell upon them and they were able to prophesy.(Moses 5:9-11)

They rose level by level in faith by giving diligent heed to what they had received from the diverse ways that God used to reach them.

This is the pattern described in Alma chapter 12.

     "...It is given to many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.  And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." (Alma 12: 9-10)

Adam and Eve gave heed and diligence to the words of God they had received. Consequently, they were given the greater portion of the word until they knew the mysteries of God in full.

Now they were prophets.  So What?  What now?

Adam and Eve had children who were at a lower level of faith in Christ and so now they were sent by God to teach them.  They became preachers of righteousness.

     "And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters." (Moses 5:12)

The continuing story relates the sad tale that their children did not receive what Adam and Eve were teaching them.(Moses 5:13)

We could ask, "Why didn't God just speak to the children from the garden like He did with their parents?  Wouldn't they surely have believed then?" 

Because their children didn't listen, did that mean that the message Adam and Eve delivered didn't have the same authority as if God Himself had declared it to their children?

It is important to consider this because this deals with the idea of whether a message from  prophets like Adam and Eve is binding or not and if it is as persuasive as if God Himself were giving the message.

Concerning the persuasiveness of God's message: If we look to the example of the New Testament we can see that those of the Priests and the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the common folk who would not accept the words of the prophets found in the scriptures would also not accept the words of Christ even though He, their God who performed marvelous miracles among the people, was right there in front of them speaking the words.

If people will not accept a message sent by God through a true servant then they would not accept it if God Himself were to declare it personally.

Also, 

     "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38)

When one is truly sent by God, with His message, his/her words hold just as much weight, if those words are faithfully delivered with exactness, as if God Himself were present speaking those words.

So this divers way God uses, the way of declaring unto prophets by His own mouth about the coming of Christ, for manifesting things which are good unto the children of men is critically important.  

Mormon, speaking of the ministration of angels declared,

     "And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.  And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof;..."(Moroni 7:31-32)

Those who have exercised sufficient faith in order to receive the word of Christ from the angels are sent to testify of Christ, what they have personally received, in order that the way may be prepared for the residue of men (ie. those who are not yet at this level of faith) to have faith in Christ so that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts as well as in the hearts of those who are sent.

Those who are sent are referred to as "chosen vessels".  What does that mean?

Is it an exclusive club?  Does it come with power over others and special perks or money?

    "Behold there are many called but, but few are chosen" (D&C 121:34)

"Many called" would seem to suggest that God would like a lot of true prophets testifying of Him (men, women and children); that it is not meant to be an exclusive club.  Why then are there only a few chosen vessels?  

     "...And why are they not chosen?  Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson-- That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.  That they may be conferred upon us it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unrighteousness,  behold the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man." (D&C 121:34-37)

It would appear that we are the ones who, by our own choices, make this an exclusive group or not.

To understand this a little better let's look at the definition of the powers of heaven so we can understand what it means when the heavens withdraw themselves.

Mormon stated that chosen vessels receive the word of Christ from angels.  

In Moses 7: 27 Enoch gives us another title for these angels.

     "And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion."

Enoch uses the term powers of heaven as a proper noun, a title for angels.  They are the "powers of heaven".  They are the ones who caught up individuals to Zion.

 Any right a person has to a connection with "priesthood" is determined by their association with the powers of heaven or the angels, and ultimately their personal association with God the Father.  

It is beginning to look like priesthood has much more to do with an association with the divine than with a position of power and respect.(a topic for another time)

How many prophets in the Book of Mormon began or stated in a sermon that what they were teaching had been delivered to them by an angel? 

When anyone chooses to cover their sins or to gratify their pride or vain ambition or if they seek to have authority over others in order to compel others to obey them (ie. appealing to authority, position or office to compel or coerce obedience to their words) then the Lord has declared that His Spirit is offended and the heavens, or angels, withdraw.

We, by our own choices, by our soft or hard hearts, determine if we are made chosen vessels and are given more of the word of Christ by the angels until we know His mysteries in full, like Adam and Eve, or if we desire the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men and receive less and less until we know nothing concerning God's mysteries.

Many are called.  God calls to all.  

Those who, with diligence and heed, respond and exercise faith in Christ are chosen.  

Then they are sent like Adam and Eve to be prophets, to preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

     "Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.  Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads." (D&C 88:81)

Here is an example of this with King Benjamin.

     "I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood, at this period of time when I am about to go down to my grave,..." 

Who did King Benjamin get his message from?  He was not on his own errand.

King Benjamin had been warned.  It became him to warn his people so that they were left without excuse with their sins upon their own heads.  

He was "sent" with a message delivered to him by an angel to do just that.

Those who are chosen are not jealous or envious of the situation they are in.  They want everyone to be in the same situation.

     "And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.  And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.  But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle:  and they prophesied in the camp.  And there ran a young man and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.  And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.  And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:24-29)

Jeremiah, one of the many prophets at Jerusalem, prophesied of a future time when Moses' desire will take place.

     "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord:..." (Jeremiah 31: 33-34)

Jeremiah prophesied that one day there will be an entire people, small though they may be, who will have finally learned that handling the powers of heaven, or having communion with the angels, is connected with their individual righteousness and desire to do no more than persuade others and have long suffering for others and use gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge with others.  They will choose to live this way to the point that they will all be prophets and they will all know Christ.  They will all be chosen vessels.

What can we assume their task will be?

If we are to understand that those who are made chosen vessels are to follow what the Lord declared in section 121 in order to maintain a connection to the powers of heaven, who declare to them the word of Christ, would we expect to find "chosen vessels" in any of the religious, economic, or political hierarchical power structures of the world?  (All of which ultimately appeal to position, office or authority to compel obedience)

Remember that once a person in any way seeks to cover sins or to gratify pride or to fulfill their vain ambitions or to exercise compulsion on (coerce) another person in any way they are cut off from heaven.  

That is a serious matter!!!

Christ declared:

     "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:5-6)

When someone is cut off they can do nothing.  They have no message sent from heaven.  They are withered.  

If they claim to speak in the name of God they are taking His name in vain having no authority.  He has not given them any message. They are on their own errand but they are falsely declaring that what they are doing is from God.

What they have to give will damn a person because it will not lead to faith in Christ.

Could we reasonably assume then that real prophets of God, those who qualify to receive the word of Christ from the powers of heaven and are then sent by God Himself to declare that word, will be found outside of any and all hierarchical or power structures?

Do the scriptures bear this out?  Were prophets outsiders?  

Let's consider just a few examples.

Was Abraham an outsider to all the religious, political, etc. structures of his day?  They tried to sacrifice him on an altar.
How about Elijah? The powers of his day wanted him dead.
How about Jeremiah and the many prophets at Jerusalem when Lehi was there? Jeremiah was dropped into a deep pit up to his knees in mud and many of the others were cast out and/or killed. 
What about Lehi?  He's not a priest or a Levite he's just an ordinary guy from Manasseh.  They wanted to kill him.
How about Abinadi?  He comes out of nowhere.  He was rejected and killed.
How about King Benjamin?  He was called king but worked with his own hands for a living.
He didn't exercise any authority over anyone.
What about Alma the Elder? He was cast out of King Noah's court before becoming a prophet.  They tried to kill him.
How about Alma the younger and Amulek?  Alma the younger rejected political authority to preach the word of God.  He and Amulek suffered in prison and under threat of death.
What about Samuel the Lamanite?  There is already a true prophet among the Nephites but Samuel comes out of nowhere and they try to kill him.

Here is a huge one!

How about the Lord Himself? 

Isaiah prophesied concerning the Lord, 

     "...when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isaiah 53: 2-3)

The Lord came and held no position of power and authority that would be considered beautiful and that would cause any to desire to accept His message for that reason. 

Almost all who held ecclesiastical and political power rejected the Lord's message. They ultimately crucified Him for it.

The scriptures make it clear that because of the way the chosen vessels, of necessity, must live their lives and the way they must deliver the messages given them by God, using nothing but persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge, that makes them easy to be rejected persecuted and many ultimately killed.

It would seem that God does not want anyone to follow a message He sends because the person declaring it has some kind of earthly authority or bona-fides.  He desires people to heed His messages because the messages contain truth and light on their own having only to be expressed.

In the end relatively few individuals accept the messages of true prophets.  That has always been the case from the beginning.

The Prophet Joseph taught,
     
     "The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves "in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth," and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.205)

We can learn from this account, written by Nephi, as we read further that Lehi was one of the always few individuals who found light and truth in the messages that God sent.  He decided to heed the words of the many prophets sent to Jerusalem and repent.

(SPOILER ALERT)
We will see shortly what that repentance led to. It follows the pattern of the divers ways God imparts His word unto the children of men from the beginning.

Lehi received the benefit of accepting what the Lord was offering.

     "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)

God, who is merciful, always offers a way out of destruction before it occurs.  He infinitely loves all His children on all levels of the belief and faith spectrum.  

God was about to allow Jerusalem to be destroyed and so He sent chosen vessels, His prophets of which Lehi eventually became one, to prophesy of the destruction, to cry repentance and to declare faith on Jesus Christ.

God followed this pattern all throughout the Book of Mormon; calling chosen vessels and giving them a message to deliver to prophesy to cry repentance and to declare faith on Jesus Christ before any destruction took place.

God, who is unchanging, follows the same pattern today.

The message God sent was always accepted by relatively few.  

Should we expect it to be any different today?  

If a message is received with wild acclaim, praise and adulation is that proof that it is of God?

Even with King Benjamin's words to his people, what was the initial response to what he declared?

All of these things are things that ought to be considered as we think of the many prophets who were at Jerusalem during the time of Lehi.






Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What's Up With Egypt?

1 Nephi 1: 2

"...Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians."

As a group we have been asking the question, "What about Egypt?"

It appears throughout the history of Israel that there is a tie to the land of Egypt again and again and again.  

Abraham journeyed there and sojourned there for a time. 

      "And I, Abraham, journeyed going on still towards the south; and there was a continuation of a famine in the land; and I, Abraham, concluded to go down into Egypt, to sojourn there, for the famine became very grievous." (Abraham 2: 21)

We know from both the Book of Abraham (Abraham 2: 22-25) and the Book of Genesis (Genesis 12) that Abraham and Sara encountered Pharaoh when they went into Egypt.

Facsimile number 3 in the Book of Abraham also indicates that Abraham had association with Pharoah there in Egypt under additional circumstances different from the meeting they had as recorded in Genesis.

The scriptures state that Abraham came up out of Egypt a very rich man. (Genesis 13: 1- 2)

We know that Joseph, Jacob's son, was sold into Egypt and eventually rose to prominence there having a close association with Pharoah. (Genesis chapters 37, 39-41)

As we go further it almost appears that Abraham's time in Egypt was kind of a type of Israel's time in Egypt.

Genesis chapters 42 - 47 detail how Jacob (Israel) and his family came to sojourn in Egypt because of a famine in the land just as Abraham had done.

Just as the facsimile 3 in the Book of Abraham seems to indicate a close association with Abraham and Pharaoh, in the beginning the family of Israel, because of Joseph, had a close association with Pharaoh as well.

The nation of Israel, when they came out of Egypt came out with great wealth, just like Abraham.

      "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:  And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required.  And they spoiled the Egyptians." (Exodus 12: 35 - 36)

As a group, we considered the above historical events. We also thought about how Nephi purposely inscribed in the plates that they were written in the Egyptian language. (We know that it is reformed Egyptian (Mormon 9:32) so a little variation but Egyptian nonetheless.)

We also considered that the Savior, as a child, was taken into Egypt.

     "...the angel of the Lord appeareth unto Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child, and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matthew 2:13 - 15)

Is it possible that Abraham's and Israel's sojourns in Egypt were meant to be types of the Savior's sojourn there?

In each case Egypt became a place of refuge from something that would have been fatal to Abraham, Israel and his house, and the Savior.

We wondered if there was something to be had in Egypt besides physical refuge.

We considered the passage in the Book of Abraham as something to consider concerning Egypt possibly having something of importance.

     "Now the king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.  From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.  The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;...Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.  Pharoah, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, (that's interesting) but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. (He could not have dominion)" (Abraham 1: 21-26)

Abraham went on to describe how by the time he was born Egypt had apostatised from the original order established by the first Pharaoh but nevertheless there was definitely something there at the beginnings of Egypt.

After our discussion as a group, the following week I was talking with my good friend and coworker about the preceding ideas and he put forth an idea that maybe because of the original order established in Egypt they became a great record keeping people.

We know that the Book of Abraham came from translated Egyptian scrolls that came into the possession of the Prophet Joseph.

It has been stated in the book "Eighteen Verses" by Denver Snuffer (a book about 18 verses in the Book of Mormon) that " Because Joseph translated a portion of one of these scrolls, and had three hieroglyphs associated with that translated text (resulting in the Book of Abraham and its facsimiles), Latter day Saints have been forever linked to Egyptian language and culture.  We cannot escape at least some passing familiarity with things Egyptian. (Eighteen Verses, page 50)

Our group also talked about the video "Faith of an Observer", about Hugh Nibley.  In part of the video Hugh Nibley is in Egypt and he is translating glyphs on walls in an ancient building and he shows how the glyphs speak of navigating the heavens. (Is this related to the scriptures that refer to walking in His ways? His ways are in the heavens.) 

Further on in "Eighteen Verses" we read,

      "Egypt was settled by a "righteous man" who tried "earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father."(Abr. 1:26)  Egypt preserved an "order" which ran back to Adam and Noah.  So, studying Egypt provides a link back to the very beginnings of humanity....Egypt's role as a preserver of religious traditions has been underestimated by the Judeo-Christian world at large.  For Latter Day Saints, however, Egyptian religion and history cannot be ignored.  Both the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham have made the Saints compulsory Egyptologists." (Eighteen Verses, page 51)

Since the time of our discussion about Egypt we have additionally learned some more about Egypt. 

This is from the most recent Remnant General Conference held in Layton Utah 


     "At the time of Abraham, Egypt was the greatest civilization on earth. Egypt was great
because it imitated the original religion of the first fathers....Egypt began by imitating the pattern Adam, Seth, Enos and their direct descendants through Noah used to organize the family of the faithful. Abraham calls it a “government” but it was a family. The title “Pharaoh” originally meant “great house” or “great family” because Pharaoh was the “father” over Egypt who taught and led them. Over time, however, the title “Pharaoh” came to mean “king” or “tyrant” who controlled people. The first Pharaoh, or founding father of Egypt imitated the first fathers of mankind. He could only imitate, because he did not have the right to act as the patriarchal head of mankind. He nevertheless tried to be a shepherd who led by righteous example. Abraham knew more about the first fathers than did the Egyptians because Abraham had the original book of remembrance written by the fathers in the language of Adam....Abraham lived during the 9th or 10th Dynasty, at a time called the “1st Intermediate Period.”  This was a period of significant change, or apostasy, for the Egyptian religion. But even before Abraham, the order established by the first fathers, despite efforts to keep the faith, had been poorly preserved. The Pyramid Texts are the oldest records, but they were carved during the 4th and 5th Dynasties. By the time these records had been carved, six or more centuries had passed between the original and this preservation. This would be like us composing the history from the time Robert the Bruce gained Scottish independence through the death of Joan of Arc for the first time today." (Keep the Covenant: Do the Work, Denver Snuffer, Sept. 2018)

Egypt was established seeking to imitate the order of the Fathers; the Family of God.  When Abraham entered Egypt he had with him "...the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, (dominion as first given to Adam) the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers,..." (Abraham 1:31)

Is it possible that the third facsimile of Abraham with Pharaoh, teaching the principles of astronomy, is representative of Abraham teaching the Egyptians not just about the stars but about much more? 

They had lost much of what the first Pharaoh, a righteous man, had established, seeking earnestly to imitate the first patriarchs.  However, from their culture and traditions would they have recognized and found familiar many things that Abraham might have taught to them from the records of the fathers?  

Was Abraham's time in Egypt possibly meant to be an invitation from God for the Egyptians to receive a restoration of what they had established among them at the first by the first Pharaoh?

God loves all of His children upon the earth equally.  Would it be unreasonable to consider that a servant such as Abraham, who possesses the records of the fathers, might be sent by God to invite His children living in Egypt to return to what they had originally?