Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, April 20, 2018

“Ye Shall Be a Peculiar Treasure unto Me”

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Imagine that you must make a journey into a wilderness where you have never been and that has never been mapped.  How would you prepare for the trip?  In additions to your food water and necessities would you look for a guide or someone to lead you?  

If you were looking for a guide what kind of person then would you choose, what qualifications would you want in someone who was leading you into an uncharted wilderness?  For me I would want a guide that knew his job well, that knew the area and that was trustworthy.  

As we have been discussing, Moses and the children of Israel took such an adventure as they fled Egypt from bondage and oppression.   This was an uncharted flight to and through a land they knew nothing of, so who do you suppose they chose for their guide?  They chose the Lord.  

Much like the Israelites during their travel through the wilderness, we also travel here on earth through our personal journeys.  Many of us have also, like the children of Israel, chosen God as our guide.  The experiences of the Israelites while journeying in the wilderness can teach us important lessons as we journey though mortality.  These are important lessons that will lead us in our quest to return home with honor.  

One of the most important lessons we learn from them is that we can trust God to guide and care for us as he did the Israelites.  In studying their history through this time, we can gain great confidence in our choice to choose God by learning what he expects of us and how to achieve those goals.  

Part 1.  The Lord provides water, manna and quail for the children of Israel.  Exodus 15

After the Israelites had passed through the Red Sea, the Lord instructed Moses to lead them to the promised land.  But first, as is common, the Lord had a test for them concerning their faith.  However the Israelites at this time possessed little faith.

Only three days after leaving the shores of the Red Sea, a truly, magnificent miracle, the people began murmuring about Moses, their prophet. Many of them lacking the needed faith, complaining to the Lord instead of turning to him.   Nevertheless, the Lord provided water for their thirst and manna and quail for their hunger. 

So How did Moses respond when the people murmured against him?   Exodus 15:25; 17:4.

 He did not react to the murmuring which I am sure was quite hurtful and surely he must have been not only disappointed but sorrowful.  Yet rather than lash back, or murmur himself, he turned to the Lord for help

24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

What can we learn from Moses’ response to help us today?   We should in our daily lives be careful of the word murmur.  It is a dangerous thing.  The dictionary describes the word murmur as:  A mumbled or private expression of discontent.  To complain in a low tone or in private.

Knowing that definition, really intensifies my sadness when I read stories of murmuring against the Lord's prophets, or even against the Lord; and it hurts my heart to hear it in our day, in our wards, in our homes; against those chosen by the Lord to serve.   

A little complaining may not seem like much, however, if it is left unchecked it can begin to erode our faith.  Murmuring too is often shared with others and can also erode their faith.   We must check ourselves and strive to keep a positive attitude.

President David O. McKay: "Let us watch ourselves and be true to the examples set by the Church and the brethren and sisters who have sacrificed their lives, their all, to build the Church and to advance the principles taught therein. This warning is sometimes expressed in this way: 'Speak not against the authorities.' What does it mean. Be not a murmurer; that is what it means. It is one of the most poisonous things that can be introduced into the home of a Latter-day Saint--this murmuring against presidents of stakes, high councilors, Sunday school superintendents, presidents of high-priests' quorums, seventies, elders, priests, teachers and deacons.... and yet because of his weakness, because, perhaps, of some little fault that we see in an officer, we begin to murmur and find fault. Better stop murmuring, and build up. Remember that one of the worst means of tearing down an individual is slander. It is one of the most poisonous weapons that the evil one uses. Backbiting and evil speaking, throw us into the class of malefactors rather than the class of benefactors." (Conference Report Apr 1909, p67)

President Wilford Woodruff:  "I want the Latter-day Saints to stop murmuring and complaining at the providence of God. Trust in God. Do your duty. Remember your prayers. Get faith in the Lord, and take hold and build up Zion. All will be right." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p252)
How did the Lord respond to Moses’ prayers for help?  Exodus 15:25–26; 17:5–7

How did the Lord respond to Moses’ prayers for help?   Exodus 15:25–26; 17:5–7

25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

The Lord provided physical and spiritual water for the children of Israel. The physical water came from the rock that Moses smote; the “spiritual drink” came from the “spiritual Rock,” which is Christ 1 Corinthians 10:4

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

What is the spiritual water that flows from Christ?  1 Nephi 11:25.

25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

How can we drink that water and what is promised to those who do? John 4:14  D&C 63:23

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

23 But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.

What problem did the Israelites face in Exodus 16:2–3

2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

How did the Lord respond? Exodus 16:4, 11–15

4 ¶ Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

11 ¶ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.
13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

In addition to satisfying the people’s hunger, what were some other purposes of sending manna? 

It would show the Lord whether his people would obey him (Exodus 16:4, 16–31)

It would give the people daily reminders of the Lord’s power and love (Exodus 16:12)

It would teach the people that they do not live “by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

It would humble the people and help them receive salvation (Deuteronomy 8:16)

How does the Lord accomplish each of these purposes in our lives? 

How is manna a representation of Christ? John 6:35

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
How does Christ’s living bread differ from manna?   John 6:48–51
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

How can we daily partake of Christ’s living bread? By staying connected with him in living the commandments, prayer, scripture study, serving...

The Israelites needed to gather manna every day to maintain physical strength. How can this be likened to what we must do to maintain spiritual strength?  Israel was to gather enough manna for each day and a double amount for the Sabbath.  If they gathered more than they required for a day, it bred worms and stank, if they went out on the sabbath they found none and were chided.  Just as we need daily nourishment to maintain physical strength, we also need daily nourishment to maintain spiritual strength. We cannot expect to be nourished spiritually if we study the scriptures and pray only occasionally. 

What usually happened when the Israelites kept the manna overnight?  Exodus 16:19–20

19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
What happened when they kept manna overnight in preparation for the Sabbath? Exodus 16:22–25
22 ¶ And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

How can we apply this principle to our weekly preparation for the Sabbath? Preparing for the Sabbath is not just a Saturday night thing, and its certainly should not be about reading the lesson you are about for your calling during sacrament meeting.  We should all week prepare and regard the things we need to do to be prepared for the Lord's day, including preparing ourselves for partaking of the sacrament.   

What would have happened to the Israelites if they had tried to journey through the wilderness without the Lord’s help? They would have remained lost and died without food, water, and the things they needed both physically and spiritually.  

What will happen to us if we try to journey through mortality without the Lord’s help?

Part 2.  Battle With The Amalekites - Sustaining The Prophet

In Exodus 17:8–13; 18:13–26. The Amalekites warred with the children of Israel for many years, beginning in the time of Moses who sent Joshua out to lead the fight against Amalek when they come to fight with Israel.   Moses went upon a hill to observe the battle and Israel prevailed while Moses held up his hands, but Amalek prevails when he tired and lowered his hands. Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ hands, so Israel wins the battle (17:8–13).

In Exodus 18 Moses follows the counsel of Jethro his father in law, to appoint judges and delegate authority to them (18:13–26)

How were the Israelites able to defeat Amalek’s people in the battle described in Exodus 17:8–13  When Aaron and Hur sustained Moses by holding up his arms, Israel prevailed in battle.

What kinds of spiritual battles do we fight today?  We are engaged in a war with Satan that began in the pre-existence and is heighten daily.   If we sustain the prophet and follow his instructions, we will be victorious in this battle over our eternal destiny.

How does sustaining the prophet help us prevail in these battles? 
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “I am reminded how Moses up on the hill raised his arms for the victory of the armies of Israel. As long as his arms were raised, Israel prevailed, but when they dropped from weariness, then the enemy prevailed. And so Aaron and Hur ‘stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side,’ and Israel was victorious (Exodus 17:12). So will we be victorious as we hold up the arms of the Lord’s anointed servants” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 98; or Ensign, May 1986, 77)

While a counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Harold B. Lee made the following statement:  "I think that is the role President Tanner and I have to fulfill. The hands of President Smith may grow weary. They may tend to droop at times because of his heavy responsibilities, but as we uphold his hands, and as we lead under his direction, by his side, the gates of hell will not prevail against you and against Israel. Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over his church, and he will make no mistake.... Let's keep our eye on the President of the Church and uphold his hands as President Tanner and I will continue to do." (Conference Report Oct 1970)

President Ezra Taft Benson:  "So will we be victorious as we hold up the arms of the Lord's anointed servants." (Ensign, May 1986, p77)

Elder Abraham O. Woodruff (an apostle at the beginning of the 20th Century): "I admonish the Latter-day Saints in all lands to seek the counsel of the Prophet of God. Do not be disobedient; do not be rebellious. The spirit of rebellion caused, we understand, one-third of the hosts of heaven to be cast out. The spirit of disobedience and rebellion has caused many a man and woman to be cast out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The graver sins do not come into our lives all at once. Very often men can trace transgression to the fact that they rebelled against the Priesthood of the Son of God, and that they did not take the counsel which the Lord had given them through His mouthpiece; and they did not end with the spirit of rebellion and obedience, but they committed other great sins, and finally lost their standing in the Church of Christ. This rule will apply to us today, and I pray God that this people may ever be willing to receive the counsels which the Lord has to give through His prophet." (Conference Report, Apr 1899)

Following this great war, Moses was daily bombarded, so to speak, with the people.  They wanted to speak with God and he was the only one who could advocate for them.  He was leading the children of Israel alone, there were no counselors, there was not help, only Moses himself.  Jethro, his father in law, at this time came to see him bringing his wife and two boys.  Jethro upon seeing the state of Moses and the work load he was carrying became much worried.   

What concerned Jethro when he saw the people coming to Moses all day and evening? Exodus 18:13–18

13 ¶ And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God:
16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
17 And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.

What did Jethro counsel Moses to do?  Exodus 18:19–23

19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
What responsibilities of a prophet are mentioned in Exodus 18:16–20?
 Be a judge for the people (Exodus 18:16).
Represent the people before God (Exodus 18:19).
“Teach them ordinances and laws” (Exodus 18:20).
“[Show] them the way wherein they must walk” (Exodus 18:20).
“[Show] them … the work that they must do” (Exodus 18:20).

What responsibilities of a prophet are mentioned in Exodus 18:16–20?

  1. Be a judge for the people (Exodus 18:16).
  2. Represent the people before God (Exodus 18:19).
  3. “Teach them ordinances and laws” (Exodus 18:20).
  4. “[Show] them the way wherein they must walk” (Exodus 18:20).
  5. “[Show] them … the work that they must do” (Exodus 18:20).

How can we hold up the hands and ease the burdens of our prophet and apostles today? D&C 21:4–5; 107:22

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

How can we support and sustain our local Church leaders?  Speak well of them, serving diligently in our Church callings, and be good home teachers and visiting teachers or ministers as it will now be.  

How have you been blessed as you have supported Church leaders?  D&C 21:6

6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

Part 3. The Lord meets with Moses on Mount Sinai and gives Israel the Ten Commandments Exodus 19–20

Within three months of Israel’s entering the wilderness, the Lord wanted to establish his covenant with them (Exodus 19:5–6).The Lord instructed Moses to sanctify and prepare Israel, for on the third day he would appear to them.  As part of this covenant he revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses.  Then Moses went down to prepare the people but the people had not prepared sufficiently for this great manifestation, for when the day arrived the Lord said, "Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish." 

While the children of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai, what did the Lord promise if they would be obedient?  Exodus 19:3–6
He would make them “a peculiar treasure, … a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.

What do these promises mean and how do these promises apply to us today?  In this context, peculiar carries the meaning of “being the Lord’s own special people or treasure,” not the meaning of “odd or eccentric” (Bible Dictionary, “Peculiar,” 748). 

The original word in both Hebrew and Greek mean property, wealth, private property, which is laid up or reserved with the idea that it is select, precious, endeared. preserved.  (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies p 305) 
So these promises mean that Israel would become the Lord’s covenant people, favored above all others and chosen to bear the priesthood and the gospel to all people.   Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:1–2; 1 Peter 2:9 

What experience did the Lord want his people to have at Mount Sinai?  If they had accepted all of the privileges offered them and followed the instructions which would have qualified them to receive the fulfillment of all God's promises, they could have been accorded the grandest of all revelations.  He offered to come down in the sight of all the people and let them hear when he spoke to Moses that they might know for themselves about his will and his law and believe in Moses future revelations from God and revere the Lord evermore. Deuteronomy 4:10
At the sound of the trumpet the people trembled in anticipation and awe but apparently they were not fully ready to come up in the sight of the Lord to on the mount where moses was for the Lord told him to go down and warn them not to come up.  However even though there hearts were not fully prepared to endure his presence, they did hear is voice and the words of God

What did the Lord require his people to do before they could meet with him?  Exodus 19:10, 14
10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

Mount Sinai was a holy place where the Lord wanted to speak to his people and show himself to them. What holy places has he provided where we can receive these same blessings? D&C 97:15–16; 109:12–13

How has the temple has helped them hear the Lord’s voice and feel his presence?

Part 4.  The Ten Commandments Exodus 20

Perhaps the greatest indication of the importance of the Ten Commandments is that they are found in three of the four standard works of the Church. In addition to the first time they were given  Moses repeated them when he summarized the experiences of Israel in the wilderness  Deuteronomy 5:6–2.  The prophet Abinadi quoted them to the wicked priests of King Noah  Mosiah 13:12–24, so they are also found in the Book of Mormon. And, although not given in the exact form that they appear in these scriptures, the same principles are also found in the New Testament Matthew 5:17–37 and in the Doctrine and Covenants  D&C 42:18–29; 59:5–9.
When the Lord emphasizes something with that much repetition, it must be important. Elder Mark E. Petersen said:  “By his own finger the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. They represent the basic law of the Almighty and have formed the underlying elements of civil and religious law ever since.  “They are fundamental to our relationships with God. They are an integral part of the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and are essential to our becoming perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. (D&C 42; D&C 59.)  “Variations of these laws are given in the rules laid down in Leviticus and Deuteronomy as they are applied to specific matters, but generally they form the foundation for all proper human conduct.” (Moses, p. 110.) 
These commandments show us the three great priorities of life. The first four commandments show us our proper relationship to God. The fifth commandment establishes the importance of the family and proper family relationships. The last five commandments regulate our relationships with others. If we are committed to the perfecting of our relationships with God, family, and others, we are well on our way to being perfected in all things.
How is the commandment to worship the Lord and to have no other gods before him relevant today?  If God is not first then all other things are affected.  Nothing in life, not even life itself can come before God.  Christ said: "Be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart saith the Lord that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant even unto death, that you may be found worthy.  For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me. " D&C 98:14:15 
God will not favor us if we put him in second place in our lives and if we follow after worldly things regardless of what they may be.  
At first some may think this demand for exclusive worship and devotion by God for Himself sounds selfish.  But two things should be remembered.  First as the Lord creator of all the universe and as one who has all power knowledge and glory God does not need man's adoration and worship to add to His state of being.  So, His jealousy is not protective concern for His own status.  
The second thing to remember is that the Lord taught Moses that God's work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  Anytime His children set anything before God in importance, they begin to thwart his work for them.  He is the only source of power and knowledge sufficient to save; to set anything above him lessens their ability to draw on the power and knowledge for their salvation.  That is why he says to his children. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.  
One Bible Scholar put it this way, this commandment prohibits every species of mental idolatry and all inordinate attachment to earthly and sensible things.  The very first commandment is to prevent man's misery and promote his happiness by taking him off from all false dependence and leading him to God himself.  (Old Testament Student Manual) 

What false gods do some people worship today?  1 Samuel 15:23; Ephesians 5:5; D&C 1:15–16

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Idolatry is among the most serious of sins. … Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes, businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material deflectors from the path to godhood. …intangible things make just as ready gods. Degrees and letters and titles can become idols. …“Many people build and furnish a home and buy the automobile first—and then they ‘cannot afford’ to pay tithing. Whom do they worship? Certainly not the Lord of heaven and earth. …“Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend picnics and outings. Others have as their idols the games of sport, baseball, football, the bullfight, or golf. …“Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige. … These gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness(The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 40–42)
What are some ways that people take God’s name in vain? Why is it important that we not do this? His children must have a deep and reverential attitude about God and His name.  this precept not only forbids all false oaths but all common swearing where the name of God is used or where he is appealed to as a witness of the truth.  It also necessarily forbids all light and irreverent mention of God or any of his attributes (Old Testament Student Manual) 
In an age when profanity dominates so much of the world’s conversation, it is well to remember the Lord’s warning that He will not hold such people guiltless. Elder LeGrand Richards said this of profanity:  It is difficult to understand how a person may truly and sincerely approach God in prayer, seeking a blessing at his hand, at the same time be so disrespectful as to take his name in vain.  “Profanity is incompatible with reverence. Surely at this critical time in our nation’s history, when we need the sustaining help of God, we should see that we do not offend him by reason of our language. We appeal to our young people everywhere to hold in reverence the sacred name of Deity, that they may walk acceptably before the Lord, so that, should there come a time in their lives when they need his sustaining help, they may go to him with good conscience and call upon him with faith that he will hear their plea.” (In “The Third Commandment,” The Ten Commandments Today, pp. 52–53.)
Why is it important for us to keep the Sabbath day holy?   The Sabbath was given as a token or sign of the rest of the Gods after the work of the Creation. The Hebrew word Shabbat means “rest,” or “the cessation of labor.” The Sabbath is directly tied to the Creation not only in the actual commandment but in such scriptures as Genesis 2:1–2 and Exodus 31:17.  Under the Mosaic dispensation, the violation of the Sabbath was a capital crime (see Exodus 31:14–15). A noted Bible scholar made an important point about why this punishment was the case:  “The death penalties attached to the violation of the sabbath in the Old Testament era convey two very obvious assumptions. First, the sabbath law involves a principle so important and basic that violation thereof is a capital offense. Second, the law conveys also the fact that violation of the sabbath laws involves a kind of death in and of itself, i.e., that violation brings on death. The prophets clearly made this assumption. Obedience, by implication, means life.” (Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 137.)
How should we decide what activities are appropriate for the Sabbath?  The promises of Doctrine and Covenants 59:16–24 are based on the condition in verse 16. Elder Spencer W. Kimball talked in some detail about the challenges of keeping the Sabbath day holy:  “The fourth commandment is a dual law, both positive and negative. On the negative side: ‘… in it (the Sabbath) thou shalt not do any work.’ On the positive side: ‘Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. …“Every week we find people defiantly carrying on their work and play activities on the Lord’s day. Shops and stores carry large signs: ‘Open Sunday.’ Factories and businesses run with ‘full steam ahead.’ Houses are displayed and sold. Beaches, parks, and other places of amusement enjoy their best business. Long waiting lines of people stand before ticket offices of theatres. The ball games and rodeos attract their thousands and families have their reunions in parks and canyons. Students study their secular lessons. Stockmen round up their cattle. People travel when unnecessary. Farmers plow and harvest and cultivate their crops. Some businessmen close their offices but spend their Sabbaths in streams, fishing, and in mountains, hunting, and in canyons, loafing. Women do their cleaning and other housework. Others explore and hike. The people, as a whole, seem to be on wheels—the highways are crowded. Half-clad men are clipping hedges, cutting lawns. Lunch stands and drive-ins work almost in a frenzy. Women in housecoats and unshaved men spend hours lazing about their homes. The socially elite hold receptions and teas, and week after week the Sabbath is desecrated and the law of God defied.  “It is conceded that many good folk are compelled to labor on Sunday. Their alternatives are to work or lose their employment. But frequently those whose shift work occupies part of the day excuse themselves from Sabbath activities using their work as an alibi. Shift workers seldom work more hours a day than other folk, and if they are determined such people can usually find ample time to render service and to hallow the Sabbath in the hours that remain.  “When employment is at a low ebb and difficult to obtain, some people find they must labor on the holy day as an ‘ox in the mire.’ But when employment is abundant, men can often find work which requires no Sabbath service. This change of employment might entail some financial sacrifice, but the Lord has promised he will bless those who live his laws.” (In “The Fourth Commandment,” Part 1, The Ten Commandments Today, pp. 55, 57–58.)  Then, speaking of the positive aspects of the commandment, Elder Kimball said:  “In Hebrew the term Sabbath means ‘rest.’ It contemplates quiet tranquility, peace of mind and spirit. It is a day to get rid of selfish interests and absorbing activities.“The Sabbath day is given throughout the generations of man for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between the Lord and his children forever. It is a day in which to worship and to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Lord. It is a day on which to surrender every worldly interest and to praise the Lord humbly, for humility is the beginning of exaltation. It is a day not for affliction and burden but for rest and righteous enjoyment. It is a day not for lavish banqueting, but a day of simple meals and spiritual feasting; not a day of abstinence from food, except fast day, but a day when maid and mistress might be relieved from the preparation. It is a day graciously given us by our Heavenly Father. It is a day when animals may be turned out to graze and rest; when the plow may be stored in the barn and other machinery cooled down; a day when employer and employee, master and servant may be free from plowing, digging, toiling. It is a day when the office may be locked and business postponed, and troubles forgotten; a day when man may be temporarily released from that first injunction, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground. … ’ It is a day when bodies may rest, minds relax, and spirits grow. It is a day when songs may be sung, prayers offered, sermons preached, and testimonies borne, and when man may climb high, almost annihilating time, space, and distance between himself and his Creator.  “The Sabbath is a day on which to take inventory—to analyze our weaknesses, to confess our sins to our associates and our Lord. It is a day on which to fast in ‘sackcloth and ashes.’ It is a day on which to read good books, a day to contemplate and ponder, a day to study lessons for priesthood and auxiliary organizations, a day to study the scriptures and to prepare sermons, a day to nap and rest and relax, a day to visit the sick, a day to preach the gospel, a day to proselyte, a day to visit quietly with the family and get acquainted with our children, a day for proper courting, a day to do good, a day to drink at the fountain of knowledge and of instruction, a day to seek forgiveness of our sins, a day for the enrichment of our spirit and our soul, a day to restore us to our spiritual stature, a day to partake of the emblems of his sacrifice and atonement, a day to contemplate the glories of the gospel and of the eternal realms, a day to climb high on the upward path toward our Heavenly Father.” (In “The Fourth Commandment,” Part 2, The Ten Commandments Today, pp. 66–68.)  (Quoted in Old Testament Student Manual)
How have you been blessed as you have kept this day holy?  Record your thoughts in your journal! 
Review the six commandments that concern our relationships with other people Exodus 20:12–17
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
How does obeying these commandments improve our relationships with others?
Part 5.  The Lord introduces the law of Moses Exodus 32–34.
When the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai, he revealed a law that included the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood (D&C 84:19–23). However, the Israelites’ idolatrous behavior showed that they were not ready to live the fulness of the gospel (Exodus 32:1–9; D&C 84:24). Because they forgot the Lord so quickly, he withdrew the Melchizedek Priesthood from them and revealed a lesser law—the law of Moses (Joseph Smith Translation, Exodus 34:1–2; D&C 84:25–27).
The law of Moses did not replace the commandments, covenants, or principles of the gospel. Rather, it provided “a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him” (Mosiah 13:30). The law of Moses taught people to confess their sins and make amends, to follow strict rules in offering animal sacrifices, to keep their bodies healthy, to give to support the Lord’s work, to give thanks, and to be reconciled to God.
Why did the Lord give the children of Israel the law of Moses?  Galatians 3:23–24; Mosiah 13:29; Alma 25:15–16; D&C 84:19–27
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
29 And now I say unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very strict law; for they were a stiffnecked people, quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
How would this law help make Israel holy and bring them to Christ? Mosiah 13:30; Alma 34:14–15 
30 Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.
14 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.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
When was the law of Moses fulfilled? 3 Nephi 15:4–10
4 Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses.
5 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.
6 Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled.
7 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come.
8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me.
9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.
10 Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me.
Now that the Lord no longer requires animal sacrifices, which were an important part of the law of Moses, what sacrifice does he ask us to make? 3 Nephi 9:19–22.
19 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
21 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.
What does it mean to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit?  Elder M. Russell Ballard taught:  “Although the law of Moses was fulfilled, the principles of the law of sacrifice continue to be a part of the doctrine of the Church.“While the primary purpose of the law of sacrifice continued to be that of testing and assisting us to come unto Christ, two adjustments were made after Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. First, the ordinance of the sacrament replaced the ordinance of [animal] sacrifice; and second, this change moved the focus of the sacrifice from a person’s animal to the person himself. In a sense, the sacrifice changed from the offering to the offerer. …“… After his mortal ministry, Christ elevated the law of sacrifice to a new level. … Instead of the Lord requiring a person’s animal or grain, now the Lord wants us to give up all that is ungodly. This is a higher practice of the law of sacrifice; it reaches into the inner soul of a person” (The Law of Sacrifice [address delivered at the Church Educational System Symposium, 13 Aug. 1996], 5)
  1. Old habits and patterns of belief or behavior are hard to break. Even though the Israelites had left Egypt physically, they were still not spiritually free from its influences. After the Israelites had heard the voice of God proclaim the Ten Commandments from Sinai, they quickly broke the first two.  It is important to withstand negative peer pressure. Aaron gave in to the Israelites’ unrighteous desires. At times, leaders and parents must say “no,” even at the risk of offending or alienating those whom they are responsible for.
If we will partake of the Lord’s spiritual water and bread, sustain his chosen leaders, and obey his commandments, he will invite us to his holy mountain—the temple. There we can meet with him, receive his laws, behold his glory, and go forth inspired to be more like him.

The Ten Commandments Then and Now

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  1. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  1. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  1. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  1. Honor thy Father and Mother.
  1. Thou shalt not kill.
  1. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  1. Thou shalt not steal.
  1. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  1. Thou shalt not covet.

Old Testament Student Manual
Conference Reports
Miracle of Forgiveness
The Law of Sacrifice [address delivered at the Church Educational System Symposium, 13 Aug. 1996], 5
Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 137
Joseph Smith Translation Bible
In “The Third Commandment,” The Ten Commandments Today, pp. 52–53.
Bible Dictionary

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The Fall of Adam and Eve

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