Thursday, October 25, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XX

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first sixty-nine comments were answered in the previous 19 posts, the seventieth and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #70 “You seem to know a lot, perhaps you can tell me why so many things in the Book of Mormon are written in the “past tense” when they are about “future happenings,” such as in 1 Nephi 14:23,27; 22:21; 25:18, etc.? The writing was supposedly written around 600 B.C. to about 545 B.C.” Lindsey
Response: When reading the Book of Mormon, it is helpful to understand who is speaking, who is writing, and who is telling the events. As an example, in 1 Nephi 14:23, you have to go back to 1 Nephi 10:17 to know that, after Nephi had heard all that his father, Lehi, had said concerning the vision he had received, Nephi said: “I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.” From this point on, an Angel guided Nephi through the same information or vision his father had heard and seen. This vision concerned not only the past events, but those events that were to unfold in the future. Thus, to the Angel, since all things are “now” with the Lord, he spoke to Nephi in the past tense, knowing what was to take place and, to him, had already happened—and having seen these events in the vision, Nephi would have seen them as past events. Note that in 1 Nephi 14:5, the Angel says to Nephi, “Thou hast beheld [that is, he had seen in the vision] that if the Gentiles [those who would come after the Nephites in the Land of Promise] repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest [from the vision] concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard [he had been taught] that whoso repenteth not must perish.” We need to keep in mind that to God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, all things are known and understood, and when He sends angels to speak to man, or provides a vision, the events are said and shown as though already having happened. This is one of the problems most people have in reading Isaiah in the Bible. He continually wrote about the past, the present and the future, and sometimes within the same sentence or paragraph, thus making his writing hard to follow and understand. You might want to compare Ether 13:2-12, in which Moroni, injecting his own thoughts into the Jaredite translation, jumps from the past (Noah’s Flood) to the distant future (coming of the New Jerusalem on the American continent) to a shorter future (coming of Lehi to the Land of Promise) to the past (Joseph in Egypt) to a future event at the time of the Jaredites, but a past event to him (a remnant of Israel led out of Jerusalem) to the future again (building of a holy city to the Lord) and then jumps back and forth several times, sometime in the same verse. Scripture, wherever it appears, is never meant to be read like a novel—it must be studied, pondered, and understood.
Comment #71 “In your Helaman 3:18,21,23, between the 46th and 49th year of the reign of the judges, Helaman produced two infants. In verse 37, however, it is suggested that in the fifty and third year, Helaman died, and his eldest son Nephi began to reign in his stead. If these dates are correct, it would place Nephi in the judgment-seat anywhere between his fourth and seventh birthdays. What adult population would elect a child as chief judge. Sounds kind of fishy to me.” Guilford
Response: That would be fishy. However, you are reading into the writing something not implied. Keep in mind that this is Mormon’s abridgement of Helaman’s writing of which he said, overall, he could only include 1/100th of what he was abridging (Helaman 3:14). There are two entirely different ideas found in those passages you list. Helaman 3:1-20 covers a ten year span and numerous events and activities are very  briefly mentioned. In verse 21, a new thought is mentioned, that Helaman had two sons, Nephi and Lehi, and then Mormon returns to the years of peace, prosperity, and blessings in the land. Finally, he concludes by stating that Helaman died. We do not know when the two sons were born, or even if they were the only children he had, which is not likely. All we know is that Helaman had these two sons, their names, and that after Helaman’s death, the older one, Nephi, became the Chief Judge. Following this, Mormon begins to write about problems, contentions, dissensions, etc., and covers Nephi’s life, and a little of Lehi’s life.
Comment #72 “Why does Alma, after receiving all the records from Mosiah, say, “for the time cometh, we know not how soon” regarding the Lord’s coming when Nephi wrote that “the Savior of the World” would be born “even six hundred years form the time that my father left Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 10:4). After all, Alma had these records now in his possession.” Hamstead
Response: I suppose an easy answer would be that maybe Alma had not yet read Nephi’s record, but that is not the issue here. Alma is not talking about when the Lord would be born and, by the way, 600 years does not name a month, day and time of day. However, Alma is talking about the time the Lord would come the second time—at the conclusion of the world. Alma states: “this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory” (Alma 13:24). Being born in a stable with very few people knowing of it is not “in his glory.” When he comes “in his glory,” the entire world will know it and “every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.” Alma goes on to say, “And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of angels, of his coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon. Would to God that it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice” (Alma 13:25). From the very beginning of time, the world looked forward to the Second Coming, when the world would pass away, righteousness would conquer evil, Satan would be bound, and man would receive the Savior in all his glory. Alma added, “And it shall be made known unto just and holy men, by the mouth of angels, at the time of his coming, that the words of our fathers may be fulfilled, according to that which they have spoken concerning him, which was according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them” (Alma 13:26). Not knowing when that great (and dreadful) day would come, Alma states the obvious, as all prophets do, “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), and then goes on to preach a marvelous sermon.
Comment #73 “How do you justify where in Alma 52:12 Ammoron, brother of the deceased Amalickiah and a Nephite enemy, departs from the land of Zarahemla, when Ammoron could only have been in Mulek (Alma 52:2) as Zarahemla, at that time, was under Nephite control (Alma 51:11; 53:12).” Alexie
Response: The Land of Zarahemla was a large area, stretching from the west sea to the east sea, and from the narrow strip of wilderness in the south to the Land of Bountiful in the North. Amalickiah (along with his brother Ammoron) had gone down into the Land of Zarahemla and captured several Nephite cities. When Amalickiah is killed by Teancum, Ammoron rushes back to the Land of Nephi, tells the queen of her husband’s death, gathers a greater Lamanite army, and heads back to the land of Zarahemla to battle the Nephites on the borders by the west sea. If you actually follow the story line, you will not find a conflict.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XXI,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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