Saturday, February 14, 2015

Responses and Answers to Jaredites Posts – Part III

Continuing with the comments that have been received regarding the most recent series we have posted on the Jaredites.
    Comment #1: “How did you come up with 1650 miles for the Jaredite trek from Mesopotamia to the great sea?”
Left: The Jaredite route to the great sea; Right: Lehi’s route to the same sea, which he called Irreantum
    Response: It seems only reasonable that when the Jaredites left their homeland in Mesopotamia and when Lehi left his homeland at Jerusalem (about 500 miles apart) they were both about the same distance from the same sea where both vessels—the Jaredite barges and Nephi’s ship—could be sent to the same location in the Western Hemisphere (Land of Promise) from existing winds and currents that blow in that direction all year round, the very action or means the scriptural record tells us conveyed both vessels. These two paths work out to be about 1650 miles for the Jaredites on the east side of the Arabian Peninsula, and about 1900 miles for the Lehi colony on the west side.
    Both routes would be over the same basic type terrain other than the Mesopotamia marshlands, which the Jaredites called “many waters” because this area included waters from swamps, rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes and wetlands—the only water in any direction from Mesopotamia that would have required crossing rather than going around.
The Mesopotamia Marshlands, which covered much more territory anciently after the Flood and before the waters drained to their present location. Top Left: The two main areas of the marshlands before the British began draining them in 1951 and Saddam Hussein furthered the effort in the 1990s; Top Right: Green area is the historical extent of the ancient Marshlands before the 20th century. Note the black area, which is the area noted in the image top left; Bottom: Current satellite image of the marshlands today. Note the colorization between the yellow areas that the marshes, which were once fully covered with water
    And just beyond is the “sea in the wilderness,” the Persian Sea (Gulf) along which their route extended for some four hundred miles before they would have turned more south and crossed the desert to the great sea (Sea of Arabia). No doubt the reason the Lord warned them not to “stop beyond the sea in the wilderness” (Ether 2:7), for after the long trek down the Mesopotamia Plain, the arduous effort in crossing the “many waters,” this sea would have seemed an ideal stopping place
The Marsh Arabs have crossed these wetlands for centuries in their flat-bottomed barges and dugout punts with their push poles. It is, and especially was in the past, impossible to cross on foot in any manner
    Comment #2: “What makes you think that the Jaredites were not working on the Tower with everyone else? Genesis says that the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech and that they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there, and goes on to say they built a city and a tower. Sounds to me like this meant everyone, including the Jaredites” Brinkley D.
    Response: The Lord told the brother of Jared “And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me. “ (Ether 1:43, emphasis mine). The brother of Jared had been praying to the Lord for a very long time—no doubt, all his life, having been the son of the patriarhical lineage. He would have known Noah and Shem, been taught by them, and was part of that righteous community where they lived.
    He, his brother, and those who became the Jaredites, were all obviously worthy of being made into a great nation at a time when Nimrod and those who followed him were against God, building an evil and dissenting name for themselves and showing their defying desire to believe in their own power rather than the power of God to save them. The Lord preserved the language of these 24 families and led them to a promised land.
Had they been involved in the unrighteous effort of building the Tower, they would not have qualified for such a blessing and high standing with the Lord. Despite the fact that the Christian world wants everyone to believe that salvation comes through no effort of their own, man’s actions and activitires, his thinking and performance in righteousness has a very high standing with the Lord. The brother of Jared was a remarkable individual of great faith in, and knowledge of, the Lord (Ether 3:19). The Lord himself singled him out as a man apart from others (Ether 3:15). He simply would not have been involved in the rebellious act of building the Tower that brought down the wrath of God upon those so involved (Genesis 11:5-9).
    Comment #3: “I disagree with your analysis of Ether 2:5, where it says ‘that they should go forth into the wilderness, into that quarter where there never had man been,’ I find this one overall statement. That is, the wilderness was the land where man had never been” Joeddy C.
    Response: The actual statement is: “And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel” (Ether 2:5). The word “yea,” as has been stated before here, is an adverb, and means “expresses affirmation or assent” and “sometimes introduces a subject” as well as meaning “indeed, verily, truly, it is so.”
   The Lord is telling the brother of Jared that he is going to lead them in the wilderness, then introduces the destination of that journey “a quarter where man never had been.” In effect, he says: “The Lord commanded them that they should (leave the Valley of Nimrod) and go into the wilderness,” he then added, “indeed, verily to a quarter (of land) where never has man been.” When you leave out the word “yea,” as you did, it is easy to combine both statements into one overall statement, but the word “Yea,” being an adverb, introduces a following phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. That is, “yea” modifies the following verb “into” (that quarter), and expresses a relation to a place (quarter) to tell us something about it (where man had never been).
Thus, the Lord tells the brother of Jared that:
1. They are to (leave the Valley of Nimrod) and go into the wilderness;
2. That he will lead them in the wilderness on their journey;
3. And take them to a quarter (region) of land where no one had ever been.
   The third part of that instruction eliminates the “wilderness” as the subject (location), since a wilderness, though unoccupied by residents (or undeveloped), does not mean a place where no one had ever been. So there are two ways to look at the third part of the above:
1) A quarter of land where man had never been since the Flood; or
2) A quarter of land where man had never been since, i.e., during antediluvian times (before the Flood or since).
    Of these two choices, the first seems more likely, though we do not know all the areas the antediluvians settled.

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