Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Comments From Readers – Part V

Here are more comments from the readers of our blog:    Comments: #1: “I was reading Peter Covino’s website “True Book of Mormon Geography” and saw where he claims that the word “sea” in the Bible always means an inland, fresh water lake” Carlan M.
 Left: Sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake; Right: The Dead Sea is a salt lake

    Response: The Biblical use of the word "sea" in reference to an inland fresh water lake is indeed "sea": In the Old Testament, Even unto the edge of the “sea” of Chinnereth (Galilee) on the other side Jordan eastward. (Joshua 13:27); New Testasment - "Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias." (John 6:1; see Mark 1:16; Mark 7:31; Matthew 4:15,18; Matthew 15:29). Anciently the Mediterranean Sea was called Mare Internum and Mare Ionium (Ionian Sea)—The Internal Sea, and later the Sea of the Philistines (Exocus 23:31), the Utmost Sea (Duet 11:24, 34:2; Joel 2:20), though more commonly it was called the Great Sea (Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24; Numbers 34:6-7, Joshua 15:47)—and was always open to the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the Red Sea (Exodus 15:4; Numbers 33:10) was also always open to the Arabian Sea. Thus, it cannot be claimed, as Covino does, that the word “sea” has reference to an inland fresh water lake.
     In fact, the word for sea in Hebrew is “yam,” which is used throughout the old and new testament as in Genesis, it is used in “the gathering of the waters,: “the Ocean” (Genesis 1:2, 10; 30:13). It should also be noted that the Sea of Galilee was anciently called the Lake of Gennesareth, and lake Cimmereth (Numbers 34:11), and that the Dead Sea was called Lake Asphaltires by the time of Josephus.
    Today, as anciently, many areas of the world have both inland and open seas. In fact, seven of these seas are landlocked, though one (Caspian Sea) was anciently called a lake, and one other, the Sea of Marmara, considered landlocked, but has an opening to the Mediterranean. On the other hand, there are 52 seas that are open to and part of the oceans. 52 to 8—a staggering difference!
    Obviously, the term “sea” today and historically is far more commonly used to denote a portion of the oceans, rather than a fresh water or landlocked basin.
    Thus, Covino’s stand that “sea” in the scriptural sense always means a landlocked, fresh water lake, is without merit!
    The point is, no matter how hard Covino tries to cloud the issue in order to support his North American model for the Land of Promise, the word “sea” as used in the biblical sense does not mean only what he claims. Nor does it mean that in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, nor does it mean that in any current dictionary. Covino, like in so many of his writings, has not a leg to stand on in trying to make his point.
    Comment #2: “Where do you think Moroni hid the plates he wrote upon if not in the hill Cumorah?” Max T.
Response: After completing all his writings, Moroni hid the record upon which he wrote (Mormon 8:14), though he does not say where he hid them, though he seems to have known that someone, in some future time, would find the record in the earth (buried?) and translate it (Mormon 8:15-16) by the means the Lord provided (Mormon 8:34), and that he, Moroni, would yet speak to this future people “as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall hear my words” (Mormon 8:30).
    The plates upon which Moroni was writing were a few of those his father, Mormon, gave to him (Mormon 6:6; Moroni 9:24), after hiding up all the other records in the Hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6). This Hill Cumorah, in the Land Northward, far north of the Hill Shim where Ammaron hid them and from which Mormon retrieved them (Mormon 4:23), may or may not be the place where Moroni later hid the records upon which he wrote—we only know that Mormon hid them there, on a Hill the Jaredites called Ramah, and the Nephites called Cumorah (Ether 15:11).
    We also know that Moroni knew where Mormon had hid the sacred records (Ether 15:11). We also know that the last great battle between the Lamanites and the Nephites took place around 384-385 A.D. (Mormon 6:5). We also might assume that Mormon was killed in this last battle (Mormon 8:5), or died of his wounds shortly afterward, and that Moroni spent some 15 years after this battle and his father’s death being alone (Mormon 8:5), and in some type of hiding for he does not start to write Mormon 8 and 9 (concluding his father’s record) until about 401 A.D. (Mormon 8:6). For about the next 20 years, Moroni spends hiding from the Lamanites and writing, including the translation and abridgement of the Book of Ether.
    Around 421 A.D. or shortly after, Moroni concludes his writing with an epistle “unto my brethren, the Lamanites,” stating that “more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ” (Moroni 10:1). At the beginning of his last writings, somewhere between 400 and 421 A.D., Moroni is still hiding from the Lamanites, knowing that if they find him, they would destroy him for “they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ” (Moroni 1:1-2). During this time Moroni has been wandering, evidently hiding and keeping out of sight of the Lamanites (Moroni 1:3).
How far Moroni wandered is not known. However, it might be assumed that his wandering, or moving about, was not just in the Land of Cumorah, but likely to be far from there since even at this time the Lamanite wars were “exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroni 1:2) “and the whole face of the land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8) with only “Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land” (Mormon 8:9).
    During this wandering it is likely that Moroni was visited by, or had as companions for a time, the three witnesses, “the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord did not suffer them to remain with the people” (Mormon 8:10), for Moroni saw them and was ministered to by them (Mormon 8:11).
    The fact is, we do not know where Moroni buried or hid the records upon which he wrote. We do not know if he moved them at a later date. We do not know if his writings were hid in the same area as the other sacred records his father hid. We simply do not know. Because he was hiding and wandering, trying to keep one step ahead of the Lamanites, it is very unlikely that at the close of his life, he was still at the Hill Cumorah.
    It can certainly be assumed that he did not stay there after the last battle that took the lives of 230,000 warriors, and their wives and children. And since it is very unlikely that the Lamanites buried these dead, the stench from the dead, decaying bodies would have been completelu overpowering in the area and for some distance around. Such awful smell is recorded twice, once when the Jaredites were leaving the dead unburied upon the land, and the other when the Nephit city of Ammonihah was destroyed. In both cases the stench was so great that it bothered the people for some distance away. Thus is is not likely that Moroni stayed in the general area of Cumorah for the 36 remaining years of his life after Cumorah.
More likely, he was elsewhere and had been assured that wherever he hid his writings, they would at some future time be together with the other sacred records in an area where Joseph Smith could find them. After all, at the conclusion of Ether’s life, he “hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find his plates” (Ether 15:33).
    After all, the Lord knows all things from the beginning. The movement of some records from one place to another is certainly not beyond his ability. The one who has created worlds without number would not be troubled moving records a few hundred or thousands of miles to accomplish his future purposes.
    As for where he actually placed them, it would not surprise me if they had been kept in some special depository, such as the room where all the plates were seen by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery when they returned the Gold Plates after translation. They certainly were not in a room beneath the hill Cumorah, but obviously in a special location of the Lord and kep safe from the spoils and people of the land for some 1600 years until it was time to expose them to Joseph Smith. After their return, they are back in the same environment as the “wagon load of records” that Joseph and Oliver saw.

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