Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 2
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OLD TESTAMENT GOSPEL DOCTRINE SUPPLEMENTS by Avraham Gileadi
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Lesson 2 – An Order of Stars/Planets/Intelligences
Abraham 3 contains several parallel statements postulating that if “two facts” (or things) exist, one being above (or greater than) another, then this suggests that a third exists above them (3:6, 8, 16-19). With this comparative model the Lord describes stars or planets and intelligences alike (see, respectively, 3:2-18 and 3:18-23), thus implying that stars and planets are a type of intelligences. The indissoluble connection of stars and intelligences is confirmed in Abraham’s seeing the stars multiply before his eyes, until “I could not see the end thereof” (3:12), and God then telling him, “I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these” (3:14). That episode echoes the Genesis account, in which the Lord says, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Genesis 15:5; cf. 26:4).
A further intrinsic link between stars and intelligences appears in the Lord’s description of stars as “lights,” which are “set to give light” (3:10, 13), whereas we know from another source that intelligence is synonymous with the light of truth: “He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence” (D&C 93:28-30). In short, a person’s intelligence increases in proportion to his assimilating light and truth, which, in turn, depends on his choosing to keep the commandments of God.
A later revelation adds, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18-19). The word “knowledge,” in this scripture, is not to be confused with information, which anyone can accumulate but not act upon. Rather, it refers to the knowledge of God, without which we cannot relate to or comprehend him (cf. Ether 3:20; D&C 84:19; 121:26; Abraham 1:2). This growing in intelligence, too, resembles cosmic phenomena, as when heavenly bodies accumulate sufficient mass to become stars and planets. Stars form when larger agglomerations of matter are compressed by intense gravity and commence fusion, at which point they begin to shine. Planets form from leftover cosmic debris surrounding the stars.
Additional scriptures directly identify persons with stars, and vice versa, as in “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). These parallel phrases practically equate “morning stars” with the “sons of God,” although the term “sons,” by definition, identifies an exalted category among God’s children, not all of them (see Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven, Hebraeus Press, 2002, 169-219). Just as God numbers and “names” his sons, signifying their calling and election, so he does the stars: “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalms 147:4); “Lift your eyes heavenward and see: Who formed these? He who brings forth their hosts by number, calling each one by name. Because he is almighty and all powerful, not one is unaccounted for” (Isaiah 40:26, GT).
Ultimately, God’s children go one of two ways, as in “[The great dragon’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4), representing the spirits who rebelled with Lucifer, who did not keep their first estate but were cast down, as well as possible further latter-day phenomena. Others of God’s children keep both their first and second estates, as in “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3), representing the celestial exaltation of those who shone as exemplars to others during their tenure in mortality .
The Lord himself, too, is depicted as a star: “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17); “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2); “I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). Rhetorically, Job’s equating “morning stars” with the “sons of God,” as mentioned earlier, nuances Christ’s identity as a morning star, precluding any confusion, for example, with the planet Venus. Rather, the terms “bright and morning star” identify Christ as the brightest morning star, he being the firstborn Son of God and a God in his own right.
In fact, Christ’s identity with Kolob appears evident, which we also glean from Abraham 3. The order of the stars and planets God has made parallels the order of the intelligences that are organized. The chiastic form of the first part of the chapter highlights the cosmic order:
a. Abraham sees the stars as far as those nearest the throne of God (3:2)
b. Kolob governs all heavenly bodies of the same order as the earth (3:3)
c. Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time (3:4)
d. The planet of the lesser light is slower than the earth (3:5)
e. Abraham sees how the greater and lesser lights relate to the earth (3:6)
d. The time of the lesser light is longer than the earth’s (3:5)
c. Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time (3:9)
b. Kolob governs all heavenly bodies of the same order as the earth (3:9)
a. Abraham sees the stars as far as those near the throne of God (3:10)
From this first part of the chapter, we identify 1. Kolob as the “greatest of all” the stars, being nearest the throne of God (cf. 3:16) and governing “all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (3:3, 9); 2. other “very great” governing stars near the throne of God (3:3); and 3. our immediate universe, consisting of the earth, sun, and moon (3:6). This order parallels, in the same chapter, the order of “the intelligences that were organized before the world was” (3:22), namely, 1. one “like unto God” (3:24); 2. certain “noble and great…souls” foreordained to be rulers (3:22-23); and 3. other “spirits” whom God will “prove…to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (3:23-24). Just as those who keep their first estate are “added upon” (3:26), so those who keep their second estate are “added upon” (ibid.), presumably the “glory” they inherit being proportional to their increase in intelligence in mortal
From these scriptures, we observe that the scriptural definition of “intelligence” is not identical with the idea of possessing smarts or being savvy in a worldly sense but rather in a spiritual sense. In effect, true intelligence consists of doing “all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them,” through which persons increase in light and truth or the knowledge of God. In Isaiah’s paradigm of ascending spiritual levels, moreover, obedience to the law or terms of God’s covenant and compliance with God’s will form a grand key to successive rebirths or re-creations of the person who ascends. Thus, ultimately, all of God’s children are given the opportunity to attain celestial exaltation, as have others before them. In that respect, the cosmos surrounding us has much to teach us, as we note from the following:
“Isaiah’s use of celestial imagery as a type of persons who ascend leads to interesting parallels with a ladder to heaven. When we think of smaller heavenly bodies that orbit larger ones in terms of the smaller keeping the ‘law’ of the larger, then the cosmos alludes to a series of ascending levels. Moons orbiting planets, planets orbiting stars, and stars orbiting centers of galaxies parallel persons observing ever higher laws as they ascend. The movement in unison of larger heavenly bodies and the lower nature of ‘rogue’ entities, such as comets, asteroids, meteors, and dust, parallel the oneness of higher spiritual levels and the chaotic character of lower ones.” (Isaiah Decoded, 281-82.)
STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF MORMON by Avraham Gileadi
This book provides wonderful insights for your study the Book of Mormon. Brother Gileadi’s background as a rabbinical student in Israel brings fascinating understanding to the language and teachings found the Book of Mormon. http://www.latterdaylightbooks.com/catalog.php?Iit=77&Ict=23
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