The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Home Book of Abraham Special Section Bible and the book of Abraham The Bible support the Book of Abraham!!

Bible and the book of Abraham The Bible support the Book of Abraham!!

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Many critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say that our belief in the Book of Abraham is not founded on scriptural evidence. As such, they contend that it is nothing more than a fictitious story that Joseph Smith made up from his own fertile imagination. Then there are other critics who claim that Joseph made up this whole story from what he read in the Bible. Even so, they still say there are doctrinal faults in it. To me, either Joseph Smith copied the Bible or he didn’t. Yet the critics want to have it both ways. But the real question that we should ask is, is their criticism valid? To answer this question, all we need to do is compare what the Biblical says to what is written in the Book of Abraham and see if we can find any interesting parallels between these two books.

After the destruction of the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of mankind, the Biblical account focuses almost exclusively on the posterity of Shem. It mentions many people, quoting names, age, and offspring fairly quickly until it comes to Abraham. Suddenly, the biblical account focuses on the details of his life and gives us a fuller explanation than it had on the other patriarchs of the Old Testament. In fact, the next 14 chapters are devoted to the life of this one patriarch. With so much material to study we can use it to verify some of the things found in the Book of Abraham, which was translated by Joseph Smith to see if it is accurate or if it is at odds with what the Bible tells us.

One of the criticisms made against Joseph Smith is that he introduced a new concept of God in the Book of Abraham. Instead of there being one God, as the Bible seems to say, we see the doctrine of a plurality of Gods in the Book of Abraham. To me, this is a very intriguing topic because only the Jews and the Moslems believe in just one God. The Protestants and Catholics believe in three different Gods: The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. On the one had they say that each of these three is a separate and distinct person, yet, on the other hand, they claim that each of them are all somehow one God. Whether they want to acknowledge it or not, what they teach is that three different people make up what they call “one God.” But this is not what the Jews and Moslems mean when they say there is only one God. They believe there truly is only one person who is God, not three people combined into one God.

In the Bible it says “Let US go down and let us make man in our image” and “man is now as one of US.” In the book of Abraham it is written “And the Gods said, let us go down and lust make man in our image.” Our critics complain that by inserting the words “Gods” in the Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith didn’t merely copy the Bible, instead, he changed the doctrine of the Godhead from what the Bible teaches. Let’s take a look at this claim to see if the critics are right nor not.

In Genesis 1:1 the Bible begins by saying “In the beginning ELOHIYM…" The word Elohiym in Hebrew is the plural of the word “God” (Eloi). Therefore, in the very first sentence of the Bible it tells us that in the beginning the GODS (Eloihiym) created the earth. As we read a little further in the first chapter of the Bible, we see that when God speaks He says “let US..” That is correct language if one person is talking to one or more other people. However, it is incorrect if God is talking to Himself. Some say that God was talking to the angels. If that is so, then when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit God why would God state “Man is become as one of us”? A little later on in the first book of the Bible, during the time when the tower of Babel was being built, God said "Let US go down to confound their language." It seems very strange to me that God would have invited the angels to help Him perform this act when He could have done it all by Himself.

The Hebrew word "Elohiym" comes from the feminine singular word "eloahh {El-o'-ah}." By adding "iym" to the end of this word it makes it plural. However, "iym" is usually a masculine ending, yet here we see it added to a feminine word. This gives the word "Elohiym" the sense of uniting both feminine and masculine qualities. The idea of combining these two attributes suggests uniting of a man and woman, which would suggest the idea of a family. Interestingly, it was Paul who declared that there are families in heaven by which the earthly family is named after Elohiym (Ephesians 3:14-15).

Furthermore, according to the Bible (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) Jesus is the firstborn of God. Clearly, if Jesus is the FIRST born, that means God had to have had more children. You can’t be the “first” is there is no second. Those who are baptized are numbered among those who belong to the church of the “firstborn” and they will gain the same inheritance that Jesus had (see I John 3:2; Romans 8:16-17; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21). Notice also that when the Bible speaks of Jesus in the flesh it refers to Him as being the ONLY begotten son, rather than the Firstborn Son, and that is because Jesus is the one and only BEGOTTEN Son of God. There is no other and there never will be another. And it is for this reason that the Bible does not refer to Him as the first begotten Son of God.

Jesus preached this same doctrine. When the high priest rent his clothing because Jesus equated Himself with God, Jesus reminded them of the scriptures which says we are gods (see John 10:34). He then declared the truth of this by saying that the scriptures "cannot be broken." And there are many other references in the Bible to a plurality of Gods (see Exodus 15:11; Exodus 18:11; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 97:9; Psalm 135:5; Psalm 138:1). It should be noted that these references are not speaking of heathen or pagan gods. These are speaking of the divine personages who dwell on high. Even Paul declared the same teaching in 1 Corinthians 8:5

These verses and many more in the Bible, clearly indicate that the biblical prophets and writers knew and taught that there are many Gods, and that they were not merely speaking of false gods or pagan deities

Now, let’s take a look at what the Book of Abraham tells us. In chapter 1:15,16 we read, “And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands; And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah.”

This seems to contradict what the Biblical says in Exodus 6:3 which reads, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” So which account is correct? Did Abraham know that the Lord’s name was Jehovah, or didn’t he?

In Genesis 22:14 we read, “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” The word “Jehovahjireh” means “Jehovah sees” (Strongs Concordance, #03070). Obviously, Abraham must have known the name of God in order to have chosen it. Either the Bible contradicts itself or one of these two biblical scriptures is mistranslated. The Book of Abraham clarifies this discrepancy, showing that it is more accurate than the Bible. It also testifies that Joseph Smith must have been inspired to write what he did.

In Abraham 1:1-3 we read, “In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time.”

From this account it seems that it was Abraham's decision to leave his land. This is at odds with the biblical account in Genesis 11:31 which reads, “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.”

Although it may appear that these two scriptures contradict one another, let’s consider another biblical telling of this event. In Genesis 12:1-4 it tells us, “NOW the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him.”

The Biblical account could be confusing in these little details if it weren’t for the inspired Book of Abraham which restores many missing parts of the biblical story and clarify other parts.

In Genesis 12:10 the Bible tells us, “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine [was] grievous in the land.” In the Book of Abraham it tells of how Abraham was almost sacrificed by one of the Egyptian priests. However, the critics contend that Abraham’s life was never in danger, thereby inferring that the story in the Book of Abraham was made up by Joseph Smith. However, in Genesis 12:12 we read, “Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This [is] his wife: and they will kill me.” From this verse it’s clear that Abraham knew that the Egyptians would try to kill him. Therefore, to protect himself he asked his wife to lie.

In Abraham 1:21-26 we read, “Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.”

The curse upon the blacks pertaining to their holding the priesthood of God is another area of strong criticism brought against Joseph Smith. They say that such a doctrine is racist and therefore can’t be from God, because God treats all people equally. If that is true, then the Bible would support such a claim. On the other hand, if we find evidence of God showing favoritism to one race and showing disfavor toward another race of people, then the theory that God does not treat one race of people differently than another is automatically invalidated. So what does the Bible say on this subject? In Genesis 24:1-4, 37 we read, “And Abraham was old, [and] well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac…. And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell.”

Why didn’t Abraham want his son Isaac to marry a Canaanite? To answer this question we need to look at biblical history. We know that the Canaanites were descendants of Ham through one of his sons Canaan (Genesis 10:6) and Ham was one of the three sons of Noah who lived through the flood. It is generally agreed by most biblical scholars that the Canaanites had black skin. But how did the black race survive the flood if Ham had white skin? The Book of Abraham gives us the answer to this puzzling question. We know that 8 people survived the flood – Noah, his wife, his three children and their wives. Ham and his wife later had three sons, Canaan being one of them. However, he also had several daughters, the oldest of which we know through the Book of Abraham was named Egyptus, which means “forbidden.” The Book of Abraham also tells us that her oldest son’s name was Pharaoh. It was Egyptus who discovered and settled the land we now call Egypt (which was named after her) and her first son, Pharoah, became the first ruler of the land.

Another son of Ham was Cush, According to Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance, the name Cush means both "black" and "Ethiopian" in Hebrew (see also Jer. 13:23), and we know that the Ethopians were black. Therefore, if the Canaanites were cursed as pertaining to the priesthood, and so were the Egyptians, and Cush was also black, that means Ham’s wife must have been black. Since she survived the flood, she thereby preserved the black race but she also preserved the curse of the priesthood upon all of her children as well.

If we are to be consistent in our denunciation of racism, we would have to say that Abraham was being a racist by not allowing his son to marry someone who had black skin. And yet we know that Abraham was a righteous man and God was well pleased with him. The only conclusion we can reasonably draw is that God didn't think Abraham's actions were racist. Indeed, anyone would be hard pressed to show from the scriptures that God disapproved of Abraham for not wanting his son to marry a Canaanite.

Why didn't Abraham want his son to marry a Canaanite? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But from the Book of Abraham we learn that this race of people were cursed when it came to being allowed to hold the priesthood of God. If Isaac were to marry a Canaanite woman, all of his children would also inherit the curse, thereby destroying the promise God made to Abraham concerning his seed. Therefore, to insure that the priesthood would be passed on through succeeding generations, Abraham instructed his servant to swear that his son would not marry a Canaanite, and God was pleased by that course or action

In Genesis 27:46 we further read, "And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life, because of the daughters of Heth: If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?" Later on, in Genesis 28:1-2 we read, "And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddam-aram, to the house of Bethel, thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence." From what the Bible tells us we see that the practice of avoiding marrying other races was continued even after the death of Abraham. Therefore we see that the Book of Abraham give us an explanation why what the Bible only alludes to.

From this we see that the Book of Abraham sheds greater light and knowledge on a topic that the Bible is silent about. And yet it is consistent with what the Bible does tells us.

Another interesting thing we learn from reading the book of Abraham is about the Urim and Thummim. In Abraham 3:1-4 it says “AND I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees; And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it; And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest. And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.”

From this scripture we see that Abraham used the Urim and Thummim to converse with the Lord and also to learn about the universe. Most people have never heard of the Urim and Thummim and might think it was something Joseph Smith invented on his own. However, the Bible has some interesting things to tell us about this subject. In Exodus 28:30, in speaking of the clothing Aaron was required to wear when performing his priestly duties in the Tent of the Congregation (the portable temple) we read “And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually” (see also Leviticus 8:8 and Deuteronomy 33:8)

In Ezra 2:63 we read, “And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.” And in Nehemiah 7:65 it says, “And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood [up] a priest with Urim and Thummim.”

What was the Urim and Thummim and what was it used for? In Numbers 27:21 we have a clue. It tells us, ”And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” And in 1 Samuel 28:6 we read, “And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.”

Apparently, from what the Bible tells us, the Urim and Thummim was the means through which God communicated or revealed His knowledge to man. Surprisingly, we find that this is the same thing that the Urim and Thummim was used for in the Book of Abraham

If Joseph Smith had made up the Book of Abraham from his own imagination, he would have had to have been the smartest person of his day in understanding the Bible because the Book of Abraham fits perfectly with what the Bible tells us. However, since all the critics of Joseph Smith continually like to point out how he didn’t know the Bible very well, then that can only mean that Joseph Smith must have written the Book of Abraham through the same inspiration that caused the Bible to be written.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 13:37  

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