Symbolisms in Abraham’s Sacrifice

There are many symbolisms of the sacrifice of the Savior in the story of Abraham and his son, Isaac. Not only is it similar in that a son was being sacrificed, but consider these points:

  • Abraham had to travel a three day journey to get to Moriah, the place where the Lord
    commanded him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac (Gen 22:2). This is also the location of the Lord’s sacrifice for us all — Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (2 Chr 3:1).
  • Isaac carried the wood for the offering as Christ carried his own cross.
  • Lambs slain on the altar of the Temple were slain on the north side (Lev 1:11). Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, is on the north side of
    the ridge of Moriah.

There are many other symbolisms between Abraham’s sacrifice and the Lords, and Abraham certainly recognized the symbolism as he called the place “Jehova-jireh” (Gen 22:14, John 8:56), meaning “the Lord shall be seen, or the Lord shall be provided.”

He Hath Trodden the Winepress Alone

Christ hath trodden the winepress alone. (Isaiah 63:3, D&C 76:107). As obvious as it seems to me now, I never really understood the meaning of the phrase. I think I could also put it in these words: “Christ smashed the grapes by himself.”

Quoting from “Gethsemane” by Andrew C. Skinner:

Anciently, winepresses and olive presses were sometimes used interchangeably. Several people would get into the press, and a rock-lined pit with a mosaic or plaster floor, and, holding onto one another, smash the grapes or olives with their feet until the fruit turned into a thick pulp. Unless one held onto others in the press, it was almost impossible to lift one’s feet in the thick sludge to tromp the grapes into juice. It also became very slippery, and without others in the press to hang onto for support, it was very easy to fall. Thus, when the Savior says he trod the winepress alone, he means that at a certain point in Gethsemane no one was there to help him through his ordeal. Ironically, in a place named for an activity that required several participants, one Man suffered for all men. (p.118)

The Roots of “Falling Away”

The “falling away” described by Paul in our King’s James version of the Bible has an original Greek meaning that is quite different from the gradual, natural drifting into apostasy that we usually interpret the phrase to mean. The falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 comes from the Greek word apostasia, which is also where we get our English word apostasy from. It is constructed from two Greek roots: the verb histemi, “to stand,” and the preposition apo, “away from.”

The word means “rebellion,” “mutiny,” “revolt,” or “revolution,” and is quite a bit stronger than we normally think. And while the great apostasy did happen gradually, people certainly did rise up against early Christianity and seek to replace its leaders and put to silence its doctrines (as in a mutiny or revolution). There was an apostasy, and for most of the world, it still continues today. (see also Acts 20:29-31, 2 Timothy 4:2-3, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Revelation 13:1-9)

Killing those who don’t support freedom

This post may get a little political, but I’ve recently been reading in the book of Alma, chapter 62 (and other places), where dissenters of a “democratic” society who were in support of overthrowing the government and establishing a king, were about to cause the cause the downfall of the whole community. These “king-men”, as they were called were given a choice: support freedom, or be put to death. Many still chose death and fought to have a king even though it had proved destructive in the past. Pride and hopes for power are often what drove these men to support a king. They wanted to rule.

My question: What is the difference between killing one who doesn’t support freedom, and killing one who doesn’t support a dictator? Then what about killing someone who doesn’t believe as you do?

Maybe the difference is in the motive?
If your reason for killing is so you can have power and fame, that’s probably not a good reason.
If your reason for killing is so your civilization won’t be overthrown by wars and dissentions, then perhaps it’s a bit more justified.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of being based on truth?
Freedom IS God’s way. It’s the only way that really works. Although isn’t killing someone for their beliefs in a way taking away that freedom? I suppose that depends on the law.

Any other thoughts?

Life Centered in Christ

I was reading in the first chapter of Alma this morning. One point that caught my eye was that because the steadiness of the people in the church, they began to prosper, and had an abundance of all things they needed. They were also able to help others who were in need, and gave much of their substance to help the poor. Yet they did not set their hearts upon their riches. I think that’s an important point today as well. The Lord does bless the righteous, but the key is to not become prideful, but remain humbly grateful and give of what you have to those around you. Keep your heart centered upon Christ, and not upon obtaining riches.

One of my favorite quotes is by President Howard W. Hunter.

“If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right.”
(The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams (1997), 40.)

Graven Images

Today, I was reading in Mosiah 12, where Abinadi is condemning King Noah’s wicked priests. He mentions a doctrine from the law of Moses:

35 Thou shalt have no other God before me.
36 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.

I wondered, “No likeness of any thing in heaven?” Does that mean we can’t draw pictures of angels or God? If that’s the case, then we can’t draw pictures of anything because it also condemns likenesses of things in the earth beneath. Of course, it’s okay to create the likenesses, statues, artwork, etc. What is being condemned here is the worship of those images. In Exodus 20:4-5 it makes the same point.
In fact, for the Temple, the ancient saints were commanded to make likenesses of things in heaven:
Exodus 37:7-8:

7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.
8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.