Monday, January 31, 2011

JTC: Chapter 10 Commentary

There were a few quotes that stood out in this chapter.

On page 123 with regard to the 2nd temptation of Jesus, Talmage says, "Satan tempted Jesus to tempt the Father.  It is as truly a blasphemous interference with the prerogatives of Deity to set limitations or make fixations of time or place at which the divine power shall be made manifest as it is to attempt to usurp that power.  God alone must decide when and how His wonders shall be wrought."

I think this is as good an explanation as any to those who would ask "Where is God in the world when there is so much suffering?"  God alone knows what is best for us - we should never presume to think we know better or what's best.

Another line that stood out was "triumph over the cravings of the flesh."  How wonderful it would be to triumph over the cravings of this flesh.  If one can control one's hunger, then I think one gains greater control over the cravings of the flesh.  A regular diet of fasting is healthy not only for the body, but for the spirit.

Lastly - what can we learn from the temptations of Jesus?  How can we apply these scriptures to our lives?

All must be tempted in all points.  This life is indeed a test.  If we view it in that paradigm, then we begin to view our challenges in a different light.  We will fail.  But what will we do after our failure is what is important.  Will we get back up and try again?  Or will we dis-engage and wallow?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GD: Lesson 4 Class Notes

Hebrew - Messiah; Greek - Christ

Isaiah 40:3-5, 1 Nephi 10:7-10
Spirit of Elias - prepare the way for a greater revelation (Joseph Smith)

"The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world."  See this link (TotPJS) for lots of information on Elias.

D&C 84:26-28 - Where did John the Baptist get his authority?
Was not his ordination to the Priesthood (McConkie)
Joseph Smith said something on this topic too (see below)

"As touching the Gospel and baptism that John preached, I would say that John came preaching the Gospel for the remission of sins; he had his authority from God, and the oracles of God were with him, and the kingdom of God for a season seemed to rest with John alone. The Lord promised Zacharias that he should have a son who was a descendant of Aaron, the Lord having promised that the priesthood should continue with Aaron and his seed throughout their generations. Let no man take this honor upon himself, except he be called of God, as was Aaron; and Aaron received his call by revelations. An angel of God also appeared unto Zacharias while in the Temple, and told him that he should have a son, whose name should be John, and he should be filled with the Holy Ghost. Zacharias was a priest of God, and officiating in the Temple, and John was a priest after his father, and held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, and was called of god to preach the Gospel of the kingdom of God. The Jews, as a nation, having departed from the law of God and the Gospel of the Lord, prepared the way for transferring it to the Gentiles." (link)

What did John the Baptist do to prepare the way?
* declared repentance and baptized

Mikvah - Jewish baptismal font - Jews were baptizing before John the Baptist.

Why was it important that there would be someone to prepare the way?
* John the Baptist set up things for the Kingdom of God
* if someone shows up and says "I am the Messiah" we won't believe him.  But if he says the Messiah is coming, when he comes we would believe.
* D&C 65:1-6 - Calling on all of us to prepare world and people that Christ is coming again.

Why did Jesus get baptized?
* to show humility before the father (2 Nephi)

John the Baptist only baptized but did not confer the Holy Ghost.  Jesus baptized, but gift of the Holy Ghost was not conferred until after the resurrection.
John 1:3-4 footnote

Temptations - Hebrews 2:18
The Lord went to commune with God.  Only after that communion (strengthening) was he tempted.

Do we "go into the wilderness" to fast, pray & ponder - to commune with God?

If thou be the Son of God
* He didn't doubt - He didn't need to "confirm"

David O McKay on temptation ("Unspotted from the World", Ensign, August 2009, 24–29)
"These evils present themselves insidiously in our daily associations. They come in the shape of temptations, as they came to the Savior after His baptism. What were those temptations? When Satan said, “Command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3), he was appealing to the appetite. He knew that Jesus was hungry, that He was physically weak, and [he] thought that by pointing to those little lime stones which resemble somewhat a Jewish loaf of bread, he could awaken a desire to eat. Failing in that, when he received the divine word, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), Satan then tried Him in another way. He dared Him—an appeal to His pride, to His vanity. … But the Savior answered him in terms of scripture, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7). What was the third? An appeal to His love of power, domain, wealth: “All these things [the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof] will I give thee,” said the tempter, “if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).

Now, nearly every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of those forms. Classify them, and you will find that under one of those three nearly every given temptation that makes you and me spotted, ever so little may be, comes to us as (1) a temptation of the appetite; (2) a yielding to the pride and fashion and vanity of those alienated from the things of God; or (3) a gratifying of the passion, or a desire for the riches of the world, or power among men. …"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GD: Lesson 3 Class Notes

Luke 2 - JST "inns" vs. inn

In what ways do we refust to make room for Jesus?
* too busy to pray or study scriptures
* demands of career are greater
* we don't treat prayer and scriptures study the same as eating, showering or sleeping

* not as the world giveth
* internal peace
* peace for me means knowing where I need to go or need to do - having a purpose in life.
* ultimately, Christ will reign on Earth and there will be peace

Why is it important to stop and ponder?
* we may miss important lessons in life.

What gifts can we give Jesus?
D&C 59 - sacrifice a broken heart and contrite spirit; keeping the commandments

What are things you can do to grow intellectually, physically, spiritually, socially?
* find a balance in life
* spend time in all areas

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quick Update on Methodology

After thinking a bit more about this for the last few weeks - and deciding on what it is I want  out of this study - I decided that I will scratch the Religion 211/212 studies and instead focus on my study of the book Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

GD: Lesson 2 Class Notes

Zacharias and Elizabeth were:
* very righteous; had great faith and endurance in prayer
* in tune with the Lord and accepted the will of the Lord
* They knew the story of Abraham and Sarah - it was possible to have a child and elderly people

Why were they chosen?
* According to Talmage, had it worked out, Zacharias would have been High Priest
* Alma 13:3-4 - they chose the good; they had soft hearts
* Matt 20 - many are called, but few are chosen.

Are we missing out on foreordained callings because we don't choose the better part?  Or because our hearts are hardened?

Annunciation to Mary
How do we know if we've found favor with God?
* We don't have angels visiting us to tell us - how do we find validation?
* Mary did not doubt; she asked how it would be done

After the annunciation, Zacharias and Elizabeth reflected much and sanctified themselves.

Why chose a barren woman?
Our righteous desires will be fulfilled

Why chose an espoused woman?
The Lord comes into our lives at precise times.

What happened in their lives can happen our ours - our righteous prayers will be answered. God will come into our lives at precise times.

Multiple witnesses - Angels bare witness; Mary witnesses to Elizabeth and Joseph

* Angel appears to him in a dream
* He did as the angel bade him

* When he did as the angel bade him, by naming his son John, his tongue was loosed and he prophesied.
* Sent his son with his wife into the wilderness when Herod made his edict to kill all children.  He was slain protecting the knowledge of their location.

This last bit of infomaton was new to me.  I never knew that about Zacharias.  This is from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

"Let us come into New Testament times--so many are ever praising the Lord and His apostles. We will commence with John the Baptist. When Herod's edict went forth to destroy the young children, John was about six months older than Jesus, and came under this hellish edict, and Zacharias caused his mother to take him into the mountains, where he was raised on locusts and wild honey. When his father refused to disclose his hiding place, and being the officiating high priest at the Temple that year, was slain by Herod's order, between the porch and the altar, as Jesus said. John's head was taken to Herod, the son of this infant murderer, in a charger--notwithstanding there was never a greater prophet born of a woman than him!" Section Five 1842-43, p.261