Total Eclipse of America

Solar Eclipse

According to NASA two total solar eclipses are scheduled to entirely shadow the mainland of America. The first is on August 21, 2017 and the second is on April 8, 2024. This is a fairly rare occurrence. The Wikipedia page for the upcoming 2017 eclipse states: “This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1991 (which was seen only from part of Hawaii), and the first visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.” These two upcoming eclipses will be less than seven years apart. Ok, now here’s were it gets interesting. If you take the paths of these two eclipses and overlap them over America, it creates an X. The eclipse2017.org site has images of where the center of this crosshair lies. Take a look at it here. Quoting from the page: “Actually, to be fair, the overlap of the paths of totality of these two eclipses lies in three states: Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky.” Interesting. Joseph Smith was imprisoned in both Missouri and Illinois. He was murdered by a mob in Illinois.

Top selling author Jonathan Cahn released a book titled “The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future” in 2012. In this book he cites Isaiah 9:9-10 “And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” He convincingly argues that this scripture was fulfilled in the events surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers in NYC. His conclusion is that this attack was a harbinger of things to come to the unrepentant America. It is what he calls a warning shot. (You can listen to his full presentation on the topic here.) What Mr. Cahn fails to do is put any emphasis on who it is that is rebelling and in danger of God’s wrath. Verse 9 tells us plainly that this is Ephraim. Ephraim is America! Many Mormons know this, because this is one of the things which Joseph Smith taught. In fact, Brigham Young is known to have stated that Joseph Smith was “a pure Ephraimite.” America is more precisely composed of the scattered Ephraimites or Gentiles.

Ok, so what do solar eclipses have to do with prophecy? Eclipses in ancient times were often looked at as bad omens. There were a few recorded cases of eclipses happening shortly before earthquakes. These events left an impact on the minds of the people of those times which they no doubt passed onto future generations. Here is one recent example of a lunar eclipse being followed by an earthquake in our time: On September 16, 1978 a total lunar eclipse shadowed the country of Iran and a few hours later a devastating earthquake killed 15,000 people (close to the number of fatalities in the recent Japanese earthquake). There is evidence that lunar eclipses are a bad omen for Israel’s enemies, so there is the possibility that solar eclipses are bad omens for Israel. Ephraim is part of the house of Israel! Could this be God’s way of marking in the heavens his time of wrath for the unrepentant in America? Time will tell.

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Finding The Prophetic Jubilee Year

The Angle Moroni

Some have speculated that 1967 was a Jubilee year since it was a year in which the Jews reclaimed much of their homeland in the Six-Day War. I will show here that there is far more evidence pointing to 1978 being a Jubilee year than 1967.

I will begin by searching for a Jubilee year around the time of Christ. After all, what greater liberation of the captives have we had in the history of man than what was made possible by Christ’s crucifixion? Most biblical historians place Jesus’ ministry somewhere between 26-33 AD. One of these years very likely was a Jubilee year.

“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar… Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”
(Luke 3:1-3)

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”
(Luke 3:15-16)

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,”
(Luke 3:21-23)

These passages from the 3rd chapter of Luke show us that Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in the 15th year of Tiberius Cæsar. History shows us that Tiberius began to reign in 14 AD. If we add 15 years to this date we get 29 AD. But he didn’t begin his reign at the end of the year, so we subtract one year to get 28 AD.

After Jesus was baptized he went into the desert and fasted for 40 days and endured the temptations of the devil. Afterwhich he returned to Galilee and taught in the synagogues.

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
(Luke 4:16-21)

Many believe Jesus was identifying this year in his ministry as a Jubilee year. This event seems to have happened relatively close to his baptism, very possibly that same year (28/29 AD), but we have no solid evidence for this. However, one could convincingly argue that it was early in Jesus’ ministry since it is one of the first few events related to us by Luke.

One of the most significant years in Mormon history is 1830, it being the year the church was founded and the Book of Mormon was first published. However, was it a Jubilee year?

Josephus states, “six hundred years; for the great year is completed in that interval.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book Chapter 3, Section 9) It takes 12 Jubilees to make up 600 years (50*12=600). If we count back three of these 600 year periods we end up at 30 AD, remarkably close to the suspected Jubilee year during the time of Jesus.

Lorenzo Snow (the 5th President of the LDS church) believed 1830 to be a Jubilee year. This is evidenced by the fact that he called 1880 a Jubilee year and he forgave all Church debts in that year .

Moving foward two Jubilee years from 1880 to 1980, we find significant events happening in the nation of Israel. Probably the most significant is the 1978 Camp David Accords which lead to the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Indeed, such a treaty would lead to a freeing of captives. True to their word, we have not seen any major aggression from Egypt toward Israel since 1978. Up until that point Egypt was the only country that participated in every attack made on Israel.

Lastly, some prophetic evidence:

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
(Daniel 12:11)

The Jews stopped performing their daily sacrifices (morning and evening sacrifice) after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. The “abomination that maketh desolate” began to be built by the Muslims in 688/689 AD. It is known today as the Dome of the Rock. If you add 1290 to this year you get 1978/1979.

Believing 1978 to be a Jubilee year leads us into some interesting predictions for the future. Using the Samaritan calendar, we can give names to each of the “weeks” (7 years) of the 50 years following 1978.

1979-1985 The crossing of the Red Sea
1986-1992 The changing of the water of marah
1993-1999 Where they found 12 water springs and 70 palm trees
2000-2006 The manna, which fell down upon them from heavens in the desert
2007-2013 The welling out of water from the rock
2014-2020  The battles against Amaleq
2021-2027 Standing at Mount Sinai
2028 Jubilee year

We are still in the “welling out of water from the rock” week, which suggests economic hardship, not surprisingly started in 2007. Starting in 2014 we enter into seven years of war against Amaleq (descendants of Esau: the Arab/Muslim nations). After those years of war (or maybe during them), modern-day Israelites will be gathered to Mt Sinai.

Daniel gives another year to watch out for:

“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”
(Daniel 12:12)

If we add 1335 to 688/689 we get 2023/2024. This is near the middle of the last week, after the week of wars with the Muslims. Indeed it would be a very blessed time.


The School of the Prophets

“And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
(Numbers 11:27-29)

Doctrine and Covenants Section 88, which included instructions for creating “the school of the prophets”, was received on December 27, 1832 by the Prophet Joseph.

“And again, the order of the house prepared for the presidency of the school of the prophets, established for their instruction in all things that are expedient for them, even for all the officers of the church, or in other words, those who are called to the ministry in the church, beginning at the high priests, even down to the deacons—”
(D&C 88:127)

It states the following in the Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Beginning with the 1835 edition, a series of seven theological lessons was also included; these were titled the Lectures on FaithThese had been prepared for use in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio, from 1834 to 1835. Although profitable for doctrine and instruction, these lectures have been omitted from the Doctrine and Covenants since the 1921 edition because they were not given or presented as revelations to the whole Church.”

The last known school of the prophets to be organized was in 1883 when John Taylor was president of the church (“School of the Prophets” Wikipedia article). If the Lord desired to train his prophets via this school, why was the school abandoned and its teaching removed from Church canon? Does the Lord no longer need prophets? or is the Lord using some other way to teach his prophets now?


The Egyptian Sceptre

This excerpt can be found on the Sceptre Wikipedia page under the “Antiquity” section:

“The was and other types of staffs were a sign of authority in Ancient Egypt, for which reason they are often described as “sceptres” even if they are full-length staffs. … The staff with the longest history seems to be the heqa-sceptre, sometimes described as the shepherd’s crook.” Heqa-sceptre

Doesn’t it seem strange that a largely agricultural culture like Egypt would use a shepherd’s staff as a symbol of power and authority? Might it be that the pastoral Hebrews assumed control of Egypt at some point in their early history and this is where the Egyptian culture adopted this symbol of power? Recall the rod of Aaron and the duel between him and the pharaoh of his day.

One other symbol that is prominent in Egyptian imagery is the crown. The following can be found under the section titled “Crowns and headdresses” on the Pharoah Wikipedia page:

“The red crown of Lower Egypt – the Deshret crown – dates back to pre-dynastic times. A red crown has been found on a pottery shard from Naqada, and later king Narmer is shown wearing the red crown on both the Narmer macehead and the Narmer palette. Alternatively, the red crown is meant to symbolize the womb, placenta.

The white crown of Upper Egypt – the Hedjet crown – is shown on the Qustul incense burner which dates to the pre-dynastic period. Later, King Scorpion was depicted wearing the white crown, as was Narmer. Alternatively, the white crown depicts a gland in the human body, the thymus.”

The symbology here is quite rich. The red placenta symbolizes mortal birth while the white thymus symbolizes spiritual birth. This matches in nicely with the theory that the Tree of Good and Evil represents the physical realm and the Tree of Life the spiritual realm. The fact that the same Pharaoh can wear the different crowns implies that he can move from the physical realm into the spiritual (and vice versa). This is yet another evidence for the influence of Hebrew culture on ancient Egyptian culture. This brings up the question, which Hebrew leader caused the Egyptians to adopt Hebrew symbolism? Was it Moses or Aaron? Or was it Abraham? Maybe Noah?

Quite remarkably the symbolism of the crown and the sceptre have been carried down to our day and age.

Queen Elizabeth II Pope Benedict XVI
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the crown and holding the sceptre. Pope Benedict XVI with his crown and sceptre.

Are the Catholics borrowing symbology from Egypt or do both the Catholics and Egyptians trace their symbology back to the Hebrews?


Families Without Fathers

I lost my father at the age of two. He died prematurely of a stroke. As a teenager I came to conclude that maybe fathers didn’t play all that important role in a family, after all I turned out ok without one, didn’t I? It wasn’t until my mid-20s when I realized how the lack of a father had negatively impacted my development into manhood. Even though, like a normal working-class teenager, I began working entry level jobs at the age of 16, I never found any job I could stay with for more than a year. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a hard worker. Probably every employer I had would tell you that I was. I just was easily bored and after I had mastered a job, I felt no inclination to continue and would bail at the earliest opportunity. Needless to say, this sort of job hopping didn’t lay a good foundation for a solid career later. So I drifted and drifted like a boat without an oar. In retrospect, I wonder how many years of my life could have been saved if I had a father to point out to me the shortsightedness of my thinking (these kind of “harsh” talks aren’t consistent with the role of mothers). But it wasn’t just my career that could have used a father, but my relationships as well. Even though I’d been taught by my mother to treat young ladies respectfully, I didn’t have a concrete example, having never seen any husband/wife interactions between my parents. Not having a role model to pattern my behavior after, I behaved awkwardly and often ungentlemanly towards several young ladies. Not that fathers would make all interactions between boys and girls go smoothly, but they do at least give the boys examples of how to behave, which is a lot more than what I had. Again, I was a boat without an oar. Maybe you can now see why I firmly believe that fathers are of the utmost importance in the development of sons (not having been a daughter, I cannot comment on that with any degree of experience).

Not having a father and aspiring to be one, I began looking for a role model. Naturally as a Christian, the first character I look to for guidance is Jesus, he being the perfect example for us all.  Surely if “the family” is as important as the LDS church claims it to be, then Jesus would give us a perfect example of what it is to be a father. And yet if you search lds.org for any hint of how Jesus behaved towards his wife and children, you will find absolutely nothing. Why is this? Didn’t Jesus have a wife and children? If not, doesn’t this undermine the LDS claim that the family unit is central to eternal happiness? If Jesus didn’t have a need for a family, why do we? Very puzzling.


Two Births and Three Baptisms

There are times when I’m reading a blog article (or listening to a talk) when I struggle to make it to the end, not because of boredom, but due to inspiration overload. This is what happened to me as I was reading an article titled “The Importance of Birth” written by “Heather@Women in the Scriptures”. I’d like to elaborate on a few ideas discussed in this article. I encourage you to read it before continuing.

First off, the idea that the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and the “tree of life” are representative of physical birth (feminine/yin) and spiritual birth (masculine/yang) was totally new to me, but it really resonates as truth. I found it interesting that it was a choice: “…nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee;” (Moses 3:17). In the premortal life, we chose to be born of the flesh (although some didn’t) and we now have the choice to be “born again” of the spirit. While studying the topic of being born again in the New Testament awhile back I noticed that a trinity was alluded to; a trinity that both physical birth and spiritual birth have in common: water, spirit/air, and blood/fire. This trinity is confirmed more specifically in the Book of Moses:

“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;”
(Moses 6:59)

This passage appears to be comparing the stages of physical birth to the stages of spiritual birth. With that in mind, let’s examine each stage.

BAPTISM OF WATER
This first stage in the spiritual birth would be the baptism by immersion in water, whereas its physical counterpart would be the time referred to as when an expecting mother’s “water breaks.”

The Baptism of Jesus

BAPTISM OF SPIRIT
In the spiritual birth this happens when a person receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. For brevity’s sake I’ll refer you to this excellent talk given by Elder Bednar a few years back. Physically speaking this would be the labored breathing period a woman endures during contractions. Contractions usually precede the breaking of water and in a similar manner the Holy Spirit guides a person to the gospel long before they are baptized or have hands laid on their heads to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I’m told that the labored breathing not only helps to calm the mother, but also the child. The Holy Ghost plays this role in a person’s life as they change their lives to conform to God’s laws. It reassures them that the path they are on is correct, even if it is a painful one.

BAPTISM OF FIRE
The final stage is physically the time when the mother pushes the baby out. It is the most painful of the stages and bloodiest. During mortal birth it is a baptism of blood. During our spiritual birth it will be a baptism of fire. Joseph Smith stated, “[A]ll will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199). The baptism of fire is the moment of resurrection, when our mortal bodies are transformed into spiritual bodies. The mortal blood is replaced by the immortal spirit or fire. This is a time of great pain, but immediately followed by a period of great joy and peace.

Heather made reference to two veils that all mankind must pass through in order to receive a resurrected body. The first veil refers to the first physical birth and the second veil to the second spiritual birth. She went on say that women have stewardship over the first and men have stewardship over the second. I agree. Previously I had come to conclude that God has given men and women different fields of labor and he has crafted each specifically for their field. He gave women the field of child bearing and raising. To men he gave the field of missionary work and bringing rebellious souls to God. Both are challenging, even life-threatening fields and it takes great faith to work in either of them. However, these difficult paths that saints are called to walk are the contractions of spiritual birth and will lead to the greatest joy for those who embark and endure to the end. May we all find joy in our righteous labors.


The Origins of the Book of Abraham

A key to unlocking the origins of the Book of Abraham can be found in the book itself:

21 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.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
23 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;
24 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.
25 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.
26 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.
27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

(Abraham 1:21-27)

We can see from this that the King of Egypt (Pharoah) was a Caananite, who was cursed “pertaining to the Priesthood.” Regardless of this curse Pharoah attempted to perform the outward ordinances of the Priesthood which Noah had taught his sons, with the hope that God would respect the ordinances and grant him Priesthood power. You can see evidence in the Book of Jasher that he was continuing along a path his predecessor Ham started. In the Book of Jasher it mentions that Ham stole his father’s garment and gave it to his grandson Nimrod. This garment may have actually been the original garment that Adam was given when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, which was passed down from father to son until it was finally given to Noah. According to the Book of Jasher, this garment was imbued with power to make the wearer of it a mighty man. So it is that Nimrod was able to use this garment and gather men around him to build the Tower of Babel. Thus the first world empire was born: Babylon. Sometime later Shem (Melchizedek) hunted down Nimrod and killed him and divided his body into many pieces and sent them to the priests with the message that they would suffer a similar fate if they continued to perform child sacrifices in the temples. This caused these wicked priests to take their religion underground and thus we get the “mystery” religion spoken of in the Book of Revelation (which continues to this day amongst the world’s elite).

Abraham lived in Ur of Bablyon (the Chaldees) in the days of Nimrod. His father was caught up in a semblance of Priesthood that the priests of Ham’s descendants were working under which had spread from Egypt to Babylon. When Abraham relocated to Egypt, the Pharoah there was practicing a similarly corrupted religion. If I understand things correctly, the papyrus scroll which Joseph Smith paid about $50,000 in today’s dollars to obtain (a pearl of great price) was a temple document written during Abraham’s time. Given that Pharoah’s lineage didn’t have the Priesthood, they undoubtedly made changes to the original temple ceremonies handed down to Noah and Shem (not having access to the mysteries of God granted by revelation via the Melchizedek priesthood). This is why Abraham had to seek out Melchizedek and receive the Priesthood from him. He couldn’t get the Priesthood power from Ham’s descendants, because even though they performed all the outward ordinances, they didn’t have the right to the Priesthood.

As you would expect, when you make changes to temple ordinances without the inspiration of God, you mess things up. This is exactly what Pharoah’s priests were doing. Over time their ordinances looked less and less like the originals, even though some parts were maintained. In some cases, where the priests didn’t know what something meant, they transcribed it verbatim. However in other places where they thought they understood the meaning, they felt more at liberty to make modifications. So when Joseph got these temple scrolls, which moden day Egyptologists have translated to be a portion of the “Books of Breathing”, an Egyptian funeral rite for the dead, it’s not surprising to find that Joseph didn’t translate it word for word. What he did for us was much more valuable. He gave us some of the history behind the scrolls and an explanation of some of the symbols that even the Egyptian priests of Abraham’s day probably didn’t even understand. In essence he restored what those priests many thousands of years ago corrupted.