Tag Archives: Abraham 2

Promise concerning the “seed”?


So, I’ve always kind of liked the image of “seed” to describe posterity. We’re like plants; we produce seeds that can grown into their own plants, which can produce not just one seed but many many seeds, each of which grows not just into one, say, apple, but a whole tree of apples all with seeds to produce not just one apple, but a whole tree of apples with many seeds each! The abundance that one seed can produce is extraordinary!

I was thinking today of the phrase from Abraham (and of course elsewhere) where he is seeking after the promise concerning the “seed.” I have lots of things I want to ask here, but for right now I am thinking about that word that he uses there.

I did some research on “seed” in pollination etc. ūüôā But I also did a search on lds.org to see where it was that “seed” was first used to refer to human children rather than plants. It doesn’t take too long: Genesis 3:15. And to my surprise, it wasn’t even a male being addressed! (In all of the technical reproductive definitions I was reading, both human and plant “seed” is the male part of the deal.) It isn’t to Adam, it isn’t to Abraham; the first mention of human seed is to Eve:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Fascinating, to me. This is¬†hers?¬†Why is it hers, and not Adam and Eve’s collectively? Why is the responsibility or lineage through her? Eve is the “mother of all living” but why isn’t Adam then the “father of all living?” Adam is “earth” or “dirt” or “clay.” Why is he that? Let’s see, dirt/earth/clay is what they were created out of. Adam is the material that is molded into life, but cannot actually give life? I did see that in reproductive definitions, the female egg is “dormant” until the male part wakes up the egg to get going. She already has life in her, but it needs to be awakened/activated. Is this why she is so associated with life? But still, what of Adam being dirt? The earth was created first, then Adam out of earth, but then Eve out of him, but specifically out of a¬†bone, not out of his clay-ness or “earthiness.” Dirt sounds easily moldable; bone does not. Why then is she created out of bone? Is she considered more solid? More protected? Already made? = Already containing life? I’m not sure what to make of it, but I think that it is interesting and I want to keep it in the back of my head.

So, the promise concerning the “seed.” At first, though I love Sister Beck’s applications, I wondered if this actually truly was a male promise. But after thinking about this reference first to¬†Eve,¬†I don’t think I can jump that far to that conclusion. Second, I know that I can’t ignore the idea that there was a chosen seed from Adam on down that was supposed to live as long as the earth will stand. I know that sounds odd, because of course whoever is still alive at the end of the world is going to be related to Adam! ūüôā So there is something more to it. I mean, if you are Noah (pre-flood) or Abraham or someone along the way here, then knowing¬†your¬†seed will last until the end does mean something real. Nephi and Lehi receiving the promise that their seed will be preserved¬†means something. They know very well that their lineage could die out at any point (especially with how the contention is going among them…!) But what of the promise given way back when to Adam? Note here what Eve says: (Eve? Again? this is getting interesting!)

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

“Seed” here means something more than just “child.” Cain was still alive; many other children, it appears, where alive. But something was different about Abel. What? I don’t see Genesis explaining it much, but D&C 107 seems to say it was a matter of Priesthood. But why was the Priesthood only for one person in each generation? I don’t know, but here is some of what D&C 107 has to say:

40 The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.

41 This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:

42¬†From Adam to¬†Seth, who was¬†ordained¬†by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam‚Äôs) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be¬†preserved¬†unto the end of the earth;¬†…

There was something about Seth (who replaced Abel) that was different. (Also, why did Adam wait so long to bless Seth? Three years before he died? Could only one person have this promise at a time or something?) So this is where I get the idea that the “chosen seed” means being kept alive and preserved: “that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth.”

But why is this important? From what I can gather from here and Moses 5-6 and elsewhere, it has something to do with a righteous line that would preserve the Priesthood. (That seems to be what Abraham wants to do, to be that link in the chain that keeps his covenants and preserves the Priesthood power on the earth.) (What we do with the “Apostasy” I’m not sure; but of course that could be one reason the Restoration is such a huge event; it not only restored knowledge, it restored the Priesthood lineage that will last until the end of the earth – and, as Abraham is told, it is this lineage that all the other families have to be grafted into in order to be blessed with the gospel blessings..)

Back to Moses 5-6 for a moment. Look at what I just noticed here in Moses 6:2 (!):

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

Here it is¬†Adam, not Eve who talks about being appointed another seed. (What do we make of the role women play in Genesis based on this little difference?) Here Adam rejoices in another seed. Either way, of course, it’s the same person and same purpose, but I do think it’s interesting to see the same words spoken by both parents but in different accounts!

A few verses later (verse 7 to be exact), we get this bit of information:

Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.

I tend to hear “Priesthood” and think “power, ability, authority,” etc. But in fairness, the word I think should also be heard “priest”-hood. Like “neighbor” -hood. A neighborhood is where all the neighbors are collected together. So when this verse mentions “Priesthood” it comes just after three generations all being to call upon the name of God, write, etc. There is a group formed at 3, for some reason, and this “priest”-hood will be in the end of the world also. Hmm. Note that it doesn’t say continue uninterrupted, but that it will “be” in the end also. Interesting.

And for some reason, the “seed” here is important. Why? Why can’t God pick anyone on the earth at any time? What is it about the seed? About generations? About lineage? It seems like an unjustified inequality to us, but yet God chose it and sticks to it. Why?

Also, as Abraham is told, it is by this lineage that “all the families of the earth” will be blessed (see Abraham 1 and 2). So, then, God isn’t proposing to only bless or save¬†one family line. There is one family line with Priesthood – one group who calls upon God? – that then has… the work of saving the others? Is it a specific assignment? A call? A job? A responsibility? And still why make it in one family line?

And do we really seal ourselves in our own lines to Adam, or are we sealing ourselves to Abraham’s family? If there is one chosen seed, are we all really sealing ourselves and our ancestors and our posterity into¬†that line? A sort of skeleton on which everyone else can hang on to? A line which is guaranteed to be connected from Adam to the end?

There is¬†something of that, I think. Abraham is told that whoever accepts the gospel will be counted as his seed, right? And there needs to be with “welding link” Joseph says in D&C 128… but it’s not actually sealing, it’s baptism – baptisms for the dead, in D&C 128, that connects generations together. Is he referring less to family “units” but rather to sealing us all to Abraham? Being counted as his seed? Making a welding link to us and to Abraham? Making¬†everyone¬† thus of the chosen seed? (And only¬†by that do we have any right whatsoever to the Priesthood?)

D&C 128 seems to say some such thing like that. To be bold and half-baked for a moment, could we say that baptisms for us and for the dead put us in Abraham’s family, count us as his seed, open us up to all the blessings of the gospel “even of life eternal” – but, the sealing ordinance is what seals this lineage upon us¬†in such a way that we can then “administer” it to others? (See Abraham 1 again). Abraham wants the promises¬†and¬†he wants to administer them to others. By being sealed, do we become not just a branch on Abraham’s tree, but now a flowering, seed-producing branch that adds to the family? ie, we not only are added, but now we do adding? We do collecting of souls? (Or “winning” of souls? Abraham brings the souls he had “won” with him). Is that the difference, there? Baptism brings¬†us¬†all the blessings of the gospel (we receive them) but sealing makes us like Abraham (we can give them). We become another point on the line that can branch out and include others; we are a grafting point; we are a split off where so many more rely on us as the sure place where they can be hung?

Like I said, bold, and half-baked. But something I’ll also keep around in my mind to see if it sprouts at any point. ūüôā

 

 


Draft: Thoughts on Abraham 1: Appointment … Concerning the Seed


[Still a work in process..]

I just put up a post at Feast (and earlier at BN) about Abraham. Here I’d like to just gather together some random thoughts as I work through Abraham’s promise he sought for and obtained:

1. Came through the fathers, right of the first father, even Adam… “right of firstborn” – he seems to equate firstborn with Adam. But what then of the birthright/firstborn gets promises tradition? Was this a way to honor Adam, originally? Was the promise of preserving seed only given to one? (though, of course, promises and covenants could be made with all, but that one specific promise was only given to one line?)

2. vs. 7 – interesting that he is seeking a promise to preserve his seed, while his fathers are seeking after idols to which they need to sacrifice their seed!

3. vs. 17 – after Abraham’s fathers have proven that they do not want to worship the Lord, He saves Abraham from being sacrificed and promises to take him away from “all his kinsfolk.” Then, He calls Abraham, “my son.” That’s a cool detail.

4. vs. 18 – he will get God’s name, but also the “Priesthood of thy father.” I didn’t quite realized till here that his father¬†had received the Priesthood. So he¬†really turned away… yikes.

5. I love the discussion of Ham and Egypt. For one, how fascinating to link it up with Ham, at the time when things split up after Noah. I like hearing that the first Pharaoh was “a righteous man,” who “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.” Fascinating! ¬†Then we also get this note: “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.” As mentioned later, the part about no-priesthood is overlooked. Blessings of wisdom though, huh? Egypt is certainly considered a place of that.

6. Two, how interesting to set this side-by-side with Abraham’s line, who¬†do have the Priesthood. I can see why it’s so important to put this story in here; there was a debate going on as to who actually had the power. Verse 27 says, “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.” Even though his fathers had the right priesthood! Crazy, ironic situation here.

7. This debate is why (or at least part of why) Abraham is writing: “But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time” (vs. 28).

8. I’m jumping now to Abraham 2:11. And I’m going to take out the parenthetical remarks and try adding my own clarifications:

“In thee and in thy¬†seed — for I give unto thee a promise that this right (the Priesthood promises) shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee — shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.”

I like that way of writing it a lot. To summarize, in Abraham himself and through is seed, all of the families will be blessed with the blessings of the gospel. The …


The sealing


I am going to attempt, here, to write out some connections between scriptures that somehow deal with the sealing ordinance in our temples.

First, Adam.

The Book of Moses has so much information in it, buried in the story. Well, not exactly buried – it’s right on the surface – but we don’t realize what’s there! ¬†Here are some details I put together & the story they seem to tell-

Adam and Eve had kids, but most if not all did not listen and did not worship God:

12And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.

13And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish.

Then Eve bears Cain, and says:

16And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God. And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said: I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words.

It appears that Eve was very concerned that her sons were rejecting the words of the Lord and she was hopeful that Cain would not reject them. However:

But behold, Cain hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him? (verse 16)

After this, Eve bears Abel:

And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord. (verse 17)

I can feel the sadness of Eve and Adam when I read these words:

27And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren.

Chapter 5 follows out Cain, Lamech, and those who follow after these secret plans. Chapter 6 opens with this new beginning:

1And Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent.

2And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

3And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.

4And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;

I placed in bold things having to do with Abel and seed. Note that Abel was going to be some chosen seed, with some sort of promise. Often we just think of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph stories when we think of a “chosen seed.” But Adam here sees Seth as a new chance at a chosen seed.

Was it simply that every else was wicked, and here was a chance at a righteous seed? Or something different?

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