|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
Monday, March 1, 2010
The test of the Torah of Moses:
by Maggid ben Yoseif / credentials
© 2010 Jerusalem Torah Voice
All of Israel was told about Moses by Joshua, his successor in Deuteronomy 34:10: "v'lo kum navi od b'Yisrael c'Moshe," literally, "And arose never again in Israel, a prophet like Moses." The Book of Mormon contends that such a prophet will arise from a Native American bloodline who will be descended from the youngest son of Lehi, whose name was Joseph. However, this contradicts the Seventh Principle of Faith elucidated by Moshe ben Maimomides, (the Rambam). The Rambam wrote that Moses was unique in that he achieved the highest spiritual level possible. His principle of faith: "There will never again arise a prophet like Moses" is based on this verse. The sages have noted with quite specific language however: "Among the non-Jewish nations, there could be such a prophet," pointing for instance to Balaam. The sages may have intended to declare this about "non-Israelite nations," but the entirety of the non-Jewish House of Joseph qualifies for a prophet "like unto Moses" to lead if this opinion of the sages is taken literally. On this prophecy, the Book of Mormon passes the test.
Precepts of Torah 'binding throughout all generations of Israel'
This command of the Torah is loaded. The verb SHOMER (to keep or guard) implies observance of the Torah with the oral traditions. It is the same word that Jesus used to admonish his followers that the scribes and the Pharisees sat in the seat of Moses (where Halachah or the practical "walking out of Torah" was determined from oral traditions) and that his followers should both DO the things of Torah and SHOMER them. Moses included the 39 categories of forbidden Shabbat activities with his declaration that the children of Israel should both REMEMBER to DO the Shabbat and SHOMER the Shabbat. There is obviously more to obeying the commandment than just DOING it according to the words Moses wrote down. During the 40 years in the wilderness, he explained the how to DO and how to SHOMER of many commands. So the entire word commanded by Moses includes the oral traditions which he instituted. Those oral traditions state the following about Deuteronomy 13:1-5: "Anyone, even someone who has been acknowledged as a prophet, is automatically shown to be false if he claims to have been sent by God to advocate any form of idolatry. The same applies if he claims that any precept of the Torah should be abrogated permanently." (Rambam, Hil. Yesodei HaTorah 9:3 and Talmud Sanhedrin 89a)
"Following the gods of others," is considered "departing from the everlasting commands of Torah binding upon all of Israel throughout their generations." Until the nations take on the name Israel or the names of Israel's tribes, the Torah is not binding except for those portions that govern non-Israelites, such as the Ten Commandments or the Laws of Noah given at the start of the Fourth World. The nations are even allowed to worship entities other than Grandfather (the God of Israel) and even worship those entities thinking they are the Creator, so long as they are not aware of their Israelite identity. But when they take the name Ephraim or M'nashe or any of the other tribes, the rules change. Sh'tuf (the association of any entity other than Grandfather with Deity) is strictly forbidden for all of Israel.
Book of Moses adds to Torah, puts words in Grandfather's mouth
It should be a matter of concern that Joseph Smith's "Pearl of Great Price," includes his Book of Moses. It is Smith's personal amplified text of part of the book of Genesis. It contains many previously unknown revelations about Moses and the Torah, which are not found in any earlier known oral traditions. Many words are placed in the mouth of Grandfather which are not in the Torah. Many things are attributed to Moses that are not in the Torah. It includes bizarre doctrine including the introduction of the concept of the "Son of God" co-existing with Grandfather from the beginning, or in other words, his "pre-existence." This reflects the same mistake made by Byzantine redactors of the New Testament of John 1:1-2 which translated from the Aramaic should read:
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and God the Word. The same was with God in the beginning.
Mistaking the Hebrew and Aramaic syntax and rule of association, Greek redactors implied the same identity of Grandfather and the Son of God from the beginning, whereas the revelation of John is that Creator and Creator's Word were "partners" in Creation. As Grandfather spoke, His Word, pure and intentioned, contained life that manifested. But the Word never manifested as the son of the Creator until the birth of the messiah. John 1:18 implies this stating that until his manifestation as the "Word made flesh" (John 1:14), the "only begotten son is in the bosom of the Father."
Preoccupation with 'pre-existence'
Pre-existence is certainly something that should motivate one to aspire to return to that Place from whence comes and goes our souls. But without a Torah foundation by which to weigh every spiritual fad that passes, extra-biblical doctrine such as pre-existence, sealing in Temple marriage, various priesthoods and even original sin, can become a pre-occupation as unwise as trying to predict the Day of the Lord. Everywhere I went in Utah and Idaho, I was encountered by sincere but preoccupied LDS whose first words would be, "Do you know who you are?" "Well hello ... again," "I know you," etc. If LDS were preoccupied instead with Torah study, the fads would be fewer and less popular.
Clearly Joseph Smith's Book of Moses with its extra-biblical, pre-occupying spiritual precedents and fads, is an addition to the "entire word of Moses" which the children of Israel SHOMERED or kept via their oral traditions. By the standard of this test of the Torah, the Book of Moses fails. The Torah's prohibition against divination would appear to discredit Smith's methodology of "translating" the Book of Mormon as well.
Elijah of Doctrine and Covenants did not remind of Torah
The Aaronic priesthood allegedly re-established by Smith and Cowdery at the direction of John the Baptist, who they state appeared to them, is one clearly out of context with both the Torah and the prophecy that foretold this second appearance of John as Elijah. Further, this priesthood is at odds with a legitimate priesthood to which it must some day yield. That priesthood is only now being discovered among indigenous Native American elders who have the extra-Y chromosome identifying them as legitimate and blood descendants of Aaron.
The Doctrine and Covenants of the LDS Church also emphasizes this priesthood allegedly restored by John the Baptist (Elijah). However, Elijah's next appearance as prophesied by Malachi follows the "remembrance" of the Torah of Moses.
The reason English Bibles contain a fourth chapter of Malachi and the Hebrew Bible does not is that Malachi 3:1-4:6 in the English Bible is one continuous paragraph in the Hebrew text. Verse 22, which begins, "Remember the Torah of Moses," begins with the Hebrew word Zicru, with an enlarged Zayin as if to remind that it would be particularly important to Zicru (remember) the Torah.
Last Words of the Prophets
As the very last word of the Prophets, it is especially significant. The paragraph ends the Book of Malachi and the so-called English Old Testament with advice in the last three sentences, it is well worth remembering:
Joseph Smith and his followers supposed the establishment of a priesthood out of context ... without Remembering the Torah. Note that the Torah defined by Grandfather in this prophecy included more than the Ten Commandments. It included the entire Covenant to which Israel agreed in Exodus 20-22 (the mishpatim) and it included all of the unexplainable laws (the chukim), or in other words the entirety of the Torah of Moses. The foretold "beholding" of Elijah is clearly within this context. It is taught in Jewish homes that the spirit of Elijah is the spirit that teaches Torah to elevated souls on every Shabbat. All of Israel is elevated to the place of unity on Shabbat so they can learn from Elijah.
I promised I would not pick apart the book, but just as one of many examples to show that Smith had as little facility with Torah and Halachah as he had with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Mosiah 2:3 must be examined. Whomever wrote this passage was familiar with neither Torah nor Halachah. It is forbidden to offer "firstlings" of the flock as burnt offerings. This is nowhere permitted "according to the Law (Torah) of Moses." Rather, the firstlings of every clean animal belong to Creator who apportions them to the priests. Neither are they "burnt offerings" totally consumed on the altar. The cooked meat is food for the priests and their families. Firstlings also may not be used in other sacrifices, such as the communal sacrifice suggested in the context of this passage.
Smith's authority rests on Torah validation
As mentioned above, the context in which Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery reportedly received this Aaronic priesthood is crucial to determining the validity of this priesthood, and specifically, whether their smichah (spiritual authority or anointing) was of the Great Spirit or was false.
Let the fruits determine the nature of the tree as it relates to a renewed Covenant Torah and Smith's authority.
As illustrated at above right, Malachi 3 and 4 in an English Bible is one continuous paragraph in the Hebrew text. The light gray text (read right to left) beginning at Malachi 3:23 in the Hebrew text with the enlarged zayin reads, Zicru Torat Moshe ... (Remember the Torah of Moses ...). The darker gray text immediately following sets the context of the "coming of Elijah" (as John the Baptist when he allegedly gave the priesthood of Aaron to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery), as this remembrance of Torah.
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