Sons of Levi

Exodus 6:16

And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.

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Malachi 3:3

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

3 Nephi 24:3

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

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Hebrew 7:5

And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

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Doctrine & Covenants, Section 13

An extract from Joseph Smith’s history recounting the ordination of the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood near Harmony, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1829. The ordination was done by the hands of an angel who announced himself as John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament. The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient Apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The promise was given to Joseph and Oliver that in due time this higher priesthood would be conferred upon them.

The keys and powers of the Aaronic Priesthood are set forth.

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

Oliver Cowdery’s 1834 citation of John the Baptist’s words during the priesthood ordination reads as follows:

Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!

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The Name of Gazelem

Alma 37, Alma speaking to his son Helaman regarding the records of the Jaredites as kept on the plates of Ether

[20] Therefore I command you, my son Helaman, that ye be diligent in fulfilling all my words, and that ye be diligent in keeping the commandments of God as they are written.

[21] And now, I will speak unto you concerning those twenty-four plates, that ye keep them, that the mysteries and the works of darkness, and their secret works, or the secret works of those people who have been destroyed, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters.

[22] For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth.

[23] And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.

[24] And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:

[25] I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land.

* * *

The word Gazelem appears to have its roots in Gaz – a stone and Aleim, a name of God as a revelator or interposer in the affairs of men. If this suggestion be correct, its roots admirably agree with its apparent meaning-a seer. (George Reynolds, A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon, p. 92)

This may well be a play on words. Is Gazelem the seer stone or the servant? It is difficult to tell from the passage and depends very much on the placement of a comma in the sentence. Perhaps it could refer to both. It is interesting to note that when Jesus called Simon Peter to the ministry he said: ‘Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a seer, or a stone’ (JST, John 1:42). Though this name or title of Gazelem may be used in regard to any seer who utilizes seer stones, it seems in this instance to be a direct reference to Joseph Smith the Prophet or another.

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Gazelem the same as Gazelam?

Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr.

In three different revelations, spanning a period of two years (1832-34), Joseph Smith was called “Gazelam” by the Lord (D&C 78:9; 82:11; 104:26, 43, 45, 46; pre-1981 edition). His name was disguised in order to prevent his enemies from discovering what plans the Lord had in mind at that particular time (HC 1:255).

Baurak Ale

The original 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of LDS scripture, used code names for certain people and places. These names appear only in a few of the book’s sections, mainly those dealing with the United Order. It is believed that their purpose was to avoid the use of these sections in lawsuits by opponents of the Church, since giving the real names might have provided evidence that the United Order was legally a company, with its members financially liable for each other and the whole Order.

The 1981 LDS edition replaced these with the real names. The Community of Christ edition still uses the code names.

Baurak Ale: Joseph Smith. This is a very clear Hebrew for barakh ‘el (ברך אל) “blessed [of] El,” i.e., God

The following quotations are taken from an edition of the Doctrine and Covenants published by the LDS Church in 1968.

Doctrine Covenants 103

21. Verily, verily I say unto
you, that my servant Baurak Ale
[Joseph Smith, Jim.] is the man
to whom I likened the servant to
whom the Lord of the vineyard
spake in the parable which I have
given unto you.

22. Therefore let my servant
Baurak Ale [Joseph Smith, Jun.]
say unto the strength of my
house, my young men and the
middle aged — Gather yourselves
together unto the land of Zion,
upon the land which I have
bought with money that has been
consecrated unto me.

Doctrine Covenants 105

16. Behold, I have commanded
my servant Baurak Ale [Joseph
Smith, Jun.] to say unto the
strength of my house, even my
warriors, my young men, and
middle-aged, to gather together
for the redemption of my people,
and throw down the towers of
mine enemies, and scatter their
watchmen;

– Tom Irvine

Born Again

Prophesy regarding the rebirth of the modern State of Israel in 1948.

Isaiah 66

[7] Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

[8] Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

* * *

Being born again is also Jewish idiom of when a gentile who wants to convert to Judaism “being Torah observant” goes through the process of becoming a Jew, then they would do an immersion “a mikvah” and then come up as a new creation and in every which way he would be considered a Torah observant person.

Furthermore, the “Baal Teshuva” movement is a description of the return of secular Jews to religious Judaism. The term baal teshuva is from the Talmud, literally meaning “master of repentance.”

Rabbi Yaacov Zirkind of Congregation Ahavas Israel of Morristown, NJ, said:

”When people say ‘Baal Teshuva,’ they are really talking about ‘tinoke she neeshba,’ literally ‘a baby that was lost. It does not mean these people were not raised Jewish. It means that they were raised without learning how to keep the Torah, the mitzvahs (good deeds) and how to live an observant Jewish life.“

* * *

John 3

[1] There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

[2] The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

[3] Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

[4] Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

[5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

[6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

[7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

See also: First Peter 1:22-23

* * *

Mosiah 27

[25] And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

(The Book of Mormon teaches that even nations must be born again).

Alma 5

[49] And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.

Alma 7

[14] Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

Healing in His Wings

Referring to Jesus the Messiah…

Malachi 4:2

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

2 Nephi 25

[13] Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day, and my heart doth magnify his holy name.

3 Nephi 25

[2] But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.
 

– Tom Irvine

The Lord’s Countenance

22 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

Numbers 6

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Christ’ Visit to the Nephites at Bountiful…

And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.

3 Nephi 19:25

* * * *

– Tom Irvine

Daniel Deronda

Mary Anne Evans (1819 – 1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She published her novel Daniel Deronda in 1876. The setting is London.

One of the characters in the story is Mordecai who passionately proclaims his wish for the Jewish people to retain their national identity and one day be restored to their Promised Land. Mordecai is ill and nearing death. He has written a manuscript of his vision in Hebrew which he desires Daniel Deronda to publish.

But other Jews do not share Mordecai’s enthusiasm and critize him for writing in Hebrew rather than Engish. One argues “The Book of Mormon would never have answered in Hebrew; and if you mean to address our learned men, it is not likely you can teach them anything.”

This is a curious reference. No further mention of the Book of Mormon is given in the novel.

As for the Book of Mormon in Hebrew . . .

– Tom Irvine