This is going to be the first in a series of articles on the Book of Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price. Whenever Mormons are on the Internet one of the first things that we get asked about is Kolob. I personally find the subject boring and uninteresting because who cares where God lives? However since everybody wants to talk about it and everybody is in a post-election cool off it makes sense to spend some time getting our arms wrapped around the subject.
Initially I thought that I would go over Abraham 3 which talks about Kolob, go over what LDS authorities say on the subject, add in some thoughts of my own and turn it over to the comments and see what all of my great readers have to say on the subject. However after reading Abraham 3, I decided instead to go over the whole Book of Abraham. This article is going to cover Abraham 1. I’m just going to give my thoughts on reading it and not do any additional research. Feel free to add your knowledge and wisdom in the comments.
In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; (Abraham 1:1).
In the first verses of Abraham, he makes mention constantly of fathers. Here in verse 1 he mentions fathers in context of his people in his homeland.
- And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
- It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
- I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed. (Abraham 1:2-4).
In these verses Abraham refers to fathers in context of priesthood authority. He talks about how priesthood authority comes from “the fathers” all the way back to the beginning. In verse 3 he mentions that “the fathers” had authority from the beginning of time. This is a reference that priesthood authority comes directly from Heavenly Father.
Look at verse 2. In this verse Abraham kind of rambles and repeats himself. I was reading some book on Middle Eastern culture this year and the author mentioned how when Middle Easterners want to make a point they repeat it over and over. This rambling is very Middle Eastern.
5 My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; (Abraham 1:5-6).
In verses 5 and 6 Abraham’s people apostatized from the Gospel. They started to worship pagan gods. Abraham tried to call them to repent from their sins but they refused to repent.
7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.
8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.
9 And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.
10 Even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphar’s Hill, at the head of the plain of Olishem.
11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians. (Abraham 1:7-11).
Every time that people apostatize from following Heavenly Father and start to worship pagan gods, the first thing they do is start doing human sacrifices. Just look at the whole Spirit Cooking thing going on with John Podesta and other American elites. They all have apostatized from worshipping God and they are doing all kinds of disgusting things. Those guys at the very least are LARPing human sacrifice and cannibalism and very possibly are involved in a whole lot worse.
In verse 11 the wicked priests sacrificed 3 girls who refused to worship pagan gods. The priests not only are using human sacrifice as a religious practice but they also are doing it to make a political statement. They are telling the rest of the people of their city that if they don’t want to end up on the sacrifice table then they better worship pagan gods.
12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar; and that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.
13 It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
14 That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics. (Abraham 1:12-14).
These verses are interesting because Abraham talks directly to the reader. He says, “Hey go back and look at the drawing I made at the start of the chapter and it will give you an idea of what they were trying to do to me.” Why did he save Abraham and not the 3 girls who earlier were sacrificed?
I can think of 3 reasons why Heavenly Father saved Abraham and not the 3 girls. First of all Abraham was a faithful priesthood holder. There weren’t many left in his city and Heavenly Father didn’t want to completely let the Gospel die. Second he allowed the girls to be sacrificed as a way of leaving a testament against the men who sacrificed her. We see this example in the Book of Mormon where Heavenly Father lets wicked people murder righteous as a way of bringing judgment on them. The city of Ammonihah comes to mind. The third reason why Heavenly Father let the girls die but not Abraham is because Heavenly Father is testing Abraham. After the sacrifice of the girls, Abraham knows that if he continues to refuse to worship pagan gods then eventually he will end up on the sacrifice altar. Abraham continues to worship Heavenly Father even though he knows that it will cost him his life.
15 And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands;
16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
And this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
18 Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee.
19 As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee; but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.
20 Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea. And the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died; and there was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh; which Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood. (Abraham 1:15-20).
The way that Abraham wrote these verses is interesting. It looks like while he was on the sacrifice table, Abraham had a vision where an angel of the Lord appeared to him and first unbound his hands. Then the angel promised that Heavenly Father would protect Abraham and that Abraham would have Priesthood authority. Then the angel of the Lord destroyed the altar and killed the wicked priests.
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. (Abraham 1:21-25).
In these verses Abraham writes about the founding of Egypt after the Flood. The most interesting part of these verses is in verse 24 where Abraham said the race of the founders of Egypt kept “the curse in the land.” Lots of people believe that this is a reference to the curse of Cain which many believe is black skin. Does Abraham mean to tell us that, “We wuz kangs” is real?
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 1:26-27).
Here’s more “we wuz kangs” stuff. In these verses Abraham says that the first Pharaoh who founded Egypt was a good man who was a good king. However he was “of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood.” There’s a lot of “we wuz kangs” stuff in these verses. For whatever reason, the first Pharaoh couldn’t receive the Priesthood so he created an imitation of it. Later on his priests said that they had Priesthood authority because of their descent from Noah. Their claim of Priesthood authority was a big part of convincing the priests of Abraham’s city to get mixed up in paganism.
The Book of Abraham spent 7 verses on the founding of Egypt, the fall of their religious practice from being very similar to the Gospel to paganism and then spreading paganism because it shows how the Gospel dies. We see this process in the modern west. Look at how some people are starting to experiment with things like Wiccan religion, revival of worshipping pre-Christian European gods and the way that the American elite are LARPing human sacrifice. We are living through this process right now.
28 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.
29 Now, after the priest of Elkenah was smitten that he died, there came a fulfilment of those things which were said unto me concerning the, land of Chaldea, that there should be a famine in the land.
30 Accordingly a famine prevailed throughout all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he repented of the evil which he had determined against me, to take away my life.
31 But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me. (Abraham 1:28-31).
After the destruction of the pagan priests, Abraham ended up with historical records. After a huge famine gets going in his city, Abraham’s father repents of sending his son off to be sacrificed to pagan gods. How pathetic was that man? Either don’t send your son to be sacrificed to pagan gods or stand by your actions. Don’t send your son to be sacrificed to pagan gods and then when things don’t work out how you wanted them to work out, suddenly try to get back into your son’s good graces.
In verse 31, Abraham talks about how he is going to talk about the planets, astronomy and the founding of the world. He is giving us a taste of the very “interesting” stuff to come.
One of the big things that jumps out so far in the Book of Abraham is how the narrative jumps around. Look at verses 28-31. He talks first about how he has the records of his people going back to the beginning. Then in verse 29 he mentions the beginning of a famine in the land where Abraham mentions that it was promised to him but we don’t find any mention of that promise earlier in chapter 1. Then in verse 30 Abraham talks about his father repenting of his sins. Then in verse 31 it goes back to mentioning the records and the genealogy back to the beginning.
In the Book of Abraham chapter 1, there are several spots where the narration jumps around like this. We don’t know if this was how Abraham himself wrote or if this was the way that a scribe later was making a copy and decided to make his own adjustments. In other modern scripture such as the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, there are very clear breaks in thought and narrative. If Joseph Smith made up all of these books we would expect the Book of Abraham to have very clear breaks of thought and narrative, but it doesn’t.
Another big thing that jumps out from chapter 1 is the Book of Abraham is very much an incomplete record. Just from the way that the narration jumps around and doesn’t give any context, you can see how people can get into trouble reading the Book of Abraham. There’s tons of stuff in chapter 1 that we don’t understand and there’s lots of room to speculate. You can also see why when people attack the Mormon Church; the first thing they do is run to the Book of Abraham. It is full of half understood stuff with lot of room to speculate. It is the perfect place for people to try to frame the LDS Church in a negative light.
So far the Book of Abraham is very interesting. Chapter 1 is full of interesting stuff. You can see that it is a very different account than other modern revelation. What do you think about Abraham Chapter 1?
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