LDS 2014 OT Sunday School Lessons 5

23 January

old-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual-35570000The title for this week’s lesson is “If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted” and the Church said its purpose is “To help class members understand that choices to follow Jesus Christ lead to liberty, happiness, and eternal life, while choices to follow Satan lead to misery and captivity.”

Now before we get into this let me say the title of the lesson just kills me.  Imagine saying such a thing to your child…

My kids are adults now but I remember their childhoods well.  I don’t recall a time that I ever told them I’d only accept them if they lived up to my standard.  I can’t imagine doing that to any child, but especially my own.  Can you imagine God saying that to you?

This lesson is broken up into three main parts with the subject matter being focused upon two people; Cain and Enoch.  Interesting pair wouldn’t you say?  Let’s get started!

The first part of this lesson focuses on the sin Cain committed when he killed his brother Abel. The Church relies heavily on the book of Moses from the Pearl of Great Price which is a partial rewrite from the book of Genesis with the insertion of Smith’s prophecies.

They tell students to understand that Cain loved Satan more than he loved God and obeyed Satan’s command to make an offering to the Lord (5:16–19). Afterwards the Lord supposedly rejected Cain’s offering and commanded him to repent, but Cain covenanted with Satan and killed his brother (5:26–33). Because of his behavior, God cursed him and his descendants (God turned them all black) and shut him out of his presence (5:34–41).

The sad part about the teaching this week is how the Church has chosen to use only partial truth to mislead the unknowing along.

What the Church got right…kind of…

The Church mentioned Abel 3-4 times as a reference when he was killed by his brother Cain, but their silence about the rest of the story is deafening.  While they mentioned that Abel’s sacrifice was a foreshadowing of the “only begotten”, that phrase as well as “God’s plan of redemption” isn’t found in the Old Testament, but somehow makes it into the book of Moses.

Cain’s offering was rejected by God because of the manner in which he gave it to God. Something in his heart was resentful for what he had to do in life and therein lies the rub. God looks at the heart of man in all that he thinks and does in life. Abel gave in faith and Cain did not – Genesis 4:7, Hebrews 11:4.

While the Church does touch upon this, its message is deceptive when they use New Testament phrases in an Old Testament setting.  Furthermore it’s made worse by not using the Old Testament.

This part of the lesson also touched on Cain feeling resentment that God asked him the whereabouts of Abel.  The famous quote “am I my brother’s keeper” was used to explain that even though the world tells us to leave others alone because of their right to choose something you may not do, it’s their duty as a Mormon to “strengthen your brother” because “you are your brother’s keeper”.

Wow that’s scary!

As a Christian it’s not a bad thing to check in on fellow church members to see how life is going for them.  And as a Christian it’s not a bad thing to hold people who are in charge of something accountable for their actions.  However, the Church has a tendency to go beyond the boundaries of what that means.

I can’t count the number of people who’ve contacted me seeking help on how to get the Church to quit harassing them.  This isn’t the biblical example of being your brother’s keeper; this is a form of abuse.

The Bible isn’t mentioned in this first section until the very end when referencing 1 John 3:11, 17-18 which says that we need to love our brothers in deed and not just words.

The second part of the lesson turns member’s attention to Enoch who they teach is the polar opposite of Cain. According to LDS teachings Enoch was commanded to teach repentance to the people (Moses 6:26–36).

Information about Enoch in the Bible pales in comparison to what Joseph Smith has to offer in the Book of Moses. According to Smith the faith of Enoch is so great the mountains fled, he changed the course of rivers, and he commanded many armies in war over their enemies who ended up all fearing God because of Enoch’s great faith.  Oh and the “roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness”.  Whatever that means…

They also noted that giants who lived on the land stood far away and “other nations fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea”.  That Enoch had some kind of faith eh?  What would it look like if mountains fled?  Where did the mountains go?  You can read all this in Moses 7:13, 17–21, 23–47, 68–69.

Remarkably God tells Enoch in the Book of Moses to tell the people the same thing Joshua told the Israelites when he began leading them over the Jordan River.  Compare Moses 6:33-34, Joshua 24:15.

Moses 6:33-34; “Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you 34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me”.

Joshua 24:15” And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

While exposing the lies of the Mormon Enoch I’d be remiss not to point out what the Bible does say about Enoch so let’s take a look.

In the Bible there are two men named Enoch.  “Ironically” the first one mentioned is a son of Cain for whom Cain built and named a city after him – Genesis 4:17-18.

The major Enoch in the Bible is the son of Jared (hmmm…is this where Joe got his idea for the Jared in the BoM?).  He was seventh in descent from Adam, the father of Methuselah (Genesis 5:21, Luke 3:37) and was translated when he was 365 years old.

Enoch’s faith was obviously pretty epic and with God taking him into heaven without seeing death stands as a testament to how he lived his life.  It’s rare when we see the phrase that someone “walked with God” in the Bible, but when we do it means that he was in constant communion with the Lord. You’ll see that Noah walked with God in Genesis 6:9, Enoch in Genesis 5:22, and Zacharias and Elizabeth in Luke 1:5-6.

In all there are almost fifty references of “walk” or “walking” with God in the Bible that gives us the example to be in fellowship with the Lord.

Enoch’s name is only mentioned a few times throughout all of scripture, but there are piles of extra-biblical apocalyptic books written about him and the many things he prophesied. The key phrase here is “extra-biblical”, meaning they’re not canonized and not inspired. The only scripture that mentions Enoch prophesying is in Jude.

Here’s where we do find Enoch mentioned in scripture;

Genesis 5:21-24; “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

Hebrews 11:5; “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Jude 1:14; “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.”

The third and final part of this week’s lesson focuses on the city of Zion which is where they believe Enoch lived and as a result of their faithfulness and obeying Enoch the entire city was translated.  Wow!   Moses 7:13, 17–21, 23–47, 68–69

Their objective is to contrast Cain’s disobedience and the effect it had on his descendants and Enoch’s faithfulness and its effect on his descendants.

What the lesson failed to mention are many, suffice it to say it looks like they purposefully left out the racist teachings they embrace about the Curse of Cain while adding to scripture about Enoch.

Strangely enough the theology they’ve embraced contradicts itself.

The 2nd Article of Faith says men are punished for their own sins and not Adam’s transgressions.

If this is true then why were Cain’s descendants cursed with a dark skin because of Cain’s sin? Moses 7:22. What had they done wrong except to be born into that family?

The other problem with the Curse of Cain theory is that it’s just flat out wrong! God put a mark upon Cain, but it never reveals what exactly that mark was other than to say people would know not to harm him.  Cain’s curse never had anything to do with the race of man.  God’s word is very clear that He doesn’t judge on the outward appearance of man, but what’s in the heart; just like he judged the differences between Cain and Abel’s sacrifice.

In this lesson more than 50 LDS passages of scripture were used while they referenced the Bible only five times.  That in itself speaks volumes.

If you’re LDS what do you think of these contrasting examples?  Do you believe God condemned an entire group of people for all time because of the sin of Cain?

This is what the Bible has to say about the events of that fateful day when Cain murdered his brother Abel;

Genesis 4:11-15; “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”

This passage of scripture is a classic example of when we need to step back and read the context of its message and not clump words and phrases together to convey it’s all one thing.

There’s a difference between the mark of Cain and the curse of Cain.

As we mentioned earlier the mark of Cain was something God placed upon him to protect him from people killing him – Genesis 4:15.

The curse of Cain was a curse God placed upon him and him alone – Genesis 4:11. He would no longer be able to till the ground and do what he’d done all his life for a living.  In other words he was about to embark on a new vocation because of his sin. What he loved to do in life was taken away because of his behavior.  It wasn’t extended to his descendants and no one changed skin color!

This lesson is fraught with misleading information about Cain and Enoch in addition to being laden with false teachings about the consequence of sin in the past and future.  We have no evidence in the Bible that an entire city was translated as Enoch was and we have a vast amount of information on the race and sin issue.  They also said that our behavior here on earth will determine the future of our descendants; meaning that if you’re temple worthy you can do works for the dead and teach your children to do the same.

The truth is that you can’t do anything to save your kids.  You should be a good example of Christ and teach them about Him, but works aren’t part of the deal. My children aren’t Christians because I am; rather, they’re Christians because of their own confession of Christ.

Lastly, about the title of this lesson –

God knows you’re not going to live up to His standards!  This is why He sent Jesus to atone for your sin and mine.  There’s nothing in this world that I could ever do that’s good enough to earn a place in heaven!  I rely solely upon Christ Jesus and Him crucified and this is where our focus must be at all times.  God looks at the heart of man today just as He did in the days of Cain and Abel; nothing has changed with God.

Romans 10:9-10; “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

If you’re LDS please know that we’re praying for you and that you’ll look in the Bible to find out what God has said about these two men.

With Love in Christ;

Michelle

1 Cor 1:18

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