For this dilemma we’re looking at the story of Ishmael. When I became a Christian, surprised and shocked couldn’t really fit the description of my reaction to what I was learning. I don’t know what it’s like to be a “normal” person who came to Christ and learning the truth about God so all I can refer to is my experience as a member of the LDS Church.
Learning the truth about people like Abraham, Ishmael, Jeremiah and not to mention Jesus was mind-blowing to say the least and that’s why I keep praying these dilemmas or discrepancies will shed some light on the minds of the Mormon people.
This selection is from our 3rd installment of Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon.
Don’t forget to pray!
Demonic & Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon Part 3
In the past six or so years I’ve written countless articles on many subjects regarding Mormonism, but there are a few subjects that continue to show up for another view and additional insight. The subject of this article is my case in point.
The first time I wrote on this subject I received many horrible reviews – all by members of the Church. The reviews that were favorable of course were from the Christians. At the request of former Mormons and Christians I was asked to write a sequel so I acquiesced – that was three years ago. Now I’m receiving more requests to write another so here I am again. Glory to God for His word, the truth and His guidance!
This time we’re taking a look at Ishmael, Moab, Laban, Emer and Neum. As you can see not all of the names are demonic, but serve as examples of the ungodliness of their names and the utter lack of information of the people involved.
How can some of these people be an ungodly people in the Bible, but a god fearing person or people with the Book of Mormon? There will be other names to come so visit us in the near future to see where God has led us! We’ll be studying the derivatives of each, the parts they played in history and from where they originated. I pray that we all learn from this and as always, may we glorify the Lord and use it for His purpose.
In the Book of Mormon the sons of Lehi had been instructed by their father to go back into Jerusalem after they had fled for safety. They were to bring back the family of Ishmael in addition to taking some of Ishmael’s daughters as wives; 1 Nephi 7:1-22.
As stated in my article Nephi’s Reign http://lifeafterministry.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/studying-the-book-of-mormon-part-1 I mentioned that it’s never been a good idea to hang with people named Ishmael. Now I don’t mean that to be rude to anyone with that name today, but biblically speaking for the Israelites, they had encountered nothing but trouble when it came to this clan. As you can see from the Book of Mormon this holds true as well, but only in part. When Nephi’s brothers began rebelling against him they had backup with Ishmael’s family giving them support. Yet as you well know, Ishmael in the Book of Mormon is someone who has come to know the Lord and is accepting of Him. The story of Ishmael in the Book of Mormon is a classic example of why the Mormon people are confused.
Matthew Henry referred to the very name of Ishmael as “ominous to all the seed of Isaac”. Now why would anyone from the tribe of Judah or Israel consort with anyone named Ishmael?
Fast forward several generations to the time of Jeremiah and we see another Ishmael in action that had learned how to carry on the traditions of his fathers. Hatred ran supreme through the land of Judah as the blood of Israel ran down the streets of Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian captivity.
When invited to dinner by Gedaliah, Ishmael took the opportunity to murder his gracious host as well as the others in attendance which included Israelites as well as some Chaldeans. The next day wanting to smell more blood of the Israelites, he and his henchmen orchestrated a mass killing of eighty more Israelite men on their way to Jerusalem merely wanting to offer sacrifices to the Lord.
Ishmael and company went out to greet the oncoming group of worshippers, told them of the horror they “had encountered” by finding everyone dead and led the group to the walls that protected the city. This group of worshippers was no doubt men from the groups of the infamous “Lost Ten Tribes” who were scattered when their kingdom was taken over by the Assyrians about a hundred years earlier. They didn’t belong to the tribe of Benjamin or Judah yet they were indeed Israelites and that’s all Ishmael was concerned about. See Jeremiah chapters 40 and 41 for the entire fiasco between Ishmael and Gedahliah.
When the Israelites arrived, Ishmael and his band of murderous thugs killed all of them and unceremoniously dumped the corpses into the cisterns. Nice guy huh? Now why wouldn’t you just want to scoop these people up and ask if you can marry their daughters? In today’s world that’d be like a Holocaust survivor seeking out a daughter of Hitler to marry. Good grief the mere thought of it makes me shudder!
Ishmael was driven to kill because of jealousy and pride. Being of the royal family himself, Ishmael wanted Gedahliah out of the scene when he had been made governor of the region. Ishmael was afraid Gedahliah would be receiving more attention, fame and fortune than Ishmael was willing to share from the family inheritance.
So what of Ishmael and why should we care that someone who “supposedly” lived in the same time era had the same name? Should it, or does this even matter in light of eternal matters?
The reason it should matter of course is that this situation is indicative of all Mormon doctrines. Smith was a master of disguise; tweaking the truth just a fraction of reality enabled him to lead his audience down the highway to hell instead of leading the Mormon people on the Highway of Holiness. Using the name of Ishmael serves only one purpose: confusion. Our Father in Heaven assures us this is not part of His character in 1 Cor. 14:33 where Paul says; “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
I honestly cannot think of one good reason why the leader of any so-called Jewish tribesman or prophet would want his sons to marry the daughters of Ishmael.
Additionally, God Himself had always condemned intermarrying with the Ishmaelites. (Lev. 20:1-4) Abraham sent Ishmael and his mother Hagar out to the wilderness when Sarah rejected Hagar and her son. Sarah realized by having that part of the family around was detrimental to her son Isaac, the object of God’s covenant with mankind. Gen. 16:12 tells us that Ishmael’s hand would always be against the hand of all people and all people’s hands were against him.
The Hebrew name for Ishmael means “that God may hear” or “God hears”. The Lord told Hagar what to name the boy in addition to giving her the assurance that He indeed heard her cry to Him by acknowledging her plight. In addition to that, Hagar was even given a heads up if you will, about the way her son would behave. The boy would be a rude, wild, out of control nomad for all his life. He married an Egyptian and lived for 137 years; his descendants, the Muslims, claim to be his offspring. They were obviously a source of contention to the Jewish nation just as they are today as God tells us in Genesis 16:12-13. And as you can see the Lord does indeed keep His promises; the Ishmaelites are still living next to their brothers today.
Ishmael has always been the picture of an outsider – whereas Isaac is the picture of an everlasting covenant and grace. The apostle Paul tells us in Gal. 4:24-5 the only thing Hagar could ever do is to bear children in bondage.
In Gen. 24:1-5 we are told of the exchange Abraham had with his servant when he sent him out to fetch a wife for Isaac. The rules were very clear; he made the servant take an oath that he would not bring back a wife for Isaac taken from the Canaanites. How serious do you think God had to be that He’d even make sure people took oaths they wouldn’t intermarry? Additionally, Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac as an inheritance; compared to the children of his concubines, he gave only gifts – Gen. 25:5-6.
Is there any doubt as to how we are to regard the Ishmaelites now?
In addition to Smith putting a good light on Ishmael in the Book of Mormon, we see this again in D&C 132:27-40. This section of LDS scripture is their excuse for polygamy, but as we read the text in context you are given yet another example of how Smith nonchalantly interposed his translation of the Hebrew Bible.
The Mormon will argue that “the promise” spoken of in verses 32-34 says that polygamy is the part of the Law Abraham had to obey in order to receive the promises. The promises of the Torah are much different than those of the JST (Joseph Smith Translation).
In the Judeo-Christian Bible the “promise” God gave to Abraham was a covenant that He made with Abraham through sacrifice. The promise was that Abraham and his children would be saved through obedience and devotion to the God that created them and the universe.
Polygamy was not part of the covenant. There are 613 laws that had to be observed and obeyed by man in order to receive the promise of salvation offered by God. Now if you look in Leviticus chapter eighteen and Deuteronomy chapter seventeen you’ll read where God explicitly says not to touch the skirts of your brother’s wife, et al. However, there is not one single verse in the entire Bible that condones polygamy.
D&C 132:32-34; “Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham. 34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.”
In addition to being theologically incorrect in the interpretation of Hebrew in the Bible, Smith also has the dates wrong again. The Law wasn’t given until the time of Moses which was some 330 years after Abraham died. You can read in Exodus twelve that God begins with the ritual of the yearly Passover and then in chapter twenty the Ten Commandments are given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
I have one more item of interest for the members of the Church. Why do you have to “enter unto the Law” if we are now living under the period of grace? Doesn’t that also negate the purpose of having a double portion because you were born into the Church?
I truly believe that Ishmael has never been, nor will ever be a godly, upright, morally clean person. The Bible warns us to stay away throughout the entire Bible and leaves no wiggle room for our own interpretation. Remember 2 Peter 1:20-21 whenever you’re in doubt;
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”