Symproto

Firstfruits

Sep
29

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The word “beginning” is an interesting one, as it is placed here, and is the purpose of the study today. In the Hebrew the word translated as beginning is rêʼshîyth meaning: the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit):—beginning, chief(-est), first(-fruits, part, time), principal thing. The Hebrew word is translated 11 times in the Old Testament as firstfruit.

Therefore, Genesis 1:1 could be translated: As the firstfruits, God created the Heaven and Earth.

What is a firstfruit? The Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition, defines firstfruit as:

  1. The fruit or produce first matured and collected in any season. Of these the Jews made an oblation to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.
  2. The first profits of any thing. In the church of England, the profits of every spiritual benefice for the first year.
  3. The first or earliest effect of any thing, in a good or bad sense; as the first-fruits of grace in the heart, or the first-fruits of vice. (Link)

The BibleDictionary states a firstfruit as “Regarded as belonging to God, and offered by the nation as a whole at the great feasts.”

It is clear then from the scripture, that the earth is God’s, as the “first or principle thing.” Israel was commanded to offer, as an oblation to God, an offering of the firstfruit of the land, as a symbol of their willingness to recognize that all things belong to God, who created the earth:

The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. (Exodus 34:26.)

As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord. (Leviticus 2:12.)

Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. (Proverbs 3:9.)

Later, after His sacrifice, death and resurrection, Christ was called the firstfruit:

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16.)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20.)

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23.)

Combine this idea with what took place next:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3.)

Who is the light of the world?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)

So God created the earth and provided us a Savior, who offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for us. The firstborn, who was then raised from the dead, the firstfruits of our Father in heaven. In return, we honor the Father and His Son by accepting the Fatherhood of the Creator and obeying His words.

How the Definition of Meekness Has Been Changed

Sep
29

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalms 37:11.)

 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:19.)

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5.)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matt. 11:29.)

Contrast the definitions:

Websters Dictionary 1828:

  1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.

Websters Dictionary 2015:

  1. Enduring injury with patience and without resentment.
  2. Deficient in spirit and courage.
  3. Not violent or strong.

Cambridge Modern Dictionary:

  1. Quiet and unwilling to disagree or fight or to strongly support personal ideas and opinions.

Was Christ’s message really that the deficient in spirit and courage or not violent or strong would inherit the earth? Perhaps Christ was teaching to learn of him, who is unwilling to fight or strongly support personal ideas and opinions, and you will find rest unto your souls?

Does the idea that the modern definition has changed the word meekness to really mean weakness resonate in our modern world and does it matter?

The world would have you believe that not being provoked easily is lacking in courage, that far from being patient, soft and gentle, you are unwilling to fight for your ideas. A coward.

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. (John 19:1-3, 10, 17-18.)

However, we must remember, it was the meek Christ who showed forth the greatest example of courage when he proclaimed:

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34.)

And it was the meek Christ who won the ultimate victory when the angel declared:

He is not here: for he is risen! (Matt. 28:6.)

Can the President Save Us?

Sep
28

Is the President Mighty to Save?

News Headlines:

Donald Trump Could Use Executive Orders to Undo President Obama’s Work – The Devil Is in the Details. 

President Obama Must Use Clemency Power Before Donald Trump Takes Power – Clemency Is Now Critical. 

Many Worry That Trump’s Election Is a Sign of The Apocalypse – The End of the World as We Know It. 

Happy Birthday President Obama, Now Save Us From Trump. 

Ann Coulter: Only ‘President Trump’ Can Save Us From Turning Into ‘Uganda.’ 

Dr. Thomas Sowell argues:

Despite many people who urge us all to vote, as a civic duty, the purpose of elections is not participation. The purpose is to select individuals for offices, including President of the United States. Whoever has that office has our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the fate of the entire nation in his or her hands. (Donald Trump will not save us.)

The “fate of the entire nation” according to Dr. Sowell lies in the President’s ability to save us. But what did the Lord warn us about looking to kings?

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Sam. 8:6-7.)

What does it mean to want a king to save us? Is it not that we have rejected the Lord? The Lord having already foreseen this event, provided Moses with instructions for when Israel would want a king:

When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (Deut. 17: 14-15, 18-20.)

And in the ancient America’s:

Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) someone that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge. (3 Nephi 3:19, The Book of Mormon.)

  1. Cleon Skousen elaborates:

The main difference between a king (even one approved by the people) and elected judges, is the fundamental fact that judges do not make laws. They have no legislative power. Kings, on the other hand, have always assumed the authority to issue personal edicts as laws. Kings somehow develop the idea that they are “sovereign.” They rapidly acquire powers by asserting broad authority over the people and are backed up by the army. Those elements of power and aggrandizement soon corrupt both the king and the people. In one generation the people find themselves losing their freedom and drifting into tyranny. (Skousen, W. Cleon, The Majesty of God’s Law, pg. 91.)

President George Washington warned:

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. (Washington’s Farewell Address)

If not the President, who then is mighty to save?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6.)

Free Will

Sep
27

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that is was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4.)

If we are to interpret the word light as Christ or the Gospel, and darkness as Satan or evil, does this change the way we read these verses?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)

Good vs. evil has been since the beginning and continues today on earth:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:7-9.)

What was the war in heaven fought over? Is it not free will?

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Moses 7:32, Pearl of Great Price.)

God has blessed us with free will, so that we may learn to choose the good, not by compulsion or constraint, but by choice proven through our obedience to His commandments:

But because man is possessed of free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by obedience to God. (Novatian, Concerning the Trinity, XXIX.)

And if certain persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert that the giver of the law was limited in power, they will find in our dispensation, that “many are called but few are chosen”: and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep’s clothing in the eyes of the world; and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man, while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured in immortality. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV, 15, 2.)

Why is free will then so difficult, particularly for the righteous followers?

Life in this universe is full of polarities and is made full by them; we struggle with them, complain about them, even try sometimes to destroy them with dogmatism or self-righteousness, or retreat into the innocence that is only ignorance, a return to the Garden of Eden where there is deceptive ease and clarity but no salvation. (England, Eugene, Why the Church Is As True As the Gospel, pg. 3)

None of the righteous has obtained a reward quickly, but waits for it; for if God should pay the recompense of the righteous speedily, we should immediately be training ourselves in commerce and not in godliness; for we should seem to be righteous when we were pursuing not piety but gain. (II Clement XX, 3, 4.)

Principles of Wealth

Sep
26

Who Provides Wealth?

What is Gods response to the Darwinian evolutionary theory “survival of the fittest” as it pertains to wealth? (Darwin, Charles, On the Origin of the Species, Chapter 4.)

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth, (Deut. 8:17.)

Another way of putting this is found in the ancient American scripture known as the Book of Mormon. An antichrist known as Korihor taught:

…every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and every man conquered according to his strength. (Alma 30:17.)

Gods reply is beautiful in its simplicity and is the real secret to a wealth:

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Deut. 8:18.)

The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob further teaches:

But before ye seek for riches, seek ye first the kingdom of God.

And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:17-18.)

Principles of Wealth:

Remember the Lord thy God

God gives power to get wealth

God gives wealth to establish His covenant

First seek the kingdom of God

Obtain a hope in Christ

Seek wealth only for the intent to do good

Christ Did Not Offer a Political Solution

Sep
23

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27.)

Small sample headlines of today:

The list goes on and on: Homelessness, Foreign Affairs, the Economy, the Environment, Racism, Bigotry, World Peace, etc. What is to be done? Where do we look for answers?

How painful it sometimes is to have the wrong answer. How much more painful then to be the wrong answer. (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Question, pg.8.)

The world would say the answers are to be found in politicians, lawyers, judges, media outlets and social media. But what solutions do they offer? Do they bring us any closer to peace “not as the world giveth” or security that “let[s] not your heart be troubled?”

If not here, then where do we find the brotherhood of man? Is it not discovered in the little Babe of Bethlehem?

To realize the brotherhood of man, it is necessary to recognize the Fatherhood of God and to accept the leadership of Jesus Christ. (Barker, James, Apostasy from the Divine Church, pg. 3.)

Christ came not to offer a political solution, but rather preached an individualized message of love:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40.)

All the law? Yes! Everything hangs on us loving God and loving our neighbor. It is found in each of us.

Can it really be this simple? Would following these commandments really stop all the bickering and division? Would it solve all the issues of the day? Search your heart for the answer:

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:32-33.)