Monday, March 31, 2008

Angels Who Stand As Sentinels

President Brigham Young taught us that the temple is where we learn about eternity, and where we prepare to pass certain angels that are standing gard. What we don’t always get is that they are guarding against us, not for us. When The Father had a flaming sword (& Cherubim) placed in the Garden of Eden it was to stop Adam from returning unchecked. Symbolically is was teaching that all of mankind (ha-adam) can only pass when we are ready (sanctified). We often think of angels guarding us, but in this process they are guarding the way back, so we don’t attempt to enter glories what are not yet ready to inherit.

"Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell." (Brigham Young, J. D. 2:31.)

The Zohar is preoccupied with idea of gates we enter when we are ready, and at each gate is an armed guard. Egyptian initiation imagery is also loaded with example of stations (like rungs of a ladder) that the deceased must pass through to gain his full inheritance. Truth and fidelity are the initiates defenses against these destroying angels.

In Egyptian imagery, those who have not had fidelity to their covenants (“key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood”) in the mortal world, are slashed, cut, or otherwise destroyed if they try to pass. Perhaps this is the origin of the Tyler of Masonry?

Prof. Hugh Nibley discussed the Book of Breathings, and the Book of the Dead.

Here is an excerpt:

“it is permitted to wonder whether khrw-paw (faces-of-fire) with its Hebrew plural ending -im might be the source of the mysterious word Cherubim of the Bible. Or is the root the Egyptian Cherep, "to have control over," as in the long Book of Breathings: "Thrice welcome! say the Cherebneset-priests," i.e., "those who are in charge of the throne," they being the guardians of the gate (T 32, I, 22, O.M.R.O., 31:56)? Apophis is confronted by the Keepers of the Pylons standing with swords in their hands before a gate from which flames shoot forth, and is repelled by both sword and flame (Bremner-Rhind, 30:11-15). No one else can enter the place as yet either, excepting Re, since to enter it is to breathe the air of eternal life (Gr. Tb., 48-49), and man is not yet ready to live forever in his sins. The Jewish doctors, at least, made such a discrimination, telling us that when Adam was driven out of the place of delights, "the Watchers were placed there so that none could enter unless they had been first purified by the hand of the Cherubim" (B. Gorion, Sagen d. Juden, I, 118). From the earliest times, then, fire and the sword or the flaming sword prevent the serpent from returning to the garden. The serpent must remain in outer darkness (L. Kakosy, ZA, 97:104-105), being himself the mystery of non-being, the negation of all that is (E. Hornung, Ein.u. Viel., pp. 171-72). The Pistis Sophia gives the same explanation for the flaming sword: The time will come, it says, when the sword will be removed for Adam and he may reach forth his hand and partake of the fruit of the tree of life. But the serpent may never do so; in the end the flaming sword was for his benefit.” [Prof. Hugh Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Part IV, The Garden Story]

Ancient temple initiations contained feathers of truth (Ma’at), swords of judgement, and angels guarding the way. Today we have an abbreviated version of what was Adam's ascension, which is our inheritance (endowment). Traces of a longer version, a deeper teaching, and fuller laws, give us hints of the path back. This is why the endowment can only truly be understood by revelation. The profane waste their time trying to understand it, only by revelation can we “get it.”

 “Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.” [D&C 84:20]

“If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.” [D&C 42:60

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Degrees of Glory - Now!

So much of what I blog about has to do with the three degrees of glory, because that is the template of the temple, displaying eternity. When I say eternity, I mean forever, and the here and now.

I was going to here give some of my best posts to the three degree pattern, but they are almost all based upon this insight. That insight is usually focussed on the eternities, not the present. With some exceptions; Fasting, and Shin, Aleph, & Mem.

Most of my posts are a little esoteric for most people’s tastes. So, here is my (given to me by my sweet wife) highly recommended link to understanding how the three degrees of glory affect you here and now, where the rubber meets the road.

This is good stuff, share it with your kids.

Three Realms of Law, Light and Life by Lili Anderson, Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, February 1, 2005.


No study of mysticism can be complete without a mention of Gnosticism. Gnosticism is the mother of modern, so called, Mystery Schools or Mystery Religions . While all of them may not be direct descendants, they are at least stepchildren, receiving nourishment from the many philosophies spun-off from Gnosticism.

First century Christians understood that the life of the church depended upon the existence of apostles. [1] This dependence is due to the keys that the apostles held. [2] Among the keys, that if lost, would signal the end of the church, were the keys to the mysteries or ordinances. Even a modern day bishop, who has some keys, can only rightly exercise those keys under the eventual direction of an apostle (an apostle holds all the keys).

Before leaving the first century church, Jesus gave Peter the authority to bind the mysteries or ordinances on earth, which shall be binding in heaven:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)

When the Prophet Joseph was given those same keys in this dispensation, the associated instructions tied the keys to the mysteries:

“And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed , even things which were from the foundation of the world” (D&C 35:18)

When the apostasy of the original church began, and there were no longer apostle available, there was no one to correct the doctrines of men, and administer the mysteries.

The mysteries are the center of the church. The true church is built upon the mysteries. When the first original church fell:

“… a horde of deceivers ‘who up until then had been lurking in dark corners,’ as soon as they saw that there were no more apostles left to call them to account, came boldly forth, each claiming that he alone had the gnosis which the Lord had secretly imparted to the apostles after the resurrection.” [3]

The reason for this claim of the gnosis, hidden knowledge, or ordinances; is because the authorized (keys) holder of the true gnosis is the prophet of God on earth, and the leader of God’s church. [4]

The false prophets lured membership by a claim that they had the gnosis. To convince onlookers a whole arsenal of tricks were employed. They put on airs with pomp and circumstance, wearing robes, fancy hats, ringing the bells, making smoke, and burning incense. All of which were hollow gestures because they had no authority and only a corrupted version of ordinances.

These would be usurpers divided into groups, and come down to us today as the Mystery Schools .

Since the beginning of the apostasy, even until today they have fed off of each other by integrating each other’s claims into their own philosophy. They have become a hybrid of hidden and occult practice, a great “esoteric sponge.”

Gnostics, Rosicrucians, Theosophist and others initiate their members into what fragments of the gnosis they can find, mingled with the philosophies of men, and the doctrines of devils.

The watered down versions of these Gnostic views are the modern esoteric and New Age movements.

The well-grounded, mature saint can study Gnosticism and find truth, and all truth is beneficial. But, a steady diet of Gnosticism, without a daily good portion of a gospel meal, tends to sicken the soul.
[1] Ephesians 2:20
[2] Matthew 16:19, Revelation 1:18, Doctrine and Covenants 13:1, 27:6, 9, 12, 13, 42:69, 65:2, 81:2, 90:2 and so on.
[3] Hugh Nibley, Todd M. Compton, Stephen D. Ricks, Mormonism and Early Christianity, Deseret Book, Chapter 5.
[4] Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators. Each one holds all the keys necessary to maintain the church on earth. If there is more than one apostle on earth, the senior (by setting apart date) is the leader of the church.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back Yard Professor - Kerry Shirts

Hey everyone, the long lost Kerry Shirts is back posting at the (LINK).

And he has started a commentary on the Zohar, which should really be good.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Did The Temple Ordinances Come From The Masons?

For you Masonry student, there is a good post over at “Temple Study” that you should take a look at. Here is the link: Did The Temple Ordinances Come From The Masons?.

Of course I did have a good discussion with Joe Swick on this topic over: here, which I think is a pretty good overview of the topic.

Enoch & Metatron (by: Dr. Andrai A. Orlov)

I don’t have permission to mention his name, but his initials are “DL,” he is a fellow who visits my site from time to time, and is particularly insightful.

He gave me a list of links that contain certain excepts from the writings of Dr. Andrai A. Orlov, who teaches at the Theology Department of Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Dr. Orlov is not LDS as far as I know (he should be), but he has a lot of insight to the topics of this blog. I present the list for your reading pleasure:

Enoch as the Heavenly Priest

Enoch as the Expert in Secrets

Enoch as the Mediator

Enoch as the Scribe

The Etymology of the Name "Metatron"

Metatron as the Mediator

Metatron as the Prince of the World

Metatron as the Deity: Lesser YHWH

Metatron as God's Shiur Qomah

Metatron as the Prince of the Presence

Metatron as the Youth

Metatron as the Expert in Secrets

Metatron as Sar Torah

Metatron as the Scribe

Back before Kerry Shirts had to get a job, he use to mention him on a regular basis.

He does not give his books away, so these links are a real treat. If you like what he has to say, then buy a book.
I thought maybe you might like this too: Metatron

The Picture above is not a picture of Dr. Orlov's book.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tying The Knot

Jacob saw the plan of ascension, one kingdom to another, as a ladder. Moses experienced it in the form of a mountain. Some ancients thought of the plan of salvation as three worlds or kingdoms stacked one above the other. Spanning these three worlds was a rope descending from the highest kingdom bringing connection to the lower worlds. Each of the three worlds is tied to the rope by a knot, and the knot is fastened with a nail (Vav). The temple is a knot symbolizing the connecting place between the worlds. Each level of temple worship has an altar which represents the Vav or nail in that world.
“The temple is thus thought of as the ‘bond of heaven and earth,’ as the ‘navel of the earth,’ and as the ‘pillar of the earth,’ that is, the central axis around which the world revolves. The temple represents ‘the Pole of the heavens, around which all heavenly motions revolve, the knot that ties earth and heaven together, the seat of universal dominion.’” [1 or LINK]

The rope is the center line of the temple, or the path to Lehi’s tree, or the straight and narrow path.  The knot alludes to covenants. When people are married, the have tied the knot, they have made promises that bind them. In the case of the temple the knot or covenant is made binding by the nail or Vav, which represents the atonement.

“We stand in the middle position. This earth is the Old English middan-(g)eard, the middle-earth. The markas & scheckecirc; u er .s ti of the Babylonians means the knot that ties heaven to earth, the knot that ties all horizontal distances together (cf. fig. 37H, p. 151), and all up and down, the meeting point of the heavens and the earth. It is the middle point at which the worlds above and the worlds below join. This scale model of the universe is the temple. Of course, the word for temple in Latin, templum, means the same thing as template” [2 or LINK]

Sometimes this connection between the higher and lower worlds is a rope, trunk of a tree, vine, ladder, river, or even a spinal column. It is always the same template, showing the way back to God.

[1] Prof. Hugh Nibley, What Is a Temple? Chapter 8.

[2] Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, Hugh Nibley, Don E. Norton, Deseret Book, The Meaning of the Temple.

Also see: Water, Air, & Fire