Friday, October 16, 2009

Mark is Home!

My son Mark Littlefield arrived home yesterday from the Columbia South Carolina Mission.

It's nice to have him home. It's a great thing for a young man to serve. Besides the benefit to the young man, and the converts he finds, the church creates a population of capable leaders.

And Marks brother Luke just put his papers in and will likely leave at the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Anointing - Oil and Blood

There is a theme in Old Testament and other religious writings of that day regarding anointing. There are many instances of sacred anointings from Adam seeking to be anointed with the oil from the tree of life, to Moses anointing the implements of the Tabernacle and so on.

Baptism is usually and rightfully thought of as the initiation ritual of ancient Israel, with symbolic stories of Adam standing in the Jordan River for forty days as his repentance and baptism. We know as Latter-Day Saints that Adam was actually baptized. (Moses 6:64&65)

Ancient Jewish converts had to be baptized, circumcised, and perform sacrifice as initiatory rites. Ancient Israelite thinking about anointing was also associated with these introductory rites.

“The solemn setting apart of a person or thing to a special use or purpose. According to Fleischer (Levy, "Neuhebr. Wörterb." ii. 206), the word "hanak" (to initiate) is derived from the "rubbing of the throat" of an infant for the purpose of cleansing it and enabling it to take the mother's milk, and is therefore applied to every form of initiation. It appears, moreover, that the "rubbing" remained for a long time an essential feature of the rite of initiation, for "every consecration in Biblical times was accompanied by rubbing or anointing with oil the object to be consecrated. Thus the pillar at Bethel was anointed (Gen. xxviii. 18; compare the "dedication" of Nebuchadnezzar's image, Dan. iii. 2 et seq.). The priests and the vessels of the Tabernacle were anointed with oil (Ex. xxviii. 41, xxx. 26; Lev. viii. 10-12; Num. vii. 13), and by this rite they were "hallowed." "Mishát Adonai" is, therefore, "consecration to the Lord" (Lev. x. 7).”

In temple symbolism; sacrifice, baptism, and anointing were all contiguous in their area of the temple, which represented the Telestial Kingdom.

"Teleiomai [relating to the telestial kingdom] means to be introduced into the mysteries... [a] teleiotes is a person who has been initiated into some degree or other of the mysteries, and the completion of the degree qualifies him as complete..." (Temple and Cosmos, Hugh Nibley, Deseret Book, Pg# 28)

Initiation into some degree of the mysteries is analogous to being initiated into some level of the temple worship system.

There is a relationship between oil and the blood of the sacrificial victim. In gospel themes the two are sometimes interchangeable.

In a temple setting, relating to sacrifice, a “filling of the hand” is closely related to the anointing. A priest “fills his hand” with his sacrificial offering, and that demonstrates his part in the sacrificial system. Aaron filled his hand with the sacrificial meat and burnt it upon the altar. (Leviticus 9:17)

Anointing is for “consecration.” What we read in the King James as “consecration” is often “fills the hand” in Hebrew, as in Ezekiel 43:26. The Hebrew word MLA (mala) is defined in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (word 4390); “ fill be ordained... consecrate... to unite together... ‘to fill the hand’ means to ordain or consecrate for service to God... consecrated...”

In Hebrew, covenant (brit - BRYT) literally means“cut-where-blood-flows.” When a sacrificial victim would be cut the blood would be caught in cups and passed from one priest to another, not to be sat down. In this way the the priests' hands were filled, and the people were consecrated and sanctified by the sprinkling of the blood upon the people.

And what did blood represent? Messiah, or the anointed one.