“In the Similitude of Mine Only Begotten”

Theophany of Moses reveals spiritual truths that apply to all of us today

Today’s Reading: Moses 1:6-10 and Abraham 1:6-10

One of the most prominent spiritual truths we learn from scriptures is that Abraham and Moses are both told they are sons of God. For Moses, it is revealed that he is in a similitude of God’s only Begotten Son. Through Abraham, our Heavenly Father establishes an eternal covenant with the great patriarch. As we read, ponder, and apply the scriptures to our lives – knowing who we are gives us greater sense of meaning and purpose.

When our Heavenly Father called Moses – we are to understand that this prophet was one of the many noble spirits Abraham saw (Abraham 3:21-23). Abraham himself was also one of those noble spirits chosen before he was born. There are some practical spiritual truths and applications that are for our learning and understanding today.

Through Moses, we learn that men are called by divine decree. That he stands as a type and shadow of Jesus Christ. And through Moses, God showed all his creation and declared his preeminence and supremacy over all things.

According to the Book of Abraham – we learn two distinct truths. First, we learn that God operates out of a sense of law and order. Second, all of creation has its own set time.

Key Principles and Doctrines – Moses 1:6-10

Key Principle and Doctrine – Abraham 3:6-10

  • There is a set time for all things God has created
  • God is governed by rule of law and order

Called by Divine Authority

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold to the truth that our Heavenly calls men by Divine revelation and authority. This is established in the fifth article of faith:

“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”

Like Noah, Abraham, and others who came before, Moses was called and set apart to do the work the Lord had prepared for him:

Unto Moses came the voice of God amidst the fierceness of fire, calling and commissioning the man to go into Egypt and deliver therefrom the people whose cries had come up with such effect before the Lord. In this work Aaron was called to assist his brother; and later, Aaron and his sons were chosen by divine direction from the midst of the children of Israel to minister in the priest’s office. When Moses saw that his days were numbered he solicited the Lord to appoint a successor in his holy station; and by command, Joshua, the son of Nun, was named for specific service.

The Articles of Faith – James T. Talmage

This Divine Authority comes when our Heavenly Father bestows the privileges, power, and authority of His own Divine Priesthood wherein a person is empowered to administer in the ordinances and missions of God’s purpose and will. What we find in scripture is that God is a being of order and as such – the authority to preach the gospel is tied into the plan of salvation. Here, we have Moses being called into the service of the Lord. To become a savior unto the Children of Israel. Bruce R. McConkie reflects on this:

If there is a plan of salvation, it can be known only by revelation. If the gospel is revealed to men, it must come from God to prophets of God’s own choosing. If Deity reveals the ordinances of salvation, he must choose and authorize ministers to perform them. If there are no prophets to whom the Lord speaks, then his gospel, his mind and will, and his saving truths cannot be known. And if there are no legal administrators to preach the true gospel, to regulate the earthly kingdom, and to perform the saving ordinances, there will be no salvation.

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith – Bruce R. McConkie

McConkie outlines the following truths:

  1. There is a God in Heaven whose powers and authority are infinite. He is the author and creator of salvation, and he has offered salvation to men on his own terms and on no others
  2. The Lord’s house is a house of order. He has given a law unto all things, and all blessings come by obedience to those laws upon which their receipt is predicated.
  3. Salvation is available to men through the gospel. The gospel is, in fact, the plan of salvation, and in it are set forth the terms and conditions upon which God offers salvation to men.
  4. Deity calls his own prophets, his own ministers, and his own legal administrators to preach his gospel and to administer the affairs of his earthly kingdom, all so that salvation may be made available to his earthly children.

What this tells us is that Moses was called by God’s divine authority and given keys to administer in the sacred ordinances to bring salvation unto the nation of Israelites. Through this authority, the Lord bestowed the commandments, revealed the nature and purpose of the temple to be carried through the wilderness, the calling of Aaron to officiate in the sacred ordinances and sacrifices needed for the people and nation of Israel, the additional commandments, instructions, laws, and order by which the people of Israel were to comply with.

At the April 1972 General Conference, Loren C. Dunn remarks:

… the church and kingdom of God is organized from the top down by the power of revelation so that Jesus Christ himself can stand at the head and lead his own church through his apostles and prophets.

We are Called of God

And as previously stated such calling came prior to this earth life. Even Jesus Christ was called to fulfill the purpose of God and to fulfill the plan of salvation for all of humanity.

“In the Similitude of my Only Begotten”

As we consider the scriptures, ponder their teachings and truths, our attention is drawn to two statements of Moses 1:6. These two statements are: my son and thou art in the similitude of my only begotten. The context here is referencing how Moses is called to lead the nation of Israel out of bondage and bring them into a land of promise. Another key principle truth is the revelation that Moses is a Son of God and as a son of God, he is in the likeness and image of the Son. This latter idea reflects how our Heavenly Father does possess a body of flesh and bone that is glorified beyond description. While the theophany does not provide a specific anthropomorphic descriptor, we are able to see that the Lord appears to be hinting at the nature and divine heritage and origin of Moses, and all others that have come before, now exist, and will exist. This becomes evident when we consider the passage of our reading:

And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered

Moses 1:8

Here, it appears there is an allusion to not only the mortal creation of humanity, but it also alludes to the premortal creation of humanity (of which Abraham 3 touches on as it describes the intelligences the Lord organizes).

Concerning the nature of God, and man being created in the image and likeness of God, Todd B. Parker and Robert Norman observe the following:

The true nature of God has unfortunately become clouded and confused throughout much of the world because of the creeds of men and misinterpretation of the biblical text. Without the restored light and truth afforded the Saints through the book of Moses, many have made incorrect assumptions as to the nature of God—that God is a formless spirit or that he is without body, parts, or passions. These incorrect perceptions have been perpetuated for centuries when the revelatory correcting tongues of prophets have been silenced due to apostasy.

Moses: Witness of Jesus Christ – Ensign, April 1988 – Old Testament Study

Parker and Norman continue:

The Christian world in general interprets Moses’ wording of Genesis 1:26 [Gen. 1:26] as figurative, not literal: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” However, to Moses, the original revelation came with greater clarity: “In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them” (see Moses 6:9, emphasis added). Further clarification of this doctrine was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith with unmistakable plainness: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost … is a personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22).

Ibid

For us Latter-day Saints, this revelation restores the plain truth that our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, created us from His own image and likeness so that we are in the similitude of Christ. This truth is attested to in the New Testament, the Gospel of John, the teachings of the Apostle Paul. Resurrection account within the Gospels, and Christ appearing and ministering to the apostles for forty days prior to his ascension. The ministering of the resurrected savior to the inhabitants in the Book of Mormon. And consider this truth – when Christ shall appear again, we shall see him like we are (1 John 3:2).

Preeminence and Supremacy of God

Our final consideration and principle truth is how the Lord revealed to Moses His divine authority, preeminence and supremacy. This is capsulated in the following statement: … there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all. Regarding this statement, Stephen O. Smoot provides this commentary on Moses 1:6:

Here the title of “Only Begotten” is invoked for the first time. This epithet will feature prominently throughout the rest of the book … As used in the New Testament, the term derives from the Greek monogenes (with the equivalents in Hebrew and Aramaic: yehid) and is featured in other scripture as a title for Jesus … It carries a sense of possessing a unique or special relationship to somebody else and otherwise being “one of a kind” … No God beside me … This declaration is an affirmation of God’s incomparable status as the Father of humanity and Lord of Creation, not necessarily a declaration of his sole existence. Indeed, as depicted unmistakably throughout the text, besides God stands His Only Begotten Son

The Pearl of Great Price: A Study Edition for Latter-day Saints – Stephen O. Smoot

The revelation given to Moses shows us the distinct character and nature of God. His preeminence and supremacy over all of creation, how we are created after His own image and likeness, and that Moses is a symbolic figure of the promised Messiah – Jesus Christ. These truths may seem foreign to those outside of our faith. However, they are of the many plain and precious truths that had been removed, omitted, or redacted from Holy Writ. Fortunately, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, these spiritual truths are restored unto us for our own benefit and learning.

Times, Seasons, and Reckoning – Abraham 1:6-10

The term reckoning is an interesting one here. God reveals to Abraham two truths. These two truths are: a time of reckoning and a set time. The peculiarity of these five verses appear to sound obscure. What is the Lord truly saying to Abraham regarding the set time and reckoning? Specifically, concerning the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and other planets?

First, let us consider the Hebrew term reckoning.  חֶשְׁבּוֹן – chesbon (kesh-bone) means to give an account, or a device, or reason. Based on this simple understanding of the Hebrew word, we may be able to render what the Lord was revealing.

And the Lord said unto me: Now Abraham, these two facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reason, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night. Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reason

If we continue, we also may see the other verses rendered like so:

And thus there shall be the account of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the account of the Lords time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the thrown of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest

We see the interchanging of account and reason. In this context we may gain a better understanding. Especially when we consider that the Lord revealed to Abraham the nature of order among the planets and stars, and the Lord’s time compared to that of our understanding of time. This also gives us insight into the nature of God as a being of order.

Here is where we seek out other scriptures for better understandings. In Genesis 1:14, we find that the Sun and moon are established for signs and seasons (Moses 2:14 and Abraham 4:14). In Acts we read:

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.

Acts 17:26, KJV

Another way is to look at the Greek for reckoning. IBλογίζομαιLogizomai – (log-id’-zom-ahee) which means to consider. In this sense, we may be able to understand the verses as the Lord may be stating to Abraham that the two truths are to be considered in relation to the astronomical phenomena surrounding the movement of the stars and planets. To consider their own order and times and seasons. Furthermore, the Greek for reckoning also refers to logic and calls our attention to take into account.

What we find is that Abraham is shown how there is order in the universe. This order is bound by set times and seasons. Therefore, we may be able to ascertain that the two truths revealed to the great Patriarch is that concerning the order of the Stars, Planets, Suns, and Moons, along with all known galaxies. This is based on recent scientific discovery and understanding of planetary movements – even within our own solar system. For instance, the Earth orbits the Sun every 365 days. However, it is estimated that it takes Jupiter approximately 4333 days to orbit the sun. The second revealed truth is that all things have their own order, times, and seasons. This includes our own lives are bound by a set time.

All of this brings us to the conclusion that there is order where all things are governed by God. That he calls, by divine appointment and revelation, men to carry out his will and purpose. That by divine revelation, we are taught and shown that we are of divine origin and are in the image and likeness of Christ, who is also in the express image of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). That because God is a being of order, times and seasons have their own purpose in reason. This includes us – we were created with a purpose. It was not mere happenstance that we were created.

Scripture: Moses 1:6-10 and Abraham 1:6-10

  • Write out each passage by summarizing what each verse is saying

Observation: Moses 1:6-10 and Abraham 1:6-10

  • What are some of the things you notice in both passages?
  • What are some things you had not noticed before? Or what are some things do you notice initially?
  • What is interesting about these passages? What is unusual about them?
  • Do you see any repetition, comparison, or contrast?

Application: Moses 1:6-10 and Abraham 1:6-10

  • How do these passages of scripture apply to you personally?
  • Any specific action that calls to your attention?

Pray – Responding to God’s Word: Moses 1:6-10 and Abraham 1:6-10

  • Worship God and show gratitude for all that he has created
  • Describe the blessings received in knowing that God reveals his light and truth to all of us – in varying ways and degrees
  • Seek His guidance and wisdom in continually grow and transform your life

Purchase January’s Devotion – Feast Upon the Scriptures

Feast Upon the Scriptures challenge us to read, ponder, and study the Old Testament. This devotional is the first volume and follows the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Come Follow Me Curriculum for 2022. These daily devotions challenge us to read the scriptures. Meditate upon them and apply the spiritual truths and insights into our daily lives. The power of scripture study brings encouragement, lifts our spirits, comforts us, guides us, chides us, builds us up, provides hope, and brings us closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Therefore, the month of January – these devotions focus our attention on God’s plan and purpose, our divine heritage, our sense of purpose and meaning, our identity, and our eternal destiny within the scope of God’s plan of salvation. From the creation to the Patriarch Enoch the reader will discover gems of doctrinal truth, spiritual application, and thoughtful questions to ponder.

Support by giving a One-Time or purchasing a Monthly or Yearly Subscription

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Support Apologia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a one-time donation

Support Apologia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a monthly subscription

Subscribe by making a yearly donation to help support Apologia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$25.00
$25.00
$50.00
$75.00
$100.00
$200.00
$300.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Join the conversation and share your thoughts

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s