Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Sunday School Lesson 2

Posted by Jim F. on January 7, 2007

NOTE: THE MOST RECENT, UPDATED VERSION OF THIS LESSON CAN BE FOUND AT: http://feastuponthewordblog.org/2011/01/02/nt-sunday-school-lesson-2-jf-luke-1-matthew-1/

 

Lesson 2: Luke 1, Matthew 1

I should point out that my notes and questions are intended to hep someone studying the Sunday School lesson assignments more than for someone preparing to teach a lesson. Of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but material and questions for the former will contain a good deal more than that for the latter.

Matthew 1

Verses 1-16: It is clear that Matthew is not giving an exact genealogy. For example, he tells us that there were fourteen generations between each of the three important events in Israel’s history—from Abraham, to David, to the Babylonian captivity, to the coming of Christ: three groups of fourteen generations each, culminating in the birth of Christ. But if we compare this genealogy to the other genealogies in the Old Testament we can see that this is incorrect. Why would Matthew knowingly give us a genealogy that isn’t accurate? (Notice that Ezra does something similar: he omits six generations of priests from his genealogy. Compare Ezra 7:1-5 to 1 Chronicles 6:3-15.)

Notice that Matthew says that there are fourteen generations in each of the three groups (verses 17-18), but he puts only thirteen in the last group. It is unlikely that Matthew didn’t know that he had only thirteen in that group, so how do you explain that oddity?

Genealogies in the Bible rarely mention women, but this one mentions three: Tamar (spelled “Thamar” here, verse 3), Rahand (verse 5), Ruth (verse 5), and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (spelled “Urias” here—verse 6). Why would Matthew mention these women? What are the stories about these women? Do those stories have anything to do with the story of Mary and Joseph? If Matthew’s audience is the Jews, why might he include these particular women in the genealogy?

Verse 1: By using the phrase “book of the genealogy,” Matthew deliberately imitates passages such as Genesis 2:4 and 5:1. Why? What is he trying to tell us about what follows?

In Jewish thinking at the time of Christ, the “number” of David’s name is fourteen. (Jewish numerologists added up the number values of the consonants in names and believed that those numbers were significant. The Hebrew letter that we transliterate as “d” is the fourth letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the letter that we transliterate as “v” is the sixth letter, so the number of David’s name is 6+4+6, fourteen.) Does that tell us anything about why Matthew has constructed his genealogy as he has?

Verses 18-25: What does “espoused” (verse 18) mean? What does “privily” (verse 19) mean? Jewish divorce law, unlike the laws and customs of other people at the time, required that divorce be formal: a man wishing to divorce his wife (to do so, he had to find “some uncleanness in her” or “something indecent about her”—Deuteronomy 24:1), had to give her a document contradicting their marriage contract. She was then free to remarry. What does this story tell us about Joseph’s character? Why do you think that Matthew focuses on Joseph but Luke says very little about him?

Is it significant that Joseph is a dreamer, like Joseph of old? Is the meaning of Joseph’s name significant, “to take away my reproach”?

The angel says that Mary’s child’s name should be “Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (verse 21). How does the fact that he will save us explain his name? If the child is to be named “Jesus,” then why does verse 23 say his name will be “Emmanuel”?

Why does Matthew end this part of his story with a quotation from Isaiah?

Luke 1

Verses 1-4: Luke is the only writer who begins his gospel by telling us why he is writing it. Why does he do that? We don’t know who Theophilos was, but in Greek the phrase “most excellent” is a title, comparable to “your honor” in our culture, so he was probably a civil official of some kind.

Verses 5-25: Why does Luke begin with John the Baptist’s birth rather than with Jesus’ birth? Notice the parallels between his description of the two births: the parents are introduced (verses 5-7 and 26-27), an angel appears to announce the birth (verses 8-23 and 28-30), a sign is given (verses 18-20 and 34-38), and a woman who has had no children becomes pregnant miraculously (verses 24-25 and 42). Why has Luke taken so much care to make these two stories parallel?

Zacharias was chosen to burn incense on the incense altar, the holiest place in the temple, just outside the Holy of Holies. Since the priests making the offering were chosen by lot and there were only two times a year when any particular group (“course”) of priests was eligible, the chances of this happening at all were slim; the chances of it happening to the same person twice were null. Why do you think that the Lord chose that occasion to make the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth? What did the burning incense represent? Is that relevant to understanding this event?

Do you think that John was a Nazarite (verse 15)? (Read about the Nazarites in your Bible Dictionary.) If so, why do you think he was?

How does Gabriel describe John the Baptist’s mission in verse 17? How does his mortal mission relate to his post-mortal mission?

Joseph Smith tells us that Gabriel, the angel who made these announcements, is Noah (History of the Church 3:386). Why is it significant that Noah/Gabriel make these announcements? Does 1 Peter 3:20-22 suggest any reasons for Gabriel being the one to make the announcements?

How does this story compare to the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac? What is the significance of that comparison?

Verses 26-38: What do you make of Gabriel’s address to Mary in verse 28. How ought we to think of her? Compare Mary’s response to the angel to Zacharias’s. What does that tell you about each?

Gabriel describes Jesus’ mission in verses 32-33. Do they describe both his mortal ministry and the ministry that will begin with his Second Coming? How in each case?

Verses 39-56: Why might Elisabeth’s reaction (verses 42-45) have been reassuring to Mary? How does Elisabeth know that Mary will be the mother of the Lord? What is Elisabeth saying in verse 45?

Given your reading of the Old Testament, can you explain the importance of the themes of Mary’s hymn in verses 50-54? What do those themes have to do with the birth that she is expecting?

Verses 57-66: Zacharias’s name means “whom Jehovah remembers” and John’s name means “favored by Jehovah.” Does the meaning of those names tell us anything about why the angel told Zacharias to name the child John and why the family and friends wanted to name him after his father? How would the family have understood the name Zacharias to be meaningful in this case? How is the name John meaningful in this case?

Verses 67-80: What does Zacharias tell us about Jesus in his blessing of John? How does what he says about Jesus reflect what we saw the prophets of the Old Testament saying? Zacharias specifically says that Jesus has come to make it possible for Israel to perform the mercy that was promised and to remember the covenant. Reread Exodus 19:5-6 to recall the promise of the covenant. Given that promise, what does Zacharias foresee Jesus restoring? The Greek word translated “serve” in verse 74 specifically refers to temple service. What do you make of the fact that the priest who has been serving in the temple is prophesying that Jesus will come and make temple service possible?

What does Zacharias tell us about John in this blessing? Why does Zacharias call Jesus “the dayspring,” in other words, the dawn? Be sure to consider the connection between verses 78 ad 79.

Does Herod’s decree (Matthew 2:16) perhaps explain why John was raised in the desert? Some have speculated that he was raised by Essenes or a similar group. If John were raised by such a group, what might that suggest about his family’s relation to the temple and its priesthood? Why would it be appropriate that the forerunner of the Savior be raised among those who felt that way?

29 Responses to “Sunday School Lesson 2”

  1. Robert C. said

    “The angel says that Mary’s child’s name should be “Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (verse 21). How does the fact that he will save us explain his name?”

    In yesterday’s lesson I ended up talking a fair bit about why the NT is called “new” and how Christ fulfilled the “old” Mosaic law. This unwittingly led to a discussion of how Moses was not permitted to enter the promised land and how Joshua (same name as Jesus) took the Israelites through the River Jordan to Canaan. This made for a nice discussion about how it is that the (Mosaic) law by itself is insufficient to save us and how Christ can take us beyond the cares of this world into a better one. We also discussed the temple in this light.

    I was surprised, as usual, with the insights these 12-14-year-olds had. I suspect this Moses-Joshua parallelism would make for a good adult discussion as well.

  2. Robert C. said

    “Genealogies in the Bible rarely mention women . . . [w]hy would Matthew mention these women?

    We had some discussion of this at the wiki not too long ago (see here and here), with Joe in particular suggesting some interesting ways to read Bathsheba. There’s also this article by H. Parker Blount available online from the current issue of Sunstone, though I didn’t notice it making any points that Jim and Joe haven’t already at least hinted at (it’s more in the style of a personal essay than, say, scholarly commentary).

  3. Matt W. said

    Jim:
    I know you just started here, but do you know if someone will be focusing on Teaching Gospel Doctrine to teens. The information you give is fantastic, but I am really looking for something to help me reach Teenagers who don’t want to be at church to begin with. Any ideas? (At this point, I’m considering checking out the Evangelical scene to see if they have anything to offer, as I haven’t found a single text in the LDS market which seems to meet the need.)

  4. Joe Spencer said

    Matt W., I just posted a blog on teaching with paradox (here), which, as I indicate in the blog, is probably most effective (only effective) with teens. It is, I think, by far the most effective way to teach teenagers there is. I think the question of teaching teens is methodological, rather than a question of content.

  5. Jim F. said

    Matt, I think Joe has given more of an answer than I could have. Robert C also teaches teens, so I assume he will post things about his experience. And your own ideas and observations are always welcome.

  6. Floyd the Wonderdog said

    A couple of questions.

    First, KJV Luke 1:34 gives Mary’s answer to Gabriel as “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” The JST leaves out the last clause. We know that Mary was a virgin. Any ideas why that clause was removed? Perhaps it was added by an over-zealous scribe as an effort to promote the Catholic doctrine that Mary was a perpetual virgin?

    Second, Matthew 1:23 quotes Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” But Mary’s child was named Jesus, not Emmanuel. It’s not a matter of two names that mean the same thing. As the verse says, Emmanuel means God with us, while Jesus means “the Lord saves” or “the Lord gives the victory.” So, why wasn’t he named Emmanuel as Isaiah and Gabriel said?

  7. Robert C. said

    Here’s the KJV of Matt 1:19:

    Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

    This comment on this verse caught my attention:

    [One approach is to see] a tension between the two clauses, so that one should translate “although being righteous,” or “and yet not willing to make an example of her.” Here Joseph’s righteousness, in the sense of obedience to the law, is set over against his own wishes. . . . [This] option is most consonant with Matthew’s narrative and understanding of δίκαιος as right behavior according to the law. Joseph’s righteousness impels him to act faithfully, which by the law’s standard meant that Mary should be exposed as an adulteress and suffer the punishment (death by stoning, according to Deut 22:20–21, 23–24, but probably not insisted upon in the NT era; cf. John 8:3–11). [Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33A: Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 1-13. Word Biblical Commentary (18). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.]

    If this approach is taken, I think it sets up a very interesting tension between love/kindness and righteousness under the law to be developed throughout Matthew’s gospel. In this sense, Mary becomes typological of all of us mercilessly condemned before the law and yet spared by God’s/Joseph’s kindness.

    Also, I’ve heard that Joseph of Egypt is known as the epitome of righteousness (tsadik) in Jewish tradition (Kaballah esp., I think). My reading is that Joseph of Egypt showed kindness to his brothers (i.e. forgiving them), so I think the name of Mary’s husband being Joseph sets up interesting symbolism of what righteousness really is as opposed to the kind of merciless/unkind righteousness that the Pharisees seem to advocate later in the gospel.

  8. brianj said

    Re: Matthean genealogy

    I read (somewhere) where it was pointed out that Matthew takes the genealogy back to Abraham, whereas Luke’s goes all the way to Adam. It’s as if Matthew was trying to say, “Jesus is your king and father just as David and Abraham.” But Luke is emphasizing that Jesus is a man—or, better yet, The Man. (see 1 Cor 15:22,45).

    A question:

    Luke 1—and all over the NT—uses the title “the Holy Ghost” a lot. I can’t find a similar term in the OT, except for a few places like Psalms 51:11 and Isaiah 63:10-11. I don’t think the term “Spirit of God”, which is used in the OT, is quite the same thing. It seems like a totally new concept, but the NT authors just throw it out there like Zacharias, Mary, et al would have no problem with it. Maybe I am missing something in the Hebrew/Greek?

  9. nhilton said

    Robert C, thanks for your parallel between the 2 Josephs.

    I also like the parallel/contrast between the two mothers: Elizabeth = Old, miraculous birth, son is last prophet of law of Moses vs. Mary = young, miraculous birth, son the usherer-in of the new covenant. This can also be done with Sarah/Isaac & Hagar/Ishmael.

    The full JST of Luke 1 (not what’s in our KJV) gives incredible insight. I.E. v. 56 should be the last verse in the chapter, meaning Mary stayed with Elizabeth until after John was born, so she was a witness to all these happenings. Also, v. 65&66 are placed after v. 80 (before v. 56 end) which makes the “fear” factor more understandable. Also, v. 77 has “baptism for” inserted before …”the remission.” Just to name a few examples. Studing the gospels with the full JST beside me has taught me much concerning the scriptures and made me increasingly grateful for Joseph Smith’s contribution.

  10. Let me just add an echoing amen to nhilton’s endorsement of the full JST. The footnotes and appendix are helpful, but they cut up what is probably best read as a complete text into bits and pieces (that is, one is very unlikely to recognize the pure textuality of the JST taken on its own when one studies it in footnotes or the appendix). The RLDS version is good, but the full manuscripts are by far the most helpful (published by the RSC in 2004: Faulring, Matthews, and Jackson).

  11. Robert C. said

    BrianJ #8: Here I pasted an excerpt from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament regarding usage of “Holy Ghost.” The part I found most interesting and relevant to the SS lesson is as follows: “As a Greek nurtured on the mission field rather than in the homeland of the Gospel, Luke had particular reason to distinguish the Spirit of God from other spirits active in the pagan world.” I also liked the discussion of the usage in Paul, esp. pertaining to 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19 where the emphasis is on how the Holy Ghost can dwell in us making us into temples. My sense is that this is a new NT idea that builds on (/borrows/appropriates) OT concepts.

  12. BrianJ said

    Robert, #11: That’s helpful. There are lots of references in the OT to the “Spirit of God/Jehovah” and the excerpt brings up a lot of those as evidence of the foundation of the concept of Holy Ghost being in the OT. But I don’t see it. The key difference is that the Holy Ghost is talked about in the NT as a separate entity, not as a manifestation or extension of someone else; i.e. it’s not called God’s Holy Ghost, but rather the Holy Ghost. (Maybe the excerpt made this distinction and I just didn’t catch it.)

    So when the angel mentions “the Holy Ghost” to Mary, how would she understand it? Okay, maybe that’s not really what the angel said to her, but rather Luke’s narrative license. But at some point NT Christians started speaking that way, and it’s a pretty radical departure from the way Jews spoke in the OT. Elijah and other OT prophets worked so hard to convince Israel that there was only one God, and then the Christians come along and say that God also has a son that is himself God and as if that weren’t enough there’s this third “person” who is also God.

  13. A rather difficult read, but in the end worth it, is Margaret Barker’s _The Great Angel_. It is an exploration of a number of pre-Christian sources for a belief in two Gods of Israel (a Father, El, and a Son, YHWH). She does the work because she is trying to understand the cultural situation into which Christianity is inserted, and so to understand how the Jews would have heard the message. She finds abundant evidence for a rather widespread (though not approved by some particular people in power) beliefs in these two Gods. Over the course of the book, she attempts to sort out how the Holy Ghost would have been understood. In the end, I don’t think she is very successful on this last part, but she certainly does a good job of covering the ground. My post on Monday or so will deal in part with this question, and then my post the following week somewhat more directly. But I think you are asking a very important question, and I would like to see some better answers provided to your question: how would the Jews have understood the Holy Ghost?

  14. nhilton said

    Jim, I love your questions…they make me think in ways I might not otherwise go…but I need some answers! You’ve certainly given thought to your own questions and I suppose you might have some opinions at to the answers. Why then, indeed, does Matt. use the number 14 tho erroneously? And do you really think that is in correlation to the Jewish sum of 14 in the letters of David’s name? Sometimes we pull to hard on a thread of thought, past plausibility. Please share your speculations on this subject with me. :)

  15. Robert C. said

    Brian #12: I think this is a great question, and I look forward to Joe’s post (#13). A couple more thoughts for now: First, I think that since there are not articles such as “a” or “the” in Hebrew, the Greek version shouldn’t be viewed as radically incompatible with the Hebrew. It might be possible then that the phrase “the Holy Ghost/Spirit” was developed simultaneously with the mission to the Gentiles along the lines the TDNT suggests: in order to make the point that there is one God, and there is only one holy spirit, the Holy Spirit. But still, this begs the question about why the adjective Holy is used instead of “God’s Spirit” or something. I look forward to learning more about Margaret Barker’s work on this b/c I suspect it’s related to the temple.

    Next, I think this question is interesting in light of the Book of Mormon where the three personages of the Godhead seem distinct from the beginning (e.g. 1 Ne 10:11). Was this a new revelation given to Lehi or Nephi and passed down, or was this notion present in the Old World but not preserved in our Old Testament or apocryphal writings? Again, I imagine Barker will have a lot of insight on this (esp. regarding Josiac reforms…).

    Also, I think the development of Holy Spirit language should be studied in connection with the idea of baptism (esp. in the Book of Mormon where it is explicitly described before Christ’s life), related to my thoughts in #11 about rebirth and becoming new creatures in Christ. The TDNT actually has several more pages that trace the development of the word “Holy” from OT to NT times. I think there may be reason to believe that there was a gradual development (resurrection?) of a Holy Spirit idea, perhaps through an intermediate notion of God’s Spirit dwelling in us to make us holy (like Rom 2:15, the law written in our hearts, which seems like more of an intermediate concept).

    In short, I think this would make a great topic for an entire dissertation, book, or series of articles for a Mormon scholar.

  16. DChristiansen said

    nhilton: Matthew appealed to Jewish readers. They knew exactly what his was getting at. The Davidic number (fourteen) was used in three sets of generations. Three is a required number of witnesses. 3 X 14 testifies that Jesus was the Son of David. Note how emphatic Matthew is in v. 17.

  17. brianj said

    DChristiansen: I hadn’t ever noticed the 3 sets/3 witnesses. Thanks!

    Robert, #15: I’m interested in, but a little uneasy with, your explanation of articles in Hebrew. There is some sense of “the” in the OT, such as when people speak of “the Law.” I would need that explained to me and then any difference between “the Law” type phrases and “Holy Spirit” phrases, if any differences exist. There is also the question of why Jews would have chosen “the” when switching from Hebrew to Aramaic and/or Greek (ie. when going from OT to NT language). To summarize, if the Greek and Aramaic were compatible with the Hebrew, then I would expect all Jews to be speaking this way about the Holy Ghost, but I don’t get the sense that Jews ever did (then or today).

    We should probably leave this alone until Joe gets his post up. Joe, consider this comment #1. {smile}

  18. Robert: I really think that 1 Nephi 10 is the most important chapter/discourse in the Book of Mormon, and it is almost universally ignored. Whereas the nine chapters before it use only the names God, Lord, and Messiah (this last once, and in a very non-committal way), 1 Nephi 10 introduces Redeemer, Savior, Lamb of God, Son of God, and returns to Messiah, etc. It is also the introduction of the Holy Ghost in the Book of Mormon, the introduction of the interrelation of the terms Jew, Gentile, and Israelite. One moves from nine chapters of exactly what we would expect from a seventh-century B.C. Israelite in the first nine chapters of Nephi to a full-blown Christology in chapter 10. There is obviously something important at work there. I’ve been working up an outline for a paper on 1 Nephi 10 for a couple of months, but I haven’t committed myself to a full exegesis of the chapter yet (this would be a good wiki project, but perhaps it would be worth a post here as well, to get a few more people interested).

    Brian and Robert: there is a definite article in Hebrew, but, like prepositions, it is very difficult to know how to relate it to our own “the.” I personally don’t read the Hebrew “h-” as quite so absolutizing as our own “the.” But the two are not very far from each other. I will get my next thread (and perhaps a second to parallel Robert’s?) tomorrow, and it should facilitate some discussion about Margaret Barker’s work, and about whether and how we ought to be asking the sorts of questions Brian is raising here.

  19. nhilton said

    DChristiansen, thanks. That makes sense.

  20. Robert C. said

    BrianJ #17: Sorry for the mis-info on the definite article in Hebrew, I was remembering incorrectly (there is no indefinite article; here’s an online explanation I found). I don’t know much Hebrew so you should definitely listen to Joe (esp. #18) over me. (I usually over-express my tenativeness about things I’m not very confident of, which is almost everything, so I’m particularly embarrassed that I sounded so confident in my comment about this!)

  21. nhilton said

    DChristiansen, by the way, how do I access this kind of information? I don’t even know where to look for that kind of analysis and study help, i.e. Davidic number. This would have been so good to know BEFORE I taught the lesson…alas, there’s always 2011. (This is my 4th year as GD teacher…I hope it doesn’t last 4 more, tho I love it!)

  22. nhilton #21,

    I’ll be interested to see what DChristiansen has to say, but here is how I would suggest getting started on the world of biblical studies:

    The absolutes: a good Bible dictionary (I use both HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, which runs around $50, and the New Bible Dictionary edited by J. D. Douglas, which runs about ten bucks used online; the former is a bit more secular in approach, and so I often find myself more impressed with the latter, though the scholarship is more up-to-date in the former); Strong’s concordance (with the Hebrew and Greek dictionaries; this is a help for knowing the Greek/Hebrew behind the KJV, whether or not you are acquainted with the original languages). A good Bible dictionary, especially an up-to-date one, will provide you with an inexhaustible bibliography so that you can research particularities.

    Beyond these “absolutes,” I would also look into particular commentaries for particular books. The Interpretation Series James Mays is very good for a good overview of any particular book in the Bible (a typical volume is around 300 pages). The Anchor Bible is very good for coming to grips with historico-critical approaches to any given text. While you can sit down for some pleasure reading with the Interpretation Series, the Anchor Bible is more geared toward study of a particular passage (you can generally turn to whatever passage in the book and get quite a bit out of it; this would be difficult with the Interpretation Series). For hard details, the Word Biblical Commentary is best. Volumes of this commentary probe very deeply into the Bible on a textual level, often taking up pages and pages on just a few words. All three of these series of commentaries will provide with very good, often annotated bibliographies for further research as well.

  23. Sorry, the Interpretation Series edited by James Mays.

  24. Robert C. said

    nhilton #21: Or, if you want a free, online commentary, Dr. Constable’s study notes are actually quite good. I double-checked and the 14-generations thing is mentioned under the notes for Matthew 1:17 (FYI, the commentary on Matthew is a 400+ pdf document). Also, hopefully the Feast wiki will eventually be a good free source for this kind of info (with help from others, hint hint!). By the way, hat tip to Julie M. Smith at T&S for recommending Constable’s notes, here is her post that also has additional resources and tips listed that you might find helpful.

  25. brianj said

    nhilton, #21: Let me also add some free advice—NET Bible (http://net.bible.org/bible.php) is a great and free resource for commentaries and translator’s notes; Blue Letter Bible (http://www.blueletterbible.org/) is a free concordance (and much more). I don’t know how these compare to the books Joe mentioned; maybe he can tell you. I much prefer having books myself, but as a graduate student I’m sticking to “free” for the time being.

    Robert, #20: no worries on the Hebrew mistake. I am fortunate to work with a few Israelis, so I ran it past them.

  26. I hope everyone else’s suggestions save you a little money, nhilton. I’m still new to online resources, and even when I find them, I usually try to find something in hard print anyway (what do you expect from an independent bookseller?). I should probably hire myself out to some of these publishers to go around suggesting their books.

    In the end, though, I think the resources online that have been provided (I’ve just gone through them now for the first time) are probably more along the lines of what you’re looking for (assuming that you are looking primarily for textual insights and explanations, rather than broader textual or theological concerns; if these last are really what you’re looking for, I imagine that the printed text is the only way to go).

  27. DChristiansen said

    nhilton: I know this is tardy, but here is my experience. I love being taught the gospel and I look for good teacher. When living near Ogden, Utah, my wife and I would attend classes at the Weber State Institute (our kids were older). I marveled at how relatively few adults took advantage of that opportunity. Over the years, I have been exposed to some really good teachers. One of the best is Calvin Stephens. Another is Thomas Valletta (editor of “The New Testement for LDS Families”, “The Book of Mormon for LDS Families”, etc.). Tom also, last I heard, was in charge of lesson manuals, etc. for LDS institutes (and also taught the institute class for general authorities’ wifes for a number of years). Tom is a great teach and never met a gospel question he was timid to answer. Anyway, Tom did teach a class on the symbolic use of numbers. (You can also find some good stuff on the net by googling “bible number symbols”. Of the top of my head, here are a few numbers:
    one = God, unity
    two = opposition
    three = godhead, withnesses
    four = the number of man
    five = covenant, atonement (note 1+4=5 or God plus man = atonement)
    six = incomplete, close-but not quite (as in 6 6 6)
    seven = perfection, completeness
    eight = new beginning (# in Noah’s group, days at circumcision, years at baptism)
    twelve = priesthood number
    forty = period of trial

    Those are a few. So pay attention to numbers in the scriptures – and in the temple.

    I also read a lot and mark a new set of scriptures every four years.

  28. I really liked your perspective! look forward to more insightful info.

  29. Roy said

    It’s hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!

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