Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Gabriel’s Revelation

Posted by cherylem on July 6, 2008

I was wondering what some of you thought about this piece which has appeared in various outlets this morning: “Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection.” My specific question is how this article/discovery/controversy is impacted by certain book of Mormon scriptures, or if there is any intersect at all. 

One link to the article in question is here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/05/africa/06stone.php

Book of Mormon verses which seem to apply are:

Whatever problems traditional Christianity (and even traditional Judaism) has with a pre-knowledge or pre-writings regarding the three days and then resurrection of a Messiah figure, it seems to me as LDS we don’t have the same “kick-in-the-gut” reaction to this. 

I am not an apologist nor do I try to find proof-links to the BOM etc in the secular universe, but this whole article seemed to point out one of the differences we have with others – we believe in a people that believed in advance of the resurrection that the Saviour would come, die and be resurrected, and who taught this firmly, before the event.

According to Ethan Bronner’s article, one of the revolutionary aspects to the stone writing in question is that a death, three days, then resurrection of a Messiah was talked about before Christ. Scholars seem to be concluding that this was applying itself to another figure (not Jesus), and this may even be true – I don’t know enough to state otherwise. But most interesting to me was my own reaction to such a writing, based on BOM teachings: my lack of surprise or angst regarding the fact that such a stone document exists.

Any comments or discussion regarding this? Anybody know more?

4 Responses to “Gabriel’s Revelation”

  1. Randal said

    The following is something I just posted to another blog on the same topic. —-

    From the stain on one end, it is likely that the stone stood up in a stationary position.

    I appreciate the foretelling nature of the tablet.

    This tablet is perhaps just one more contribution to a large body of prophetic and largely ignored writings which foretell the coming of a suffering Messiah.

    Read Psalm 22 for a double dose and a foretelling of life on the cross. And of course we are pointed directly to Psalm 22 with with Christ’s last words stated in the Gospel of Mark which were “my God, my God, why have your forsaken me”.

  2. BrianJ said

    Cheryl, I’m with you: I don’t see the problem for LDS.

  3. Gerald Smith said

    There were issues with the regular Dead Sea Scrolls for some Jewish and Christian groups, as well; since they describe a baptism, holy communion/Sacrament, and look forward to a Messiah.

    These are positive issues for LDS, as they support the premise in the Book of Mormon that a suffering Messiah was looked to by pre-Christians. I can recall decades ago, people scoffing at the idea of pre-Christian baptism, etc. Now it isn’t so laughable of an idea.

    While it isn’t proof that the Restoration is true, it is potential evidence, and a comfort to know that our beliefs are, once again, founded in ancient beliefs.

    As for other Messiahs, I don’t think we LDS have much problem with that, either. Cleon Skousen was writing about the Messiah ben Joseph back in the 50s and 60s. The Dead Sea Scrolls also remark on the 2 Messiah concept. As it is, we look at shadows, prototypes and patterns in the LDS Church, all the time: Melchizedek as pattern for Christ, for example.

  4. Ben McGuire said

    I think as LDS we experience this angst (as a community) in other ways. I liked the decription which Larry Hurtado (in his book Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity):

    “Wishing to preserve the religious and theological validity of traditional Christological claims, the anticritical view attempted to deny or minimize as far as possible the historically conditioned nature of early Christ-devotion. On the other hand, the history-of-religions scholars were convinced that their demonstration of the historically conditioned nature of early Christ-devotion proves that it was no longer to be treated as theologically valid or binding for modern Christians. In both views the assumption is the same: if something can be shown to have arisen through a historical process, then it cannot be divine ‘revelation’ or have continuing theological validity.”

    A little later he followed with this:

    “Thus for example, I do not think it is necessary for Jesus to have thought and spoken of himself in the same terms that his followers thought and spoke of him in the decades subsequent to his crucifixion in order for the convictions of those followers to be treated as valid by Christianity today. A good many may disagree, both among those who assert and among those who oppose traditional Christian beliefs. Most Christians will liekly think that some degree of continuity between what Jesus thought of himself and what early Christians claimed about him is at least desireable and perhaps necessary for those claims to have religious validity.”

    For LDS – at least in my experience – the notion that Mormonism itself contains elements (or has contained elements) which were drawn – not from revelation but from the environment and experience of the early leaders of the LDS church tends to create for some the same kinds of angst. This same kind of historical development (as opposed to revelatory innovation) can be troublesome.

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