Scriptures

Does The Bible Mention The Book Of Mormon?

Introduction

The Origin Of The Book of Mormon

According to Mormon theology, the Book of Mormon is a translation of a record telling of three relatively small groups that came to the Americas, by boat, from the ancient Middle East. Two of these groups came from Jerusalem around the time of the Babylonian exile, 586/7 B.C.E., while the third, a non-Israelite group, appears to have come from Mesopotamia at least several hundred years before that.

Some of the records kept and written by these groups were passed down and were eventually edited into one volume by a prophet-historian named Mormon, who chose to preserve this record on metal plates instead of more perishable materials. He passed this record on to his son Moroni, who in turn buried it in a particular hill, which Mormon tradition conflates with a hill named Cumorah in the Book of Mormon.

This occurred in 420 C.E. Fourteen hundred years later, Moroni, now resurrected, was sent by God as an angel to guide Joseph Smith to these buried plates and provide him with divine means by which to translate them. The resulting translation, first published in 1830, has become known as the Book of Mormon.

The Book Of Mormon

The Book of Mormon itself raises some series questions which most Mormons won’t or can’t answer. Here are a few examples out of many which would be asked.

The Book of Mormon teaches that black skin is a sign of God’s curse, so that white-skinned people are considered morally and spiritually superior to black skinned people, 2 Nephi 5:21. In contrast, the Bible teaches that God ‘made of one blood all nations of men, Acts 17:26, KJV, that in Christ distinctions of ethnicity, gender and social class are erased, Galatians 3:28, and that God condemns favouritism, James 2:1.

The Book of Mormon people are said to have observed

‘all things according to the law of Moses’, 2 Nephi 5:10 / 2 Nephi 25:24

However, although they’re supposed to have been Hebrews, they were descendants of the tribe of Joseph, 1 Nephi 5:17 or Manasseh, Alma 10:3, not the tribe of Levi and family line of Aaron, as the Law of Moses dictates, Numbers 3:10 / Exodus 29:9 / Numbers 18:1-7, so they wouldn’t have had a legitimate priesthood.

During Jesus’ ministry He spoke of His church as something in the future.

‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’ Matthew 16:18

After Christ’s resurrection and the day of Pentecost we read,

‘And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 2:47

 However, the Book of Mormon claims the Christian church was established as early as 147 B.C.

‘And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward.’ Mosiah 18:17

The Bible says believers were first called Christians after Paul’s ministry in Antioch.

‘So, for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.’ Acts 11:26

However, the Book of Mormon claims people were known by this title as early as 73 B.C.

‘…yea, all those who were true believes in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.’ Alma 46:15

These are just a few examples of many example from the Book of Mormon, which show us the book is full of contradictions.

The Book Of Mormon Predicted In The Book Of Ezekiel!

The Mormon church would have us believe that the Bible itself, actually prophesied about the Book of Mormon and therefore the Book of Mormon is just as inspired and authoritative as the Bible itself. They claim that both books go hand in hand but whenever you study with them, all too often they will lean towards the teaching of Joseph Smith rather than the Bible.

The ‘proof’ Text

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.’ Ezekiel 37:15-17

This passage of the Scripture which they believe actually refers to the Book of Mormon and many Mormons truly believe that the sticks mentioned in these verses actually speak of two books, one of the books, they tell us, is the Bible, while the other is the Book of Mormon.

A Mormon leader named Apostle LeGrand Richards. On page 67 of his book ‘A Marvellous Work and A Wonder’, he quotes Ezekiel 37:15-20 and concludes,

‘In ancient times it was the custom to write on parchment and roll it on a stick. Therefore, when this command was given, it was the equivalent of directing that two books or records should be kept.’

The Hebrew word used by Ezekiel is the word ‘ets’, which means ‘wood, tree, stick’, and here its translated as stick, the word ‘ets’ is also used in Numbers 15:32 / 1 Kings 17:10 / 2 Kings 6:6 / Lamentations 4:8, and if God meant ‘scroll’ or ‘book’ here in Ezekiel He would have used the word ‘cepher’, which appears in Joshua 1:8 / Isaiah 30:8 / Jeremiah 36:2 / Daniel 12:1 / Malachi 3:16.

And Ezekiel himself uses this very word in Ezekiel 2:9 of his book, so obviously we know he was aware of it and therefore could have used it here in Ezekiel 37, if God had wanted him to.

We need to understand that these Hebrew words aren’t used interchangeably in Scripture. It’s always important to understand a passage of Scripture in its full context, and to interpret it in the plainest sense. In other words, using the historical-grammatical method we need to attempt to see how the people who received the original document in the historical setting would have understood it.

The context of any passage, and the definitions of any word must be as they were at the time the text was written for it to be understood correctly. People need to be careful not to ‘interpret’ the Bible in an attempt to make it say what they want it to say so as to advance their own teachings.

To correctly approach this passage from Ezekiel we need to remember, that just as the English language has different words for a book or a stick, so also does the Hebrew. And this would be true for most known languages as well.

Example

‘As surely as the LORD your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.’ 1 Kings 17:12

Ask yourself this question, is the widow here gathering scrolls or books?

‘The man of God asked, ‘Where did it fall?’ When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.’ 2 Kings 6:6

Did Elisha cut down a book or a scroll and then throw it into the water?

The obvious answer to both of these questions is no and so, it would only make sense to understand this passage of Scripture in Ezekiel 37 to simply mean sticks as well, because this same Hebrew word ‘ets’ is used in each case.

The logical conclusion is that Ezekiel 37:15-17 is to be understood literally, the Lord told Ezekiel to take one stick and carve on it, ‘Belonging to Judah’, etc and then to take another stick and carve into it, ‘Belonging to Joseph’, etc. This was all Ezekiel was to write on these sticks and then join them together, and anyone have any respect for the Bible could ever come to the conclusion it’s referring to the Book of Mormon.

Context

Let’s read the whole text in it’s context and you will see you don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to understand what Ezekiel is speaking about.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. ‘When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.’ Ezekiel 37:15-23

The sign of the two sticks

On two sticks the prophet writes the name of Judah on one and Joseph, or perhaps Ephraim, on the other stick. Numbers 17:1ff. Why these two names? It would seem that these represent the two kingdoms. Judah and Ephraim being the strongest tribes in both kingdoms after the division.

It’s also fair to say that most of the kings of the north came from Ephraim, and all in the south came from Judah, that the kings are in view here might be borne out by Ezekiel 37:24. The prophet is to take these two sticks and join them together making one. Perhaps here are two sticks which he had picked up and had been one but broken in two, so that they joined well together.

On the Hebrew word for ‘one’, Bullinger says, ‘echad’ is so used because it doesn’t mean absolute unity, but a compound unity. Always one of others which make up the one. Its first occurrence is in

Genesis 1:5, ‘The first day’, of seven.

Genesis 2:11 ‘The name of the first is Pison’, i.e. one of four.

Genesis 2:21, ‘He took one of his ribs.’

Genesis 2:24, ‘They two shall be one flesh.’

Hence when it’s used twice, the word being repeated, ‘one, one’, it’s translated both one and the other, but it’s always one where there are others. Hence sometimes each, as in Numbers 7:85.

Genesis 49:16, ‘as one of the (twelve) tribes of Israel’.

Numbers 13:23, ‘A branch with one cluster of (many) grapes.’

We even have the plural ‘echadim’, like Elohim, ones. In speaking of the two sticks representing the houses of Israel and Judah, it says,

Ezekiel 37:19 ‘they will become one in my hand’.

Psalm 34:20 ‘he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.’

In all these and other places the word ‘echad’ is composite. It’s one of others, and hence it’s the word used in Deuteronomy 6:4. Jehovah (the Father), Elohim (the Son), and Jehovah (the Spirit) is ‘echad’. One Triune God.’ E. W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture.

What Ezekiel is demonstrating is a picture or a sign of national unity.

Matthew Henry says in his commentary,

‘This emblem was to show the people, that the Lord would unite Judah and Israel. Christ is the true David, Israel’s King of old; and those whom he makes willing in the day of his power, he makes to walk in his judgments, and to keep his statutes.’

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown says in his commentary,

‘Alluding to Numbers 17:2, the tribal rod. The union of the two rods was a prophecy in action of the brotherly union which is to reunite the ten tribes and Judah. As their severance under Jeroboam was fraught with the greatest evil to the covenant-people, so the first result of both being joined by the spirit of life to God is that they become joined to one another under the one covenant King, Messiah-David.’

A man named Bill McKeever says the following,

‘Of course, the widow of Zarephath was not gathering books, any more than Elisha cut down a book from a tree. Neither was Ezekiel holding books (or scrolls) in his hand as Mormons all too often imply.’

Conclusion

I think we can safely say that Ezekiel 37 has nothing to say about the Book of Mormon.  By using two literal sticks, Ezekiel was illustratively predicting the coming together of two nations, Judah and Israel, which had been separated since the time of King Rehoboam, nothing more. If the Mormons would continue reading to Ezekiel 37:22, they would see that this is clearly explained.

The Bible clearly tells us that the Bible itself, is all we need to know God and live the kind of life He wants us to live, there is no need for another book.

‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’ 2 Peter 1:3

When push comes to shove the Mormons will always come down heavily on the Book of Mormon and their other books such as The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. They don’t go into these books with you at first because they know you won’t believe their teaching that God used to be a man before He became God, they deny the Bible teaching of Godhead, they see Satan as Jesus’ brother, pre-existence of souls, etc.

When a young Mormon missionary named ‘elder so and so’ arrives at your front door, ask them, how their wife and family are doing! More often than not, they aren’t married and have no kids. I wonder how they can call themselves ‘elders’ when 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 teach us an elder must be married and have children!

When it comes to the Book of Mormon, Oh, I’m sure they will say to you,

‘If you want to know if the Book of Mormon is from God then pray about it because the only way to know if something is true is by praying about it. God will then bear witness with your spirit that it is true.’

Oh, I’m sure they will quote James 1:5 from the Bible and Moroni 10:3-5 in the Book of Mormon to support this notion. But notice that the context of James 1:5 is one of praying for God to give us ‘wisdom’ to endure persecution. It has nothing whatsoever to do with praying about a book to find if it’s from God.

‘Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.’ Acts 17:11

Notice that consistency with prior revelation is the test mentioned here, there’s no mention of praying about it. As for the Moroni passage, well, we would have to first believe what the Book of Mormon says in order to believe this passage and find out if the Book of Mormon is true, that would be circular reasoning.

‘But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.’ Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9

Every Mormon I have spoken to says the same thing, they read the book of Mormon and asked God if was it true and they all say, when they did, although not always immediately, they received a sign from the Holy Spirit in the form of a

‘burning in the bosom’

All in all, it all comes down to a feeling, but our feelings can be wrong.

‘There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.’ Proverbs 14:12

If a person does read the Book of Mormon and prays but receives no such ‘burning in the bosom’, what then?

I’m guessing it would leave the person feeling rejected by God! Or they come to the opposite conclusion that the Book isn’t from God.

I wonder what would happen if we used the same method in determining the truth of other matters.

‘Does two plus two equal four?’ ‘I’ll pray about it and get back to you.’

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 5:24

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