Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nephi Builds a Temple

Second Nephi 5: 15-16
“15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood and of iron and of copper and of brass, and of steel and of gold and of silver and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. 16 And I Nephi did build a temple and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore if could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”
So many questions come to mind here. How many people does he have? Solomon had hundreds of thousands working on the temple. Here you have Nephi his brothers and their wives coming over on a boat. Within one generation they have enough people to build a temple and fight wars? Oh the wars come on in a couple chapters. But it is amazing. And one wonders why if there is all this Gold and Silver lying around and other precious ores (he must mean platinum) why they couldn’t construct the temple the way Solomon had it. Not enough cedar? Olive wood? What?
There is the curious use of the word steel, which according to http://fairlds.org/ means bronze. The curious part of it is that it is used in the same sentence as the word copper is used. The problem being Biblical Hebrew is incapable of distinguishing between copper and bronze. They used the same word for both.
The real kicker here though is just the building of the temple itself. Leviticus 17, and Deuteronomy 12 forbid this sort of thing. Now it would not be without precedent. In that it was done. Jews and Samaritans did build other temples, and even claimed to build them in honor of Yahweh. John 4:21 points out that the Samaritans built a temple and thought they worshiped Yahweh at that temple. There are currently texts from Elaphantine Egypt showing that the Jews there had built a temple, and even asked permission from elders in Jerusalem to do so. This however does not make it right. People sin all the time. Deuteronomy 12 stands. It says what it says. It is no news flash that people sin. Jesus upholds Deuteronomy 12 when he speaks to the Samaritan woman. There was only one place to properly worship God. Of course that temple was finally replaced with the Body of Christ. “ and said, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.' "( Matthew 26:61 (ESV) Temples are no longer needed since the resurrection. We members of the church are the temple of God. “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? [17] If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Cor. 3:16-17 (ESV) So forgive me if I don’t get all excited to take a tour of some new temple the Mormons are building. They don’t do it for me. There is only one temple I need, the body of Christ.

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