If you wish to contact me for any purpose or would like to ask any questions, I can be contacted through these various ways:

Email: barryjustinhobert@gmail.com

Facebook: 'Things As They Really Are' Facebook Page

Facebook Messenger

Twitter: @Thingsastheyrea


The Old Testament and Your Patriarchal Blessing

Joseph Smith spoke at times about gathering truth so it becomes one great whole. I often ponder on the human tendency to compartmentalize truths which can get in the way of seeing the great whole. A very down-to-earth example of this in the Church is the chapter headings and breaks that are placed within our scriptures. These are helpful tools, but can at times really get in the way of having us see the bigger picture.

As I was driving around this week, I experienced this compartmentalization and its resolution. I was pondering on this coming week's Come, Follow Me readings (2 Kings 17-25) in which the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel are scattered. The Northern tribes are scattered by forceful means by the Assyrians, whereas, the Southern Kingdom is scattered both by peaceful means (see Lehi and his family) and by forceful means (by the Babylonians). I was pondering on how the Lord accomplished the scattering of Israel and was contrasting the way the Lord did it between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom.

The other truth I was able to finally mend together here was the purpose (or at least one of the purposes) of why we are told our tribe in our Patriarchal blessings. Many of us are told that our tribe represents certain responsibilities and blessings the Lord has reserved for us based on our lineage. While I wholeheartedly believe that is true, my mind was brought to a more important point in the context of my ponderings on the contrasting tactics the Lord uses in 2 Kings in scattering His covenant people.

To set the stage, I first want to put down any speculative ideas or stories that seek to explain where the 10 lost tribes are. To put it succinctly, the historical record is probably the most accurate in explaining how these tribes have been "lost". Assyrians would relocate their rogue vassal states. They would break the people apart and put them in varying places within the Assyrian-ruled boundaries. The Old Testament actually specifically tells us where many of these groups were placed, but through time and assimilation into the surrounding culture, these 10 tribes become "lost" because they completely forget their covenant status. They become lost because they lose the memory of their familial and covenantal ties.

These 10 lost tribes are to be gathered through obvious missionary work, but what good does that do for those long lost in the pages of history? For those in the covenant now, it does a lot of good. But for those born when their covenantal relationship to the Lord was completely forgotten, how are we to gather them?

The self-evident answer is family history and temple work. Therefore, firstly, the designation of your tribal lineage is also a call to perform your family history and their associated temple ordinances. Sometimes the history of the scattering of Israel is divorced from our understanding of the need of doing vicarious work for our deceased ancestors in temples.

Secondly, and this is the fuse that connected in my mind as I pondered on it this week, our assigned tribe is a designation that we are a tame olive branch within the Lord's vineyard. I was able to connect the purpose of our patriarchal blessings with this important insight from Truman G. Madsen:

“And, therefore, as you look back at your seventy or so forebears . . . you might recognize that you have inherited the blood of many generations.  And blood may not be a correct word scientifically, but in the scriptures it stands for seed, which means heredity, the inheritance of tendencies, and all of us have them.  You have the blood of this generation, from which we must become clean – ‘clean from the blood of this generation’ (D&C 88:85).  If you do, you will be clean from the blood of every generation, because it is compounded and accumulated into now- and that includes the blood of some degeneration.

“So perhaps you do have problems that you can blame on your ancestors, and if you forgive that and choose to stand close to the Lord in the process of purifying your life, that will affect your whole family in both directions.  You are not alone.  There is no way you can gain solitary and neutral ground.  You are in it- you are involved.  And this, I believe, is one of the profound meanings of that long, laborious allegory in the book of Jacob, the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees.  If you take a wild branch and graft it in to a tame one, if the branch is strong enough it will eventually corrupt and spoil the tree all the way to the roots.  But if you take a tame branch and graft it in to a wild tree, in due time, if that branch is strong enough, it will heal and regenerate to the very roots.  You will then have been an instrument in the sanctification even of your forebears.

 “ . . . To be that kind of branch and achieve that kind of transformation backward and forward is perhaps the greatest achievement of this world.  But to do it one must be great, one must be linked, bound to the Lord Jesus Christ.  One must be mighty.  One must be something of a savior.  And that is exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith said we are: ‘saviors on Mount Zion.’”  - Truman G. Madsen, “The Temple: Where Heaven Meets Earth”, pages 84-85

Our designation to the tribe of Ephraim is the call we have to regenerate even the very roots. Those roots are those lost. We are called to gather Israel on both sides of the veil, which is a very real thing. Those individuals include people who, through no fault of their own, were born without an understanding of their covenantal ties to Jehovah. Ultimately, our ministering to our ancestors allows "God to Prevail" in their lives.


Popular Posts