This post is the 3rd part of a series analyzing an article by a blogger who goes by the name G.azelem. In this post we will look at the so called “atonement statute” connected with the Day of Atonement contained in Leviticus 16, which is another critical doctrine for the third watch bloggers.
G.azelem continues his article by stating:
After taking a year off from blogging—and rarely choosing to peruse the blogs of others—I’ve returned and caught up. I decided to read through my previous 63 postings on this site, to which I was mostly impressed, but also had moments of deep embarrassment. I am prone to error and should not be trusted.
G.azalem hit’s the nail on the head here. As an imperfect and flawed mortal he is prone to error and should not be trusted. He is not alone. This goes for all mortal humans, including myself. We are told repeatedly in the scriptures that we are not to put our trust in man or the arm of flesh. Doing this is a curse to us.
If any are to come to the same conclusions as me—which I doubt (at least not until the third watch)—it will not be due to any doing on my part. The elect will uncover the truth in due time of the Lord. The mysteries of God are unfolded by the power of the Holy Ghost, not by an anonymous blogger.
The amazing thing, however, that I’ve discovered about the online Mormon community is that oftentimes in which I read something particularly profound, it is usually regarding something I’d already discovered in my own studies. To see someone else putting my thoughts and impressions into words has given me a quiet assurance that I am not alone and that I am on the right track.
I completely understand G.azelem’s perspective here. The problem is that there are two sides to every coin.
On the one hand, when we have uncovered a truth, then yes we are sure to find things that expand upon the truths we already have to be very profound.
On the other hand, if we have misconceptions or are being deceived, we will also find evidence that supports and expands upon our delusions to be just as profound. This is called conformation bias. When we are in this state we have huge blind spots when we study the word of God in the scriptures and even history. We choose to see what we want to see and are blind to the truth. This is a very bad place to find ourselves in. This is a trap that all of us fall into and is something that we all need to constantly be on guard against. We need to strive with all diligence to cast aside our false conceptions and hold fast to the truth.
There is much to be gained by sharing our personal perspectives so long as no one is claiming to be a prophet.
Even people we consider completely deluded can be of value in understanding the scriptures more fully if we try and understand their point of view and figure out at which point they erred in doctrine.
I absolutely agree with this statement. As long as we are only sharing our opinions and are not claiming authority from God, or that we have the truth, then then there is much to be gained by sharing and studying the conclusions of others. I have learned a lot by studying the doctrines and interpretations of others. I have learned many truths from others and I have also been able to recognize my false teachings as well. In fact I have found that trying to pin point where someone is in error is a great way to increase in knowledge, because it forces one to do a deeper study of the scriptures.
One wrong turn and there’s no telling what dangerous conclusions one can arrive at based on false assumptions.
G.azelem nailed it here again. One wrong turn without a course correction can lead one to arrive at false and dangerous conclusions. This is again because of conformation bias and the blindness one finds oneself in when one is in a state of delusion.
We all need to be honest with ourselves and humble ourselves to a point where we are willing to follow the truth wherever it takes us. We need to be humble enough to accept criticism of our beliefs and conclusions in our quest for truth and knowledge. If we are prideful and think we have it all figured out, we can get into a lot of trouble. We need to be aware that we may have taking a wrong turn and are therefore on the wrong path.
I challenge anyone who reads this—and vehemently disagrees—to point out which false assumptions I may have. I will not be discouraged, but encouraged to explain my positions better or to even rethink them entirely.
As stated in part 1 of this series, I accept this challenge. My hope is that G.azalem will be humble enough to not take offense, but rather reconsider his conclusions based on my feedback.
I in fact dubbed this paper as a redux to the post which easily caused me the most embarrassment as I revisited my previous postings.
I was very proud of myself for having put the Elijah controversy, in my mind, to rest. Rethinking my assumptions was a difficult band-aid to rip off, but doing so will always be necessary in the search for truth.
I’m hopeful that G.azelem will be willing and able to cast aside the false conception of multiple mortalities or probations and the false concept of unconditional promises.
We are not to have a “testimony” of every little thing that pops into our minds. Being dogmatic is what allowed the LDS church to transfigure almost every single doctrine of the restoration. The unwillingness of LDS members to question their beliefs has placed or kept them in a state of, “hidden darkness.” (2nd Nephi 3:5) The darkness is hidden—unapparent to them—because they wrongfully believe themselves to be living in the light of the fulness of the gospel.
This is an excellent point. The idea of trusting in warm fuzzy feelings or every idea that pops in our minds, which just happens to match exactly what is taught from the pulpit or lesson manual, is not a testimony.
This has in fact allowed the LDS church to change most of its original doctrines, teachings, and practices, with the general membership blindly nodding along. I have a great love and respect for the general active LDS membership, especially for the truly faithful. They are sincerely striving to do what is right and believe that they are doing just that. They do a lot of good, however they are walking in a state of blindness because of the craftiness of men and ultimately of the devil. Being an active member of the church myself, this is painful to observe.
The point of this tangent is to prep you for what is now to follow.
When I began this blog I was careful to shy away from delving into the atonement statute of Leviticus 16, mostly because its implications are too bizarre to comprehend let alone explain. Here I am going to dive straight in and do my very best to make as much sense as possible, God permitting.
The train of thought that has led me to write this post began five years ago when I was reading through The Book of Mormon for the first time on my mission. Although I’d read the BoM many times before, on my mission I was then reading it through the lens of someone who believed it to be an authentic record that contained the immutable and perfect word of God. Everything in it had purpose. I hung off every word and took what it said seriously to the fullest extent I could.
I suspect that most readers of the BoM shrug off the things contained in it that don’t make immediate sense to them. What doesn’t fit in with their religious worldview is attributed to wrong-doing on their part. They think the problem is them and that they aren’t understanding the scriptures correctly.
I don’t know that most readers of the Book of Mormon think they aren’t understanding it correctly, let alone that they are not worthy to understand it correctly.
Actually I believe that most readers of the BOM, who are primarily active LDS, don’t even notice much of what is contained in the book beyond what can be found at the surface. Most just casually read the book for a few minutes a day to feel the spirit and get through the book by year’s end as is constantly challenged at church.
Of course they gain insights and truths, but everything is seen through the lens of the church today being pure and holy. All pleasant things are attributed to the church and its members, and all negative things are written off as referring to another people.
Most readers don’t even attempt to understand anything complicated in the book, especially the words of Isaiah. They are not being told to study these things, in fact they are encouraged to not delve into the mysteries. I believe that most readers believe that the Isaiah passages are talking primarily about Christ’s earthly ministry and the history of ancient Israel. I don’t believe most even consider the possibility of most of the Isaiah passages having a future or present application. The chapter headings certainly don’t give the LDS reader much to go on.
3rd Nephi chapter’s 20 and 21 speak of the marred servant who is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, who is understood to be Jesus Christ. However, Christ speaks of the suffering servant not as himself but as a man who will declare the fulness of the gospel!
This is the greatest piece of evidence that multiple atonement’s pertain to the plan of salvation. Someone other than Christ would have their, “soul [as] an offering for sin.” (Isaiah 53:11)
Before my mission I had come across the blog onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com and familiarized myself with the controversial belief that the atonement statute of Leviticus 16 was a type and shadow of what occurred with the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum and the subsequent excommunication of Sidney Rigdon. I found the premise interesting but rejected the idea as what I deemed to be a perfect example of “looking beyond the mark.”
Little did I know that one day I would embrace the theology wholeheartedly—and even, perhaps, take it a step further.
When I realized that Christ himself spoke of the suffering servant as a separate individual I had no choice but to consider the possibility that an atonement other than the great, infinite and eternal atonement of Jesus Christ was necessary in God’s plan to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
As Abinadi taught in Mosiah 14 and 15, Jesus Christ was indeed the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, but this relates to the first watch. When Christ came to the Nephites he declared that all things spoken by Isaiah, “have been, and shall be.” (3rd Nephi 23:3) In other words, Isaiah would be re-fulfilled.
The puzzle of Leviticus 16 is not evidence enough to prove an atonement offering was made in the latter-days, because Leviticus 16 came to fruition even in the meridian of time.
In the atonement statute, three animals are to be sacrificed while one animal remains a living sacrifice to bear the iniquity and be cast into the wilderness.
John the Baptist was the bullock, the first offering.
Judas was the goat to have its blood spilled, while John the Beloved/Revelator was clearly the scapegoat who did not die but lived in exile.
Christ, of course, was the ram/sheep/lamb who accompanies the statute as the burnt offering.
The Bible was immaculately designed to give the deceived a false impression that no further word of God is necessary. However we verily know The Book of Mormon to be an authentic work of scripture. And by believing this to be so we must come to the conclusion that a servant in the last days—who the kings of the world will shut their mouths to—will make his soul an offering for sin. Leviticus 16 therefore comes to fruition in both the first and second watch.
The suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is described as:
an arm of the Lord
One can make a good case that it is Sidney Rigdon. This is because he is a root of Jesse and an arm of the Lord. The marred servant will also “declare” the marvelous work, which seems in line with Sidney’s role as the spokesman (Section 100) to declare what Joseph the seer brings forth as scripture. However, if we look at the atonement statute of Leviticus 16, Sidney is not a lamb, but a goat. He is clearly the scapegoat that does not die but is instead cast off into the wilderness. Rigdon therefore cannot be the suffering servant of the second watch because he is not the lamb of Leviticus 16.
David W. Patten was the bullock, first to die. He was martyred not unlike John the Baptist, and like John the Baptist was called to minister to the Jews as a member of the Twelve whose commission came after the Gentiles rejected the fulness of the gospel.
Hyrum was the goat. Like Judas, Hyrum chose his fate by deciding to turn himself in with Joseph to Carthage jail. And like Judas, it was Hyrum’s actions that lead to the death of the lamb.
The lamb is then Joseph; and as I’ve already established, the scapegoat is Sidney. The scapegoat is cast out of Israel into the wilderness by the hand of a “fit man” which most assuredly was Brigham Young who excommunicated Sidney and took dominion over the kingdom of the Jews.
Joseph even said that he was going to Carthage jail, “like a lamb.” (D&C 135:4)
G.azelem has given us his interpretation of Leviticus 16, which he gained from another blogger, who goes by the name Watcher or onewhoiswatching. The idea being that Leviticus 16 contains a type and shadow of a future event, or of two separate future events.
Let’s take a look at Leviticus 16 and compare it to the interpretation provided by G.azelem. But before we do this it is important to note that if Leviticus 16 is a metaphor or prophecy of the future, then everything within it must have metaphorical meaning in a future event, not just four animals. The people, objects, and numbers must also have a match in the fulfillment of the metaphor or prophecy.
All of the people, objects, numbers, and animals which need to have a metaphorical meaning will be shown in bold.
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;
2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.
7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:
12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:
13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:
14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 ¶ Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
20 ¶ And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
23 And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:
24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
25 And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.
26 And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.
27 And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.
28 And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
29 ¶ And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.
31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.
32 And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments:
33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.
I may have missed a few things that need to have metaphorical meaning and a few things might be blended together, but it looks like a pretty good list of metaphors which need to be accounted for include:
- holy place within the veil before the mercy seat
- young bullock for a sin offering
- ram for a burnt offering
- holy linen garments (coat, breeches, girdle, mitre)
- two kids of the goats for a sin offering
- door of the tabernacle of the congregation
- censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar
- sweet incense
- children of Israel
- tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them
- fit man
According to G.azelem, this metaphorical type and shadow was fulfilled during the 1st watch 2000 years ago in the meridian of time and then again in the 2nd watch in the 1830s and 1840s.
G.azelem’s interpretation of the first watch characters is:
“John the Baptist was the bullock, the first offering.
Judas was the goat to have its blood spilled,
while John the Beloved/Revelator was clearly the scapegoat who did not die but lived in exile.
Christ, of course, was the ram/sheep/lamb who accompanies the statute as the burnt offering.”
His interpretation of the second watch characters is:
“David W. Patten was the bullock, first to die. He was martyred not unlike John the Baptist, and like John the Baptist was called to minister to the Jews as a member of the Twelve whose commission came after the Gentiles rejected the fulness of the gospel.
Hyrum was the goat. Like Judas, Hyrum chose his fate by deciding to turn himself in with Joseph to Carthage jail. And like Judas, it was Hyrum’s actions that lead to the death of the lamb.
The lamb is then Joseph;
and as I’ve already established, the scapegoat is Sidney.
The scapegoat is cast out of Israel into the wilderness by the hand of a “fit man” which most assuredly was Brigham Young who excommunicated Sidney and took dominion over the kingdom of the Jews.
This is quite the interpretation. Of course it is very much incomplete, as G.azelem only gives us his opinion on 4 of the metaphors in the first watch and 5 for the second.
Like most of the conclusions in this article, this one is full of problems and has little to no support in the scriptures.
I can honestly say that I have no idea where the 1st watch interpretation comes from of John the Baptist being the bullock, Judas the goat that is slain, John the Beloved the scapegoat, and Christ the ram/sheep/lamb.
I guess I can see that John the Baptist might be considered the first martyr in the meridian of time. Then again what about his father Zacharias, who according to tradition was slain for refusing to tell the Roman soldiers where his wife was hiding the toddler John the Baptist?
G.azelem’s interpretation is pure speculation.
G.azelem has chosen apostles Judas and John for the two goats. One was chosen to be slain and the other was sent away alive with the sins of Israel upon him.
I don’t see any parallel here.
Judas was not slain as a sacrificial goat in any way, shape, or form, rather he committed suicide after betraying the Savior and becoming a son of perdition.
John was not sent away into the wilderness shortly after this suicide either, and there is no indication that any of the sins of the people were put upon him.
Christ as the ram/sheep/lamb I guess works since all animal sacrifices under the Law of Moses pointed to the sacrifice of Christ.
However it is strange that G.azelem added sheep/lamb with ram, as only a ram is mentioned. Presumably this is because Christ is referred to as a lamb and not a ram.
In his speculative interpretation of a meridian of time parallel to Leviticus 16, G.azelem failed to tell us who Moses and Aaron represent, or the other dozen or so metaphors. Without a complete interpretation, there really isn’t much to consider.
His 2nd watch interpretation is more of the same.
First of all, what evidence is there that David Patton was sent to preach to the Jews? This call does not appear anywhere in the scriptures or church history to my knowledge.
I don’t see any parallel between David Patton and John the Baptist besides the fact that they were both righteous servants of the Lord who were slain. This connection can be made between countless individuals.
I see absolutely zero parallel between Judas and Hyrum Smith. Perhaps between Judas and William Law as they were both traitors, but G.azelem can’t use William Law, because William Law wasn’t slain. Hyrum was not in any way responsible for Joseph’s death, nor was Judas slain beside Jesus as Hyrum was to Joseph.
Sidney Rigdon being the scapegoat who was sent away by Brigham Young “the fit man” has its problems, too.
First of all what happened to Sidney Rigdon in the 2nd watch is nothing like what happened to John the Beloved in the 1st watch.
John was a beloved apostle who ministered to the Lord’s sheep until he was translated and taken away many years after the other apostles were all slain. He was faithful until the end.
Sidney Rigdon had left Nauvoo for Pennsylvania against the command of the Lord, returned after Joseph and Hyrum’s deaths hoping to be the “guardian” of the church, and was excommunicated for refusing to accept the voice of the people who by the law of common consent had chosen Brigham Young and the 12 apostles to lead them. Sidney started his own church and died in obscurity.
G.azalem made no attempt to identify the “fit man” from the 1st watch only the one from the 2nd watch. Either he doesn’t have one, or he just didn’t include it in his article.
Joseph Smith as the lamb is a very strange interpretation of Leviticus 16 since a lamb is not mentioned. Rather it is a ram. But Joseph never said that he was going as a “ram” to the slaughter, so I guess it’s easier for G.azelem to change ram to lamb and hope nobody notices. Or perhaps he didn’t notice this himself.
This is a perfect example of conformation bias in my opinion.
Just like with his 1st watch interpretation, G.azelem doesn’t provide an interpretation for the other metaphors such as Moses, Aaron, the Holy Place, linen garments, wilderness, etc.
In the next part of the series I will analyze G.azalem’s breakdown of the supposed atonement offerings of Joseph and Sidney.