Who Are the Hebrews?

Who are the Hebrews?  Are you a Hebrew?  Were Adam, Noah, and Shem Hebrews?  Does it matter?  I think it does.  There is much confusion on the correct meaning of names and terms.  And if God truly has a Covenant People, wouldn’t it serve us to know and understand these names and terms?

The word “Hebrew”, according to the Strong’s Concordance, comes from the word Ibrly (#5680), which refers to “an Eberite or descendant of Eber.”  Eber is mentioned in Genesis 10:21 as a descendant of Shem (who is a descendant of Noah).  From Eber sprang Abraham.  Abram is referred to, in Genesis 14:13, as a Hebrew.  Hence, if you cross reference Genesis 14:13 with Genesis 10:21, we know that Abraham, and all of Eber’s posterity, are Hebrews!

So was Adam a Hebrew?  No.  Was Noah a Hebrew?  No.  Were Ham, Japheth, and Shem Hebrews?  No.  Were the other children of Shem Hebrews?  No.  Just Eber and his posterity.

Genesis 10:32
These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

(Peleg, interestingly, was one of the sons of Eber.  Peleg is often associated with “the days when the earth was divided”.)

And so here God is separating after families, tongues, lands, and nations (Genesis 10:31, 32).

So who else does this exclude from Hebrew status?

Japheth and his descendants, who are known to have occupied West Asia, and the Mediterranean and adjacent isles, are not Hebrews.  In our day these people are likely Russian, Italian, German, Spanish, Celtic, Greek, French, Scandinavian, etc., etc.

Ham and his descendants, who are known to have occupied Egypt and Canaan, are not Hebrews.  They are known as the Canaanites, or the cursed race.  They are referred to as many different names in the Scriptures, such as, Hivites, Jebusites, Arvadites, Girgashites, Amorites, Arkites, Sinites, Hittites, Sidonians, Perizzites, and Zemarites.

Shem, and most of his descendants, sans those who sprang from Eber, are not Hebrews.  Shem and the bulk of his descendants are the Semites (Shem… Sem-ite), who occupied Assyria.

Now it is interesting to note that Genesis 10:21 which says, in part, that Shem, “also, the father of all the children of Eber” would make such a highlight, considering the passage continues to list Shem’s immediate sons.  Eber is Shem’s grandson.  The passage doesn’t preface the introduction to Shem’s sons with any other grandsons.  This should tell us that there is something noteworthy about Eber and his posterity in particular.

Eber and his posterity are Hebrews.  We talked about who it excludes.  Who does it include?

It includes Abraham, the Father of the Covenant Race, Isaac, and Jacob.

It includes the whole House of Israel.

It includes King David.

It includes Jesus Christ.

Interestingly, along with Isaac, it also includes Ishmael; as well as Jacob, it includes Esau.

Ishmael and his descendants, Esau and his descendants, are Hebrews.

Now these are just my personal study notes.  If a reader understands something that I don’t, please correct me if I am wrong!

What is the significance of being a Hebrew?  Because, obviously, Japheth’s descendants are certainly eligible to partake in the spiritual rights, privileges, and blessings of Shem and the House of Israel, which is even noted in Genesis 9:27.  “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

Well, I don’t know yet!  But I look forward to further study to find out.  Please add your comments below with any thoughts.

Where Are Our Greater Works Than Christ?

healing the blind

Of all the many times I must have read John 14:12 in my life, and that only now it strikes me is astounding.  This happens often.  A case, I guess, of, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.

“He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Where are our greater works than Christ?  Set that aside even.  Where are our works of Christ?  I’m not talking about the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control).  I’m talking about his works.  Healing the sick, making the blind see, the lame walk, giving life back to the dead, prophesying (among other things that some would consider debatable).

What greater things shall we be doing than raising the dead?

Somehow I think that if my husband were to raise someone from the dead, people would automatically assume that he was some kind of minion for the devil, or drawing upon darker powers.  Somehow, and I don’t know why I think this, I don’t think they would assume he was drawing on the powers of heaven.

Why? I ask myself.  Maybe because we have lost faith in the power of God while evil is all around us.  Maybe it is our lack of faith that keeps us from doing greater works than Christ.

Again, if someone did come along and do greater works than Christ, or at least works equal to his, most would call him a devil.

If anyone were to be doing greater works than Christ, would it not likely be a Prophet of God?  Do our Church leaders (do I dare call them prophets when I have heard no prophecy since I joined the Church in 2006?) do greater works than Christ?  Equal works to Christ?  I have not seen this, other than a blessing on someone who was sick who got better.

Again I have to ask, if someone did come along and do the works (and greater) of Christ, how well would we receive him?

Joseph Smith came along prophesying and having visions and revealing doctrine.  He was not received by the world.  He was considered blasphemous by Protestants and by mainstream Christianity today.  Well, then, what should one doing works equal to or greater than Christ look like?

And why did Christ say we shall do these works because he goeth to his Father?  I gather because he wouldn’t be here to do them.  Mainstream Christianity says we can’t have any Prophets after Christ.  If it be true, who are the people doing works equal to or greater than Christ?  Who should come after him and do these things (if not prophets)?

Since the Church was formed as a result of the Priesthood, the Priesthood exists independent of the Church.  The Lord revealed that if the Church did not do his will, he would accomplish his work through another people (looking for this reference… anyone know?).  I am left wondering and looking for this other people.  Where is the Priesthood?  Where are the people doing the works, and greater, of Christ?

Are We Living the Lesser Priesthood Like the People of Moses?

In the days of Moses, the people rejected the higher law that would allow them to ‘behold the face of God’.  Why didn’t they want it?  I guess because with great blessings come great sacrifices.

“Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of eternal commandments…”  ~D&C 84:25-27

So what is the higher priesthood that they rejected?  It is the Abrahamic Covenant that they rejected (also known as the higher priesthood).  And what is the Abrahamic Covenant?  It is Celestial Marriage, with which, came the assurance that 1) Christ would come through Abraham’s lineage (another topic for another time for how this blessing applies to us as inheritors of Abraham’s blessing…whoa!), and 2) Abraham’s posterity would receive certain lands as their inheritance.

There seems to be confusion in our day regarding the term “Celestial Marriage”.  In our day, a Celestial Marriage is simply one man and one woman being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise for time and all eternity.  But the works of Abraham include multiple wives, which equated to multiple increase, and this increase is the context in which this covenant and blessing are offered.  In the days of Joseph Smith, particularly referenced in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 132, Celestial Marriage included multiple wives.

So can we deduce that it was Celestial Marriage that the people in the days of Moses rejected?  And if so, why did they?  Why would they if it was merely the marriage of one man and one woman?  How is that hard to accept?  Or have we changed the definition of Celestial Marriage to fit our times?  And are we as the Church today, accepting and living only the lesser law as the people in the days of Moses?

“…give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. 44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”  ~D&C 84: 43-44

Follow up with:

“Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.”  ~D&C 132: 32

The verse is immediately followed by defining Abraham’s works…

“God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife.  And why did she do it?  Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people.  This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promise.”  verse 34

“Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded ; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”  verse 37

It goes on to talk about David’s, Solomon’s, and Moses’ wives and concubines, and many of his other servants from the beginning of creation.  And then, he follows that up with…

“I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.”  verse 40

Then the Lord follows up with instruction about when and when it isn’t adultery, and then finally in verse 45 reiterates that he has conferred upon Joseph “the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.”

Now if the Celestial Marriage that was being restored were only the sealing of one man and one woman, why would the Lord go into the big oration about the multiple wives and concubines (marriages for time only?) of the ancient prophets, and into the rules surrounding taking multiple wives?

D&C 132: 61 also brings us back to the idea that the [higher] priesthood has to do with plural marriage: “as pertaining to the law of the priesthood – if a man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another…”  More rules surrounding taking multiple wives being part of the higher priesthood and the Lord’s law (“for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.”)

The question begs… are we to be living the law of Plural Marriage?  If not, how can we justify it?  Since when does the Lord revoke everlasting covenants?  Surely he commands and revokes, we have examples of that… but of everlasting covenants?  I don’t know.  And was the Manifesto signed by Wilford Woodruff to stop plural marriage a revelation or was it an act of buckling under extreme pressure from, and to satisfy, the State (I don’t ever see a “thus saith the Lord”)?  If not the latter, how to explain the many plural marriage sealings after the Manifesto for years to come?  Not to mention the 1886 revelation to John Taylor about the continuation of plural marriages…

Lot’s of studying to do.

If anyone is reading this, I am open for some dialogue.  My only agenda is to learn… not to be right.  I don’t want to be right, in fact.  Please leave your comments/thoughts below.