One God


Introduction: In the following, the notation “(DSS)” means that the quoted passage has been taken from a translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Similarly, “(KJV)” will precede a quote from the King James Version of the Bible, and “(LXX)” a quote from the Septuagint.

All of the following excerpts have been taken from the Book of Isaiah because, of all the books of the Old Testament found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Isaiah was the most intact. I find it relevant that God would take such care to preserve this particular book.

I have composed this paper for two reasons. The first – to put on display just a few of the many instances in the Bible where God says that He is the ONLY (real/non-idol) god. The second reason – under the heading “Bible: Preservation of the Text of the O.T” in the Bible Dictionary of the LDS Standard Works, the claim is made that the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls prove how corrupt current Bible translations (like the KJV) of the Old Testament are.

The following side-by-side comparison will reveal the correctness of these particular, crucial, pieces of scripture.

Remember: in the KJV, the all-capital-letters word “LORD” is used in place of the Hebrew word from which we get the English “Jehovah.” The Tetragrammaton, “YHWH,” represents the same Hebrew word.

Comparison of the Isaiah Verses

Isaiah 42:5-8
(DSS): Thus says The God (ha-el) and God (elohiym), the creator of the heavens, (and stretched them out in the firmament) and the earth, and that which comes out of it; the Giver of breath (neshamah) to the people upon it, and spirit to those walking in it: I have called you in righteousness, and I will hold your hand, and will keep you, and I will give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out from prison the prisoners, and from the house of confinement those who sit in darkness. I am YHWH that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to idols.

(KJV): Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

(LXX): Thus saith the Lord God, who made the heaven, and established it; who settled the earth, and the things in it, and gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that tread on it; I the Lord God have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will strengthen thee: and I have given thee for the covenant of a race, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring the bound and them that sit in darkness out of the bonds and the prison house. I am the Lord God: that is my name: I will not give my glory to another, nor my praises to graven images.

Isaiah 43:10-11
(DSS): You are my witnesses, says YHWH, and my servant whom I have chosen: so that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, nor after me will there be. I, even I, am YHWH; and beside me there is no savior.

(KJV): Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.

(LXX): Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he: before me there was no other God, and after me there shall be none. I am God; and beside me there is no Savior.

Isaiah 44:6
(DSS): Thus says YHWH the King of Israel, and his Redeemer YHWH of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

(KJV): Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts, I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

(LXX): Thus saith God the King of Israel, and the God of Hosts that delivered him (Israel); I am the first, and I am hereafter: beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:24
(DSS): Thus says YHWH, your redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb, I am YHWH maker of all things; stretching out the heavens alone; spreading abroad the earth by myself

(KJV): Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself

(LXX): Thus saith the Lord that redeems thee, and who formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that performs all things: I stretched out the heaven alone, and established the earth.

Isaiah 45:5-7
(DSS): I am YHWH, and there is no one else, and beside me there is no God I girded you, and you did not know me: So that they will know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am YHWH, and there is no one else. I am the former of the light, and creator of darkness: making good, and creating evil: I YHWH am doing all these things.

(KJV): I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me, I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the LORD do all these things.

(LXX): For I am the Lord God, and there is no other God beside me; I strengthened thee, and thou hast not known me. That they that come from the east and they that come from the west may know that there is no God but me. I am the Lord God, and there is none beside. I am he that prepared light, and formed darkness; who make peace, and create evil; I am the Lord God, that does all these things.

Isaiah 45:18-22
(DSS): For thus says YHWH creator of the heavens; He is the God and He formed the earth and made it; and he prepared it, He did not create it void, he formed it to be inhabited: I am YHWH; and there is no one else. I did not speak in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I did not say to the seed of Jacob in vain, Seek me; I YHWH speak righteousness, telling things that are straight. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near, and with him who is escaped from the Gentiles: Neither do the ones setting up the wood of their idols know, that they pray to a god that cannot save. Let them tell, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has announced this from antiquity? who has told it from then? Is it not I YHWH? and there is no other God beside me; a righteous God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Turn to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: because I am God, and there is no other.

(KJV): For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Assemble yourselves and come, draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

(LXX): Thus saith the Lord that made the heaven, this God that created the earth, and made it; he marked it out, he made it not in vain, but formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is none beside. I have not spoken in secret, nor in a dark place of the earth: I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek vanity: I, even I, am the Lord, speaking righteousness, and proclaiming truth. Assemble yourselves and come: take counsel together, ye that escape of the nations: they that set up wood, even their graven image, have no knowledge, nor they who pray to gods that do not save. If they will declare, let them draw nigh, that they may know together, who has caused these things to be heard from the beginning: then was it told you. I am God, and there is not another beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none but me. Turn ye to me, and ye shall be saved, ye that come from the end of the earth: I am God, and there is none other.


The alternate wording of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint translations help clarify and give depth to the wording of the KJV. The overall testimony God has given of Himself remains unchanged. YHWH says He is the only God, the only Savior, the One who created the heavens and earth (by Himself), and the One who gives life and spirit. This is God’s testimony of Himself.

The 8th Article of Faith states: “We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.”  We can say now that these particular verses have been translated correctly.

Will you now believe them?  More importantly, will you believe Him?


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


About setfree

God trusting, Bible believing, Jesus lover.
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255 Responses to One God

  1. This little exercise is not difficult when you get to pick what text you’re using. If we move over to much older literature the story is different. The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 is a good example. From Deut 32:8b we find the following in the KJV:

    He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel (בני ישראל).

    But look at the LXX:

    He fixed boundaries of nations according to the number of the angels of God (ἀγγέλων Θεοῦ).

    Now scholars for a long time suspected this originally read “Sons of God,” since ἀγγέλων Θεοῦ is how the LXX generally translates the phrase בני אלהים. DSS confirms that conclusion:

    He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God (בני אלהים).

    This was the original reading of the verse. There’s another interesting change from Deut 32:43a. KJV:

    Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants.

    The LXX has a much different reading:

    Rejoice, O skies, with him, and let all the sons of God do obeisance to him. Be glad, O nations, with his people, and let all the angels of God prevail for him.

    And DSS has the original:

    Sing, O heavens, with his people, and worship him, all you gods.

    LXX turned “Gods” into “Sons of God” and then equated them with angels (this became the common understanding of בני אלהים between the second century BCE and the Common Era). Originally, the Song of Moses made reference to numerous other gods that both operated in their nations under the authority of the Most High and worshipped God (see also Ps 29:1).

  2. Janet says:

    I quoted Rhodes accurately and let his own words spell out the true issues of translating the facsimiles. There was no need in this debate to claim my facts are anything other then factual. Your tone was condescending, I find debating the Gospel of Christ and Mormonism enlightening, but I see no reason for questioning my facts, it you find them at issue, then just provide your version and we can continue the thread civilly.

    1 Peter 3:15


  3. Daniel,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of textual criticism! There is some support for the rendering that you give but I do believe you overstate your case; there is also evidence for the rendering the passage as “sons of man”, “children of Israel”, etc. There is a variant reading here.

    I also think you pack way too much theology into one verse. Throughout the Tenach there are references to other gods but they are in contrast to the most high God. They may be El but He is El-Elyon. He is of a different woop & warf, a different kind, then the gods of the nations. At times in the OT, the other gods are called false, “eliyl”, like in Ps 96:5.

    So yeah, there are other “gods” but they are not like HaShem. They will never be like Him and they were not always God like Him – they are created beings. Even you admit that the other gods worship the God of Israel. This then begs the question: does the god of this world worship another god? And . . . will we still worship our god when we have our own world(s) and we have our children worshiping us?

    I don’t think dagon, with his head and hands cut off, prostrated before the ark, really makes a case for Mormonism.

  4. grindael says:


    It is typical of Mormons who post here to ‘skirt’ the real issues and focus on obscure, meaningless portions of dialogue that divert from the real issues. That is what you are doing Janet. YOU are the one who claimed, and I quote, “I should be allowed to quote him accurately,” acting as if I did not quote the man accurately. I quoted his translation accurately, and it is there for all to read. Crying ‘foul’ because I called you on it is your prerogative, but it is a straw man tactic because you have done nothing but quote part of the authors ‘conclusions’ which do not change the fact of the translation. You did the same thing with the Adam-God quotes, calling them ‘snippets’ which is a total falsehood. There is a wealth of documentation, which I thoroughly provided on Adam-God, do you deny it? I do not ‘condescend’, I presented FACTS & EVIDENCE, (which again,) you said I DID NOT DO.

  5. Enki says:

    “I think the last thing we need to do here is get down on the Jews. As for you comment on the Bible, what does that have to do with anything? I have never heard of anyone or any sect worshipping the Bible as God. Could you back that up?”

    Its just something I have noticed about judaism, that sense of pride and arrogance. Most of the customs reinforce that, such as keeping kosher. Unclean animals eat flesh, rotting things or fecal matter. The subliminal message is that other cultures ‘eat fecal matter’. LDS people may have their own issues which are similar to this, such as the WOW, but also other moral issues, that indicate that they seem to think they are better.

    Bible fundamentalists so heavily emphasize the authority of the Bible, and its literal nature that I almost don’t need to provide any proof that many consider it god itself. But that is something difficult to see if you are in the thick of it. Sometimes people also use it as their way to make themselves god, by quoting scripture, expanding or changing its meaning. Certainly Joseph Smith and other LDS authorities have done this.

    But there is some connection in the abrahamic religions between the ‘word of god’ and god himself, the association is very, very close.

    John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    John 1.14. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”

    I have read some commentary by a Muslim which stated a belief that the Koran existed before creation. When I have more time I can find support for that if needed.

  6. Hi David. Thanks for the response, although I’m not exactly new to textual criticism. I don’t believe I do overstate my case concerning Deut 32:8-9, though. I’ve never seen a cogent argument to accept MT’s reading of Deut 32:8, and none of the arguments I have seen have appeared in print. Jan Joosten’s 2007 VT article, which argues for בני שר אל, is the only alternative to accepting 4QDeut that holds any water.

    The idea that the other gods are false, non-existent, or evil is quite late in the history of early Israelite religion. It makes little sense for gods to be given responsibilities over the nations and to praise Elyon if they’re all אלילים. These are distinct historical layers.

    YHWH was also not originally identified with El Elyon. Deut 32:8-9 presents YHWH as a recipient of one of the nations divided up by Elyon to the Sons of Elohim. Psalm 82 also makes that distinction, casting YHWH as among the participants in the divine council but clearly not presiding. The parallels with other Syro-Palestinian literature confirms the storm god’s subjugation to El, as well.

    Of course this does not corroborate Mormon ideology, but that’s not my goal. I’m critiquing what I believe to be a rather uninformed argument. My comments were intended only as a response to the assertions that (1) the Hebrew Bible accepts the existence of only one deity, and (2) LXX and DSS do not evince significant corruption and manipulation within MT. I think it’s clear both claims are untenable.

  7. grindael says:

    Egyptologists tell us that the picture in the middle of smith’s hypocephalus is the god “Min.” Min is an “ithyphallic god,” that is, a sexually aroused male deity, as the picture clearly indicates. Min is the god of the procreative forces of nature. Smith identifies the Egyptian god Min as the one true God.

    Smith tells us that MIN is revealing the grand Key-words of the priesthood, with the sign of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove before him. In reality, he is holding up the “divine flail” in one hand and is being approached by the figure Smith identified as the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove. Smith’s hypocephalus was damaged at the border so that only the head of the “dove” was visible, so Smith had to restore the picture, but he did not do so correctly.

    Other hypocephalus show that the being that is approaching Min is not the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove; it is yet another ithyphallic figure, specifically, a serpent, probably the Egyptian God Nehebka, presenting to Min the wedjat-eye, the symbol of good gifts. (see article by James White where this summary is gleaned from: )

    Nibley wrote:

    As the supreme sex symbol of gods and men, Min behaves with shocking promiscuity. His sacred plants were aphrodisiacal…and he is everywhere represented as indulging in incestuous relationships with those of his immediate family; he had a numerous and varied religious entourage… consisting mostly of his huge harem…The hymns, or rather chanting of his worshippers were accompanied with lewd dancing and carousing…to the exciting stimulus of a band of sistrum-shaking damsels. (Abraham in Egypt:210)

  8. grindael says:

    Smith says Min is God sitting on his throne & Mormon Scholars are aware of the true nature of the hypocephalus, including the presence of Min and Nehebka & how do they explain this?

    Rhoades said, “Joseph Smith mentions here the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove and God ‘revealing through the heavens the grand key-words of the priesthood.’ The procreative forces, receiving unusual accentuation throughout the representation, MAY stand for many divine generative powers, not least of which might be conjoined with blessing of the Priesthood in one’s posterity eternally” (Source above, 273).

    In other words, the God of Mormonism is a Man (& like Min) he continually has sex with his spirit wives & populates world after world after world. Since Min obviously is sexually active as well, this then is the “connection.” This alone shows the error of Smith’s peep-stone skills.

    Mormon Scholars have made a whole industry of trying to connect the dots of smith’s imagination with obscure meanings from other ancient heretical writings & culture. Like the writings of Nostradamus, any meaning they can apply to it will do. They ignore the fact that smith said these were LITERAL translations, and illustrations to Abraham’s text. Smith took charactors from these texts and ascribed whole paragraphs to them. Again, it is what it is: smith ‘made up’ his translation and it is a fraud.

    These illustrations were the gods of the Egyptians, condemned by the One True God in the Bible. (Jeremiah 44:8). Again, If you read Rhodes, & his 20 year later updated paper, he goes to all kinds of lengths to make obscure ‘connections’ that do not fly in the face of what this is: an Egyptian god that has nothing to do with the real God of the Bible.

  9. Daniel,

    It would be nice if you could elaborate on your last two points. Especially how one could get anything other than monotheism out of the book of Isaiah.

    If your case is strong then I would want to see where else, other than Deut 32, that we see what you are asserting. It would also be nice to see an ancient commentary, in any language, that renders Deut 32 the way you assert.

    If by late you mean the Psalms & Isaiah I will give you that, but it seems clear to me in the verse I provided (as well as elsewhere in the Tenach) that God of Israel is of a different kind than the gods of the naitons. I will grant that the OT speaks of gods and angels – I do not think anyone disputes this point – but are you asserting that it asserts that there are gods on par with the God of Israel?

  10. David-

    Thanks for the prompt response. Deutero-Isaiah is widely held as the most explicit exposition of strict monotheism in the Hebrew Bible. For a survey of this scholarship, see Robert Gnuse’s 1999 Religion article:

    My doctoral dissertation will more fully argue my position, which rejects strict monotheism in Deutero-Isaiah. Isaiah never denies the existence of other deities (see here: and repeatedly appeals to divine council ideology, which is the context of Deut 32:8-9 (see the following publications:

    Regarding contexts outside of Deuteronomy 32 that support multiple deities, please see Psalm 29, 82, 89, 95:3; 96:4; Job 1:6; 6:2; 38:7. See also the following publications:

    Cooke, “The Sons of (the) God(s),” ZAW 35.1 (1964): 25; Morgenstern, “The Mythological Background of Psalm 82,” HUCA 14 (1939): 30; Rosenberg, “Yahweh Becomes King,” JBL 85.3 (1966): 306; Robinson, “The Council of Yahweh,” Journal of Theological Studies 45 (1944): 155; Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan (Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 2000), 1-3; Parker, “The Beginning of the Reign of God – Psalm 82 as Myth and Liturgy,” RevB 102.4 (1995): 532-59; Tsevat, God and the Gods in Assembly: An Interpretation of Psalm 82,” HUCA 40/41 (1969-1970): 126; Heiser, “Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God,” Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (2001): 10-13; Kee, “The Heavenly Council and its Type=scene,” JSOT 31 (2007): 259-73; Joosten, “A Note on the Text of Deuteronomy xxxii 8,” VT 57 (2007): 548-55; and Eissfeldt, “El and Yahweh,” JSS 1.1 (1956): 29-30.

    Of course Israelite authors thought El/YHWH was supreme, but he was not considered taxonomically distinct from other deities.

  11. Appealing to Heiser on this is ironic, since he affirms these other “deities” (a loose term in discussion on the OT divine council) are subordinate beings who don’t share the same eternal nature or species.

    There’s none like Yahweh. That the OT had a semantic range on Elohim, etc., doesn’t lead to the idea that that God was perhaps a sinner (before he became a God), that God was once a mere man going through a single’s ward trying to find himself a mate, and that sinners can become “Almighty Gods” who expect worship and praise form their own supposed spirit children.

  12. Janet says:

    “My ‘tone’ is one who read the translation by the Mormon Scholar.”

    Since we are discussing Rhodes and you quoted him, let me add to that.

    My purpose in writing this paper has not been to “try to prove” that the Prophet Joseph’s interpretation of the hypocephalus is correct; that proof can come only from God, and each individual must find it for himself. Rather, it has been my aim to present a translation and commentary of the hypocephalus known as Facsimile 2 of the Pearl of Great Price, drawing upon our current knowledge of Egyptian language, culture, and religion. Surprisingly (at least to some), in a number of instances Joseph Smith’s interpretation accords with modern Egyptology’s. In other cases, however, there is definite disagreement. I have not tried to disguise or pass over these differences; I have sought merely to present them as I see them. What significance can be attached to them, each must decide for himself.

  13. Daniel,

    Part of the prob I see with Deut 32:8 (and possibly verse 9) is it is only one verse. I would not say the context of chapter 32, and the book of Deut as a whole, makes a big point of verse 8 even if it does mean what you say it means.

    I can see the divine council motif, however, in those passages that use that language the other gods are contrasted to HaShem – Psalm 82 being an example. I see this in the Job narrative as well.

    Part of the problem in these types of discussions, and we have even experienced it here, is that Hebrew words for “god” and “sons of god” can have several different meanings depending on context. As such, linguistic appeals (at times) seem like little more than a theological rorschach test.

    Lastly, a prob I see in your position is the disdain that the Biblical authors (even God Himself?) seem to have for the gods of the nations (the exodus narrative is such an example). They are oftentimes contrasted with the God of Israel. When a specific deity is mentioned, like Chemosh or Molech, it is not in a positive light. We even see this in the Torah (early?) in its negative view of idols. The “eliyl” issue is still there be it late or early.

    I do not know how you can get:

    “he was not considered taxonomically distinct from other deities”


    “beside me there is no God”

  14. grindael says:

    “it has been my aim to present a translation and commentary…”

    You never mentioned the translation, or commented on it or even presented it. What you said was this: “As for the Book of Abraham, JS got it right, but the folks Rev. Spalding found to debunk it were only debunking what they thought they saw, that was it seemed to them a common funeral text.”

    When I posted the translation from Rhodes, you said “I [Janet] should be allowed to quote him accurately”

    as if I [grindael] did not quote him accurately. Here again is his translation, which PROVES it is NOT anything about Abraham but a common funeral text:

    Edge [Figure 18]: I am Djabty in the House of the Benben in Heliopolis, so exalted and glorious. [I am] a copulating bull without equal. [I am] that Mighty God in the House of the Benben in Heliopolis . . . that Mighty God. . . .
    Left Middle [Figures 11, 10, 9 and 8]: O God of the Sleeping Ones from the time of the Creation. O Mighty God, Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Netherworld and his Great Waters, grant that the soul of the Osiris Sheshonk, may live.
    Bottom [Figures 17 and 16]: May this tomb never be desecrated, and may this soul and its possessor never be desecrated in the Netherworld.
    Upper Left [Figures 21, 20 and 19]: You shall be as that God, the Busirian.
    To the Left of the Standing Two-headed God [Figure 2]: The name of this Mighty God.

    Perhaps there is something about a copulating bull in the Pearl of Great Price that I missed…but I’ve read it many times and there is nothing about Abraham being a copulating bull in there that I am aware of. There is not disagreement among scholars [they all agree smith did not translate it correctly], the translation is the translation, what the Mormon Scholars are doing is trying to ‘read between the lines’ of the translation like they always do. Maybe it takes a peep-stone to get what smith got out of it, but alas, Christians don’t believe in magick talismans.

  15. David-

    I disagree. The mythic imagery of Deut 32:8 is appealed to in Deut 4:19, and an entire chapter of the Psalms (82) is composed around the same mythic imagery. The tradition is expanded according to Second Temple ideas about angels and deities ( in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Deut 32:8, Sirach 17:17, 1 Enoch 89:59–77, and 90:22–27. That each nation has a guardian angel is an ideology that has survived to the present day. The verse evinces a very clear belief (in an important and very old poem) and it show direct influence in several other places. The idea of a divine council also pervades the entire Hebrew Bible Bible and much of Second Temple literature. That Deut 32:8 is only one verse is quite irrelevant.

    Regarding Psalm 82, no, there are no other meanings for אלהים and בני עליון. The words mean “gods” and “sons of the Most High.” If you’re referring to the idea that אלהים can mean powers, judges, or rulers, you’re 75 years behind (אלהים-does-not-mean-judges/).

    A deity is a deity. That YHWH is to be “feared more than all the gods” isn’t an ontological or taxonomic distinction. That YHWH is one of the “Sons of Elohim” along with the other deities confirms that.

    Regarding the disdain of biblical authors, I disagree entirely. Opposition to idols is another late development. It is widely accepted that early Israel had a statue of YHWH in its temple. Room 2801 at 10th century Megiddo and the holy of holies at the Israelite temple at Yarad each have his and hers massebot. Exodus 22 evinces the use of teraphim in juridical settings (, and there is a clear command not to speak ill of the gods of the nations in v. 27 of the same chapter (Cf. Josephus, Ant. 4.8.10)

  16. Aaron-

    Heiser’s idea of “species uniqueness” has its own problems, as do his ideas about the identification of YHWH and El, but his exposition of divine plurality in Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah is spot on.

  17. Janet says:

    “As for the Book of Abraham, JS got it right, but the folks Rev. Spalding found to debunk it were only debunking what they thought they saw, that was it seemed to them a common funeral text.”

    Yes, JS got it right, and this statement had all to do with Facsimile 1 which was waved off as nothing more then a common funeral scene, which could be compared to thousands of others. When challenged to produce anything similar, the accusations were then changed to state that JS drew them wrong, and their should have been a jackals head on the Priest and that the knife was not a knife at all. Also the man laying on the table was not praying but where his hands seemed to be were actually the tail of a bird. Rev. Spalding did us a huge favor by bring in inept scholars who were into much of a hurry to actually look at the drawings, but just waved them off as common funeral text. Long pause when they realized that they were unique and not comparable to anything else out there in so many different ways. Problematic is that now Egyptologist need to state that the drawing are wrong, and need to change them to fit the mold they think they should be.

    Wow, now all they have to do is prove JS drew them wrong, then all will be Hunkey Dorey with them.


  18. setfree says:

    Ralph said:

    “I can’t remember where but it says that the kingdoms of the world were divided up and Israel was given to YHWH. So Jesus could be saying here that He is their God and not the God of the Gentile nations.

    The verse you were looking for above has been put out here now: Deut 32:8.

    This is not a verse you found yourself, is it? This is one of those “SEE, THIS PROVES OUR POINT” verses, that has been taken out of context, and even out of the translation of your “Mormon-acceptable” Bible, the KJV, to try to argue for more gods.

    Just a couple of points, really quick.

    1- If YHWH were the god of the Israelites, and there were other gods of other nations like the verse seems to suggest, there are two problems:

    a- This still does not prove Mormonism is true. Mormonism says that there are other gods OF OTHER WORLDS, not other gods OF OTHER COUNTRIES ON OUR WORLD. Isn’t that right?. It also does not explain, as to my question, how Elohim and Jehovah are different gods. In fact, the word Elohim does not appear in this verse. This verse is about “the Most High God”, which is not translated from the word Elohim

    b- If you read the rest of Deuteronomy, and make note of every time it talks about “other gods” and put it all together (as I have, I’ll send you the paper if you’d like), you find that the other gods are 1- idols (things that people worship that aren’t really gods) and 2 – demons (the Satanic crew)

    So… back to my question.

    “If God said: I am Jehovah and there is none else, there is no Elohim beside me…” how are Jehovah and Elohim the same God?

    Your other suggestion: that Jehovah is acting as mouthpiece for Elohim.

    Seriously? Do you really think that Jehovah, acting as Elohim’s mouthpiece, would say “I am Jehovah and there is no Elohim beside me”. Does that make sense to you?? Really???

    THINK! please

  19. Mormon scholars and apologists seem to want to use a local henotheism to promote a cosmic henotheism. In other words, they essentially argue from the existence of lesser, inferior, subordinate, even sinful “gods” that there must be potentially trillions of Gods out there equal to or even greater than (depending no whether one takes the approach of Brigham Young or Orson Pratt) our God, and that we can become Gods ourselves demanding prayer and worship from billions of others.

    It’s quite the sleight of hand.

  20. setfree says:

    A couple other things you guys should know.

    Get out your Standard Works, and go to the Topical Guide. Look under “God the Father”.

    You’ll see that there are two entries. One is “God the Father-Elohim”, the other is “God the Father-Jehovah”

    Under “God the Father-Elohim”, your Elohim/Heavenly Father is two things that distinguish him from the God that is Jehovah.

    1- Elohim is the “Most High God”


    2- Elohim the “father of the spirits of all flesh”.

    Now look at the verses given IN YOUR TOPICAL GUIDE, that are supposed to be talking about Elohim.

    1. “Gen 14:19 Blessed be Abram of the most high God”;
    2. “Num. 16:22 (27:16) God of the spirits of all flesh…”

    And NOW… da da da…. read the verses IN CONTEXT

    1. Gen 14:19-22 “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth

    What did you just learn? Yep! THE LORD IS THE MOST HIGH GOD.


    2. Num 16:20-24: “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the congregation saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
    Num 27:15-16 “And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation”

    Again, what are we seeing? That THE LORD IS THE GOD OF THE SPIRITS OF ALL FLESH.

    Just… One… God

  21. setfree says:


    you inserted:

    “A striking example of a lost passage of scripture has been discovered in the DSS texts of Samuel.”

    What’s really interesting about this remark is that it is yet another SIDESTEP

    It was an LDS source that said that the LDS-okay Bible (the KJV) could be proved untrustworthy by looking at the DSS and LXX

    I did not even try to prove or disprove ALL of the KJV.

    What I did do, as you saw, was compare a few of the verses from the most intact, Biblical, Dead Sea Scroll they found, and see how it matched up with what your own, LDS Bible says about God being the only God.

    Whether or not the Gadites and the Reubenites got their eyes poked out is of ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVENCE to the ONE GOD argument presented above.

    So, I’ll ask you again, did you read the above passages, and hear what they are saying? What are your thoughts?

  22. grindael says:

    To The Honest Seekers of TRUTH:

    Joseph Smith got it WRONG:

    Thomas Stuart Ferguson lost his faith over the BOM & BOA, and a letter he wrote in 1971 is enlightening, because he sent the ‘facsimiles’ to Egyptologists who declared them to be a ‘breathing permit’. Mr. F spoke to Hugh B. Brown, who he said also believed the BOA to be false (he is the one referred to as ‘one of the highest of officials). see: (where this letter is quoted from) These are not early scholars, (like the ones Spaulding used) they are MODERN EGYPTOLOGISTS who have come to the same conclusion:

    “Nibley’s articles on the Book of Abraham aren’t worth a tinker–first, because he is not impartial, being the commissioned and paid defender of the faith. Second, because he could not, he dared not, he did not, face the true issue: ‘Could Joseph Smith translate Egyptian?’… By study of the GRAMMAR [Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar], the recovered papyrus, and the illustrations, it is perfectly obvious that we now have the oringinal [sic] manuscript material used by Jos. Smith in working up the Book of Abraham. Prof Klaus Baer of Univ. of Chicago, Prof Lutz of U.C. (Berkeley), Prof. Lesko (U.C. Berkeley) and Egyptologist Dee Jay Nelson, all agree that the original manuscript Egyptian text translates into the Breathing Permit of Hor (Egyptian God)…. The work of the two UC professors was done at my request and is unpublished. All 4 agree with each other, and without having conferred or collaborated. (My UC men did not, and still do not, know that there is any relationship of the manuscript material to the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham– or whatever….

    “Joseph Smith announced, in print (History of the Church, Vol. Il, page 236), that ‘one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt…’

  23. setfree-

    I’m happy to respond to your concerns. Above you say that Deut 32:8 still doesn’t prove Mormonism is true. That’s irrelevant. Supernatural claims fall outside the scope of empirical proof. Nothing is going to prove Mormonism is true just like nothing is going to prove God exists or that Christianity is true. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m also not to try to prove Mormonism true. I’m here simply to correct a series of misunderstandings. Now I’ll do just that. You also claimed that the rest of Deuteronomy never refers to other gods as anything but idols or demons, but this is incorrect. Not only does Deut 4:19 refer to the gods of the nation in the same way as 32:8 (stewards under God’s authority), but in Deut 32:43 the text originally called upon the gods to worship God. I’ve pointed out how it was changed in LXX and MT. Your problem is that you do not recognize the disparate ideological layers in the text. It’s not univocal, and what one verse says may have no bearing at all on what another verse says.

    Next you cite Gen 14:19-22 to show Elyon is Yahweh, but you evidently aren’t aware that, again, MT is corrupt. The name Yahweh does not appear in the oldest manuscripts. It’s not in the Syriac, it’s not in the Greek, and it’s not in DSS’s Genesis Apocryphon. It’s a late interpolation meant to equate Elyon and Yahweh, and you fell for it. Now, there are other texts that equate the two in their original form (Ps 92:1; 2 Sam 22:14; 7:17; 21:7; 47:2; 91:9), but they’re rather late texts. In the Pentateuch the two are never equated, and, as I’ve explained, the two are clearly distinguished in Psalm 82. We’re again dealing with historical and ideological layers. This is why the author of the Song of Moses had no problem speaking favorably about the gods of the nations, but the Septuagint translators and Masoretes did.

  24. grindael says:

    Since 4 scholars, who have established that they can read Egyptian, say that the manuscripts deal with neither Abraham nor Joseph– and since the 4 reputable men tell us exactly what the manuscripts do say — I must conclude that Joseph Smith had not the remotest skill in things Egyptian-hieroglyphics. To my surprise, one of the highest of officials in the Mormon Church agreed with that conclusion when I made that very statement to him on Dec. 4, 1970–privately in one-to-one [c]onversation….

    “The attempts, including Nibley’s, to explain away and dodge the trap into which Joseph Smith fell when he had the audacity to translate the Chandler texts, and keep the original Egyptian texts around, are absurd, in my view….

    “My views are not for publication or spreading abroad. I am like you–maintaining membership because of the many fine things the Church offers. But facts speak for themselves. I offered the data available to my Stake Pres. recently and he walked away without it–saying he didn’t want to read it. They can hardly execommunicate [sic] us when they won’t look at the evidence.

    “Of course the dodge as to the Book of Abraham must be: ‘WE DON’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT FROM WHICH THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM WAS TRANSLATED. I conclude that we do have it and have translations of it.” (Letter by Thomas Stuart Ferguson, dated March 13, 1971)

    He then visited the Tanners, and this is what they said about his visit:

    “Thomas Stuart Ferguson really believed that archaeology would prove the Book of Mormon. In his book One Fold And One Shepherd, page 263, he stated: “The important thing now is to continue the digging at an accelerated pace in order to find more inscriptions dating to Book-of-Mormon times. Eventually we should find decipherable inscriptions … referring to some unique person, place or event in the Book of Mormon.” In 1962 Mr. Ferguson said that “Powerful evidences sustaining the book are accumulating.”

  25. grindael says:

    The first indication we had that Mr. Ferguson was losing his faith in Mormonism was just after Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Papyri were rediscovered. In 1968 he wrote us a letter saying that we were “doing a great thing-getting out some truth on the Book of Abraham.” Later we heard a rumor that he had given up Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham, but this hardly prepared us for his visit on December 2, 1970. At that time, Mr. Ferguson told us frankly that he had not only given up the Book of Abraham, but that he had come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not a prophet and that Mormonism was not true. He told us that he had spent twenty-five years trying to prove Mormonism, but had finally come to the conclusion that all his work in this regard had been in vain. He said that his training in law had taught him how to weigh evidence and that the case against Joseph Smith was absolutely devastating and could not be explained away. Mr. Ferguson found himself faced with a dilemma, for the Mormon church had just given him a large grant ($100,000 or more) to carry on the archaeological research of the New World Archaeological Foundation. He felt, however, that the New World Archaeological Foundation was doing legitimate archaeological work, and therefore he intended to continue this work.

    From 1948 to 1961 the Department of Archaeology at Brigham Young University sent “five archaeological expeditions to Middle America,” but no evidence for the Nephites was discovered. After these expeditions had failed, the church leaders gave “large appropriations” to support Mr. Ferguson’s New World Archaeological Foundation. This organization also failed to find evidence to prove the Book of Mormon, and the man who organized it, hoping that it would prove Mormonism, ended up losing his faith in the church.” (Tanners, Changing world of Mormonism, 140,141)

  26. Ralph says:


    Thanks for finding the verse for me. It was one I found years ago in seminary (over 20 years ago), that’s why I could not remember where it was, but I could remember what it was about. I have not heard or seen anyone use it on apologetic sites (not to say they don’t), so your asuumption was incorrect. As far as your comments about that verse, David O Mcclellen has given a pretty good answer to that over the past few days and has more experience with Bible history and study than I have from what I can read in his answers, so I will leave the answer to what he has said.


    I agree, the texts that we have at this point in time are most likely Egyptian manuscripts as you are stating. However, we only have less than one eighth of what JS had in his possession, we are most likely missing the part he used to translate for the BOA – but we have already had discussions about this months ago so I know you and others will either ignore me or just try and shout me out.

    As far as the figures go, they are symbols. Everyone knows that in symbology, the symbol means what the USER wants it to mean. JS (or Abraham in this instance) may have used a picture in the Egyptian manuscript and by inspiration changed its appearance and symbology accordingly to fit the BOA. Thus it means that you need to look into and use our symbology, not the Egyptian. For instance, look at the snake – in some circles it means Satan or Evil/temptation, etc – but in other circles it means Jesus or Healing, etc. Wow, very disparate meanings there. Written language is another symbol where the same word in 2 languages can mean different things – ‘gift’ means ‘present’ in English and ‘poison’ in Swedish but they use the same symbols. So symbols only mean what the USER wants it to mean, not an outsider.

  27. grindael says:


    Where is the PROOF that there is only one eighth of what Smith used to produce the BOA. Not speculation, proof. You do not address the Grammer. No, your ‘speculations’ are wrong, Smith did a ‘literal’ translation & it is not what he said it is. Remember, ‘written by his own hand’. Abraham is not Hor, Not Sheshonk, & the text corresponding the writings does not match. He did this again with the Kinderhook plates, & with the ‘Caractors’ from the BOM plates. Your speculations are discounted by REAL Egyptologists, no matter what Mormon Apologists say. You have no documentation, and the translation by Mormon Scholars speaks for itself. Those who look at the TRUTH, Like Thomas Stuart Ferguson could no longer believe in the BOA. What you are doing with your speculations is what those who believe in Nostradamus & others do, put meanings to things to fit after the fact. Smith claimed to ‘translate’ the Egyptian. There is only ONE true translation, and it is not what smith said it was. He made it up.

  28. grindael says:

    One of the Translation Manuscripts (BAbr Ms 2, page 1, LDS archives) has the following heading in the handwriting of William W. Phelps, a scribe to Joseph Smith:

    Translation of the Book of Abraham written by his own hand upon papyrus and found in the Catacombs of Egypt

    The Printer Manuscript in Willard Richards’s handwriting has this heading:

    A Translation of Some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus.

    This was published with the same words in the Times and Seasons:

    A TRANSLATION Of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catecombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the BOOK OF ABRAHAM, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.

    The Pearl of Great Price (Liverpool: Published by F.D. Richards, 1851), 19, published the heading from the Times and Seasons:


    (Translated from the Papyrus, by Joseph Smith.)

    It is what it is. Smith claimed these papyrus were written by Abraham himself. They were not.

  29. Ralph says:


    I know you don’t like FAIRLDS but they have a couple of articles that explain how much of the manuscripts are missing. They base this on eyewitness accounts from JS days. Since multiple URL addresses take a while to post through here is one of the main articles –

    This site gives an estimate of about 41 feet (approx 14 metres) in JS possession. In another article on their site they state –

    Dr. Nibley writes: We are told that papyri were in beautiful condition when Joseph Smith got them, and that one of them when unrolled on the floor extended through two rooms of the Mansion House.
    Nothing like this has survived today. Dr. Gee estimates that the Scroll of Hor (likely the putative [supposed] source for the Book of Abraham) may have been ten feet long and that in all, Joseph may have had eight times as much papyri as what is currently extant. A number of scholars contend that the reason that the extant papyrus fragments don’t have anything to do with the Book of Abraham is because we don’t have that portion of the papyrus that served as the text from whence Joseph translated the Book of Abraham. At the very least, the critics ought to be cautious if only 13% of the ancient scrolls are currently known!

    So according to this, eyewitnesses estimate that at least one of the scrolls was 10 feet (approx 3 meters) long. From what I understand the combined length of the fragments we have is less than that – meaning that we have less length in the fragments now than just one of the five papyri JS had in his possession. This does not prove that the BOA is in the missing parts, but it does prove that we do not have all the JS had and that the BOA could be in the missing portions.

  30. grindael says:


    The above is SPECULATION on the size of another papyrus not used by JS. Can you get me the actual reference that it was rolled out through two rooms of the Mansion? Regardless,

    I have actual quotes coming of those who did SEE the papyrus Smith translated from, & no one has said it was LONG. In fact, from the descriptions of William Appelby, which post is coming shortly, There WERE two scrolls, and the one the Prophet used is the extant copy the LDS Church now has in it’s possession.

    From it, Smith got his ‘Alphabet’ & the illustrations & claimed it was 3500 years old and that he translated the BOA DIRECTLY from this papyrus. The post is long, & I will post it after midnight to make sure it all goes up at once.

  31. setfree says:


    What a cop-out.


    So you have this theory that Deuteronomy was written by some people who thought that there were numerous subordinate gods, and by others who insisted that there weren’t? (After all, even Deuteronomy has it’s “ONLY ONE GOD” verses – Deut 32:37-39, Deut 4:35,39, for example)

    And as a bonus, how about saying how this relates to the Isaiah verses above, and refutes them.

    Million dollar round, are you able to make a case that the Bible says that there is ANY other real/non-idol/non-imaginary/non-demon god, than just the one, YHWH?

  32. Daniel,

    Calling something late does not make the problem go away. Even if disdain for other gods is a “late” development it is still a biblical one. Honestly, is destroying pagan altars a sign of disdain? Your answers fail to address those passages that use such language.

    Regarding Psalm 82, we are back to the theological, rorshach test. I could see those referred to in that Psalm being either gods or judges. Even Moses seems to occupy a place as both in some sense (Ex 7:1). You state that I am 75 years behind but maybe I am 75 years ahead of my time; I can think of at least one theological issue where scholarship came full circle.

    Also, I would point to Psalm 82 as one portion of scripture that proves my point. The gods, if they are that,”die like men”. Gods – yes, like the most high – no.

    A deity is a deity in name only. Daniel throw me a bone here. Many a sociologist and anthropologist (and dare I state theologian) have commented on the different nature of the religions that came out of Israel. There are some significant differences between the god of Israel and that of the nations. You may adamantly argue that the Tenach does not advocate creation out of nothing, but when we come to first century Judaism it is orthodoxy (it is also what separates the Israelite god from that of any nation); an early church father did not have to invent that one. You could call that a late theological development but consider – those of that time were native Hebrew and Aramaic speakers, were in the same exact location as those who penned the OT, and they were only a few hundred years removed from the time of the compiling of the OT.

    Honestly, why does any of this matter? If the god of the Bible is just one god among many, why bother pouring hours over what he supposedly says in his error laden book?

  33. grindael says:

    For Further Clarification [that Smith claimed these were the ACTUAL writings of Abraham & Joseph]

    Ralph, I go to Fair a lot (to check on sources & clarify statements & read what they say, which makes me sometimes NOT include certain quotes in my posts) , & wrote this before your post, (it has a FAIR quote at the end) but had to wait to post the whole thing. Your argument is disingenuous in the light of these quotes, the BOA did not come from the ‘missing papyrus’(purported to be written by Joseph of Egypt), it came from the one in the LDS archives. These quotes say the 4 mummies were 3500 years old, & that they were a Pharaoh & his wife & daughters & that the scrolls found with them were also that old. This is in direct opposition to the evidence that the breathing permit is much younger than that age.

    “The Lord is Blessing Joseph with Power to reveal mysteries of the kingdom of God; to translate through the urim & Thummim Ancient records & Hyeroglyphics AS OLD AS ABRAHAM OR ADAM … Joseph the Seer has presented some of the Book of Abraham which was written by his own hand but hid from the knowledge of man for the last four thousand years…” (Wilford Woodruff Diary, Feb. 19, 1842.)

    I have been Smith’s private Secretary, called to fill this high and responsible station by revelation which I wrote myself as it dropped from the lips of the Prophet … I have kept his Journal, and like Baruch the ancient scribe, have had the honor of writing the History of one of the Prophets … I have set by his side and penned down the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphicks as he claimed to receive it by direct inspiration from Heaven. (WWPhelps, Letter to the editor, Painesville Republican Feb. 15, 1838.)

    The record … proves to be a record written partly by the father of the faithful, Abraham, and finished by Joseph in Egypt.

  34. grindael says:

    After his death, it is supposed they were preserved in the family of the Pharaohs and afterwards hid up with the embalmed body of the female with whom they were found.” (PPPratt, Millennial Star, July 1842)

    “the art of embalming human bodies and preserving them in the catacombs of Egypt, whereby men, women, & children, as mummies, after a lapse of near 3500 years come forth among the living, and although dead, the papyrus which has lived in their bosoms, unharmed, speaks for them, in language like the sound of an earthquake…(Smith, Letter to J.A.Bennett HC 6:73-78)

    Here is the Diary Entry of William Appelby, who knew & was taught by Smith himself:

    “May 5, 1841. Paid Br Joseph a visit … Saw the Rolls of papyrus and the writings thereon, taken from off the bosom of the Male Mummy, having some of the writings of ancient Abraham and of Joseph that was sold into Egypt. The writings are chiefly in the Egyptian language, with the exception of a little Hebrew. I believe they give a description of some of the scenes in Ancient Egypt, of their worship, their Idol gods, etc. The writings are beautiful and plain, composed of red & black inks. There is a perceptible difference, between the writings. Joseph, appears to have been the best scribe. There are also representations of men, beasts, Birds, Idols & oxen attached to a kind of plough, a female guiding it. Also the serpent when he beguiled Eve. He appears with two legs, erect in form and appearance of man. But his head in the form, and representing the Serpent, with his forked tongue extended. There are likewise representations of an Altar erected, with a man bound and laid thereon, and a Priest with a knife in his hand, standing at the foot, with a dove over the person bound on the Altar with several Idol gods standing around it.

  35. grindael says:

    A Celestial glove with the planet Kolob of first creation of the supreme Being – a planet of light, – which planet – makes a revolution once in a thousand years. –Also the Lord revealing the Grand key words of the Holy Priesthood, to Adam in the garden of Eden, as also Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham and to all whom the Priesthood was revealed.

    Abraham also in the Court of Pharaoh sitting upon the King’s throne reasoning upon Astronomy, with a crown on his head, representing the Priesthood as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven, with the scepter of Justice & Judgement in his hand. And King Pharaoh, standing behind him, together with a Prince – a principal waiter, and a black slave of the King. A genealogy of the Mummies, & the Epitaphs and their deaths, etc., etc., are also distinctly represented on the Papyrus which is called the ‘Book of Abraham’.

    The Male mummy was one of the Ancient Pharaohs of Egypt, a Priest, as he is embalmed with is tongue extended, representing a speaker: The females were his wife & two daughters, as a part of the writing has been translated, and informs us, who they were, also whose writing it is, and when those mummies were embalmed, which is nearly four thousand years ago.
    (William I. Appleby Journal, see M. Marquardt, Eyewitness, Hearsay & Physical Evidence, 183-84. This was recorded by Appleby in 1841, before the Publication of the BOA.) See the entire entry here: along with the article where I obtained these quotes.

    Appleby, who heard it directly from Smith, says the mummies were 4000 years old. Smith says it, Woodruff says it, Phelps says it. These writings and illustrations were said to be made by Abraham & Joseph themselves, Joseph a better scribe!

  36. grindael says:

    They say there was Hebrew in the scrolls. It does not say how big the other scroll was, but all speculation about the BOA coming from another scroll is ludacris as is (we only have a sixth of the info) in the light of Appelby’s description that it came from the scroll now in possession of the LDS church. He gives a description of the scroll & the illustrations.

    Josiah Quincy, who met with Smith at Nauvoo, gave the following account of his visit:

    “The prophet referred to his miraculous gift of understanding all languages…. “And now come with me,” said the prophet, “and I will show you the curiosities.” … “These are mummies,” said the exhibitor. “I want you to look at that little runt of a fellow over there. He was a great man in his day. Why, that was Pharaoh Necho, King of Egypt!” Some parchments inscribed with hieroglyphics were then offered us…. “That is the handwriting of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful,” said the prophet. “This is the autograph of Moses, and these lines were written by his brother Aaron. Here we have the earliest account of the Creation, from which Moses composed the First Book of Genesis.” … We were further assured that the prophet was the only mortal who could translate these mysterious writings, and that his power was given by direct inspiration.” (Among the Mormons, pp.136-37).

    How much plainer can it get? “… I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writing of Abraham…” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p.236) This flies in the face of FairMormon’s conclusion on the BOA:

    “The KEPE reflect a half-dozen phrases from the Book of Abraham, isolated and without context. But the Book of Abraham is a coherent and readily understood English text, while the KEPE is a mishmash of linguistic gobbledygook. It is completely unclear how one could possibly get the one from the other.

  37. grindael says:

    So what is the source of the English Book of Abraham? It would appear that the English text is a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, whatever he thought he was doing in the KEP project. There is ample precedent for the Prophet receiving such coherent revelations before that did not require him to wrestle with deciphering the ancient language of the source text. For example, Joseph translated the Book of Mormon almost entirely without reference to the gold plates themselves, and Doctrine and Covenants 7 is a revealed translation of ancient parchment that was never physically given to Joseph.”

    This is RUBBISH. They do admit though that the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, (the Alphabet) is a mishmash of linguistic gobbledygook. I have to agree with that. SO IS ENTIRE BOOK OF ABRAHAM, MADE UP FROM THE MIND OF SMITH. Out of this came the justification for the racist doctrines against the blacks & justification for the heresy of polygamy. Smith told Josiah Quincy the scrolls were in the handwriting of Abraham himself & even Moses & Aaron! Smith was doing what he always did, embellishing & elaborating because there was no one to prove him wrong. With their backs against the wall Mormons then fall back on the old it is a ‘direct revelation’ nonsense, that Smith’s translation has nothing to do with the papyrus, but this is a LIE refuted by the evidence above.

  38. setfree-

    It relates to the Isaiah verses because it shows that the people who wrote the Bible weren’t strictly monotheistic, despite your attempt to show they were. They were monolatrous. I’ve already pointed your readership in the direction of scholarship that addresses the “no other gods” claim of Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah (and thus your argument above), but I’m happy to do it again:

    That makes it clear that the Bible does indeed hold that there were many other gods than Yahweh, but here is some more reading on it:

  39. David Mcclellan wrote

    It’s not univocal, and what one verse says may have no bearing at all on what another verse says.

    My problem with such extreme views on redaction is that they may not give enough credit to the redactioners.

    What I mean is, the underlying assertion is that the people who pulled together the Biblical texts from its disparate and unconnected sources (allegdedly) had no sense, within their own frame of reference, of a unified product or message or story. Therefore, they were willing to allow “verses” (technically, fragments of text) to sit side by side without any connection to each other.

    I believe that it is just as valid to assert that the redactors had a purpose in bringing these texts together, and it is just as reasonable to assert that this purpose led them to edit these texts to produce a message that made sense to them in their own frame of reference. So, it would not be unreasonable to assert that they took stories about many ‘gods’, and subjugated them to a story about the One God (for example). Its not univocal, but not mutually exclusive or unconnected either.

    I’m not objecting to redactionism per se (I describe myself as a limited redactionist). However, the assertion that the redactionists would deliberately place verses next to each other without any connection, structure or flow of thought presents a very low opinion of what the redactioners did, and of the final product. It says, effectively, that the redactioners did not actually believe in anything, but were content to simply allow the words to babble along.

  40. David-

    You said that even if disdain for idols is late it’s still biblical, which is true, but this would mean it’s also true that the acceptance of idols and the recognition of many other gods is biblical. I doubt that’s a part of your perspective on the Bible, so I think you need to think a little more about the implications here.

    Regarding Psalm 82, gods are not judges. Period. Moses was said to become אלהים in Pharaoh’s eyes. The text is clearly not saying Moses enters into that taxonomy, but merely that he would seem such in Pharaoh’s estimation. The deities may be under YHWH’s authority, and he may be able to pass a symbolic death penalty, but this in no way distinguishes them from YHWH ontologically.

    Next, creatio ex nihilo was not normative in first century CE Judaism. It was developed by Christians in the second century CE in reaction to Greek criticisms of the resurrection. An early church father absolutely did have to invent that one (Tatian and Tehophilus, to be specific).

    In response to the question of why I study the Bible, I do it because it’s my career. On the other hand, a monolatrous Bible didn’t bother any Jews or Christians until well into the Common Era. Why should it bother me?

  41. Martin-

    In many cases this is true. There was tension in the various ideologies guiding the redaction of the text. On the one hand, they wanted to preserve their literary heritage and viewed the texts as inspired, but at the same time they were editing them to respond to issues contemporary to their own world, which would have required different answers to different questions. The result, often, required leaving conflicting texts side by side. This is why the account of Noah’s flood says the animals were gathered by sevens, but also says they were gathered by twos. It’s why there are two entirely different creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. It’s why Samuel says Yahweh incited David to perform a census and Chronicles says it was the adversary. It’s why Exodus says God commanded sacrifices at Sinai, but Jer 7:22 says God didn’t give Israel any commandments to sacrifice.

    I don’t think it would be appropriate to say that this view of redaction means I don’t think the redactors believed anything. They most certainly did, but their view of the biblical texts is quite distinct from the view of Christians and Jews today. That they often did not harmonize conflicting aspects of the text actually shows they had a great deal of reverence for the text–even more so than today, in some instances. I mentioned Jer 7:22, which clearly says God did not command Israel to sacrifice, but the NIV completely changes the text by inserting a word that was never there: “I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Here the translators reject the text of the Bible and insert their own harmonization in the interest of promoting a completely consistent text. Which practice shows more reverence for the Bible?

    The whole point of my posts is to show that the post’s assertions that the Hebrew Bible does not evince belief in other deities is wrong. I’ve shown that so clearly that the author of post has even been forced to equivocate.

  42. Martin-

    In many cases this is true. There was tension in the various ideologies guiding the redaction of the text. They wanted to preserve their literary heritage and viewed the texts as authoritative, but they were also editing them to respond to issues contemporary to their own world, which would have required different answers to different questions. The result often required leaving conflicting texts side by side. This is why the account of Noah says the animals were gathered by sevens, but also that they were only gathered by twos. It’s why there are two entirely different creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. It’ why Samuel says Yahweh incited David to perform a census and why Chronicles says it was the adversary. It’s why Exodus says God commanded sacrifices at Sinai, but Jer 7:22 says God didn’t give Israel any commandments to sacrifice.

    It would not be accurate to say that this view of redaction means I don’t think the redactors believed anything. They most certainly did, but their view of the Bible is quite distinct from the view of believers today. That they often did not harmonize conflicting texts actually shows they had a great deal of reverence for the text – even more so than today, in some instances. I mentioned Jer 7:22, which clearly says God did not command Israel to sacrifice, but the NIV completely changes the text by inserting a word that was never there: “I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Here the translators reject the text of the Bible and insert their own harmonization in the interest of promoting a completely univocal text. Which practice shows more reverence for the Bible?

    The whole point of my participation here is to show that the author’s assertions that the Hebrew Bible does not evince belief in other deities is wrong. I’ve shown that so clearly that the author has been forced to equivocate and assert that these other gods, rather than not existing, were just not as powerful as Yahweh.

  43. Sorry about the duplicate post. If the first can be deleted that would be appreciated.

  44. Daniel,

    If this is true –

    “it’s also true that the acceptance of idols and the recognition of many other gods is biblical”

    Then this is not –

    “On the other hand, a monolatrous Bible didn’t bother any Jews or Christians until well into the Common Era. Why should it bother me”

    Bowing down before teraphim is not monoaltry. The reasons those Jews and Christians did worship one God is because they were monotheists. If the disdain for idols was late then before the disdain came about, idols were OK.

    Daniel, you must admit that on its face this is contra biblical. The first 2 of the 10 commandments is where much of the disdain for idols comes. That is Torah which means that is not late. Furthermore, instructions given to the Israelites to destroy idols, temples, and whole towns are found in the Torah – again, not late.

    The implications that you adjure me to ponder are not my implications. I come from a very different perspective that you do, so the disharmony that you see in the Bible is not my problem.

    Your insistance that gods and judges are completely separate does not take into account the underlying text. There is ambuiguity in the words used; the same word is used for god, gods, and judges. A ton of ink has already been spilt on this issue long before we ever came onto the scene.

    What words would need to be used to give you the impression that Yaweh is ontologically different from the other gods? If Psalm 82:7 and Isaiah 43:10 does not do it for you what will?

    In regards to 1st century Judaism and creation out of nothing you are just plain wrong. We know from extra biblical writings that Jews of the 1st and 2nd centuries did envision a God outside of time, space, and matter. Christianity merely carried this over. Hence why we see ECF already embraced, or already had, this doctrine with them when they encountered heresies. In their dialogue with Jews this was not a source of contention. Which leads to another point.

  45. If creation out of nothing was an invention of 2nd century Christianity then you have got to explain how this doctrine found its way into Judaism. Indeed, where is the contention between Jews and Christians where Christians were chastised for their monotheism and their beleif in a God outside of time and matter? I would love for you to sit across from an Orthodox Rabbi and tell him that 1st century Jews were henotheists.

    I have stated a few times here that I find it interesting and ironic that Muslims and Mormons make the charge of Hellenistic corruption of Christinity just in completely opposite directions. Muslims claim that the earliest Christians were actually Muslims and that Jesus was a Muslim. He was merely a prophet and it was the infusion of Greek ideas (rife with paganism) that gave way to the deity, death, and resurrection of Christ.

    Mormons go the other route. They allege that it was neo-platonism that morphed pagan Christianity into a monotheistic religion with an infinite god (even though the Greek pantheon of gods was henotheistic).

    I adjure the unbiased reader to read the entirity of scripture and to search the historical record to see the truth. The answers to big questions like “what is the nature of God” are answered there.

    By his knowledge everything shall come into being,
    and all that does exist
    he establishes with his calculations
    and nothing is done outside of him (1QS XI. 11)

  46. David-

    They weren’t bowing before teraphim, they were just brought before them to swear an oath of innocence. This was very, very early, though. The time period that I’m primarily describing is later than that. The primary composition of the Hebrew Bible took place during a henotheistic phase of Israel’s religious identity. Interestingly, the first two of the 10 commandments do directly address the ideologies expressed in Exodus 22 (and they are later). What they don’t do, however, is deny the existence of other deities.

    Again, there is no ambiguity in the word אלהים. See my discussion here:אלהים-does-not-mean-judges/

    It simply does not mean judges. I’ve explained this and pointed toward relevant scholarship. I’m afraid simply reasserting your thesis is not a response.

    Regarding ontological distinction, an indication that preexilic Israelites considered the ontological nature of deity at all would be the first step you’d have to take. Having spent quite some time researching just that concept, I can save you the suspense and tell you they didn’t. They knew deities were distinct from humans, somehow, but there was no distinction made beyond that until the Hellenistic era. YHWH was simply asserted to be more powerful and more benevolent than the others.

  47. Daniel,

    “they were just brought before them to swear an oath of innocence”

    Where are you getting this from in the text? Other gods were worshiped during the OT period, including the host of heaven, and this is seen as bad from the earliest point. You state too “early” and too “late”. I think you protesteth too much.

    The prohibition against graven images is early. It is an early proof that idols were regarded negatively. Same goes for the destruction of graven images.

    If you are fluent in ancient Hebrew now is the time to pull that card. Many a translation of the OT, by a wide range or competent scholars renders אלהים as judges, rulers, or something akin to that. Again these men who have brought forth these translations are scholars and you seem to ignore what they have to say.

    Furthermore, I am not challenging the point that the Tenach, at times, refers to gods or sons of god. I do not see the God of the OT being on par with his creation. This is were creation out of nothing comes in; you blur the creator-creation distinction despite biblical and extra biblical evidence (I can provide more if you that makes any difference) that says by the 1st century B.C.E. it was orthodoxy. Christians did not invent it. Again, if it wasn’t then how did it makes its way into modern Judaism.

    Also, you fail to address the references to other gods as being “eliyl” other than to say they are late. This comes across as a cop-out especially given the Isaiah citations that spawned this thread.

  48. setfree says:

    to use an expression, you seem to be missing the forest for the trees.

    First of all, the arguments you’re using, what are you hoping to prove with them? That the Bible is mistranslated? That Christianity is in error? You know what? Joseph Smith thought the same things. Only, what he came up with and what you’re coming up with are not the same.

    Are you really trying to suggest that God (the one over the whole earth (Heavenly Father?))had a counsel of lesser gods (who must have been his spirit children, since Jehovah is one of them), and that some of these lesser gods were assigned to the various nations?

  49. My God eats other gods for breakfast.

  50. David-

    Regarding creatio ex nihilo, I’m not wrong. There is no text anywhere in the Old or New Testament that espouses creatio ex nihilo. You may share your little list of scriptures if you wish. I’m happy to respond. In the meantime, please see the following publications before you try to accuse me of naivety in this regard:

    Jonathan A. Goldstein, “The Origins of the Doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo,” Journal of Jewish Studies 35.2 (1984): 127; David Winston, “Creation Ex Nihilo Revisited: A Reply to Jonathan Goldstein,” Journal of Jewish Studies 37.1 (Spring 1986): 88–91; Jonathan Goldstein, “Creation Ex Nihilo: Recantations and Restatements,” Journal of Jewish Studies 38.2 (Autumn 1987): 187–94; Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis, JPS Torah Commentary (New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 5; Robin Darling Young, “The ‘Woman with the Soul of Abraham’: Traditions about the Mother of the Maccabean Martyrs,” in “Women Like This”: New Perspective on Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman World, ed. Amy-Jill Levine (Early Judaism and Its Literature 1; Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1991), 71; Gerhard May, Creatio Ex Nihilo: The Doctrine of “Creation Out of Nothing” in Early Christian Thought (trans. A. S. Worrall; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994); James N. Hubler, “Creatio ex Nihilo: Matter, Creation, and the Body in Classical and Christian Philosophy through Aquinas” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1995); Maren R. Niehoff, “Creatio ex Nihilo Theology in Genesis Rabbah in Light of Christian Exegesis,” Harvard Theological Review 99.1 (2006): 37-64.

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