Are the idolatrous sacrifices of ancient Israel still happening today?



Hello everyone. I am Sam castor and I am here with my awesome co-host Lynda Cherry. And we are so excited to talk about a number of wonderful stories today. And what's delightful about this day to day for me is that Lynda has, in my opinion, is an expert on these chapters seconds, 2 Kings 17 through 25.

She's written extensively about the scattering, and also about the interplay between the north and Southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah in her book, redemption of the bride room and also feasts and festivals that she's writing right now. And there's also a number of there's a lot of context that she's going to provide.

That's beyond just these second king chapters as we get into this today. But, and we really wanted. Make sure as always, this is conversational, but we also wanted to bring out some of these verses. I know these are probably chapters that very few people read regularly. You get past Elisha and most people stop reading once you get to Hezekiah and Josiah.

And hopefully we can pull up the nuggets from these chapters and add some context from some of other chapters and show some wonderful things about what the Lord is doing is mercy to try and bring about The Redemption of the Bride.

So we're thrilled to be here today with you and I think it's important just to create some context. Now I'm gonna say this and Lynda's gonna add some beautiful color to it, but it's important to remember the stage of the, of.

The scene of these chapters, all of Israel is in the Northern kingdom and all of Judah is in the south or Southern kingdom or in Samaria. And it's important to remember that opposite. Oh, see, I did it wrong. I'm so sorry, please go ahead. I'll jump in for a second. Oh, I'm so sorry. So as we left off with Elijah and Elisha we saw that the Northern kingdom, which consisted of the 10 tribes yes.

Had been apostate for quite some time. They had been led to separate from Judah under their first king, who was Jeroboam who was an Ephramite . And that's Infor in interesting information for us as well, because we go back to the patriarchal blessings that were given by Jacob to his sons in Genesis 49 and 50, both Joseph and through Joseph Ephraim and Judah were given blessings of leadership.

Specifically, Judah was promised that they would always have the Kings on the throne in Jerusalem, and that the Messiah would come through. Judah and Ephraim was also promised blessings of leadership and interesting to note that caused a lot of contention amongst the tribes and Jeroboam who was an Ephraimite seemed to take that leadership upon himself.

When he separated the 10 tribes from Judah who was then ruled by Solomon's son Rehoboam I've always thought this was a really mean trick in the scriptures that we have. Jeroboam over the 10 tribe. And we have Rehoboam over Judah. It's two very strange names that are also so similar and confusing. And just like Elijah and Elisha last week.

Exactly. It's so natural to trip them up. Yeah, go ahead. So in any case, Jeroboam ham was concerned that if his people in the Northern kingdom, the 10 tribes, that if they went down to keep the holy festival days or feast and festival days down in the temple in Jerusalem, that they would leave from following him.

And they would go back to wanting to be united with with someone from Judah on the throne. And so he said, it's too much for you, my people to make that journey down to the temple. So I'm going to set up God's for you to worship. And he set up calves, golden calves in the north and south. Dan and Bethel of his kingdom and said, here's where you need to go to worship.

And at that time, the scriptures tell us that he set up the lowest people as priests. That meant any Levite who still really believed in the God of Israel who believed in Jehovah and in the temple went back down, moved south to be with Judah. We also often don't realize that when we're speaking about Judah in the south, we're also speaking about the tribe of Benjamin.

So we know we've got 10 tribes in the north. A lot of people say how many tribes are there that, how does this make sense? Cause we know there's 10 tribes in the north. And most of the time they think of only Judah in the south. But Benjamin also was joined with Judah in the south. That's where their inheritance had been.

We also know were a scattering of other tribes down there. That's where we exactly right. When Jeroboam ham set up these false priests and set up the gods, anyone who wanted to keep to the pure religion moved down south. And so that's how, in some way, Lehi's progenitors had moved down south.

And that's why Lehi who is from Mannaseh is down in Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. And in fact, it's interesting because basically from the time of the separation of those tribes, regardless of what tribe they were from, most of the people in the south were referred to as the Jews.

So that even Lehi book of Mormon refers to himself and their people as the Jews. But remember, he's Mannaseh and they join with Ishmael's family, which are from Ephraim and so here's where we get this sort of mish- mush of people being really confused of who is who and where are they located? So Northern tribes, 10 tribes, very wicked.

All of their Kings were very wicked. Every king in the north came to the throne through assassination, every king that's terrible. And yeah, and, but in the south we have good and evil Kings going back and forth on the tribe, on the throne of Judah. And we're gonna talk about two of those great Kings today.

Yes. And I think it's also helpful to talk about the context of the false gods or the idols that are worshiped. And you mentioned the calves, which is a natural symbol. It's also almost like setting up Ephraim from because, the ox being or the cow being associated with Ephraim it's a natural thing that they had carried with them from Mo from the time of Moses.

If we remember the golden calf but there's also the introduction of foreign gods and you get Baal and Molec and I know I have always been fascinated by this, and I know you have a lot of context speaking to this as well, but Baal, you taught me, but all means husband. and it's an imitation of Christ as the bride groom.

It's a counterfeit to that. And then Molech is an evil, heinous version of the tension that's, it's the Roe V. Wade of the ancient Israelites, because what they would do is they would, and I'm sure there are people that are gonna be offended by me saying this, but there's obvious four layers.

This has been the battle all along. Do you love little children? Do you bring these children into the world or do you put yourself above them and sacrifice them either through what they did with Molech was they would take a great iron statue that was hollow full of underneath with wood and get it piping hot, red, hot with fire, and then they would sacrifice infants on Molech's statue.

As he held his hands out to sacrifice the blood. To the gods and try and gain the virtue of that letter to try and prove their their worship. And you see all these examples of similar types of human sacrifice in ancient Israel in the surrounding countries, we read, back in these other chapters, we didn't highlight it.

But when these as Asyrians lose or when other kingdoms lose to Judah or to Israel in these wars, there's little footnotes or little references where, oh, the kingdom, that kingdom then sacrificed one of his sons, it was like, why would he do that? Because he thought that there was value. There was purpose in this.

And it's something that we see today. Can I, do I put myself. Someone else, do I put my, do I treat someone else like an object, even my own child. And it's the worst. That's been existing since the very, very beginning with Adam and Eve and, there's references to in Enoch's time, how people hated their own children, hated their own blood.

And it's an indication of where society is. And so we, we see the tension here, the war that's happening, not only externally is also it's happening internally because the Israelites or excuse me the Jews along with the righteous Israelites are worshiping Baal. And Molech they're saying I'm gonna put myself above someone else.

I'm gonna treat someone like an object. And whenever you do that, it creates this internal dissonance that creates war internally, and then it creates war externally. We should also mention that they had brought in the female deities specifically Astraea and that she was worshiped through ritual prostitution.

Yes. Yes. And and this was very prevalent in both the north and the south with very few exceptions in the south, amongst the Jews with Hezekiah and Josiah, but it was a constant problem at, and constantly corrupting the temple in Jerusalem with it. And this step isn't new. It's almost I think it's helpful to remember we're at war.

Paul reminds us in Corinthians later, he says, we're not at war with the people around us. We he very clearly in first Corinthians says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and dominions and powers of darkness. What we're war with are the spirits that follow Satan.

That we're cast down to earth that are trying to possess the bodies that God created for Adam and Eve for us, they're trying to take our light away from us. They're trying to possess our temples, cuz they have to have a body, a tabernacle in order to be able to enjoy this earth. And this defilement through worshiping Astraea through worshiping Baal.

And Molech this defilement that literally compromises the shields enmity God placed between us and the serpent, us and Satan though, that enmity goes away when we defile ourselves and we don't repent. And I do wanna that's really what's going on. Go ahead. Go ahead. Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

Oh no, you're wonderful. Go ahead please. I do wanna bring up, I liked your connection as painful as it is to abortion today. Yeah. In that this is a really hot topic. For all of us today. And we see people weighing in from all different faith bases and non-faith bases on it. And I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts about that is that what's interesting is you made the point about God sending children that God, in trying to help with this war, the war between good and evil is sending spirits that are spec specially designated for this interesting, that in the stories that we're going to read today, that king Josiah, one of the most righteous Kings ever came to the throne when he was eight And when he was 12, he began the cleansing of the temple and asked for all the people to know about the covenant. So think of that child and he escaped the death that so many of the Kings were offering their children up to Molech here is a child that came forward that God had clearly sent to help turn the heart of Israel back to him.

Yes. And then I also have to just share a personal story. I have two adopted children. I cannot have children. I have two adopted children. My daughter is very very personally moved by all of the abortion debate and she marches and parades and thinks, and she gets really hurt to the point of tears.

She's just a magnificent human someone I admire beyond words and she gets really hurt and she literally will say, do you think I should be dead? That's how personal it is, how personal it is to her, this abortion debate. Because so often, we hear the stories about. The sense that having this child is going to ruin the mother's life or so on or so forth.

But we don't hear very often about the children that might have been in the case of abortion. And there are many who have lived through abortion, who are amazing people and doing wonderful, beautiful things on this earth. And my daughter often thinks of the fact that she could have been one of those and that she could have been one that had been aborted and it would be a terrible loss to us.

So I just think it's sobering to think about Josiah as an eight year old making huge changes. Yes. And that at that time people were sacrificing and killing their children. Yeah. It's a similar, it's a similar story. It's like, like, it's this arc of. A time of wickedness, a king comes, tries to, bring people back to God.

It's the same thing that happened with Enoch and Melchizedek and Abraham, and this exercise to try. Bring peace where there's war. It, that you're right. It's beautiful. And I think it's important to highlight and I really wanna read some of these scriptures. I know sometimes we just talk about them, but I think it, just to kinda give context, why does the Lord scatter Israel in the midst of all this wickedness?

And it says it right there in second Kings chapter 17 verse 16. And so I'm just gonna read 16 through 18, and then we can talk about this a little bit and what some of these words mean. But I think it's important for all of us to hear these words, because one of the reasons that Josiah had power for peace was the word of God.

And so hearing the word of God brings faith. That's what the scriptures tell us, actually hearing the words does something to the spirits inside us and helps us resonate with the light and truth and gives us the ability to create peace, even when we're surrounded by war. So even when there's, it's hard stuff like, so for example, right here, second king 17 verse 16, speaking of Israel, it says, and they left all the commandments of the Lord, their God, and made them molten images, even two calves.

Speaking of what you had referenced earlier, Lynda and made a Grove with Astraea and worshiped all the hosts of heaven and served by all. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through fire and use divination and enchantments and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger.

Therefore, the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. There was none left. But the tribe of Judah only. Now this idea of being in this, in the presence of the Lord, being in his sight, being closer to him is something we've talked about before being able to be in his presence or in his sight or see his face is connection.

It's elevation, it's illumination, right? But if you look at these verses, it talks about how they were causing, they were worshiping all these different gods, all the host of heaven lower capital or lower case H and they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through fire. Through sacrificing through other forms of mystic worship and mysticisms creeping back up, even in Utah where you have these people who are like, oh, I have these charms and these charms are special.

Help me, there's a place for some of that, with this idea of things being holy, like our chapels and our temples and our homes and a CTR ring or whatever it is. But this idea of, oh, this is magic or special. You gotta be really careful what the focus is. Is it the object or is it Christ? Like we talked about before, and then therefore the Lord not only was angry, but he was very angry and removed them from this sight. So what do you think about this? Actually, I can hardly ever read that without weeping. The truth is that I, because of the sense of what we have had before of how the Lord feels married to his people, he describes himself between being a father, a husband the shepherd.

He has so many different titles and each of them describe a different element of his love for us. And it actually always just makes me weep to see that they have turned from him despite all that he has given. To him are to them. . And then we also, we've talked about this before and we've had some pushback on it.

When we have that, it says the Lord was angry with them and I've had friends and and others say to me this God of the old Testament, he's always getting angry. He's nothing like Jesus. And we don't like the old Testament for that reason, but it's really important for us to understand the true nature and characteristic of God And that when he describes himself as being angry, we should believe him, by the way, he describes himself as being angry, also in the doctrine and covenants our modern scripture. Yeah. But the way that he fulfills this anger, Sam is not in the way that people would've pictured the ancient gods of Zeus and others who would've thrown thunderbolts down on people or burned them in the fire.

Yeah. The way that he expresses the anger is that he removes his hand of protection. Yeah. So whereas with Elijah and Elisha we were reading in those chapters. Remember that Elijah. Elijah's appointed to anoint the next king of Asyria and it's going to be that king that comes in and takes all of Israel captive.

You're right. And it's interesting that the Lord had those two nations interplay for a while, between a political alliances. And then also when Naman comes down and, there's this opportunity for both nations to come to understand and recognize Jehovah as God. And they don't in the end, anything that happens is just so very temporary Elijah mourns, because his miracle is not really converted people And so God removes his hand of protection. That's part of the promise of the covenant is this protection. And when we break the covenants, he has to withdraw spirit. As you said, the most important thing he's trying to teach us is how to come into his presence. Yes. When we rebel and we become dark and wicked, we can't come into his presence and Ezekiel describes his presence, leaving the temple.

And so when his presence leaves that's the manifestation. So then the other nations come in and just take over. Absolutely. And it's interesting because you look at, this is the I like to think of this as us climbing the mountain, right? Climbing mountain Zion, to get up to the Lord, which is what Moses modeled for so many prophets model for us.

I talk about this as my book, Zion rising, all of these things around us, the trees and the mountains, all are all pointing as heaven. ward to try and help us return from the fallback up to where we were before enriched by this earthly experience, learning how to become like God and learning how to reconcile the tensions in our lives and through Christ atonement.

But what happens here is it's like these instead of climbing the mountain. And getting to where the Lord is, they start to backslide and you see the phrase backsliding in a number of places throughout these chapters. And this idea of backsliding is that, Hey, I'm gonna go back. I liked it better back down there in the dark valley, where there was pain and suffering and we could kill each other.

Instead of coming up to the peak where the Christ is and enjoying the harmony and the heavenliness of being restored and becoming one with him again. And so the back sliding idea, what the Lord takes from this is if you're not gonna come to me, then what I have to do is I have to separate you.

You've become almost like too much lemon in bread or too much salt Christ himself for first, these analogies. And I need to scatter you, or I need to take the seeds and spread you off. And I think along with the, some of the chapters, I think you've mentioned to me before, and I hope you bring 'em up in, in other books.

I think Jacob five is also a very valuable corollary here, which God is a master gardener. It's almost like he's a genetic gardener. And he's okay if you're gonna be wicked, I'm gonna preserve the root. Of this tree that's supposed to bring me fruit and I'm going to it talks about in Jacob five, I'm going to scatter these branches like seeds across my vineyard and graft them into other trees to try and bring about the preservation of the fruit of David.

And he refers to David several times in these chapters. Do you want to add any context to that? I just wanna say that something that I have always really loved is the twin testimony of Jacob five and Isaiah five. Oh. Because five talks about the well beloved having a vineyard in which he planted the choices of plants, the men of Judah, the people of Judah and that how that vineyard goes wild.

And then we put that side by side with the story of Jacob five and we see that the scattering is a consequence true, but it's also an act of great graciousness and mercy that take to take the blood of the sead of Abraham, the seed of Israel throughout the world. And scatter that throughout the world.

And we see the blessings that have come. Jacob V also teaches us that while the master gardener is very distressed and distraught over what those plants are doing, he continues working in the vineyard. He goes from one end into the vineyard to the other end of the vineyard. Numerous times and weeps what more could I have done?

What more could I have done? I can't bear, I can't bear to lose this plant. I can't bear to lose this tree. And so we're gonna keep pruning and digging and trying. I think that's a really important message for us to see in the scattering. He wasn't casting his people off. No, you're right. I love that Lynda and another takeaway, I always glean from Jacob five is the Lord counsels, his prophets as servants.

Who're helping him in the vineyard. And he says don't chide me for paying attention to the poor parts of the vineyard. And some of the greatest blessings come from the poorer parts of the vineyard and there's modern day context. I. As America struggles, which it is right now, we're going to see that there are other countries, other parts of the world that ha are rich in the blood, Israel, rich with the remnant.

And they're going to rise up and bring blessings to the earth. I think you're gonna see that in places in Africa. I think you're gonna see that in places in south America, places that have been poverty stricken, but the righteous are strong. The remnant is strong there. And just to remind everyone, cuz the remnant comes up here as well, that in these chapters, the Lord refers to the remnant of Israel or the remnant of the seat of David.

And there's a difference between just to recap this there's a difference between the remnant, which are those that are left behind. They weren't carried up into heaven that are meant to act like the salt or 11 they're meant to be like the seeds and the blood of Israel and bring about righteousness all around them and help change people around them.

Be good neighbors, convert people back to Christ. Then there's the residue, which is the stuff that draws it's the people that are. , they've partake of the sacrament of the devil they're killing babies and they're, off engaging in ritualistic prostitution, like we talked about and they don't want to repent.

They wanna stay in the dark valley. And then there's the redeemed or the risen, those people who have been carried up. So these three R's are the scene. Now we've talked about this before. I believe that there are lots of of the redeemed or risen, the angels that come down as ministering angels all throughout our earthly existence.

And we don't have a lot of scriptures of them here in these chapters, but there are some, and we do see one of those miraculous events with after some of the scattering first happens, we have the king of Asyria which first happened around 735 ad. He comes and he tries to take over the Northern kingdom and he carries away the nor Northern tribes leaving.

Just like you said, in the south, the Levi's Judah and Benjamin and a few others like Lehi Ephraim and Mannaseh. And those that kingdom wasn't conquered until 597 approximately 5 97 ad, but then in second king, 17;6-7 we get into this a little bit more about these lost tribes and then the Lord sends some angels later on when dealing with the south that we could talk about to miraculously, say this.

Now you have such great story and context on this. I would love it if you talk about it. Let's first do your part about the second king 17, 6-7 okay. It's really interesting that this Hosha or Hoshea the king of II is the one. If you remember that Elijah is told that he has to anoint.

And remember we talked about that. Here is here's Elijah. So tired and he's told he's supposed to anoint these three next people. And two of them are going to do some pretty harsh negative things. And that's the king of his king of Asyria or Asyria. And the king of Israel is gonna be fighting that king and then Elijah.

The verses that you had outlined here, second king, 17, 6-7, it says in the ninth year, Hoshea the king of a Asyria took Samaria. So Samaria is the capital city of that Northern kingdom of the 10 tribes. It's important for us to remember that, cuz later we're gonna read about how the Jews don't like the Samaritans.

Here's one of the main reasons why is because that apostasy started right at the very beginning with Jeroboam. So the Jews down by the temple consider the Samaritans apostate. Then as we read this verse he took Samaria, carried Israel away into a Asyria for, so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord, their God, which it had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

And it feared other gods. So the method of conquering a nation in those days. And actually sometimes even in our day to today, that is still happening is that the conquering nation would completely take away the people that lived in that city or that environment. And they'd bring in other conquered people yeah.

Into that place. And so when the 10 tribes were carried away, a Asyria brought in other conquered people to live in that area. And I know you love this story. You have it written down here. So go ahead and you tell the story what happened, cuz we wanna tell about. How this ended up then forming the people called the Samaritans and why there's this enmity between the Jews and the Samaritan.

So go ahead. Tell what happened when they brought them in. I want great context. I love anything about lions. I have dreams about lions sometimes and the lion of the Lord is a phrase that has been attached to some prophets. And so what happened? It's fascinating. And the line is associated with Judah.

There's this idea of them having the power of the king of the animal kingdom, right? So the lost tribes, like you said, we're taken away and they were lost. They were scattered. And there's like this assimilation process, this mixing process, which is genius from a erase people's identity and make them part of my kingdom approach this monarchy approach.

And even though they, the people were lost. We know that the Lord knows where they are and that he knows that he's, we know he's scattering them with a purpose and that their identity is not lost to him. He's very aware of them. And so in this holy place in Samaria, what happens is a number of lions.

It must have been a lot of lions for it to make it in the scriptures, which is unique because lions don't usually hang out in these groups. Like they're not like snakes or, or the other plagues that we see in Egypt. But a lot of lion show up and start eating people and start acting as a curse against those who have taken possession of the land and the king of a Asyria that is, has sent these people here.

He finally pauses. This is in 2 Kings 17:25

And he pauses and he's Hey, clearly, there's something going on here. That's religious beyond our understanding. Let's gather out some of the priests of the kingdom, we just took over and send them back to Samaria, to calm the gods down over there.

They're sending these Lions into this land and it's almost as if it's a way where the Lord is giving them the people, another chance to be like, Hey, let's bring you back. Let's I don't wanna be, away from me forever. I don't want you to be outta my presence forever. So I'm gonna send these curses with lions and then give you an opportunity to come back sooner than maybe some of the other people would.

What do you think about that? The challenges is who were the priests that were sent, cuz we'd already known that any of the righteous priests, the Levites had gone back down to the south. So these would've been priests that were possibly, mixed, very mixed up as well. Yes.

You talked about the 10 tribes being assimilated. It's really important for us to understand that one reason they were so easily assimilated. While the Jews were not assimilated when they went to Babylon is because the 10 tribes had already been apostate for centuries. They let it go and they no longer saw themselves as a covenant people.

And they were constantly involved in the other nations and political alliances. Whereas when the Jews were taken captive, they 70 years or so later, they said, we need to be careful because we saw what happened to our brothers who were carried away. So in fact, what's very interesting is this is the birth of the Pharisees when they go to Babylon and the scribes, because they feel like.

We cannot forget the covenant. So now we're going to appoint people to recite the covenant and also then make laws additional laws to the covenant to make sure we don't even get close to breaking the covenant reinforcing that emnity that wall against them in the, yeah. Yeah. So they were not assimilated, which is a very interesting thing.

Yeah. And so we, now this leads to the sense of these priests that come down that are coming into Samaria and we have a group of some, the scriptures tell us the poorest of the poor of the 10 tribes were left in the Northern kingdom. And then we have the new people that have come in. So the Jews look at them as half breeds, which is a very interesting thing because it, in a strange way, it is a type of the good Samaritan parable.

Yeah. Because Jesus is considered a half breed. He's half God and half man. So Jesus is always turning these. Judgements that people make against one another on its, on their head. So in fact, going back to Samaria, the woman at the well in Samaria is one of the best stories to point that out.

That's beautiful that Jesus is going to this woman who women are a lesser class at the time. She's a Samaritan. If you remember, she says, what are you doing? Talking to me? You're a man men don't talk to women that they're not related to. And I'm a Samaritan . Yeah. So he, what I love about that. Is that also when he gives his mandate to take the gospel to all the world, he mentions Samaria along with the Jews.

Now that they have to go and he's working on healing, this breach and this breach had gone on for centuries. And during this assimilation, when the other countries were brought in and so forth, this is when the Samaritan start worshiping at Mount Garazine. So if you remember that the woman at the well says, we know where our fathers worshiped and we worship about Mount Garazine and Jesus answered her.

This is the important part corrector. You don't know what you worshiped. yeah, because of this assimilation of the religion that had happened, then he said and how can you know anyone, but God, yeah. You can't, Satan lives in darkness and his false idols are really just veiled darkness, right?

Yes. So yeah. What I love that you're go ahead. I didn't mean to stop you. Oh, it's just so beautiful because he says you don't know what you worship. Yeah. But, and he tells it in the most loving way. And he, and then the truth is in Jerusalem with the Jews, he tells her that, and then he proclaims.

She's the very first person that we know of that's recorded in the scriptures that he just write out, says, he's the Messiah . So what I love here is to look at the whole picture, too often, we look at part of the story. God was angry at these people and he scattered them. But wait, let's look at all of the interactions here.

Let's look at Christ. Interacting with the Samaritans and every effort to heal that breach. And as you had said earlier, in terms of the scattering and the vineyard, he's aware of everyone no one is lost to him. And you also mentioned some countries, you mentioned Africa, south America and so forth.

I'm reading a book right now. I have to mention the Ukrainians because I had not realized they're in their third, in my lifetime, basically. Almost my full lifetime, a little bit beyond it, but they're in their third time of being conquered and pushed out and pushed away. And so it's a natural, and we've already been able to identify that many of.

10 tribes are up in those Northern countries in Northern countries, right? Russia, Ukraine Romania. Romania. Yeah, go Romanian. I know you served your mission there. Yes. And so you've had those experiences too, that have witnessed to you that the scattering does not mean they are lost or cast off. No.

In fact, when elder Ballard apostle Ballard set apart Romania, there's a beautiful line in that blessing. When he consecrate the land for missionary work, where he says, he talks about trying to gather the scattered Israel. And he said the Romania is rich in the blood of Israel.

That's the phrase. And it's true. When we were there, we found. Me now, we didn't have a patriarch when I was there. People would have to go to another country to get their lineage described, but we had experienced and found people from every tribe in, just in Romania. It's very similar to Ukraine and Muldova, but there's this rich abundance of the blood of Israel.

And there were actually missionaries sent by Joseph Smith to that Eastern European part of the world back in the 18 hundreds, because the Lord knew that was part of the gathering. He was setting it up. He was trying to bring them home. And as we meet these people, there's wonderful members, amazing members in Romanian.

Muldova, Ukraine. I, my brother-in-law served there. You can see and feel the purpose. Inside of these people, you can see that they're, they are trying to retain their identity. They're trying to bring about a restoration of their people and their culture and reconnect themselves to God and in many different religions.

And I think it's important to highlight that what we're talking about right now there's Joseph Smith draws a distinction between the church and the kingdom, and this has been referenced in other come follow me lessons. He says the church is all about the salvation of men. The ordinance is necessary to bring about the salvation and help people return the presence of God and the kingdom, which is different.

There's a material difference between the kingdom and the church. The kingdom is all about agency. The kingdom is all about letting people choose for themselves. And so when we interact with these people, whether they be from Africa or whether they be from Ukraine or south America or wherever, just last night, I was at a a little restaurant getting a pizza and I bumped into a sweet couple that were, they were older and they had just been married two years prior and they were cuddling and he had a big, beautiful cross on his chest.

And I went and talked to him and I said, Hey, I love your cross. Christ is king. And he was like, amen, brother. And we just fist bumped, there's all this love. He's part of the kingdom, even if he's not part of my church, he's part of the kingdom, he cares about agency. He cares about worshiping God.

He cares about protecting the ability for people to be, to believe the way they wanna believe and to be who and worship the way they wanna worship. And so I think it's really important that we remember that we have a lot of brothers and sisters that are part of the kingdom that don't necessarily wear white shirts or ties.

Maybe they don't look like. Who we're used to seeing always at church, but they're so precious. They're so essential. They're so integral to this this scattering and regathering. We can just have to throw our arms around people. We just have to love people where they're at and recognize that their path is different than our path.

And at the same time, lovingly invite people when they're ready. To come to Christ path, cuz that's what we're all trying to get to. That's what this whole purpose is. I love your sharing that and I invite our listeners to actually do some reading on their own because Joseph Smith did write some very interesting things about the kingdom versus the church and what that kingdom's gonna look like during the millennium and that agency that you mentioned, and that there will be more than one church there.

Yes. Now what we'll also bear a testimony that the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints has the ordinances of salvation. And we read about the fact that these very people have been scattered. We read in the doctrine and covenants that they're going to bring their sacred treasures, which means literally their family history records.

They're gonna bring their sacred records to the children of Ephraim this is the time when happening that leadership that had been promised to Ephraim comes into being that they will bring those, their treasures to Ephraim and those treasures, the family history work that will be done in the temples for the ordinances of salvation.

Yeah, I love you bringing that up. That's great, Sam. Thank you. Oh, thank you. Thank you for all the context you've added. I absolutely love it. And I and the reason we're able to do a lot of this and the reason the Lord is working this, and he does it in stages with the north and the. Is because just like you mentioned it's almost like the north and the south is a reflection of this idea of church and kingdom, right?

The kingdom gets destroyed and disrupted and taken away. It's the barrier between between the Jews and the rest of the surrounding nations is the Northern kingdom. And once that gets taken away and agency starts to become lost and people become assimilated, then all they have to cling to is the church.

And that's what they do. And it works. It helps them. And especially when we have he Hezekiah who comes on the scene because after a Asyria destroys and carries away the Northern kingdom the king of his Asyria starts to take over the Southern kingdom and he threatens Jerusalem and he comes to the people and he says, Hey I'm gonna take you over.

You might as well just assimilate now. Why don't you just come and join me? I'll carry you to better, better lands. I'll give you gardens and I'll let you guys be at peace and do all this kind of stuff. But you just need to battle me. Cuz I look at the path of destruction and carnage I've left behind and he basically says surrender or die.

And then he does something he shouldn't above and beyond all the war and he blasphemes the Lord. And the people are terrified of what he, his messenger says to them. And they mourn and, tear their garments under as a sign of distress and desire to connect with God. And they run to the king and they relate, relate.

These threats to the king has Hezekiah now because Hezekiah has been focused on helping the people get rid of this idle worship and get rid of the things that are separating them from God. He directs the people to God, and he has some beautiful verses here that in response. But I think it's valuable for us to read in second king 17 30-36, I think there's but I think it's good to read this.

So why don't I read the Hezekiah part and then you can read the response part from I'm sorry I'll read king of a Asyria part, and then you can read the Hezekiah part. Does that work for you? Sure. I also want to just please, I just want to mention so he, Hezekiah is one of my very favorites along with Josiah.

That's why I'm so grateful. We get to do this today. Me too. Please go ahead. Yeah, just wonderful. Both Kings. The minute they come to the throne. As I mentioned, is only recorded in the book of Chronicles. So I have asked people that I teach in classes before which, which book of the four gospels is going to be your only book you read about Christ.

Everyone says, I can't do that. . And I said this is really the same with reading Kings and Chronicles. So Chronicles is not listed on our come follow me, but it tells the same story, but from different viewpoint. In fact, I really like your point about kingdom and church, because we would say in a way that Kings is the historical background of what is happening.

Chronicles gives us a lot more about the spiritual background of what is happening. And so from the very beginning of when he's crown king, he Hezekiah, first of all says we have to cleanse the temple and I want the Levites to cleanse themselves. And in fact, there's incredibly powerful stories in Chronicles about the Levites.

Confessing that they're not clean because he Hezekiah's father had been involved in idolatry and the temple had the other idols brought in and so forth. And so the Levites feel that they're not clean and they confessed before he, Hezekiah we see has Hezekiah acting in the role of king and priests just as David had.

In fact what's really important for us to see here too. When you were talking about this the army that comes against has Hezekiah. And Rabshekeh the commander is speaking so rudely to the people and someone says, don't speak in our own language. I, we don't want the people to hear you. And he is really threatening, but what he Hezekiah does is instead of acting quote, unquote, like the king, if we remember that David wanted to be the priest when he brought the arc into Jerusalem on that great celebration day and was wearing the priesthood robes, Hezekiah completely humbles himself.

And he goes into the temple. He takes the letter from the king of a Asyria into the temple. And so how could he go in the temple, except that he has. Undoubtedly the Melchizedech priest did to be allowed to do that. And and so he had gathered his people under the covenant before this happened. And I think that's really important so that the people were already, it's not like they suddenly have a conversion.

Now when the, a Asyrian army is around them. But because when Hezekiah came to power in the first place, he cleansed the temple. He had the Levites cleanse themselves. He read the covenant or the law to the people and had them renew the covenant. And he also had called for a Passover and invited the Northern kingdom.

Those people who are left, who are not pure anymore, who are not pure Israelites, he invited them to the Passover. And he said, let's unite ourselves. You no, you've been taken captive. Let's unite ourselves. So he's working on all the principles of Zion so that when this army comes together, comes against them.

The people are already in a prepared. Position because of what Hezekiah had already been doing with them. Yes. Yes. And you see this in 2 Kings 17:30 where so read that messenger comes and says, don't let hi. He says, neither that heah make you trust in the Lord saying the Lord will surely deliver us.

And this sh city shall be, shall not be delivered in the hand of king, the king of Asyria harken, not to Hezekiah . Instead he says, make instead, make an agreement with me by a present and come. To me and then every man of his own vine and every one of his fig tree and drink everyone, the waters of his cistern

and so he is basically saying just give me a tribute, give me a tribute, keep giving me money pay me, homage, worshiping me, and then I'll, and I'll leave you guys alone. And then he says in verse 32, until I come and take you away to a land like your own. So just hang out and then I'll come take you to your own, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and of honey that you may live and not die.

And harken, not under Hezekiah when he persuaded you saying the Lord will deliver us. And then he points to the prior victories. He says, have any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land, out of the hand of the king of a Asyria, where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad where are the gods of Sepharvaim have I have delivered or excuse me, have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

Who are they among the gods of the countries that have delivered their country out of my hand, but the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand. And then to your point, this is where the people in verse 36 show their commitment to the Lord, show their preparation, but the people held their peace and answered him.

Not a word for the King's commitment was saying, answer him not. And then when that message is brought to the king in the next chapter in ch second King's 18 verse one, this is where we see Hezekiah wrestle with the Lord. And plead with him, right? Do you want to, you don't have to read the whole thing, but I think it's now I'd love read some of it.

I'd love to read it. It's beautiful and powerful. And it came to pass when king has Hezekiahheard it, that he rent his clothes and covered himself, a sack cloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent to Isaiah, the prophet, the son of Amos saying this day is a day of trouble and of rebuke and blasphemy for the children are come to the birth and there is not strength to bring forth.

It may be that the Lord, thy God will hear all the words of Reshekah. When the king of a Asyria, his master has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words, which the Lord that God have heard where for a lift up thigh, prayer for the remnant that are left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

And Isaiah said unto them, thus, shall you say to your master thus, say it, the Lord. Be not afraid of the words which thou has heard with which the servants of the king of a Asyria have blasphemed me behold, I will send a blast upon him and he shall hear a rumor and shall return to his own land. And I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

Powerful. Isn't it. And I, you see the reference to remnant. There's this covenant people that are still hanging out. They're still having faith in the Lord that are trying to bring about righteousness around them. And this idea of lifting up their prayers to the Lord, recognizing that heaven is above harkening all the way back to Adam and Eve and Enoch and the other prophets, Mechizedek that have lifted up their cities and peace and righteousness in the Lord.

I think it's powerful. And I love that you read that there's so much that we can see in he Hezekiah's faith, despite his fear. Because he wrestles. It's not he's Hey God, I've been doing everything I need to do. And it's gonna work out. I know it's gonna be fine. He comes in total vulnerability to the Lord and says, I need your help.

I need your prophet. You have to protect us. It's we're about to have a baby. And there's no strength to have the baby. You need to bear the bear, the miracle. You need to bring him forth. I love how real God is to him. Yeah. Because when we're reading the account that he lays the letter before the Lord is look at this letter that was written, it's Blaspheming you.

So to Hezekiah God is a very real. There's a very real relationship here. God is known to Hezekiah he's not someone he's just now in a manner of intense fear turning to he knows him and he knows him in a very intimate way. And then also goes through these proper channels. Again, when we go back to our stories that we've just rushed through and come follow me, remember that.

Remember that Saul wouldn't wait for the prophet and he offered the offering and then loses his place. And then Solomon becomes so proud and loses his place. But here has Hezekiah is I can't make any decisions of my own Lord. I need you. And I'm calling for the prophet. He sends for the prophet right away.

He does, this is what should I do? He does. And I think it's worth it while to read versus 15 through 19 in the same chapter where it says. And he Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, oh Lord God of Israel, which dwell between the cheribums thou the God, even thou alone of all the kingdoms of the earth thou has made heaven in earth.

So he's recognizing the relationship, which is something that the prophets have always, that's one of the first things they teach the people, Hey, we're down here below and heaven's above this earth is just God's foot stool. And this is where God resides. And then verse 16, Lord bow down my ear and hear open Lord nine eyes.

And see, here are the words of Sennacherib, which have sent him to reproach the living. God, like you said about showing the letter of a truth, Lord, the Kings of a Asyria have destroyed the nations and their lands. You can hear the vulnerability in his voice. It. These guys are wreaking havock they've destroyed and just plowed the earth with the blood of so many others and have cast their gods into the fire for they, for, they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood, and stone, therefore they have destroyed them now, therefore, oh Lord our God, I beseech saved out us out of his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou aren't the Lord, God, even thou only it's all about glory to God.

And it's, there's so much power in that. I love it. It's an echo of David's yes. Question to the Israelites who said, how can you stand to let the Philistines blaspheme against God? Yes. And so it's the same sort of feeling it's Lord, we recognize it's not just about our own fear for our own wellbeing, but they're blaspheming your name.

And I think this is so important because I think we've become really. Casual with God's name today. And not recognizing throughout the scriptures. The Lord says, I'm going to do this for my namesake, or I'm going to bring this about, for my name. So taking his name is like taking an oath. It's a very serious thing of this is going to come to pass.

This is a spoken by God written in stone situation. And so he he, Hezekiah feels very protective of God's name. I love it. Yeah, no, me too. And how he understands as well that it will affect the whole earth if there isn't salvation. Yeah. If there isn't deliverance and the his analogy of

about to have birth, but there's no strength. I think he understands the covenant line. I think he understands that Christ is supposed to come forward. This is something that was promised to David and he Hezekiah would understand those promises. And so there's to, to your book about the bride and the bridegroom, this idea that we're supposed to give birth as a people and let Christ come forth.

So then down in versus 21 through 37, do you mind reading those? I just think. There's so much power in this. I love him. I agree. And it's really interesting to read the same account in in the book of Isaiah . So in fact the promise about the Virgin giving forth the son, and he shall be called mighty counselor the might and so forth.

That is part of a Isaiah's prophecy. to Hezekiah. So it's really interesting to bring all those records together. So what I'm reading here is from second King's 17 and starting with verse 21. This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him. Meaning Sennacherib, the Virgin daughter of Zion has despised the, and laugh thee to scorn.

The daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at the, this is what he's saying to the king of a Asyria. Whom has thou reproached in blasphemed and against whom has thou exalted that voice and lifted up then eyes on high, even against the holy one of Israel, but I know ode and I going out and I coming in and thine rage against me because thy rage against me and tumult has come up into mine ears

therefore I will put my hook inthine nose and my bridal inthine lips. And I will turn the back by the way by which thou camest and this shall be a sign unto the ye shall eat this year, such things as grow of themselves. And in the second year, that, which spring of the same and in the third year, so ye and reap and plant vineyards and eat the fruits thereof and the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again, take root downward and bear fruit upward for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant and they shall escape out of Mount Zion.

The zeal of the Lord of host shall do this, therefore thus say at the Lord concerning the king of a Asyria, he shall not come into this city nor should an arrow there nor come before it was shield nor cast a bank against it, by the way that he came by the same, shall he return and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord for, I will defend this city to save it for my own sake.

And for my servant David's sake. And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Asyrians 104 score and 5,000. And when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Asyria departed, and went and returned andt at Nineveh

and it came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his God that Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons smote him with the sword and they escaped into the land of Armenia pro prophecy fulfilled. And this idea of these angels. So we got the remnant, the residue and the redeemed, or the risen. The angel comes down and miraculously saves Jerusalem.

It's awesome. I don't think it's such a small story. I don't think people recognize how powerful this situation was. They're on the brink of utter destruction after seeing the Northern kingdom just decimated and yet the Lord redeems, Israel, redeems Jerusalem. It's beautiful. What do you think about that?

I love it. And again, that emphasis on God's name because when the Northern kingdom, they were fighting, they didn't want a Asyria to overtake them, but they did not have the power of the covenant. And they did not have the power of God's name. When you, I know you're later gonna speak about, and you've spoken about before in other of our podcasts, the power of the word and the word

is Jesus Christ. And so here he Hezekiah andand Isaiah are constantly making reference to the fact that the name of God or the word of God has been blasphemed against. And so that can't stand. And so I've always loved this story. Now. What's really interesting is that it, it creates an idea amongst the Jews that because the temple is there, they can never be destroyed.

So later when they're wicked , they're all relying on this story from Hezekiah but they've misunderstood and they've misinterpreted again, they emphasis on God's name, his temple and so forth. And they're like God, won't let us be destroyed when Babylon's coming against them. And Jeremiah and Lehi and others are prophesied.

They're going to be destroyed. They're like, oh no, that's impossible. Cuz look what happened under Hezekiah but they are not living. As the people did under he Hezekiah, which was again, second Chronicles tells us the story in second Chronicles, 31, that he Hezekiah asked all the people to bring an offering to the temple.

And they brought forth so much abundance that it fed all the people for years and years. So again, this sense of Zion, which you're always talking about being of one heart, one mind, no poor among them that he Hezekiah had that vision. He's living in the city of Melchizedek and undoubtedly he's that's the person and Enoch.

Those are his heroes that he's trying to model himself after. And so these amazing results follow. Yes, and it's wonderful. And then we fast forward several years and Hezekiah now is older he's ill. And he has been pursuing the model of Melchizedek and Enoch he has been seeking peace in Jerusalem the city of peace.

But there's also, there's still this tension of looking at the great and spacious building, this tension of being associated with Babylon and reconnecting with the residue instead of being preserved and righteous as the remnant. And so in the later chapters Hezekiah's told he's going to die and that he should get his house in order.

Now I a Abraham Gilliati who's a wonderful Isaiah scholar and is a very good friend of my grandfather who just passed away recently. He and I chatted about this a little bit and he has he's gracious and has had a couple conversations with me and he has some wonderful books about this as well.

He views this plea for more. As something that's unrighteous and I can see his perspective. I don't have a strong opinion on it cuz I haven't studied it. The length he has and he comes at it from a Jewish perspective, cuz he is Jewish, but he's he views this as you should have submitted to the Lord.

And I can see his point that. If you're following that pattern of Enoch and Melchizedek at some point you're gonna go up just like - or excuse me, Elijah. , it's hard to not get those two confused. Elijah gets lifted up on a charity of fire. There's a tradition of translation, or there's a tradition of rising as the going from remnant to rising or the risen.

Right? And so when heza hears this, he pleads with the Lord and says, Hey, I've been righteous. You should let me stay longer. I've done what you've asked me to do. And he asks for a sign and he's miraculously healed. And given the sign that he will have 15 more years when the son is actually turned backwards.

Now, most people we've heard of other experiences where the sun gets turned backwards and we know that it's really just the earth. Standing still. But this idea that somehow time pauses and Hezekiah given another 15 years happens. And I can see why Abraham views this as as a moment of unrighteousness where he's not willing to continue on his pilgrimage or his journey to be with the Lord.

Because after this he is visited by the Babylonians and he shows them everything in the temple, all of the wealth, all and all of the holy of holies everything. And let's point out that the Babylonians had come to congratulate him on his escape from the as Asyrians. Yep. So they were flattering him and here we see man's weakness, right?

Yeah. The ego they'd come to say, oh, congratulations. By the way, the Babylonians are gonna take over the Asyrian empire and become the empire of empires and oh, congratulations. And wow. Look what you've accomplished. And so they were appealing to his pride. And then he go ahead what you're saying, but no, you're right.

He shows him everything. He shows him the temple. He defiles the temple. So that one the lower level belief set of it's the temple that saves us. He defiles it. He brings the wicked into it and it ends up, you can see evidence of this a little bit as well with his own children.

His, the next team that takes over is wicked. Has a guy, had the ability to pick his successor at some level, he had the ability at least to influence it. And his successor, his son, his Manasa reigns of wickedness and just brings Baal back in and makes children pass through fire, sacrifices them just was happening before.

So it's really, I don't know how I feel about this. Sometimes. Lynda, cuz I just look at this and I. Oh, we get so close. I know to make it worse. There are a number of records, a number of records, apocryphal records that say that he Hezekiah and Isaiah were so close and that Isaiah was also tribe of Judah and possibly Royal family that Isaiah married, he Hezekiah's daughter.

And that Manassa a number of records say Manassa is the one who had Isaiah killed so that would've been his nephew basically that has him killed. So that, we see truly a family drama. If these apocryphal records are true, when you say we get so close and as families, I think we can all relate, right?

Is that we get so close, we have these high spiritual experiences. And then we inhale as president Faust told elder Uktdorf yes. All these people are gonna be so wonderful and so great. And give you a lot of praise, but don't inhale. And so what we see happen is that. Even as human beings, we can relate to what happened to Hezekiah oh, for sure. My, my wife always tells me, she reminds me she's gracious and wonderful. She always reminds me. Adulation is poison. This idea of the egos stroking and it's natural when you're in a position where you're teaching or you're in a position of authority or you're in a position of influence.

It's natural to forget that and to stay humble and also still stay bold because the Lord wants us to be in that position of defending the temple. He wants us to be in that position of pointing people to Christ and removing ourselves from the equation and pointing to him that's, I've struggled with that.

It is a very hard place to stay. We have the spiritual highs and we also have spiritual lows. Yes. And lots of times our family members can help us maintain balance in this particular case. The family members were not helpful, not so much for retaining the balance, right? Yeah. Yeah, no, it's awful.

And so you see this is in second King's 21, Manassa does a dominations and he does wickedly. And in verse 12 it says, therefore, best say the Lord, God of Israel, behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that who's over hearth of it. Both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem, the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab.

And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man, wipe it a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies. And they shall become prey and spoil to all their enemies because they have done that, which was evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even to this day.

Moreover Manassas shed innocent blood very much. So he's done really awful stuff worse than probably before, even he Hezekiah was king till he has filled Jerusalem from one end to another with blood is what the reference is there beside his sin, where wherewith, he made Judah to sin in doing that, which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

And so the Lord's about to wipe the dish. He's about to scatter. And take generations to bring back the light and the love and the truth of the remnant and have that manifest through out the world as he scattered the Jerusalem. Go ahead. I think it's really interesting because it wasn't like the people in Jerusalem, thirsted after being like a Asyria, when a Asyria was the great conquering power it was said in the Chronicles that the Asyrians and I don't mean Chronicles in the scriptures, by the way.

The Chronicles that are recorded in history it was said in the Chronicles that the Asyrians were the fiercest of fighters and that when they came, they literally sharpened their teeth and they knawed on their victims. They were paid by the number of heads they collected. So none of the other nations looked at a Asyrian thought.

I wanna be like them but Isaiah and Ezekiel, specifically, both of those prophets say that once Babylon came to power, all of the nations were. Oh, wow. We wanna, we want to be like Babylon and specifically Ezekiel describes it as the people just thirsting after what they see of the Babylonian clothing, the Babylonian intellectualism So Babylon conquered a totally different way. A Asyria conquered by might of arms and Babylon did come with armies. I don't mean to mistake that or misspeak that, but they were able to easily conquer because they'd already conquered. Intellectually and spiritually they just looked so wealthy.

The hanging gardens, the libraries, they seemed like they were the most advanced people that any civilization had ever seen. . And so Judah, the people of Judah were like, wow, we were really impressed and we wanna be like them. And so it's really sad because, Isaiah comes to, he Hezekiah when he Hezekiah shows the temple treasures and everything, Isaiah said, I just want you to know what you've done.

You have just opened the door to them. And they are the ones who are going to conquer you. And at the time that seemed impossible because as Asyria was the nation, and I think that's really important for us to look at today because how are we as a people today conquered? Because I don't think it's by armies either just as the people of Jerusalem, they were not conquered by an army, but they were conquered by ideals and worldliness.

And I think that's why of all the nations, the Lord chooses Babylon to be the type of evil in what we need to guard against. what a great point. Lynda. Yeah. Oh, Babylon or Babylon. We bid thee farewell. It's the flax and chord. It's the little threads that, the gossamer threads that devil ties around us to bind us down in the book of revelation when John sees the fall of Babylon and he's describing Babylon is mystery the horror of the great world and so forth.

And he talks about all the things that she has bought and sold. And at the very end, it, it says that Babylon is bought and sold the souls of men. So I think it's very important for us at this period of time when we're reading this to see how is that still applying to us today. And the invitation the alarming reminder to stay humble, right?

There's to stay humble, but also stay bold. And I, and I keep bringing that up because it's so natural for us as members of the church and believers to say wanna be nice. I wanna be kind, I don't wanna offend people and we have to have this mixture, Hezekiah, like Josiah, we have to have this mixture of humility, but also, and in total deference on the Lord, but also the boldness the faith to, to stand up and say, no don't take the late name of the Lord in vain

I'm not gonna cast the eternal judgment on you. I'm not gonna, necessarily go pick a fight with you, but I'm gonna hold the line and I'm gonna defend Israel. I'm gonna defend the Lord. That's a hard, that's a hard place to be, but we have to do it. It's the only way I think you can stay out of those ideals.

I have a friend, I went to high school with. Who on Facebook? She's left the church. She's actually organized parties to try and help people leave the church. And she mentioned that, she has this post on Facebook where she's like my former religious self. And then she talks about how religion is the source of all evil and how people need to be humble.

And I need to go of religion and that you can't be Christlike and religious. And it's hard because some people I think resonated with that. They go, oh yeah, the Pharisees overly religious. And that is a bad thing. I can see that. And being Christlike means that you're loving and accepting and compassionate, but Christ when he caught the woman in adult or when the woman caught an adultery was brought to him, Christ had compassion and love and spoke truth.

He said, don't sin anymore. You're forgiven. I love you. Don't sin anymore. There's a line. And we forget that we need to be line holders. We need to be defenders of the faith and defenders of truth in compassion. and it's hard to do both of you want to be liked by Babylon. It's very difficult. I don't think you can do it.

Go ahead. Oh, I agree with you a hundred percent. Should we talk about Josiah? Yeah, let's do it so most Manassa son Amon is just as bad. And then we have this awesome experience where Josiah shows up last scene. And you mentioned, he shows up as a very young child. He was put on the throne when he was eight He started the cleansing of the temple when he was 12. And when they're cleansing the temple, they discover the book of the law. Now this is just heartbreaking. This is how quickly people forgot who they were and forgot the covenant. Here's another important lesson for us today. A lot of people think they know what the covenants are that they've made, but they haven't really pondered them.

If you remember that during COVID that president Nelson invited us when the temples were closed, he said to, to recite in our minds. Our temple covenants and our temple experience so that we could remember those precious covenants and the covenants that go both ways, promises that we make as well as the promises that the Lord makes to us.

And the book of the law or the covenant had been lost to them. And going back again to remembering that what is the promise of the covenant in Exodus 19 5-6 is that we're all to become Kings and priestesses, our Kings and Queens, priests and priest. Unto God. And so part of the reminder for the people were these feast days.

That's my second book coming out in August, by the way the feast and festival days. And so one of those most important feast and festival days was the feast of Tabernacles. And at that time, the king was supposed to stand in front of the pillar of the temple and he is supposed to read the covenant to the people and ask the people to join with him in renewing their covenants with the Lord.

And the king is supposed to give his address an accounting. of how he has served as king under the heavenly king. Does that sound familiar to you from somebody in the book of Mormon? Yes. Yes. I love it. So king Benjamin and one of our great scholars, John Welch from BYU has written wonderful books on this topic, but king Benjamin is following the script exactly in the book of Mormon

Josiah shows up on the sceney Conley temple and there's these feast and there's these celebrations. And it talks about how in, in the scriptures in 2 Kings 22

in 21, it talks about how Josiah rebuilds the temple and his servants find a book. And when he reads it, he rents his clothes and mourns the wickedness of his fathers. And the Lord has this exchange and promises Josiah. And second King's 22 verse 19 after Josiah has tried to bring the people back to the Lord and cleanse the temple and rebuilt the temple and repair the breaches and done all these things to bring about peace.

The Lord says because my heart was tender and now has humbled myself before the Lord. When now hurted what I spoke. so there's this idea of the word, right? The Lord is saying you heard my word, you, and you chose when you heard my word to soften your heart. There's so much power in our hearts. And I've said it before, but I want to emphasize our hearts create peace or war around us.

Our hearts are the creative seats of our souls. And as we do what the Lord wants us to do is we invite his word into us. This the spirit of the savior into us, we be, we start to emulate him and we can follow in the path of the prince of peace and bring peace around us, even when we're surrounded by war and that's what's happening with Josiah.

And so the Lord says. They'll soften die, heart or die.thine heart was tender and now has fumbled myself before the Lord. When now hurt us what I speak against this place and against the inhabitants thereof referring to the wiping of the dish, right? Removing the remnant. They should become a desolation and a curse, and now has, and has rent thine clothes and wept.

Before me. I also have heard the sayeth, the Lord behold, therefore I will gather the unto thine fathers and now shall be gathered into that grave in peace. And then I shall not see the evil, all the evil, which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again. . And so I, again, I just wanna emphasize this.

Isn't just because a Josiah listened to the Lord, but it was because he chose to soften his hearts and we choose to soften our hearts when we Hearn the Lord and it literally changes us when we do that, it fills us with light. It can change the air. And the matter around us, it allows us to turn darkness into light war, to peace, this harmony into harmony it's.

And it's very hard, but this is the servant. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. This is what we're all invited to do is to reconcile these tensions, to reconcile these paradoxes or dichotomies in our lives through Christs at one ment it's all about bringing things into one so that we can have this harmony together.

So Josiah, it's interesting after he has this experience, I want to emphasize, we talked about this. I talked about this before Josiah. Makes a personal covenant with the Lord, and then he makes it publicly in front of all the people he says, Hey, we're gonna do this and you're gonna bless us with this. Do you wanna talk about this?

Cause I know you, you love this. Go ahead. Sure. And again, it is, this is in the context of the ancient feast days. So I mentioned the feast of Tabernacles, which is this covenant making, but also both he Hezekiah and Josiah have Passovers that are described as being, not like any other Passover in the history of Israel for both of them.

And so the sense of the Passover and the feasts of Tabernacles many believe that the Passover is testifying of Christ's first mission his mortal mission, and many believe that the feast of Tabernacles or the fall feast are testifying of Christ's second coming of the great events that will happen.

Then I love that. So it is coming together. So both of these Kings bring this up and by the way I should mention. Guess what general conference takes place in general spring and fall? Usually it often falls on Passover and the fall feast tabernacle it emulates those feast, right? It, yeah. Yeah. And so it's really honestly the same purpose.

To learn of Christ to come together to renew our covenants as people of Israel throughout the world is for the same purpose. And this sense of Josiah leading his people, I just see president Nelson with the Hosannah shout during COVID. When we all felt so alone, I was by myself in my house and tears were running down my face, by the way, that was Passover.

That, that occurred. And so these aren't coincidences that the Lord has given us these sacred opportunities to come together as a people, to hear the covenants of the Lord, to renew our covenants. We have those opportunities at general conference. We also have them weekly by partaking of the sacrament and that the saddest thing here is that well, whereas Hezekiah's, people were truly converted at the, at least the beginning of his reign.

It looks as if Josiah towards the end of this time. Some of the writers, in fact, in the old Testament student manual, the Institute old Testament student manual says Josiah was the last Ray of light for Judah. So in other words, he was completely converted. But it's people not so much.

And so as he calls them to make this covenant and he makes the covenant and God blesses him, it's a really powerful moment. But just as what had happened with Hezekiah I think it's so important for us to see that one person can make a difference. Yeah. And again, Josiah was eight. What if he'd been one of those child sacrifices?

So to remember that the Lord is sending hope through those children that are coming and being born. He's wanting us to stand as examples and to speak. He wants us to know the gospel, including in my opinion, he wants us to know about these feast days, because by the way, Ezekiel prophesized will keep Passover in the millennium.

Zacharia prophesized will keep feast of Tabernacles in the millennium. So if we're gonna keep those feast in, in the millennium. What can we learn from knowing about those feasts now about Jesus Christ? Yeah. What is the plan and the plan of salvation? He uses so many different ways to try to reach us and his hand is always outstretched and it shows us so much about his nature.

You're right. About how he wants to invite us to a feast. He wants to fill our souls. And let us celebrate with him. And so in second, King's 23: 3, it talks about this personal covenant and the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.

And all the people stood, the covenant stood to the covenant. All the people stood to the covenant, everyone rose up and said, Hey, we're gonna, we're gonna stand in this together. And then Josiah goes about and tears down all the groves, the places of sexual sin and the place of the sodomites, homosexual sin, and removes all the altars of Baal.

Now there are maybe some listeners that just I know sometimes I do you hear the word homosexual and you cringe. It's just become such a sensitive topic for so many people. You hear the word prostitute. Maybe you don't cringe as much anymore. Our culture has been shifting. It's been bowing to this idea of Babylonian, sophistication and defilement, and we definitely need to love everyone around us.

And Josiah is showing these things are wrong. These things are inappropriate. These things destroy our ability to connect with the Lord. And we have to be in a place where we're willing to say, I love you and that's wrong. Just like we say to our brothers and our sisters or our parents or our cousins or whoever it is.

I love you. And this will not bring you peace, or just like Christ spoke to the woman caught in adultery. I love you. And I forgive you don't do this anymore. I just, I can't emphasize that it's so critical that we be in a place of truth, unless we show up that way with compassion. We're not going to be able to see the Lord when he comes again.

We're not gonna be able to, we're not keeping that covenant that Josiah has kept here those sins, whether it be adultery as a homosexual or adultery as a whatever, anything that takes us away from the Lord is defilement. It interferes with our ability to fill the spirit. But say, Josiah is talking about how the Lord is going to save the people.

They stay in the covenant. And then there's this beautiful promise. Now that we're facing this sunset. Now this last story of hope as it sets and this, and we descended this dark winter where the Israelites are scattered and there's so much destruction. There's a beautiful promise in Jeremiah chapter three verse 14 that I just wanna highlight where the Lord seeing this would come.

Through Jeremiah speaks almost Messianically and says, oh, back sliding children. Say the Lord for, I am married unto you. And I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. We're gonna find them, we're gonna find each other and we're gonna come to Zion singing and rejoicing together.

And just like Abraham and Sarah, we're gonna be able to find those souls that we can win to the savior. And it won't be, it probably won't be through social media. We should try it. Probably won't be through a YouTube podcast like this per se. It's in those one-on-one moments in our homes, those one-on-one moments in the grocery store or at the restaurant last night when I met this wonderful man and his wife, those interactions where we can love each other and fill each other's light and remind ourselves that our true home is in Zion.

Our true home is with the savior, our true home, where we all want to be is back. In his presence with him. That's what we're about right now. That's what we're gathering. That's what we're trying to bring about. What do you think about that, Lynda? I love that. It's so beautiful. I'm just thinking about the sense about needing to stand as a pillar.

Example, too, stand as a pillar in our covenants and to your point of we can express love and be very loving. I love this story. And again I weep when I read it in Chronicles that when he Hezekiah sent a message to all of those who were left in the Northern kingdom, as well as his own people said, come together for a Passover.

And the Levites said, we're not worthy. We have been defiled. We're not worthy. And has Hezekiah. Praise to the Lord in their behalf and says, cleanse them, even though they're not technically cleansed their hearts, their hearts are sorry, their hearts are full of repentance, cleanse them and allow them to be part of this.

And so they do, they all partake. And in fact, it says that it was such a healing time for them, that they ask to have two weeks, they celebrate it Passover for two weeks. But the sense of there is a truth and we're gonna stand by that truth. And we can, because standing by that truth is the most loving thing we can do because we want everyone to be able to come back into the presence of the Lord, but then it also illustrates

the Lord will forgive us and help us to overcome our trials, our burdens, and our weaknesses. He will help us, and he invites us to feast at his table. This is the great promise of God and specifically of the second coming and where you just end it with the scripture. I'm married to you. The married supper of the lamb comes with the second coming.

It is called a feast and he wants all of us to be there. And by the way, I will point out to you that in every book of scripture, old Testament, new Testament, Book of Mormon and doctrine and covenants the Lord says awaken arise and put on your beautiful garments. Yes. And then in revelation, 19, John says we can finally have the marriage supper of the lamb.

It can finally take place. And the very next verse says for the bride have made herself ready. She's put on the fine white linen that the Lord has given her. In other words, the priestly clothing that was given to the priest anciently and the priestly robes that are given to us today is the Lord exalting us and say, I don't want you down in the dirt.

I don't want you to act like a slave rise up, be dressed like I'm dressed. And when you're dressed that way, I know then that you're ready for the marriage or the second coming to take place. And I know you're ready for me to come. That's the signal we send to him. And so he is constantly has his handout stretched.

And the question is. How are we affecting that timing are, do we recognize? And do we realize the blessings that come to us through the covenants that we've made? I love that. And if I could just add one thing that it's interesting, you can see the tension between Babylon and Zion. The idea of wearing garments or vestments right?

The vestments are viewed as adoring ourselves with the wisdom and glory and connection with God, this idea of us following in his paths and doing what he wants us to do and doing what we wanna do really. And you look at the Babylonian version of that the conversion of that word investment into invest meant that it's about wealth and possession instead of connection and elevation, or even take off your clothes.

Yes. The Babylonian that's the Babylonian way, right? Yeah. And so it's this idea yeah. Of of being naked or broken or exposed. And so as we enter this this, our own winter, right now, you can see world war creeping up. You can see famine and apocalyptic destruction of.

Food supply chains and Ukraine is the bread basket of the, of many parts of the world. As we see this destruction I just want to testify that I know Christ is the bride groom, that he brings a feast, that he will bring wealth and bounty and plenty to those who seek him and calling his name and that he is inviting us to join him and gather souls one by one, one, one out of a city, two out of a family to bring to that face so that we can sit down together and rejoice together.

And I testified that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.