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Further explaining the Book of Mormon's role as the "keystone of our religion" in his September general conference address , President Ezra Taft Benson said that just as an arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without the Book of Mormon.

Visionaries of the Ancient World

This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church.

But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true — and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true — then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it. Similarly, Brigham Young many years earlier taught that one cannot say the Bible is true and that the Book of Mormon is not.

No Latter-day Saint, no man or woman, can say the Book of Mormon is true, and at the same time say that the Bible is untrue. If one be true, both are; and if one be false, both are false. More recently, prophets have encouraged members of the Church to read the Book of Mormon and study it for themselves. Hinckley challenged Church members to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year.

The Major and Minor Prophets:  

In the last general conference address he gave before he died, President Thomas S. Monson asked for those who are not reading the Book of Mormon each day to please do so. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that every member should read the Book of Mormon and possess a testimony of this book of scripture. No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon.

In dangerous situations, for example, when a revolt is underway, the king should make sure his servants are protecting him. Another censures Zimri-Lim because he delivered treasures of Babylon to the ruler of Elam. Oracles also deal with the death or name giving of a royal child cf.

Oracles may instruct the king or others to build, rebuild, or not rebuild cf. When a house is sagging because the god has cursed its bricks, the king is told to bring earth into its inner room and upon its foundation. In another oracle, citizens of Terqa are told not to rebuild a ruined house a temple? Oracles also instruct the king to build a city gate, erect a commemorative monument, or get working on the temple up to the roof cf. Some oracles contain warnings or admonitions, for example, the king is reminded to practice righteousness and ensure justice for one who has been wronged, to decide the case, and do it fairly.

In one oracle the king is told he must get involved in returning a servant girl who has been kidnapped, else she will not be given up.

Where to Locate References in Ancient and Modern Scripture

A few oracles censure the king for his neglect of the gods, not offering a sacrifice, or not properly maintaining the temple, which is his responsibility. In one oracle, the god complains because the king has not been supplying him with pure drinking water.

Mari prophets dramatize oracles with symbolic action, just as biblical prophets do. One prophet asked Zimri-Lim for a lamb, and when it was given to him, he devoured it raw before an assembly of elders at the city gate.


  1. 100monogatari2001dai2kankatikatiyamahoka4pen (Japanese Edition);
  2. Ancient Jewish History: List of Jewish Prophets.
  3. Prophets and Prophecies.

This was to announce a devouring that was about to take place. On another occasion, doorjamb dirt from the gate of Mari was brought and dissolved in water, and the gods and goddesses were made to drink it. They responded by promising that no harm would come to the brickwork or protective guardian of Mari. Prophecies at Mari are favorable for the most part, and censures of the king, when they occur, are not particularly harsh.

Many simply remind the king of some neglect or give him warning. Kantuzilis, seek relief from plagues and personal sufferings. On the journey he is robbed, and lands in Byblos on a stolen ship, where he is then stranded. He has with him only a portable image of the god Amon. The latter contains social admonitions concerning a variety of wrongdoings murder; family rivalry; inversions of normal social hierarchy. It was communicated through a human intermediary, presumably a prophet. The inscription is part of a commemorative monument erected by the king.

They delivered a salvation oracle, saying that Baal Shamayn had made Zakkur king and would stand by him and deliver him from kings fighting against him. Unrelenting rains and a great flood would undo creation, causing darkness and terror on the earth. The vision left Balaam limp and unable to sleep. He fasted and wept. People asked him why he fasted and wept, and he relayed to them the contents of his vision.

Balaam is known from the Bible, where it is reported that Balak, king of Moab, hired him to come and curse Israel Num. The second largest collection of prophetic texts outside the Bible comes from a royal archive at Nineveh excavated by the British in — Capital of Assyria and the ancient Assyrian empire, Nineveh was destroyed by the Babylonians and Medes in bce.

The 30, excavated texts, 24, of which belonged to the Library of Assurbanipal, are now in the British Museum. Eleven tablets in the collection report twenty-nine divine messages to the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon — bce and Assurbanipal — bce , all taken to be oracles from prophets. The thirteen named prophets—four male, nine female, and two bi- or asexual—would be roughly contemporary with Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah in the Bible. Reports of prophets and prophecy occur in other Neo-Assyrian texts, some of them simply lexical lists. Assyrian prophets seem to be attached to the royal court, but their oracles are delivered at the temple.

Prophets with the title assinnu were cult functionaries of undefinable gender. And, as at Mari and in the Bible, some prophets—both men and women—are not given an explicit or formal title. Their activity was not restricted to the city of Arbela, however, as they could act as mouthpieces of other deities. Assyrian oracles are largely oracles of peace and wellbeing, typically giving assurance to the king about matters of succession and success in defeating enemies, which include other claimants to the throne. One oracle upbraids Assurbanipal for not having properly rewarded him for his loyalty, as his father had done.

Scholars of a lower station than he were granted mules, and should he not have received one donkey? Other gifts are requested to relieve his suffering. A few oracles address Esarhaddon and the queen mother cf. Some Assyrian prophecies were delivered to temple officials and private persons. Two—originally three—potsherds found at Tell ed-Duweir ancient Lachish contain the only extra-biblical references to prophets in pre-exilic Israel. These sherds date from the last days of Judah in the 6th century bce and were sent from Hoshaiah, officer at an unknown outpost, to his commander Yaush at Lachish.

We also do not know to whom the oracles were directed.

Ostracon 16 is very fragmentary, although it clearly mentions a prophet of Yahweh active in these days just before Judah fell to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians bce. Prior to Samuel the Bible names a few individuals as prophets or prophetesses: Abraham Gen. In the Bible, as in extra-biblical texts, individuals without title are called to do the work of prophesying. At a later time he could also be the divine messenger supplying his hungry master with food 1 Kgs. Such messages may be characterized broadly as messages of salvation and judgment, or life and death.

They might be about the birth of a child, or a child about to die being saved. They may be about Israel being saved from its enemies, or about whole cities being destroyed. There are at least six distinguishing marks that set off the prophet from ordinary people on the one hand, and from other professional types on the other. Not every prophet possessed all six, nor were the gifts possessed to the same degree, much less manifested in precisely the same way. No two prophets were alike; each was an individual in his or her own right.

Also, these marks show up in prophets and would-be prophets whom the Old Testament ultimately discredits.

Prophetic Divination

A connection between distinctive marks and authenticity does exist, but one does not translate into the other. The Hebrew prophet possessed a clear sense of having been called into divine service by Yahweh, God of Israel.

This was the warrant for everything the prophet said and did. Samuel received his call while still a boy at the Shiloh sanctuary. It came in a night vision, and he needed help from Eli the priest in recognizing it 1 Sam. Amos heard the Lion of Heaven roaring from Zion, and said he had no choice but to prophesy against Israel Amos ; ; Isaiah received his call in the Jerusalem temple, at which time the entire interior came alive in a vision.

Yahweh was seen enthroned as King, and was calling for a royal messenger to run with a message. Jeremiah learned of his call while walking about in an almond orchard near his home. He was young and afraid, but Yahweh wanted him anyway. Ezekiel received his call while sitting among fellow exiles at the River Chebar Ezek.

(B-2) What Is a Seer?

It so overwhelmed him that he left in bitterness and was unable to speak for seven days. He, too resisted, but in the end Yahweh got his man. With less specificity other prophets witness to having been called into service by Yahweh, and some prophets report no call at all.