Saturday, November 14, 2020

D&C 33: God's Timeline

In this section, the Lord our God, quick and powerful, two-edged sword, dividing asunder, blah blah blah, has some sagacious advice for the two newest outgoing missionaries.  The truest form of prophecy I've seen so far in the Doctrine and Covenants is that God may have invented two Dickensian character names decades before the start of Charles Dickens's literary career:  Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet.

Time Keeps On Slippin'
God nurtures a sense of urgency in his new missionaries in verse 3:

For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard.

Let's not forget this revelation was given in 1830.  It's been the eleventh hour for the last one hundred ninety years.  Hundreds of thousands of missionaries have been sent out after God declared it was the last time he was calling laborers into his vineyard.

Sure, I understand that God may have his own perception of time.  But if an hour to God can mean one hundred ninety years and counting to humans, that means his concept of time differs from ours by a magnitude of more than 1.6 million.  If that's the case, then it's completely pointless for God to refer to time in his revelations even in a metaphorical sense.  If the eleventh hour can last hundreds of years, then our human definition of "hour" is about as close to God's as it is to our human definition of "rhinoceros."

I suppose we could ignore the eleventh hour comment and focus on the field being ready to harvest.  I'm no farmer, but it seems to me that harvest seasons tend not to span three centuries.

Confirmation of Confirming
Verses 15 and 16 represent a strange choice in God's dictation of the revelation:
And whoso having faith you shall confirm in my church, by the laying on of the hands, and I will bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost upon them.

And the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given of me for your instruction; and the power of my Spirit quickeneth all things.

Interesting that the concepts of confirmation by the laying on of hands and instruction from the scriptures are placed back-to-back here.  Because the Book of Mormon doesn't mention confirmation by the laying on of hands.  In fact, it also contains a different baptismal prayer than the one we use today.  

So which is it?  Are we supposed to use the scriptures for instruction, or are we supposed to get instruction elsewhere for things the scriptures don't mention and alter the things the scriptures do mention?

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