Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trivia questions for OT lessons 21 to 300

OT Lesson 21:
Q: What cities in Utah are named after Old Testament people or places?
A: Enoch, Ephraim, Goshen, Heber, Hirum, Moab, Ophir, Salem, Eden, Joseph (there may be more; these were the ones my class came up with)

OT Lesson 22:
Q: Why do we have 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles rather than only one book each?
A: When these records were translated to Greek, they became too long for a single scroll. Therefore, they were broken into two “books” – and the tradition of two books remained until today.

One last bit of trivia – there are only 12 of 39 books in the Old Testament not quoted in the New Testament are Ruth, first and second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Obediah, Nahum and Zephaniah.

OT Lesson 23:
Q: Who are Jesse, the stem of Jesse and the rod of Jesse in Isaiah 11?
A: Jesse is the father of David; the stem of Jesse is Jesus Christ; and the rod of Jesse is Joseph Smith
Isaiah 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

This was one of the scripture passages that Moroni quoted to Joseph Smith on Sept. 21, 1823. JS-H 1:40 In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled.

D&C 113:1-6 Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah? Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ. What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse? Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power. What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter? Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.

The Rod of the Stem of Jesse. The Messiah. Literally, the "stem" means the "stump" of the tree left in the ground, after the branches had been cut down and the luxuriant foliage removed. The meaning is that the Messiah would come when the family of Jesse had been reduced to the social status it occupied at the time of its ancestor, before the golden age of David and Solomon. The Messiah would come as a shoot from the stump of the family tree, but the tender twig would grow and become a flourishing, fruitful Tree. (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Vol 1. p. 357).

Root of Jesse. Commentators generally take it for granted that the "root of Jesse" in this verse is the same as the "rod out of the Stem of Jesse" in verse 1. They apply both the "rod out of the stem" and the "root" to the Messiah. But in verses 4-9 the Millennium is clearly introduced, and in this verse we read that the root of Jesse stands for an "ensign"; that is, a banner around which even the Gentiles will gather. We read that the "rest" of the Messiah, that is, his resting place, the temple (1 Chron. 28:2), will be "glorious," and in the next verse we are told that the gathering of the remnant of Israel and Judah has begun for a second time. All of which seems to me to point to the time in which we are now living, and the preparations now being made for the Millennium, through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

OT Lesson 24:
Q: What is the Jewish mourning tradition “keri’ah”?
A” When hearing of the death of an immediate relative, or at the funeral home prior to the funeral service, it is customary to tear one’s clothing as a sign of mourning. This is based upon instances of biblical characters rending their garments in anguish upon the death of a loved one.
  • Reuben, upon hearing that his brother Joseph was not in the pit where he had been left, presumed that his brother had been killed, and tore his garments: Genesis 37:29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
  • Jacob, upon hearing of the presumed death of his son Joseph, tore his garments: Genesis 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
  • Job did so upon hearing of the deaths of his children in Job 1:20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
  • David also tore his clothing upon hearing of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.
Today it is customary to pin a black ribbon to one's garments and to tear the ribbon instead of one's clothing. For a mother or father, the left side of the shirt is ripped because it is considered a deeper loss for the parent who brought the deceased into the world and are considered closest to you in feelings. For other family members, the right side of the shirt is torn.

OT Lesson 25:
Q: Which is the longest book in the O.T.? Which is the shortest?
A: longest is Psalms—97 pages; shortest is Obadiah—2 pages

Q: Which book is most often in the N.T.?
Psalms. Of the 283 O.T. references in the New Testament, 116 are excerpts from Psalms.

OT Lesson 26:
Q: Who is credited with writing the book of Ecclesiastes?
A: Solomon

OT Lesson 27:
Q: Why were the Samaritans hated by the Jews?
A: It all started eight centuries before Christ when Israel divided into two kingdoms – the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. The kingdom of Israel in the north included including the city of Samaria.

In 722 BC, the northern kingdom was conquered by Assyria. Assyria killed and enslaved the leaders and then inhabited the land with people from other nations that they had conquered. These foreigners intermarried with the Israelites from the 10 tribes who had not been deported themselves. The Israelites had always opposed intermarriage with foreign nations, but now that seemed the best way to stay alive. Because they lived in the region called Samaria, they became known as Samaritans.

About 150 years later, Judah was conquered by Babylon. When the Babylonian exile ended and the Jews returned, they began to rebuild the temple. Some Samaritans came and offered to help. But the Jews were incensed that these apostates, would even suggest such a thing, and they refused their help. The Samaritans withdrew and proceeded to build their own Temple at Mt. Gerazim. To the Jews, this was the last straw. God had determined his Temple would be in Jerusalem, and any other Temple was simply idolatry. So from that time on, Jews hated Samaritans with a great passion.

OT Lesson 28:
Q: What was significant about April 3, 1836, the Easter Sunday that Elijah restored the sealing keys of the priesthood?
A: It was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, the last two verses of the Old Testament: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.]

To begin, let’s review the Jewish traditions surrounding Elijah and Passover. Jews believed (correctly, by the way) that Elijah would come at Passover and herald the coming of the Messiah. To commemorate this promise of Elijah, at the Passover Seder meal, a cup of wine is set for Elijah. Either the door is left open for Elijah to enter, or a child is sent to the door at a particular time to see if he is at the door. What the Jews don’t realize, however, is that Elijah did come – along with Moses and Elias – to the Kirtland temple in 1836 only a week after it was dedicated. And he came the first full day of Passover – the morning after Jews had their Seder meal.

There are some other interesting things to note about that very significant date, April 3, 1836 which demonstrates that this date was probably foreordained by God for this essential part of the restoration. But to understand this, we need to learn something about calendars.

Passover always begins at sundown on Hebrew calendar date 15 Nisan. This year Passover began on March 30th on the Gregorian calendar we use today. Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, 15 Nisan falls on a different date according to our calendar. A specific pair Hebrew dates and Gregorian calendar dates typically coincide only a few times each century.

Well, as it turns out, the Savior’s resurrection, the first Easter Sunday, took place on 16 Nisan, the Sunday morning after Passover. According to our Gregorian calendar, that date was 3 April AD 33. 1803 years later, on 3 April, 1836 when Elijah and others appeared to Joseph Smith, it was also 16 Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. Even more interesting is that during the entire 19th century these two calendar dates coincided only once – the date that Elijah, Moses and Elias appeared in the Kirtland temple. (These dates coincided twice during the 20th century in 1904 and 1988, and it won't happen again until the year 2026.)

Another way to look at this is that April 3, 1836 was the only date in the 19th century when the exact anniversary of the Savior’s resurrection fell on the same date that we actually celebrate his resurrection. How perfect was it that the Kirtland temple was completed and dedicated the previous Sunday!!!

OT Lesson 29:
Q: Why is Elijah referred to as “Elias” in the New Testament?
A: “Elias” has multiple meanings in the scriptures.

(1) “Elias” is the Greek form of “Elijah”. For example, in the Matthew account of the Mount of Transfiguration, Elijah is referred to as Elias.

(2) We also have scripture references to “Elias” as a title, rather than a name, which means “forerunner”. The Bible Dictionary tells us that an Elias is both a preparer and a restorer. Elijah is a forerunner in that he needed to come to restore priesthood keys at the beginning of this dispensation. John the Baptist is a good example – he was the forerunner who prepared the way for Christ’s own mission. He was also a forerunner in this dispensation when he gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph and Oliver – preparing the way for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Joseph Smith taught that “when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world” (TPJS, 335–36).

Elder McConkie spoke of the various messengers who brought their keys of authority to the Prophet Joseph Smith, then added that those messengers, “all taken together, are the Elias of the Restoration. It took all of them to bring to pass the restoration of all the keys and powers and authorities needed to save and exalt man” (The Millennial Messiah [1982], 120).

(3) There was also a prophet named Elias, who appeared with Elijah and Moses to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. The Bible Dictionary clarifies that we have no information about who this person was in mortality – but Joseph Fielding Smith said that this Elias was Noah..

(4) Elias also refers specifically to Jesus Christ. When the priests and Levites asked John the Baptist whether he was the Elias who was prophesied to come and restore all things, he replied:
John 1:19-21 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not.

The priests and Levites obviously knew about a prophecy concerning the coming of an Elias who would restore all things. John the Baptist clarified that this Elias was Jesus Christ, who would come in the meridian of time and restore the gospel and the Melchizedek Priesthood (see Bible Dictionary, “Elias,” 663; JST, John 1:28, Bible appendix).

John 1:25-27 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

Without latter-day knowledge of the doctrine of Elias, we would be in darkness regarding the meaning of the word Elias and the missions of individuals referred to as Elias.

Q #2: Which scripture is found in each of the standard works?
A #2: Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Found also: 3rd Nephi 25:5-6, D&C 128:17, JS History 1:38 (as quoted by Moroni)
Elijah has an important role as an Elias to the second coming of the Lord – which role he fulfilled when he appeared in the Kirtland temple and restored priesthood keys.

OT Lesson 30:
Q: What important engineering feat prepared Jerusalem for an Assyrian invasion?
A: Hezekiah’s tunnel

Who was Hezekiah? What were the circumstances that prompted the tunnel?

Hezekiah became the king of Judah in about 726 B.C. He refused to pay tribute to the king of Assyria, Sennacherib – who invaded the Kingdom of Judah anyway (2 Kings 18:13-16).

Hezekiah then gave in to the demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him 300 talents of silver (about 11 tons) and 30 talents (over 1 ton) of gold (2 Kings 18:14). The extortion didn't end then however - Sennacherib threatened to invade Judah again (2 Kings 18:17, 2 Chronicles 32:9).

Remember, Jerusalem was a bustling city. King Hezekiah needed a reliable water supply for Jerusalem, but at the same time he wanted to prevent the Assyrian forces from using the Gihon Spring, which was located outside the city. So Hezekiah diverted the water by means of a tunnel. Workmen dug from both ends simultaneously, in a zig-zag course, until they met somewhere near the middle.

The 1750-foot tunnel that brought water from one side of the city to the other is considered one of the greatest works of engineering for that time. Had it followed a straight line, the length would have been 1070 ft or 40% shorter. You can see a map with the tunnel in your Bible – map 17.

Extra question:
Q: How did 5:00 p.m. on June 27, 2002 fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 8:18-22?
A: 5:00 p.m. on June 27, 2002 was 17 Tammuz on the Hebrew, lunar calendar. It began a period of mourning called “the Three Weeks” that begins and ends with a fast. During this time of Jewish mourning, weddings and other festive occasions are not performed and some people do not cut their hair. 17 Tammuz is the “fast of the fourth month” mentioned in Zechariah.

But what’s significant about the Three Weeks? The time between the fasts commemorates the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem. The first destruction came when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem (on 17 Tammuz 586 BCE); the last fast day (on the 9th of Av, or fast of the ninth) commemorates the actual destruction by fire of the temple. The temple was rebuilt but was once again destroyed when Titus and the Romans destroyed it on 17 Tammuz in the year 70 CE.

A Jewish website explains further why this is a time of mourning: “The Holy Temple, the holiest place in the entire world, was destroyed. The Jews were dispersed throughout the world, and suffered often throughout the ages. God hid Himself from them. They were no longer privy to open displays of His holiness. They no longer saw God out in the open.”

These are certainly reasons to mourn. Now, Zechariah’s prophecy:

Zechariah 8:18-22 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, 19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month [17 Tammuz], and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace. [Does this seem like an odd statement knowing that the fast of the fourth month commemorated such horrible events?] 20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

This prophecy by Zechariah says that some day the four mourning fasts will become occasions for celebration. It sounds like the change might be associated with future temples in Jerusalem because so many will go there to worship. Since the mourning is mostly related to their loss of temples, it is reasonable to believe that their rejoicing might come from the restoration of a temple in Jerusalem.

For us as Latter-day Saints, June 27th is a date that caused great mourning and even today would otherwise be more subdued as we remember the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Certainly the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple was a joyous occasion in Church history. Perhaps the restoration of a temple in Nauvoo, is a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, or at the very least, a foreshadowing of events to come at some time in the future in Jerusalem.

It’s interesting that Jewish tradition also says that it was 17 Tammuz when Moses descended from Sinai and found the children of Israel worshiping the golden calf, and as a result, they lost the right to the Melchizedek priesthood and higher laws.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

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