Signs of an Avatar
A reader gave me a bad time for teaching that the real prophets do not announce themselves as a great one, but by their words and works attract attention and then people begin to recognize them. He didn’t seem to think that Moses fit the description here and that announcing his greatness would be no problem. The following are the highlights of my response.
If you want to diminish the role of any prophet you can always say that God did the whole thing through him. This has nothing to do with any point I have made. Some of the prophets, including Moses were great men in their own right and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that. Of course, we want to give glory to God. That is a given and is not a point of argument.
I didn’t say the people were convinced the first time or two Moses went before Pharaoh. I said: “They had evidence of who he was when they saw him boldly go before the presence of the Pharaoh time and time again.”
After the Red Sea was turned to blood, the plagues of locusts, frogs, hail, boils and finally the death of the firstborn the people definitely were confronted with tremendous evidence and saw him much differently than at first.
Why do you think they followed him out of Egypt? It was because of the signs and wonders. They wouldn’t have believed strongly enough to leave if it was not for the great works God did through Moses.
He had a strong enough reputation without proclaiming himself as the deliverer to cause all Israel to gather and follow him. Who among us today could gather an entire people out of a nation? When they reached a dead end, sure they were afraid. It did not occur to the common people that the Red Sea would part for them at the word of Moses (by the power of God of course).
The people as a whole saw the great works that God did through Moses. None could deny the pillar of fire or the parting of the Red Sea, but this did not make them obedient. How many accept Jesus but do not do what he says? That does not mean that Jesus is not seen as the Messiah by them.
Unlike all the One Mighty and Strong Ones surfacing today, the witnesses he gave of The Lord was followed by great works that bore witness to the fact that he made real contact.
The point stands that if we want to look at how God is going to do his work in the future we need to examine how he did it in the past. Circumstances change and correspondences will not be exact, but there will be similarities.
If a true servant is going to come forth in the near future, we can expect his works and words to manifest in a similar manner to those of the past. Sure, Moses was doubted by his people but it didn’t take long after he announced that God was working through him that great works followed. I know there are dozens of would be Messiahs out there wandering for years in the wilderness of society with a dozen followers or less. These will cite scriptures showing the coming servant will be rejected – but no figure with an important work as Moses of Jesus will be that rejected. A number of pure in heart will always see the truth and when the work is truly manifest the world will align itself for or against.
Reader:“MY ARGUMENT, AGAIN, IS NOT WITH HOW REAL THE ACTUAL OMS WILL BE. BUT HOW YOU MISREPRESENT MOSES AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO FIND THE REAL OMS, WHICH WAS THE TOPIC OF YOUR ORIGINAL POST.”
JJ: It sounds like I must have pressed some type of emotional button with you for your normal friendly attitude is replaced by quite accusatory and somewhat distorted attack here. On top of this you write in caps which are interpreted as shouting on the forums.
Your main point of disagreement is not my main point that history repeats itself (with subtle differences) but that I misrepresent Moses. I do not think you have made your point on that at all.
I quoted the Book of Mormon as follows:
“And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.”
“Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.” 2 Nephi 3:9-10, 16
To this you say: “SO YOU ARE SAYING THE JEWS IN EGYPT WERE READING THE BOOK OF MORMON?”
No, I did not say this. Please do not put words in my mouth. Nephi was quoting from the writings of Joseph. And where was Joseph when he wrote these things?
And who did he write them for?
The tribes of Israel?
And who had access to them in that age?
Obviously most or all of Israel. Nephi only had access to them because he obviously brought them over to the New World from Jerusalem.
Do you think he brought the only copy?
Obviously not – neither did he bring the only copy of Isaiah.
Have many manuscripts from ancient days been lost to history? Yes, this particular writing would have been lost, except for its salvaging through the Book of Mormon.
I quoted this scripture:
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24)
You say that this gives no indication of a deliverer such as Moses but unless the Israelites thought that God was going to come down in person and say “follow Me” he would have had to use a human deliverer. Obviously, the people would expect a man like Moses after reading this. In addition to this the lost writings of Joseph which were in existence at that time makes this fact irrefutably clear.
You also state that the Pharaoh did not know of the prediction of Moses. Josephus who has access to many ancient manuscripts disagrees:
“While the affairs of the Hebrews were in this condition, there was this occasion offered itself to the Egyptians, which made them more solicitous for the extinction of our nation. One of those sacred scribes, who are very sagacious in foretelling future events truly, told the king, that about this time there would a child be born to the Israelites, who, if he were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion low, and would raise the Israelites; that he would excel all men in virtue, and obtain a glory that would be remembered through all ages. Which thing was so feared by the king, that, according to this man’s opinion, he commanded that they should cast every male child, which was born to the Israelites, into the river, and destroy it; that besides this, the Egyptian midwives should watch the labors of the Hebrew women, and observe what is born, for those were the women who were enjoined to do the office of midwives to them; and by reason of their relation to the king, would not transgress his commands. He enjoined also, that if any parents should disobey him, and venture to save their male children alive, they and their families should be destroyed.” Josephus, Book 2, Chapter 9, Sect 2)
Obviously, the Hebrews knew of this prophesy as well as the one of Joseph since it was the main reason their children were being killed.
To think that they had no predictions of Moses and there were no prophets at that time giving hope by predicting a deliverer requires a quantum leap of faith in the negative direction. I don’t see your reasoning here neither do I see why this is such an important point to you as it has little to do with my main point.
Let me repeat my original premise which is this.
If we want clues as to how God will work with prophets in the future, we can get them by looking into the past. My main point was that when Moses, Jesus and Joseph began their work in the name of the Lord, they did not begin by saying “I am a mighty and strong one – follow me.” Instead of telling people they were mighty and strong they actually gave great works and words to the people. So far every “One Mighty and Strong” (OMS) that I have encountered has been powerless except for physical authority over a handful of followers and with no prospect of doing a work like that of Moses, Joseph or Jesus.
So, looking at the past what should we expect from a OMS in the present?
If he announces himself as a deliverer in any way this announcement should be followed shortly thereafter with powerful signs and wonders. If he is like Jesus, he wouldn’t announce himself at all but just go do great works which would be followed by great controversy.
Do you really disagree with this premise? I guess if you thought you were one of the many who see himself as the OMS I could understand. Otherwise, it is difficult to see why you disagree so.
Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thought into action is the most difficult thing in the world. – J.W. Goethe
July 12, 2007
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