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   Quote 'Nobody is above Him, because nobody reigns over Him; He is not in want for nothing was before Him.' This is talking about Father, 'He does not lack life; He is eternal He lacks nothing because He is completely perfect. He has no lack so He has to be perfected in it, but all times He is absolutely perfect. In perfection He is unlimited because there was nobody before Him that can set the bounds for Him. He cannot be judged for there is nobody.'

Ishabah(son of Abraham) - Ancient documents confirm LDS Doctrine concerning the Magi


Friday, 20 August 2004

This is a special study in an effort to link Abraham, his fifth son, ISHABAH by his third wife Keturah, to the ancient MAGI from the East.  This will be an exciting journey through time and geography. 

It has been correctly said that:  "Mormon Church professors are looking for traces of first-century Christian rituals and concepts, which they feel, were abandoned by the church and restored when the Mormon church was founded."{note}Dart, John, The Laughing Savior, Harper and Row, New York, 1976, p. xx{/note}  We entirely agree, but we could go farther, we might also claim that ancient records of whatever age or provenance might also have traces of the Ancient Gospel from Adam to the present, as we shall show. 

ANCIENT RECORDS:

The curious reference to records and a library of source material found in ABRHAM 1: 31, which I read when I was 14 years old, stimulated a lifetime of research. He states,  "But the RECORDS [PLURAL] of the FATHERS [PLURAL], even the patriarchs, concerning the right of the Priesthood, the Lord my God PRESERVED IN MINE OWN HANDS...."  The records Abraham possessed also contained a knowledge of the creation, a lot of astronomical material, some of which shows up in the EGYPTIAN ALPHABET AND GRAMMER{note}Smith, Joseph, Eggyptian Alphabet & Grammer, Modern Microfilm Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 1956{/note}, prepared by Joseph Smith before 1837, especially concerning Kolob and the nature of the local geography of the Universe, which is in part found in  "THE ASTRONOMICAL BOOK OF ENOCH, which lists many names of angels, presiding stars...Kokob el, Star of God."{note} Milik, J.T.  ed, The Books of Enoch, Oxford University Press, London, 1976,  p. 20{/note} From the records Abraham had, he also states also in v. 31, that he "shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this RECORD." What we now have as the BOOK OF ABRRAHAM is only a portion of that record.   Joseph Smith never finished what was intended to be a much larger work.  ABRAHAM evidently also obtained and used EGYPTIAN materials because in 1: 12, he refers to an altar .. "and that you might have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record," a representation he borrowed from Egyptian records he also had, as best representing what he had in mind, and in v. 14: he provides information on the Gods of Egypt: "...I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans  Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics,"  and in v. 28: "...for the RECORDS have COME INTO MY HANDS, which I hold unto this present time."  He no doubt passed much of that same information on to many if not all of his sons as he was commanded to do in JASHER xxvi:21-29{note}Jasher, The Book of,  J. H. Parry & Company, Salt Lake City, Utah 1887{/note} Perhaps one or more of the sons particularly absorbed the data and may have carried them to distant lands where they now show up in unique combinations.{note}Zaehner, R. C., The Teachings of the Magi, Oxford University Press, New York, 1956{/note}   Sometime in the later part of his life, long after he had returned from Egypt and had many adventures, Abraham began a specific set of records which we assume he no doubt finished, and Joseph Smith came into possession of some of them in 1835 associated with mummies from Egypt the Church purchased from Chandler, and had begun to translate them.   We are therefore interested in ascertaining as much as we might about ancient records that may have originated with Adam and then were passed down, accumulating along the way into a virtual library some or all of which Abraham possessed.  His sons would have known he had such records. One or more of them may have taken a special interest in them.  We will present some evidence as who this might have been, and somewhat of the content of those records.  

We understand that there is a Midrashic Book of Noah, also a Hebrew Book of Noah,{note}Jubilees p. 81{/note} where we also learn in verse 13: "....Noah wrote down all things in a book...." v.14 "...And he gave all that he had written to Shem his eldest son."  Was SHEM the eldest son of Noah?  JUBILEES is a Jewish Book, later taken on by the Christians who interpolated New Testament teachings into it.  But it generally reflects pre-Christian Jewish ideas and understanding of the Old Testament.    In the Jewish old Testament as in JUBILEES, Gen. 5:32 states "And Noah was five hundred years old and Noah begat  Shem, Ham, and Japheth."  TODAYS ENGLISH VERSION, TEV,  sustains this reading in Gen 10:1 "These are the descendants of Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  These three had sons after the flood."  And in v. 21: "Shem, [is] the older brother of Japheth."  Other references maintain this relationship, but Joseph Smith, by revelation, differed with this. On the issue of who was the eldest son of Noah, Joseph Smith introduced an entirely different account.

JAPHETH, SHEM AND HAM: 

In MOSES 8:12 "And Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth; and forty-two years afterward he begat Shem of HER who was the mother of Japheth, and when he was five hundred years old [or two years after Shem was born] beget Ham."  From this passage we learn at what age Noah begat Japheth; when he was 450 years old, and 42 years later, from the same wife, he beget Shem.  This wife may have died, and two years later at age 500 he beget Ham from a different wife. It would seem that it was the mother of Ham that Noah took into the Ark.  But in the MOSE'S account, the first born son is Japheth, not Shem.  Shem was the middle born son, these first two sons from the same mother, and then Ham was born last.  Ham was two years younger than Shem, and 50 years younger than Japheth.  This more certain knowledge of the birth sequences of these sons will be important when we deal with the interpretation of those who had a knowledge of the coming of the Christ and how they participated in his birth, and the nature of the records that were handed down. 

ABRAHAM'S ANCESTORY:

Jubilees tells how the "prince Mestaema [Satan] exerted himself ....and sent forth other spirits, those which were put under his hand, to do all manner of wrong and sin...corrupt and destroy ....and shed blood upon the earth."{note}Charles, R.H. ed.  The Book of Jubilees, 1902 pp. 87-89{/note}    Especially among the descendants of Shem, among them Serug.  "To do all manner of sin and transgression."  Abraham's father Tereh was not the first of his ancestors to apostasize.  Serug "grew up, and dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, near to the father of his wife's mother,"{note} Charles p. 87{/note} near his father in law, who was also his uncle,  "and he worshipped idols, and he took to himself a wife....her name was Melka, the daughter of  Kaber the daughter of his father's brother. And she bare him Nahor"{note}Charles p. 87{/note} Nahor also grew up in Ur.  Nahor married Ijaska, the daughter of Nestag and they had a son they called Terah.  Terah married Edna, the daughter of Abram.  Terah and Edna had a son they called Abram [Abraham] after Edna's father.{note} Charles p. 89{/note}  Abraham's grandfather, Abram, died before his namesake grandson was conceived.  Other sources have various other stories and names for the participants in the drama surrounding Abraham's family and birth. All of these happenings were in Ur of the Chaldees at the north end of the Persian Gulf. A place of residence for a number of generations of Abraham's ancestors, and not at some northern geography of another place called Ur as some believe the Tablets of Ebla suggest. The Persian Gulf locality is the preferred locality.{note}Wolley, Sir. Leonard,  Ur: The Buildings of the Third Dynasty, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and anthropology, 1974{/note}  Interesting details available to the public more than 65 years ago are found in Kenyon.{note}Kenyon, Sir Frederck, The bible and archaeology,  Harper and Brothers 1940, pp. 141-144{/note}

Also from The Book of Jubilees p. 95-96 verses 24 and  25:  "And the Lord God said:  Open his mouth and his ears, that he may hear and speak with his mouth, with the language [ADAMIC?] WHICH HAS BEEN REVEALED; FOR IT HAD CEASED FROM THE MOUTHS OF ALL THE CHILDREN OF MEN FROM THE DAY OF THE OVERTHROUGH (OF BABEL)." In verse 26:  "And I opened his mouth, and his ears and his lips, and I began to speak with him in Hebrew [is Hebrew somehow related to the Adamic language?] in the tongue of the creation," and in v.  27. "And he took the BOOKS OF HIS FATHERS, and these were written in Hebrew, and he TRANSCRIBED THEM, and he began from henceforth to study them, and I made known to him that which he could not (understand), and he studied them during the six rainy months." Who ever recorded these events anticipated what Abraham would record personally.  In footnote 25 of JUBILESS we also learn:  "in Nedar 32b it is said that the priestly office passed from Melchizedek's successors to those of Abraham" and "Targum Job. and Jerus commenting on Gen. xiv. 18"  state that  'Melchizedek was identical with Shem' and that 'Melchizedek was called a priest of the most high God.'" {note}Charles p. 101{/note}. Is this why Shem is called the "great high priest" in D&C 138:41 with footnotes to Melchizedek?

EARLY RECORDS:

In what appears to be, among other things, a discussion of the sacrament in JUBILEES there follows this:  "for thus I have found it written in the BOOKS of my forefathers, and in the WORDS of Enoch, and in the WORDS of Noah."{note}Charles, pp. 132-134{/note}  Abraham is here acknowledging that he has at least these three sources of records. In a footnote to this reference on page 134 of JUBILEES it states:

"According to chap x.14 Noah gave all his secret books to Shem, who may have passed them on to Abraham as, according to rabbinic tradition, Abraham attended the school of Shem.  According to xii.27, however, Abram is said to have been a 'home' student, and 'to have studied the BOOKS OF HIS FATHERS.  Singer (p. 126 note)  states that according to Pirke R. El. viii, Jalk. Gen. Par. 41, Abraham received from Shem the knowledge of the calendar which was imparted to Adam from heaven, and which had come down to Shem through Enoch and Noah."{note}Charles, R.H., ed. The Book of Jubilees, 1902, p. 134{/note}  

Chapter 8 of the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price seems to be an extract from a Book of Noah. The abrupt ending of Moses Chapter 8 seems to indicate that there was more material to be added or expected but was apparently never given, or never recorded, or never published.   But the contents of that Chapter anticipated that much material was to be rediscovered when the great manuscript discoveries began in the 1800's. The Pearl of Great Price put the world on notice that there were ancient records written by nearly every major figure in religious history from Adam to Abraham. Those of us looking for discoveries that reveal such documents have been extremely rewarded by what has been recovered and in part translated since 1854, and the discoveries continue.

The French Archaeological Mission at Cairo recovered two fragments of Books of Noah in 1886 from excavations at a cemetery at Akhmim in Upper Egypt.  The contents as published in 1940{note}Kenyon, Sir Frederick, The Bible and Archaeology, Harper & Brothers 1940, pp. 245-248{/note} provide interesting insights to certain Mormon doctrines.  This reference also contains material on the recovery of early Enoch records from the same source at Akhmim. 

There are many other sources reflecting similar information, some published by FARMS{note}Tvedtness, John A., Brian M. Hauglid, John Gee, Compilers and Editors,  Traditions about the early life of Abraham, Foundation for ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 2001{/note} including a new series on the Book of Abraham.  The recent discoveries show there was a profusion of RECORDS, and it is evident that Abraham had access to many of them.  Then wouldn't his sons or some or one in particular have accessed them also?

Other LDS references to ancient record keeping include:  MOSES 6:5: "And a BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE was kept, in the which was recorded in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration." And v. 8: "Now this prophesy Adam spake as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the BOOK OF THE GENERATIONS OF ADAM, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him."  And in v. 46:  "For a BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God: and it is given in our own language."   Newly discovered documents confirm all of this including the unique doctrines that these books must have contained.  Most of those doctrines were lost to both Jews and Christians alike. Now, as they are rediscovered, it is interesting that the contents were essentially, without bizarre and perverted materials, restored through Joseph Smith, long before their recovery, and now are included in the unique teachings of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

KAINNAM'S DISCOVERY:

Arpachshad, son of Shem, had a son called Kainnam (Gen 10:22), referred to as Kainam in Jubilees p. 66 where more details about him are provided,  who set out to discover land where he could build a city.  In JUBILEES, we find that while on this seeking expedition he came upon rock walls with inscriptions on them. In v. 3.  "And he found a writing which FORMER (GENERATIONS) HAD CARVED ON THE ROCK, AND HE READ WHAT WAS THEREON, AND HE TRANSCRIBED IT."{note}Charles, p. 66{/note} The GENERATIONS referred to here would have been pre-flood and descendants of Adam.  Few realize that Adam's posterity covered much of the earth before the flood and many of the ancient cities, monuments and inscriptions of the world that date before the Flood would have been constructed and inscribed by those early GENERATIONS.  The language would have been the ADAMIC TONGUE, which Kainnam would have been taught, as it was before the confounding of the languages and the Tower of Babel.  While there are many references to rock inscriptions in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and few others close to where Kainnam would have resided, we do not know where Kainnam traveled. But looking at a map of southern Mesopotamia, there would be little chance for rock inscriptions to the north, west or south, but to the east that was a different matter! What he found would have been pre-flood; the content would have been most interesting.  Would it have been in the Adamic Language? The main idea here is that the ancients inscribed on rock, when available. Before and soon after the Flood the language would have been Adamic.  Could there have been local dialects and variations? No doubt!

We understand that Enoch inscribed the great prophecies of Adam on stone, and in D&C 107:56-57.  "These things were all written down in the BOOK of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time."  In Chap 6-8 of the Book of Moses, Joseph Smith restored much material from the works of Enoch, much of what he had obtained by revelation is now found in the works of Enoch recovered from ancient collections found in Russia{note}Nibley, Hugh, Abraham in Egypt, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City 1981{/note} now referred to as 3rd ENOCH or HEBREW ENOCH.{note}Odeberg, Hugo, 3  Enoch, The Hebrew Book of Enoch, KTAV Publishing House, Inc., New York 1973{/note}  The collection in Russia,now in the St. Petersburg Library, consists of 2500 of the oldest Hebrew materials known, collected by a Jewish Scholar in the late 1880's. Then there is the Aramaic Enoch in the DEAD SEA SCROLLS, translated by Milik. Also the SLAVONIC ENOCH{note}Morfill, W. R. Translator, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, Translated from the Slavonic, Oxford at the Clrendon Press, 1896{/note}, recovered from Russia and Serbia,{note}Forbes, Nevill, 2Enoch, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigraph of the Old Testament, Vol II, Pseudepigra;ph, Oxford, London, 1913, pp.  425-469 {/note} now known as 2nd ENOCH, and the Ethiopian 1st ENOCH{note}Knibb, Michael A., The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, a new Edition in the light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragmkents, Oxford, London 1978 {/note}found in 1776 by the intrepid explorer James Bruce, as part of the Ethiopian Bible where it was located just before the book of Job. The astounding doctrines found in the recovered books of Enoch just during the 20th  Century seem to be part of that which was to be "testified of in due time." But more is to come.  No doubt Abraham had a portion or all of the writings of Enoch. There may have been as many as 76 Books of Enoch.{note}Milik p. 124{/note}  What we have today may represent less than half of these, and some in fragmental form only. The important thing here is that Latter-day Saints, as early as 1827 to 1837, were given to understand that all the ancients wrote and preserved books that were handed down, and inscribed on various materials, including gold, brass, alloyed metals, and stone.  Select portions of many of these were incorporated into what is now the Standard Works of the LDS Church.  This is extraordinary!  If Joseph Smith conjured up these ideas in his abbreviated lifetime, there is no way other than revelation for him to have these ideas and doctrines confirmed by an innumerable host of documentary discoveries made after his death.

Kainnam's inscription appears to have been astronomical in nature.{note}Charles, p. 67{/note}  The Enoch material in the DEAD SEA SCROLLS included astronomical material.{note}Milik, J.T.  ed. The Book of Enoch, Aramaic Fragments of Qumran cave 4, Oxford, 1976, pp 7-21 {/note}  In the DEAD SEA SCROLLS, there were four copies of astronomical documents attributed to Enoch.  "Euopolemos gives a detailed account of Abraham as the inventor of Astrology [ASTRONOMY] who teaches the Phoenicians [descendents of Jepheth] 'the evolutions of the sun and the moon and all other things'."{note}Milik pp. 8-9{/note} The Phoenicians had a particular practical interest in astronomy, which they used for navigation.  In Egypt, Abraham initiates the priest of Helioupolis in astrology [ASTRONOMY], (also see Facsimile No. 3 Book of Abraham p. 41), revealing to them that "the invention of these [sciences] goes back to Enoch, and it was he who was the first to invent astrology [Astronomy] not the Egyptians'.... Enoch had a son Methuselah, and he learned all these things through the angels of God, and passed on to Methuselah."{note}Milik p. 9{/note}  Joseph Smith knew this and included this in his EGYPTIAN ALPHABET & GRAMMER p. 34.   In fact, in reference to Kolob, he states  "KOLOB- -it signified first beginning to the bodies of this creation the first creation,  ... in the first degree. It signifies the first great grand governing fixed star which is the fartherest that ever was discovered by Methuselah and also by Abraham."   Methuselah, Abraham and Joseph Smith all accessed such astronomical data by the Urim and Thummim and direct revelation.  "For the work of Enoch was created as a testimony for the generations of the world, in which he recounted to all generations their actions up to the day of judgement."{note}MILIK p. 11{/note}  (Also See D&C 107:56-57)  Remember that Methuselah is the son of Enoch.  No doubt his father taught him astounding doctrine, scientifically in harmony with the frontiers of cosmological{note}Seife, Charles, Alpha & Amega, The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe, Viking, New York, 2003{/note} research today,{note}Harrison, Edward R., Cosmology, The Science of the Universe,  Cambridge University Press, London 1981{/note} though there is no textbook current enough to use for teaching courses.  As a Professor of Science, teaching among other things Astronomy, I am almost entirely dependent on the latest findings published in Journals and Scientific publications, coming weekly, monthly and quarterly.  Published textbooks are mostly out of date.  

JUBILEES p. 76, informs us that Arpachshad, son of Shem, was given as part of the land of his inheritance lands that included "all the land of the region of the Chaldees to the east of the Euphrates, bordering on the Red Sea". The area which embraced Ur where Abraham was born, and east of there is the territories that we today call Persia where the great wall inscriptions included those at "Behistun.. which relates in detail" the struggles of certain Persian Kings are found,  (COOK p. 16). That region is well known for its rock inscriptions. But though east of where most others mentioned to have taken up lands in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, Arpachshad and his son Kainnam were nearly a 800 years earlier than the period in which Zoroastrian teachings would have originated. Somehow, historically, the origins of Zoroastrians dates after the time of Abraham, but close enough to the time of his sons as to suggest a serious connection, particularly because of the doctrinal content. The ancient document known as the SCHEMA OF THE HEAVENLY HEIMARMENE discussed by DORESSE, based on a Semitic vocabulary states that:

"the name of Adam signifies "blood" and "earth"  (dam-blood, edom-red)" and with a little stretch, Adam was the first to become mortal through partaking of the forbidden fruit which put Blood into his body, and his body is made of the elements of this earth.  Latter Day saints take the name to mean "Many", as there was an Adam and an Eve on every world ever created.  DORESSE continues:  "Such speculations about the name of Adam were common in Jewish mysticism. They were indeed so well known that a distinct echo of them still sounds in the treatise ON THE LETTER OMEGA: The Chaldaeans, the Parthians, the Medes and the Hebrews name him [i.e. the primordial man] Adam, which being interpreted is: virgin earth, earth the color of blood, earth red as fire, earth of flesh."{note}Doresse, Jean, The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, Viking Press, New York,  p. 18{/note}   Doing archaeological surveys for Indian sites in the Kanab and Saddle Mountain wilderness and Kaibab Plateau in the Kaibab Forest, north of the Grand Canyon, we invariably find sites where the earth is red or pink. Is there a connection?

JESUS AND SATAN:

DORESSE continues, referring to the SCHEMA:

 "As for the substance of the treatise itself, one would much like to know who exactly were the ADVERSARIES with whom the author wanted to refute, and who said that the universe began with CHAOS: were these, then, defenders of the Hellenic mythology? 'Before anything was there was CHAOS.'  As Hesiod had written in his Theogony, (line 116). We also wish we could better understand how the Gnostic doctor conceives the primordial principles of the universe, for he does not seem to have at all a good knowledge of the 'three roots' so clearly set forth in the PARAPHRASE OF SHEM" Doresse p. 175.  This last book mentioned by DORESSE is one of forty-four books from Nag Hammadi that DORESSE discusses and lists. Returning to the SCHEMA he states "The Jewish elements in our treatise are of the highest importance.  Of these, certain features are already to be found in the best known of the Old Testament apocrypha, the BOOK OF ENOCH, and the ASSENCION OF ISAIAH: such for example is the part played by Samael-Ialdobaoth, [SATAN], SAMAEL means the blind God who, having at first been in the highest of the 'thrones' afterwards FALLS from his dignity and is cast into the abyss. Thus he becomes the 'prince of this world'-of the world here below, thus, also, he engages in battle against the Lord," Doresse p. 176.  Compare this with the doctrine of the fall of Lucifer, or Satan, "who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten son...." D&C 76:25-29.  Also note the details added by Abraham 3:24  "... We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials [matter unorganized, in Chaos] and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell, v. 27. In the ancient Pahlavi texts, the Zoroastrians use the word "tan-unformed substance....raw material,.....[a] distinction between matter and form implies that both were, before creation unorganized." (Italics are mine){note}Neusner, Jacob, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism in Talmudic Babylonia, Brown Judaic Studies 204, Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia , 1990{/note}  "And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? ....Here am I, send me.  And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and at that day, many followed after him," Abr. 2: 28.

 "But Jesus said, 'Father, behold: Pursued by evils here upon the earth There roams the (work) of thine own breath; It seeks to escape the bitter choas  But knows not how it shall win through. Therefore  SEND ME, FATHER; Bearing the seals I will descend, I will pass through all the Aeons, I will disclose all mysteries [ordinances] I will show the forms of the Gods And the hidden things of the holy way, Awaking knowledge (gnosis), I will impart."{note}Forester, Werner, Gnosis l. Patristic Evidence,  The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1972, p. 282{/note}
 
And elsewhere we find doctrines recorded that seem unique to Abraham and to Mormon Temple Practices and doctrines, that might have been part of the knowledge that one or more of his sons carried with them when they were sent away.  Did one of them go so far as to carry such knowledge into the distant areas of the Near East, such as ancient Iran and nearby territories later to be called Persia?  Perhaps as far as the Volga River in Russia?  Or the Elburz Mts.? To ancient Bactria? Or beyond?

In discussing one of the forty-four books that he lists for the Nag Hammadi, DORESSE, p. 177, mentions a rather different account of the history of the higher world, and events there, ending with the invocation taken from some ritual of spiritual baptism, given in the SACRED BOOK OF THE INVISIBLE GREAT SPIRIT, or THE GOSPEL OF THE EGYPTIANS,{note}Bohlig, Alexander and Frederik Wisse, The Gospel of the Egyptians, Nag Hammadi Codices, III,2 and IV, 2, Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1975{/note}  on page 178 he continues:

"This sacred book tells us how three great powers emerged from the invisible Great Spirit: the Father, the Mother and the Son". [ Of course that would be the case, before much could be done, there was required a Father and a Mother, and their first born son, (Bohlig p. 54)  in the Spirit World,  that would be Jesus Christ.]   "Here the incorruptible generation, seed of the Father on high, is called the 'seed of Seth', from the name of the son of Adamas.  At this moment, the great Christ, whose generation was expounded at the beginning of this catalogue of entities, but in a part of the manuscript which has been lost establishes in the aeons [eternities] the thrones, powers and glories which are to constitute the imperishable Church." Doresse, p. 178.

Whoever taught there was a church in the pre-existence?{note}Gibbons, Joseph A., The Second Logos of  the Great Seth, IN Society of Biblical Literature, One Hundred Ninth Annual Meeting , Seminar Papers, Vol. 2, 1973, p. 243{/note}  Or a replica, which is found on earth: The Church of the First Born?  And the phrase "Man exists, and so does the Son of Man!" DORESSE p. 178.  The brevity of this doctrine is enlarged in MOSES 6:57 "...for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge who shall come in the meridian of time".

 And among those who will know of his coming there are the Magi! Who were they?  Who could command audience with Kings and who could boldly inquire: "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"  Mathew. 2.2

PROPHESIES THE MAGI POSSESSED:

"So they came from unnamed eastern lands-perhaps, Persia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, perhaps elsewhere-an unspecified number of wise men.  To suppose they were members of the apostate religious cult of the Magi of ancient Media and Persia is probably false.  Rather it wold appear that they were true prophets, righteous persons like Simeon, Anna, and the shepherds, to whom Deity revealed that the promised Messiah had been born among men.  Obviously they were in POSSESSION OF ANCIENT PROPHECIES TELLING OF THE RISE OF A NEW STAR AT HIS BIRTH.   [Emphasis mine] . That they did receive revelation for their personal guidance is seen from the inspired dream in which they were warned not to return to Herod after they had found and worshiped the Son of Mary."{note}McConkie, Bruce R. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft Publishers, Salt Lake City, 1994, pp 102-103{/note}  And they appear to have been called MAGI.  

In listing the signs to attend the birth of Jesus didn't Samuel the Lamanite prophecy:  "There shall a new star arise, such as one as ye never have beheld."  (Hela. 14:5), and this new star was seen by the entire Nephite nation at the actual time of the heavenly birth  (3 Nephi 1:21.) The so-called Magi, who were in the east, had seen the star in the west, and from their eastern origins they came west to find the Messiah.  If, as some think, that the Magi came from southwest Arabia, they would have had to travel northward.  But as will be evident, some of those who came at the rising or birth of Christ did come from the south, as well as many other directions.  Two Old Testament scriptures have been entirely neglected, as we shall see below.

DORESSE,  p. 179, continues: "the Great Seth has had a holy baptism prepared, the five seals [or ordinances] of which will enable his race to escape from the evil god."  From Coptic sources, FINEGAN{note}Finegan, Jack, Hidden Records of the Life of Jesus, Pilgram Press, Philadelphia, 1969, pp. 284-285{/note}  identifies and discusses these five items, which include l. Baptism by immersion, 2.  An anointing or baptism in light from the Holy One, 3. A sacrament, or Eucharist or the Lord's Supper, 4. A redemption and initiation, 5. A bridechamber.  Under this last item,  FINNEGAN, p. 285 states: "For some of them prepare a bridechamber and perform a mystical rite with those who are being perfected (i.e., being initiated), pronouncing certain invocations and they affirm that it is a spiritual marriage which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the unions above."  In the Nag Hammadi text known as the GOSPEL OF PHILIP, the "bridechamber," [which has mirrored walls], seems to be very important.  "the spiritual marriage simulates the unions above, it may be concluded that this sacrament is intended to celebrate and prefigure on earth what is to be enjoyed in ultimate entry into the Pleroma....entry into the kingdom is synonymous with entry into the bridal chamber...the bridechamber seems to be accorded the highest place among the sacraments, for we read in part: Baptism is the holy house...the holy of the holies is the bridechamber...If anyone becomes a son of the bridechamber, he will receive the light.  This light must be received in this place, i.e., in this world, otherwise it will not be possible to receive it in the other place, i.e, in the other world.  He who does receive the light cannot be seen or detained by hostile powers." FINEGAN p. 286.  Who ever taught that you might be detained by some "hostile power" after leaving this life and something is required of you before you can pass on? See D&C 132:18. "Since the journey of the soul leads through dangerous demonic spheres certain guarantees are required which involve more than those things which accompany the soul, like BAPTISM, the SIGN, the NAME, and GOOD WORKS," (emphasis mine) WILSON  2, p. 133.  And JONAS p. 272 tells "of the sacraments to be performed now, of the 'names' to be employed later when the ascending spirit meets the powers after leaving the body at death, and what ever ritual or ethical preparation may assure this future passage....providing the ascent doctrine in its details....the secret of the way...the itinerary and adventures of the soul on this occasion lead through the complete order in reversal of the primordial fall."  Does the Temple Endowment mention the Fall?

There are also references in the GOSPEL OF THE EGYPTAINS to living waters, the source of truth, the portals of the waters, and the way which lead to rest in the life everlasting, and those who will never taste death. "This mystical text comes to its climax with the following declaration: 'Here it is, the book written by the Great Seth.' He left it in high mountains upon which the sun never rises, nor can it do so. .....This book, the Great Seth wrote it in the writings of a hundred and thirty years; he left it in the mountain called Charax so that in the LAST TIME and in the LAST INSTANTS, it might become manifest." DORESSE p. 179-180.  In a foot note DORESSE adds:  "The only Charax we know of in that part of Asia was the town built on the Tigris in immediate proximity to the Persian Gulf."  This geographic reference might be of interest as we proceed with this study.

In another of the Nag Hammadi texts, THE REVELATION OF ADAM TO HIS SON SETH, "An apocalypse that Adam revealed to his son Seth in the seven hundreth year, saying this to him: Hear my words, my son Seth. When god created me from earth with Eve thy mother, and I went with her into a glory.......we learned mortal things like Men. It was then that we knew the gods who had created us for we were not at all stranger to his power and we were serving him in fear and humility."  Adam further teaches Seth  "that he saw 'three men' before me, of whom I could not bear the sight, because they were not of the powers of this world [the glory of the three men was greater than the glory of a personage claiming to be God]...Because of that, the days of our life became few and I knew that I had passed into the power of Death. But now, Seth, I will reveal to you the things that have been unveiled to me." DORESSE p. 182.   Who ever taught that three men had come to Adam to teach him sacred things?

There are other familiar doctrines found in THE REVELATION OF ADAM TO HIS SON SETH,  "there is a succession of Saviors, whose births are predicted." In the REVELATION OF ST. JOHN XII, 6:

 "There has been a virgin mother; they banished him from his town, him and his mother; they took him out into a desert place....there is something about a Virgin bringing a child into the world and rearing it somewhere far away in the desert.... the Gnosis of the secrets of Adam which Seth has transmitted." DORESSE, p. 183.

THE MANDEANS, MANICHAEANS AND ZOROASTER:

"Among the MANICHAEANS, the tenth chapter of their BOOK OF MYSTERIES was devoted to the witness borne by Adam to the future advent of the Christ.  The MANDAEANS, too, believed it was Adam to whom the first of the secret books was revealed, and named their great sacred book of the TREASURE--THE GINZA RBA-among these BOOKS OF ADAM."  DORESSE p. 183.  He continues on page 184: "But the great savior took on characteristics of the Christ, whilst Shem, Melchizedek and Nimrod came into the story and Zoroaster was taken to be identical with the prophets Baruch and Balaam."  This latter is not likely.  But a reference in his notes on page 184 indicate a relationship we will draw on heavily: the "MESSINA,  MAGI a BETLEMME," pp. 74-82. When we begin to emphasize the ZORASTRIAN connection we want to make sure it is understood that others have done so before we have, and almost in the same way and intent.  DORESSE, p. 184 continues  "At the same time, now mingling nascent Christianity with these Iranian and Jewish myths, there were amplifications of the major episode of the MAGI KEEPING WATCH FOR THE RISING OF THE STAR THAT WAS TO GUIDE THEM TO BETHLEHEM FOR THE ADORATION OF THE MESSIAH!" (Emphasis mine) Shades of McConkie!

"After a long and obscure evolution all these TRADITIONS became syncretized in  THE BOOK OF THE CAVE OF TEASURES, which enjoyed a prodigious diffusion.  It puts all these revelations into the mouth of Adam as the FIRST of a long series of PROPHETS who PREDICT how the MAGI will await the announcement of the Savior,.....and where the Treasures are concealed which the MAGI will CARRY to BETHLEHAM.... the great prophecies which our work puts into the mouth of Adam the father of Seth were in themselves known before...their original substance appears in writings attributed to Zoroaster, and certainly goes back to the Avesta.  Both Gnostics and Manichaeans-as we have seen-liked to count Zoroaster in the number of their prophets.  In any case these revelations, in their earliest forms, recalled the coming of [the Savior]....At the same time, now mingling nascent Christianity with these Iranian and Jewish myths, there were amplifications of the major episode of the Magi keeping watch for the rising of the star that was to guide them to Bethlehem for the adoration of the Messiah."    DORESSE p. 184.   Elder McConkie would have felt good about this,  which vindicates his apostolic insights.  With this BOOK OF THE CAVE, we must class a great many other TESTAMENTS or BOOK OF ADAM preserved in Syriac, in Ethiopian, in Armenian or in Arabic.  FARMS has recently filmed and copied thousands of texts from the Syrian monastaries and the archives at Yervan in Armenia.  I personally saw many of those in Yervan. An original archive of more than 100,000 manuscripts and been reduced by wars, looting, and historic attrition, to the mere 10,000 that remained in Yervan. 

 Recall that at the Council of Nicea, at least five major "Chistian" groups were not invited: The Syriac, the Coptic (from which the NAG HAMADI CAME), the Manichaean, the Mandean, and Armenian. Their records persisted through the centuries with fewer deletions, additions, modifications, than the so-called orthodox religions, and retained many of the pristine doctrines of the first century and before.  All five of them can be studied for great parallels to LDS doctrine.  These are now being richly harvested by scholars at FARMS, BYU. 

The UNFINISHED COMMENTARY ON ST. MATHEW, refers expressly to a Writing put under the name of Seth.  In the Syriac CHRONICLE from the Zuqnin monastery near Amida  (finished about the year 774) [and no doubt its contents have been filmed by BYU], the traditions about the MAGI and the advent of the Savior are summed up in terms that remind one chiefly of the narrative in the BOOK OF THE CAVE OF TREASURES.  However, let us quote from it these lines, supposedly spoken by the MAGI, FOR THEY REFLECT THE VERY GENERAL PRESTIGE THAT WAS ATTACHED TO WRITINGS entitled, like our REVELATION OF ADAM with the name of SETH:

"ADAM imparted revelations to his son SETH, and showed him his original greatness before the Transgression and his going out of Paradise.  He recommended his son Seth never to fail in justice as he, Adam had done. Seth welcomed the teaching of his father with a pure heart....it was given to him to inscribe this wisdom in a BOOK and to teach it.....and thanks to him, for the first time in this world, there was seen a BOOK written in the name of the Most High.  SETH bequeathed to his descendants the BOOK thus written, and that BOOK was HANDED DOWN even to NOAH.

"In the time of the flood, NOAH, took with him into the ark the BOOKS [PLURAL] of these teachings, and when he came out of the ark, he ordained in his turn that the generations that came after him were to repeat the many things and the holy mysteries written in the BOOKS OF SETH upon the Majesty of the FATHER and upon all the mysteries. (The emphasis in this study is all mine.  Mysteries is often translated as Ordinances.)  "Hence these BOOKS, these mysteries and this narrative were handed down even to our fathers, who welcomed them with joy and who passed them on to us....and these BOOKS of the hidden mysteries were placed in the Mountain of Victories to the east of our country."  DORESSE p. 185-186.

Then we learn that:

"Theodore Bar Konai in the eighth century, and Solomon of Bastra at the beginning of the Thirteenth, still knew of such prophecies, not put into the mouth of Adam, but of ZOROASTER.....the Savior foretold in them was endowed with attributes of the Christ....though distorted, are of Iranian origin.  'Listen, that I may reveal to you the prodigious mystery concerning the great king who must come into the world. At the end of times, at the moment of dissolution which will put an end to them, a child will be conceived and formed with its members in the womb of a virgin, without any man having approached her. He will be like a tree of lovely foliage and loaded with fruit, standing upon a parched soil. The inhabitants of that land will oppose his growing up and will strive to uproot him from the soil, but will not be able to do so.  Then they will lay hands on him and will kill him on the gibbet; the earth and the families of peoples will weep for him. He will open the descent into the depths of the earth and, from the depth; he will mount up on High. Then he will be seen coming with the army of the Light, for he is a child of the Word.....At the manifest commencement of this coming great prodigies will appear in the sky. A STAR will be seen shining in the midst of the sky: its light will out shine that of the sun. So then, my sons, you who are the Seed of Life issuing from the Treasury of the Light and of the Spirit, who have been sown in the soil of fire and of water, you must be on your guard and watch....for you will KNOW BEFOREHAND of the coming of the great king for whom the captives are waiting to be freed.....In this passage the words of Zoroaster  'I am He and He is I.....I am identical with thee, and thou are identical with me.'" Doresse p. 187

These last phrases are also phrases found in the GOSPEL OF EVE, quoted by EPIPHANIUS, who also quotes from the SETHIANS (XXXIX, 3), in which it is said that "Christ Jesus is of the line of Seth [isn't he?] according to the seed and succession of the generations, but this in a miraculous fashion and without having been begotten......he was sent by the Mother of heaven to dwell among mankind." DORESSE p. 186. 

THE FAMILIES OF NOAH AND ABRAHAM:

In order to understand whom the MAGI were and who else may have attended CHRIST at or soon after his birth, we need to have little more knowledge of two families.  The family of NOAH, and the family of ABRAHAM. As we discuss these two families, note the names I have emphasized.  Later in this study these details of the family will be useful in identifying particular persons and lineage's that came to the birth, or soon after, of Christ with their recognition and rich gifts.   

NOAH AND HIS FAMILY:  Except for the correction made to the sequence of births of the three sons in Moses 8:12, no additional information about births of Japheth, Shem and Ham are provided in the Pearl of Great Price.  The bible does not seem to have a full listing of the sons and their descendents, so we turn to the more complete data found in the  JASHER, vii. 2. "The sons of JAPHETH were GOMER, MAGOG, MADAI, JAVAN, TUBAL, MESHECH AND TIRAS, seven sons, v. 3. And the sons of GOMER were Askinaz, Rephath and Tegarmah, v.  4.  And the sons of Magog were Elichanaf and Lubal, v. 5. And the children of Madi were Achon, Zeelo, Chazoni and Lot, v. 6.  And the sons of JAVAN were Elisha, TARSHISH, CHITITIM, and DUDONIM, . v.7. And the sons of Tubal were Ariphi, Kesed and Tari, v.8. And the sons of Meshech were DEDON, Zaron, and Shebashni, v.9. And the sons of Tiras were Benib, Gera, Lupirion and Gilak....about 460 men, v.10.  And these were the sons of  HAM,  CUSH, Mitzraim, Phut and Canaan.....the sons of CUSH were SEBA, HAVILAH, Sabta, Raama and Satecha, and the sons of Raama were SHEBA and DEDAN, v. 11 And the sons of Mitzraim were Lud, Anom and Pathros, Chasloth and Chaphtor, v. 12. And the sons of Phut were Gebul, Hedan, Benah and Adan. V. 13. And the sons of Canaan were Zidon, Heth, Amori, Gergashi, Hivi, Arkee, Seni, Arodi, Zimodi and Chamothi, v.14......seven hundred and thirty men, v.15.   ....The sons of  SHEM, Elam, Ashur, ARPACHSHAD, Lud and Aram, ...the sons of Elam where Shushan, Michul and Harmon, v.16. ...the Sons of Ashar were Mirus and Mokil,  and the sons of ARPACHSHAD were Shelach, Anar and Ashcol, v. 17.  The sons of Lud were Pethor and Bizayon, and the sons of Aram were UZ, Chul, Gather and Mash  v. 18. ....about three hundred men.  19. Shem begat Arpachshad and Arpachshad begat Shelach, and Shelack begat Eber and to Eber were born two sons: Peleg and YOKTAN, v. 21.  These are the sons of YOKTAN, Almodad, Shelaf, Chazarmoveth, Yerach, Hadurom, Ozel, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, SHEBA, OPHIR, Havilah and Jobab."  JASHER pp. 14-15.

From this source we now have identified some key men who will, or their descendents, will, play a significant role in the story of those who came to the rising or birth of Jesus Christ, along with, or in addition to, the MAGI. We will comment on the expanding population and men involved.  Demographics and geography become interesting after the flood.

ABRHAM AND HIS FAMLY:  ABRAHAM had three wives:  Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah, of which we have any record, though the D&C  Sec 132: 37 indicates that he had "received concubines, and they bore him children."  Of these concubines and children we have little record. Most are aware of the addition of Hagar to the family of Abraham as a wife, Gen. 16:3.  Hagar was cast out and alone bore a son she was told to call Ishmael, Gen 16:10. Abraham was then 86 years old.  Some 14 years later at age 100,  Sarah then 90 years old, gave him Isaac.  Sarah died when she was 127, Abraham was then 137.{note}Reyburn, William D. and Fry, Euan McG., A handbook on Genesis, United Bible Societies, New York 1997, p.163{/note}  Abraham then married Keturah Gen. 25:l.   In  Gen 25:2 , Keturah bore Abraham:  "ZIMRAN, JOKSHAN, MEDAN, MIDIAN, ISHBAK, AND SHUAH.  3:  JOKSHAN was the father of  SHEBA and DEDAN.  The sons of DEDAN  were Assyhurim, Letushim, and Leummim." No sons for SHEBA are given. 

In JASHER, XXV. 2: "And the children of Zimran were Abihen, Molich and Narim.  3:  The sons of JOKSHAN were SHEBA and DEDAN, and the sons of MEDAN were Amida, Joah, Gochi, Elisha and Nothach; and the sons of MIDIAN WERE EPAH, Epher, Chanoch, Abida and Eldaah. 4: And the sons of ISHBAK were Makiro, Beyodua and Tator.  5: And the sons of Shuach were BILDAD, Mamdad, Munan and Meban.  6:  And Abraham sent all these away, and he gave them gifts, [sufficient even to buy countries?], and they went away from his son Isaac to dwell wherever they should find a place." (Also see TEV Gen 25:5).  "And all these went to the mountain at the east, and they built themselves six cities in which they dwelt unto this day. 8.  But the children of SHEBA and DEDAN, children of JOKSHAN, with their children, did not dwell with their brethren in their cities, and they journeyed and encamped in the countries and wildernesses unto this day.  9. And the children of MIDIAN, SON OF Abraham, went to the east of the land of Cush [Egypt], and they found a large valley in the eastern country, and they remained there and built a city, and they dwelt therein, that is the land of MIDIAN unto this day.  11.  And these are the names of the sons of MIDIAN according to their names in their cities, EPHAH, Epher, Chanoch, Abida and Eldaah. 12. And the sons of EPHAH were Methach, Mesher, Avi and Tzanua, and the Sons of Epher were Ephron, Zur, Alirun and Medin and the sons of Chanoch were Ruel, [JETHRO] Rekem, Azi, Aloshub and Alad.  13. And the sons of Abida were Chur, Melud, Kerury, Molchi; and the sons of Eldaah were Miker, and Reba, and Malchiyah and Gabol.  15.  ISHMAEL took a wife....her name was Ribah, 16. And Riba bare unto Ishmael NEBAYOTH, KEDEAR, Adbeel, Milsam and a sister Bosmath.  18. [Ishmael took another wife], her name was Malchuth, and she bare unto him, Nishma, Dumah, Masa, Chadad, Tema, Yetur, Naphish and Kedma.  20. And they went and dwelt near the wilderness of Paran, and their dwelling was from Havilah unto Shur that is before Egypt as thou comest toward Assyria."  Verses 22 to 27 provide details of the descendants of Ishmael.  It appears there are at least 21 grandsons and 24 great-grand sons recorded, though it is evident that there are more just from Keturah alone.

Abraham was 175 years old when he died.   While the records do not state how many of his posterity were taught the gospel, we assume all of them were.  JASHER XXVI: 21-29  does point out that Abraham was commanded by the Lord to  "teach thy children and thy seed the instructions of the Lord and his commandments."  He taught Jacob the instruction of the Lord and his ways. At the time of the death of Abraham Jacob would have been 15 years old. Shem [Melchizedek] was not yet translated, and he with most of the enumerated descendants came to the burial of Abraham.{note}Heap, Dr. Norman L., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Vantage Press, New York, 1986, p. 125{/note}  Thus, there were great teachers available to all the sons of Abraham.   "Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne."  D&C 132:29  "and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods." 132:37.  This unusual doctrine gets confirmation in the  HEBREW BOOK OF ENOCH:  XLIV:7  "And I saw the spirits of the Patriarchs and Abraham Isaac and Jacob and the rest of the righteous who they have brought up out of their graves and who have ascended to the Heaven..." ODEBERG, pp. 138-139.  The foot notes on those pages are also very enlightening, especially in reference to the resurrection of these three Patriarchs where ODEBERG, with his bias clearly evident states "it sounds as if we were here confronted with a different conception as to the fate of men after death, according to which the Patriarchs and (some of ) the righteous enjoy the privilege of bodily resurrection before the final consummation."  Mormon doctrine insists on this.  See, BM  Hel. 14:25, 3 Ne. 23:9-13, D&C 133:55, 138:19.

THE ANCIENT PERSIAN EMPIRE:

The Ancient PERSIAN  EMPIRE at one time during the Achaemenid Empire, was at its peak in 500 B.C.  Darius ruled this vast empire from two capitals, Susa and Persepolis. It included most of what is today Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Babylonia, Sisana, Belukistan, all of the northern shores of the Gulf of Oman to the Indus River and all of the western side of the Indus north to the Syr Darya River and the Aral Sea.{note}Sumner, William M. Malyan Excavation Reports III: Early Urban life in the Land of Anshan, Excavations at Tal-e-Malyan in the Highlands of Iran,  University of Pennsylvania Musem of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2003.{/note}  The Elburz Mountain and the southern, eastern and western half of the Caspian Sea, Armenia to the Caucasus Mountains, the southern and western shores of the Black Sea, and most of Macedonia, Thrace, all of modern Turkey, Cyrpus, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and everything in between. All of modern Pakistan, Afghanistan, all of the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf, now Iran.  When Alexander sacked and looted the city of Persepolis in 331 B.C. it took 7,000 pack animals to remove all the treasure.  All the men were killed, all the children taken into slavery and all the women taken by the soldiers.

Persia came from Persis, the Greek name for the region. The Persians called the region the land of the ARYANS, and their language Aryan.  They made important contributions to government, law and religion.  They had an efficient "pony express" mail system, utilized coins for money, standardized weights and measures. When Alexander the Great conquered the lands in 331 B.C. he used Persian accomplishments to unify his own Empire.

The Persians became the center of a vast empire during the Achaemenid period, an area almost as large as the continental United States. In 400 B.C. they made the mistake of being greedy, invaded the Greek Empire and lost. They had violated the Greek cities and capital, so Alexander retaliated in his turn. The Greeks drove them from Europe ending their expansion of empire, they fell to Alexander. Later Parthians,  155 B.C. from northern Persia and then the Sassanids 224 A.D.,  controlled a greatly diminishing empire, which continued to shrink in size to what is now known essentially as Iran.  The Sassanians got greedy and expanded to the peak of their power about 500 A.D. helping to contribute to the downfall of the Roman Empire, but were defeated at Constinople (now Istanbul), and came to a sudden end in 641 A.D. under the scimitars of Mohammadism.  The Arabs defeated the Persians, and spread Islam across the entire Persian Plateau.  Islam kept much of the Persian organization, art, and architecture, and culture.  One of the great trade and cultural centers of Persia was ancient Sogdiana on the Zervan River, Northeast of Samarkand.  My Personal Journal, JOURNEY TO SAMARKAND, records my adventures in the region as a Guest of the Soviet Government, and of seeing the remains of this ancient city over which,  after its destruction no other construction ever occurred. Great leather bags of documents were excavated, which could be readily read.  The documents in part were linked to those of ancient Sogdian and to to scrolls found at Dun Huang by a penitent Monk renovating a three story Buddah broke through a wall behind the Buddah into a vault with scroll staked above his head on both sides. This was about 1906.  His discovery was enormous, included in the vault was a discovery of 36,000 scrolls, which were, on the average,  65 feet in length. In an arduous trip across the Lop Nor Desert, Aurel Stein{note}Stein, Aurel M., Ruins of Desert Cathay, Personal Narrataive of Explorations in Central Asia and Westrnmost China, in Two Volumes,  Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1987{/note} made a dash to be the first to exploit the discovery, but he only retrieved 24,000 scrolls, most of which are now in England, some 12,000 or so were clandestinally removed and ended up throughout China and Japan.{note}Akiyama, Terukazu, and Saburo Matsubara, Arts of China, Duddhist Cave Temples, New Researchs,  Kodansha Internatonal Ltd, Tokyo, Japan, 1972.  I got my copy of this book in Japan in 1981 while researching these "lost" 12,000 scrolls. From Japan I had gone onto China. I also obtained other books on the history of Buddahism from which one could conclude that the present more than 52 variations of that teaching that most of the reforming or changing had occurred after 1050 A.D. when the scrolls of Dun Huang had been sealed up not to be found until 1906.  They provided a comparison to doctrines and iconography that had changed during the past 900 years.  See the book by Daisaku Ikeda in the Bibliogrpahy, Buddhism ,the First Mellennium.  Aacta Iranica, Vol. 111.{/note} (WHITFIELD p. 41. Also see my tapes, THE CAVE OF 1000 BUDDAHS, and ADVENTURES IN CHINA which provide more details of the discovery, recovery and initial translations.)

The language of ancient Persia seems to have been related to Sanskrit, linking the ancient peoples to those of India and Tibet and the Indo-European linguistic trends. They developed a cuneiform system, but in time they used Aramaic widely, which was also used in Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia.  Often they utilized local languages.  Early paganism of Persia included the worship of nature gods, gods of the  sun, sky, and especially fire which was incorporated into many facets of  changing religious themes.  But they are principally known for Zoroastrianism, with a great historical figure playing a key role known as Zoroaster or Zarathustra who could have been a true prophet, at least a self appointed one, set up to reinstate and reform an earlier religious system of extremely important doctrines. See my tape and CD: THE PAHLAVI  TEXTS AND MORMONISM.

YI  JIENG, THE TRAVELING BUDDHIST PRIEST:

Great caravan routes passed through Persia, including the Great Silk Route everything from Diamonds and Spices to great Religious concepts of the Nestorian Christians, Manichaeans, Jews, Buddhism, and Zoroastrians, utilized these caravan routes. My personal Journal, JOURNEY TO XIAN, records my experiences and encounters with these discoveries and ancient texts. Items as far away as Japan ended up in Rome and Vienna.  Much of a religious nature, doctrines and histories, that came to China came by way of the monk YI JIENG, who traveled for some 25 years in 30 countries and returned to China about 705 A.D. to translate his vast collection into Chinese in two Imperial temple complexes, the THE GREAT GOOSE PAGODA, and the LITTLE GOOSE PAGODA,  especially built for that purpose.  These Pagodas still stand, though the Little Goose Pagoda is still utilized, the Great Pagoda has suffered earthquake damage. Do to damage by earthquakes, these records are now resident in the LITTLE GOOSE PAGODA in Xian, China.  The privilege of seeing many of these, including his own signature, was tremendous.  Much of what YI JIENG translated found its way to the vault at Dun Huang.{note}Mackenzie, D. N. ed., The Buddhist Sogdian Texts of the British Library, E. J. Brill, Leiden, Netherlands  1976{/note}  Much of what will be required to convince China of the truths of the gospel are already present in their own ancient archives, but few know it yet. 

IRAN AND MESOPOTAMIA:

The greater part of Iran is taken up by a huge central Plateau dominated by vast mountain ranges to the north, northwest and west and two vast deserts to the northeast and east, extending south to the long coastline of the Persian Gulf.  About 8000 B.C. Pre-Adamic agricultural communities formed in western Iran and by 6000 B.C. village farming had spread over much of the Plateau. Any archaeological material dating before 4000 B.C. would not be considered developed by spirit children of Father and Mother in Heaven.  Abraham l:3 clearly states that Adam was the Firstborn man on this earth, anything man-like before that would have been classified as animals with severe limitations.   Prior to the flood which would have been before 2414 BC, Adams descendents had spread over the world and great civilization had arisen in most areas.{note}Silverman, David, Searching for Ancient Egypt, University of Pennsylvania Museum of archaeology and Anthropology, 2004{/note} In Egypt for example, the Dynasties begin with Dynasty 0,  the rulers,  Scorpion and Narmer preceeded all the Dynasties, after Narmer there follows a Chronicle of 170 Pharaohs.{note}Clayton, Peter A., Chronicle of the Pharaohs, The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson,  1994.{/note}  Some eight hundred years or more are included in the  Pre-Dynastic-Pre Narmer period. There are many archeological sites representing this earlier period back to nearly 4000 B.C.  Archaeologists are involved in many excavations that will through light on these periods and the cultures involved.  Those that date before 4,000 B.C. will not belong to the Spirit Family of Father in Heaven, but will be pre-human beings, though man like in habit. 

The year of the flood is considered to be about 1656 after the creation.  Perhaps 70 years less than that to correct for time Adam spent in the Garden since he died at 930 years.{note}Shulman, Eliezer, The Sequence of Events in the Old Testament, Investment Co. of Bank Hapoalim and Ministry of Defense-Publishing House, Israel  1987, pp. 14-18{/note}   So, making that little adjustment, and perhaps other small ones are also required, the approximate time of the flood would be about 2414 B.C.  There are so many factors in dating that one can only be approximate. But it does provide a useful date to work with. The sons of Noah soon repopulated the eastern regions of the world. Not long after, under the Jaredites, the Western Hemisphere would also be populated again.  The Tower of Babel date is debated but was between  2245 and 2275 B.C.  Probably about  2250 B.C. the Jaradites had been transferred to the Americas. Tablets at Ebla dating about 2250 B.C. state the city had not been conquered since the flood.{note}Pettinato, Giovanni, Ebla, a New Look at History, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore-London 1991{/note}

PRE-FLOOD CULTURES:

The third millennium, 3000 B.C. and before, back to 4000 B.C. is known for the rise of complex cultures that produced the pyramids in Egypt, the ziggurats of Mesopotamia, and the large cities of the Indus River valley,{note}Dales, George, Excavations at Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan, Uiversity of Pennsylvania Museum of archaeology and anthropology, 1986{/note} and no doubt, not as yet discovered, other areas are yet to be found. The historical dynasties begin with the lst Dynasty (c. 2950-2775 B.C.), but as O'Connor states, p. 18, the Narmer Palette and the Palermo Stone, both suggest prior kings or Pharaohs, before Dynasty O, "but the Territorial extent of their rule and the political organization of their realms are virtually unknown." {note}O'Connor, David, Narmer's enigmatic Palette, What Does it Tell us about Egypt's First Kings? Archaeology Odyssey, September October 2004, p. 18{/note} If we take Abraham 1:3 seriously, we are informed that Adam was "the FIRSTBORN, or the first man" on this earth.  Before him, all pre-Adamic man like creatures would fall under the catagories described in Moses 3:5.  Pre-Adamic Hominid Homo Habilus types would not have had a spiritual birth in the spirit world and given spiritual bodies later to be permitted an earthly experience as direct sons and daughters of Mother and Father in Heaven. We therefore look carefully at what happened world wide about 4000 B.C., for example,  in Mesopotamia,  the Uruk and Jemdat Nasr  periods (3900-2900 B.C.) show a marked departure from the primitive monotonous hunting-gathering cultures before that time. A burst of crafts, specialization, social differentiation, public buildings, religious constructions, tools and domestication of animals and plants, define the onset of urbanization and civilizations.{note}Andrews, Anthony P. First Cities, St. Remy Press, Montreal, Smithsonian Books Washington, D.C. 1995, p. 26{/note} The Chronology for sites in southern Mesopotamia provide insights into the cultures that would concern us beginning with Ubaid 4, about 4000 B.C. and contemporary sites in the region.{note}Lloyd, Seton, The Aracheology of Mesopotamia, From the Old Stone Age to the Persian Conquest, Thames and Hudson, 1978{/note} Archaeologist are knocking at the doors to these earlier kingdoms and cultures.  A new discovery was announced in April 2004  (SCIENCE VOL 304, MAY 21), that another sophisticated civilization existing at that time, was discovered near the Iranian city of Jiroft in an obscure valley.  It is being called the Jiroft Civilization. Looting over the past four years had brought the site to the attention of the authorities, excavations began in January 2004.  One mound is 400 meters by 400 meters in three steps like the ziggurats.  Carbon dating and other dating, particularly of cylinder seals and inscribed tablets, will be required to establish the correct dates. New insights are always being found.  But all of the inhabitants of all pre-flood areas and events would have been destroyed and repopulating would have taken place again immediately after the flood.  Remains of their monuments and cities would still be there.

Available source books, now subject to correction by the new discoveries, say that the first known civilization (as distinct from hunting-gathering-simple-agriculture cultures) in Persia was that of the Elamaites, who settled the region before 1200 B.C. The tribes of Medes and Persians became known in the northern region about  900 B.C.  It was the Medes who created the first state on the Persian Plateau about 700 B.C. reaching the height of their power a hundred years later.  The Persians, led by Cyrus the Great overthrew the Medes in 549 B.C. and established one of the largest empires in history.  So now, a great deal of history is in the process of being rewritten.  But especially in the Americas, Adam and his first generations established communities from 4000 B.C. to nearly 2500 B.C. throughout the Americas, and far that matter, throughout the world.  The Flood destroyed these and the world was repopulated, often in the same areas as before. It is interesting to note that "Mesopotamia enters recorded history at the onset of the Early Dynastic period (2900 to 2400B.C.)...The best-documented early dynasties are those of Kish, Uruk, Ur, and Lagash.....the region that came to be known as Sumer."{note}Andrews, p. 27{/note}

Recall the BOOK OF ESTHER, she was the Jewish wife of King Ahasuerus of Persia, known to history as Xerxes l (485-464).  Her Jewish name was Hadassah, Hebrew for myrtle, born in Susa, a Persian Capital, a former capital of Elam, orphaned and brought up by her Uncle Mordecai.  You know most of the story from there, but what is important is that from this Persian Capital, SUSA, great prophets, like Zechariah , and great biblical leaders like Ezra and Nehemiah, some of whom returned to Jerusalem. Without Esther there would have been a destruction of Jews in Persia, and much of the restoration and return of the Jews from captivity and the events recorded in the last pages of the Old Testament would not have occurred.  That is why the Book of Esther is so important. Most of you know that history and the Jewish conquests and slavery.  It was Cyrus who expanded the conquest known as the Achaemenid Empire and permitted the return of the Jews.  The rest is accessible history. There was another well-known resident of SUSA, he was the Old Testament Prophet DANIEL, and it is significant that he is known as "the one who first united the prophetic traditions of Moses and of Zarathustra."{note}Kriwacsek, Paul, In Search of Zarathustra, The First Prophet and the Ideas That Changed the World, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002, p. 157{/note} The book by Kriwaczek is rife with contrasting parallels, Chap. 7,  the judgement scene, and a peppering of Persian loan words, like Raz, meaning a mystery, and the huge image in the dream, and references to the "One like the Son of Man" bring to mind similar expressions in ancient Zoroastrian texts, KRIWACZEK, p. 161. And now come the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 "They are of such great importance because they show us one entrance of Iranian [ZOROASTRIAN] ideas into Judaism, perhaps the most important one:  ....a generally, if not yet universal, opinion that the Essenes were the community of Qumran where these truly remarkable texts were found, texts which have in more than one way revolutionized our knowledge of the religious movement in post-exilic Judaism.  We shall revert later to the Iranian elements in the Qumran-texts, especially in the so-called "Manual of Discipline."{note}Pearson, Birger A. , Religious Syncretismin Antiquity, Scholars Press, University of California, Santa Barabara, p. 93{/note} 

THE DISPERSION OF ABRAHAM'S SONS:


Our attention is now given to what happened after the death of Abraham, which would have been about 1877 B.C.  His six sons would have been 25 to 38 years old, having all been born during the first 14 years of his marriage to Keturah.  They dispersed. Most of them we can account for.  The last son Shuah shows up in a bit of interesting history.  In the BOOK OF JOB,  Job is referred to as man in the land of Uz (JOB 1:1), which is about 27 miles east of the Sea of Galilee, up on the Golan heights a dozen or so miles south of Damascus. Job was a grandson of Jacob (Gen 46:13).  Jacob only took into Egypt his eleven sons and their families, all of the families by other wives and concubines were left behind, see D&C 132: 37.  Job may have even been a prophet; at least he had Priesthood and keys because he gave his second family the endowments.{note}Kraft, Robert A., ed  The Testament of Job, Society of Biblical Literature and Scholors' Press, 1974{/note}  His so called friends, Eliphaz, who came from Edom, and Elihu who was from an Aramean family, and BILDAD who was a SHUAHITE, a son of  SHUAH, (Job 2:10-120).   So we know where SHUAH went after the death of Abraham, onto the Syrian Plateau.  Bildad the Shuhite, described in horrific detail the punishment and ultimate destruction of the wicked, implying that Job's suffering proved him to be one "who know not God" (Job 18:21). Finally, he reminded Job that man is merely a maggot and a worm, who cannot 'Be righteous before God' (Job 25:4). Zophar was particularly insensitive. After Job's restoration Bildad and his friends were ordered to atone for their mean-spirited words. Zophar's origins were not given.  "And Job lived after his disease 170 years. And the entire span of his life was 248 years. And he saw his son' sons, to the fourth generation."{note}Kraft, Ibid p. 87{/note}  Nibley has referred to other aspects of the TESTAMENT OF JOB; his studies can be referred to. 

 
THE AVESTA-THE ZOROASTRIAN SCRIPTURES:


We are trying to make connections between Abraham through his son ISHABAH to what might have happened in Persia after 1887 B.C. the approximate time of death of Abraham.  Tenuous clues tell of a huge transformation which occurred about 1650 B.C. on the North Central Iranian Plateau. The Aryans, Indo-Iranians had lived there since the flood as herders of long horn cattle on the broad Asian steppes, stretching from the lower Volga eastward to the boundary of Kazakhstan.  The peoples separated and drifted apart the Iranians parting from their close cousins, the Indians, each forging their own distinctive languages and culture, but retaining many teachings in common. They moved downwards from the steppes, some migrating into the Indian Subcontinent, BOYCE p. 3. Others, the Avestians,  settling on the Iranian Plateau and gradually coming to dominate the region. It is from these people that Iran, 'Land of the Aryans', took its name. In fact, by the "end of the Persian Empire, when the upper satrapies became known to the Western World, the Whole Aryan (Iranian) race could be spoken of as being at one with the Magi in their doctrine of cosmic dualism, which implies that they all had them as their priests. We thus find that the development of the orthodox Zoroastrianism of the Avesta seems from its geographical horizon to have been working itself out in north-eastern Iran but that the religion that evolved was that of the Magi."{note}Cook, J. M., The Persians, The Folio Society, London, p. 228{/note} By 900 B.C. The Avesta, mostly oral traditions, was transmitted by the AVESTIANS, which gave their name to the Zoroastrian scriptures, BOYCE p.4.  The Avestians became the Iranians.


Between 1200 to 1000 B.C. the Prophet Zoroaster was trained in the doctrines and practices of the ancient faith which he was inspired to reform, BOYCE p. 7. But there had been a history of the essential doctrines for nearly 500 years earlier. The Indians developed their oldest work, the Rigveda. The language of the Veda's in its surviving form, is very close that of the Gathas, one of the oldest sources of Zorastrianism, the hymns of Zoroaster, BOYCE p. 3. If the original doctrines were carried into the area by ISHABAH we would look archeologically in the area of the main Avestian settlements in Khwarezmia, the land along the lower course of the Oxus, BOYCE p. 4.  Soviet archaeologists worked much of the last century in the regions of Bactria, Sogdia, (which I had a chance to visit,) and Freghan to the south and east and Partha and Margiana to the south and they have made major contributions to understanding this complex history, BOYCE p. 4. Much of which has not as yet reached the west.


ANCIENT DIVISIONS ORIGINS OF THE ZOROASTRIANS AND HINDUS


Two groups,  the Medes and the Persians were formed.  Soviet archaeological work identifies the early bearer of the doctrines as the Andronovo culture, with fine tool and weapons making in bronze.  A slender shaft of light has been thrown on their society by the study of certain legalistic Hindu Vedic and Zoroastrian Avestan texts,  BOYCE p. 4. Both groups divided society into three classes or estates, often found in Pastoral peoples, even such as the Irish, but Iranians never developed the rigid cast system developed by the Vedic and post Vedic Indians, BOYCE p. 7. Both revered the COW. They were former herders, but the Vedic followers,  under a continually evolving Hinduism, carried it to an extreme. There are common elements in the rituals of Zoroastrians and Brahmans, custodians of the temple, illustrating the old traditions behind these transmitted doctrines.{note}Stutley, Margaret and James, Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism, Harper and Row, New York, 1977, p. 520{/note} In Iran praise and worship are represented by the Avestan Yasts, Hymns.  In India the hymns are the udgatr, the song, composed by the Zoroaster ZAPTAR and in India by the HOTAR, even the mantic activity, with prophecy and divination are similar. "Among the Indians there was a tendency to elaborate, to speculate on the nature and activities of the gods, and to let fecund imagination create new myths, symbols and analogies.  There seems to have been a more realistic, sober grain to the Old Iranian character, and Zoroaster's revelation helped also to control fantasy." BOYCE p. 17. 


"Collective terms were used by the Indians and Iranians for their divine beings. One was Vedic deva,  Avestan deva...Indo-European base 'shine'  'be bright' the 'Shining ones'.... The Indians multiplied their Lords and Gods. [IN] Iranian tradition, however, only three gods are ever addressed as ahura.  They form a group, appearing closely linked in concept and function... it is these three who were the original 'Lords' of the Indo-Iranian pantheon."{note}Boyce p. 23{/note} From the ancient past one of the old gods was retained, 'Vedic, Mitra, Iranian Mithra. ...the longest of the Avestan yasts [HYMNS] is devoted to him."{note}Boyce p. 24{/note}


While associated with early ZOROASTRIAN religion, he was a deity retained from ancient paganism, and later this god MITHRA was taken over by the Roman Soldiers in the ancient mysteries of MITHRAISM, leaving an influence throughout Europe and England.{note}Kriwaczek p. 113{/note}


"The priesthood in both Iranian and the Indian groups was involved with the royal families, the spiritual aristocracy, the powerful and the wealthy, and most members of the priesthood were attached to individual families.{note}Boyce p. 9{/note} A sort of patriarchal, father to son, relationship. There is much more about the Magi and Zoroastrian than meets a cursory examination.  The ancient god Mithra lingered on in both Hinduism and Zorastrianism, but expanded under the Roman Military adoption.{note}Kriwaczek Chap. 3{/note}.  Today, the Noruz, the Persian ten-day festival holiday and New Year celebration, is not Islamic, but modified after ancient Zoroastrianism.  A great deal of the Zoroastrian ideas of the last days and the after life and world restoration are similar to revealed beliefs of the LDS.  Much is to be gained by the study of the PHALAVI Texts. See ZAEHNER. 

 
Herodotus (1:101) speaks of six Median people or clans.  One is the MAGI, who function as priests, not only for the Medes, but for Persians generally.{note}Cook, J. M., The Persians, The Folio Society, London 1983, p. 9{/note}  This clan or tribe supplied priests for all the rest, BOYCE  p. 10. The MAGI played a large part in Zoroastrianism.  With the new discoveries and translation of ancient documents that picture is beginning to emerge. Is it possible that ISHABAH, having the priesthood and carrying doctrines peculiar to Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Adam found in the Pearl of Great Price, and especially the Book of Abraham, went far to the east after 1877 B.C. where he had great influence. He started a family that became prominent, and within 150 years, that family or its influence, had expanded into a people that became known as the AVESTANS, or Aryans or influenced and joined a group of people to be so designated?   Some of these same people also went into the Indian subcontinent and today are also known as Zoroastrians,  but are not part of Indian Hinduism, which has historical origins and ties to it, with rich overtones of the doctrines retained in Iran.  India reformist, nearly one or two in every century distorted the original teachings and were heavily influenced by the HINDU teachings, especially the doctrine of reincarnation which was adopted from the Hindu Zoroastrians about 1900, A.D., KOTWAL p. xxxiii. The orthodox in India as well as Iran, before the reformists distorted the doctrines considered: 


"the soul's passage from this world to the next is of major religious concern". ... the soul of the deceased stays in this world for three days [do the Mormons believe something like this?] at the place where ceremonies are performed. During this time soul is almost like a new-born infant in that it is newly separated from the body and subject to negative demonic influences as well as aided by the positive spiritual powers....on the morning of the fourth day the soul leaves the area, follows the light ...and proceeds toward the Chinwad bridge which connect this world with the next.  Here judgement is made before Mihr yazad.  The good soul advances across the bridge and proceeds towards heaven....the bad soul goes to hell, there to await the final judgment day when all souls will be joined to their resurrected bodies and restored to a state of purity. ....one's thought, words and deeds ....determine the destiny of the souls after life in this world," {note}Kotwal pp. xxiv-xxv.{/note}


There seems to be several areas of residence for various people after the resurrection. And then there is  "The MAGI keeping watch for the rising of the star that was to guide them to Bethlehem for the adoration of the messiah,"  their books ... predict "how the MAGI will await the announcement of the Savior."{note}Doresse p. 184{/note}  When the announcement came and the sign was given, they followed it precisely, and you know the rest of the story.


ORIGINS OF HINDUISM:


In India, A GUIDE TO THE ZOROASTRIAN RELIGION, was prepared which is a translation of a ZOROASTRIAN catechism written in 1969 by the Indian  Zoroastrian priest, Dastur Erachji Sohrbji Meherjirana, and then a commentary written by a contemporary Indian Zoroastrian priest Dastur Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal, then translated and edited by Kotwal and Boyd and published in English in 1982. It utilized more than 36 books (listed on pages 1-2 of KOTWAL) in different languages that were referred to, including the oldest identified with Zoroastrians the AVESTAN sources,  Pahlavi, Persian, etc.  It is interesting to note that Hindu scholars believe much of Hinduism is derived from the ancient AVESTAN records:  "The Parsi Association of Calcutta recently published (1967) a translation of the ancient Zoroastrian  GATHAS by a Hindu scholar who has identified the AVESTA as the missing 'Fifth Veda," of the Hindus, KOTWAL, p. xxxiii.  "Veda, 'supreme sacred knowledge' is contained in the four collections called Vedas." (STUTLEY, p. 328). Those who like to pretend that they are on the leading edge of ancient eastern mysticism try to take a short cut by trying to digest the Aranyakas and UPANISADS, (Secret Doctrine, esoteric knowledge, the knowledge of reality;  a collection of about 200 such doctrines.  I got my copy in Japan in 1947), but the depth is shallow.  It was Joseph Smith who liked "deep waters," and deep they are.  Hinduism changed rapidly, and especially when Brahma was introduced, represented as the creator in late Vedic and subsequent works.  Brahma appears to have been a theological intrusion.  By the time the UPANISADS appeared the general apostasy from original truths was on its way to becoming complete, but more bizarre and perverted material were added all of the time even to the present.  One can find remarkable parallels in Hindusim to the ancient gospel, but one has to dig deep.  Compared to the Zoroastrian religion one only has to go to the translation of the AVESTA, and later PAHLAVI  TEXTS,  for clear enunciation of the doctrines. ( See my tape and CD on the PAHLAVI TEXTS AND MORMONISM).  The Hindu scholar gave away the antiquity and originalty claimed by HINDUISM by making the connection of the AVESTA as the FIFTH VEDA.  Hinduism is a bizarre offshoot of ZOROASTRIANISM corrupted by centuries of so called reformations. 

  
SOME INTERESTING ZOROASTRIAN DOCTRINES:


Compare the following with what you know is contained in the Pearl of Great Price, particular the Book of Abraham. "WHO AM I? TO WHOM DO I BELONG? FROM WHENCE HAVE I COME? AND WHITHER DO I RETURN?" (ZAEHNER, p. 17).   These are the first questions asked in the Zoroastrian's Catechism. "The answers given in the rest of the text set out to situate man in his relationship to this world and the next, to God (Ohrmazd) and the Devil (Ahriman)." ZAEHNER, p. 17.  From Zaehner's translation:


 ..." we get that Man is, by origin, a spiritual being, and his soul, in the shape of what the Zoroastrians call his FRAVASHI or FRAVAHR, pre-exist his body. Both body and soul, however, are creatures of Ohrmazd, and the soul is ...eternally pre-existent. ...Man then, belongs to God and to God is his return." ZAEHNER, p 17.  

 
The ancient dualism of Zoroastrians sound a lot like that of the LDS doctrines:

 
"Over against God stands the Devil, Ahriman. He like God, is a pure spirit: he and Ohrmazd are eternal antagonists and sooner or later a struggle between them becomes inevitable. God ((Ohrmazd) is all goodness and light. Ahriman all wickedness and death, darkness and deceit. ......Creation is for (God) a necessity in his fight with the Fiend, and man is in the forefront of the fray.   .... each individual is free to choose good or evil, and if he chooses evil, he is acting unnaturally because his 'father' is Ohrmazd;  he is a son of God by nature being begotten of Ohrmazd and born of Spandarmat...neither evil nor creation is a mystery. ...God needs Man's help in his battle with the 'Lie,'  God is eternal" ZAEHNER p. 18.  (see MOSES 4:4 )


The relationship of Lucifer (Satan) to all other beings is not known among most Christian denominations and the Jews have essentially lost their knowledge of the details.  Discarded or no longer used Christian and Jewish Documents do however preserve some details, (see my Tapes on LUCIFER).  The restoration, however, adds great detail about the unique relationships. We also find in Zoroastrian doctrines the following:


"AHRIMAN [SATAN]  is an independent substance and co-eternal with Ohrmazd [God], Ahriman is bounded by both space and time..at the end of time he will be destroyed...he is an aggressor, and an ill-informed aggressor...he could have been immortal had he so willed...Man is fighting on the side of Ohrmazd...is fighting for his own immortality, his share in the Final Body which is the infinite...in the Beginning, the two antagonists are posed for battle, the one 'omniscient and good' and the other the Aggressor 'whose will is to smite'...Ahriman is not idle. He has seen the light and would destroy it so he set about forging his own weapons...Ohrmazd knows Arhriman will be utterly destroyed...in the Prayer, 'Our Father' the mere recital of this prayer reveals to Ahriman that all is already over...Man himself is Orhmazd's deputy on earth...Orhmazd knows in what manner the end would be...Ahriman threatens to destroy the 'creation, for ever and ever, yea I shall incline all thy creatures to hatred of thee and love of me..And Ohrmazd said, 'thou canst not, O Destructive Spirit, accomplish all; for thou canst not destroy me, nor canst thou bring it about that my creation should not return to my possession.. At the end of time men's bodies will be resurrected ... and will participate in what is called the 'Final Body'...The transformation is brought about by Soshyans, or Savior who appears at the end of time to initiate the reign of eternal beatitude after there has been final purification of all souls, whether just or sinful, and when the denizens of Hell, having suffered the temporal punishment due to their sins emerge again to partake in everlasting life and everlasting bliss." ZAEHNER, pp. 18-34.
 "The Counsels of Adhurbadh, son of Mahraspand, contain some 154 sayings enumerated in the PAHLAVI TEXTS pp. 58-71, and ZAEHNER, pp. 101-109, reads like a an LDS text issued by the First Presidency. 
"The final purgation from the stain of sin takes place at the Last Judgement at the end of time....No man is punished eternally for sins committed in time [this earth]. The triumph over individual souls, [by Ahriman] however is short lived, for in the end all human souls reunited with their bodies, return to Ohrmazd who is their maker and their father."  Those who are conducted to Hell  'until the Resurrection and the Final Body... must remain in Hell, suffering much torment and many kinds of chastisements'  until the Final Resurrection."  ZAEHNER pp. 132-133, 138.  "Ahriman 'is laid low ....and he will never again arise from that low estate.  There have been those who have said that he will be forever powerless and, as it were, slain, and that neither the Destructive Spirit nor his creation will exist....by definition, he is a substance, he cannot be actually reduced to nothing....thus there can be no possibility of Ahriman's resuming his aggression against the reconstituted world.....The good creation is now delivered forever from all adversity' and opposition, and lives eternally in a state of bliss with Ohrmazd and the gods." Zaehner pp 143-144.


"Soshyans, (the SAVIOUR) will raise up the dead.   It is like a huge family reunion in which an ideal earthly life is restored, a life that that centres round the human family and where the husband many once again enjoy the intimate fellowship of his lawful wife and the company of his sons and daughters.  Life in Heaven is the natural perfection of life on earth.....men will recognize each other.... 'this is my father, this is my brother'. ...and on that day when the damned is separated from saved, and saved from the damned...and the drink of immortality, and give it to all men, and all men will become immortal for ever and ever."  ZAEHNER p. 142-147.  There are many subtle Mormon doctrines in that paragraph. The final condition of man and the world is generally covered under Eschatology, which includes man's condition after death, the destiny of the nations, and the end of the world, including doctrines of the last days.  There is prophetic and apocalyptic eschatology. 

 
The former includes the destruction of Israel's enemies, the kingship restored, a golden age of peace and prosperity and the return of the Messiah.   Apocalyptic eschatology is a dualistic view dealing with the end of the present world, the destruction of the forces of evil, the resurrection of the dead, a new life and endless immortality and bliss.   LDS doctrine goes much farther in all details.  Zoroastrianism develops the ideas in considerable detail, much of which is now found clearly and simply stated in LDS teachings, (see my C.D.  FATE OF THE DEAD).  Klausner pointed out that for a long period of time there was nothing that could be called Jewish orthodoxy, and that during that time the two concepts overlapped. Sometimes, the description of one was given the name of the other.{note}Davenport, Gene l. The Eschatology of the Book of Jubilees, E. J. Brill, Leiden 1971, pp. 5-6{/note}

 
The Jewish concepts are left behind by both the Zoroastrian and LDS doctrines who moved on preserving the pristine truths. .  The Jews were left out concerning the First Coming of the Messiah, and all religions are left out as to details concerning the second coming of the Messiah, and the significant events leading up to it.  It took the restoration of all things and revelation during the subsequent 175 years history of the Restored Gospel to provide mankind with real insights into what was once known.   But it is interesting to know that the Zoroastrian record dating back to a time near to Abraham has preserved through time and many adverse circumstances so much that we now have in clarity, perhaps due to one or more sons, who absorbed the Doctrines of their Father, Abraham, the head of a dispensation, and carried that baggage with them wherever they went. 

 
ISHABAH:

 
If ISHABAH, or ISHBAK,  did not carry such doctrines, and many others parallel to Mormonism,  to the east, some one else did.  Until we learn differently, we will seriously consider it to be ISHABAH.   Might we consider it possible that the Magi from the East were descendants of Abraham, through ISHABAH, or another son?


We come now to the final results of all of the above research.  In the book OUR LORD OF THE GOSPELS, 1954, by J. Ruben Clark, Jr. of the First Presidency, on page 522 near the end of his book,  points out that PSALMS 72, is a reference to the MAGI. On page 524 he also points out that the references in ISAIAH 60, also refer to the MAGI.  We have taken these references he has identified and developed them into an understanding of the MAGI, and all of those who may have come to the rising or birth of Jesus Christ.  It seems no one else has examined these references, or at least that I can find.  On the MERIDIAN web site, a study recently by George Potter entitled DOES THE BOOK OF MORMON SOLVE A CHRISTMAS MYSTERY? The article provides his interpretation of various sources regarding the possible identification of the Magi. His study may account for at least some of those who visited the Christ at his birth.  One can profitably refer to his study, but what follows is quite different.


The following is a revision of earlier studies made over the years in an effort to understand the MAGI referenced in the New Testament, particularly in Mathew.


SCRIPTURES REFERRED TO BY J. RUBEN CLARK:


PSALMS 72:10-15:  "THE KINGS OF TARSHISH, and the ISLES shall bring presents, the KINGS OF SHEBA, and SEBA, shall offer gifts...and he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of  SHEBA; prayer also shall be made for him continually."


In that scriptures at least four areas are mentioned, Tarshish, Isles, Sheba and Seba.  Isles is in the plural, so more than five origins and peoples are included in this scripture. And those that come are KINGS, (in the Plural) so perhaps a minimum of 10 persons with an unnumbered entourage would have been included in these visitors alone.  Unknown gifts are mentioned, gold is also specifically mentioned from Sheba, and a previously unmentioned gift,  that of PRAYER is also identified. At once we are struck by this reverential use of PRAYER that would be made for the Christ continually.


ISAIAH 60: 3, 6, 9, 10:  "And the GENTILES SHALL COME TO THY LIGHT, AND KINGS TO THE BRIGHTNESS OF THY RISING," in v. 3.  The impression here is that descendants of Japheth, called Gentiles in Genesis,  more than one, since the plural form is used.  And KINGS!  Which Kings?  Other Kings? Or Kings of Gentiles? Those who somehow had a knowledge of his birth?  The birth of Christ is described as LIGHT, and the BRIGHTNESS OF THY RISING.  In all eternity nothing was ever going to be so filled with light or so bright and hold so much fulfillment, promise and completion as that single birth on this particular earth. It would affect the Atonement of the world, all the worlds,  "even all that careen in the heavens so broad"{note}Lundwall, N.B. Compiler.  The Vision, by Joseph Smith, Bookcraft  Publishing Co. Salt Lake City, p. 158{/note}

 
"The multitude of CAMELS shall cover thee, the DROMEDARIES of MIDIAN and EPHAH; all they from SHEBA shall come; they shall bring GOLD and INCENSE; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD," all this in verse 6. Who came on Camels? Two groups came from Midian and Ephah utilizing the Dromedary Camel, the single humped camel, (Camelus dromdarius), also known as the Arabian Camel, suggesting localities such as Sinai and Arabia for Midian and Ephah.  The double humped camel, (Camelus bactrianus), came from Bactria{note}Heritage, Andrew, Editor-in-Chief. The Great World Atlas, DK Book, New York, 2002, p. 262{/note} a satrapy of the ancient Persian Empire, lying partly in NE Afghanistan and partly in the Southern Soviet Union,  the most distant geographical area to the east. Is this a veiled reference to the Magi?  And to their mode of travel? A multitude shall come, an entourage great enough to require a multitude of camels.  And additional gifts are mentioned: incense, and praises. Of course, over the years, both camel types were employed along the great trade lanes, including the Silk Road from Spain to China, so by the time of Christ anyone could have employed either type of camel. But ISAIAH was looking forward from about 720 B.C. 

  
In verse 9:  "Surely the ISLES shall wait for me, and the ships of TARSHISH  FIRST, to bring thy sons from far, their SILVER, and their GOLD with them, unto the name of the LORD THY GOD, and to the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, because he has glorified thee."  Again ISLES in the Plural are mentioned, we want to identify these.  Some came by ships those from the Isles and Tarshish.  Who was first to come?  It says Tarshish, and they, the Isles and Tarshish, brought SILVER and GOLD.  Another gift has been added: silver! 

    
In verse 10:  "Their KINGS shall minister unto thee.  So, many KINGS came, and not only with precious gifts, but the greater gift of commitment and service, to minister to the Christ.  Now lets explore some details found in PSALMS 72.


KINGS OF TARSHISH:


TARSHISH (Spain) was a far distant place from which Jonah set sail, Jonah 10:9.  TARSHISH was the second son of JEVAN, who was the fourth son of  Japheth, Gen. 10:1-4, l Chr. 1:7. TARSHISH was the father of the Greeks and spread to Sardina, and S.W. Spain.  The Phoenicians may trace their origins to JAVAN. Tartessus, or Tartessos, a Phoenician colony in Spain, was a great TARSHISH City near Gibralter, l Kings 5, 10:10-22.  Gold, silver, ivory, apes, Peacocks, from Indian and Somiland, tin, iron and lead, l Chr. 7:10, 22:48.  In THE PHOENICIANS, by Moscati, p. 81, the main Phoenician trading routes are shown.  Himilco's Volyage in 625 B.C. shows his routes to the tin, copper, and silver mines in Britain and Ireland. Were these part of the ISLES mentioned in Psalms? If some came from there would they represent Ephriam?  Hanno's Voyage 650 B.C. around Africa to India and beyond is also shown, with Gibralter as a main port where goods from all over could be imported and exported.  Many overland routes are also described by Moscati, and the route to the Azores is shown which has implication for the possible transportation of Mulek to the Americas by Phoenician seaman. TARSHISH was also one of seven highest Princes of Persia who were privileged to enter the King's Presence when they desired, Esther l:14. TARSHISH is mentioned twenty-eight times in the Old Testament, and in a variety of contexts.  In Jeremiah 10:9 it is associated with fine silver. In Gen 10:5 "From these the coastland peoples spread. [the Phoenicians?] These are the sons of Japheth [the Gentiles] in their lands, each with his own language, by their families, in their nations."   Note, that in ISAIAH it is  "TARSHISH FIRST, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold."  The first presents from the FIRST to come; and they came by ships, to the birth of Christ bringing gifts of silver and gold. 

 
AND THE ISLES:


In Gen 10:4, the sons of JAVAN are: ELISHAH, TARSHISH, KITTIM, AND DODANIM.  ELISHAH is mentioned in Ezek 27:7, as the source of the purple dye shipped to Tyre.  In Akkadian and Hittite inscriptions it is equated with Cyprus, an ISLE, and in the Tell Amarna letters the King of Elishah writes about the export of copper to the Egyptian King. Copper comes from the Greek word for Cyprus which has large copper deposits.  TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION of the bible translates KITTIM as Cyprus and TARSHISH as SPAIN. KITTIM, a plural noun, refers to the people of KIT in Phoenician inscriptions. Kiton was an important Greek City on Cyprus, modern day Larnaka.  Eventually the name of the city became applied to the entire island of Cyprus.  DODANIM, also plural, refers to the island of RHODES lying just off of the southwest coast of modern Turkey, mainly Greek in habitants (JAVAN).  l Chr l:7 refers to Rodanites, or Rodanium, the people of RHODES, another ISLE.  So, the reference to the ISLES OF THE SEA, in part, at least, refers to the descendants of Japheth who had seven sons, Gen 10:5, PSALMS 72:10 who bring presents, other than TARSHISH and all that names refered to, and many ISLES, perhaps including the English Isles. 

  
KINGS OF SHEBA:


"All they from SHEBA shall come; they shall bring GOLD and INCENSE." ISAIAH 60: 6.  The land of SHEBA, also called Qataban, controlled trade routes from South Arabia and S.W. Arabia-Yeman, the center of Frankincense and seven other spices. Tarebinth and MYRRH, dried resin droplets from low shrubby trees found in Yeman.  SHEBA 1:  SHEBA was the son of JOKTAN who as a son of Eber, who was the brother of Peleg, the sons of Sheleh who was the son of Arpachshad, who was the son of SHEM, Gen 10:22-25, 28-20.  SHEBA included the land of North and South Arabia, and the land and people of Messha, Sepehar, Mount of the East. Soloman's alliance was with the Queen of Sheba.  SHEBA 2:  the son of JOKSHAN, who was the second son of Keturah and Abraham, so he was a grandson of Abraham and Keturah, brother of DEDAN, Gen 25:2-3, l Chr. 11:32, who was sent into the NW Arabian area along the Red Sea, which was ruled by Priest Kings. SHEBA 3: was the brother of DEDAN, who was the son of Raamah, the fourth son of Cush, and Cush was the first son of Ham, Gen 10:6-8, l Chr. 1:9, so Ham was represented at the birth of Christ along with his brothers, Shem and Japheth.  The people of SHEBA, also known as Sabaeans, lived in Southwest Arbia and were a commercial people mentioned in ISA. 60:6.  There was also a Sabaean colony in Africa, called Dedan, ISA. 21:13, refers to these people as having caravans of CAMELS, and were traders. They are also mentioned in Jer. 25:23, and 49:8, with Edom and other tribes of Arabia. These names are found in South Arabic inscriptions. When ISAIAH mentions in verse 6 "The multitude of CAMELS," is the reference broad enough to cover even some of those distant places?


KINGS OF SEBA, SHALL OFFER GIFTS:


SEBA was the eldest con of CUSH, who was the first son of Ham and grandson of Noah. He is mentioned only with SHEBA  Psa. 71:10, and with Ethiopia in Isa. 43:3. The two humped bactrian camel Caravans, were semitic merchants from Egypt and India associated with the descendants of JOKTAN from SHEM.  The Land of Cush was in northern Ethiopia.  There were connections across the Red Sea 1000 B.C. between the towns of Sabai and Haiba on the west Red Sea Coast of Arabia. 

 
"THE GENTILES SHALL COME TO THY LIGHT, AND KINGS TO THE BRIGHTNESS OF THEY RISING" ISAIAH 60: 3:


In addition to the descendants of Japheth, this may include representatives from MENELOCH, son of the Queen of Sheba and Soloman who migrated to Abyssina, Ethiopa-Sudan and Cush.  Also from Qataban, the Kingdom of Dhy Raydan, and Maraiba, Gen 25:2-3.


MIDIAN:


Midian was the fourth son of Keturah and Abraham, Gen 25:1-6.  JETHRO, father of Zipporah, who was married to Moses, was a direct descendant of Midian.  MIDIAN was the father of a Tribal Family, which at the time of Moses was led by JETHRO, from whom Moses received the Priesthood.  The lands of MIDIAN included Northwest and Southwest Arabian Desert, Egypt to the Gulf of Aquaba, south of Nivah, on the Sinai Peninsula.  They were the first to domesticate the Dromedaries, the single hump camel. Jethoro's son, Hobab guided Israel, Ex. 2:21, 3:l, to the Promised Land.  He was familiar with the region because he had a city,  now known as Tell Arad,  east of the southern end of the Dead Sea. Recently excavated it had an authentic horned alter,{note}Ahoroni, Yohanan, The Horned Altar of Beer-sheba, The Biblical Archaeologist Vol 37, No. 1, March 1974{/note} one of about six areas where horned alters have turned up, indicating temple practices other than in Jerusalem. MIDIAN is the name of the place where the Midianites live, Ex. 2:15, 3:l, in the desert west of the Gulf of Aquaba, known as the Sinai. The dromedaries of Midian and Epha indicate the trading nature of these people as well.


EPHAH:


EPHAH was the son of MIDAN, an Arabian tribe, Gen 25:4, who was the fourth son of Keturah and Abraham, l Chr. l:33, ISA. 60:6.  More is known of these five sons than any of the others.  One of the most mysterious of the sons of Keturah and Abraham is ISHABAH.  Could he have gone so far east that he showed up in the Aryan invasions of Persia about 1600 B.C. carrying a baggage of important doctrines he got from his Father Abraham, which were transmitted down through the Zoroastrian Teaching?  As mentioned above, the ancient Pahlavi texts of Iran testify of astonishing doctrines parallel to the teachings now found in the Pearl of Great Price and teachings of Joseph Smith.


KEDAR & NEBAIOTH:


These are the first two sons of  Ishamael, first son of Abraham through Hagar. Nebaioth was the eldest.  They were sons of a Hittite (black) wife, l Chr. 1:29, Gen 25:13-15, and are North Arabian Clans.  Kedar, or Kedermah, the youngest son, may not have been represented at the birth of Christ, Gen 25:25, 28:9, 36:3, l Chr.l:29.  We might ask, here, could the descendents of LOT have been represented by Kings of EDOM?


Perhaps we could continue to exhaust the contents of the two scriptures from Psalms and Isaiah, but it seems sufficient from the above that many came at one time or another, with the Magi apparently arriving last, even as late as a year, for they found the Christ as a child rather than as a babe, that all of the Sons of Noah were represented, and most of the Sons of Abraham seem represented as well.  Their stories are missing from the present books of the New Testament, but the references in the Old Testament indicate much is lost about the events surrounding the birth of Christ.  Perhaps as time goes on new discoveries will be found to further testify of these great events, and inform us in more detail about these Kings and Priests who came from so many places to birth of the Christ.


INCENSE, GUMS AND SPICES:


Because INCENSE is mentioned, and especially in association with land of  SHEBA, of which one locality in particular is known today as YEMAN,  a comment or two might be of interest.  The incenses including Tarebinth and especially FRANKINCENSE, embraced at least seven such spices.  They were used in temple practices and rites to permit the presence of Diety to be veiled. Known as Stacte ohcha galbanijum, these resins were used on the shrew bread of the Tabernacle.  They were symbolic of religious fervor. They were extremely sacred.  They acknowledged diety, Math 2:ll.  They were odoriferous, yellow brown, resins. They were burned during meat offering.  They were used in embalming and annointing as noted in the burial of Christ and his annointing by Mary. They were used in the Holy of Holies,  Zacharias would have burned Frankincense in the Temple when he had his vision. MYRRH is a dried resin droplet that comes from a low shrubby tree found in Yeman. All were very precious and expensive.  They were included among the gifts fitting the birth of the King of Kings.


KETURAH:


Perhaps here we might add a little more on KETURAH. Her name means, fittingly, the Perfumed One.  Her sons were ZIMRON, JOKSHAN, MEDAN, MIDIAN, ISHABAH, AND SHUAH.  In various documents spellings differ, for instance in JUBILEES and JASHER,  ISHABAH is spelled Ishbak.  In the Ethiopic texts it is Ijazboq.  ISHABAH is the fifth son, and the object of much of this research. KETURAH was wife to Abraham for 37 years. She probably married him within a year after the death of Sarah. Hagar was already dead.  She is recorded as being a descendant of Japheth.  In D&C 132:37, Abraham had concubines and children from them. It would seem that some of those who showed up for the rising of Christ may have been from unidentified wives or concubines of Abraham of which we have no record as yet. Perhaps it is not important that any of the Three Wise Men, identified as Magi, can be directly or indirectly traced to Abraham, they certainly retained the doctrines and expectations concerning the events and circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ and were given special assistance in the Star which guided them and Angelic intercession.  The WISE MEN, including nearly all of the above did come, some had Priesthood, or Priests among them, who had access to ancient sources referring to His coming, and all of them responded to prophetic expectations and divine intercession, and were privileged to do so. Perhaps as many as 40 KINGS and associated Prelates came to the Savior at his birth, or shortly thereafter, you make the count. The Savior came to his own people, Judah, Levi and Benjamin, and to several of the other tribes, and to sheperds, and to Anna and Simeon. But most of the ten tribes did not seem to have had representation.  Certainly the gifts served to maintain Christ's family during the sojourn in Egypt and for sometime afterwards. But the gift that Christ gave is the greatest gift of all.


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