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Hi.

My understanding: God lives I think on a globe, just like we do. Somewhere out there. Near a star called Kolob.

Also, I understand that that where God lives is a celestial body. In fact a former earth-like globe that has been resurrected to a celestial glory.

We are taught that we are the offspring of God and that we walked and talked with God.

It seems clear that God engaged in a creative period, and after that period was over  the host of heaven was finished. That means there is finite number to the host of heaven - created in that creative period

Of course the host of heaven are the spirits of men. Because all things are firstly created spiritually.

Okay, one question:   Was the earth, spiritual or physical, created after all the host of heaven was finished?  I think in Abraham the answer is affirmative, because it's only after the entire host of heaven is created (an assumption) is the notion put forward of making an earth for the children of God to dwell for the purpose of proving.

Edited by richard7900

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5 hours ago, richard7900 said:

My understanding: God lives I think on a globe, just like we do. Somewhere out there. Near a star called Kolob.

Richard, let me respond just to this one part. By my count, the word "Kolob" is found a total of eight times in all of scripture, and those eight times are in five verses, all in the book of Abraham and all but one in the third chapter of Abraham. It's instructive to look at them. I have included verses 1-18 in chapter 3 for context. (I wish I had the indent functionality.)

And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees; and I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;

So the context here is that Abraham is talking about the stars (luminous celestial bodies) that he is able to see by means of the Urim and Thummim. It is in this context that he mentions "Kolob".

Abraham 3:3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

So "the great one" (or large star) is called "Kolob". Why? Because it is "near unto" God. Perhaps "Kolob" mean "near to God", or perhaps it's just an honorary title reserved for stars near to God, like "great one" or something.

Three things to note: First, Kolob is a star, not a planet (in the way we would use those terms today); second, Kolob is "near unto" God, but not necessarily the nearest unto God; and third, Kolob is the celestial body that "governs" all those (stars and/or planets) that "belong to the same order as" the one Abraham was then standing on -- presumably the earth. So all planets and stars that belong to the same order as the earth are ultimately "governed" through this large star Kolob.

(Remember that "planet" is ultimately just a Greek word meaning "wanderer". Planets and stars are both tiny lights in the sky, but stars are fixed while planets move around. There is no other notable distinction between stars and planets, except perhaps that planets tend to be much brighter than stars. This is not normally how we think of things today, but this has been the view of the vast majority of humanity throughout history. Worth keeping in mind when we read Abraham's words.)

How does Kolob "govern" anything? We don't know. That's a mechanical question, and God generally doesn't give us mechanical answers. He seems concerned only about our spiritual state and progress; as far as I can remember, God never spends any time telling us how things in his creation work, only that they do, and perhaps some of the laws governing their operation.

Abraham 3:4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.

So Kolob's time reckoning is one revolution per thousand years of our time. Why are we (through Abraham) told this? No idea. Perhaps it's figurative, but it sounds pretty literal. If nothing else, it gives a slightly different take on scriptural verses such as Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8, both of which use the "thousand years is as a day in heaven" idea. In any case, Kolob's time is measured the same as "the Lord's time".

And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years.

An interesting side-note here. The moon is apparently of a higher order, time-reckoning-wise, than the earth. This appears to have nothing at all to do with gravitational time dilation or anything like that. In my view, it's just an arcane, interesting, and possibly useless bit of trivia.

Now, read the following verses (Abraham 3:6-18) all together.

And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night. Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest. And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still;

Abraham 3:9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

And it is given unto thee to know the set time of all the stars that are set to give light, until thou come near unto the throne of God.

Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made; and he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof. And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.

And it was in the night time when the Lord spake these words unto me: I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds. And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.

Abraham 3:16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.

Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and the moon be above the earth, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it. Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.

(One parenthetical observation: Kolob is the greatest of all the stars that Abraham was shown. But it appears that Abraham was shown only the stars that pertain somehow to this world. So it is wrong to conclude that Kolob is the nearest star to God of all stars. That is unwarranted.)

I am guessing that these verses above strike at the heart of what Abraham is teaching. Abraham ultimately teaches the Lord's words about "intelligences", which are the core basis of human souls. In teaching about them, he uses almost the exact same idea as presented here: The intelligences of man, like celestial bodies, exist in discrete intervals, grouped into levels. Some, like the earth, are in a lower level. Some, like the moon, are in a somewhat higher level. Some, like Kolob, are exalted near unto God himself, and have great insight. But all are precious and all have a known place.

To see this, note the end of verse 18, and then compare the above with verses 19-26. In verse 24, Jesus is even (implicitly) compared with Kolob as one on the "level" of God himself. Some have suggested that the term "Kolob" itself is simply a reference to Jesus Christ, and that the whole Abrahamic cosmos is to be taken as a parable of Christ rather than literally. I personally don't go quite that far, but I think it's an idea worth keeping in mind.

Abraham 5:13 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning.

This is the last reference to Kolob, and Abraham is simply using his understanding of Kolob to illustrate what happened in the garden of Eden. God said that Adam "would surely die" if he ate the forbidden fruit, "in the day" that he ate it. (Abraham renders that phrase "in the time" rather than "in the day".) Well, if one God-day is a thousand years, then Adam might live a whole lot more than one earth-day and still fulfill the requirement of the curse.

You may or may not want to consider the particular interpretations I have provided. But in any case, notice how vastly different this is from the typical anti-Mormon vulgarity of "the Mormon God lives on Planet Kolob." Anti-Mormons seek to make this doctrine sensational and (above all) weird, and portray it as lying at the very heart of "Mormonism". In fact, it is neither sensational nor weird, and far from being some sort of central doctrine, it is presented almost as an aside in an effort (IMO) to explain to use the worth of the human soul by comparing the hierarchy of intelligences to that of the heavenly order..

Edited by Vort

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Vort, did you just write your response from scratch or do you have a master database of responses on tap? That was great by the way - thanks! It would take my little brain a week to even come up with part of your response.

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One more aside:

Note Abraham 3:13:

And [God] said unto me [Abraham]: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.

So we learn that our sun is called "Shinehah" and our moon is called "Olea". Okay, that's cool, I guess. But the word "kokob" means "star" (in the sense of "heavenly body", I presume). And it looks like "kokaubeam" means "stars" and is apparently the plural of "kokob".

I am a very amateur linguist, more by interest than by education or training. But when I look at kokaubeam, it looks to me simiilar to a word like elohim, which is Hebrew for "gods" (el is the singular). Kokob looks like a word that most American English speakers would pronounce "co-cob". I personally have pronounced kokaubeam "co-cow-bee-um", but I bet most Americans would say "co-co-bim" or "co-co-beam", as in a "beam" of light. That looks to me very much like a plural in a Hebrew-ish language. Pretty fancy dancing for some ignorant hayseed on the 19th-century American frontier!

The word Kolob also looks a lot like the word kokob. If I were to allow my fancy to fly freely, I would speculate that "Kolob" is a modification of kokob "star", and that the original language made a superlative or intensifier or honorific or something of the sort by replacing the common -kob suffix with -lob. But that is only speculation, of course. The point is, this stuff is meaningful in context, if only we understood the context. Which we don't.

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So I'm going to part with Vort here and go with the entirely metaphorical interpretation of Abraham 3. Metaphors are a way of conveying a new or unfamiliar idea by comparing it to something familiar. Back in the day, everyone was familiar with the stars, especially in the middle east. Abraham would have been no exception. The idea that stars differed in brightness and their relative motion would have been very familiar to Abraham. Using Abraham's existing knowledge of the night sky as a metaphor for explaining the order of spirits and their progression in eternity makes a ton of sense the same way that President Uchtdorf's airplane stories make sense to us.

While we can debate for the rest of our lives about the relevance of Abraham 3 to actual astronomy, I think such a pursuit is ultimately useless. (Can you even place an omnipotent being that exists outside of time into any physical place in this universe?) I think we can benefit the most from it when used in (what I believe is) its original intended meaning: a metaphor for Christ and the order of spirits.

Worth noting, the Hebrew word for star is "Ko-Chav" (ch being a hard H like a cough and often rendered as a K), and the associated plural would be "Ko-Chav-im". Kokob and kokaubeam are (may be) simply different romanizations of real Hebrew words. Time can account for variations in pronunciation that may lead to difference in spelling. (If you're reading Macbeth, you might keep in mind that 400 years ago "heath" rhymed with Beth.)

(I'll also note that the usage of the word "time" in this chapter doesn't necessarily refer to the ticking of a clock or the duration of a day, but can also refer to the motion of the planets through the heavens - astrology, more or less. A reference to the time of the month or year when certain stars and constellations and planets appear in certain places in the sky. This interpretation would mean that Kolob would arrive at the same position in our sky once every 1000 years. The motion of such a star would be almost entirely imperceptible to humans on Earth, appearing to hold a fixed point in the sky.)

(As for Joseph Smith being an uneducated upstate farmboy, by the time He translated the book of Abraham, he was vastly more educated than at the time he translated the Book of Mormon. By the end of his life he was reading the Bible in German and other languages and was well-versed in Hebrew and Greek. We tend to talk about this ignorant rural farmboy a lot, but it is important - I dare say even essential that we understand that he did not stay uneducated.)

(Edit: I should add that I think Vort's analysis is quite thorough and I agree with quite a lot of it.)

 

As for the remaining question about the order of operations - did God give birth to a complete and finite set of spirit children before laying out the plan of salvation? The answer to that is, I think, rather plainly given in the temple endowment. To summarize: there have been other worlds with other populations and other Edens and other creations. We can read the scripture in Moses 1:38 "and there is no end to my works, neither to my words" to refer not only to space but also to time - meaning that there will yet be other worlds and other populations and other creations. Considering that we are talking about a being for which time simply does not exist, to try and put all of this pre-creation hypothesis into some kind of chronological order is a bit of a non sequitur.

But I might venture to describe it thus: Heavenly Father gathered a group of His spirit children, had a council, laid out the Plan of Salvation which, when agreed to and the war over, was then put into motion with the first spiritual then physical creation of the world. So a hypothetical, non-doctrinal, totally unrelated to any kind of importance to our temporal or spiritual salvation chronology might look like this:

  1. HF has spirit offspring
  2. HF gathers a subset of said offspring to counsel on the creation of this world for them to dwell (note: it is possible to have an infinite subset of an infinity. Whether the selection of spirit children assigned to this creation is finite or infinite is a matter of pure speculation).
  3. Council in Heaven
  4. War in Heaven
  5. Spiritual creation
  6. Physical creation
  7. This conversation

 

The question I want answered is "Does a resurrected being with a physical body give birth to non-physical spirit offspring?" Chew on that one for a while, if you're looking for some gristle in the Gospel ;) 

Edited by puf_the_majic_dragon

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6 hours ago, puf_the_majic_dragon said:

Back in the day, everyone was familiar with the stars,

I remember years ago having a little aha moment from a lecture/lesson. Back in the day, cultures spent their evenings and nights looking up at the sky, thinking about/studying them. Now days, at night, we tend to turn on our TVs/computers and barely give the night sky a second glance unless we are camping or an eclipse forces us to look up. Like PFMD said, "everyone" was familiar with the stars, in contrast we tend to be familiar with our screens.;)

Untitled-3 copy.jpg

Edited by NeedleinA

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I will begin by saying I enjoy reading and learning from Vort.  That is not to say that I always agree with his analysis but he has a keen sense and point of view.  Generally I find his point of view one dimensional.   I say one dimensional mostly as a metaphorical explanation rather than an empirical reference. 

 

I believe that the problem most good LDS members have with the Book of Abraham is because they try to understand a very ancient document from a very modern point of view.   For example I have found the third chapter in the Book of Abraham to be in the ancient style and understanding of the Pythagoreans.  Most of the knowledge of the Pythagoreans was lost in history and what we do know in our era was the result of a Greek slave that was educated by this ancient Egyptian science/mathematical cult that leaked some secrets and became famous by taking the name of the cult as his name (Pythagoras).  The most famous secret is what we call the Pythagorean Theorem that deals with the ratio of the 3 sides of right triangles.

 

In contrast we have, from a time closer to our modern era, the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants covers in essence that same doctrine of the Book of Abraham chapter 3 but from a foundation of Newtonian math and physics.   A foundation that most of us are familiar with from our K through 12 educational systems but very few are familiar with the mathematical philosophies of Pythagorean ratios.  So I will give a very short cliff notes response:

 

  The ancient Pythagoreans were of the belief that all things could be controlled and manipulated (organized or created) if one understood the ratios between things.  That G-d is a master mathematician and expert at understanding the ratios between all things.  What I believe is missing in history is the origin of the Pythagoreans – but as best as we have been able to trace their influence in ancient Egypt we are lead to around the time Abraham was in Egypt teaching mathematics and science in the courts of Pharaoh.

 

But even since the revelation of the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants we have progressed where our Newtonian math and physics is insufficient in explaining current astrophysics.   Currently it is estimated that 95% of what we know about our universe cannot be explained by our past or present empirical models.  So we call it Dark Matter and Dark energy. 

 

Thus the problem I see in trying to understand G-d and Kolob with current empirical models is that we are out of space and time in our mapping of ideas.   In essence it is like trying to map and chart the earth on 2 dimensional sheets of paper.  – Because we can make very accurate predictions in very small areas we think to surmise that the earth is flat and then start to assume all kinds of ideas that are untrue – but we think to prove the ideas to be true from ancient revelation given in scripture which in reality have nothing to do with our particular empirical model.

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9 hours ago, puf_the_majic_dragon said:

(Can you even place an omnipotent being that exists outside of time into any physical place in this universe?)

I'm not sure that God exists outside of time.

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I'll just say... I for one love reading all the different ideas/thoughts. As always, thank you to everyone for taking the time to share with others. Yes! People like me actually do read your posts, and all of it.;)

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17 minutes ago, bytebear said:

I think it's pretty obvious that Kolob is Jesus Christ and not a literal star.

I want to ask, "How is this obvious?", but I'm not sure you can really answer such a question. So instead, let me ask: How do you reconcile this "obvious" figurative language with the seemingly very literal description of the sun as Shinehah, the moon as Olea, a star as kokob, and stars in general as kokaubeam? In the context of speaking of Christ as "Kolob", what is the figurative interpretation of giving these other names to literal objects which appear wholly unrelated to that context?

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A little thought from FAIR Mormon to share:

"Kolob" is the name given to the star closest to the throne of God in Abraham. It is introduced in an effort to teach Abraham that there is a hierarchy in all things. There are many stars, and one star is "closest" to God. In a similar way, there are many intelligences, or moral agents, some greater than others. The greatest of these is God.

Thus, "Kolob" is introduced in a rather peripheral way in an effort to teach about the supremacy of God"

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

I want to ask, "How is this obvious?", but I'm not sure you can really answer such a question. So instead, let me ask: How do you reconcile this "obvious" figurative language with the seemingly very literal description of the sun as Shinehah, the moon as Olea, a star as kokob, and stars in general as kokaubeam? In the context of speaking of Christ as "Kolob", what is the figurative interpretation of giving these other names to literal objects which appear wholly unrelated to that context?

"Olea is also an occasionally used Norwegian and Danish girl's name and is said to be an Old Hebrew word for night or moon."
Source: http://nameberry.com/babyname/Olea (Note that Strong's concordance has "moon" being listed as H3394  yareach  yaw-ray'-akh. The pronunciation isn't terribly different, they could be cognates.)

Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olea

6 hours ago, Traveler said:

but we think to prove the ideas to be true from ancient revelation given in scripture which in reality have nothing to do with our particular empirical model.

BINGO.

Edited by puf_the_majic_dragon

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16 hours ago, puf_the_majic_dragon said:

Worth noting, the Hebrew word for star is "Ko-Chav" (ch being a hard H like a cough and often rendered as a K), and the associated plural would be "Ko-Chav-im". Kokob and kokaubeam are (may be) simply different romanizations of real Hebrew words.

Genesis 1:16 uses kochavim, with the "ch" a gutteral, as in the German "ch" sound or the Hebrew name Chava ("Eve"; think Fiddler on the Roof). This must undoubtedly be the basis of "kokob/kokaubeam" in the book of Abraham. How about that?

Your point about Joseph Smith becoming more educated is well-taken, but anti-Mormons typically don't like to concede that Joseph Smith was anything more than an uneducated, fraudulent fool. I was speaking to that false stereotype.

Edited by Vort

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On 2/12/2016 at 1:23 AM, puf_the_majic_dragon said:

 "Does a resurrected being with a physical body give birth to non-physical spirit offspring?" Chew on that one for a while, if you're looking for some gristle in the Gospel ;) 

Okay, I'll bite, just for fun. I had the day off yesterday painting the house and reading things here. So I thought about your gristle question while painting. Do I have an answer? Nope. Just some thoughts.

1. What does "give birth" mean? A woman laid down in the bed, squeezing her husbands hand until it is purple in the earthly type of "give birth"? I would doubt it.

2. I would say yes, "give birth" perhaps in some other way/form.

3. My understanding is the spirit is in fact physical matter, simply a super refined physical matter. 

Thoughts?

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Just for fun here is a picture of the super cluster where we live - the red dot is our galaxy

images.jpg.6799834332b38c720fb4f7e025875

 

For a little more fun - point to a place you may think is where G-d resides to run everything.  And BTW our supercluster is just one of billions.  And for a perspective on things our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across - do you have any idea what the size of this super cluster is - Well it is bigger than what the minds of humans conceived as the size of the entire universe when the Big Bang was conceived and calculated as possible.  It is bigger than anyone in scripture ever thought that the heaven may circumvent.  Maybe this is why Moses in trying to understand the creations of G-d surmised that man and what man is trying to accomplish or even just understand is nothing.

I had one more thought so I will add this - What you are looking at; we have just, in the last few years, figured out is only 5% of the the creation that occupies this area of space time  95% what what we know of from the 4 forces we know about in physics is missing.

Edited by Traveler

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On 2/12/2016 at 1:18 PM, Vort said:

I want to ask, "How is this obvious?", but I'm not sure you can really answer such a question. So instead, let me ask: How do you reconcile this "obvious" figurative language with the seemingly very literal description of the sun as Shinehah, the moon as Olea, a star as kokob, and stars in general as kokaubeam? In the context of speaking of Christ as "Kolob", what is the figurative interpretation of giving these other names to literal objects which appear wholly unrelated to that context?

 

Kolob is Jesus Christ.

Kokaubeam are the noble spirits (foreordained prophets, etc.)

The stars represent various spirit categories, all children of God.

Abraham 3:2

2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it

  • Abraham 3:3

    3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

  • Abraham 3:22

    22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

  • Doctrine and Covenants 138:55

    55 I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.

Several verses on foreordination as well.

 

So these heavenly bodies represent a governing body.

  • Abraham 3:9

    9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

  • Doctrine and Covenants 137:3

    3 Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.

  • Hebrews 12:2

    2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • Acts 7:56

    56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

 

I think the parallels are too clear to ignore.  Kolob is not about a physical universe, but about the classification and organization of the per-existent counsels that laid the foundation of the world.

 

 

Edited by bytebear

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45 minutes ago, bytebear said:

Kolob is Jesus Christ.

Kokaubeam are the noble spirits (foreordained prophets, etc.)

The stars represent various spirit categories, all children of God.

I think the parallels are too clear to ignore.  Kolob is not about a physical universe, but about the classification and organization of the per-existent counsels that laid the foundation of the world.

You are correct. But you are incorrect.

There is no reason to discount the possibility that Kolob is Jesus Christ and a planet. One being in the image of the other.

Lehi

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16 hours ago, LeSellers said:

You are correct. But you are incorrect.

There is no reason to discount the possibility that Kolob is Jesus Christ and a planet. One being in the image of the other.

Lehi

There's no reason to suppose Kolob is Jesus Christ anymore than there is any reason to suppose that the bronze serpant was Jesus Christ. The fact that something symbolizes something else does not make that thing the other thing.

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1 hour ago, bytebear said:

There is no reason to suppose that Kolob is a literal star and more than there are literally horsemen who will ride into the second coming.

Your logic is not sound. Revelations is understood to be primarily symbolic. Abraham is not.

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