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Samuel the Lamanite and rocks above the Earth

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I guess I'm a little behind in Come Follow Me, but I was recently reading the account of Samuel the Lamanite. In describing the events that would occur around the death of Christ, he talks about the rocks upon the face of the Earth, both above and beneath (see Helaman 14:21 and 22). The amateur geologist in me initially was thinking in geologic terms, but the idea of rocks above the earth did not make sense. I could understand rocks beneath and rocks on the face of the Earth, but those above?

But, one does not need to read the text as if it is about geology. Maybe it is just a "fancy" way of talking about all of the rocks (something about the number 3, so that we talk about 3 types of rocks instead of 2)? Or is there another ancient meaning or context for talking about rocks above the Earth? Could "earth" be used here more to talk about "our level" and "rocks above" could refer to high mountains (though high mountains are usually associated with geologically active regions which doesn't match with the rocks beneath being a solid mass, but there I go again, talking about it as if it is geology and not something else)?

It's a small thing that really doesn't change Samuel's overall message, but does anyone have any insights on the concept of "rocks above the earth"?

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21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up;

22 Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath.

The underlined part indicates they knew about plate tectonics.  Verse 22 seems to indicate that after the death of Christ, there were many more plates than there were before.

It looks like they had some knowledge of these sciences.  But Samuel, himself, only had a high school level education on the topic, so some of the message wasn't completely clear from a technical standpoint.  But since he was speaking to the common man, it was an easy way to say.

Major Earthquakes ==> Massive changes to the land as we know it.

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52 minutes ago, Scott said:

I have a similar thought to dprh.  

Earth is this case means soil or land (i.e. in the phrase "till the earth")  rather than the planet.

Rocks above the earth are mountains, cliffs, etc.

Although I agree with you thinking - I am of the mind that we will not really understand until we can have a talk with one of our ancient brethren of that lost civilization.    Maybe one our our Lamanite survivors may have some insight.

I thought I might add that a road side sign that says "Watch for falling rocks" may be similar?????


The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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