Catch and Understand

While playing catch with my son, I noticed even if I throw the ball right into his arms, unless he puts forth some effort himself, he would not catch the ball.

Is this not also true with things that God is trying to give to us and teach us? It seems to me that Joseph Smith understood it to be so.

A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the THINGS of GOD are of DEEP IMPORT; and TIME, and EXPERIENCE, and CAREFUL and PONDEROUS and SOLEMN THOUGHTS can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—THOU MUST COMMUNE WITH GOD. How much more DIGNIFIED and NOBLE are the THOUGHTS of GOD, than the VAIN IMAGINATIONS of the HUMAN HEART!
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 25 March 1839, page 137

I advise all to go on to perfection, and SEARCH DEEPER and DEEPER into the MYSTERIES of GODLINESS.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 364

In addition to deep, careful and ponderous meditation upon the word of God, we also need to be doers of the word of God.

James 1:22 But be ye DOERS of the word, and NOT HEARERS ONLY, deceiving your own selves.

One reason for this is because if we are not being doers of God’s commandments we are sinning, and when we sin we become blind to God’s ways. Here are some verses from the New Testament that sheds some light on this idea.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath BLINDED the MINDS of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

John 12:40 He hath BLINDED THEIR EYES, and HARDENED THEIR HEART; that they should NOT SEE with their eyes, NOR UNDERSTAND with their HEART, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and UNDERSTANDETH IT NOT, THEN COMETH THE WICKED ONE, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Samson from the Old Testament is an example of how sinning blinds us. Here is a quote from Greg Laurie from How Sin Blinds Us and Grinds Us that does a good job demonstrating this for us.

Finally, Samson gave in. He told her his hair had never been cut and confessed that he had been dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. And while he was asleep, Delilah called in someone to cut off his hair. When Samson woke up, the Bible says that “he didn’t realize the Lord had left him” (verse 20 NLT).
The Philistines took Samson, gouged out his eyes, bound him with bronze chains and forced him to grind grain in prison. What a sad story. If Samson had been running a race, he would have fallen – and fallen hard – with no sign of getting up again.
Greg Laurie, How Sin Blinds Us and Grinds Us

In these three minutes, John Piper explains that blindness to God is at the root of our rebellion, sin, against God. John Piper says, “The ultimate problem of every human being is not merely that we are bent against God — which we are — but that we are blind to God.” Sin is our greatest problem, but it as much about seeing wrongly as it is about doing wrongly. To be saved, we need to see. We need to have the eyes of our hearts opened to the beauty of God, which is revealed most fully and most powerfully in the person of Jesus Christ.

The same thing is taught by the prophets of the Lord in the Book of Mormon.

1 Nephi (LDS/OPV 12:17) (RLDS/RAV 3:125) And the mists of darkness are the TEMPTATIONS OF THE DEVIL, which BLINDETH THE EYES, and HARDENETH THE HEARTS of the children of men, and LEADETH them away into BROAD ROADS, that they PERISH and are LOST.

Alma (LDS/OPV 10:25) (RLDS/RAV 8:36-37) But Amulek stretched forth his hand, and cried the mightier unto them, saying: O ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath SATAN got such great HOLD upon your HEARTS? Why will ye YIELD yourselves unto him that he may have POWER OVER YOU, to BLIND YOUR EYES, that ye will NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORDS which are spoken, ACCORDING to their TRUTH?

During the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 8, 10, 11, 14), Jesus gave us one key to knowing doctrine in John 7:17.

John 7:17 If any man will DO his will, he shall KNOW OF THE DOCTRINE, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Did you notice how “do his will”, which can be restated as keeping the commandments, is a requirement for “know of the doctrine” indicated by the word “if”. When we do as the Father instructs we are showing Him that we love Him, see John 14:15, after all actions speak louder than words.

John 14:15 If ye LOVE me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.

Moses 5:6-8 is an example from Adam’s life of this principle. Adam was keeping a commandment from God but did not know why beforehand, and an angel taught Adam the doctrine behind it after he had kept it.

Moses 5:6-8
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I KNOW NOT, SAVE [except] THE LORD COMMANDED ME. 7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a SIMILITUDE of the SACRIFICE of the ONLY BEGOTTEN of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. 8 WHEREFORE, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.

We should look at some context surrounding Jesus’ assertion in John 7:17. In John 7:16 we learn that “Jesus [was] answer[ing] them”, the Jews see John 7:15, when He gave John 7:17. Jesus was responding to the Jews’ question in John 7:15.

John 7:15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How KNOWETH this man letters, having never learned?

I hope none of us think that letters from John 7:15 are hidden letters from the Hebrew alphabet. But instead understand it as scriptures or teachings that was not commonly known among the Jews. Thankfully you don’t have to just take my word for it, which I hope you never do, but can read Ellicott’s Commentary on John 7:15 at BibleHub along with other commentaries.

(15) How knoweth this man letters?—Their spirit is seen in that at which they marvel. It is not the substance of His teaching that excites their attention, but the fact that He who has never been technically trained as a Rabbi is acquainted with the literature of the schools. (See Acts 26:24, “much learning,” where “learning” represents the word here rendered “letters.”) He is to them as a layman and unlearned (comp. Note on Acts 4:13), not known in the circles of the professional expounders—a demagogue, who deceived the multitude; and they hear Him speaking with a learning and wisdom that excites their wonder, and unlocking mysteries of which they thought that they only possessed the key.
Ellicott’s Commentary, John 7:15, BibleHub

Along with everything else we have been talking about, in John 7:16 Jesus also lets the Jews know that He has made His Father’s doctrine His own.

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, MY DOCTRINE is not mine, but HIS THAT SENT ME.

Jesus learned of these doctrines He taught that got the Jews to “marvelled”, see John 7:15, not from other Jews but from above because He kept the sayings of His Father instead of saying things like “it’s a different time and place now, or that no longer applies anymore”.

Alma the younger is essentially teaching the same principle in Alma (LDS/OPV 12:9-11) (RLDS/RAV 9:15-21) in addition to warning us about the consequence if we harden our hearts and don’t receive more truth after keeping God’s commandments.

Alma (LDS/OPV 12:9-11) (RLDS/RAV 9:15-21)
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, ACCORDING TO THE HEED AND DILIGENCE WHICH THEY GIVE UNTO HIM. 10 And therefore, he that will harden his HEART, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his HEART, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. 11 And they that will harden their HEARTS, to them is given the lesser portion of the word UNTILL THEY KNOW NOTHING concerning his mysteries; and THEN THEY are taken CAPTIVE by the DEVIL, and led by his will down to DESTRUCTION. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

How do we give diligence and heed to God? By cherishing God’s word and having it written upon our hearts. In the Hebraic way of thinking the heart is where we do our thinking. Lois Tverberg wrote a concise statement to this effect.

In Hebrew, the heart (lev or levav) is the center of human thought and spiritual life. We tend to think that the heart refers mainly to our emotions, but in Hebrew it also refers to one’s mind and thoughts as well.

Many cultures assumed that the heart was the seat of intelligence, and without an advanced understanding of physiology, it makes sense. The heart is the only moving organ in the body, and strong emotions cause the heartbeat to race. When the heart stops beating, a person is dead. Because the Hebrews were a concrete people who used physical things to express abstract concepts, the heart was the metaphor of the mind and all mental and emotional activitiy.

Levav – Heart, Mind by Lois Tverberg

HeartMath among others have done scientific studies that shows we think with our heart in addition to our minds, and that we think with our hearts before we think with our minds. Here is a quote from Johanna Bassols from How to Start Thinking With the Heart on this point:

Gregg Braden’s latest research elaborates on the ancient technique of using the heart as an intelligent organ.

The heart’s intelligence has been ignored for far too long. What we’ve learned about the heart’s wisdom, however, in the past several years through the Heart Math Institute and through the research of psychologists, neurobiologists, and resurfaced wisdom teachings from our ancient past, should inspire everyone to look at the heart in a completely new way.

There is an ancient term that does not have a direct English translation that describes this intelligence of the heart. Hridaya

Johanna Bassols, How to Start Thinking With the Heart

In Strong’s Concordance H3820 leb is defined as

inner man, mind, will, heart
Strong’s Concordance, H3820 leb, BibleHub

Tying this Hebrew understanding of the heart back to Alma (LDS/OPV 12:9-11) (RLDS/RAV 9:15-21) and what I said earlier on having God’s word written upon our hearts. When we have God’s words witten upon our hearts we are thinking about God’s words on a regular basis and figuring out how to better apply them to ourselfs in our lives along with our actions with others. In the first half of this passage Alma informs us that people will only receive “according to the heed and diligence” they give unto God and His commandments. This ought to sound familiar because this is the same principle taught in John 7:17. He then goes onto to say those who “recieve the lesser portion” will regress “untill they know nothing concerning [God’s] mysteries” and then “they are taken captive by the devil”. This happens because without understanding of God’s words Satan and his helpers will decieve us into breaking God’s commandments and getting us to think it’s no big deal or a good thing at the same time.

Jesus gave us a striking example of using scriptures to guide our actions in Matthew 4:3-11 after “He fasted for forty days and forty nights” in the wilderness the Devil came tempting Him, see Matthew 4:1-2. Interestingly enough, Jesus was just baptized by John the Baptist and had the Spirit of God decend upon him, see Matthew 3:13-17. In Matthew 4:3-11 Satan tempted Jesus three different times, and each time Jesus did not respond with His personal feelings, or His desires, or what the world would think, but He responded with quotes or summaries or in otherwords the spirit that is found in the scriptures, namely what is found in three different passages in Deuteronomy; Deuteronomy 8:32, 6:16, 5:6-10.

Matthew 4:3-11
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [DEUTERONOMY 8:3] 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [DEUTERONOMY 6:16] 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. [DEUTERONOMY 5:6-10] 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The Lord gave us a very simple and very visible commandment for “throughout their generations” to help us to REMEMBER and DO all the commandments by using two of our senses, sight and touch in Numbers 15:37-41. The commandment is not to wear a crucifix upon your neck which is very common for Christians, but it is to wear Tzitzits or sometimes called tassels or fringes on our garments. People throughout history, including today, use different techniques and technology to help them to remember to do things. Wearing Tzitzits on our garments as directed in Numbers 15:37-41 by the Lord is no different. I do know that Numbers 15:37-41 talks of “look[ing] upon [Tzitzits]” and not touching them. But as I have been wearing them I do find myself caressing them on occation while thinking about God’s words and instructions for life.

Numbers 15:37-41
37 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them FRINGES in the BORDERS of their GARMENTS THROUGHOUT their GENERATIONS, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of BLUE: 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may LOOK UPON IT, and REMEMBER ALL THE COMMANDMENTS of the LORD, and DO THEM; and that ye seek NOT AFTER YOUR OWN HEART and your OWN EYES, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

The last half of Numbers 15:37-41 states that we should not seek “after [our] own heart and your own eyes”. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” Jeremiah 17:9 is one reason we should not seek “after [our] own heart”.

The translation of Luke 8:43-44 above is probably a little different than what you are used to. If you would watch a meager four and a half mintues of Why We All MUST Wear Tassels (Tzitzit) from 23:06 to 27:30 you will see the author talk about the Greek and Hebrew that I believe will remove any shadow of doubt that Jesus wore Tzitzits.

After looking at Numbers 15:37-41 I hope that we all would agree that Tzitzits can and do represent the Lord’s commandments. Blood at times can represent sins, see some examples below, also I talk of this some in McKenna Denson a force for good. Keeping these two symbols in mind we can see one deeper meaning from Luke 8:43-44 is that when women, which can be a church or any person, took hold of God’s commandments, which is the spirit of Jesus as Jesus was our perfect example of the word so much so that in John 1:1 we are told that “the Word was God”, and her sinning stopped.

Isaiah 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: … and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

Joshua 2:19 … his BLOOD shall be upon his head, and we will be GUILTLESS: …

Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with BLOOD, and your fingers with INIQUITY; your lips have spoken LIES, your tongue hath muttered PERVERSENESS.

Isaiah 49:26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be DRUNKEN with their own BLOOD, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy SAVIOUR and thy REDEEMER, the mighty One of Jacob.

Jacob (LDS/OPV 1:19) (RLDS/RAV 1:19-20) And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the SINS of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their BLOOD might not come upon our garments; otherwise their BLOOD would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

There is progressing and regression, there is no standing still, if you don’t believe you are progressing there is a good chance you are regressing, and if you think you are standing still perhaps you are not noticing your regression becuase you are becoming blind to what is going on just as happened to Samson because of his sins.

After I bought my first Jeep Wranger I started noticing Jeep Wrangers everywhere. Did everyone start to realize what a great vehicle I had just bought? Not likely, as I am not a car guy, I prefered to ride my bicycle everywhere during my teenage years including school and work. What actually happened is that now that I was aware of it, I started seeing Jeep Wrangers everywhere I went. The same thing happens with doctrines in the scriptures. Although scriptures are historical records, they are also records of teachings to inspire us to seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which in my mind is what makes them a pearl of great price, see Matthew 13:45-46. Once you have learned a new doctrine, passages that made no sense in the past are now completely clear, and verses that used to seem out of place consequently go with the flow.

Matthew 13:45-46
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Without knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God we will be tricked into committing sin.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

I am very grateful for the Lectures on Faith. And I believe they are scriptures, just as Bruce R McConkie did. Joseph Smith taught them in the school of the prophets. In 1835 they were the doctrine of the Doctrine and Covenants. So much so that the text for the Lectures on Faith in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was larger than the rest of the book which was the covenants or also known as commandments. I know this because I have a replica. If you want one you can’t get one from Deseret Book, I have my theories of why that is, but you can buy one from Herald House or Amazon. I first learned of Lectures on Faith while on my mission, and bought this edition even though I was not supposed to have it or read it while on my mission, which by the way does not make any sense at all considering it is what Joseph Smith taught the elders before they went on their missions in his day. Tragically the LDS / Brighamite church removed them from the Doctrine in Covenants in 1920 mostly because of the doings of James E Talmage who had them removed without the common consent of the church as is required in the Lord’s church.

I want to share the first four verses from Lectures on Faith 6 which deal heavily with what we have been talking about.

1 … we next proceed to treat of the KNOWLEDGE which persons must have, that the course of life which they pursue is ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, in order that they may be enabled to EXERCISE FAITH in him unto LIFE AND SALVATION. 2 This KNOWLEDGE supplies an important place in REVEALED religion; for it was by reason of it that the ancients were enabled to ENDURE as SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE. An actual KNOWLEDGE to any person that the course of life which he pursues is ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that CONFIDENCE IN GOD, without which no person can obtain ETERNAL LIFE. It was this that enabled the ancient saints to ENDURE all their AFFLICTIONS and PERSECUTIONS, and to take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, KNOWING, (not believing merely,) that they had a more enduring substance (Hebrews 10:34). 3 Having the ASSURANCE that they were pursuing a course which was AGREEABLE TO THE WILL OF GOD, they were enabled to take, not only the spoiling of their goods, and the wasting of their substance, joyfully, but also to suffer death in its most horrid forms; KNOWING, (not merely believing,) that when this earthly house of their tabernacle was dissolved, they had a BUILDING OF GOD, a house not made with hands, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS (2 Corinthians 5:1). 4 Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual KNOWLEDGE that the course that they are pursuing is ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, they will grow weary in their minds and faint; for such has been and always will be the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God, against the PURE AND UNADULTERATED religion of heaven, (the only thing which ensures ETERNAL LIFE,) that they will persecute, to the uttermost, all that worship God ACCORDING TO HIS REVELATIONS, receive the truth in the love of it, and SUBMIT THEMSELVES TO BE GUIDED AND DIRECTED BY HIS WILL, and drive them to such extremities that nothing short of an actual KNOWLEDGE of their being the favorites of heaven, and of their having EMBRACED THAT ORDER of things which GOD HAS ESTABLISED for the redemption of man, will enable them to exercise that CONFIDENCE in him necessary for them to overcome the world, and obtain that CROWN OF GLORY which is laid up for them that fear God.
Lectures on Faith 6:1-4

Living our lives “according to the will of God” or in other words God’s commandments is what gave the ancients courage to be patient in all their afflictions and persecutions. “An actual knowledge” that we are living our lives “according to the will of God” or in other words keeping the commandments of God “is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God, without which no person can obtain eternal life”. We must submit ourselves to be guided and directed by God’s commandments if we want the eternal crown.

Berean Study Bible 1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

There is a quote from Joseph Smith that I believe gets misused at times by people while attempting to flatter people into learning frivolous things, “a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge”. The question that should be asked with that statement is what knowledge is needed to be saved? I hope no one thinks that knowledge about how our microwaves works helps us be saved in the kingdom of God. Without knowing the context of that quote it would be easy to conclude that it is talking about the “more sure prophecy” or in other words revelation from God directly to you that you shall have eternal life.

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Mosiah (LDS 26:20) (RLDS 11:127) Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep.

As we look into the context of this quote from Joseph Smith I hope we will agree that calling and election will happen as a result of what he is talking about. “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge” is in Words of Joseph Smith – Deluxe Study Edition five times. Two of those times are simply other people quoting Joseph Smith of just that one line. The other three occurrences give us context along with the quote.

Notwithstanding this congregation PROFESS to be saints yet I stand in the midst of all characters and classes of men. If you wish to go where God is you must be LIKE God or POSSESS the PRINCIPLES which God possesses for if we are not drawing TOWARDS GOD in principle we are going from him & drawing TOWARDS the DEVIL, yes I am standing in the midst of all kinds of people SEARCH YOUR HEARTS & see if you are like God, I have searched mine & feel to REPENT OF ALL MY SINS. We have thieves among us adulterers, liars, hypocrites, if God should speak from Heaven he would COMMAND you not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to covet, nor deceive but be FAITHFUL OVER A FEW THINGS. As far as we DEGENERATE from God we DESCEND to the DEVIL & LOOSE KNOWLEDGE & without knowledge we cannot be saved & WHILE OUR HEARTS ARE FILLED WITH EVIL & WE ARE STUDYING EVIL THERE IS NO ROOM IN OUR HEARTS FOR GOOD OR STUDYING GOOD, is not God good, Yes then you be good. If he is faithful then you be faithful. Add to your faith virtue to virtue knowledge & SEEK FOR EVERY GOOD THING. The CHURCH MUST BE CLEANSED & I PROCLAIM AGAINST ALL INIQUITY. A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge for IF HE DOES NOT GET KNOWLEDGE HE WILL BE BROUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY BY SOME EVIL POWER in the other world as evil spirits will have more knowledge & consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it NEEDS REVELATION TO ASSIST US & GIVE US KNOWLEDGE OF THE THINGS OF GOD. What is the reason that the Priest of the day do not get revelation. They ask only to consume it upon their lust their hearts are corrupt & THEY CLOAK THEIR INIQUITY BY SAYING THAT THERE IS NO MORE REVELATIONS. But if any revelations are given of God they are universally opposed by the priest & Christendom at large for it reveals their wickedness & abominations many other remarks of interest were made by the speaker I truly felt in my own heart that it was a profitable meeting.
Words of Joseph Smith – Deluxe Study Edition, Kindle Locations 1425-1440

There is a lot in this quote from Joesph Smith that goes along with what we have been talking about. Here are some points I want to highlight.

  1. We are progressing towards God or degenerating to the Devil.
  2. When our hearts are evil and thinking about evil there is no room for good in our hearts.
  3. Seek for every Good thing.
  4. The church must be cleansed.
  5. Proclaim against all iniquity.
  6. If he does not get Knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power.
  7. We need revelation to assist us and give us knowledge of the things of God.
  8. They cloak their iniquity by convincing us there is no more revelations.

Part of the same sentence of “a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge” is “for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power”. The ‘for’ in the beginning of the second part of the sentence is a connecting word and can be replaced with ‘because’. Here are three definitions on ‘for’ from Websters 1828 Dictionary that confirms this.

14. Because; on account of; by reason of. He cried out for anguish. I cannot go for want of time. for this cause, I cannot believe the report.
1. The word by which a reason is introduced of something before advanced. ‘That ye may be the children of your father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.’ In such sentences, for has the sense of because, by reason that, as in No.14; with this difference that in No.14, the word precedes a single noun, and here it precedes a sentence or clause; but the phrase seems to be elliptical, for this cause or reason, which follows, he maketh his sun to rise, etc.
2. Because; on this account that; properly, for that.
Websters 1828 Dictionary, for

How does Satan and his followers get us “into captivity”? By getting us to sin or in other words to break God’s commandments. Initially Satan and his minions won’t out rightly tell us to sin but first will use flattering words to appease our itching ears. Once we have fallen they will use our guilt against us to bind us to them even more. If we have not searched the scriptures and sought to have God’s words written upon our hearts/minds it will be easy for the evil powers to deceive us into sinning against our Creator.

Satan appears as an angle of light. I believe part of what this means is that Satan’s doctrines and ideologies on the surface appear as that they are good. But if we would take the time to examine them in detail we would be appalled at what these doctrines and ideologies point to, allow and cause. Satan is very aware that he has to mask his wicked designs from the general public because even his less devoted followers would be disgusted by his ultimate goals and would not go along with them if they knew what they were working towards. This is why Satan uses layers of secrecy and only reveals more of his horrid plans after you bind yourself to him by sinning and becoming desensitized to wickedness.

The priests and priestess of Satan are all over, and some even honestly believe they are serving God instead of Satan. This reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30,36-43. One thing to keep in mind is that while the wheat and the tares are growing to maturity they are indistinguishable from each other.

There is a waging war going on in the world “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12. There is a saying that “we should keep our friends close, and our enemies closer”. Here is a good explanation of that phrase.

The first part of the quotation means that you always want to keep your friends close to you because they are people you can trust and rely on.

The second part of this means that your enemies are always going to be out there seeking to harm you so you want to keep an extremely close eye on them, in order to make sure that they are not going to hurt you.

Overall, it means that you should always know what your enemies are doing. As a war tactic, know what the enemy is doing so you don’t get ambushed.

We are at war with Satan and his followers, and we need to know how he operates so we can defend against him effectively.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Part of our defence against Satan needs to be “put[ting] on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Ephesians 6:11. If we don’t Satan will lead us carefully down to hell.

2 Nephi (LDS/OPV 28:21-22) (RLDS/RAV 12:25-28)
22 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. 23 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

C S Lewis wrote the novel The Screwtape Letters. The book is a series of letters between a devil learned in the art of deception, Screwtape, and his unskilled nephew, Wormwood. Screwtape is giving advice to Wormwood on how to undermine God’s words to get the Patient, the human subject, to abandon God and His ways. It’s a fun and insightful read.

Little Light Studios has made a wonderful series LED – Light Exposing Darkness – Hidden meanings in movies that expose how Hollywood is working hard to get us to believe that evil is good and good is evil, see Isaiah 5:20.

In closing I’d like to leave you with Psalm 119:97-104 and I hope and pray I have inspired you with a desire to meditate upon God’s words and ways.

Psalm 119:97-104
The Lord’s law and His testimonies should be our meditation all the day.
97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.