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Relationship to Section 89. The relationship of Verses 89:1-3 to the rest of Section 89 is discussed at D&C 89.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 89:1-3 include:
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It is perhaps peculiar that among the promises associated with the Word of Wisdom, one finds this one: "that the destroying angel shall pass by [those who keep and do these saying], as the children of Israel, and not slay them." The promise makes reference, of course, to Exodus 12, the institution of the Passover just before the Israelites escaped Egypt to flee into the desert. There are in Exodus 12 two distinct presentations of the institution of the Passover—one attributed by scholars to the Elohist writer, and one attributed by scholars to the Priestly writer. Both are of potential importance to the interpretation of this text.
In the first, the Lord speaks with Moses and gives him instruction. Each household is to take an unblemished male lamb of less than a year old, "and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it" (Ex 12:6). At that point, "they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house, wherein they shall eat it" (Ex 12:7). The meal (other details regarding the menu are outlined in the text) is to be eaten "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste" (Ex 12:11), all this because Israel was to be ready to flee Egypt at any moment. And then comes the explanation of the blood applied to the doorposts: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Ex 12:12-13). And then Moses is told to make this into a regular event, "a feast to the Lord throughout your generations" (Ex 12:14).
What might be learned about the reference in D&C 89:21 from all this? A few questions might be asked:
In the second account of the Passover's institution, Moses is described as giving instructions to the elders of Israel. His instructions are different in some important ways from the Lord's: "Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you" (Ex 12:21-23). Further, Moses gives some instruction about how the annual feast of the Passover, to be held in subsequent years, would be used to teach each generation: "And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses" (Ex 12:26-27).
What might be learned about the reference in D&C 89:21 from this version of the Passover? A few additional questions might be asked:
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Verse 19 How does "finding wisdom" manifest itself? What does it mean? If one doesn't follow the Word of Wisdom, are they denied access to revelation?
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