And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
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 the Lord commanded me.
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.
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. Moses 5:5-8
The centrality of the Son is emphasized in this directive to do all things, including calling upon God, in the name of the Son. He is always to be the focal point due to His sinless nature, unparalleled and unconquerable strength and perfection of character, and unique role as First Born, Only Begotten, Creator, and Redeemer. As recorded in John 14:6:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
This charge to do all things in the name of the Son, exercising faith in Him, is continually countered by Satan, as he teaches I am also a son of God (Moses 5:13), and leads the people whenever possible not to believe in Jesus Christ, substituting himself directly or much more often, due to its ease, teaching men to set themselves or others up to receive that honor that only God should be given, as in the following pre-flood example:
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Genesis 6:4
There are many interesting words and phrases in this verse: The Hebrew word mistranslated as giants comes from the root verb to fall and can mean to fall, fall away, be fallen, or also to cause to fall or to act violently and overthrow. Thus those characterized as giants are better understood in the context of men described in Moses 5:51-52 and 6:15:
For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.
Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech, and his house, and all them that had covenanted with Satan; for they kept not the commandments of God, and it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them, and their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men. And it was among the sons of men.
And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.
Another interesting point from Genesis 6:4 is the differentiation between the sons and daughters of men and the sons and daughters of God. The distinction is that the sons and daughters of God are taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bound by Gospel and priesthood covenants. The sons of God are holders of the priesthood, and as such, receive the responsibility to represent God, act in His name, and do His works. They are to serve and to keep, to obey and to sacrifice; they are to hearken unto the Lord as recorded in Moses 8:13 which relates the reason that Noah and his sons are called the sons of God:
And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God.
The sons of men, on the other hand, are described in Moses 8:15 as those who will not hearken to my voice.
When the sons of God see that the daughters of men are fair, and they take them to wife, they do not do so with the intention of preaching the Gospel to them first and establishing marriages based upon priesthood covenants. Rather they abandon their inherited Gospel and priesthood foundation, and thereby ensure that their posterity is raised without those blessings. It appears that it is primarily the men that take this path, abandoning their priesthood and family responsibility to serve and to keep--to rear children in Gospel and covenant centered homes. They abandon the temple pattern of progression and return to God and choose to remain in the world. Moses 8:21 reads as follows regarding their degree of abandonment of God’s commandments, and their rebellious attitude as they choose with the sons of men no longer to hearken to God’s voice:
And also, after that they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah.
While the people before the flood live before the Ten Commandments are given to Moses, the commandments are eternal and universal, based upon principles taught from the beginning. Those mischaracterized as giants reject God and seek gain after the manner of Cain and of Satan before him. They fully disobey the first and second of the Ten Commandments in the form these commandments exist at the time.
The sons of God also disobey these first two commandments, and as well they disobey the third commandment to the extent and as long as they continue to call themselves the sons of God while at the same time rebelling against him. This third of the Ten Commandments reads as follows:
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7
The full meaning of this commandment involves much more than profaning God in language, which is sometimes the common understanding. It is to do just what these sons of God do—to take the name of the Lord in terms of appearance and for whatever authority, power, honor, and wealth can be derived from its use, not hearkening to His voice, rebelling and working counter to His will and purposes. It is to do what Satan himself does, again as he declares that he is also a son of God in order to achieve influence while rebelling against God and seeking his own self-interest. The language of this third of the Ten Commandments in Hebrew is fascinating and supports this broader interpretation, and I will explore it in coming weeks.
In the end, both the giants and the sons of God together with those of their posterity who grow up without repentance inherit the same destruction, but the influence of the second group, the sons of God, is more insidious and destructive as I will also attempt to explore in the coming weeks. For now, I will conclude with the last group mentioned in Genesis 6:4-- mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
These men are born the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men. The Hebrew word for mighty men means just that, strong, brave, and mighty men, but it comes from a root verb that carries additional meaning including to prevail, be strong, powerful, mighty, and great, and in addition can mean to show oneself mighty and to act proudly, particularly toward God. Thus the strength here is that of man separate from and in opposition to God, working for power and honor and the things of the world. This sense of who these men are is furthered by their description as men of renown, which both restates their supposed strength as well as indicating the baselessness of that strength. The Hebrew word for man used here comes from a root that means to be weak, sick, frail, and to be incurable in that state. It indicates a desperate and incurable weakness that inevitably exists without God’s salvation. In addition, these men as men of renown, are in the Hebrew literally men of name, which places them in complete opposition to the vital charge quoted previously:
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. Moses 5:6
The true man of strength finds his strength in God and not in himself and does all he does in the name of the Son, ascribing all honor to the Son, confessing his sinful nature and weakness and his dependence upon the grace of God for his strength, without which he is truly nothing, but with which he can do all things. The idolatrous, false man puts forth the illusion and image of strength but does this from a foundation of a fallen and unrepentant nature.
This message of God and man’s relative positions is taught from the beginning, is important through all history, and is important in the end times. As Isaiah prophesies:
And it shall come to pass that the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the Lord of Hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one; yea, upon the proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. 2 Nephi 12:11-12
A correct understanding of man’s position relative to God in terms of honor as well as of the things of this world and power and influence is also at the foundation of priesthood power as taught in Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-37:
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
The ways of God and the blessings that come from discipleship exist in a completely different sphere of reality from what natural man desires, pursues, and bases his culture upon. The positive charge to do all things in the name of the Son, repenting, calling upon Him, and pursuing a path to follow and glorify Him alone is one in its full meaning with the negative charge not to take His name in vain, and it is only to the extent that professed believers progress in following the positive charge that they can turn away from transgressing the third commandment.