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Great review, thanks.

Prophecy is often closely associated with patriarchy, fathers having the natural right to prophesy regarding their own posterity and patriarchs being invested with the right to prophesy on behalf of fathers now in heaven, by virtue of the Melchizedek, or high priesthood.

And kingship (properly, also a Melchizedek priesthood office) is the fulfilment of patriarchal authority:

Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.

And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.

And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.
(D&C 107:53-56)

Notice the word "prince" with regard to Michael, father of all. Strictly speaking a righteous king is more like a prince than a king. There is only one Eternal Father, infinite and eternal, and hence only one true King, though many princes may bear His name by appointment, the Most High first among many brethren.

Now, as God is the true King of Israel, I am not sure we need an earthly king (which is a bit of an imposition) to be blessed with the gift of prophecy.

Note the following:

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. (Rev 1:6)

i.e. not kings to rule in our own right as absolute monarchs, but kings and priests unto the true and living God.

Mark, FYI, Rev. 1:6 is translated poorly in the KJV. It ought to read "and has made us a kingdom and priests." "Kings" is not in the Greek. This might change your theology somewhat (if you allow linguistics to do that for you).

Dave, I also read this book, which I was reluctant to do given its publication with Deseretarded Book and its Mormon authorship. Rare are the times when I am actually impressed with Mormon Biblical scholarship, and this was one of them. Mormonized interjetions aside (I felt they were pining for Mormon similarities too much), it's a good college-level introductory work.

I recommend deSilva's Introducing the Apocrypha for more on that, and Ferguson's Backgrounds of Early Christianity for more on the Judaism(s) of the same period (cf. also N.T. Wright The New Testament and the People of God and Köester's History, Culture, and Religion of the Hellenistic Age). For a great guide with small bibliographies and short summaries of the apocryphal books, see Craig Evans Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation. Most of these are graduate level. Just my two Lincolns.

David J, I'm pleased you give the book a thumbs-up. It seems to fill a gap in the LDS book pantheon. I notice that Bruce's New Testament History, which the authors cited as further reading following almost every chapter, wasn't on your list. Is it now too dated to be a reliable reference?

Mark, from the first writing prophet (Amos) to the last (Malachi), these were men moved by the spirit of God (Heb. ruach or wind) to go deliver a message to the king and the people. And the court prophets (like Nathan) or the prophet guilds that we find reference to in Kings and Samuel, prior to the writing prophets, were also directed to king and people. I don't see anything particularly patriarchal (in the family sense you are using) about biblical prophecy.

Dave, I suppose Bruce's book is good, since most of his stuff is widely known. Sadly, I wasn't trained using any Bruce materials, so I'm not familiar with them at all. I would bet that it's a fair crop, however.

Mark, I back what Dave is saying here. What's the connection?

David J,

I am glad to hear that - "kingdom" seems correct to me. A "prince" (re Michael in D&C 107) is a much more accurate title than "king" anyway. There can be only one true King, and one true kingdom.


Dave,

I do not disagree with what you are saying - I understand that patriarchal government essentially faded out by the time of Moses. After that the prophets are the only Melchizedek priesthood holders remaining, right? There are several good examples of patriarchal blessings in the Old Testament though, given by fathers to their sons. Strictly speaking, I don't think they needed the Melchizedek priesthood for that.

One other thing - I understand that secular government is generally the responsibility of the patriarchal authority (hence the necessity for Adam to commit keys, etc.)

So as the Melchizedek (with appropriate keys) outranks the patriarchal, it makes sense to send Melchizedek priesthood holders to prophesy unto kings who rule by grant of patriarchal authority. I do not believe that any of the Israelite kings held the Melchizedek priesthood. The last such functioning king was Melchizedek himself. Jesus Christ's kingly role on earth has not been fulfilled yet.

I helped research and source-check for this book... but embarrasingly have never read it. Perhaps I should finally blow the dust off it and read it :)

Re: patriarchal prophecy, I can't see it much in the classical prophets.

But it's certainly present "in the beginning"- Genesis 49 is kind of the prototypical "patriarchal blessing." Israel says to his 12 sons, "Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come." Patriarchal prophecy. Also, IIRC, the Targums greatly expand on Gen. 49, and include a lot more "prophetic" material in Israel's mouth.

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