Scriptures that teach about the temple

It is always more effective to teach the principles of temple ordinances using the scriptures, since you should never use textual words or descriptions that are taken from the same ordinance. It is necessary to keep discretion about the things of the temple, since they are sacred. There are many passages that refer to the temple and that can be used as an example when teaching a principle is required.

There is also another set of passages that, once we have entered the temple, significantly expand our knowledge about it. And it is that, once we have entered the temple, the Scriptures acquire a new dimension and never become the same again.

Jacob's experience in Peniel

The passage that I am going to comment today belongs to this second group. It is a passage that perhaps we have read dozens of times and that appears, perhaps, always confusing. I will try to expose it without commenting too much; sharing in it some thoughts on matters of reflection and not as a doctrine, trusting that my readers will be able to seek the company of the Spirit when finding their own conclusion. It is necessary that everyone "fight before God" a little.

The passage in question is easy to remember because everything ends in two: it is the one found in Genesis 32: 22-32. It is about that passage that speaks of a "struggle with God" on Jacob's part. Is not it true that you confuse just thinking that someone is going to fight with an angel or with God himself? But as we will see today, this passage, to which very few pay due attention, has a great symbolic content.

The many "the"

It is important to note that this was the place where Jacob's name was changed to that of Israel. The suffix "the" in the Hebrew names is generally related to God, since it is an apocope of Elohim, the sacred name of God. There are several "the" in Jacob's life. Jacob first saw God in Bethel, where he had a vision of a ladder that ascended into heaven (the popular "ladder of Jacob"), he received sacred promises from God (among them, a renewal of the covenant that had been extended to him to his grandfather Abraham) and promised to set aside his tithe for God. The name Bethel was given to this place by Jacob, and means "the house of God," because Jacob said: "How amazing is this place! It is nothing but the house of God and the door of heaven. " (Old Testament | Genesis 28: 17) In other words Bet-el operated for Jacob as a temple.

This meeting of Jacob with God in Bethel is the antecedent of the encounter in Peniel, where his name is changed to that of Israel. Bethel, Peniel, Israel ... are several "the". That helps us remember.

The preparations of Jacob

Before living this extraordinary and sublime experience, Jacob made his family safe. There was a little danger, for Jacob feared that Esau would take revenge on him when he found him again.

After putting his affairs in order, Jacob could have an open mind to seek God, forgetting for a moment the worries of the world.

Jacob in the presence of God

Peniel means "the face of God," since Jacob saw God there again (see Genesis 32: 30). Israel means "he who fights with God" (or, better yet, according to the dictionary of names of Hitchcock, "the one who prevails with God" or "the Prince of God"). Elder Orson F. Whitney briefly explains what happened:

"The name" Israel "means" Prince of God "and is used first in the Scriptures as the nickname of Jacob, from whom the Hebrew nation or the Twelve Tribes of Israel descend. Jacob, on returning from Padan-Aram [...] he arrived at the Jabbok ford, where "a man fought with him until dawn broke." We are led to infer that Jacob believed that this "man" was God; because he called "the name of that place Peniel", saying "I saw God face to face". "("Saturday Night Thoughts ", by Orson F. Whitney, Available in "

The personality of the male

In the passage we are only told that Jacob interviewed "a man". He could be an angel, or he could be a servant of God, acting as a messenger. Whoever it was, it was sent from God and represented God. The result of the struggle and interview is then made patent when Jacob declared "I saw God face to face and my soul was delivered". Whether he saw God from the beginning or not, Jacob could finally be in his presence.

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Jacob wrestles with God

The strangest part of this episode is precisely the one that describes Jacob "struggling" with this man. We find this competition of strength strange, and the interview, rather friendly, that happened next.

A new name and an extraordinary blessing

Let us carefully note the sequence of events: Jacob "struggles with God" in search of a specific blessing. As a preamble to the blessing he receives a new name and is declared triumphant and victorious in his struggle. As Jacob continues the interrogation, his questions lead him to obtain the blessing.

This blessing is not described because it is sacred. I believe that the Scriptures are an example of discretion in all respects in relation to sacred things. The place where he received the blessing, where he was interviewed with God, where he was in the presence of God, is also sacred. Not in vain Jacob said: "I saw God face to face and my soul was delivered". He was blessed directly by God.

The meaning of the struggle with God

The Old Testament institute manual explains the meaning of the term "fight with God" and how it can be applied to this scripture:

"Even though much of what happened in Peniel is not very clear, the record of the Scriptures indicates that a sacred experience took place there. Many times the spiritual struggles precede the great revelations. For example, when Enós, Alma y Joseph Smith they fervently sought the blessings of the Lord, experienced that "struggle" (see Enos 1: 1-5; 8: 10; Joseph Smith-History 1: 13-17). The struggle that Jacob experienced may well have been a similar spiritual struggle. " ( "Manual of the Old Testament Institute ", by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,)

The author of the entry "Jacob in the Presence of God" at the Symposium Sidney B. Sperry number 22 cites numerous examples of characters who had to have a "fight with God" or "fight doors God "in the Scriptures. Among them Enos (see Enós 1: 2) and Alma, who, according to the text "struggled with God in mighty prayer" (see Alma 8: 10, 15). The Prophet Joseph Smith He applied this expression also to Zacharias, who "fought for a blessing." According to the statement of the Prophet, he "entered the temple to fight with God, according to the order of the priesthood, to obtain the promise of a son ". According to this statement, Zacarias not only entered the temple according to his turn for his class in the priesthood; but when he did, he did it looking for a blessing.

In the report of the Symposium Sidney B. Sperry number 22 is also the following quote: "The president Brigham Young He said that all of us are situated "on the same ground," in that we must "struggle, fight and strive, until the Lord opens the veil and allows us to contemplate His glory, or a portion of it."

No doubt it is significant that Jacob has "fought" in Peniel, as we are described, even until dawn, seeking, as he sought, a blessing. While we may consider that Jacob's "struggle with God" had actually started twenty years earlier, at Bethel.

The new name of Israel

Name changes are frequent in the Scriptures and are of high symbolic importance. The name in ancient Israel was considered as a sign of one's identity, and the change of name implied the change of a certain identity towards a better identity. That is, a progress, or a conversion. So, to Abram his name is changed to that of Abraham, and Jacob's is changed by the name of Israel. It is God who changes the name and gives each of these patriarchs, in sacred places and occasions, a new name.

With regard to the promises that exist in the Scriptures for this name, the Elder Bruce R. McConkie He made a memory of those mentioned in DyC 130: 10-11 and in Revelation 2: 17:

1 "And to everyone who enters the celestial kingdom" will be given a white pebble on which is written the new name. The white stone will become an Urim and Thummim for every person who receives one, and by this means things belonging to a higher order of realms will be made known ... The new name is the key word. "(D. Y C. 130 : 10,11; Support 2: 17.)

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And with respect to Israel of our day, the Elder Bruce R. McConkie He also pointed out:

2 To the Israel of the last days, the scattered remnant that will be gathered in the great age of restoration, the Lord said: "And a new name shall be given to you, which the mouth of the Lord shall appoint." (Isa 62: 2; 65: 15.) It may well be that the new name, a name necessarily limited for its use in the last days, may be Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Last Days. (D. Y C. 115: 4.)

( "Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition "By Bruce R. McConkie, Available in "

The new name of Israel, ratified

The change of name of Jacob was again ratified in a holy place, in Bethel, where God had appeared for the first time to Jacob. Jacob returned to Bethel after all the years he was in Padan-aram, after reconciling with Esau and some time after Peniel's experience.

There his new name was ratified to Jacob:

Not only was his new name confirmed in Beth-el, but the covenant of Abraham:

Which means, as we have already said, "the house of God".

The endowment of power and authority of Jacob

Along with his new name, Jacob was invested with power and authority, as he was told (as can be seen better in the King James Version). Bible, in English): "" for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men ". The above passage has been mistranslated into Spanish as "you have fought with God and with men, and you have won," but in English he says "like a prince," and it is clearer, since the name of Israel means, precisely, "Prince of God."

Conclusion: the magnitude of Jacob's blessing

And, in order not to do this too long, we can make a small summary of this reflection, to see what is found in it.

1 Jacob struggled all night for a blessing when he faced a great trial in which he, his family and the fulfillment of God's covenant were faced with possible annihilation.

2 Jacob was asked by name, and he gave his own name to the divine messenger or minister.

3 Jacob was given a new name.

4 Jacob was given an endowment of power, by which he would be recognized in the eyes of God and of men.

5 Jacob was given an additional blessing, after which he acknowledged having seen God face to face and having been delivered his soul.

And now, without further comment, because the good speaker few words and we must follow the example of Mary, who when he received a sacred thing from God kept it, meditating on it in his own heart (Luke 2: 19). I hope I have given you a passage and material to meditate on, on your next visit to the temple, and in your own struggles before God. I hope that you will burn the beans and have given you a reason to go to the temple with a purpose, seeking greater knowledge through the Holy Spirit, trying, as did Zachariah, Enosh and Jacob, to receive your own blessing. And also, if you have come this far, I hope you have increased your interest in the Scriptures.

After all you can seek knowledge of God and return to the temple: The temple endowment becomes very uninspiring when we seek God after reading passages like these!


• JPMarichal, "Discretion about the things of the temple - Biblicomentarios ".

• "Manual of the Old Testament Institute ", for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

• "Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition "By Bruce R. McConkie (1979), in English, Available in "

• "Saturday Night Thoughts ", by Orson F. Whitney (1927), Available in "

• "Thy People Shall Be My People and Thy God My God: The 22nd Annual Sydney B. Sperry Symposium ", by Various Authors (2011), in English, Available in "

• "Words of Joseph Smith ", by Ehat and Cook.

Originally posted 2016-10-15 11: 24: 26.