This essay focuses on one example of this phenomenon. Divine election—the academic designation for the choosing of people by deity for position and opportunity in mortal life—is a claim that is well attested in ancient Near Eastern texts, including the Hebrew Bible.
Divine Apology considers the unique circumstances facing religious figures in This causes religious image restoration discourse to manifest itself as more. While the defense of public image in political, corporate, and celebrity rhetoric has been widely studied, religious image repair has been largely ignored. Divine .
However, many Latter-day Saints are less familiar. This study will illustrate the nature and variety of biblical and other ancient Near Eastern claims of divine election and show how the Restoration informs a Latter-day Saint understanding of such claims. Following a survey of claims of divine election in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern texts, a summary of how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ provides a unique view of these ancient claims concludes this study.
Due to the wealth of material and the space limitations of this essay, what follows is selective. People have long been confused by, have been misinformed about, and have disputed the veracity of the doctrine of election. However, even some Latter-day Saints are challenged by the doctrine of election.
As Robert L. Millet observed:. In our democratic and egalitarian society, in a time when equality and brotherhood are all important, I fear that we are losing a feel for what it means to be a covenant people, what it means to be a chosen people. I feel that the words of the Lord to ancient Israel should be received by modern Israel with sobriety and humility, but they must be received and believed if we are to realize our potential to become a holy people.
Thus, unique Latter-day Saint doctrinal perspectives have a great bearing on both how Latter-day Saints view the claims of election surviving from the ancient Near East and how they deal with modern election claims. These passages recount God and humans choosing people and things in a variety of contexts, the majority of which are religious.
For example,. What is not evident from these passages alone, however, is when this election of Israel and individuals took place, why it occurred, and what the election actually, fully, was. Greater literary context helps partially answer these questions. The Bible clearly illustrates that the Lord chose Moses, for example, to be a prophet and deliverer see Exodus —10 , and David to be a king see 1 Samuel — But most of the election passages in the Hebrew Bible merely assert election, they do not explain it.
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. This passage emphasizes a favored, protected relationship as well as a universal outreach. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. Jeremiah is also one of the few passages in the Hebrew Bible in which the time of election is indicated. In this case, Jeremiah was chosen by God before being formed in the womb. I send him [Assyria],. I will go before you and level the mountains,. Jehovah also chose groups and individuals outside this covenant lineage to provide assistance to the descendants of this chosen lineage and to impose negative consequences when they rebelliously exceeded the limits of His mercy.
Despite many similarities, there were distinct differences in religion and culture among ancient Near Eastern peoples. The following general comments are intended to provide a summary overview of claims of divine election and thus do not take these differences into account. Hundreds of thousands of texts representing many different genres have survived from the ancient Near East on a variety of media. The concept of divine election is fairly well attested in texts from throughout the region; however, the following examples are primarily drawn from Mesopotamian texts Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian.
Passages in these texts that deal with election show both similarities with and differences from expressions of election preserved in the Hebrew Bible. Claims of election are always preserved in some literary-historical context. Kings, it was believed, were able to accomplish such practical things as building walls, temples, and canals and winning battles because they had been chosen to rule with the sanction of the gods. Some election claims, however, include a specific indication of the chronological point at which election is claimed to have taken place.
The following examples, arranged chronologically but detached from their contexts, illustrate this point well:. Such grand claims of election to royal reign demonstrate that there was an enduring tradition in ancient Near Eastern cultures for many, if not all, kings to claim they were chosen by deity to rule their countries or even larger regions.
What is not presently clear, however, is what difference, if any, was implied when a ruler claimed election while in his youth rather than in the womb or even before the creation of the earth see below. The preceding examples of claims of divine election in ancient Near Eastern texts provide a representative overview of the types of claims that survive from an extended period of time. An in-depth study of these claims of divine election a gigantic undertaking first requires a thorough examination of election claims in all time periods of each country or region before broad assertions about specific similarities and differences can accurately be made.
Hopefully these few examples are sufficient to indicate the general similarities and differences between ancient Near Eastern and biblical claims. It is not now possible to fully determine how those living in the ancient Near East understood claims of divine election. However, the following statement by H. The restoration of light and truth that began with the appearance of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith in provides a unique doctrinal perspective that brings added insight to our understanding of ancient texts, scriptural and otherwise.
It should thus come as no surprise that Restoration perspectives influence the interpretation of election claims in the Hebrew Bible and in other ancient Near Eastern texts. It is not the purpose of the final portion of this study to provide a complete discussion of the Latter-day Saint understanding of the doctrine of election. There was, of course, borrowing of some literary styles and forms among ancient Near Eastern peoples, including the Israelites. However, in the Restoration view, the concept behind election claims did not originate through human fabrication but through the dissemination of revealed truth.
This viewpoint is clearly expressed in the following statement by Elder Neal A. Catholicism would become the state religion, and Parliament would be dispensed with.
Sidney alludes to this event in the Discourses, III. They mobilized the electorate all the way down to the common people. They wrote books and pamphlets exposing the crisis. Historians have sometimes been inclined to discount the republicanism of Sidney and other Whigs. The contest between Parliament and king has been portrayed as a quarrel among rival elites from which the people were largely excluded.
However, the Whigs really did have strong roots among the common people. In many parliamentary electoral districts there was virtually unlimited manhood suffrage—a condition that disappeared from post Britain until the late nineteenth century.
The Whigs strongly supported this increasingly democratic electoral politics, Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiv ] and their arguments for equality and liberty gave it a theoretical foundation. The French were secretly providing monetary support to Charles II, but also to leading opposition politicians. Their policy was to keep England weak by playing Parliament and king off each other.
He let it be known that he intended to rule thenceforth without it.
Sidney and his fellow Whigs believed the situation was desperate. Legal opposition had failed.
There was to be an armed insurrection, supported by an uprising in Scotland. The assassination of King Charles, definitely planned, may have been approved by Sidney. Parliament would then settle the affairs of the realm. Organizing the plot took time, and before the conspirators were ready to strike, Sidney and many of the other principals were betrayed. The political philosopher John Locke never worked closely with Sidney, but he was part of the same conspiracy.
Locke saved himself by fleeing England the moment the conspiracy was discovered. On June 26, , Sidney was arrested on a charge of treason. The most egregious wrong was in the want of legal evidence. Two witnesses were required for conviction.
The prosecution produced but one, Lord Howard, who could only testify to having heard Sidney and others discussing arrangements to contact Whigs in Scotland; he could not report definite plans to make war on the king, as the indictment alleged. He was convicted and condemned to death. But unlike Socrates, Sidney did request permission to go into exile. This was denied.
In his last letter, privately written to a friend, Sidney faced death calmly and courageously, without any flourishes. One who attended his execution reported:. In the paper that he gave to the sheriffs, intended for publication, Sidney set forth the injustice of the trial and strongly affirmed his political principles. The paper concluded with this prayer, expressive of his spirited and political Christianity:.
The Lord forgive these practices, and avert the evils that threaten the nation from them! The Lord sanctify these my sufferings unto me, and, though I fall as a sacrifice to idols, suffer not idolatry to be established in this land! Bless thy people, and save them. Defend thy Edition: current; Page: [ xxxvi ] own cause, and defend those that defend it. Stir up such as are faint; direct those that are willing; confirm those that waver; give wisdom and integrity unto all.
Order all things so, as may most redound to thine own glory. Grant that I may die glorifying thee for all thy mercies; and that, at the last, thou hast permitted me to be singled out as a witness of thy truth; and even by the confession of my opposers, for that OLD CAUSE in which I was from my youth engaged and for which thou hast often and wonderfully declared thyself.
I had from my youth endeavored to uphold the common rights of mankind, the laws of this land, and the true Protestant religion, against corrupt principles, arbitrary power, and Popery, and I do now willingly lay down my life for the same.
If those schemes had succeeded, the book might have served as a manifesto for the revolution. They failed, and the book remained unfinished. There is no doubt that Sidney was guilty of treason, just as Socrates was guilty of impiety and of corrupting the young—as those crimes were understood by the governments who executed the two heroes. Socrates was vindicated when readers of his Apology were persuaded that Athenian law was defective in light of a higher standard of justice.
Rather, it lies in his implicit appeal to a higher standard of justice, one that regards rebellion against tyranny not as a crime but as a benefaction. This is the argument of the Discourses.
It is the basis of the present edition. Weems, in two volumes ; New York, three volumes. French translations, repr.