The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church, considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has 67,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members reported by the church, as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Adherents referred to as "Latter-day Saints" or, less formally, "Mormons", view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as fundamental principles of their religion. LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ, though LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ from mainstream Christianity.
The church has an open canon which includes four scriptural texts: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price. Other than the Bible, the majority of the LDS canon constitutes revelation received by Joseph Smith and recorded by his scribes which includes commentary and exegesis about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the Bible, other works believed to be written by ancient prophets; because of some of the doctrinal differences, Catholic and several Protestant churches consider the Church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity. Under the doctrine of continuing revelation, Latter-day Saints believe that the church president is a modern-day "prophet and revelator" and that Jesus Christ, under the direction of God the Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its president. Individual members of the church believe that they can receive personal revelation from God in conducting their lives; the president heads a hierarchical structure with various levels reaching down to local congregations.
Bishops, drawn from the laity, lead local congregations. Male members, beginning in January of the year they reach age 12, may be ordained to the priesthood, provided they are living the standards of the church. Women are not ordained to the priesthood but do occupy leadership roles in some church auxiliary organizations. Both men and women may serve as missionaries and the church maintains a large missionary program that proselytizes and conducts humanitarian services worldwide. Faithful members adhere to church laws of sexual purity, health and Sabbath observance, contribute ten percent of their income to the church in tithing; the church teaches about sacred ordinances through which adherents make covenants with God, including baptism, the sacrament, priesthood ordination and celestial marriage —all of which are of great significance to church members. The history of the LDS Church is divided into three broad time periods: the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, in common with all Latter Day Saint movement churches.
The LDS Church called the Church of Christ, was formally organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830, in western New York. Smith changed the name to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after he stated he had received a revelation to do so. Initial converts were drawn to the church in part because of the newly published Book of Mormon, a self-described chronicle of indigenous American prophets that Smith said he had translated from golden plates. Smith intended to establish the New Jerusalem in North America, called Zion. In 1831, the church moved to Kirtland and began establishing an outpost in Jackson County, where he planned to move the church headquarters. However, in 1833, Missouri settlers brutally expelled the Latter Day Saints from Jackson County, the church was unable via a paramilitary expedition to recover the land; the church flourished in Kirtland as Smith published new revelations and the church built the Kirtland Temple, culminating in a dedication of the building similar to the day of Pentecost.
The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after a financial scandal rocked the church and caused widespread defections. Smith regrouped with the remaining church in Far West, but tensions soon escalated into violent conflicts with the old Missouri settlers. Believing the Saints to be in insurrection, the Missouri governor ordered that the Saints be "exterminated or driven from the State." In 1839, the Saints converted a swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River into Nauvoo, which became the church's new headquarters. Nauvoo grew as missionaries sent to Europe and elsewhere gained new converts who flooded into Nauvoo. Meanwhile, Smith introduced polygamy to his closest associates, he established ceremonies, which he stated the Lord had revealed to him, to allow righteous people to become gods in the afterlife, a secular institution to govern the Millennial kingdom. He introduced the church to a full accounting of his First Vision, in which two heavenly "personages" (God the Father and his
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils; the Oriental Orthodox communion is composed of six autocephalous churches: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Collectively, they consider themselves to be the One, Holy and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles.
Most member churches are part of the World Council of Churches. All member churches share a identical theology, with the distinguishing feature being Miaphysitism. Three different rites are practiced in the communion: the western-influenced Armenian Rite, the West Syrian Rite of the two Syriac churches, the Alexandrian Rite of the Copts and Eritreans. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, the Oriental Orthodox churches separated from the Imperial Roman Church over differences in Christology. Oriental Orthodoxy developed distinctively under the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt part of the Pentarchy, the only episcopal see besides the Holy See to maintain the title "Pope"; the majority of Oriental Orthodox Christians live in Egypt, Ethiopia and Armenia, with smaller Syriac communities living in the Middle East–decreasing due to persecution–and India. There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity; the Oriental Orthodox churches are distinguished by their recognition of only the first three ecumenical councils during the period of the State church of the Roman Empire –the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Oriental Orthodoxy shares much theology and many ecclesiastical traditions with the Eastern Orthodox Church. The primary theological difference between the two communions is the differing Christology. Oriental Orthodoxy rejects the Chalcedonian Definition, instead adopts the Miaphysite formula, believing that the human and divine natures of Christ are united; the early prelates of the Oriental Orthodox churches thought that the Chalcedonian Definition implied a possible repudiation of the Trinity or a concession to Nestorianism. Other differences include minor deviations in social teaching and different views on ecumenism. Oriental Orthodox churches are considered to be more conservative with regard to social issues as well more enthusiastic about ecumenical relations with non-Orthodox churches; the break in communion between the Imperial Roman and Oriental Orthodox churches did not occur but rather over 2-3 centuries following the Council of Chalcedon. The two communions developed separate institutions, the Oriental Orthodox did not participate in any of the ecumenical councils.
The Oriental Orthodox churches maintain their own ancient apostolic succession. The various churches are governed by holy synods, with a primus inter pares bishop serving as primate; the primates hold titles like patriarch and pope. Among these patriarchs, the Pope of Alexandria takes precedence, is sometimes considered the "face" of Oriental Orthodoxy; the Alexandrian Patriarchate, along with Rome and Antioch, was one of the most prominent sees of the early Christian Church, contains a majority population of Coptic Christians, unlike Antioch is still a major population center. That said, the Pope of Alexandria has no governing powers with respect to the non-Coptic churches. Oriental Orthodoxy does not have a magisterial leader like the Roman Catholic Church, nor does the communion have a leader who can convene ecumenical synods like the Eastern Orthodox Church; the schism between Oriental Orthodoxy and the adherents of Chalcedonian Christianity was based on differences in Christology. The First Council of Nicaea, in 325, declared that Jesus Christ is God, to say, "consubstantial" with the Father.
The third ecumenical council, the Council of Ephesus, declared that Jesus Christ, though divine as well as human, is only one being, or person. Thus, the Council of Ephesus explicitly rejected Nestorianism, the Christological doctrine that Christ was two distinct beings, one divine and one human, who happened to inhabit the same body; the churches that became Oriental Orthodoxy were anti-Nestorian, therefore supported the decisions made at Ephesus. Twenty years after Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon reaffirmed the view that Jesus Christ was a single person, but at the same time declared that this one person existed "in two complete natures", one human and one divine; those who opposed Chalcedon saw this as a concession to Nestorianism, or as a conspiracy to convert the Church to Nestorianism by stealth. As a result, over the following decades, they separated from communion with those who accepted the Council of Chalcedon, formed the body, today called Oriental Orthodoxy. At times, Chalcedonian Christians have referre
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. Published in 1835 as Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God, editions of the book continue to be printed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ; the book contained two parts: a sequence of lectures setting forth basic church doctrine, followed by a compilation of important revelations, or "covenants" of the church: thus the name "Doctrine and Covenants". The "doctrine" portion of the book, has been removed by both the LDS Church and the Community of Christ; the remaining portion of the book contains revelations on numerous topics, most of which were dictated by the movement's founder Joseph Smith, supplemented by materials periodically added by each denomination. Controversy has existed between the two largest denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement over some sections added to the 1876 LDS edition, attributed to founder Smith.
Whereas the LDS Church believes these sections to have been revelations to Smith, the RLDS Church traditionally disputed their authenticity. The Doctrine and Covenants was first published in 1835 as a version of the Book of Commandments, printed in 1833; this earlier book contained 65 early revelations to church leaders, including Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Before many copies of the book could be printed, the printing press and most of the printed copies were destroyed by a mob in Missouri. On September 24, 1834, a committee was appointed by the general assembly of the church to organize a new volume containing the most significant revelations; this committee of Presiding Elders, consisting of Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, began to review and revise numerous revelations for inclusion in the new work; the committee organized the book into two parts: a "Doctrine" part and a "Covenants" part. The "Doctrine" part of the book consisted of a theological course now called the "Lectures on Faith".
The lectures were a series of doctrinal courses used in the School of the Prophets, completed in Kirtland, Ohio. According to the committee, these lectures were included in the compilation "in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation." The "Covenants" part of the book, labeled "Covenants and Commandments of the Lord, to his servants of the church of the Latter Day Saints", contained a total of 103 revelations. These 103 revelations were said to "contain items or principles for the regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations which have been given since its organization, as well as from former ones." Each of the 103 revelations was assigned a "section number". Thus, the sections of the original work were numbered only to 102. On February 17, 1835, after the committee had selected the book's contents, the committee wrote that the resulting work represents "our belief, when we say this, humbly trust, the faith and principles of this society as a body."The book was first introduced to the church body in a general conference on August 17, 1835.
Smith and Williams, two of the Presiding Elders on the committee, were absent, but Cowdery and Rigdon were present. The church membership at the time had not yet seen the Doctrine and Covenants manuscript as it had been compiled and revised by the committee. At the end of the conference, the church "by a unanimous vote" agreed to accept the compilation as "the doctrine and covenants of their faith" and to make arrangements for its printing. In 1835, the book was printed and published under the title Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands alongside the Bible, the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price as scripture. Together the LDS Church's scriptures are referred to as the "standard works"; the LDS Church's version of the Doctrine and Covenants is described by the church as "containing revelations given to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, with some additions by his successors in the Presidency of the Church."
The 138 sections and two official declarations in LDS Church's Doctrine and Covenants break down as follows: Sections 1–134, 137: From the presidency of Joseph Smith Sections 135–136: During the administration of the Quorum of the Twelve Official Declaration 1: From the presidency of Wilford Woodruff Section 138: From the presidency of Joseph F. Smith Official Declaration 2: From the presidency of Spencer W. Kimball The following sections are not revelations, but letters, reports and other similar documents: 102, 123, 127–131, 134, 135, Official Declarations 1 and 2. In 1844, the church added eight sections not included in the 1835 edition. In the current edition, these added sections are numbered 103, 105, 112, 119, 124, 127, 128, 135. In 1876, a new LDS Church edition renumbered most of the sections in a chronological order instead of the earlier topical order, included 26 sections not included in previous editions, now numbered as sections 2, 13, 77, 85, 87, 108–111, 113–118, 120–123, 125, 126, 129–132, 136.
Previous editions had been divided into verses with the early versifications following the paragraph struct
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, in the deuterocanonical books, as well as in the Quran and the hadith. According to the Torah, the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were allied with the cities of Admah and Bela; these five cities known as the "cities of the plain", were situated on the Jordan River plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. The plain was compared to the garden of Eden as being well-watered and green, suitable for grazing livestock. Divine judgment was passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah and two neighboring cities, which were consumed by fire and brimstone. Neighboring Zoar was the only city to be spared. In Abrahamic religions and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, their fall with a proverbial manifestation of divine retribution. Sodom and Gomorrah have been used and today as metaphors for vice and homosexuality, although a close reading of the text and other Ancient Near Eastern sources suggest that this association may be incorrect.
The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages. These include the English word sodomy, used in sodomy laws to describe sexual "crimes against nature", namely anal or oral sex, or bestiality; some Islamic societies incorporate punishments associated with Gomorrah into sharia. The etymology of both names is uncertain, scholars disagree about them, they are known in Hebrew as סְדֹם and עֲמֹרָה. In the Septuagint these became Σόδομα and Γόμορρᾰ. According to Bob Macdonald, the Hebrew term for Gomorrah was based on the Semitic root ʿ-m-r, which means "be deep", "copious". There are other stories and historical names which bear a resemblance to the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah; some possible natural explanations for the events described have been proposed, but no accepted or verified sites for the cities have been found. Of the five "cities of the plain", only Bela or Zoara, is securely identified, it remained a settlement long after the biblical period; the ancient Greek historiographer Strabo states that locals living near Moasada say that "there were once thirteen inhabited cities in that region of which Sodom was the metropolis".
Strabo identifies a limestone and salt hill at the south western tip of the Dead Sea, Kharbet Usdum ruins nearby as the site of biblical Sodom. Archibald Sayce translated an Akkadian poem describing cities that were destroyed in a rain of fire, written from the view of a person who escaped the destruction. However, Sayce mentions that the story more resembles the doom of Sennacherib's host. In 1973, Walter E. Rast and R. Thomas Schaub discovered or visited a number of possible sites of the cities, including Bab edh-Dhra, excavated in 1965 by archaeologist Paul Lapp, finished by Rast and Schaub following his death. Other possibilities include Numeira, al-Safi and Khanazir, which were visited by Schaub and Rast; each of the sites showed evidence of burning and traces of sulfur. According to Schaub, who dug at Bab edh-Dhra, Numeira was destroyed in 2600 BCE at a different time period than Bab edh-Dhra. Another candidate for Sodom is the Tall el Hammam dig site which began in 2006 under the direction of Steven Collins.
Tall el Hammam is located in the southern Jordan river valley 14 kilometres northeast of the Dead Sea, according to Collins fits the biblical descriptions of the lands of Sodom. The ongoing dig is a result of joint cooperation between Trinity Southwest University and the Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 2019, it was further proposed that this ancient city was destroyed about 3700 years ago by a meteoritic explosion in the atmosphere equivalent to 10 megatonnes, laying waste over an area of 500 m², degrading the fertility of the local land. Professor Eugene H. Merrill believes that the identification of Tall el-Hammam with Sodom would require an unacceptable restructuring of the biblical chronology; the Jewish historian Josephus identifies the Dead Sea in geographic proximity to the ancient biblical city of Sodom. He refers to the lake by Asphaltites. Certain skeptics of the biblical account have theorized that, provided that the cities existed at all, they might have been destroyed by natural disaster.
One such idea is that the Dead Sea was devastated by an earthquake between 2100 and 1900 BCE. This might have unleashed showers of steaming tar, it is possible that the towns were destroyed by an earthquake if they lay along a major fault such as the Jordan Rift Valley. There is a lack of contemporary accounts of seismic activity within the necessary timeframe, however, to corroborate this theory. In 1976 Giovanni Pettinato claimed that a cuneiform tablet, found in the newly discovered library at Ebla contained the names of all five of the cities of the plain, listed in the same order as in Genesis; the names si-da-mu and ì-ma-ar were identified as representing Sodom and Gomorrah, which gained some acceptance at the time. However, Alfonso Archi states that, judging from the surrounding city names in the cuneiform list, si-da-mu lies in northern Syria and not near the Dead Sea, an
Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is the fourth of the canonical gospels. The work is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions, it is related in style and content to the three Johannine epistles, most scholars treat the four books, along with the Book of Revelation, as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author. The discourses contained in this gospel seem to be concerned with issues of the church–synagogue debate at the time of composition, it is notable that in John, the community appears to define itself in contrast to Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian community. Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, it separated from Judaism because of mutual opposition between the two religions; the Gospel of John, the three Johannine epistles, the Book of Revelation, exhibit marked similarities, although more so between the gospel and the epistles than between those and Revelation. Most scholars therefore treat the five as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author.
The consensus of modern scholars is that the Gospel of John was written in the genre of Greco-Roman biography. John contains many characteristics of those writings belonging to the genre of Greco-Roman biography, a) internally; the gospel of John went through two to three stages, or "editions", before reaching its current form around AD 90–110. It speaks of an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions, but does not say that he is its author. Christian tradition identified this disciple as the apostle John, but for a variety of reasons the majority of scholars have abandoned this view or hold it only tenuously; the scholarly consensus in the second half of the 20th century was that John was independent of the synoptic gospels, but this agreement broke down in the last decade of the century and there are now many who believe that John did know some version of Mark and Luke, as he shares with them some items of vocabulary and clusters of incidents arranged in the same order.
Key terms from the synoptics, are absent or nearly so, implying that if the author did know those gospels he felt free to write independently. Many incidents in John, such as the wedding in Cana and the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, are not paralleled in the synoptics, most scholars believe he drew these from an independent source called the "signs gospel", the speeches of Jesus from a second "discourse" source. Most scholars agree; the gospel makes extensive use of the Jewish scriptures. John quotes from them directly, references important figures from them, uses narratives from them as the basis for several of the discourses, but the author was familiar with non-Jewish sources: the Logos of the prologue derives from both the Jewish concept of Lady Wisdom and from the Greek philosophers, while John 6 alludes not only to the exodus but to Greco-Roman mystery cults, while John 4 alludes to Samaritan messianic beliefs. The majority of scholars see four sections in this gospel: a prologue.
The prologue informs readers of the true identity of Jesus: he is the Word of God through whom the world was created and who took on human form. John 1:10-12 outlines the story to follow: Jesus came to the Jews and the Jews rejected him, but "to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God." Jesus is baptised, calls his disciples, begins his earthly ministry. He travels from place to place informing his hearers about God the Father, offering eternal life to all who will believe, performing miracles which are signs of the authenticity of his teachings; this creates tensions with the religious authorities. Jesus prepares the disciples for their coming lives without his physical presence, prays for them and for himself; the scene is thus prepared for the narrative of his passion and resurrection. The section ends with a conclusion on the purpose of the gospel: "that may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that believing you may have life in his name."
Chapter 21 tells of Jesus' post-resurrection appearance to his disciples in Galilee, the miraculous catch of fish, the prophecy of the crucifixion of Peter, the restoration of Peter, the fate of the Beloved Disciple. The structure is schematic: there are seven "signs" culminating in the raising of Lazarus (foreshadowing t
Lot (biblical person)
Lot was a patriarch in the biblical Book of Genesis chapters 11–14 and 19. Notable events in his life include his journey with his uncle Abram and his flight from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, during which Lot's wife became a pillar of salt, Lot had sexual relations with his daughters so that they could bear children. Lot and his father Haran were born and raised in Ur of the Chaldees in the region of Sumeria on the River Euphrates of lower Mesopotamia. Haran died in that land before his father Terah. Genesis 11:26–32 gives the "generations of Terah", Lot's grandfather, who arranged for their large family to set a course for Canaan where they could reestablish a new home. Among the family members that Lot travelled with, was his uncle Abram, one of the three patriarchs of Israel. En route to Canaan, the family stopped in the Paddan Aram region, about halfway along the Fertile Crescent between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, they settled at the site called Haran where Lot's grandfather, lived the rest of his days.
He was 205 years old. Genesis 12 reveals Abram's obedience to the Lord at the age of 75, in continuing his journey to the land of promise. Though Abram's father, stayed behind, his nephew Lot went with him. There is no mention of Lot's having a wife yet, they went southwestward into the land of Canaan, to the place of Sichem, the present day West Bank of Nablus. They travelled south to the hills between Bethel and Hai, before journeying further toward the south of Canaan. After they dwelt in the land of Canaan for a little while, a famine overtook the countryside, they journeyed many miles farther south into Egypt. After having dwelt in Egypt for some time, they acquired vast amounts of wealth and numbers of livestock and returned to the Bethel area. Genesis 13 helps and discusses Abram and Lot's return to Canaan after the famine had passed and the lands became fertile again, they traveled back through the Negev to the hills of Bethel. With their constant movement and the sizeable numbers of livestock each family owned requiring pasture, the herdsmen of the two groups began to bicker.
These arguments became so troublesome that Abram suggested to Lot that they part ways, lest conflict continue among the "brethren". Although Abram gave Lot the choice of going either north or south, Lot instead looked beyond Jordan toward a well-irrigated plain and chose that land, for it seemed "like the garden of the LORD". Alas, ahead Lot could not foresee the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the transformation of the water into a saline sea. Abram headed south to Hebron, staying within the land of Canaan. Lot camped among the cities of the green Jordan plain and pitched his tent facing Sodom. Eight or so years before, the five kingdoms had become vassal states of an alliance of four eastern kingdoms under the leadership of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, they served this king for twelve years, but "the thirteenth year they rebelled." The following year Chedorlaomer's four armies returned and at the Battle of the Vale of Siddim, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell in defeat. Chedorlaomer despoiled the cities and took captives as he departed, including Lot, who by "dwelt" in Sodom.
When Abram heard what had happened to his "brother" Lot, he armed a rescue force of three hundred and eighteen of his trained servants and caught up to the armies of the four kings in the territory of the Tribe of Dan. Abram divided his forces, which attacked at night from multiple directions, the four kings fled northeast. Abram's pursuit continued and the "slaughter of Chedorlaomer" and the other kings was completed at Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram brought back "his brother Lot" and all the people and their belongings. Twenty four years after Abram and Lot began their sojourning, God changed Abram's name to Abraham, gave him the covenant of circumcision. Not long afterward, "the LORD appeared" to Abraham in the form of "three men" come to visit and have a meal with him, after two left to go to Sodom, "Abraham stood yet before the LORD." Abraham boldly pleaded on behalf of the people of Sodom, where Lot dwelt, obtained assurance the city would not be destroyed if fifty righteous people were found there.
He continued inquiring, reducing the minimum number for sparing the city to forty five, thirty and ten. After supper that night before bedtime, the men of the city and old, gathered around Lot's house demanding he bring his two guests out that they might "know" them. Lot went out and closed the door behind him and prayed that they not do such wicked things, offered them his virgin daughters, that had not "known" man, that they might know them instead, do with as they pleased, his response infuriated the men of Sodom who accused him of being judgmental and they threatened to do worse to him than they would have done to the men. Before they could harm Lot and break into the house, the men pulled Lot back in and struck the intruders with blindness, revealed to Lot that they were angels sent to destroy the place; this allowed a window of opportunity for Lot to make his family to leave. When he went out to the men that were engaged to marry his daughters, warning them to flee, they assumed he was joking.
As the day began to dawn, the angels urged him to leave.
Torah has a range of meanings. It can most mean the first five books of the 24 books of the Tanakh, it is printed with the rabbinic commentaries, it can mean the continued narrative from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, it can mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or rabbinic writings. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws. In rabbinic literature the word Torah denotes both the Oral Torah; the Oral Torah consists of interpretations and amplifications which according to rabbinic tradition have been handed down from generation to generation and are now embodied in the Talmud and Midrash. According to rabbinic tradition, all of the teachings found in the Torah, both written and oral, were given by God through the prophet Moses, some at Mount Sinai and others at the Tabernacle, all the teachings were written down by Moses, which resulted in the Torah that exists today.
According to the Midrash, the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world, was used as the blueprint for Creation. The majority of Biblical scholars believe that the written books were a product of the Babylonian captivity, based on earlier written sources and oral traditions, that it was completed during the period of Achaemenid rule. Traditionally, the words of the Torah are written on a scroll by a scribe in Hebrew. A Torah portion is read publicly at least once every three days in the presence of a congregation. Reading the Torah publicly is one of the bases of Jewish communal life; the word "Torah" in Hebrew is derived from the root ירה, which in the hif'il conjugation means'to guide' or'to teach'. The meaning of the word is therefore "teaching", "doctrine", or "instruction"; the Alexandrian Jews who translated the Septuagint used the Greek word nomos, meaning norm, doctrine, "law". Greek and Latin Bibles began the custom of calling the Pentateuch The Law. Other translational contexts in the English language include custom, guidance, or system.
The term "Torah" is used in the general sense to include both Rabbinic Judaism's written law and Oral Law, serving to encompass the entire spectrum of authoritative Jewish religious teachings throughout history, including the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Midrash and more, the inaccurate rendering of "Torah" as "Law" may be an obstacle to understanding the ideal, summed up in the term talmud torah. The earliest name for the first part of the Bible seems to have been "The Torah of Moses"; this title, however, is found neither in the Torah itself, nor in the works of the pre-Exilic literary prophets. It appears in Joshua and Kings. In contrast, there is every likelihood that its use in the post-Exilic works was intended to be comprehensive. Other early titles were "The Book of Moses" and "The Book of the Torah", which seems to be a contraction of a fuller name, "The Book of the Torah of God". Christian scholars refer to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as the'Pentateuch', a term first used in the Hellenistic Judaism of Alexandria.
The Torah starts from the beginning of God's creating the world, through the beginnings of the people of Israel, their descent into Egypt, the giving of the Torah at biblical Mount Sinai. It ends with the death of Moses, just before the people of Israel cross to the promised land of Canaan. Interspersed in the narrative are the specific teachings given explicitly or implicitly embedded in the narrative. In Hebrew, the five books of the Torah are identified by the incipits in each book, it is divisible into the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world, good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God; the Ancestral history tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people