Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
The LDS claims that Ezekiel 37:15-20 teaches that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are one in God’s hand. They say that the two sticks he joins together represent the Book of Mormon and the Bible. But that isn’t what Ezekiel says. He is discussing another subject altogether, the reunification of the nation of Israel. (They had previously split into two separate kingdoms, Ephraim and Judah, otherwise known as the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.)
If we take this passage in its correct context and ask ourselves who it was addressed to, we will discover that Ezekiel was sent by God to minister to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. His task was to encourage them not to give up hope. The message he gave was that the day would come when the dispersed tribes would return to their homeland, and that the whole of Israel would once again be united into one Kingdom under one King. And to illustrate their reunification he used two sticks, one representing the Northern Kingdom and the other the Southern Kingdom, which he grafted together so that they became as one.
In their attempt to give the false impression that the Bible promotes the Book of Mormon, the LDS has plucked this passage right out of its context. They have also stopped short of verses 21 and 22, that amplify the meaning of this passage. We have quoted those specific verses in bold print hereunder:
EZEKIEL 37:15-22, KJV
15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
Scholars call this deceptive tactic of omitting sections of a passage in order to change its meaning, selective quoting.
Another well known ploy the LDS has used, is to substitute words with different meanings, in place of those actually used by the Bible. This practice is known as word substitution.
They maintain that the two sticks mentioned in Ezekiel are two scrolls; the scroll of Judah representing the Bible and the scroll of Ephraim representing the Book of Mormon. But the Hebrew word ates, which is translated as "stick" in Ezekiel, is never, ever translated as "scroll." The word "scroll" is represented by a different Hebrew word altogether, ciphrah, which can also be translated as a roll or a book. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon hadn’t come into existence at that stage. Neither had he Bible been canonized. Many of the books in the Old Testament hadn’t yet been written. And the writing of the New Testament was still way ahead in the far distant future.
So why would Ezekiel be telling Old Covenant Jews (who were longing for their homeland and mourning over their captivity in Babylon), that the Bible and the Book of Mormon (two books that nobody knew about and that had nothing to do with the subject under discussion), were as one in God’s hand?
Ezekiel was not alluding to the Book of Mormon or the Bible. His subject matter was solely the reunification of the two split kingdoms.
The Book of Mormon denigrates the Bible by saying that only a fool would consider it to be adequate as a spiritual guide (2 Nephi 29:6, 10), and in other places it contradicts the Bible (2 Nephi 25:23, c/f Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.) So no true prophet of God would ever link the two together as being one in God’s hand.
The writer once spoke to a Mormon missionary who had been so discouraged by the way that the LDS consistently distorts what the Bible says to give it the appearance of fitting in with their own teachings, that he had decided not to bother to read it at all in his private capacity. He had reached the conclusion that anybody can make the Bible say whatever they want it to. In his mind this had invalidated it as a book of any standing and he felt that reading it would be an utter waste of time.
However, his statement that anyone can make the Bible say whatever they want, is only true if one is prepared to use deceptive means in order to make it appear to do so. And to treat God’s holy word in such a disrespectful way shouldn’t even enter our minds. There is only one true meaning to what the Bible says. And if it is read sensibly and prayerfully, with a humble, teachable spirit, taking into account the background, the immediate context and the subject matter as well as the “big picture” of the whole of the rest of the Bible, that one true meaning will become evident.
The whole object in reading the Bible should be to discover what God is saying to us and what we can learn from it; not to seek out devious ways and means of distorting it so that it appears to back up our own ideas and preferences.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies … ” (2 Peter 1:20-2:1, KJV)
The following article discusses the Book of Mormon’s background:
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Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.