THE MEANS BY WHICH ABRAHAM WAS TAUGHT ASTRONOMY.--THE ABRAHAMIC SYSTEM OF ASTRONOMY.--FROM THE EARTH TO KOLOB.--THE SYSTEM PROVEN TRUE BY RECENT RESEARCH.--TESTIMONY OR VARIOUS AUTHORS.--ALCYONE.--MR. PETRIE'S TESTIMONY.--ADMISSIONS THAT THE ANCIENTS WERE TAUGHT SCIENTIFIC TRUTHS BY DIVINE REVELATION.
A BRAHAM tells us that there were three ways by which he received his knowledge of astronomy.
1st. Through the records handed down to him from the antediluvian patriarchs.
2d. By the use of the Urim and Thummim, which he received from the Lord in Ur of Chaldea.
3d. By direct communication with the Almighty, who, face to face, and with His own voice, explained to him the laws that govern His countless creations.
The system of astronomy revealed by God to Abraham is so vast, so grand, so comprehensive, that no uninspired man ever searched out its depths or ascended its heights. Occasionally a patient searcher after truth caught a faint glimmer of its glory, but that was all. But they none learned as Abraham learned, nor did the profoundest astronomers of forty years ago have aught but the most meagre and vain conception of the truths given to the world by Joseph Smith in his inspired translation of Abraham's record. Indeed, the truths there set forth are, today, scarcely recognized by the more conservative schools of astronomy, it is only the more daring minds that accept them, even in part.
The great truths told by Abraham regarding the starry hosts of heaven are recorded thus: "I saw the stars that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones that were near it; and the Lord said unto me, These are the governing ones: and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God; I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order of that upon which thou standest. And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolution thereof, that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord's time, according to the reckoning of Kolob."
In other words these great, governing planets control all others in their revolutions, or are the centres around which the others revolve. As the moon revolves around the earth, and the earth with the other primary and secondary planets belonging to this solar system revolve around the sun, so has the sun a centre around which it, with all its earths and moons, revolves, while this grand centre has a governing planet also, a sun or world around which it, with its attendant systems of suns and worlds, revolves, and so on until we come to Kolob, the "nearest to the celestial or the residence of God," which is the grand centre which governs all the suns and systems of suns "which belong to the same order" as our earth and those that move with it.
Still further than this the Book of Abraham teaches us:
1st. That Kolob is the greatest of all the stars seen by that patriarch.
That it is so because it is nearest to the celestial, or residence of God.
That it is nigh unto the throne of God.
That it governs all the planets which belong to the same order as this earth.
That it is after the reckoning of the Lord's time.
That it is after the manner of the Lord according to its times and seasons and the revolutions thereof.
That one revolution is a day unto the Lord.
That one day, in Kolob, is equal to a thousand years, according to the measurement of this earth.
That Kolob signifies first creation.
That it is the first in government, and last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time; which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit.
2d. That Oliblish stands next to Kolob.
That it is the next grand governing creation.
That it is equal to Kolob in its revolution and in its measurement of time.
That it holds the key of power as pertaining to other planets.
3d. That Enish-go-on-dosh is also a governing planet, which was said, by the ancient Egyptians, to be the sun, and to borrow (receive) its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash.
4th. That Kae-e-vanrash is the grand key, or governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also the moon (Floeese), the earth and the sun in their annual revolutions. That Kae-e-vanrash receives its power through Kli-flos-is-es or Hah-ko-kau-beam.
5th. Kli-flos-is-es and
6th. Hah-ko-kau-beam receive their light from the revolutions of Kolob.
To summarize: That this solar system is governed by Kae-e-vanrash, which is governed by Kli-flos-is-es or Hah-ko-kau-beam, which are governed by Kolob. Whether Oliblish belongs to the same order of systems as this earth, or simply holds the keys of power-pertaining to other planets, is not so apparent.
When Joseph Smith enunciated the sublime truths above noticed no such thoughts were prevalent amongst the students of astronomy. The Herschels had some inkling of the facts, but their ideas were crude and undeveloped. It was not until the Book of Abraham had been published in America, and if we mistake not in England also, that Sir Wm. G. Hamilton, of the Dublin University, advanced the idea that our solar system had a centre around which the sun and all its attendant planets moved. To-day the scholars in the most radical school of astronomy will only admit that our system has a centre, and that the probabilities are that that centre has a centre also round which it and all its satellites move. Further than this they cannot go. However, the little they do admit, confirms the mighty truths revealed to Abraham of old and Joseph of today. On the other hand, the followers of the more conservative schools will simply acknowledge that our solar system has a proper motion of its own, independent of its relative or apparent motions with regard to other stars. They admit that "relative to the general mass of stars, our sun is moving in the direction of the constellation of Hercules." They have come to this conclusion, because they find that the stars in that part of the heavens are continually growing brighter, (thus showing they are coming nearer,) whilst those in exactly the
opposite direction are as continually growing more dim. They have also discovered that "there are in the heavens several cases of widely extended groups of stars, having a common proper motion entirely different from that of She stars around and among them. Such groups they say "must form connected systems," or in other words, are all controlled by one and the same governing planet. It is also admitted that "the stars in all parts of the heavens move in all directions with all sorts of velocities; but they claim that the distances of the stars from the earth are so immense, and so short a period of time has elapsed since they first began to notice these movements, that they cannot with certainty say whether they are moving in circles or straight lines, it is only by analogy that they reason that they are moving around a centre. So little are some of these observers willing to admit, that Prof. Newcomb simply allows that "as our sun is merely one of the stars, and rather a small one too, it may have a proper motion as well as other stars." The Smithsonian report for 1871, speaking of Herschel, says: "The world can afford to wait. Astronomy advances. It may be, in the distant future, that the mysterious centre around which our sun and his worlds revolve, may be detected and afford a solution for other mysteries as well as these. The greatest astronomer is equipped for no more than a Sabbath-day's journey." Another writer remarks, "Madler attempted to show, from an examination of the proper motions of the stars, that the whole stellar universe was revolving around Alcyone, of the Pleiades (or 'seven stars') as a centre--a theory, the grandeur of which led to its wide diffusion in popular writing." Mr. Wm. Petrie, of London, writing with regard to this same star says: "Alcyone, a primeval name of the star, means the centre, and has quite recently been discovered to be really the centre around which even our whole solar system, amongst others, revolves."
Short as is this last quotation, it testifies to three things confirmatory of the divine inspiration that gave to the world the Book of Abraham.
1st. That this solar system has a central or governing sun or planet.
2d. That this fact was known to the ancients, who gave to this particular star the name of the centre.
3d. That in modern times this truth has only been "quite recently discovered." That is to say; Joseph Smith could not have learned it from living men or modern books, but only through the revelations of God.
And here let us observe that the word planet, as given by Joseph Smith to the suns, in common parlance called fixed stars, is scientifically correct, as a planet is a world that moves or wanders through space, and the common nomenclature of fixed stars is untruthful and scientifically incorrect, as none are absolutely at a standstill or fixed immovably in one place.
Elder Joseph L. Barfoot affords us the following additional particulars with regard to the revolution of the solar system around Alcyone. He states: "The entire march of our sun and its system around its centre is 25,868 years. (The period of the precession of the equinoxes.) I believe this to be the period of the solar orbit, and that there is some relation to this period and the sacred cubit (25.025) which may yet be discovered. The change of 50.1" per annum in the appearance of the stars as seen from the earth results from the orbital motion around Kolob or some other large body. This would be a degree in seventy-two years. Of course the orbit would be immense; the Lord evidently gave the Prophet Joseph an insight into the order of this grand eternal round, which I think is really pictured in the Hypocephalus.
"The earth rotates on its axis, and moves in its orbit by the power imparted to its mass by the solar forces; the deflective force from the line of the sun's motion, produced by the sun's rotation on its axis, and its progression around the centre of momentum of the system to which it belongs. And, since neither the earth, nor any other body of matter, has power without motion, so, in the sun's great power, we have evidence of its great progressive motion. The rotation of the sun of more than 6,500 feet per second would demand a velocity of progression of over 26,000 feet per second. Herschel, by observation, was led to conclude that 'the sun somehow moved towards Hercules with the velocity of the earth, or 100,000 feet per second,' and to infer that the sun actually describes 'a great orbit around some undiscriminated centre.' Sir R. Phillips analogically estimated the size of this orbit, and announced that with equal centripetal and centrifugal force, it would require an orbit of 162,885 millions of miles, performed in exactly 25,868 years, the period of the precession of the equinoxes.
"And as the earth and the other planets of this system rotate by reason of the central solar motion, and turn on their axis by being deflected from a right line in their respective orbits, Philips has shown that the sun and all other planets rotate, as a result of the operation of the same law of motion, and the fact that its satellites move in elliptical (egg-shaped, to be exact) orbits shows that the solar centre is advancing.
"That this earth is part of a system that suffers no permanent change, is seen in the unvarying order of the eclipses, which return in periods of eighteen years and eleven days, if there are four leap years, and in eighteen years and ten days, if there are five leap years in the period. And although astronomy does not yet recognize the different orders of planets alluded to in the Book of Abraham, the teachings of science are all tending to show that there are great governing, central forces and periodic cycles."
Having thus shown that present research and investigation are proving the astronomical truths first given to this generation by that unlearned but heaven-inspired man, the Prophet Joseph Smith, we have next to show that the Egyptians were familiar with them, and that they learned them through the teachings of Abraham. To have done this some fifteen or twenty years ago would have been next to an impossibility; but to-day, through the researches of various talented and earnest men, it can be demonstrated with comparative ease.
But before we attempt to prove that Abraham was actually the instrument used of God to instruct the Egyptians in the mysteries of the starry worlds, we will present a few extracts, from various writers, to manifest that even the scientific world is beginning to admit that the Egyptians obtained their knowledge of astronomy through divine agency or revelation, as it was entirely out of their power in those early postdiluvian days to make such stupendous advances in this science with the instruments and learning then at their disposal, without they received such aid from records, etc., of antediluvian times.
Rev. Mr. Mackay, referring to some of the astronomical truths known to the ancient inhabitants of the land of the Pharaohs, states that he believes they were "revealed to man, ages and generations before science had any existence," and strange to say, the truths to which this gentleman refers have a direct relation to those contained in the Book of Abraham. Mr. Wm. Osborn, in a sketch of the history of ancient Egypt, remarks: "According to Moses, moreover, the age that produced by far the most remarkable of those monuments (the pyramids) was one in which the Almighty had frequent and familiar intercourse with man, as in the case of the patriarchs, Abraham, Melchizedek and Job; while the monument itself evinces innumerable evidences of a knowledge and wisdom to which unaided humanity has nowhere ever attained."
Rev. Mr. Goodsir, from the demonstration of facts akin to the foregoing, remarks: "The conclusion that some men in primeval times were taught by God, for important religious and moral purposes, scientific truths which modern men of science are only now discovering, is maintained on the strength of two lines of evidence--first, the freedom of scripture rightly interpreted from scientific error, and from the religious and moral errors witnessed among the pagans as the result of ignorance and errors in science: and second, the possession by primeval man of such scientific knowledge as we are only now reaching, as demonstrated by the great pyramid. Certain things render it extremely probable that this knowledge was imparted to the Ethnics [the gentiles] (who employed it in constructing the great pyramid) by servants of God, whom He had taught; and though ultimately corrupted and obscured by the pagans, still it is highly probable that, evincing its truth even from the midst of enveloping error, this scientific knowledge continued to stimulate the Egyptian, and afterwards the Greek, mind to scientific inquiry. * * * For as there is the clearest evidence that a revelation of religious truth existed in primeval times, and continued to benefit men, even when it became more or less corrupted, so is there as clear evidence that men were primevally instructed in the most important cosmologic and scientific truths. * * * The extreme probability is that a true scientific conception of the Kosmos in general would be at first conveyed to man directly by God, to guard his intelligent and highly-favored child from nature worship."
That God did use Abraham, as stated in his book, to convey astronomical knowledge to the Egyptians, is, we think, fully demonstrated by the following: Josephus (book 1, chapter viii,) states that Abraham "communicated to them (the Egyptians) arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy, for before Abraham came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning, for that science came by the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from them to the Greeks also."
This is very strong corroborative testimony, but modern research actually claims to have discovered the year in which Abraham did this. The British text book already referred to, entitled "Facts and Dates," published in 1870 by the well-known firm of Wm. Blackwood & Sons, of Edinburgh (we are particular in giving details, to show that it proceeds from a reliable and highly respectable firm), in its history of ancient Egypt, gives the following:
"B.C. 1980. Abraham teaches the king of Egypt the true chronology, after which the inscriptions bear the name of the year and month."
So far as the actual year is concerned, we deem it a matter of minor importance, so that the fact is acknowledged, and the truth of modern revelation vindicated.
 " Popular Astronomy, 1878," by 'Professor 8. Newcomb, of the United States Naval Observatory.
Next: Chapter 8