Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review - "The Hidden Christ: Beneath the Surface of the Old Testament"

I am grateful that my Granny loved the Old Testament. My first memories of hearing the stories of Abraham, Samuel, Samson and David where those days as a little girl when I slept over and she would tell me these stories as we snuggled in her featherbed.

The Old Testament has always been a VERY hard book for me to read. And I make quite a revealing confession when I say that I USED to refer to the Old Testament as “the Dead Scriptures.”

Coupled with a sincere desire to understand our course of study in Sunday School this year AND in reading The Hidden Christ, I have REPENTED of my wicked definition! And it has been my fault, not the writings within the Old Testament, that I have not paid better attention to the divine teachings and parallelisms found within this incredible volume of scripture.

There are so many revealing insights, that I will not EVEN begin to name them. That is primarily for the reader to discover, ponder and apply. But one truth I learned is this: The Old Testament applies very much to me and very much to our day. Who knew? Not me. But I do now!

Here are jeust a few of the things that come instantly to my mind of things I learned from Bro. Ferrell's book:

1. I finally get the whole Northern Kingdom/Southern Kingdom division and how Israel was scattered and why there are TEN lost tribes! I know, I know! I have been in countless number of (specifically) Gospel Doctrine Classes where “The Map” was drawn on the chalk board and things division explained, but my “I-wasn’t-interested-in-History in-high-school” brain (that really wishes that I paid the least bit of attention now), never got it. Until this book!

2. Dispensations. There’s the Dispensation of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Joseph Smith - which is called the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. I thought I understood the whole dispensation thing, but Bro. Ferrell puts it all into perspective and understanding and why the Great Apostasy was so great.

3. Okay. How about this one? I could never wrap myself around the story of David. I mean HE had everything to LOSE by doing what he did (adultery and pre-meditated murder). I could never understand why a man who was so great, could fall so far. I am grateful for Bro. Ferrell’s approach on how David’s spiritual anguish – his spiritual fall because of his great sin – can be seen as a archetype of the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane. Now I appreciate the stories of David so much more!

4. A chiasm is “an ancient literary structure, developed in its most intricate forms by the Hebrew, in which the elements of a passage repeat themselves in reverse order.” Our WHOLE journey - from the beginnings of the Fall of Adam to today is a chiasm. Here is one incredible chiastic example set forth in the book from Bro. Ferrell, who proposes “that the spiritual history of the earth as . . . history unfolds (and refolds) [is] a chiasm (p. 208).


A We lived with the Father and the Son
   B Satan and his followers were cast out
    C Creation of glorified earth
      D Man received an immortal body
        E There was peace on the earth among all creations
           F The Lord was present on the earth
              G Man fell due to sin and was cast out of the Lord’s presence (spiritual and physical death)
                  H The gospel was given to man, and preached throughout the earth
                     I A chosen people
                      J There was gross wickedness among man
                       K The fullness of the gospel was taken from the earth
                         L Christ loosed the bands of spiritual death
                         L1 Christ loosed the bands of physical death
                       K1 The fullness of the gospel was taken from the earth
                     J1 There was gross wickedness among man
                    I1 A chosen people
                 H1 The gospel was given to man, and preached throughout the earth
              G1 Man who, due to sin, will not be able to endure His presence, are destroyed
            F1 The Lord comes again to earth
         E1 There is peace on the earth among all creation
       D1 Man receives an immortal body
    C1 The earth receives its paradisiacal glory
 B1 Satan and his followers are cast out forever
A1 We live with the Father and the Son

This book is INCREDIBLE! Not that I have read a lot of books on the Old Testament, but this is surely the best book that I have read! It catered to my interest in WHY the Law of Moses is so significant and understand WHY the teachings found therein pertinent and applicable for me – TODAY!

Thank you, Bro. Ferrell, for sharing what you have learned so I can learn as well!

These two books by James L Ferrell are ones I also highly recommend:
The Peacegiver
The Holy Secret


  1. Thanks - Sounds like a great book that I would like to read. Another book that is great and is for all the scriptures is The Old Testament made easier by David Ridges. He goes thru all the scriptures and gives explanations as he goes along. He has some for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants etc.

    Thanks for all your insight. Always fun to read!

  2. I'm always up for a book hat can teach me stuff I don't know . . . and believe me, I don't know much!! I'll check out those David Ridges' books! And tell me what you think about The Hidden Christ!

  3. i second the David Ridges suggestion. i finally gained a testimony of the book of mormon while reading them...and i credit that testimony for my activity in the church today. his way of shedding light on the scriptures is amazing.