Abrahamic Covenant in the JST/Book of Moses


This morning I was hoping to quickly review my reading of the Abrahamic Covenant in the Book of Moses. I was embarrassed that I had to look up an old post I had written in order to remember it.😦  But here’s the old post, for anyone who’s interested (or really, so I can have the link handy🙂 )

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 7: The Abrahamic Covenant (and how it relates to Adam & to us)

Joe has been working on the Abrahamic Covenant from the perspective of Genesis, and how that perspective plays out in Isaiah, Paul, and the Book of Mormon. It’s interesting to see how his work is similar but in many ways different from what I see going on the Book of Moses/JST. I’m interested to see what else he/we learn as his project moves forward.


Genesis 1 thought


I noticed that in verse 2, there are three things that are already there: darkness, earth, and waters. Then in the first 3 days, things get added to them: light gets added to darkness, air gets added to water, and plants get added to earth.

We pointed out last night that when light is added, it is really time that is added: daytime.

It’s like light divides one darkness from the next darkness, and air divides one water from next water, and plants divide one area of wilderness from another?


Notes to self from study group


Note to self: see how “church” is used — because:

3 Nephi 5:12 And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after theland of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression.

When was this church before?

Alma 10 — Also, are lawyers “judge-craft” — like priestcraft — and Nehors are priestcrafter and ammonihah group are leftovers and they have the first lawyers

compare King Benjamin and his proclamation and equality and King Mosiah and proclamation and equality (they did esteem him above any other man)


Moroni’s final words + title page


(Just for fun, I wanted to see what it would sound like to read Moroni’s final words in connection with the title page, since that was also written at the end of the Book of Mormon. Here’s how the title page and at least some of Moroni 10 sound back to back:)

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

(Moroni 10:)

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.

7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.

8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.


Consecrating priests, Holy Order, in the Book of Mormon


I did just a quick search in the Book of Mormon for “consecrate” and noted how it was used in a sentence when it was talking about consecrating people. I noticed that it could be a king who was consecrating another king; it could be a people who were consecrating a leader; it could be a high priest who was consecrating other priests and teachers; it could be a person who simply had authority to consecrate priests and teachers. The word is also used to talk about other things: God consecrated the land for the inheritance of Lehi’s people, for example; also, Jacob’s afflictions will be consecrated for his gain. The general sense of the word is “given purpose” or “set apart” or “designated” or “changed in nature in order to be used for a new purpose.”

As far as priests and teachers go, which was my original question, it seems to me that “consecrate” means to “give a person authority to be a priest or teacher.” It designated them as people who could perform baptisms and could teach. Sometimes those stories I found mentioned priesthood, sometimes they did not. They almost always mentioned that the person who consecrated them had authority to do so, but it didn’t say whether or not that authority was priesthood. In fact, in some cases it seems that a person’s kingship was enough authority to consecrate new priests. King Noah is a prime example. It may be that he had some sort of priesthood, but that isn’t what the text focuses on. I think it was rather that his position as king gave him authority to designate who would be his priests in his court.

“Holy order” works a bit differently. First of all, it’s only talked about in 2 Nephi 6:2 (Jacob), in Alma, and in Ether 12:10 (Moroni’s discussion of faith). It really is something Alma has made a central issue of his teaching and thinking. But the fact that Jacob brings it up is interesting, and that Moroni talks about many people who were after this order. Also, Alma talks about the holy order not just when he is talking about who is ordained to preach, he talks about whole congregations “walking after” the holy order, and that they have been “brought into this church” by the holy order.

There are several places where it seems clear that the holy order is all-but equated with the high priesthood. Several times in Alma we get the words “the high priesthood of the holy order of God” and later in Alma 13 Alma says “Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood…”.

It could be that what happens to Alma the elder is exactly a restoration of the holy order, and that when Jacob’s priestly lined died out so did the holy order. It seems like Mosiah reveres Alma as having some authority to do Church-related things that he himself doesn’t. So it’s as if kings have had authority over religious life, and still do, and can still consecrate priests and teachers, but there is something else going on with high priesthood as well.

Having the kingship replaced by judges may have opened up some room for confusion about the high priesthood. With kings, it seems there was the government, and there were priests the government set up to teach religious things. Then when Alma comes, we have government, priests the government set up, and then a Church with some who claim another priesthood not set up by the government. When the kingship is dissolved and judges replace them, what happens to government-sponsored priests? Are there any? Or could it appear to many that the Church priests are now the government-sponsored priests? If the have taken that role on, then are they seen government-consecrated priests or as they something different?

Those sort of complex cultural question seem to me to form part of the backdrop for Alma’s speeches in Ammonihah. He spends so much time explaining the holy order and high priesthood that I can only assume this wasn’t well understood in that city. Though, it seems it was in the cities he visits previously — those who are walking after the holy order, as it says.

Anyway, interesting clues to Nephi society, and potentially helpful clues to better understand Alma 13.🙂


Timeline in 3 Nephi 21


Christ says he’s going to give a sign, that the people may know the time when the things Isaiah says about the gathering are about to take place.

The gathering is also referred to as “the covenant,” because God covenanted to always remember Israel. Gathering them out of the nations after they have been scattered and married into other nations for hundreds (even thousands) of years is a miraculous achievement and proof that God still remembers scattered Israel long after everyone on earth (even Israel itself) has forgotten who they are.

  • v.2-6: The sign happens when the things that Christ is telling the Nephites/Lamanites now (and will continue to tell them by the Holy Ghost) are made known to the Gentiles,
    • And this means the Gentiles are aware of the Nephite/Lamanite descendants as a remnant of Israel
    • And not only that, when these things that are being told now, and will be, and will be written, are then given to them, that is, their descendants
    • Because, well, it is wisdom that Gentiles will be here in this land, so that they can give them to their descendants,
      • And that is because then the Gentiles might see God’s power, and when they see it, they might repent and become numbered as if they were Israel too
  • v.7: This is the sign he gives the Nephites/Lamanites: when these very things that they are hearing and writing down are beginning to be known by their own descendants — that is the sign that things in Isaiah about gathering are already beginning to be fulfilled.
  • v.22-24 If the Gentiles repent, God will establish a Church among them, and the Gentiles will be able to “come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this remnant”
    • Then they will help gather the remnant — and any other members of Israel — in order to build a city — a New Jerusalem.
    • Then, after that, they will help gather Israel into the city.
    • And after that, the power of heaven will be in the city — and then even God will come and dwell in the New Jerusalem
  • v.26-28 And also,* the Father will do an even bigger work: He will begin to gather in “all the dispersed” of Israel, even the tribes which are lost
    • The Father will begin to prepare the way that they will not only be gathered, but will come to Christ so that they can pray to the Father
    •  The Father will begin to work among all nations, so that the way is prepared for him to gather home all Israel to the land of their inheritance

 

*It is unclear to me when the things in v.26-28 are happening in this timeline. (1) The words “and then” could be that these things happen after the city is built and Israel is gathered and Christ has come to be with them. One thing is accomplished, and then the next marvelous work begins. (2) The words “even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people” could mean that we are showing another marvelous work that will begin at the same time as the events in v.22-24. That is, the events in v.26-28 could be happening in parallel with the events in v.22-24. I don’t think that I have a preferred reading as of yet.


Ammon, Aaron, and forsaking kingdoms


This round through Alma 17-22, I thought a lot about how each interaction that Aaron and Ammon have with the Lamanites could be being affected by the fact that Ammon and Aaron are princes who have given up their position. Or, maybe they were seen as being dethroned? Maybe they were seen as impostors? (not the real princes). When King Lamoni offers his daughter as a wife for Ammon, it could very well be because he is a prince. It could be setting up alliances between the Nephites and Lamanites. It could be that he thinks Ammon has defected to the Lamanites for real, but a prince would still make a good match for his daughter. It could be that he thinks he’s defected and that he’s a wise, impressive guy, and he wants to have someone like that in his family and ready to take up his place someday. All of these are possibilities if King Lamoni recognizes him as the son of King Mosiah (and I can’t tell how likely that would be or not).

The father of King Lamoni is less impressed with Ammon. Does his distrust and outrage go beyond the simple fact that Ammon is a Nephite and therefore “is one of the children of a liar”? If the father of King Lamoni recognizes Ammon as a prince, why else might he be upset? Does he suspect that this prince is here to trick his son out of his land?

Later, when Ammon is in the position to slay the father of Lamoni, he pleads “If thou wilt spare me I will grant unto thee whatsoever thou wilt ask, even to half of the kingdom.” Does he think that this is really why Ammon is here?

This same language comes up later still, after he realizes that Ammon is only here on honest goodwill efforts. When Aaron is teaching him, the father of Lamoni says that he will give up all his possessions to be filled with the joy that comes from the Spirit — “yea, I will forsake my kingdom that I may receive this great joy.” Note here that he’s not offering his kingdom to Aaron, as he did to Ammon, but simply says he will “forsake.” That is exactly what Aaron and Ammon did! If he is aware of this, then he’s listening to a man who forsook his kingdom because of the joy he felt in preaching this gospel, and here the father of Lamoni is saying “I will give up my own kingdom, like this man, in order to have the joy that he has.”

What an interesting thread woven into this story!


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