Okay, so I’m finally just doing a search for “law” in the scriptures. Yes it came up with 346 results. 🙂 Half of them seem to be “so-in-so, the mother in law of so-in-so” etc., so that cuts out some. 🙂
I’ll write out my review of the search results, which will give me a few directions to go from here: (yes, sorry, this blog is mostly written as stream-of-consciousness, which has usually been appropriate, when usually no one else is reading it… 🙂 But for those who may, please forgive the ramblingness & feel free to comment and help.) (Indeed, PLEASE DO!)
The Old Testament surely will have much reference to “the law” being the “law of Moses.” There’s more than that too, of course. This and that was given as a law to so-in-so. Law/Covenant sometimes paired (such as Psalms 105:4). Micah says the law will go forth from Zion, which is an interesting one of course. Malachi 2:6-9 were also interesting to me.
The New Testament usage of “law” is often Christ or Paul describing how to handle the law now that Christ has come. For example, Jesus says he did not come to destroy but fulfill the law. (Or it’s simply talking about Roman law, etc.) Once we get to Paul, there of course is a lot of work that could be done here – is he thinking the Law of Moses specifically or any “law” situation generally? It seems he is assuming his audience will think “law” refers to the Law of Moses, but because of that he also plays with it – “law of faith” etc. But of course lots lots lots to think here in Paul.
Book of Mormon. What do you do with Lehi’s talk? Everything before it refers to the law of Moses. But I can’t imagine that is what Lehi is talking about. But where is he getting this idea of “the law” if it is not the law of Moses? Is there any possible way he is talking about the law of Moses?
Nephi seems to continue to only refer to the law of Moses, but Jacob sounds like Lehi (as he often does). The only time Nephi seems to break from this is in 2 Ne 26, where he is telling his future people what do to about the law of Moses after Christ comes. “And after Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren; and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do.”
Most of what I see from the Book of Jacob through 3 Nephi is law as “local law” (such as law of Mosiah) or as the law of Moses. But what about Alma 42 etc? That’s worth thinking through at some point here. (And it sounds like 2 Ne 2 & 9 language, too.)
3 Ne 15 Christ talks about the law being fulfilled but not the covenant… I like thinking about law and covenant being separate but often coming together (such as what Roberta & I were talking about with the temple). For post law of Moses, see 4 Ne 1:12, Mormon 9:3, Moroni 7:28, and Moroni 8:8,22,24. Also Ether 12:11 is interesting.
And now the D&C! Yikes this should be interesting:
“ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me.” (41)
“ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church,” (43)
“this is according to the law and the prophets” (59)
“it is said in my laws, or forbidden,” (63)
“a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes” (68)
“benefits shall be consecrated … inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom” (70)
(Ah! D&C 84 – gospel, law of carnal commandments, much work to do there…)
Hmm. D&C 85, and elsewhere, it seems once D&C 42 is given that is the assumed referent to “law.” They receive properties, according to law, or here are some more directions, in addition to the law, etc. So “book of the law” here also seems to refer to D&C 42.
D&C 88 would have a lot to say on laws, of course..
“law of the celestial kingdom” (105) – law throughout here seems to be law of consecration
119 – law of tithing
D&C 128: “Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?”
“law, irrevocably decreed in heaven…” (130)
D&C 132 is revealed as a law, emphatically.
And in the Pearl of Great Price, I see only one reference to law:
“53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.”
(and so on, of course. The point being that law here referred to what was given to Adam and Eve, which seems to be how Lehi, Jacob, and Alma sometimes talk about “the law.”)
So here are some directions to go with “law.”