Doing a quick search today to see where Abraham is mentioned and how he is talked about in the Book of Mormon.
- The phrase “since the days of Abraham” or something similar is used often. Abraham is a beginning point.
- The phrase “the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob” as a title for God
- When the Nephites talk about the Abrahamic Covenant, it’s always something like: “which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (Here’s all 5 places that Abraham and seed are mentioned together.) The Nephites are talking about God remembering their people b/c of the covenant, but the way that they describe the covenant is just that part of it: in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Why? What’s the connection that guarantees that God will remember Israel, Nephites included? I guess it means that this seed needs to be preserved in order to bless the earth?
- 1 Ne 17:40 talks about God remembering Israel in Egypt – I’ve always read it as “He still likes them” – but now in light of what I’m reading in the last bullet point here, I see that God is remembering to preserve them, because they are the ones who will save the rest of the earth. He’s remembering them, but also the whole earth, by that gesture?
- Also Abraham, Issac, and Jacob are used as ideal good-guys – can you imagine yourself with them?! meaning, they were good, holy men. Ideals. Examples.
- Jacob talks about their keeping the Law of Moses and Abraham’s sacrifice as both acts which God accounts to them for righteousness. In light of all this work on Abraham so far, what were the reasons to appeal to Abraham in that manner?
- The curious exception and also validation to the idea that Abraham is a starting point in time for them is Helaman 8:16-19. Here is verse 18, which is where it goes beyond. The other verses, and this one too, imply still that Abraham is always a reference point: “Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them.”
This is the only place I found that specifically talked about those before Abraham, and were still using Abraham as a reference point in time. (Of course there are places that talk about Adam and Eve, for example, but those parts don’t talk about Abraham. When Abraham is talked about, time begins with him. Nephi (Helaman’s son) is doing the same thing as everywhere else, but then he slips in this extra part – even before Abraham people preached this! That must have sounded incredible and made an impact. Even before the beginning, or at least where they as covenant seed began…