I spent some time reading Christian comments on the idea of “oath” and “covenant” in the book to the Hebrews. As I read through their comments, I noticed how they traced the idea of a new covenant through Jeremiah and Isaiah, and even connected it when the Abrhamic Covenant. They showed that the new covenant of the New Testament was to be written in our hearts, and so the penalty of breaking such a covenant would surely be greater than breaking the law of Moses.
All of this sounds so much like D&C 84. The new covenant here is also connected to Abraham, and also suggests that this is a covenant written inside you, and has drastic consequences for breaking! It also suggests that this new covenant can take us into the presence of God.
So maybe when verse 48 and 57 talk about a new covenant or a renewed covenant, they are specifically referring to the new covenant that the 1830’s/1840’s audience would have recognized as the new covenant brought by Christ. But D&C 84 is suggesting that this new covenant has to now be renewed because between the early Church and Joseph Smith, things got off track. A restoration of the new covenant brought about by Jesus is what is being restored to them.
This makes sense, but isn’t exactly how I had seen this section before. It’s good for me to put myself into a position where I hear things as a non-Mormon Christian would here them, and then realized that this is how Joseph Smith’s follower would have heard these things. I have focused so much on how latter-day texts like the book of Abraham or Moses shed light on the oath and covenant that I forgot to first hear how these words would sound to the audience who first received them. (And then later, I should bring back those additional texts to see how they add even more knowledge on top of that.)