This week we will review Omni to Mosiah chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon. In this week’s review, the central focus is on the leadership of King Benjamin who is king over the Land of Zarahemla. Some might just skip over this account of King Benjamin and think that he was a great leader and move on, but there’s really much more to this story because we see messianic elements in King Benjamin's leadership. So this is no ordinary kingship being set out here, this it is Davidic Kingship. Its no coincidence that we see King Benjamin as an example of Davidic Kingship because the Endtime Servants who gather Israel during the Endtime Dispensation that we saw in the last post are Davidic Kings. Moreover, its no coincidence that the Book of Mormon puts this example of Davidic Kingship right after Jacob’s last dispensation discourse because the Book of Mormon is intentionally linking the last or Endtime dispensation with Davidic Kingship that we see with King Benjamin. So this week we’ll go where the Book of Mormon wants to take us and look at the Davidic Kingship of King Benjamin.
As we read the rule of King Benjamin as our example of Davidic Kingship, we can see messianic elements. When we look at these messianic elements, they can be separated into three general aspects - Becoming Perfected, Reaching the Full stature of the Messiah/Christ, and Seeing God.
GENERAL ASPECTS OF MESSIANIC ELEMENTS
Reaching the Full Stature of Messiah/Christ
So let's take these messianic aspects and elements in this week's reading and review them as they appear.
A Holy Man
The first concept we see mentioned in the Words of Mormon about King Benjamin is that he was a holy man – Words of Mormon 1:17. As we have seen in previous posts, that when we see the word holiness used in the scriptures, it refers to God the Father who is also in a state of holiness and is a direct reference to Exaltation. So King Benjamin had reached an exalted state. Here is that summary of the process of transformation that was set out before.
Now we can integrate our general aspects of messianic elements.
Moreover, we see other holy men assist King Benjamin establish righteousness in verse 17 – if this is not priming us for an Endtime Dispensation scenario.
A King of Peace
The first element we see presented is that King Benjamin was a king of peace – Words of Mormon 1:18, Mosiah 1:1. In the scriptures, there has been more written about Yeshua (Jesus) establishing peace than any other individual – Numbers 6:24-26; John14:27; John 16:33; 1 Cor 14:33; 2 Thes 3:16. We also see that Melchizedek was a king of peace – Hebrews 7:2.
So these Endtime Servants as Davidic Kings are to be a kings of peace. In the scriptures, we see three modes for establishing peace.
Establishing the Law
Building Social Harmony
A Fullness of Knowledge
Our next messianic element that we see in Mosiah chapter one with King Benjamin is that he passes onto his sons a great knowledge of God that they might be men of understanding and know the prophecies of their fathers -v 2; so that they could fulfill the commandments of God – v 4; and that they might understand God’s mysteries – v 5. A concept that Dr. Gileadi sees in the Book of Isaiah is that the closer one becomes like God the greater is their knowledge. And the greater is one’s knowledge they more effective they are in teaching the truth and bring souls to God.
The Davidic Covenant
The messianic element of the Davidic Covenant we see here in verse ten is that leadership is passed from father to son. So we see King Benjamin pass leadership to his son, Mosiah. Moreover, we also see the Davidic Covenant in chapter 2 at verse 31.
A High Priest
Another element that we see here beginning in chapter 2 is that King Benjamin gathers the people to the temple, which is God’s dwelling place on the earth. So we see that King Benjamin is bringing his people into God’s presence, which is the duty of a High Priest on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. So we see that King Benjamin is functioning in the roll of a High Priest.
He also is acting in a priesthood function when he teaches his people about God and His gospel.
Moreover, another aspect of this gathering is that it has overtones of the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot where people gather together in tents. Sukkot symbolically represents the Millennium when the Messiah Himself comes down to rule among the righteous.
One of the most important elements of the Messiah is the concept of proxy salvation. Proxy salvation occurs when a perfected man, one who is blameless/without sin, suffers unjustly for others so that they might receive the protection of God. In the scriptures, we see perfect men like Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and Job who are qualified to function as proxy deliverers/saviors. Isaiah sets out King Hezekiah as our human example of a proxy deliverer.
Here we see that King Benjamin has been carrying this burden for his people, but now he shifts the responsibility to his people to be accountable for their own sins at verses 27 and 28 in chapter two. Later, we will see why he does this.
One thing that we don’t see in the account with King Benjamin is that we don’t see him seeing God and having his calling and election made sure. Its really hard not to consider after all these messianic elements that we see in King Benjamin, that he must have seen God.
A Zion People
The thrust of King Benjamin's address to his people from chapter 2 to 6 is to raise his people’s level of blessedness from Jacob/Israel to Zion/Jerusalem. That process entails being redeemed and sanctified that we see in our process of transformation. When a person has become redeemed (overcome universal sin) and been sanctified (overcome personal sin) they become God's covenant people and are called Zion. Next week, we’ll see how King Benjamin sets out this process.