This week in the Book of Mormon we’ll review chapters 46 to 50 of Alma. What we see in these five chapters are multiple attempts to take control of the Nephite government by Amalickiah, who sought to overthrow the Nephite government and set himself up as a king. The Nephites were successful in preserving their government under the leadership of Moroni who rallied the people to affirm their covenant with God 46:21, which is a covenant of life. This week well examine this covenant of life and look at it in the past, present and future.
Covenant of Life Introduction
A Covenant of Life exists when we live those laws and principles that sustain physical life. Another way to look at this is that a Covenant of Life provides temporal salvation. Temporal salvation includes being free from disease, having sufficient water and food, and being safe from enemies. Under God’s covenantal promises, temporal salvation includes a perpetual inheritance of land, enduring posterity and physical protection. This triad of blessings from God is obtained through the laws and commandments that God has given to man.
Dr. Gileadi comments on this Covenant of Life in the writings of Isaiah,
Part VI of Isaiah’s Seven-Part Structure (Isaiah 28–31; 55–59) juxtaposes a Covenant of Life with a Covenant with Death. The themes of loyalty and disloyalty that pervade these chapters determine who among God’s people subscribes to one covenant and who to the other. Those who deceive themselves, who rely on human counsel and schemes, comprise God’s people who “covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:14–15; 29:10–15; 30:1–2, 8–14; 31:1). Scoffing at God’s word, they put aside his counsel in favor of their own, only to suffer the “utter destruction” God has “decreed upon the whole earth” (Isaiah 28:14, 17–22; 29:5–6; 30:15–17, 27–28; 31:2–4). Those who heed God’s voice, who inquire at his mouth, on the other hand (Isaiah 28:23; 30:2; emphasis added), don’t act irresponsibly … With them, he makes a Covenant of Life…:
The Nephite Covenant of Life
Alma gives us plenty of clues in these five chapter to establish what this Covenant of Life looks like here with these Nephites.
1. A belief in God, 46:10,12.
2. A free people, 46:10,12.
3. A people of peace, 46:12.
4. A prosperous people,48:25; 49:30; 50:18.
5. A people who were true believers in the Messiah/Christ, 46:13-15.
6. A people based on the family unit, 46:12;
7. A people who had safety from their enemies, 49:27.
8. A people who were preserved in battle, 49:23.
A Belief in God
Believing that all mankind will be accountable for their actions under the rule of a supreme authority -God- is paramount for maintaining order and justice in the Universe. Moreover, God has declared that if man desires to be in a relationship with Him, he is required to obey His law and commandments – John 14:15. These laws and commandments form the basis of God’s covenant of life with man.
A Free People
A free society recognizes that all men have basic inalienable rights and that government is instituted among men to preserve those rights. Under a godly society, those rights include the rights to life, liberty and property. A free society also means that the governed select their leaders, who will see that their rights are preserved.
A People of Peace
Peace includes not only quiet enjoyment of family and personal life, but it also means being free from the national conflict of war. By and large people just want to make a living, enjoy raising their families and live out their lives without conflict.
One of the repeating concepts that we see especially in the Book of Alma is that when the people lived the commandments they prospered in the land. Typically, this is economic prosperity because we see the people become material wealthy.
True Believers in Messiah/Christ
If there are true believers in Christ, then there must be false believers. It would be the position of this website that those who are false believers have rejected God’s Law-Word in the Torah.
The family is the basic unit of society and is the future of any culture. The health of the family unit is a barometer of the health of a society. If we see a disintegration of the family unit, we see a disintegration of a society.
Safe from Enemies
Throughout human history we see the perpetuation of conflict between nations. These conflicts are usually the result of not being a good neighboring country. Not respecting a nation’s sovereignty. And when a nation does become an aggressor, there must be a strong defensive plan and presence. We see that here when Moroni fortifies the Nephite cities.
Preservation in Battle
One of the tell-tale signs of a righteous nation under a covenant of life that we see here in the Book of Mormon, is that there is not a loss of life in an armed conflict of war. We see that here when the Nephite battle with the Lamanites and not one Nephite man is killed!
The Sinai Covenant: A Covenant of Life
All of these elements that we see in the Covenant of Life with the Nephites can be found in the Law that God gave to Moses and would have been available to the Nephites in the Brass Plates. Indeed, the Nephites would have used God’s Law in the Torah to establish their Covenant of Life. Yehovah sets out the blessings in His Covenant of Life He gave to Israel in chapter 28 of Deuteronomy. Moreover, Moses concludes with this declaration of life in the Law – Deu 30:15-20.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
America’s Covenant of Life
Another example where God’s covenant of life appears based on Torah law is in the covenant that America made with God. Indeed, many of the principle of life from the Torah are integrated into American’s national presence through her founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
An Endtime Covenant of Life
As great as America has been in sustaining life through her covenant with God, many of the Founding Fathers of America saw the establishment of America as a stepping stone to a fuller realization of God’s Covenant of Life with humanity. W. Cleon Skousen,
"I discovered that the Founders [of America] were in-depth students of the Bible, and equally familiar with secular history both ancient and modern. I was surprised that they knew we Americans would one day practice the revealed code of righteous law given to the Israelites by God." – The Majesty of God’s Law: It’s Coming to America.
This restoration will be executed by God’s Endtime Servant. Dr. Gileadi,
Those who heed God’s voice, who inquire at his mouth, on the other hand (Isaiah 28:23; 30:2; emphasis added), don’t act irresponsibly when God “lays in Zion a stone, a keystone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (Isaiah 28:16; emphasis added). With them, he makes a Covenant of Life: “Give ear and come unto me; pay heed that your souls may live! And I will make with you an everlasting covenant: [my]loving fidelity toward David. See, I have appointed him as a witness to the nations, a prince and lawgiver of the peoples” (Isaiah 55:3–4). God’s end-time servant, who personifies God’s covenant to his people (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8), fulfills that role.
The Covenant of Immortality
And finally, we have God’s Covenant of Immortality through the power of the resurrection through the Messianic Covenant as Yeshua as the Redeemer of all mankind.
Our summary looks like this,