In this week’s review of the Book of Mormon, the central theme that we see is a corruption of the record of the Jews and a loss of God’s covenants. The puzzling thing is that as we look forward into the Book of Mormon, God’s covenants are not laid out in a nice structured format. Instead, what we see is that a restoration of a fullness of God’s covenants doesn’t occur until the Endtimes, which the Book of Mormon refers to as a marvelous work and a wonder when the wicked are destroyed and the righteous are delivered and enter the Millennial Age. But as individuals, do we have to wait for the End to have a relationship with God? Is Humanity left in limbo for hundreds if not thousands of years to come to know God? Here we’ll look at what covenants we can glean from the scriptures that we have today, what does the Book of Mormon contribute to understand God's truths that have been lost and a method for reconstructing God's covenants.
The Record of the Jews
Nephi sets out in Chapter 13 that a book will come forth to the Gentiles that is the Record of the Jews, which we can extrapolate is the whole of the Bible – both the Old and New Testaments. And that the Bible at one time included a complete set of God’s covenants before it was corrupted. However, as we read the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon does not expressly set these covenants in a structured format. In fact, the only covenants that the Book of Mormon expressly mentions is the Abrahamic covenant, which the Book of Mormon links to the restoration of the House of Israel – Mormon 5:20 and perhaps the Messianic Covenant. So essentially, we are left to return to the Bible and extract out of the Bible what remnants remain of God’s covenants and then petition God for more knowledge to reconstruct the balance of His covenants.
When we look that the Bible as it exists today, we can readily identify four covenants within the Law of God/Gospel – Messianic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Sinai Covenant and the Davidic Covenant.
The Messianic Covenant refers to Yeshua’s redemption of mankind from the sin and fall of Adam and Eve. The other three covenants are readily available in the Torah and Tanach. One thing that the Book of Mormon does clarify for us is that the “law of Moses” refers to the sacrificial system within the Sinai Covenant. We can say that because the Book of Mormon consistently links the phrase the “law of Moses” with the Atonement. So now our summary looks like this:
Plain and Precious Truths
So far what we have learned about God’s covenants is that the Book of Mormon does not expressly set out God’s covenants in a well-defined format. But what the Book of Mormon does do is clarify important doctrinal truths. Here we saw that the “law of Moses” really only applies to Israel’s sacrificial system because the Book of Mormon consistently links the phrase “law of Moses” with the Atonement. Moreover, we will see other doctrinal gems presented in the Book of Mormon that Nephi calls “plain and precious”, which will remove “stumbling blocks” that have been issues for the Gentiles to understand the Gospel. You might enjoy this post by Robert Kay – What are the Plain and Precious Things?
Another important truth that we see in this week’s reading is that the Gentiles are brought down into captivity by this “great and abominable church”. And why are they brought down into captivity? Because the Gentiles have bought into the idea that the Law in the Torah no longer is relevant, when in fact it was Torah Law – God’s Law - that made ancient Israel a free nation and for which we see is the basis for freedom in America.
We might wonder how we go about reconstructing God’s other covenants? One biblical concept to look at is the “Rule of Seven”. The number seven appear over seven hundred times in the Bible. We see the seven days of creation, the seven thousand years of the earth’s existence, the seven biblical holy times, the seven lamps of the Menorah, etc. The number seven represents a condition of completion, perfection and fulness. So we can expect that there are seven covenants! The next thing to do is to diligently study and receive knowledge from the Spirit to identify the other covenants. One covenant that we can start to identify is one linked to the priesthood – so there is a priesthood covenant. Then we can identify a covenant that establishes kingship, which is referred to as the Threshold covenant and is associated with Passover. And finally, we can identify a covenant that is linked with the sealing power, which can be associated with Enoch as he is first person to be taken, bound, sealed with heaven. So now our summary looks like this:
Process of Transformation
We can now link our seven covenants with the process of transformation - Redemption, Sanctification and Exaltation - that we saw in our previous post - The Son of the Eternal Father.