This week in the Book of Mormon we’ll look at the writings of Mormon and whose son Moroni witnesses the complete annihilation of his people – the Nephites. Last week we saw how Zion/True Church collapsed because of the pursuit and lust of worldly wealth. What we get from Mormon is a progression of an Endtime apostasy that now includes every version of organized religion that all churches are polluted – chapter 8. Isaiah takes this Endtime apostasy further when he states that all churches are teaching corrupted doctrine – Isaiah chapter 28. But Mormon indicates that a remnant will be spared at the Endtimes – chapter 7. Finally, we'll add what we see here to the Book of Mormon's Endtime prophecy.
All Churches are Polluted by the People
In chapter 8, Mormon belabors the point that at the Endtimes all churches are polluted. What Mormon appears to be saying here is that the people themselves is what is polluting the churches and not their doctrine per se.
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. – Mormon 8:36
All Churches Teach Corrupt Doctrine
When we get to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah now is telling us that corrupted doctrine is found in all versions of organized religion including the priests and prophets of Ephraim. (we also see here Moroni admonish us to read Isaiah – Mormon 8:23)
7 These(Ephraim) too have indulged in wine and are giddy with strong drink: priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor. They are intoxicated with wine and stagger because of strong drink; they err as seers, they blunder in their decisions. 8 For all tables(churches) are filled with vomit; no spot is without excrement(corrupted doctrine). – Isaiah 28:7,8
Dr. Gileadi comments –
As the political and ecclesiastical leaderships of Jehovah’s people always appear on a par (Isaiah 3:2-4; 9:14-16; 24:2), so Ephraim’s “fat proud ones” (vv 1, 4) include its “priests,” “prophets,” and “seers” (Isaiah 56:10-12). Intoxicated with the wine of self-deception (v 15), they “stray,” “err,” and “blunder” ...... Instead of obtaining revelation from Jehovah (vv 9, 14, 16, 26, 29), they water down his word until it is ineffectual in empowering his people (vv 10-13; Isaiah 32:6). The best their spiritual feasts offer is “vomit”—partly digested food(Doctrines) regurgitated for Jehovah’s people to consume.
We can also link this scripture in the Gospel of Matthew –
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. – Matt 15:9
The Endtime Remnant
Is it any wonder that believers leave their churches when the shepherds of Israel scatter their flocks when they don’t teach the truth.
1 Woe be unto the shepherds that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. 2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. 3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. – Jeremiah 23:1-3
Working Out Our Own Salvation
The result of this scattering of the flock is that believers are left to themselves to figure out what is true. So where does one go to begin to restore their belief system. It seems to me, you go to the beginning - turning to God’s Law in the Torah because it provides structure, order and opens the door for receiving guidance from the Spirit. We next factor in the teachings of Yeshua who brought a fullness to the Law – Matt 5:17. To this, add the Book of Isaiah, which expands this structure and order to include a pathway of ascent through an understanding of the spiritual categories of Humanity – see Gileadi’s Isaiah Decoded).
Some may be perplexed by statements about the Law of Moses coming to an end like the one at 4 Nephi 1:12, which now appears to be a paradox.
Resolving the 4 Nephi 1:12 Paradox
In review, here is that verse in 4 Nephi –
12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
The most plausible explanation of this verse is that it is associated with Israel’s sacrificial system. In fact, the Book of Mormon consistently links the phrase “Law of Moses” with the Atonement – the Messiah’s sacrifice to save Humanity. So when we see statements like 4 Nephi 1:12, these performances and ordinances of the Law of Moses are referring to Israel’s sacrificial system administered under the Levitical Priesthood, which will change. Under the Melchizedek Priesthood we can see how the sacrificial system will change.
Proxy Salvation: Under the Melchizedek Priesthood, we have righteous men functioning as saviors. In a previous post, we saw that there are three levels of proxy saviors with Yeshua as our savior-god who atoned for the sin of Adam and Eve and for our own sins until we overcome them. We can see how the Burnt Sacrifice, which Israel administered everyday will be reduced.
Personal Sin: Another change that we will see in the sacrificial system is a reduction in the sin, guilt and trespass sacrifices since believers now have overcome personal sin, which sin is defined in the Law.
The Book of Mormon as an Endtime Prophecy
We can now expand our Endtime Scenario that we see in the Book of Mormon.
Well, like all prophecies, its a wait and see, which will either determine whether the Book of Mormon is fact or fiction!