This week in our review of the Book of Mormon we’ll look at chapter 21 of 3 Nephi. This is probably the most important chapter in the Book of Mormon because it details an Endtime scenario spoken by Yeshua Himself. In Judaism, the Jews order their scriptures by the degree of inspiration or the order of importance – God’s Word to Man - Torah, God’s Word through Man – the Prophets and Man’s Word to God – the Writings. So everything set out in the scriptures must be in harmony with the with what God says directly to man – it takes precedence. Here in chapter 21 Yeshua set out a sequence of events that apply directly to the Times of the Gentiles – the Latter-Days and the Endtimes. This week we’ll look at this sequence of events, an overview of the Times of the Gentiles and finally what are the take-aways for our understanding of the Latter-Days. Next week in part 3, we’ll look at the Endtimes.
Yeshua’s Endtime Scenario
Yeshua sets out an Endtime scenario in the context of the Times of the Gentiles culminating with the gathering of the House of Israel -
The Times of the Gentiles
When we look at events that happen during the Times of the Gentiles – Luke 21:24;Romans 11:25, we can see four periods of time – an initial restoration of the Gospel under the Messiah and the twelve apostles when the Jews reject Yeshua and the Gospel is taken to the Gentiles, then a period of darkness and a general apostasy, then the latter-days and the founding of America, and finally we see a time of the fullness of the Gentiles when the fullness of the Gospel comes forth.
Yeshua’s narrative of His Endtime scenario opens with a brief discussion of the latter-days. So lets examine what we see and what we don’t see for the latter-days.
God Establish a Free Nation Under God – V.4
The first event we see in Yeshua’s narrative is that the Gentiles enter into a covenant with God to establish a free nation, which we see in America’s Declaration of Independence. Moreover, it is the laws of freedom that God revealed to ancient Israel that promulgates this freedom.
The Book of Mormon is a Sign – V. 5-8
The second event Yeshua mentions during the latter-days is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon through the Gentiles as a sign. Yeshua mentions no other purpose here except that it represents a sign that He will remember His covenant with Abraham and gather the House of Israel.
A Latter-day Church?
When we look at verses 5 through 8, we see the Gentiles bringing forth the Book of Mormon, but nowhere with the Book of Mormon prophets or Yeshua Himself do they specifically mention establishing a latter-day church. If the Messiah had established a latter-day church we would have expected to see it here in chapter 21 and also in chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Nephi. What we see in chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Nephi is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon beginning at verse 35 through 38 of chapter 13. Then in verses 1 through 6 of chapter 14, Nephi starts again warning the Gentiles of hardening their hearts, but nowhere do we see Yehovah establish a latter-day church. We don’t see Yehovah/Yeshua establish a church until after the Endtime Servant arrives and restores the fullness of the Gospel. This church is called the Church of the Lamb of God.
So, essentially, we can’t verify that the church founded by “restored’ Christianity is authorized by God.
Our primary take-aways that we see here in the Latter-Days include -
1. The Law was a source of freedom that we see in the Book of Mormon, the source of freedom in America and is still relevant.
2. The Book of Mormon is by and large a sign that Yehovah is preparing to gather His people - the House of Israel.
3. Yehovah/Yeshua in the Book of Mormon does not indicate that a latter-day church will be established.
4. Believers are to prepare for the arrival of God’s Endtime Servant who will restore the fullness of the Law and Gospel with power, which will include the Book of Mormon being taught with power within a Fullness of the Law paradigm.
5. And, Believers are to prepare to gather with others to the Church of the Lamb of God.
We'll cover this next week in Part 3.