Mormon 7

 

Covenant Obedience Brings Peace -

 3 Nephi 11 -- Mormon 7      Disobedience Brings Destruction


 

 

Mormon 7:2 Know Ye That Ye Are of the House of Israel . . . Know Ye . . . Know Ye:

 

     In Mormon's final closing message to the remnant of "this people who are spared" who might be privileged to read the words of his abridgment, he not only affirms to them that they are covenant people of Christ, but implores them to take advantage of that covenant, that they might "know" that they are "of the house of Israel" (Mormon 7:2). According to Donna Nielsen, a knowledge of scriptural marriage imagery can greatly enrich our understanding of how God relates to us through covenants. Nielsen notes that every Jewish bride longs to completely know her Bridegroom. In New Testament Greek, "to know" also means "to feel." It goes beyond mere intellectual knowledge and reaches into our hearts. [Donna B. Nielsen, Beloved Bridegroom: Finding Christ in Ancient Jewish Marriage and Family Customs, pp. 2, 139]

 

Mormon 7:2-5 Know Ye . . . (Anaphora):

 

     According to Donald Parry, parallelism is universally recognized as the characteristic feature of biblical Hebrew poetry. (p. i) Apparently, the prophets and writers of the scriptures employed the repetition of alternating parallel lines for the purpose of reinforcing their teachings and doctrines. (p. x)

     Anaphora is defined as an identical word or set of words which begin two or more consecutive clauses. Anaphoric clauses abound in the scriptures. (p. xxxvi) A good example of Anaphora is found in Mormon 7:2-5:

     Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel.

     Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.

     Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you.

     Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers,

[Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, p. 445]

 

Mormon 7:5 Know Ye Not That Ye Must Come to a Knowledge of Your Forefathers:

 

     According to Richard Rust, the Book of Mormon is prophecy designed specifically and intentionally for our day (see Mormon 8:35; 3 Nephi 26:12; 2 Nephi 3:19). When I say "designed," I mean not only planned with a purpose but shaped artistically so that form and content are totally integrated. . . . I have come to realize that the literary aspects of the Book of Mormon are essential to its purposes. . . . Imagery helps teach memorably and vividly the covenants of the Lord. Imagery also helps show latter-day Lamanites they are not cast off forever. For example, in its overall structure, the Book of Mormon begins and ends with concern for the Lamanites receiving the gospel. The Title Page states that the Book of Mormon was "written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel . . ." Reiterating the main points from the title page, Nephi says that through the Book of Mormon the Lamanites shall know they are of Israel and through it "they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ" (see 2 Nephi 30:1-6). Then toward the end, Mormon says much the same thing: "Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. . . . Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ" (Mormon 7:5). At the physical center of the book is the narrative of the conversion of the Lamanites. This central part begins with the decree of the king of the Lamanites that Ammon and his brethren should be free to preach the word of God throughout all the land, and ends with gratitude by these great missionaries for the thousands of Lamanite souls "brought to behold the marvelous light of God" (Alma 26:3). The narrative high point of the book is the ministry of the resurrected Savior. While discoursing to both the Lamanites and Nephites before him, Jesus as well speaks to their descendants, saying that the Book of Mormon "shall come forth of the Father, from [the Gentiles] unto you" (3 Nephi 21:3). He confirms the prophecies of Isaiah that in the last days the children of Lehi will be gathered both physically and spiritually. "Then is the fulfilling," he says, "of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel" (3 Nephi 20:12). [Richard D. Rust, "The Book of Mormon, Designed for Our Day," in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, 1990, pp. 2,16-17]

 

Mormon 7:5 Believe in Jesus Christ, That He Is the Son of God, and That . . . He Hath Risen Again:

 

     In some of his final words, Mormon admonishes those of the latter-days with the following:

           Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up. (Mormon 7:5)

 

     Jeffrey Marsh notes that the story of Jesus' life is not just a great story, it is true. C. S. Lewis eloquently described the Savior's life:

           Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among . . . [those who believe that the universe and the combined forces of nature make up God], . . . anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. . . .The really foolish thing that people often say about Him is that "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." . . . But a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or . . . something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."110

[Quoted in W. Jeffrey Marsh, His Final Hours, p. 5] [See the commentary on Mosiah 4:9]

 

Mormon 7:9 [The Book of Mormon] Is Written for the Intent That Ye May Believe [the Bible]:

 

     Robert Matthews notes that the prophet Mormon, addressing the Lamanites of the latter days, said:

           [You must] lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record [the Book of Mormon] but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews [the Bible], which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you. For behold, this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that [the Bible] ye will believe this also. (Mormon 7:8-9)

 

The Book of Mormon repeatedly makes reference to biblical things, both incidentally and deliberately. It boldly announces that one of its own purposes is to establish the truth of the Bible. This it accomplishes in at least four major ways:

     (1) First, by speaking of the historical verity of specific biblical events and persons. There are literally hundreds of such instances. Listed below (see illustration) are 106 specific points in which the Book of Mormon offers confirmation of the biblical record, and many of these are supported by more than one reference. Anyone who examines the list cannot fail to see that the Book of Mormon is a witness for the Bible.

     (2) Second, by quoting extensively from the biblical text, such as from Isaiah or Malachi. There are in the Book of Mormon numerous and sometimes lengthy quotations from the plates of brass. Since the plates of brass are a different manuscript source than is used by any of the versions of the Old Testament available today, they serve as a corroborating witness of the Bible. The Book of Mormon makes direct mention of things recorded in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi, Matthew, Luke, John, and the book of Revelation.

     (3) Third, by affirming that spiritual things are real and that there is a God in heaven who is the father of the human family. We find that on almost every page and in nearly every chapter of the Book of Mormon there is repeated reference to such things as God, angels, visions, revelation, miracles, prayer, baptism, Holy Spirit, blessings, divine intervention, cursings, punishments, and numerous items of a similar nature of that which is found in the Bible.

     (4) And fourth, by giving us a history of the biblical text and also making known and restoring some of the things that have been taken out of the Bible. The most extensive statement in all of the scriptures about the history of the Bible is found in 1 Nephi 13. Today we are able to ascertain by historical search most of the things of Nephi's prophecy, but not all. That there was tampering with the Bible text in the second and third centuries A.D. is evident to many biblical scholars. Marcion and others are known to have done this. But modern textual critics do not realize how extensive the changes really were. The earliest known manuscripts of the New Testament are dated two centuries or more after the time of the Apostles, except for very small fragments. The persecutions against Christianity in the first and second centuries seem to have helped destroy the manuscripts of that time. It seems that the earliest complete New Testament text available today--among which are the Vaticanus, the Alexandrinus, and Sinaiticus (all fourth century A.D.)--are of such a date that they represent the text in its reduced and altered form, not in its original state. When Constantine made Christianity the state religion of the Empire at about A.D. 313, he ordered Eusebius to prepare fifty copies of the New Testament. The great uncials--Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, etc.--are possibly survivors of this order.

        Nephi beheld that Gentiles would carry a book with them when they came to the Americas (1 Nephi 13:13-20). We note that the early settlers of America, including the Puritans or Pilgrims, and also early Catholic settlers, brought with them the Bible--the record of the Jews. Those on the Mayflower brought a Geneva Bible, and there is today in the Harvard University library a copy of a Geneva Bible which made its way to America on the Mayflower. This was the same translation that was used by Shakespeare and came before the King James Version was in wide circulation. These were Protestant Bibles. Many of the Catholic immigrants to America brought the English version of the Vulgate, known as the Rheims-Douai version, which was translated into English in 1582, a few years before the King James Version and at about the same time as the other Protestant Bibles were coming into being. [Robert J. Matthews, "Establishing the Truth of the Bible," in The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, pp. 194-206] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 3:3; 1 Nephi 13:26; 1 Nephi 20-21 ("Borrowed Passages"); 2 Nephi 3:11; see also Appendix C]

 

Mormon 7:9 [The Book of Mormon] is Written for the intent that ye may believe [the Bible] (Illustration) The Book of Mormon Cites Specific Biblical Events and Persons. [Robert J. Matthews, "Establishing the Truth of the Bible," in The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, pp. 195-200]

 

Mormon 7:9 For If Ye Believe [the Bible] Ye Will Believe [the Book of Mormon] Also:

 

     Mormon declares: "For behold, this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that [the Bible] ye will believe this [the Book of Mormon] also." (Mormon 7:8-9)

     According to Robert Matthews, millions professing faith in the Bible do not believe in the gift of prophecy, the ministry of angels, or the blessings of continued revelation This is a great contradiction and inconsistency, but many seem to be in that situation. They continue to use the Bible for an ethical guide, but stop believing what it teaches historically and doctrinally. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has written:

           The Bible is difficult to interpret and understand, and reasonable men, approaching it wholly from an intellectual standpoint, can reach divergent conclusions on almost all doctrines--hence, the many contending sects in Christendom. The Bible [because it has been flawed by man] is indeed the perfect tool to support every conceivable doctrinal view. But the Book of Mormon is otherwise; this American scripture sets forth the doctrines of salvation in simplicity and plainness so that reasonable men, even from an intellectual standpoint, can scarcely disagree. This leaves religionists in the position where they must freely accept or openly oppose the Nephite scripture. There is no middle ground, no readily available gray area, no room for compromise. (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985), pp. 460-61)

 

[Robert J. Matthews, "Establishing the Truth of the Bible," in The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, pp. 213-214]