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2 Nephi 29


A Covenant Plan of Salvation

      (2 Nephi--Enos)



2 Nephi 29:3 A Bible! A Bible!:


     The word "Bible" comes from "Biblea," an original Greek word not used by Hebrew prophets. Its presence, therefore in chapter 29 of 2 Nephi (the only place the word "bible" is mentioned in the Book of Mormon) is regarded as an anachronism by critics of the Book of Mormon. However, according to Roy Weldon, we should note that the word "Bible" is in a prophecy by Nephi about what would happen when the Nephite record should come forth in the nineteenth century. The prophet's words are as follows:

           And because my words shall hiss forth, many of the Gentiles shall say, A Bible a Bible, we have got a Bible, and there can not be any more Bible. (2 Nephi 29:3)


     Prophecy is foreknowledge, so the use of the word "Bible" by Nephi is on a par with Isaiah's use of the name "Cyrus" in one of his prophecies of the future. There is excellent historical evidence from ancient historians Xenophon and Josephus that Isaiah did indeed use the name "Cyrus" long before the Babylonish captivity and the birth of Cyrus.

     Josephus quotes the following message that Cyrus sent throughout Asia:

           Thus saith Cyrus the king: Since God almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.


     Josephus makes this note:

           This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies, for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: "My will is, that Cyrus whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple." This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written.--Antiquities of the Jews, Book II, p. 321.


     Thus, Nephi was doing nothing that hadn't been done before. [Roy E. Weldon, Book of Mormon Deeps, Vol. III, pp. 301-302]


2 Nephi 29:3-6 A Bible! A Bible! (Chiasm) [Illustration]: A Bible! A Bible! (Chiasm) [Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, p. 108]


     According to Donald Parry, Parallelism is universally recognized as the characteristic feature of biblical Hebrew poetry." . . . Chiasmus is a form of inverted parallelism. . . . A good example is found in 2 Nephi 29:3-6:

And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say:


A A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.

  B But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible;

    C and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people.

      D And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them?

        E Yea, what do the Gentiles mean?

          F Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto


            G in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

            G O ye Gentiles,

          F have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people?

        E Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them.

      D But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads;

    C for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.

  B Thou fool, that shall say:

A A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.

[Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, p. 108]


2 Nephi 29:3 Many Shall Say in That Day: A Bible! A Bible! We Have Got a Bible, and There Cannot Be Any More Bible:


     A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible" (2 Nephi 9:3) Lee Donaldson notes that the Bible's prestige was at an all time high in the United States as the Book of Mormon rolled off Grandin's press in 1830 (See Philip Barlow, Mormons and the Bible, 8). Although there were isolated attacks on its contents, its supreme authority in the United States was generally well-accepted.

     The Book of Mormon, however, contained a disturbing insight--that the Bible came forth in purity from the Jews, but its plain and precious parts were taken away by the Gentiles "that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men" (See 1 Nephi 13:25-29). Indeed, the Prophet Joseph Smith would declare in 1832 that "From sundry revelations which have been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled" (History of the Church, 1:245). He declared, "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 327).

     So what plain and precious parts were taken away from the Bible? What evidence do we have? How were they taken away? Bart Ehrman, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, chronicles in his book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, how the early Christian church changed many of the early texts of the Bible to fit its particular theology. He notes that there are 5,366 copies of the original New Testament texts that have survived over time. "Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly alike in all their particulars. No one knows how many differences, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands" (Ehrman, 27). He continues, "Scribes sometimes changed their manuscripts to render them more patently orthodox [i.e. they aligned them with their own theology] (Ehrman, 29).

     One example will illustrate the point. Joseph Smith said on April 6, 1844,

           I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible--"Berosheit" I want to analyze the word. Baith--in, by, through and everything else. Rosh--the head. Sheit--grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, 'The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.' That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. . . . Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 348).


     If "plain and precious parts" were taken away from the Bible, then where are we to turn for truth after these deliberate corruptions of scripture? The Book of Mormon itself provides the answer--"For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb" (1 Nephi 13:35). [Lee Donaldson, "Plain and Precious Parts," Book of Mormon Commentary,] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 13:25-29]


2 Nephi 29:3 A Bible! A Bible! We Have Got a Bible and There Cannot Be Any More Bible:


     When the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, it contained the following prophecy: "and because my words [the Book of Mormon] shall hiss forth--many of the gentiles shall say A Bible! A Bible! we have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible" (2 Nephi 29:3).

     Richardson, Richardson and Bentley write that for evidence to their unfounded objection to additional scripture, critics often cite Revelations 22:18-19, which forbids mankind from adding to or taking "away from the words of the book of this prophecy," and accuse Joseph Smith of doing just that. They are apparently unaware that this same mandate was given over a thousand years earlier in Deuteronomy 4:2: "Ye shall not add unto the words which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." This reasoning would eliminate the vast majority of the Holy Bible from Deuteronomy chapter 5 on to Revelations chapter 22--over a thousand pages of the word of God. Clearly the warnings in Revelations and Deuteronomy apply only to mankind, and not to God. If the great Jehovah wishes to add to His words, who is man to forbid Him? [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, p. 91] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 13:26]


2 Nephi 29:6 Thou Fool, That Shall Say: A Bible! We Have Got a Bible:


     According to an article by Kevin Barney, at the end of the first decade of this century, Thomas Brookbank, a one-time associate editor of the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, published some articles on Hebrew idioms that suggested that enallage, meaning the substitution of the singular for the plural or vice versa for rhetorical effect, is present in the Book of Mormon. As Brookbank explained it, "when more than one was to share in a thought, or sentiment, the plural was sometimes used to show that the single individual chiefly in mind was not the only one to whom it was applicable, and, conversely, when more than one was to be included, the singular could be substituted for the plural to show, among other things, that those to whom the thought or command, etc., was directed were not viewed collectively only, but as individuals also, who separately composed the mass." 2 Nephi 29:3 reads, "And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible."

     The Lord then responds to the Gentiles (plural) in verses 4 and 5, as numerous verbal clues attest. Finally, in verse 6, the Lord says, "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?"

     Here the singular "thou" appears to be an example of enallage, driving home the foolishness of the idea to anyone who would entertain it. [Kevin L. Barney, "Enallage in the Book of Mormon," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, F.A.R.M.S., Spring 1994, pp. 113, 116, 140]


2 Nephi 29:6 Thou Fool That Shall Say: A Bible! We Have Got a Bible:


     Matthew Brown comments, What of the argument that the Bible contains the complete word of God and there is, therefore, no need for further scripture? The Bible itself provides clear evidence that it is not complete since it mentions scriptural texts that are now missing. The "lost" books of the Bible include:

     Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7)

     Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)

     Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)

     Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)

     Book of the Manner of the Kingdom (1 Samuel 10:25)

     Book of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29)

     Book of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15)

     Book of Jehu (2 Chronicles 20:34)

     Book of Samuel the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)

     Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 2:29)

     Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 9:29; 12:15; 13:22)

     The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chronicles 33:19)

     Prophecy of Ahijah (2 Chronicles 9:29)

     Acts of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:22)

     Acts of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:22)

     Lost Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9)

     Lost Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:3)

     Lost Epistle to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16)

     Lost Epistle from Jude (Jude 1:3)

     Lost Book of Enoch (Jude 1:14-15)


     In addition to these lost books of scripture, there is presently no biblical text that records the prophecy that Jesus Christ would be "called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). Nor do we presently possess another important prophecy concerning the Son of God. "Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead" (Luke 24:46, emphasis added). The apostle Luke informs us that before he penned his own book "many . . . eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word" had "taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1, emphasis added). Where are these records? Does the Bible at least provide us with a complete record of Christ's earthly ministry? Certainly not. The apostle John informs us that "there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25), emphasis added; see also John 20:30). And what of the Savior's post-resurrection teachings. The Bible testifies that Jesus spent 40 full days, after He had arisen from the grave, instructing His disciples on things "pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). Where are the records of these important truths?

     So is it accurate to say that the Bible contains the final word of God? No, certainly not. In the Book of Mormon the Lord lays out the fallacy of such an idea. "Thou fool, that shall say: 'A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.'" (2 Nephi 29:6). [Matthew B. Brown, All Things Restored: Confirming the Authenticity of LDS Beliefs, pp. 185-186]


2 Nephi 29:6 Have Ye Obtained a Bible Save It Were by the Jews?:


     In 2 Nephi 29, a statement is made concerning the origin of the Bible: Have ye obtained a bible save it were by the Jews?" (2 Nephi 29:6). According to Hugh Nibley, it's interesting that not only the New Testament was all written by Jews, but the Old Testament too was what gave them the Bible. Remember Jerome? The Latin Bible is Jerome's Bible. Reuchlin with the Reformation was the first one to really get into the Hebrew Bible. It was the Hebrew and Jerome's and Luther's bible [that influenced the King James]. Jerome lived fifteen years in Bethlehem. He worked among the Jews all that time. He gave us the Latin vulgate, the standard Roman Catholic Bible. He lived right among the Jews when he wrote it, all those many years in Bethlehem. Reuchlin and Luther were busily studying Hebrew. It's from them we get our King James Bible more than anyone else. The King James Bible translators relied quite heavily on Luther's Bible. They depended a lot on Luther. In order to do this, of course, Reuchlin and the others became ardent Hebraists. They worked with the Jews, etc. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 1, p. 351] [See also the commentary on 1 Nephi 5:11 concerning the Septuagint]


2 Nephi 29:9 And Because That I Have Spoken One Word, Ye Need Not Suppose That I Cannot Speak Another:


     Nephi quotes the Lord as saying to those in the last days:

           And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written."


     It is interesting how some people can hold so tightly to perceived teachings received anciently by revelation to the Lord's servants, and yet deny the possibility of that same revelatory process to men in the Latter-days. Although it is not the intention of this commentary to "go on the negative" and personally attack or disparage other peoples ideas, yet because of the Lord's words of warning here in 2 Nephi concerning the reasoning of men in the latter-days, I will relate the following story by Fred Collier:

           I used to go to the state fair and when I went, I would always visit the anti-Mormon exhibits. On one occasion I got talking to a Baptist who was attending Bible school in preparation for the ministry. When he started talking about Salvation by Grace, insisting as they generally do, that works are not a necessary factor in the Plan of Salvation, I asked him--inasmuch as the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have confessed Jesus--why is it that you would deny them Salvation?

           His answer was that "Mormons do not believe in the right theological Jesus--they are polytheists and no polytheist can be saved!" In other words Mormons have an extra task put upon them--all the other "Christians" can believe in any one of a thousand different and contradictory doctrines, but they are all saved in a pile regardless--but the Mormons must believe in true theology or they will be damned--in other words, only Mormons must have works!

           In the process of our discussion I asked him whether or not he thought the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be heirs of Salvation and he answered that they would. I then began to point out to him, that in keeping with the archaeological and historical discoveries of this century, most "Christian" scholars have now come to the conclusion that the Patriarchs were Polytheists--even the Bible bears witness of it--and it is now regarded as a fact--and no honest scholar will deny it!

           Much to my surprise, the gentleman to whom I was speaking acknowledged the truth of what I had said . . . "Well then," I asked, "how can you consistently deny Salvation to the Mormons on the grounds that they are Polytheists, and still believe that the Patriarchs will receive Salvation, even though by your own admission, they also were polytheists?"

           "Well," he said, rather chagrined, "because today we have the Bible, but the Patriarchs did not!"

           This is an incredible revelation! The Bible tells us that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob received personal visitations from God180 . . . they knew God personally, for they had seen Him face to face. What is incredible is that the "Christians" . . . believe that they are more favored than the Patriarchs because they have the book that tells the story. After all, with a Bible in your hand, who needs God or revelation!

           It would seem that the "Christians" have converted to a new form of "Idolatry"--"Bible-worship," as they call it! They have virtually replaced God with the Bible--a god composed of wood pulp and ink--covered with black cowhide leather, and pages that are lined with Gold--set high upon the podium before the people, where all can both see and worship! How truly did the Book of Mormon prophesy of them--"A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible"! (2 Nephi 29:3, 6) (Fred C. Collier, "Doctrine of the Priesthood: New Light on the Ancient Hebrew/Christian Doctrine on Deity," Part 1., pp. 13-15)


2 Nephi 29:12 I Shall Speak unto the Jews . . . unto the Nephites . . . unto All Nations of the Earth:


     According to Donald Parry, "staircase parallelism" is a (Hebrew) poetical device where there is an apparent stepping up from one sense to another, until at the pinnacle is a culmination of thought.

     A characteristic often found in staircase poetry is the idea of an ascension from specific to general things. 2 Nephi 29:12 is illustrative of this. Note how the writer first mentions the Jews, one of the twelve tribes. This is followed by mention of two more tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, which the Book of Mormon calls "Nephites." Then is mentioned the "other tribes of the house of Israel," and finally "all nations."

     For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it;

     and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it;

     and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they            shall write it;

     and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it

[Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, F.A.R.M.S., pp. xxi-xxiii]


2 Nephi 29:13 The Jews Shall Have the Words of the Nephites:


     Wade Brown notes that it has been said that "poetry is what is lost in translation." In other words, when poetic lines are converted from one language to another, the rhyming sounds are lost. Consider the child's poem:

     Roses are red, violets are blue

     Sugar is sweet, and so are you.


When put into Spanish it becomes:

     Las rosas son rojas, las violetas son azules.

     El azucar es dulce, y usted es tambien.


     In English "you" rhymes with "blue," but in Spanish "tambien" does not rhyme with "azules." There is more to poetry than this simple repetition of similar sound, but the illustration suffices to demonstrate the problem that translation creates.

     This explains why a poet may be very popular within one area of the world but entirely unappreciated in others. It also explains why the sound of some spiritual writing is considered beautiful beyond expression to one people but uninspiring to some others.

     But what if there was a divine poetry so universal in its application that it could be recognized and appreciated in every language. What if it was originally composed in Hebrew, but when properly translated into English, Russian, Chinese or another language, it retained its essence and beauty?

     Poetic rhyming is actually the repetition of sound; either the same sound or similar sound. But as demonstrated, a universal poetry could not use the repetition of sound for different languages. However, if the repetition was not the repetition of sound but the repetition of meaning, then it could be easily transferred from one language to another.

     Such an unusual poetry has been discovered, or rather rediscovered, and in the last century the academic community came to recognize it within the Hebrew and Greek testaments of the Bible. . . . Some have titled this ancient poetic language style "Hebrew parallelism," although it is not entirely unique to early Hebrew. . . . Unlike other poetic forms, the parallel phrasing of the ancient prophets is not lost when carefully translated from one language to another. For example, when Nephi foretold the future of the Bible and the Book of Mormon he said: "the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. (2 Nephi 29:13)

     When the passage is placed in an appropriate format, its parallel nature becomes obvious. It is worth noting that in this case the inverted parallel form is repeated in the next set of phrases. This is a double inverted parallel:

1. the Jews

     2. shall have the words of

           3. the Nephites

           3' and the Nephites

     2' shall have the words of

1' the Jews


4. and the Nephites and the Jews

     5. shall have the words of

           6. the lost tribes of Israel

           6' and the lost tribes of Israel

     5' shall have the words of

4' the Nephites and the Jews. (2 Nephi 29:13)


     Rhyming poetry is lost in translation, but notice what occurs when the parallelism of this verse is translated into Spanish:

1. los Judios

     2. tendran las palabras de

           3. los Nefitas

           3' y los Nefitas

     2' tendran las palabras de

1' los Judios


4. y los Nefitas y los Judios

     5. tendran las palabras de

           6. las tribus perdidas de Israel

           6' y las tribus perdidas de Israel

     5. tendran las palabras de

4' los Nefitas y los Judios.


     Although the words have changed from English to Spanish, the repetition and pattern of words is obvious even to those who do not understand Spanish.

     Why is this a divine form? As a student of language and a teacher of religion I came to believe the axiom, "repetition is the mother of learning." Restating an idea or principle is one of the best ways to remember it and to have it become a part of our lives. . . .

     During the reformation Bible translators did not understand or recognize this poetic form and in many instances selected words and sentence structures in a way that much of the parallel nature of the phrasing was covered over. When more literal and precisely translated versions are used, the parallelism or repetition of thought becomes more visible. [C. Wade Brown, The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 33-45]


2 Nephi 29:13 The Nephites and the Jews Shall Have the Words of the Lost Tribes of Israel:


     In 2 Nephi 29:12-13, Nephi recites the words of the God of the house of Israel, who also covenanted with Abraham that he would remember his seed forever:

           For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.


     Concerning these events relative to the lost tribes of Israel, Bruce R. McConkie writes:

           In due course the Lost Tribes of Israel will return and come to the children of Ephraim to receive their blessings. This great gathering will take place under the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he holds the keys of "the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north" (D&C 110:11). Keys are the right of presidency, the power to direct; and by this power the Lost Tribes will return, with "their prophets" and their scriptures to "be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim." (D&C 133:26-35) [Bruce R. McConkie, Gospel Doctrine, p. 458] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 22:4; 3 Nephi 16:1]


2 Nephi 29:13 The Words of the Nephites . . . Jews, and . . . the Lost Tribes of Israel:


     In 2 Nephi 27:13-14, the Lord showed that there are to be three major written testimonies of Christ to come forth: (1) the Bible (of the Jews), (2) the Book of Mormon (of the Nephites), and (3) the records of the lost tribes of Israel, which we do not yet have. These three records are to be shared by each group so that each will eventually have the records of the others. And when Israel is gathered, the records will also be gathered. By these three records, the law of witnesses will be honored and the word of God established.

     According to Robert Matthews, these records do not consist only of single books from each major branch of Israel. Just as the Bible is a collection of many books, and the Book of Mormon is a collection also, likewise the records of the ten lost tribes will probably be a collection of various books. It will tell us, when it is received, about the Savior's visit to the ten tribes after his appearance to the Nephites. However, since Ephraim was the leading tribe among the lost tribes anciently, perhaps our present Doctrine and Covenants should be viewed in perspective as a witness for Jesus Christ among latter-day Ephraim, to be combined someday with the other records of the lost tribes when they come forth.

     Among the things to be accomplished by the multiple books of scripture are: (1) to give a multiple witness of Christ; (2) to show that the Lord does speak the same gospel to one people as to another, and (3) to prove that God does honor his covenant that he made with Abraham, promising to remember his seed forever (2 Nephi 29:14). [Robert J. Matthews, "Two Ways in the World," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 1, pp. 158-159]


2 Nephi 29:14 I Am God, and . . . I Covenanted with Abraham That I Would Remember His Seed Forever:


     In 2 Nephi 29:14 we find the following:

           And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. . . . I am God, and . . . I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever."


     According to Amy Hardison, in most covenant treaties of the past, the suzerain (or lord) stated that the covenant was to remain effective forever. One historian studied seventy-five hundred "eternal" treaties that were signed between 1500 B.C. and 1850 A.D. and found that in reality the treaties lasted an average of only two years.181 Like mortal lords, God intends his covenants to span generations and even eternities. Unlike temporal treaties, however, the Lord's covenants do last. In the book of Deuteronomy we learn that the children of Israel were redeemed from Egypt because of the covenants made with the fathers (see Deuteronomy 4:37; 7:8). From our latter-day perspective we see that the covenants God made with Abraham extended not only to the Exodus but even thousands of years beyond, to the current gathering of Israel. [Amy Blake Hardison, "Being a Covenant People," in Covenants Prophecies and Hymns of the Old Testament, p. 26]