This is a guest post by Saryah Hawkins at Zion’s Heritage. If you have a guest post feel free to submit it. We try to get a wide range of voices here and enjoy hearing different perspectives.
The Book of Mormon tells us to study the words of Isaiah:
3 Nephi 23:1/RCE 10:26-27
And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
Mormon 8:23/RCE 4:27-28
Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.
The primary purposes of the Book of Mormon is:
1) to â€˜show unto the remnant of the House of Israel the great things the Lord hath done for their fathers, and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off foreverâ€™
2) â€˜for the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Yâ€™Shua is the Messiah, the Eternal Elohim, manifesting Himself unto all nationsâ€™.
The Book of Mormon was â€˜written to:
1) the Lamanites which are a remnant of the House of Israel, â€˜being a remnant of Jewsâ€™ [D&C 19:27].
2) written also â€˜to the Jew and Gentileâ€™.
We can match both #1â€™s above and safely conclude then, that the Lamanites who are a remnant of the House of Israel â€˜remnant of the Jewsâ€™ [D&C 19:27] especially need to hear â€˜the great things that the Lord did for their fathers, so they will know the covenants, so they know they are not cast off foreverâ€™.
We can match both #2â€™s above and safely conclude then, that both the Jews and Gentiles need to be â€˜convinced that Yâ€™Shua is Messiah, the Eternal Elohim, manifesting Himself unto all nationsâ€™.
We can also safely conclude that Isaiahâ€™s words speak to both groups (1 & 2) the Lamanites, who are a Jewish remnant of the House of Israel and also to the Jew and the Gentile.
Regarding the concerns surrounding the sacrifices and whether they are to continue or be done awayâ€¦.
Isaiah wrote to Judah, and it could be viewed as a message to â€˜the Lamanite Jewish remnantâ€™ who needs to understand the blood covenant with Yâ€™Shua.
Isaiahâ€™s sheds light on the passages in the Book of Mormon that â€˜seemâ€™ to say we should â€˜do awayâ€™ with sacrificing. What Isaiah is saying is that the sacrifices done, were not done with the proper heart intentâ€¦FAITH in Messiah. The key is that their sacrifices were â€˜vainâ€™ (Isaiah 1:13) and he later says that when they take hold of his covenant and stop polluting the sabbath, He will accept their sacrifices on His altar and gather them (Isaiah 56:6-8). So Isaiah confirms the words of Psalm 51:11-19 wherein we are to sacrifice with a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart and when we do so, God will be pleased with our burnt offerings offered as bullocks upon the altar.
To what purpose is the multitude of YOUR sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more VAIN oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. YOUR new moons and YOUR appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth YOUR hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: YOUR hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; CEASE to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the LORD: though YOUR SINS be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
Let us look in the Book of Mormon for passages concerning the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the House of Israel, who are a remnant of Judah, for hints on how we may minister to those in Judah today who are rejecting Messiah:
Alma 25:14-16/RCE 14:74-77:
And they did also bury their weapons of war, according as their brethren had, and they began to be a righteous people; and they did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe to keep his commandments and his statutes. Yes, and they did keep the law of Moses; for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled.
The Lamanites began to believe on the Name of Yâ€™Shua and realized that the law was given to point them to Messiahâ€™s redemptive work, so it was expedient (in their best interest) that they keep it in its proper interpretation.
But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.
The word â€˜notwithstandingâ€™ means â€˜did not resistâ€™. So the Lamanites did not resist the Law of Moses, but looked forward to the coming of Christ, knowing that the law of Moses was a type of his coming. The word â€˜untilâ€™ is Strongs #3360, which can be defined as â€˜regarding or in relationship toâ€™. So they believed that they must keep those outward performances â€˜regarding or in relationship toâ€™ the forward prophecy of Messiah being revealed to them.
Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the law of Moses; but the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ; and thus they did retain a hope through faith, unto eternal salvation, relying upon the spirit of prophecy, which spake of those things to come.
Their hearts now were right with the Lord, as they did not approach the law of Moses with the intent that it alone would save them, but rather with a heart that God would redeem them.
Alma 26:23-31/RCE 14:105-117:
Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn? For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language. And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us. But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls. Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the worldâ€”not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God. And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some. Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
This may appear to be saying that the â€˜shedding of bloodâ€™ to stop is in relationship to ceasing of the sacrifices, but what was happening is that the Lamanites who are a remnant of the House of Israel, who are a remnant of the Jews [D&C 19:27], were being ministered to, as they were incorrectly delighting in the shedding of blood due to the traditions of their fathers, as they were stiffnecked. They were ministered to in places including their temples and synagogues and many Lamanites were converted and began calling upon the Name of Yehovah with belief in Messiah. Because of their conversion, the bloodshed among brethren also ceased. This is why the Book of Mormon is filled with stories of â€˜wars and bloodshedâ€™, because they are a type due to their battling a war of the proper way to worship Elohim with a pure heart and clean hands.
The focus in our latterday ministries should be both #1 and #2 above. The message to Jews this day in our ministries according to scriptures, should be to focus on the redeeming work of Yâ€™Shua, the blood covenant He made with His people and it should include that sacrifices are NOT done away, but they were â€˜properly interpretedâ€™ â€“ fulfilled in Yâ€™Shua and that is the fullness of the gospel for them to receive. The Jews have an understanding that to ‘destroy’ Torah is to not interpret it correctly and to ‘fulfil’ the Torah is to interpret it properly. The Jews already have Torah. They just need to understand ‘properly interpret’ the eternal and infinite blood covenant in effect as they approach Yehovah, because the Lord did great things for them through Y’Shua the Messiah, so that they would not be cast off forever.
The fulness of the gospel for the Gentiles includes returning to Y’Shua’s Torah of course and out of the ways of the nations. Both Jews and Gentiles are missing portions of the gospel, to bring them into the fulness of truth.