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Why the Book of Mormon is the new covenant

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In his sermon on April 19, 2015, Seventy Gary Whiting spoke on D&C 83:8 and, in particular, on how the restored church is under condemnation for taking lightly the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, as stated in verse 8b.

D&C 83

8a) And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation.

8b) And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written,

8c) that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for, shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

As part of his message, Gary included a testimony that Seventy Ron Smith related in a class at the Seventy’s retreat they attended on April 11, 2015.  The testimony was from a man named Tom N. who lives in Kenya.  In his testimony, Tom told Ron of how he had been shown that the Book of Mormon is the “new covenant” spoken of in Hebrews 8:8, which reads as follows:

Hebrews 8

8) For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

Following the preaching service this past Sunday, I mentioned to Gary how I felt a need to pray over Tom’s testimony, especially in light of Gary’s sermon on D&C 83:8 and how the church was brought under condemnation because they treated lightly such things.

The next morning I was awakened at a quarter past 5:00 with the following confirming witnesses of the truthfulness of Tom’s testimony and its relevance to the time in which we now occupy.  The Lord reasoned with me as follows regarding Tom’s testimony:  I was asked, essentially, how it is that the new covenant mentioned in Hebrews 8:8 could be the New Testament of the Bible (as one might assume) if what was stated about this new covenant mentioned in the New Testament has not as yet all been fulfilled. More particularly, if the New Testament represents the fulfillment of the new covenant, how is it that the New Testament has been in force all these many centuries while the promises associated with the new covenant it describes and outlines have not all been realized?

The gravity of these questions was punctuated by statements in the subsequent verses to the one quoted above, namely Hebrews 8:9-13, which read as follows:

Hebrews 8

9) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people;

11) And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13) In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Clearly, we have not as yet seen the complete fulfillment of these words, although we earnestly look forward to their fulfillment (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The Lord continued His reasoning with me by drawing my attention closely to the words “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord “ in connection with “A new covenant,” and then by asking me again why the first phrase has not as yet been fulfilled if the last one was indeed a reference to the New Testament of the Bible and what it fulfills and what it represents as having been fulfilled already? He helped me appreciate the context of the question and the answer He was giving me by reminding me of III Nephi 7:7-12, especially verse 9.

III Nephi 7:7-12

7) Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily, I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled.

8) And because I said unto you, that old things hath passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come.

9) For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people, is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses, hath an end in me.

10) Behold, I am the law, and the light; look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live, for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.

11) Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments.

12) And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me.

It was pointed out to me how these verses include words our Lord spoke when visiting His ancient covenant peoples on this land after His resurrection.  In particular, it was pointed out how in these words He had said, “the covenant which I have made with my people, is not all fulfilled.”  These words, as I was led to understand, are directly connected with Hebrews 8:10.

Hebrews 8

10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people;

The following key points were then emphasized:

  1. The covenant is to be with the house of Israel.
  2. The Lord will make this covenant with them directly.
  3. It will be after those days that it will be made (pointing to the future as something which would come into full force after other events take place after Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead).
  4. It involves the Lord putting His laws (Spirit) into their mind and writing them in their hearts.
  5. Once this is accomplished, the covenant will be complete, that is, when they are in full covenant relationship with Him as their God and they as His people (according to this new covenant).

It was also noted for me how in III Nephi 7:10 quoted above our Lord also spoke of Himself as the law.  With the increase in knowledge I was receiving about the new covenant, I now understood how Jesus Christ is indeed the law that is to be written in the hearts of His people by faith according to His covenant with them as found in Hebrews 8 (cf. Galatians 4:6).  The Old Testament prophecies which Hebrews 8 points us to are from prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel:

Jeremiah 31

31) Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;

32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord;

33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Ezekiel 36

26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

27) And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.

28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 37

11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts.

12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

13) And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.

14) And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

One may wonder, as I did, if these prophecies were completely fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.  The answer I received was that they were in part.  When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church on the day of Pentecost, this was the former rain (which was a moderate rain) of the new covenant God promised to make with Israel.  Recall how Peter quoted this prophecy from Joel on that day (Acts 2:16-21), and how there is yet a latter rain, which is soon to come, in which the Lord will pour out His Spirit anew upon the house of Israel.  Only then will the new covenant be completely fulfilled.  When this latter rain fully comes, the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon His people unto the restoring that which was lost, and all this will occur before the great day of the Lord comes.

Joel 2

23) Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

24) And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25) And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

26) And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God that hath dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed.

27) And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed.

28) And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;

29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.

30) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

While prayerfully considering these impresses, I received anew assurances that the words in III Nephi 7:7-12 are very important to our properly understanding the Book of Mormon as the new covenant which God has made with the house of Israel.  As noted earlier, because Jesus spoke to them after being resurrected from the grave, we can be assured of the relevance of these words and that they provide us with a proper understanding of the Lord’s covenants.

Everything that our Lord had fulfilled (completed) in Jerusalem relating to our salvation prior to visiting His people on this land was recorded in the New Testament.  However, what is not recorded in the New Testament of the Bible is the fulfillment of every part of the new covenant the Lord has made with His ancient covenant people, the house of Israel, as revealed in Hebrews 8:8-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26-28, Joel 2:23-32, etc.

We can be assured of this truth by the fact that the Old Testament of the Bible points us to such prophecies as this new covenant, the fulfillment of which has not all been recorded in the New Testament.  This, of course, is to be expected since the New Testament is an account given by those living at the time of Jesus’ ministry.  Thus their writings are either history or prophecy yet to be fulfilled.  We would be wise therefore to recognize the Lord’s work and how it will be ongoing until all of His words are fulfilled.

While specifically referencing the quote above from III Nephi 7, the Lord asked me the following question:  Has the new covenant been fulfilled by ministers teaching the gospel to the Gentiles out of the New Testament these many years?  Just as I was beginning to ponder this question, He brought to my remembrance I Nephi 3:198-201.

I Nephi 3

198) And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews, and also unto the Gentiles;

199) And after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles, and also unto the Jews,

200) And the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

201) And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling-blocks, and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father;

After bringing these words to my mind, the Lord connected them and Hebrews 8:8-13 directly to Acts 13:44-49, which reads:

Acts 13

44) And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

45) But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46) Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

47) For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

48) And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as believed were ordained unto eternal life.

49) And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

Summed up, Acts 13 speaks of the Lord manifesting Himself first to the Jews.  Then, upon their rejection of His word, the Lord then began manifesting Himself to the Gentiles through the preaching and writings of the apostles and prophets, including Paul and the other early apostles and their fellow laborers (referring again to I Nephi 3:198-201).

Now in these last days, the Lord has restored the fullness of His gospel to the Gentiles through His servant, Joseph Smith, Jr., and the ministry of his fellow laborers (D&C 1:4, D&C 4:1a-2b, D&C 85:19b, etc.).  What remains to be fulfilled is for the fullness of the gospel to be restored to the house of Israel.  This is to be accomplished through the complete fulfillment of the new covenant spoken of in Hebrews 8, according to which the Lord promises to pour out the latter rain spoken of in Joel 2:23-32 upon His covenant peoples before He returns in glory.

In further confirmation of this connection, the Lord then drew my attention to Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 in which John (spoken of in I Nephi 3:251) was instructed to write to the servants in the seven Gentile churches in Asia (Revelation 1:4).  With these verses, it was impressed upon me that much of the New Testament record was indeed written and then ministered to the many Gentile members of the Lord’s church as recorded in Acts 10 and forward.  It was not written specifically to the house of Israel like the verses from Hebrews 8:8-13 indicate.  There, in the eighth chapter of the letter to the Hebrews the Lord speaks specifically of making a new covenant with the house of Israel.  That is, this promise in Hebrews 8 was written expressly to them.  Notwithstanding their being cut off because of unbelief (cf. Hebrews 3:7-19 through Hebrews 4:13), through the latter rain, which is to also come according to the new covenant, the Lord will restore His ancient covenant people unto Himself.

Romans 11

13) For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.

14) If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15) For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the restoring of them be, but life from the dead? [Ezekiel 37:11-14, Joel 2:25, etc.]

16) For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17) And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wast grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18) Boast not against the branches, for thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19) For if thou boast, thou wilt say, The branches were broken off, that we might be grafted in.

20) Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear;

21) For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22) Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23) And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.

24) For if thou wast cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26) And then all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28) As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30) For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief;

31) Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32) For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

With the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the Lord is now showing unto the house of Israel that He is remembering them in these latter days in preparation of the latter rains.  This is not all.  He is confirming unto them that He has commenced fulfilling His promises to restore them to their covenant lands (cf. Book of Mormon Title Page with Ezekiel 36:26-28).

Isaiah 11

1) And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots;

2) And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

3) And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears;

4) But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

5) And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

6) The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8) And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. [cf. Hebrews 8:11 with Matthew 5:15-18 & John 17:21-26]

10) And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.

11) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

12) And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. [Isaiah 59:19 through Isaiah 60:5]

This understanding, in turn, reminded me of Orson Hyde’s prayer over Jerusalem and the surrounding lands and how the Jews were later returned to their homeland after many centuries in exile! (see Church History Vol. 2, Chpt. 24, p. 552-556).

Briefly comprehended, then, the new covenant spoken of in Hebrews 8:10 (see Jeremiah 31:31-34) has not as yet all been fulfilled because the Lord has not as yet manifest Himself fully unto the first mentioned in I Nephi 3:198-201 (cf. Luke 13:29,30), meaning unto the house of Israel in these latter days.  Remember, He is to do so after He manifests Himself unto the Gentiles (the last) in these latter days.  Therefore, in preparation of the Lord completely fulfilling Hebrews 8 (Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Ezekiel 36:26-28), He has restored the fullness of His gospel to the Gentiles.  This was done in preparation of the coming latter rain of the new covenant which the Lord has made with Israel.  This He did in part to restore to them (the Gentiles) plain and precious truths which were removed from the Bible as explained in I Nephi 3:139-237.

Section 104:12,13 was also used by the Lord to confirm to me the truth of Tom’s testimony.  In this section the Lord tells the Twelve and the Seventy (those called and ordained in these latter days) to go first to the Gentiles and then to the Jews, which is consistent with what Nephi was shown as recorded in I Nephi 3:198-201 – that in these latter days the last (the Gentiles) are to receive the fullness first while the first (the Jews) shall be last in receiving the fullness of the gospel.  We, the members of the church (III Nephi 9:101 through III Nephi 10:4), are to take the fullness of the gospel unto them such that they will come to the knowledge of this fullness through the fullness of the Gentiles.

As I was thinking on these things Monday morning (April 20, 2015), the Lord connected for me, and rather convincingly so, the words that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in II Corinthians 3:2-6 with what he wrote to the Romans in Romans 11:25-27:

II Corinthians 3

2) Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men;

3) Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. [cf. Hebrews 8:10 with Ezekiel 36:26]

4) And such trust have we through Christ toward God.

5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

6) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

Romans 11

25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26) And then all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Briefly summed up, as members of the church that the Lord has caused to be built up among the Gentiles in these latter days (thinking again of III Nephi 10:1-4), the fullness of the gospel is to first be written within us as one body – fully written by the Spirit of the living God – such that we become a living epistle (in one body; cf. John 17:21-26) which the Lord writes unto His ancient covenant peoples.  This impress which I am now receiving seems so important and sure that I feel I must try again to express the thought, but in a bit more detail.

We are to be a single living epistle (note how the word epistle is written in the singular form, not the plural) in whom the fullness of the gospel is written, an epistle which has been written by the Holy Spirit of the Lord through those appointed to minister unto the Lord’s people (e.g. Ephesians 4:8-16, Romans 10:14-16, II Peter 1:16-21, etc.).  This includes Paul and the other Apostles and disciples who wrote and ministered at the beginning of the Gentile age.  Now, at the end of the Gentile age, the Lord has called Joseph Smith, Jr., along with other laborers to minister according to His new covenant (cf. D&C 1:4, D&C 4:1a-2b, D&C 85:19b, etc. with D&C 83:8).  In addition, the Book of Mormon authors and prophets who saw our day were inspired to write words of admonition and counsel to us that are to be written within us for the Lord’s ancient covenant peoples to read (e.g. I Nephi 4:14-29 & III Nephi 7:28-37, with Alma 12:4,5 & Alma 21:140,141, etc.).  In this way, the people of the house of Israel are to come to know the truth of the true message of the Lord by seeing it lived to its fullest, not just as it is recorded on paper or metal plates, but as it is revealed through the body of Christ, meaning in His church (cf. Matthew 16:18,19 with Matthew 5:15-18).

Why is the Lord so intent on causing us to become a living epistle, even one single epistle that the house of Israel may read it?  The reason is because the new covenant that is to be fulfilled in the house of Israel is to be a living covenant, one involving the Lord of Glory writing His law (i.e. Himself) within their hearts and minds – not on tablets of stone (cf. Ephesians 2:19-22).  Thus, we too must become a living epistle, even one singular epistle, so that we may bring the fullness of the gospel to them!  What an amazing affirmation!  The witness that is coming with this understanding is truly awe-inspiring! What an amazing assurance that this is the wisdom of God, so much so that I find myself being drawn again to Paul’s praise of the Lord when he wrote of the Lord’s plan to recover the house of Israel to Himself as found in Romans 11:33-36:

Romans 11

33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?

35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Obviously, if blindness will happen to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in (Romans 11:25), it is incumbent upon us that we heed the words recorded in Romans 12:1-3 and offer our lives in living sacrifice to this cause, that of bringing in the fullness of the gospel to the Lord’s ancient covenant people by living according to His fullness (thinking of D&C 39:2).

Romans 11

25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26) And then all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Romans 12

1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2) And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God is.

3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

This, I am convinced more than ever, is why exactly the commission in Romans 12:1-3 follows directly after Romans 11.  As noted above, Paul’s prophecy in Romans 11 and the subsequent charge in Romans 12:1-3 are about taking the gospel to the house of Israel according to the new covenant the Lord has made with them, foretelling when He will take away their sin (Romans 11:27) by taking away their stony hearts and by giving them a heart of flesh in the which His law is written, as foretold in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36 (meaning, of course, by His Spirit).

Given these many affirmations, I also became convinced that Paul’s writings cited above are directly related to our Lord’s prophecy in III Nephi 7:27-30.

III Nephi 7

27) And I command you that ye shall write these sayings, after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me, and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of,

28) That these sayings which ye shall write, shall be kept, and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fullness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth, because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.

29) And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfill the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel.

30) And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witness unto them of me and of the Father.

This connection appears profoundly deep to me right now and I am convinced it is something we need to prayerfully ponder and study out further according to His commission and His calling unto each one of us as individuals (Ephesians 4:16) and to us as one body (John 17:22-26).  We have many excellent examples of how to become one in Jesus Christ.  For instance, it is recorded in Acts 4:31,32 how the disposition of the members of the first church was changed when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.  We should consider also the twelve disciples and how they prayed for that which they desired most, meaning the Holy Ghost as described in III Nephi 9:10 and how this ushered in a great “golden age” among them in response to and according to the ministry of Jesus Christ.  For, as it is written, they were all made to be partakers of the heavenly gift, meaning the Holy Spirit (IV Nephi 1:4 & Romans 5:5).  Also of significance is the testimony of the peoples to whom King Benjamin ministered.  When they had prayed together in one body, as recorded in Mosiah 2:1-6 & Mosiah 3:1-6, they too received a change of heart through their being given the gift of the Holy Ghost such that they no longer had a disposition to do evil but to do good continually.

In an attempt to summarize, it seems rather evident now that the New Testament of the Bible fulfilled part Nephi’s prophecy (i.e. in I Nephi 3:198-201), namely that the gospel would go to the Gentiles after it was first given to the Jews (because the Jews rejected the preaching of the gospel, as spoken of in Acts 13 quoted and discussed above).  In confirmation of this, the Lord reminded me again of how He had called Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).  Now, reflecting back on Romans 11, especially verses 25-36, the understanding it contains and the commission it invokes is directly linked to our taking the Book of Mormon to the house of Israel as the Lord directs.  This includes taking it to Lehi’s posterity now known by the name of Lehi’s firstborn (which I understand is more of a covenant matter than it is a social order matter).

As a final testimony, the Lord also confirmed His many witnesses of these things to me this past Monday morning by reminding me of Matthew 21:56 (IV). On September 11, 1993, at an early Saturday morning priesthood meeting in the church building here at Zion’s Outpost, I was in the company of Gary W., David N., and Jeff D.  There, in that setting, the Lord convincingly confirmed to me the truth and relevance of this particular verse in Matthew 21 to our day and to our current circumstance in the restored church.  This verse is the closing verse of the Lord’s parable of the vineyard, meaning His kingdom (see vss. 34-47).  In this parable, the Lord spoke of giving His fellow Jews charge of His vineyard (kingdom).  When they rejected Him as their Lord, they were broken by falling upon Him, and the vineyard was then taken from them and given to the Gentiles (vss. 44-49).  In time, as Jesus foretold, the Gentiles would also be found unworthy to maintain the vineyard and they too, Jesus said, would be ground into powder by the cornerstone God has established in Zion, meaning Jesus Himself.  What my attention was focused on specifically was how, upon hearing the interpretation of the parable, Jesus’ disciples then understood that the Gentiles would be destroyed also.

Matthew 21

50) And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

51) Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

52) I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

53) And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

54) Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

55) And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

56) And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof. [cf. Daniel 2:34,35,44,45 with Revelation 19:11-16 & John 1:13,14]

We had gathered that morning of September 11, 1993, for prayer like on most Saturday mornings back then.  After we prayed together, I was led to share a particular testimony about what the Lord had recently taught me from Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the book of Revelation about the three glories and the eternal state in which there is no glory.  It was upon sharing this testimony that I was drawn directly to Matthew 21:56.  As I recall it now, at that moment I was given a vision of things to come and was compelled to confess to my brethren how I had just experienced the great sense of loss that Peter and the other Jewish apostles experienced when the gospel was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles, e.g. when Paul and others began taking the gospel to the Gentile nations (as is shown plainly by the writings recorded in the New Testament).  I was also shown that we too would experience a similar sense of loss as the gospel is taken from the Gentiles and is given back to the Jews as the Lord explained in III Nephi 7:34-37.  Upon rereading these verses from III Nephi I could not help but marvel at how these verses end with the words, “but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fullness of my gospel.”  Wow!  Such consistency!

I’m convinced!  I believe Tom’s experience was of divine origin and that his testimony is true and consistent with the word of the Lord!  It is not only true, but it is also timely.

As I meditated on these several witnesses given to me this past Monday, many news items were also been brought to my mind concerning, for example, the weakening of the relationship between the US and Israeli governments (such as have been reported on by http://watch.org/).  In these things I believe the Lord is showing Israel that He alone is their Deliverer, the One to whom they must look for their protection, and more importantly, for the fulfillment of His covenants with them as discussed herein.  In other words, we are about to see the complete fulfillment of Hebrews 8:8-13 along with parallel prophecies such as I Nephi 3:198-201, III Nephi 7:34-39, etc., in real time.  It is truly an amazing time in which to be living!

At the same time, I am convinced more than ever of the truthfulness of D&C 83:8 as Gary expounded upon this passage of scripture in his sermon this past Sunday.  We definitely should be more earnestly engaged in a constructive and concerted effort to respond to the Lord’s directives given within this section.  Otherwise, unless we repent and remember the new covenant, we will remain under the condemnation that came upon the early church for taking lightly the word of the Lord (thinking again of III Nephi 7:34-37 with III Nephi 10:1-4).  This thought draws me back again to Romans 12:1-3.

Romans 12

1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2) And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God is.

3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Such a response would most assuredly be a righteous and appropriate response to what Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, has written in Romans 11 regarding the restoration of the house of Israel, especially for ministering the fullness of the gospel to the house of Israel by the way we live in fulfillment of the Lord’s promises and covenants and according to His commission to us.

As noted above, I have taken the time to write this testimony down as completely as I have because I truly do not want to treat lightly these many confirmations that were given to me on Monday, April 20, 2015.  Otherwise, I believe that in doing so I would cause myself to remain under the condemnation outlined in D&C 83:8, which Gary presented ever so plainly this past Sunday.  Also, I’ve written them down so I don’t forget them.  It has truly been a blessing to capture these many thoughts in written form.  At the same time, I must acknowledge that relating this experience which I had beginning at 5:15 a.m. this past Monday has taken significant effort on my part because of the magnitude of revelations that were sown together for me regarding the new covenant and how the Lord is now preparing to bring the latter rain upon His covenant people prior to His final return.  As I related to my wife, Pam, it has been like walking inside the capital building of the United States of America and then trying to record all that you observe – both the overall structure as well as the fine detail in the many items within the building.  Notwithstanding the enormous scale of the calling to record this testimony, I have labored to bring forth a record of it to the glory of the Lord.  As it is written, I am to be a witness unto Him (Acts 1:8), and so I have written according to His pleasure and guidance.

In the final analysis, I’m convinced that the Book of Mormon is indeed the new covenant spoken of in Hebrews 8:8-13, as Tom N. testified he was shown.  It involves the two rains (a moderate former rain and a latter rain) of Joel 2, both of which must come in order that the promises listed in Romans 11 are fulfilled along with the promise that the first will be last and the last will be first as recorded in I Nephi 3:198-201.  So may the latter rain soon be upon us according to the word of the Lord in order that we may participate fully with the Lord when He brings again Zion upon the earth.  Then will we see eye to eye (Isaiah 52:6-15).  Then will the Prince of Peace rule over all the earth (Isaiah 9:6,7).  To Him be all honor and glory forever.

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