Essential Scriptures: The Book of Mormon and the Law of Moses

Important Lessons Taught Within the Book of Mormon

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Introduction To the Book of Mormon and the Law of Moses

Ancient Israelites migrated to the Americas at about 592 B.C.

These Israelites in America kept the Law of Moses according to Israel's ordinances, but they learned profound truth about the Law: the entire law of Moses was a type and shadow to point Israel to Christ.

While they were faithful to the Law of Moses, it became dead unto them; rather, they were alive in Christ and looked forward to Christ's resurrection when the Law would be abolished by Christ himself.

Mosiah 1:110 'Yet the Lord God saw that His people were a stiff-necked people and He appointed unto them a law, even the law of Moses.

Mosiah 1:113 And yet they hardened their hearts and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing, except it were through the atonement of His blood.

What Was the Law of Moses?

The Law of Moses was 613 rules for Israel to abide by. The Law was given for their disobedience in the days of Moses. If one was a faithful Hebrew from Moses day until Jesus death and resurrection, keeping the law was required. (See details of the Law here) Israel misunderstood the Law of Moses was to teach them of Christ. Carnal, phyisical laws were to teach them of spiritual things. While most of Israel misunderstood the Law's purpose, Lehi's family learned it all pointed to Christ. Lehi and his descendants (Israelites in America) learned one of the most important truths of scripture: the Law of Moses pointed to Chirst. It was a teaching tool, to prepare their hearts for when he would be among them.

3 Nephi 4:48 I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

The Law was given for Disobedience

The Law of Moses was given not for Israel's blessedness, but stubbornness. The Law's purpose was to teach them that remission of sin required shedding of blood. But the Israelites in America learned this important truth: the Law of Moses was meaningless without the shed blood of the savior, Jesus Christ.

Mosiah 1:110-113 'Yet the Lord God saw that His people were a stiff-necked people and He appointed unto them a law, even the law of Moses.

111 'And many signs and wonders and types and shadows showed He unto them concerning His coming;

112 And also holy prophets spake unto them concerning His coming,

113 And yet they hardened their hearts and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing, except it were through the atonement of His blood.

Mosiah 8:5 "And moreover, I say unto you that salvation doth not come by the law alone;

And were it not for the atonement which God Himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of His people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.

The Law Was a Perfect Type and Shadow of Christ

One of the Book of Mormon's most important truth's is that the Law of Moses was given as a perfect type and shadow of Jesus Christ, specifically that He would be the Infinite and Eternal Great and Last Sacrifice.

Alma 16:215 "And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit a pointing to that great and last sacrifice, And that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. "And thus He shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on His name,

The Nephites Kept The Law Until Jesus' Death and Resurrection

The Nephites were taught to keep the law according to the commandment, until after Christ was revealed to them.

Alma 14:75 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 Nephites Understood It All Pointed to Jesus and Would be Fulfilled (Ended) By Jesus

The Nephites understood the Law of Moses' true purpose, and looked forward to it being fulfilled by Christ himself.

Mosiah 1:30 And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses,

Jacob 3:6 And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to Him; And for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, Even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which was a similitude of God and His Only Begotten Son.

2 Nephi 11:45-50 And notwithstanding we believe in Christ, We keep the law of Moses and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ until the law shall be fulfilled, For, for this end was the law given;

46 Wherefore, the law hath become dead unto us, And we are made alive in Christ because of our faith;
47 Yet we keep the law because of the commandments;
48 And we talk of Christ, We rejoice in Christ, We preach of Christ, We prophesy of Christ, And we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
49 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law, that our children may know the deadness of the law;
50 And they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ and know for what end the law was given;

Some Nephites Didn't Understand; An American Prophet Was Martyred for Teaching the Mosaic Law was a Type for Christ

The Ancient American prophet Abinadi was murdered for teaching that The Eternal God would take on flesh as a human, and become the sacrifice for humanity's sin.

Mosiah 7:84 And they said: "We teach the law of Moses."
85 And again, he said unto them, If ye teach the Law of Moses, why do ye not keep it? ...
91 And what know ye concerning the Law of Moses?
92 Doth salvation come by the Law of Moses? What say ye?
93 And they answered and said, that salvation did come by the Law of Moses.

Mosiah 8:3 And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses;
4 I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the Law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the Law of Moses.
5 And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquites of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.
6 And now I say unto you, that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very strict law: for they were a stiff-necked people: quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
7 Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly, from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God, and their duty towards him.
8 But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things to come.

The Book of Mormon Prophets All Taught The Truth Regarding The Law of Moses Pointed to Christ

Yet some misguided teachers lived in ancient America teaching that the right way was only The Law

Jacob 5:9 And it came to pass that he came unto me and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: "Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you, For I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ;
10 And ye have led away much of this people, that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses, which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being, which ye say shall come many hundred years hence.
11 And now, behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you, that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things: for he can not tell of things to come…. (Jacob then straightens out the issue …13 But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words.)

The writers of Book of Mormon's chapters understood the truth regarding The Law of Moses:

Alma 14:76 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;
Alma 16:4 And they were strict in observing the ordinances of God according to the law of Moses, for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be fulfilled;
Alma 16:214 "And then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood, Then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled, Yea, it shall all be fulfilled, every jot and tittle, And none shall have passed away.

Some Ancient Americans Misunderstood the Sign of Jesus Birth as the End of The Law of Moses

After the SIGN of Jesus' BIRTH in America, some people thought (incorrectly) that the Law was fulfilled at that time. They were incorrect in timing.

3 Nephi 1:28 And thus the people began again to have peace in the land; And there were no contentions, save it were a few that began to preach, endeavoring to prove by the scriptures that it was no more expedient to observe the law of Moses -
29 Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures.
30 But it came to pass that they soon became converted, and were convinced of the error which they were in, for it was made known unto them that the law was not yet fulfilled, and that it must be fulfilled in every whit;
31 Yea, the word came unto them that it must be fulfilled; yea, that one jot or tittle should not pass away, till it should all be fulfilled;

Jesus Announced to the Nephites The Law was Done Away

Jesus manifests himself in person to the Nephites in America. He explains that the law is (now because of his death and resurrection) fulfilled.

3 Nephi 4:47 And as many as have received Me, to them have I given to become the sons of God, And even so will I to as many as shall believe on My name."For behold, by Me redemption cometh, And in Me is the law of Moses fulfilled.

Not Everyone Understood what it Meant that the Law was Fulfilled.

After Jesus' announcement, some still misunderstood, and Jesus explained to the people why they were not required to keep the Law anymore.

3 Nephi 7:3 And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words, He perceived that there were some among them which marveled and wondered what He would concerning the law of Moses, For they understood not the saying that old things had passed away and that all things had become new;
4 And he said unto them, Marvel not that I said unto you, that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.
5 Behold, I say unto you, that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses.
6 Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfill the law; therefore, it hath an end.
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.

After Jesus Presence, Finally The Nephites Understand

After Jesus appears to the Nephites, they no longer live under the Law of Moses ever again, but lived full lives in Christ. Many Jews today have yet to learn that the Law of Moses was a type for Christ, and done away in His death and Resurrection.

4 Nephi 1:13 And they did not walk anymore after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses, But they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, Continuing in fasting and prayer and in meeting together oft, both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.

The Purpose of the Book of Mormon Explaining the Mosaic Law's Fulfillment

The Book of Mormon, and especially its clarity regarding the Mosaic Law, will one day convert hearts of Israel to Jesus. One day this record will return from the Gentiles to Israel.

3 Nephi 7:28 That these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shalt be manifested unto the Gentiles, That through the fullness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed - which 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;