Promises Made to the Fathers Reading Assignment No. 15 Kingdom of Israel and King David

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1 Promises Made to the Fathers Reading Assignment No. 15 Kingdom of Israel and King David Introduction The focus of this reading assignment concerns the covenantal promises made to the nation of Israel and those made to King David. As we have learned from Moroni s teachings to the Prophet Joseph Smith, learning of the promises made to the fathers is essential in understanding the Lord s plan. Yet, many who are reading these assignments are studying these promises for their first time. Following Moroni s example in teaching the Prophet, we will review both the Enochian and Abrahamic Covenants before learning of the Israelitish and Davidic Covenants. Review of the Enochian and Abrahamic Covenants: To Enoch the Lord promised that after destroying in the wicked by flood in the days of Noah, a remnant of [Noah s] seed should always be found among all nations of the world. Further, God Enoch that He would call upon the children or posterity of Noah to repent and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, Enoch was promised the Jesus Christ would return in the last days when the world would be as wicked as it was in the days of Noah. But He promised Enoch that my people will I preserve. He would flood the world with righteousness and truth by which He will gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City... called Zion, a New Jerusalem (Moses 7:60-62). He further promised Enoch that when [Noah s] posterity shall embrace the truth and keep all of his commandments and look upward for the second coming of Jesus Christ, then when Christ returns, Zion, or the city of Enoch, as well as the general assembly of the church of the firstborn that is, all the dead who are righteous and have become adopted to Jesus Christ through His gospel will return with Christ and possess the earth (see Moses 7:62-65; JST Gen. 9:21-23). Thus, the earthly Zion and the Heavenly Zion shall become one Zion. Christ will establish his tabernacle and his abode among them for the space of a thousand years during which time the sons of God should be tried [or purified] by fire (Moses 7:62-65; JST Gen. 15:30-35). To bring about the promises made to Enoch (as well as Noah and Melchizedek), the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This covenant promised that from these three Patriarchs would come a great nation that would be the means of blessing all the families of the earth... with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. The promised seed were promised that they would have the gospel and the priesthood to administer the gospel. They also were promised a land where they could live the gospel freely. The promised seed would have the blessing of taking the gospel to all nations or the Gentiles. The Lord also promised that those of the Gentile nations who receive this Gospel shall be called the sedd of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is, those who accept the Gospel are adopted to the house of Israel, with Jesus Christ as their Father and King (Abr. 2:6-11; Gen. 26:1-5; 28:12-15). Abraham was also promised that kings shall come of thee, and of thy seed (JST Gen. 17:10). Associated with the Abrahamic Covenant is the promises made to Joseph the birthright son of Jacob. When Jacob was reunited with Joseph in Egypt, he told Joseph that God had given him to be a servant unto me, in saving my house from death both from physical famine as well as a spiritual famine. For, said he, thou shalt be a light unto my people... and to bring salvation unto them, when they are altogether bowed down under sin (JST Gen. 48:5-11). Joseph told his brothers that the salvation of their seed the house of Israel shall take place in the last days, centuries after their seed shall have been scattered among the nations of the earth because of wickedness. However, Joseph said, they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord who shall raise up... a choice seer unto my loins by which they shall be brought to the knowledge of the covenants which [God has] made with the fathers. This seer shall be called Joseph, meaning Joseph Smith, and through him God s work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel (JST Gen. 50:25-33). The children of Israel are the chosen seed meaning the servant seed. It is through the work of this seed that God shall bring about the salvation to all of his children. This brings us to the first part of this reading assignment:

2 the promises made to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they become a nation with Jesus Christ, or Jehovah, as their king. The role of Jesus Christ as king brings us to the second part of this reading assignment: the promises made to King David. Key Concepts and Teachings Israel Becomes a People of Great Size the Size of a Nation The Lord had a purpose in having Jacob and his sons live in Egypt. The Lord told Jacob Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation (Gen. 45:3). When Jacob and his sons migrated to Egypt they were seventy souls (Ex. 1:1-5) seventy people does not a nation make. To accomplish the Lord s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to bless all nations of the earth with the blessings of the Gospel (Abr. 2:11) required the seed of Abraham to be a people of large size. After four hundred years in Egypt, the twelve sons became twelve tribes. Eventually the became so large in number that the Egyptians became afraid they might join forces with an invading enemy. Therefore, they brought the Israelites into a state of bondage forcing them to build their cities (Ex. 1:7-14). In this state of slavery, the afflictions they suffered were very great. During this time, the Israelites adopted Read Exodus 2:23-25 The House of Israel is the Lord s Firstborn The Lord told Moses that He was to stand before Pharaoh and declare to him that the children of Israel is the Lord s his firstborn son and wants Pharaoh to release them that they might serve Him (Ex. 4:22-23). Read Exodus 4:22-23 We learned in an earlier reading assignment that Jesus Christ is the literal firstborn spirit. As Firstborn, Christ is the agent or representative of Heavenly Father who will carry out God s great plan. In so doing, He services the all of Heavenly Father s children. All those who obtain spiritual rebirth the first ordinances and principles of the Gospel and continue in their growth and development by receiving the fulness of the priesthood which is only received through temple ordinances take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and become his sons and his daughters (Mosiah 5:7-8; 27:24-26). As such, they become heirs with Jesus Christ and members of the church of the Firstborn. As such, they follow their Lord and Master Jesus Christ and become the servants of Heavenly Father in carry out the Father s plan. Read Leviticus 25:55. A Kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation During the years of slavery, the Israelites became a slave to the religious practices of the Egyptians as well. To honored with being the Lord s servants to carry out the work of God requires one to be clean and pure: Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord the Lord declared (Isa. 52:11; 3 Ne. 20:41; D&C 38:42; 133:5). Some fifty days after leaving Egypt, Moses and the children of Israel came to Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God (Ex. 19:1-2; also 3:1). Israel had become the size of a nation. But to fulfill their purpose in the Lord s plan i.e., to fulfill their purpose in achieving the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the slave nation needed to become a kingdom of God. Read Exodus 19:1-6 No longer would Israel be a slave nation to the Egyptians. If they honored the covenant God was willing to make with them, then of all the earth and all people on the earth, Israel would become the personal treasure of the God ( peculiar treasure is an accurate translation of the Hebrew; peculiar meant exclusive property in King James English). To this invitation, the children responded, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do (Ex. 19:5-8). After three days of preparation, Moses ascended the mountain of God and received the covenant (Ex ). This covenant would define the shape of Israel s existence. At the foundation of the covenant were the ten commandments. All other statutes or laws in the covenant grow out of these commandments. The first four commandments established Israel s relationship with Jehovah as their God and King. The focus of the rest of the commandments were on community relations. This covenant was the beginning the kingdom of priests which God intended to eventually become a Zion society. Read Deuteronomy 7:6-11 With Moses as mediator, Israel entered into the covenant (Ex. 24:3-8). The covenant was made with all the children of Israel and was therefore a national covenant. But it was meant to be kept by each individual. Consider the following teaching from the Prophet Joseph Smith: All must act in concert, or nothing can be done, and should move according to the ancient Priesthood; hence the Saints should be a select people, separate from all the

3 evils of the world choice, virtuous, and holy. The Lord was going to make of the Church of Jesus Christ a kingdom of Priests, a holy people, a chosen generation, as in Enoch's day. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 202) The covenant made was associated with the preparatory gospel or the first principles and ordinances of the gospel which included faith, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Israel struggled from the beginning to keep this covenant as it was radically different than the religious view they had acquired while in Egypt. To help the children of Israel to understand the importance of keeping themselves separate from the ways of the world, the Lord added to the covenant they had made what is known as the law of Moses which the Book of Mormon describes as 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. But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things to come (Mosiah 13:30-31). Though not directly speaking of the law of Moses, a statement made by Alma s expresses the idea behind the law of Moses: And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things (Al. 5:57). The National Covenant with Israel After leaving Mt. Sinai, the Lord led them to the promised land. However, because the original generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt did not have enough faith in Jehovah that He would help Israel fight their battles with the Canaanites who inhabited the promised land the children of Israel had to wait in the wilderness for forty years in hopes that they next generation would have sufficient faith in their God (see Numbers 13-14).into the wilderness until the next generation of Israelites came of age. If they would trust Jehovah then they would enter the promised land and take it over from the Canaanites who had become exceedingly wicked (see Numbers). Because Moses was translated, Joshua was called of the Lord to replace Moses and lead the children of Israel into the promised land. Before Moses was translated, he spoke to the children of Israel and rehearsed to them the law that would make them a holy nation. He told that if they kept the law of God, they would capture the attention of the Gentiles or the nations of the world: Keep [the law] therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great who had God so night unto them, as the LORD (Heb. Jehovah) our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as a this law, which I set before you this day? (Deut. 4:6-8) Isaiah said it this way: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth (Isa. 49:6; 1 Ne. 21:6). Moses told them that when the entered into the promised land the land of Canaan they were to make a covenant as a nation to keep the law. They were to gather to a sacred area called Shechem which lay at the center of the land of Canaan between two mountains, Ebal to the north, and Gerizim, to the south. Then Israel was to renew their covenant with the Lord. As part of the covenant ritual, six of the tribes of Israel were to climb Mt Gerizim and the other six tribes would ascend Mt. Ebal. Those on Mt. Gerizim would literally yell out all the blessings that would come upon Israel for their obedience (Deut. 28:1-14). The other six tribes were to yell out the curses that would befall Israel for disobedience (Deut. 28:15-68). Read Deut. 28:1-14. These blessings temporal blessings of prosperity. These would have been very visible blessings for the Gentiles to see. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 are the curses!! Read Deut. 28: Notice theses curses reversed what blessings they should have received. Read Deut. 28:25, According to these verses, what is the ultimate curse Israel would experience? The Promise of the Scattering Leviticus 26 is another version of the covenant. As does the covenant ritual in Deuteronomy, the promise is made that disobedient Israel will be scattered among the heathen (Lev. 26:33). The promise of Israel scattering for disobedience is found throughout the rest of the Old Testament. But their was great purpose in the promise of scattering. The following explains the purpose Joseph Fielding Smith ( ) President The Lord always turns punishments to the accomplishment of his purposes. The scattering of the Israelites among all nations was a punishment inflicted upon them, but a great blessing extended to the nations among whom they were scattered....the scattering of Israel, especially the descendants of the ten tribes who mingled with the Gentile nations, the blood of Abraham

4 had been mixed with the blood of the Gentiles, and in this way the Gentiles have been brought into the seed of Abraham, and are therefore entitled to receive, on conditions of their repentance, all the blessings promised to the seed of Abraham. The children of Israel, even in their greatest number, never fulfilled the promise of the Lord concerning their magnitude when dwelling in the land of Palestine. The prediction was that their number should be as countless as the stars or the sand upon the seashore. In Palestine they never reached proportions too great to be numbered nor have they reached this number in their scattered condition although they had become absorbed into the body of the Gentile nations. Moreover, they, through this scattering, planted in the hearts of the Gentiles to some degree a desire to worship the God of Abraham and to accept of his teachings and the teachings of the prophets who came through his seed. Because the Jews rejected Jesus Christ they were scattered as the Savior predicted; but the Lord has kept them, for his own purpose, as a distinct people. They have not mixed to any great extent with the Gentiles by marriage, but have maintained their racial identity. And when Christ comes, he will appear to the gathered Jews as predicted by Zechariah" (The Restoration of All Things, p ). The Promise of Gathering Though Israel would be scattered among the nations of the earth because of the broken covenant, their was a promise given to them Read. Lev. 26: What was a promise given to the nation of Israel? Read Deut. 30:1-5. What do these verses promise to the nation of Israel? Many of Israel s prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and Hosea, prophesied of the future gathering of Israel. It was through this scattering that the covenant made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would find its ultimate fulfillment. One of the beautiful set of verses about the gathering of Israel in the last days is found in Ezekiel 36:19-36 Read Ezekiel 36:19-36 List specific promises made to scattered children of Israel in the last days. The Davidic Covenant The Promises Made to King David David was also one of the fathers to whom promises were made by God. He was the second of three kings that ruled the united twelve tribes of Israel. Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and eventually to the promised land. Joshua led them into the promised land. Then for a few hundred years, each of the twelve tribes of Israel tried to govern themselves but failed. Eventually, they asked Samuel, the high priest and chief judge, to ask the Lord for a king to govern the twelve tribes as a single body. The Davidic Covenant David was the second of three kings over the united twelve tribes of Israel. After he was anointed king, David immediately conquered the city of Jerusalem a Canaanite city located between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah--and made it the capital of Israel (2 Sam. 5:6-12). He led Israel in defeating and subduing the neighboring countries who were their enemies expanding the size of his kingdom. He also built himself a palace from which to govern his expanded kingdom. David felt uncomfortable about having a palace while Jehovah s throne was in a tent. He asked the prophet Nathan, if he could build a house, or temple, to Jehovah. Nathan approved the idea. But that night, Jehovah spoke to Nathan and told him that David was not to build Him a house. Rather, Jehovah was going to build David a house! This was the beginning of the a series of important promises made to David by covenant. It is the capstone covenant made with the fathers. Read 2 Samuel 7:11-17 These verses speak of three major promises. These promises are very relevant to each of us. Remember, there isn t anything God does that is not relevant to his work and glory. Examine each promise closely. Promise No. 1 David was promised that he would have a son through whom the Lord would establish a kingdom for ever. Initially, this meant a Davidic dynasty family line of ruler would be established through this son, who would rule the house Israel forever. This would fulfill a promise made by Jacob to Judah in his patriarchal blessing Read Gen. 49:10. In this promise, Jacob stated that unto him shall the gathering of the people be. This finds ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Though initially fulfilled by Solomon, this ultimately is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Read Acts 2:29-36; 13: Promise No. 2 The second promise made to David was that Jehovah would be to Solomon a father, and Solomon adopted as Jehovah s son. In other words, Solomon would be as the firstborn of God, a position originally given to all the house of Israel (Ex. 4:22). This right of service would continue through the Davidic line (Ps. 2:7; 89:27). It continued until the kingdom of Israel broke their national covenant and were scattered the nations of the world. The Lord s prophets had prophesied that this would occur. They also prophesied that a messiah (Heb. one who is anointed or set apart ) to be king of Israel would come again. For example:

5 Read Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33: Because of these promises, there developed an expectation for a new Davidic king of Israel. This has become known as a messianic expectation those expecting the coming of one who has been anointed or set apart to become the king of Israel. It is important to understand that related to this promise is the following: those who come Jesus the Christ Christ is the Greek word that means the same as the Hebrew word, messiah, one who is anointed-- through faith, repentance, covenant at baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, become adopted to Jesus Christ, becoming his sons and daughters (see Mosiah 5:5-8; 15:11; 18:14-22; 27:24-28; Moses 6:64-68). As sons and daughters that become joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:14-17). When Jesus Christ returns the second time, He will take His rightful place as King of Israel. Those who have become rightful heirs with Jesus Christ will rule and reign in the eternal house of Israel with Him during the Millennium and in the celestial kingdom forever and ever (see Rev. 3:21; 20:6; 22:5). Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: Those who gain exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world shall wear crowns. Perhaps literal crowns may be worn on occasion emblematic of their victory over the world and signifying that they rule and reign as kings and queens in the eternal house of Israel. But at all times they will be "crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life." (D. & C. 75:5.) (Mormon Doctrine, 2 nd Ed. [1966], 173) Thus the Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus Christ is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29; emphais added). Promise No. 3 If Solomon and, because of the preceding promise, shall commit iniquity, the Lord will not reject Israel. Instead, He will first humble them through chastening. But [His] mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took if from Saul. This promise of mercy is implied in the Abrahamic Covenant but stated outright in this covenant. The Book of Mormon teaches that for mercy to be appropriately granted, the law of justice must first be satisfied. Alma tells us that it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged of according to their works. If their works were good then justice demands the blessing of the works. However, their works were evil, justice demands the consequence of a broken law (Al. 41:3-4). The atoning sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ answers the end of a broken law (see 2 Ne. 2:7, 9:26; Mosiah 15:9; 42:15). This act of mercy satifies the demands of justice making it possible for us to escape the eternal consequences of sin. For Jehovah to extend mercy to his children, justice must be satisfied. This is the primary reason Jesus Christ came to mortality. After Christ s atoning sacrifice ending in his physical death and resurrection, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men (Moroni 7:27). Isaiah called these rights of mercy the sure mercies of David (Isa. 55:3). Enoch saw that Christ s act of mercy extends to those who have died and are in spirit prison. He saw the wicked shut up in a prison where they are in torment. But God told him that Jesus Christ hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins (Moses 7:38).

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