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The Eternal Gospel

Jesus Christ MormonThe gospel covenant is as old as eternity. So far as this earth is concerned, however, it was first introduced to Adam and passed from him to later generations. Prophet John Taylor said:

“What is meant by the everlasting Gospel? I know that some people think there was no Gospel until Jesus came; but it is a great mistake. Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses had the Gospel; and when Jesus came he came to offer himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world, and to bring back the Gospel which the people had lost. ‘Well,’ says one, ‘do you mean to affirm that the men you have just named had the Gospel?’ I do, and hence it is called the everlasting Gospel.” (In Journal of Discourses, 13:17.)

Abinadi, a Book of Mormon prophet, said the following (around 150 B.C.):

“For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them [the children of Israel] concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people?  Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began — have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?  Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?

“Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?  I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men…. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

“And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said [ch. 53], as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.  Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.  And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men” (Mosiah 13:33-35; 15:1-8).

Alma and Angel MormonThe Lord has always worked with people who were willing to make covenants with Him.  Covenant people understand that the foundational principles of the eternal gospel are obedience and sacrifice.  Upon this foundation, covenant people build their understanding and are able to live higher laws.  Eventually, they are able and willing to consecrate their time, talents, and resources to the building up of God’s kingdom on earth.

All prophets who have ever lived, since Adam, have preached Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and Him crucified.  Most of these scriptures have been changed or removed from the Old Testament.  As it says in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 13 (about 560 B.C.):

“…and I beheld a book…Andthe angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?  And I said unto him: I know not.   Andhe said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. AndI, Nephi, beheld it; andhe said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; andit also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

 “And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.  Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.
Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth…that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.  And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.”

The most part of the Book of Mormon peoples came from Jerusalem to the Americas around 600 B.C., just before the city was overcome by the Babylonians.  They kept the Law of Moses, but they looked forward to the coming of Christ:

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.   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; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.  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 oftheir sins” (2 Nephi 25:26-29).
These people understood that the Mosaic Law was a type of Christ:
“Yea, 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. 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” (Alma 25:15).
The Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, said,
“But, behold, ye not only deny my words, but ye also deny all the words which have been spoken by our fathers, and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses, who had such great power given unto him, yea, the words which he hath spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah.  Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up who should come.
“And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.  And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham.  Yea, and behold, Abraham saw of his coming, and was filled with gladness and did rejoice.  Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them” (Helaman 8:13-18).
*Parts of this article were adapted from the LDS Institute Old Testament Manual.
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