A NAZARENE LOOKS AT THE BOOK OF MORMON
By James Scott Trimm
THE ANTI-NOMIAN BOOK OF MORMON
The Book of Mormon makes a major mistake from a Nazarene standpoint. The Book of Mormon does not represent the teachings of the Bible, but instead presents the teachings Protestant Christians have BELIEVED are in the Bible.
Although the Book of Mormon, unlike the Bible, presents a continuous story line running from "Old Testament Times" through into "New Testament Times"; the Book of Mormon is still clearly dividable into "Old Testament" and "New Testament" portions. Now in its "Old Testament Portion" the Book of Mormon teaches exactly what Christians WISH they could find in the "Old Testament" portion of the Bible. The "Old Testament portion" of the Book of Mormon teaches that the Torah was only temporary and should only be observed until the coming of Messiah:
...that our children may know the deadness of the law;
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.
And after the law is fulifilled in Christ,
that they need not harden their hearts
against him when the law ought to be done away.
"...you must keep the performances
and ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled
which was given to Moses."
- 2Nephi 25:27, 30 (supposedly between 559 & 545 BC)
"...but I say to you, that the time shall come
when it shall no more be expedient
to keep the law of Moses."
- Mosiah 13:27 (supposedly in 148 BC)
...they were taught to keep the law of Moses
until it should be fulfilled.
- Alma 30:3 (supposedly 74 BC)
Now this is EXACTLY what Christians would rewrite the real "Old Testament" (the Tanak) to say if they could. But the Tanak does NOT teach that the law of Moses should be kept only "until it should be fulfilled in Christ" until "the law ought to be done away".
Instead the Tanak teaches that the commandments of the Torah would be for all of our generations forever:
...it shall be a statute FOREVER to their GENERATIONS... (Ex. 27:21)
...it shall be a statute FOREVER to him and his seed after him. (Ex. 28:43)
.a statute forever... (Ex. 29:28)
. it shall be a statute FOREVER to them,
to him and to his seed
THROUGHOUT their generations. (Ex. 30:21)
It is a sign between me
and the children FOREVER. (Ex. 31:17)
There is no shortage of passages in the Torah which specify that the Torah will not be done away but will be for all generations forever. (For more see: Lev. 6:18, 22; 7:34, 36; 10:9, 15; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8; 15:15; 18:8, 11, 19, 23; 19:10; Deut. 5:29) and will not be diminished or taken from (Deut. 4:2; 12:32).
Moreover the Psalmist writes:
Your word is truth from the beginning:
and every one of your righteous judgements
Amazingly the Book of Mormon contradicts itself by echoing this sentiment:
...the decrees of God are unalterable...
Not only does the Book of Mormon have its "Old Testament" portion saying just what Christians wish the real Old Testament said (but didn't) that the law should only be kept until fulfilled in Christ, at which time it would be done away, the Book of Mormon also has Yeshua (Jesus) teaching just what Christianity wishes he taught.
The Book of Mormon has Yeshua saying:
"...the law in me is fulfilled,
for I have come to fulfil the law;
therefore it has an end."
- 3Nephi 15:5 (supposedly quoting "Jesus")
The Book of Mormon presents this as an elaboration to Yeshua's statement in the Bible:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets;
I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
This statement is repeated in the BoM's own version of the Sermon on the Mount (3Ne. 12:17). However Christianity finds this statement by Yeshua to be inconvenient and attempts to interpret "fulfil" in this passage to somehow mean "end" or "done away". The Book of Mormon takes this a step further and has Yeshua himself interpreting "fulfill" as "end" (see also the above passages from the "Old Testament portion of the BoM where "fulfil" = "end" = "done away")
The Book of Mormon teaches that the Law of Circumcision was done away in
"...the law of circumcision is done away in me."
- Moroni 8:8 (supposedly quoting "Jesus")
Once again the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible, which teaches that the law of circumcision is for all generations forever:
I will establish my covenant between me and you
and your seed after you in their generations
for an everlasting covenant,...
You shall keep my covenant therefore,
you and your seed after you in their generations.
This is my covenant, which you shall keep,
between me and you and your seed after you;
Every man child among you shall be circumcised....
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you
every man child in your generations...
my covenant shall be in your flesh
for an everlasting covenant.
And the uncircumcised man child
whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised,
that soul shall be cut off from his people;
he has broken my covenant.
(Gen. 17:7, 9-10, 12-14)
And even the "New Testament" which teaches that circumcision continued to be practiced in NT times:
"...and [Paul] took and circumcised him [Timothy]... (Acts 16:3)
The Book of Mormon also has Yeshua abolishing the law of sacrifice:
"And you shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood;
yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away,
for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings."
- 3Ne. 9:19
Yet the Torah teaches:
"...it [the law of sacrifice] is a statute for ever...
a statute for ever from among the children of Israel....
a statute for ever throughout their generations."
- Lev. 6:22; 7:34, 36
Moreover Paul performed animal sacrifices long after the time of Yeshua's death (Acts 21:17-26 with Num. 6:13-21; Acts 24:17-18) and stated:
"For then would they [animal sacrifices] ceased to be offered?...
.in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins every year."
Now in what one might think of as the "Apostolic" portion of the BoM, that portion of the BoM which describes events among the believers after Yeshua's departure, the BoM once again comes through in presenting just the words Christians WISH they could find in the Acts portion of the Bible:
"And they did not walk anymore after the performances
and ordinances of the law of Moses..."
- 4Nephi 1:12
By contrast the real "Apostolic" portion of the Bible teaches quite to the
"You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are
which believe; and they are all zealous of the law."
- Acts 21:20
Paul for example said:
"Neither against the Jewish law,
nor against the Temple, nor against Caesar
have I offended in anything at all."
- Acts 25:8
"I have done nothing against our people
or the customs of our fathers."
"...the Torah is holy and the commandment
is holy and just and good."
"Do we then nullify the law through faith?
May it never be! On the contrary, we maintain
- Rom. 3:31
In fact Paul himself did "walk after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses". He:
circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:1-3)
took the nazarite vow (Acts 18:18; 21:17-26)
kept the Torah feasts of:
Passover (Acts 20:6; 1Cor. 5:6-8; 11:17-34)
Shavuot (Pentecost) (Acts 20:16; 1Cor. 16:8)
fast of Yom Kippur (Acts 27:9)
and even performed animal sacrifices (Acts 21:17-26 with Num. 6:13-21; Acts 24:17-18)
Thus consistently in regards to Torah truth the Book of Mormon does not repeat the teachings of the Bible, but instead consistently the Book of Mormon substitutes the teachings Christendom WISHES were in the Bible. The Book of Mormon has its "Old Testament era prophets" teaching that the law should be kept until it would be fulfilled and done away with by Messiah. The Book of Mormon has the Messiah claiming to have ended the law, done away with the law of circumcision and abolished the law of sacrifice. And finally the Book of Mormon has its "apostolic era" believers abandoning the Law of Moses. All of these things are things that Christians WISH they could show in the Bible but which are not to be found in the Bible because they are not true.