Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mosiah the Messiah

Since Elder Ballard invited members of the Church to participate online in defending the doctrines of the Church, I have visited a particular religious forum which is exceptionally antagonistic towards LDS beliefs. In fact, several of my friends had lost interest in investigating the LDS Church because of this very website and forum.

I knew this forum existed and had visited it briefly in the past, but not until Elder Ballard invite members to be more active on line did I really feel good about spending time at all on the site. But since I have I really have to hand it to our LDS critics on this particular website. They really do their homework. And they know LDS doctrine in some respects better than most LDS do. And if you want an obscure quote from the Early LDS Church leaders on any particular subject, they can usually find it for you.

And every once in a while they really come up with a post that is very inspiring and profound. Such was the case tonight with a great post by Joshua Lee who points out that it is curious in the Book of Mormon how that while the people of Zarahemla descended from Judah and had the blood of the son of King Zedekiah through Mulek, that the people appointed King Mosiah to be both their king and their priest. In this way, Mosiah becomes a Messianic figure.

Joshua Lee says:

"Why did the people of Zarahemla, who had a claim to the throne of Judah, accept Mosiah as their king, who was from the tribe of Manasseh? This is odd, especially in light of the people of Zarahemla having just learned from Mosiah of the "record of the Jews," during which years of warfare had been fought and recorded between Israel and Judah over this very controversy. However, in spite of this, the story goes:

Omni 1:12 Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinadom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla ...13 And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness ... until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla. 14 And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla. ... the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews. 15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.

Omni 1:18 But it came to pass that Mosiah caused that they should be taught in his language. And it came to pass that after they were taught in the language of Mosiah, Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers, according to his memory; and they are written, but not in these plates. 19 And it came to pass that the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together; and Mosiah was appointed to be their king.

Even the verse selected below from Isaiah for inclusion in the Book of Mormon seems to highlight this dilemma:

Isaiah 9:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
2 Nephi 19:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh; they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

But that's not all - here we see that the people of Zarahemla are now to be numbered with the Nephites, the descendants of Manasseh:

Mosiah 25:13 And now all the people of Zarahemla were numbered with the Nephites, and this because the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi.
What does all of this portend?Well, according to the blessing of Jacob, that Mosiah has become "Messiah" (a nice touch with the name cognate here, BTW), because he has fulfilled this promise:
Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Of course, this presents a bit of a problem within the scope of the promise to David.So, to sum up, I see this usurping by a "false Mosiah" as a big problem within the Book of Mormon. Thoughts?"

My response was:

Wow, I love you guys. What a great post on how Mosiah as a type of Christ. Your post was very beautiful and inspiring and has increased my faith in the Book of Mormon. Remember that both Ephraim and Judah will be given a birthright inheritance in the Last Days. Ephraim is given a birthright in the New World, and Judah is given a birthright to govern in the Old World. When Christ comes and all land is one, Ephraim and Zion will be the center of religious teaching and Jerusalem will be the center of Government and Christ will be King of kings and Lord of lords. Since King Mosiah is a type of the Messiah as all prophets are, he is both a king and a priest over the people. The people wisely saw that the birthright should go to him with the priesthood and the spiritual gifts.

Matt. 20: 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Isa. 11: 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

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