In part 1, I gave an introduction to this topic, largely based on Tyler Halverson's last FairMormon conference presentation. In part 2, I focused on the Abrahamic covenant and how it is referenced in the Book of Mormon. In this part, I want to focus on the Mosaic covenant and how it is referenced in the Book of Mormon.
I mentioned in part 1 that the Mosiac covenant is about the promises Abraham's seed, the Israelites, made to God. Moses received commandments. But didn't God promise something in return? Absolutely, but those promises were not new. They were only a repetition of those he already made to Abraham and his posterity.
In Exodus 2:24, the Israelites are suffering in Egyptian bondage, and complain.
And God their groaning, and God remembered his with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
The Exodus, the promised land and blessings promised to the Israelites were all part of the old covenant God had made with Abraham. I find it interesting that the Israelites had not made any promises at this time. They were freed from bondage in Egypt simply out of mercy. But entering into the promised land was conditioned on them making and keeping covenants. Simliarly, we are freed from physical and spiritual bondage through the atonement. This is a free gift. But to enter into the highest kingdom of glory (our promised land or "his rest") and receive the fullness of that gift, we must make and keep covenants.
On Mount Sinai, Moses received commandments and instructions for all of Israel to follow. This is the Mosaic covenant. In return, God would give them the blessings promised to Abraham, prosperity and a promised land. According to Halverson, the Book of Deuteronomy is basically a long summary of these covenant terms and blessings/curses. The short version is what I previously have labelled the Book of Mormon proverb. At the time, I had no idea about this context. Compare this with some statements in Deuteronomy.
All the commandments which I thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the sware unto your fathers. (Deuteronomy 8:1)
In that I command thee this day to love the thy God, to in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his , that thou mayest live and multiply: and the thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. (Deuteronomy 30:16)
There are several other examples. We see the same in the Book of Mormon. Lehi's family was not in bondage in Jerusalem like the Israelites had been in Egypt. But they were in the middle of wickedness and were led out into the wilderness and to a promised land. With all those similarities, Nephi draws many parallels to the Exodus in his narrative and the Lord echoes the words of Moses to the group to indicate that the same covenant applies to them.
And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall , and shall be led to a ; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be from the presence of the Lord. (1 Nephi 2)
This is repeated consistently throughout the Book of Mormon. I will not repeat the examples since many are given in the previous post that I referenced. Having no idea about the Mosaic covenant relation at the time, I noticed that the Book of Mormon proverb is only used before the coming of Christ. Now I understand why. As Halverson also mentions in his presentation, the Mosaic covenant was updated when "the second Moses", Christ, came to fulfill it. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses prophecies of this.
The thy God will unto thee a from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken (Deuteronomy 18:15)
When Jesus came to the Nephites, he identified himself as this prophet
Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me (3 Nephi 20:23)
"The second Moses" came to update the Old Testament/covenant and the reference to the Mosaic covenant and Deuteronomy was not relevant anymore. That is why it disappears from the Book of Mormon.
Behold, 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 the law; therefore it hath an end. (3 Nephi 15:5)
This does not mean the end of a covenant altogether. As part of the restoration, the new and everlasting covenant is the fullness of the gospel and includes all ordinances and blessings necessary for our salvation. In the Book of Mormon we repeatedly read that God in the latter days ("on that day") will show that He has not forgotten his covenants. True to his word, He has caused the Book of Mormon to be found and translated and restored the priesthood and his church. Anyone who wishes to enter into a covenant with Him will be counted as part of the House of Israel and the promised blessings to Abraham and his posterity will apply, with our "promised land" being the celestial kingdom.
Consider how neatly Alma ties all this together in Alma 36:1-3
Verse 1 consists of the Book of Mormon proverb, the reference to the Mosaic covenant. As discussed, "keep the commandments" was the condition for the Israelites and "prosper in the land" was the repetition of the blessing originally given to Abraham. To fulfill His promise, God first delivered the Israelites from captivity. I don't know if Alma in verse 2 refers to the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt or the captivity of Alma's father and/or the people of Limhi among the Lamanites. Perhaps both. But he definitely refers to the Abrahamic covenant ("the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"). This is the God that delivers His people.
Not only that. In verse 3, Alma seems to make a case for physical bondage and delivery only giving a pattern that can be applied on a spiritual level. Since the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has kept his promises and always will, we can "put [our] trust in [Him]" and He can also deliver us from our spiritual captivity and afflictions and be "lifted up" at the last day to our personal promised land.