The previous parts of this series are found here:
This post will focus on the gospel dispensation of Jesus Christ himself. There is plenty of material to take from since the scriptures testify of him. Some of that describes Christ as a restorer of the everlasting covenant. It is interesting to note that from Enoch and on, there is an increasing amount of available information on the gospel dispensations. We know next to nothing about Enoch from the Bible but the Pearl of Great Price gives us a chapter and a half. We have several chapters in Genesis about Noah. We have even more chapters about Abraham in Genesis plus the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. We have entire books about Moses (Exodus-Deuteronomy). The same can be said about Jesus. In addition to the four gospels, we have the account of his visit among the Nephites in 3 Nephi, but numerous prophecies and sermons in addition. From Joseph Smith we have almost the entire Doctrine and Covenants plus much more detailed accounts of his life than any of the other heads of previous dispensations.
But back to Jesus Christ. The peculiar thing about this dispensation is that he, as the God of the Old Testament, established the everlasting covenant in the first place. He covenanted with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Moses. He is "the of heaven and earth, the of all things from the beginning" (Mosiah 3:8). The author of the everlasting covenant came to earth himself to restore it. He who created all things longs to re-unite all creation and paid the price of it with his own blood.
In the previous post we discussed the dispensation of Moses. How the Lord wanted to give them the fullness and they could only handle a part. But Moses prophesied:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers (Deuteronomy 18:15)
Christ identified himself as that prophet when he visited the Nephites.
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)
More on this in a previous post about Moses and Christ, explained beautifully by Abinadi. There is a Jewish tradition of the Messiah as the second Moses and there are numerous parallels in addition to the simple fact that Jesus identified as the prophet that Moses told about and said he had come to fulfill the Law of Moses. For instance:
- Jesus was born without shelter and laid in a manger. Moses was also born without shelter and laid in a basket, interestingly called an ark.
- Pharaoh and Herod both order all male infants killed and thereby threaten the lives of Moses and Jesus
- Jesus and Moses both spent their childhood in Egypt
- Both Jesus and Moses fasted 40 days in the wilderness
- Moses led Israel out of physical bondage. Jesus leads out out of spiritual bondage
- The people that Moses led were fed manna from heaven. Jesus referred to this event as he identified as the bread of life
- Moses smote the rock so the water gushed out. Jesus is the rock who offers the water of life
- The 10 commandments were given through Moses. Jesus discussed and re-interpreted these in the Sermon of the Mount
- Moses erected a tabernacle to house God. Jesus came down in an earthly tabernacle to house his spirit
- Moses initiated the passover lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God offering himself as a sacrifice.
- Moses led the people to the promised land. Jesus leads us to the promised land of the celestial kingdom
Both the sermon of Abinadi and the Letter to the Hebrews explain that salvation could not come by the Law of Moses alone but only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses was administered with the Aaronic Priesthood, also called the lesser or preparatory priesthood. The gospel of Christ and the everlasting covenant are administered with the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Since Christ's mission was to fulfill the Law of Moses, there are numerous parallels to that dispensation in particular. But the life and ministry of Christ also refers to the other gospel dispensations
- Adam plucked the fruit from the tree. Jesus reversed the fall as the firstfruits of God hanged on the tree at the crucifixion. "For as in all , even so in shall all be made ." (1 Corinthians 15:22)
- Enoch established Zion that was taken up to heaven. When Jesus comes again from heaven, he will establish the millennial Zion and the two will meet.
- Noah survived the baptism of the earth and sent forth a dove when the water receded. When Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove.
- Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. This is a "similitude of God and his
Let the shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and , and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers! (D&C 128:23)
I think this verse is a fitting way to end the year on a positive note. We also wish our readers a Happy New Year!