Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire. - Joseph Smith, Jr.
by Revan Filiaexdeus
A version of this paper was circulated on reddit.com/r/communityofchrist in 2013. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures come from the Inspired Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon / Doctrine and Covenants editions of the Community of Christ.
As I was reading the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, I was endowed with a certain bit of insight as to the covenants that God makes with man, and man makes with God. It is the wide-held view of Christendom, regardless of the denominational affiliation, that God is a God of covenants. That is, we who are called and chosen to be His people do indeed affirm to be His people. This affirmation is an agreement: we agree to do something, and God will do something in return.
The Community of Christ affirms that it is a divinely-ordained Church, established by God and not by man, the ministries and operations of which are called to fulfill the covenant between the Community and Christ: actively and generously support the ministries of the church, which was divinely established to restore Christ’s covenant of peace, even the Zion of your hopes (D&C 164:3b).
In the early days of the Restoration, the Church was defined through a revelation given to Joseph Smith: Behold, this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church; whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church (D&C 3:16a-b). This Church is defined as the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I the Lord am well pleased (D&C 1:5e partial).
Therefore, according to the Restoration of the Gospel given through Joseph Smith, God’s covenant people in these days consist of all those who turn from their sins and come unto God. It is no more or less complicated than that.
Despite all of the innovations of the Restoration which have served to be more of a dividing than a uniting factor, Joseph Smith, Jr. as the Prophet of the Restoration never gave more or less than this. In a vision given in February of 1832, Joseph records and, now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives (D&C 76:3g). He said also that the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it (History of the Church 3:30, Utah-LDS).
With this understanding in my mind, I read the first several verses in the third chapter of the Book of Mosiah. After King Benjamin’s beautiful speech in the second chapter, he asks the assembly of people if they believe the words that he said to them, concerning the coming of Christ and the need for repentance - the fullness of the Gospel.
The people respond, also we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually (Mosiah 3:3). We know, as His saints, that if God is good, then we must have His spirit with us in order to work good works. This is the heart of repentance, that the Spirit of God comes upon a person to wrought the very same mighty change that the people before King Benjamin experience. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Acts 2:17), the pouring out of which began at Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts, and was poured out on Jew and Gentile alike, for God is no respecter of persons.
In the fourth verse of the third chapter of Mosiah, it is recorded that the people have great views of that which is to come...and has brought us to this great knowledge (Mosiah 3:4-5 partial). And it is because of this that they are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will (Mosiah 3:6 partial).
I notice a pattern here: the Spirit falls upon people, they receive knowledge, and they enter into a covenant with God.
It is the same with Adam: the Spirit of God enters him to give him life, he receives the knowledge of good and evil, and his covenant with God begins the plan of salvation.
It is the same with the Assembly of Israel and Moses: the Spirit falls upon them at the mount, they receive the Law, and they choose to be a select nation.
It is the same with the New Covenant that Christ established: the Spirit falls upon Christ at his baptism and endures with them in the flesh, they receive the fullness of the good news of the Kingdom of God, and choose to fulfill the Great Commission given them.
It is the same with the Restoration: the Spirit of God fell upon Joseph in the first vision, he received knowledge in the way of the Book of Mormon, and the Church was organized as the latter-day administration of the covenant people.
It will always be the same, for this is the eternal gospel: receive God unto you, learn the things He has to tell you, and forge your own covenant with God!
In Jesus Christ’s name I write, amen!
Community of Christ offical web-page on the covenant between the Church and God: http://www.cofchrist.org/theology/covenant.asp
Ahmed Nait-Djoudi is a faithful Muslim and self-employed citizen of Algeria. He has studied at Université Mouloud Mammeri de Tizi Ouzou. Fluent in Arabic, German, English, and Algerian, he resides in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria.