Monday, May 2, 2011

Lehi's not Ether's Land of Promise – Part III

Of the Jaredites, it is written: “And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.” (Ether 2:7).

This suggests that the Jaredites were being led to a specific and special land, but not one necessarily dedicated or promised to them only.

“And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.” (Ether 2:8).

Again, this is a general statement, saying that any people the Lord led to this land were to serve him.

And that the “decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God” (Ether 2:9).

Specifically, this land was preserved for whatever nation the Lord should have inhabit it—not specifically or only the Jaredites.

“Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land” (Ether 6:5) and the wind “did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters (Ether 6:8). Finally they “did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them” (Ether 6:12).

Before they entered into the barges, the Jaredites had “begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land; and therefore they began to be many” (Ether 6:16); and later generations remembered what the “Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land” (Ether 7:27).

Not one of these passage about the land of Promise or the promised land found in Either give any indication or suggest that the land was solely given to the Jaredites as a promise to them only or forever.

At the same time, the term “land of inheritance” is used twice in Ether (Ether 7:6; 9:13), and in both cases refers to the Land of Moron and the kingdom founded there. Thus, the “Lord did pour out his blessings upon this land, which was choice above all other lands; and he commanded that whoso should possess the land should possess it unto the Lord, or they should be destroyed when they were ripened in iniquity (Ether 9:20). This again refers to the land, and not to any promise.

Father Lehi given a promise that this land would be for he and his posterity forever

Compare this with the promises made to Lehi and Nephi: “Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:19-20). And He said of his promise to Lehi: “And they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9).

It should be obvious when comparing all scripture on the subject that the Land of Promise was the entire area, including the Land Southward and the Land Northward, and not only a part of it.

(See the next post, “Lehi's not Ether's Land of Promise – Part IV,” to see how the Land Northward was singled out in language different from when the entire Land of Promise was indicated)

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