Behold, I make All Things New

With the end of the Law of Moses prophesied (Mosiah 8:4), it follows that this set of laws would no longer be performed after Christ comes to the Nephites. (4 Nephi 1:13)

This law plainly had a purpose--which purpose ended after Christ's death.  What was it's purpose?  To point all covenant people towards Christ and the atonement (Alma 16:215)

But what about baptism?  Wasn't baptism being performed in the Book of Mormon prior to Jesus instruction in 3 Nephi? 

Answer, Yes!  Baptism was occurring.  Not only was it being performed in Alma's day (120 years BC) , but it was even being performed by Nephi (son of Helaman) in the years and days prior to Jesus visitation to America!

In fact, Nephi is recorded in the year 32 A.D. ordaining many who were in the act of baptizing the repentant.( 3 Nephi 3:68 , 3 Nephi 3:69 , 3 Nephi 3:70)

So why then, if the people already knew about baptism, did Jesus apparently insist on not only (re)-baptizing the masses, but even Nephi and the priesthood when he came after his death and resurrection?

Answer?  Jesus tells it best:
3 Nephi 5:92 Old things are done away, and all things have become new; therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.


3 Nephi 7:3 And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words, he perceived that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would concerning the Law of Moses; for they understood not the saying, that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.


3 Nephi 7:4 And he said unto them, Marvel not that I said unto you, that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.
Anyone who was a true follower of God for 1500 years prior to Christ, was bound under the Mosaic Covenant.  The Nephites learned under the original Nephi (600 B.C.) that the Mosaic law was 'dead', but were obliged to keep it by the commandment (2 Nephi 11:46 , 2 Nephi 11:49 , 2 Nephi 11:50 ) until it was fulfilled. 


But baptisms made by those (with or without a faith in Christ), were apparently made under the Mosaic Covenant, and this covenant was enforced until Christ's resurrection.  When a covenant ends, that which was bound by it ends.  Baptisms under the Mosaic covenant fell under this domain.


Jesus therefore commands re-baptism under the 'New' covenant--which is still in effect today.


Not on the Book of Mormon demonstrates this, but the Bible also.  Paul demonstrates that 're'-baptism was occurring in New Testament Times in Israel as well:


Acts 19:1-6 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Problem:  Does this mean that anyone baptized under the old covenant well before the time of Jesus, would have to be re-baptized (at a time in the future, let's pretend for discussion sake, in the next life)?  No. 

Baptism applies to the covenant that was in effect while the person had life in this world.  If you lived completely under the Mosaic Law before Christ, that was your covenant; if you lived completely after Christ's resurrection, you are under the requirements of the New Covenant.  For a certain few, however, their generation spanned both the time periods of the Mosaic covenant and the New covenant.  All person's alive (and accountable) since Christ's resurrection would require baptism under the new covenant.

As a token of how things changed from the old to the new, baptismal charges under the old covenant were different, as exemplified by Alma's statement (Mosiah 9:44), than Jesus commands to the Nephites according to the new covenant (3 Nephi 5:25 ). 


Alma's Words under
Mosaic Covenant

Jesus Words under
New Covenant

Mosiah 9:44 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said, Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead, as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.

3 Nephi 5:25 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 

The reason we (of the church) use the same words now as Jesus spoke is because we are baptizing unto the same new covenant that was established in Jesus resurrection.
Now Jesus clarifies that the words of the prophets were not all abolished--many events, such as the re-gathering of Israel--would yet be fulfilled.  (3 Nephi 7:7-9) But the covenants made under the Mosaic umbrella were now done away.

This is a central issue in the latter days.  A revelation through Joseph Smith Jr., reinforced this principle.  (The background to the revelation helps in this story:  In the 1800's, a Baptist Minister by the name of James Coville wanted to join the church, but didn't understand why he should have to be re-baptized)

DC 20:Intro SECTION 20 Revelation given through Joseph Smith, Jr., prophet and seer to the church, April 1830, at Manchester, New York. This instruction came in answer to Joseph Smith's inquiry concerning the status of those who desired to unite with the church and who had already been baptized.
20:1a Behold, I say unto you, that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting covenant; even that which was from the beginning.
20:1b Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth him nothing; for you can not enter in at the strait gate by the Law of Moses, neither by your dead works;

The covenants made outside of the new covenant were dead and done away.  This gospel was restored so that men might be partakers of life in God's presence--this only happens to those who choose baptism under the new covenant.  This is why the the state called 'celestial' requires one to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost--to dwell in God's presence, one must have come in at the narrow gate. 

There is no person dwelling in God's presence who has not received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  And how does one receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost? By Faith, Repentance, and Baptism.

And How do the 10 Commandments Fit In?

Now the 10 commandments, which were given to Moses, but not part of the 613 sundry laws abolished under the separate Mosaic Law, still stood; however, Jesus helped re-define the 'celestial' purpose of the Laws, as the following chart outlines:


Original 10 Commandments (Terrestrial)

All Things New

(Celestial)

1

No other Gods

Mark 12:35And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.

2

Worship no Idols

Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
I Corinthians 5:10  I Corinthians 6:9 Romans 8:6-13  2 Nephi 6:71

3

Take not His Name in Vain

Mosiah 3:11 There is no other name given, whereby salvation cometh, therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God, that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
 Moroni 6:2 …and they were not baptized, save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it; neither did they receive any unto baptism, save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.  (I.E. making a sincere convenant is to ‘Take the Name’ of Christ).

4

Keep the Sabbath

Luke 6:9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy? DC 59:2-3

5

Honor parents

Ephesians 6:1-10, Mosiah 11:159-175

6

Do not murder

I John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

7

No Adultery

Matthew 5:30 But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

8

No Stealing

Mosiah 2:46  And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you that borroweth of his neighbor, should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree,  47 Or else thou shalt commit sin, and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.

3 Nephi 12:11-12 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written: and they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another. 12 And it came to pass that they did do all things, even as Jesus had commanded them.
 

9

No lying, false witness

DC 16:4e Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness; and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
DC 42:7f Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.

10

No Coveting

Matthew 19:21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.DC 18:3bDC 98:3a, DC 101:1a-cI Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 8:6-14

 

Are the 10 commandments still in effect?  Yes.  Latter day revelation still admonishes their adherence ( DC 59). 

But we must realize that their original lower 'physical' aspect of the Ten Commandmentsl, had a higher spiritual meaning defined by Jesus.

 

 

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