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A covenant book By Lynn

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The Main Purpose of the Book of Mormon

by
Lynn Ridenhour


The main purpose of the Book of Mormon is not to make a Mormon out of you. Its purpose is not to proselyte. The Book of Mormon was never intended to be affiliated with any earthly sect; i.e., the LDS (Mormons), RLDS, or Restoration Branches.

Then why is it called the Book of Mormon?

The book is its own best commentary:

"…And behold, I am Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon-the land in the which Alma did establish the church among his people…" (3 Nephi 2:96).

Most of us think the book is named after the MAN, Mormon. Not so. It got its name after the LAND of Mormon where Alma established the church among his people. Or more specifically, where Alma re-established covenant relationships by baptizing church members. That happened in the land of Mormon. And these saints entered into a covenant with one another and with God (RLDS Mos.9:41, 44, 174-179; Alma 5:27). To quote Ray Treat, "…The land of Mormon to the Nephite believers meant the land where the covenant was restored; therefore, "Mormon" means restoration of the covenant. And spiritually speaking, the Book of Mormon means "Book of the Restoration of the Covenants."

The title page, I believe, should read "Book of the Restoration of the Covenants." Not Book of Mormon. For such is the primary purpose of the book-to restore the covenants to God's people during these last days.
in fact is to convince Hebrew and gentiles that Jesus is the Christ

That means-the Book of Mormon is the most non-sectarian book I've ever read! It's meant for Baptists and Catholics, Mormons and Jews. It's meant for everyone.
Old testament means old covenant and new testament new covenant. and for this reason God gave us Doctrine and covenants to better specify all the covenants and doctrines of the church



Lost Covenants

Sadly, the Church has lost the meaning of covenant.

"…For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have been taken away…"
--I Nephi 3:168,169

Somehow our generation has overlooked the obvious: the Bible (& the Book of Mormon) is a covenant document!

And what's a covenant?

It's the missing revelation among God's children, among the church at large. That's what it is. And how sad. Like Mephibisheth, the majority of today's Christians do not know they have a covenant with the King. We have no idea-we were destined to sit at the table with the King.

Like in King Josiah's time (II Kings 23), "covenant" has been forgotten among us. I would say-since the early 1800s we've lost the revelation. We're a generation without a covenant, without a mandate, without dominion. Yes, today's Church, by and large, has taken away "…many covenants of the Lord…", has taken away from the gospel "…many parts…"

There's an Old Testament story that fits here. The story is prophetic.


The Book of the Lost Covenant Found:

One day a young Israelite king was sitting on his throne (II Kings 22). Bored by the events of the day, the king decides to count his money. He sends for his secretary. All the king's treasures were kept in the temple. So he instructs a messenger and a priest to go to the temple to determine his wealth.

While plundering through the chests of gold, rubies and jewels in the house of the Lord, one of the messengers accidentally finds a strange-looking object. Hidden inside was an ancient manuscript. The messenger immediately calls for the priest. Without saying a word, both knew what they had found. They wept as they read of their nation's delegated greatness!

They had discovered the Book of the Covenant (II Kings 23:2)! Or-rediscovered it.

The king must be told.

The two decided the priest would tell him. Folding the document carefully under his arm, the priest set out for the king's palace. At first he walked; then he ran. While greeting the guards at the entrance he motioned for them to get out of the way. He had an important message for the king.

Running into the king's court, interrupting his conference, the priest held the document up to the king. The young Israelite king took it. He stood and read silently. The pomp and glory of the moment ceased. Silence settled over the room like a London fog, and the great court with all its golden curtains, silver cups and jeweled furniture, waited. Everyone waited. The kingdom seemed at a standstill. Then the king looked up.

His eyes did not look toward his subjects. They looked toward heaven. Without any warning, standing before his numbered audience, the king cried out, "….O, God, forgive me and my people…" He tore his clothes and fell on his face before the Lord, asking for mercy.

The Prophetic implications of the above story for us are profound:

r    In these last days the revelation of the lost covenant will be rediscovered. It will bring much joy to the saints. We too will realize our delegated greatness.

r There will come a day when the leaders of our great nation will realize-we have
not kept the covenants of the Lord and will weep with godly repentance-or else.

r There will come a day when the Church-both laymen & clergy-will realize that as
a covenant people we have not kept the covenants of the Lord but have engaged in
dirty politics. The two-party system is corrupt to the core. The liberal Lemuels and
the conservative Lamans both have rejected the offer of Sam and Nephi's Zionic
kingdom.

r As a Church, we have not played by Zion's rules, but have looked to Lemuel's and
Laman's entitlement programs to save us and to take care of us. We have created
our own Welfare State Religion; thereby, stirring the King's wrath.

r    Deep sorrow, weeping, and godly repentance must come upon the Church. We must return to Zion's principles.

"…By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? --Psalm 137:1-4

As a nation and Church, we must return to the principles of Covenant theology or suffer Divine judgment.

Our early fathers knew what a biblical covenant was. America was built upon covenant theology.

A covenant in those days was a solemn agreement, signed or not, between individuals or between God and an individual, a church, and/or a nation.

Our founders understood the power of covenants because they were Biblicists. They knew that God would inevitably act in accordance with His Word if the human covenantor would obey His Word. God blessed our fathers because they covenanted, agreed, contracted with God to obey His Son (Psalm 2:10). It's that simple. It's that profound.

The hope of America, the hope of the Church, the hope of this generation, the hope of the individual, is to reaffirm our covenant. When all is said and done, there are only two groups of people: 1) covenant keepers, and 2) covenant breakers.


Historical Overview

Let me give a brief prophetic history of the church age and its relation to covenant keeping. John speaks of different ages in his book of Revelation. Seven churches represent seven approximate time periods. For example, Ephesus represents that period approximately 29 AD to 100 AD. Smyrna represents 100 AD to 300 AD. Pergamus, 300 to 350 AD. Thyatira, 350 to 500 AD. Sardis, 500 to 1500 AD, the dark ages. Philadelphia, 1500 to 1830 AD, the Reformation. And the Church at Laodicea, 1830 to present-the age of the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord.

Please consider that last point-we're living in an age of "…the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord."

Selah-ponder that for a moment.

The Laodicean age-no real commitment to covenants and contracts. The fruit of the Reformation (sectarianism) changed the concept of biblical salvation "oh so" subtle among the majority of Protestants. And in the process, the covenants were lost. Protestantism for the past 150 years has preached salvation by decision-making, not covenant-keeping. That's a caricature of the real thing. "…Invite Jesus into your heart," "…Make a decision for Christ," are buzz words of the modern Protestant movement. The problem is-you don't make a "…decision for Christ." You enter into a covenant with Him. You make a covenant with the King of the universe that begins in time but lasts throughout eternity. There's a world of difference between entering into a covenant and making a decision. One is binding throughout eternity; the other, more times than not, is mere mental gymnastics.

You say, "Ridenhour, you're just playing with words…semantics." No, I'm not. The implications are far deeper than a mere play on words.

When a people sign a contract they act differently (especially if the contract is with God!). They weigh the consequences. In these latter days we will again begin to know what it means to sign a contract with the Lord of Hosts, and act accordingly. A revelation of biblical salvation will return to his people. Praise His name.

In other words, the central message of the Book of Mormon is---to repent and come unto Christ, which means to establish a covenant with Him. And that message is coming to light in these latter days. And that's why I embrace the Book of Mormon. Our generation knows very little, if anything, about establishing a covenant with Christ. Protestantism doesn't teach it. Unfortunately, most of us Protestants are products of "cheap grace" and "decision-making" Sunday School preaching. Hosea described a people who were "…half baked" (Hosea 7:8). Like a cake not turned. Sadly, my generation fits the bill.

Listen to the words of the ancient prophet.

"…Behold, I [the Christ] have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin; therefore whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive; for of such is the kingdom of God." --3 Nephi 4:51

To make sure we understand…

Scriptural salvation is entering into a personal covenant with Him; thereby coming unto Christ for all our temporal and eternal needs and wants. The contract is binding throughout eternity while effectual in time. That's different from Sunday School religion.

And that's why I love the Book of Mormon. Its main purpose is restoration of the covenants.
r



About the Author:

Lynn Ridenhour grew up in the heart of Missouri near the Ozarks. A licensed Baptist minister for over 38 years, Lynn read the Book of Mormon and had a marvelous conversion experience to the restoration gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith.

Dr. Ridenhour has a Ph.D in literature with a specialty degree in composition theory from the University of Iowa. He has taught creative writing in both Christian and secular universities. Dr. Ridenhour has also pastored Baptist churches for years, has taught at Jerry Falwell's university, and has been involved in the charismatic renewal since 1972.

Lynn is the founder of WinePress Publishing Co., and has a heart for evangelism. Paperback copies of Dr. Ridenhour's booklets may be purchased for $3 per copy.

Write: WinePress Publishing Co.
3601 S. Noland Rd., PMB 230
Independence, MO 64055   

Dr. Ridenhour's email address is: htrails@solve.net

Should you want Dr. Ridenhour to come and speak in your church, or organization, simply email him, giving him the details. Lynn travels extensively for speaking engagements.

Lynn, his lovely wife, Linda, and their teenage daughter, Lori, make their home in Independence

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 08:44  

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