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The gospel is the power of God for salvation, and I believe we grow in our faith through the study of His word and in gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ to receive Him in word and sacrament. We are also instructed to be able to defend our faith and have been given a faith that is grounded in history and logic. Beyond the daily study of scripture, I'll occasionally post to this page with personal thoughts related to faith and reason.


The Ten Words of God to Israel

Posted on August 01, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

This week I got into an unintended firestorm on Twitter with some individuals from the Latter Day Saints. I pointed out that the subtitle to the Book of Mormon was a misnomer. “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” should actually have been named “Another Testimony of Jesus Christ” unless they actually believed that Christ established another covenant with the group of Israelites they claimed escaped to the Americas during the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.

The prophet, Jeremiah, did not leave room for a third “Testament” because the one inaugurated by Jesus on the cross is mediated by Him, and thus was called “everlasting” by Jeremiah. If the LDS actually mean “Testimony”, the misnomer creates a real problem when they are trying to argue that the Book of Mormon is part of the biblical canon because their claim is that the book was directly translated letter by letter from God through Joseph Smith. Since they do not have the original manuscript evidence or even a copy written in the original language, we’re expected to just take their word that the book is from God even though it directly goes against the way we view things like: salvation, covenants, the nature of God, and the priesthood to name a few.

The question that was ultimately posed to me was, “If ‘Testament’ was to be used in terms of a covenant that goes into effect at the death of the testator, then who was the testator of the Covenant of Moses?” When I stated that Christ was the testator of that covenant as well, I was mocked as suggesting that 1 + 1 = 1.

When we think of the Covenant of Moses, we immediately think of the 10 commandments. The terms of that covenant were such that in order for Israel to receive and persevere in the land God was giving them, they needed to hold true to these words of God. In fact, the very way they were to express love to God was in keeping His words in their thoughts and actions, in their homes and marketplace, and in raising their families. 

I actually prefer to use the more literally translated “10 words” rather than “10 Commandments” because implied in the words or statements from God is that He would supply the means of keeping them. As hard as we may try to keep them, we fall short. A good example of such a “word” was given by Jesus to a paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” (John 5:8) On his own, this man had no means to carry out the word (command) of Christ, but in giving this word, Christ healed the man so that he got up, picked up his bed and walked.

Christ was the testator of this covenant because He kept God’s words perfectly on our behalf and imputed His righteous works to those who would receive them. In exchange, He took the mortal punishment that was required for our sin upon Himself on a Roman cross. Thus, it was through the death of Christ that we were (and are) able to inherit the promises of the covenant of Moses.

In fact, when we look back on all of God’s promises whether to Adam, to Abraham, to David, etc., this wonderful act of Christ fulfilled all of them. Christ made Abraham a blessing to the nations. He was the seed of the woman who crushed the head of the serpent. He is the one who sits eternally on the throne of David. If Christ fulfilled all of the covenants of God, and He remains the mediator of the New Testament in His blood, there is no need for “another testament of Jesus Christ”.

Unlike Joseph Smith, we are not forced to take Jesus at His word that He fulfilled God’s Law. Jesus proved that He accomplished the task when He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God. We were not forced to take the apostles’ word that Jesus ascended to the right hand of God because Jesus did miraculous signs through them while the Holy Spirit used them to write our canon of scripture.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us a faith that is grounded in the fact of Christ’s resurrection. Help us to see that You have provided us with the means to be called righteous and to let that truth permeate in us so that our thoughts and actions bring glory to Christ. Amen.