Journey through the Book of Mormon: Jacob 4 (Pointing our Souls to Him)

4 For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.  Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.

Jacob again reiterates one of the great themes of the Book of Mormon. Those who believed in Christ had hope in him hundreds or thousands of years before his coming. And all of the prophets of old knew and testified of Christ. Here, Jacob adds an additional wrinkle by focusing on the law of Moses and how it pointed their souls to Christ.

Interestingly, Jacob uses the example of the binding of Isaac for an illustration of how obedience coupled with faith in Christ can be accounted for righteousness. The story of the binding of Isaac has always been one that has held great sway over the imagination of Jews and Christians alike. The story represents not only the blessings of obedience, but also the infinite mercy of God.

Indeed, part of the modern Jewish morning prayer relates to the story of the binding of Isaac and links it to mercy overcoming the demands of Justice: “Master of the Universe! Just as Abraham our father suppressed his compassion for his only son to do Your will with a whole heart, so may Your compassion suppress Your wrath against us, and may Your mercy prevail over Your attributes of strict justice.”

The binding of Issac was therefore a good analogy for Jacob to draw on when speaking of the law pointing towards Christ. It suggests that obedience and faith will lead to God intervening and redeeming mankind.

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