Wednesday, January 27, 2021

 Seven Rechabite Migrations
Recorded in The Book of Mormon

Two of the main themes of The Book of Mormon are (1) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of all mankind, and (2) the scattered House of Israel will be gathered in the latter days. But how did the House of Israel become scattered? Much of the scattering occurred as people whose inclination was to live righteously had their prayers answered and were led to new lands of safety. As I stated in my last two articles, Hugh Nibley called this the Rechabite principle.

The Book of Mormon recounts some of the migrations that caused Israel to become scattered. At least seven migrations are recorded in this volume of scripture.

1. The Jaredites flee Babylonian society. Sometime after the flood, the supremely ambitious and conniving Nimrod strove to establish a new world order—one that wasn’t based humankind achieving salvation by willingly living the principles of salvation, but rather one that was built the idea of “salvation through legislation” by a ruling class. Nimrod believed that he was wise and powerful enough to establish laws that would force all creation to behave in ways that would ultimately achieve the perfect society. He believed he could control even the elements and thereby prevent future calamaties including any future flood—if only people could be forced to obey his dictates. His Tower of Babel was to form the administrative capitol of the world. His quest drove him mad. Achieving his goals required him to come out in open defiance of God. Apocryphal accounts say that at the end he ascended to the very top of his tower and, having usurped the title of “mighty hunter”, even shot arrows into the sky in an attempt to kill God.

But the Jaredites would have not of that. In faith and humility they gathered like-minded family and friends and fled into the unknown wilderness. In Ether 1:38 we read, “And it came to pass that Jared spake again unto his brother, saying: Go and inquire of the Lord whether he will drive us out of the land, and if he will drive us out of the land, cry unto him whither we shall go. And who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth? And if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, that we may receive it for our inheritance.”

The Book of Ether, contained within The Book of Mormon, recounts their history.

2. Lehi and his family take Ishmael and his family and flee Jerusalem into the wilderness. This account starts on page 1 of The Book of Mormon (around 600 BC) and ends in the final pages amidst great destruction (about 421 AD). See 1 Nephi chapter 1 through 2 Nephi chapter 4.

3. After arriving in the promised land, Nephi and those who followed him flee his corrupt brothers, Laman and Lemuel and their followers. These “Nephites” flee northward into a land they call “the land of Nephi”. See 2 Nephi chapter 5.

4. The Nephite King Mosiah flees the land of Nephi with his people to the land of Zarahemla. See Omni verse 12.

5. The people of Mulek, the only son of Jerusalem’s King Zedekiah to have survived the great Babylonian onslaught, flee Jerusalem and are led to the promised land. They settle in an area further north than where Lehi and his people landed. Eventually these two major groups intermingle. See Helaman chapters 6 and 8.

6. Alma the elder and his followers flee the reign of wicked King Noah and the land of Lehi-Nephi. See Mosiah chapters 17, 18, 23, and 24.

7. The converted Lamanites (who become known as the “People of Ammon” or the “Anti-Nephi-Lehies”) flee Lamanite society and settle in the land Jershon. See Alma chapters 21 through 27.

Clearly the Rechabite principle, though not mentioned by that name, is evident throughout the entire Book of Mormon.

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Orem, Utah—January 27, 2021—©2021 Daniel Kemper Lubben

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