Jesus in 20 BC
Helaman 8:22-23; “Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things. Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come. 23 And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory, because of that which is to come.”
Leviticus 16:15-17; “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.”
In this dilemma I want to take a close look at the text in this passage because it’s complicated.
First of all let’s look at the timeline: it was 23-20 BC. Why are Greek words being used by this man who wrote in Reformed Egyptian, had never been to Israel or Egypt and lived on the American Continent?
Why is this man talking about Christ in the past tense if Jesus hadn’t been born yet?
Why are they referring to Christ as God? The Mormon Church rejects the idea that Jesus is God. They believe Jesus is a god, but not God of the universe.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 548; “Yet God the Father is not one in substance with the Son or the Holy Spirit, but is a separate being. The Father existed prior to the Son and the Holy Ghost and is the source of their divinity.”
Sermons…of Melvin J. Ballard, pg. 227; “And One only had the power to break the bands of death, and he, the Son of God, holds the power to break the bonds of death not only for himself, but for everyone that has been born into the world. He purchased the prize, acquired the prize, by giving his own sinless life; and his death was the death of a God.”
There have been numerous times in the Old Testament where word redemption can be found and in two of those times its occurrence is referring to when God has redeemed Israel – Moses and the slavery of Israel in Egypt and even Israel after the Babylonian captivity. In fact Jeremiah 32:8-17 gives us a great example of God’s redemption through Jeremiah being a kinsman redeemer for the Israelites! The other times redemption is mentioned are for Old Testament Law in the sense of a ransom.
But nowhere in the Old Testament is the term Christ, Jesus or Jesus Christ used.
The Hebrew word for redemption in the sense of redeeming Israel is kipper – it’s where we get the term Yom Kippur from; the holiest of all days for the Israelites, the Day of Atonement.
Isn’t it odd the Book of Mormon’s silence on this important day is deafening?
Why is there no mention of such important events as Yom Kippur or Passover? God gave in-depth details of how atonement was to be made for God’s children and He gave every particular about Jesus so His children would know the Messiah had arrived, in Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc.
Interestingly and most importantly we can know the story from the Book of Mormon isn’t true because there’s no mention of the name Jesus in the Bible until the book of Matthew. When other written works outside the Bible don’t align with what God says, we know with confidence their message is false.