Doctrine of Proxy Salvation - Book of Mormon Isaiah

Doctrine of Proxy Salvation

Many who testify of the atonement of Jesus Christ and its power to cleanse them from the effects of transgression confess they don’t know how it works, only that they know it is true. Content to not understand the theology behind Jesus’ proxy salvation, many fall short in their missions in life, of which Jesus, in his earthly ministry, serves as their exemplar. Until a goodly number of Ephraimite Gentiles learns the theology behind Jesus’ proxy salvation and applies it to their own earthly missions, the prophesied gathering of the house of Israel to Zion cannot occur and Christ cannot come.

As an integral part of the “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21), the gathering and restoration of Israel’s natural lineages—the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lamanites of today—from their scattered condition remains on hold until Ephraim, the birthright tribe, fulfills that ministry. Constituting the “house of Israel” by its scriptural definition, the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lamanites depend on the Ephraimite Gentiles’ spiritual kings and queens to renew God’s covenant with them and to restore them to lands of inheritance.

The prophecies of Isaiah that depict these events show that all end-time restoration flows from the atonement Israel’s God Jehovah makes for humanity’s transgressions. The pattern of ancient Near Eastern emperor–vassal covenants Isaiah uses to define Israel’s kings’ relationship to God brings into focus the inner workings of the covenant theology behind Jesus’ proxy salvation. Growing out of God’s covenants with his people Israel, that salvation occurred only after those covenants were in place so that it can be plainly observed how Jesus fulfilled all their covenantal requirements.

Under the terms of emperor–vassal covenants, which form the model of the Davidic Covenant, a vassal king was called the “son” of the emperor while the emperor was called his “father.” The emperor promised to protect the vassal king and his people against a mortal threat from a “common enemy” provided the vassal kept the law of the emperor and the vassal’s people kept the law of the vassal. As a “son” to his “father” under the terms of the covenant, the vassal king was answerable for his people’s disloyalties to the emperor even while he acted as a “father” to his own people.

In Jesus’ case, where the “common enemy” was understood to mean death itself, he too, therefore, acted as the “Father” and the “Son” in redeeming his people. Answering for their disloyalties to his Father—the Most High God—in him the proxy intercession of a vassal king under the terms of the Davidic Covenant was fused with a proxy sacrifice for sin under the Law of Moses. Jesus’ sacrifice of his life, in other words, atoned for his people’s transgressions but also secured his and his people’s deliverance from death—their “common enemy”—under the terms of the Davidic Covenant.

Making his life “an offering for guilt,” Jesus was “cut off from the land of the living for the crime of my people to whom the blow was due” (Isaiah 53:8, 10). Thus obtaining the spiritual salvation of all who keep his law based on God’s covenants, he founded the theological premise from which all salvation flows: ancient and end-time, spiritual and temporal. Temporal salvation of the house of Israel—its physical protection and restoration in God’s worldwide Day of Judgment—would be won by Ephraimite vassal kings who serve as proxy saviors under the same Davidic Covenant.

Answering as “sons” of the Most High God for the disloyalties of peoples of the house of Israel to whom they minister, they serve “like unto a father to them” in the similitude of Jesus (2 Nephi 10:18). Through their self-sacrifice, they secure the divine protection of those whom they bring in a new exodus to Zion. “Bearing their iniquities” and “making intercession for transgressors,” they “vindicate” (yatzdiq) those among whom they labor (Isaiah 53:11–12), affording them safe passage. Their “knowledge” of how the terms of the Davidic Covenant operate assures their success (ibid.).

(See Isaiah’s covenant theology, Isaiah Decoded, 169–320; Endtime Prophecy, 125–325.)

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