Easter: “He Will Swallow Up Death in Victory” (April 11-17)

The Resurrected Christ” (detail) by Wilson J. Ong

As we prepare to celebrate the Savior’s resurrection next Sunday, we will certainly review the accounts in the New Testament of His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His crucifixion on Golgotha, and His interactions with multiple individuals and groups after His tomb was found empty. Here are some themes from the Old Testament which can enhance our study of those events:

The Lamb of God

When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, they began to offer “the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord” (Moses 5:5, see also Moses 5:20, Genesis 4:4). An angel explained to them that this sacrifice was “a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father” (Moses 5:7).

When Abraham traveled with his son Isaac to make a sacrifice to God, Isaac asked “Where is the lamb?” Abraham, thinking that his own son would have to be the sacrifice, simply responded, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:7-8).

When God delivered the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, He instructed them to avoid the final plague by killing an unblemished male lamb and marking the doorposts of their homes with its blood (Exodus 12:3-7).

In the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God 35 times. Most of those references occur during a vision Nephi saw which included scenes from the life of the Savior, recorded in 1 Nephi 11-14. Here are two blog posts about the symbolism of the lamb:

The Suffering Servant

The Servant Songs are four poems in the book of Isaiah which describe a servant of God, called to lead the nations, who is abused and rejected but still fulfills His mission and is rewarded. Three of the four poems are quoted in the Book of Mormon. Here a brief overview of these songs:

  1. Isaiah 42:1-4 – The servant will do his work steadily and thoroughly, without drawing undue attention to himself.
  2. Isaiah 49:1-6 – The servant was chosen before he was born. God is pleased with him, even though Israel has not always responded well to his efforts to gather them. Quoted by Nephi in 1 Nephi 21:1-6.
  3. Isaiah 50:4-9 – The servant willingly submits to those who mock and persecute him. Quoted by Jacob in 2 Nephi 7:4-9.
  4. Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53 – His suffering serves the purpose of healing all of us, from every nation. Abinadi quotes Isaiah 53 in Mosiah 14, and Jesus quotes Isaiah 52:13-15 in 3 Nephi 20:43-45.

Here is a blog post with more detail about these four poems:

“I Will Open Your Graves”

The concept of resurrection appears several times in the Old Testament. Job says to his friends, “Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26). Ezekiel delivers the following promise from the Lord: “I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:1-14). And Isaiah prophesies of a time when God “will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25:8).

The Book of Mormon describes the resurrection in more detail. Because of the resurrection of the Savior, our spirit and body will be “reunited again in its perfect form” and that “even a hair of the head shall not be lost” (Alma 11:42-45Alma 40:23). We also learn that everyone will be resurrected, and that our bodies will no longer be subject to illness, injury, or death (2 Nephi 9:13). After being resurrected, the Savior’s atonement will also bring us back into the presence of God (Alma 42:23).

Here are some blog posts about the resurrection:

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