Ancient Old Testament stories teach modern lessons

PROVO, Utah — The Old Testament prepares the world for the coming of Jesus Christ by bearing record of His life, ministry, death and resurrection as it tells its stories and records its prophecies, said Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, BYU professor of Church history and doctrine, during BYU's Campus Education Week Aug. 15.

Additionally, he emphasized, the stories of the ancient men and women in the Old Testament can be applied to the lives of members today, giving them examples to live by or examples to warn them.

"Finding these prophecies, parallels and modern application are some of the important reasons for studying the Old Testament," he said.

Quoting from Deuteronomy 32:7, Brother Holzapfel stressed the need for members to "remember the days of old."

"While remembering the past is important, the scriptures remind us that it is the mighty works of God that are to be remembered and celebrated and that are of particular importance, especially the stories of how God delivered His covenant people," he said.

He explained that in one of the fullest and richest narratives found in scripture, the Lord demonstrates how he raised up a mediator, Moses, to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh's bitter bondage and established His earthly kingdom among them by making a covenant with them and finally establishing His tabernacle, the sign of His presence, in their midst.

"Moses, Joshua and other prophets, including Nephi and Joseph Smith, appealed to the Exodus story as the most decisive proofs of God's mercy, goodness and power. Such is the story — a story that demonstrates the Lord's divine purpose, which is ultimately fulfilled through Christ Jesus our Redeemer."

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