Question: If God’s divine protection under the terms of the Sinai Covenant required Israel’s righteousness to a man as in the book of Joshua, how does that translate into God’s protection in the church today?
Answer: Because the collective Sinai Covenant God made with his people Israel (as distinct from individual covenants) continues to operate in the church today, the same terms are required to be met in order for God to protect its members against a mortal threat. In other words, the church’s entire membership—to a man—would need to keep God’s commandments in order for him to protect them, either by divine intervention or by empowering them to defend themselves.
Individuals within the church, however, can obtain God’s divine protection for themselves and their families or extended circles through the Davidic Covenant. Under its terms, a man serves as a proxy savior to those to whom he ministers as did King Hezekiah to his people in Isaiah’s day. Such proxy saviors within the church, therefore, could ensure the deliverance of many of its members through the evil time that overtakes the world just prior to the coming of the Lord.
From within the church, moreover, arises a brotherhood of such saviors whom Isaiah calls the spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:22–23; 2 Nephi 10:7–9). These individuals themselves form a collective that keeps the terms of the Davidic Covenant on a higher level. As Isaiah’s equivalent of the 144,000 servants of God in the Book of Revelation, and of God’s servants who graft in the olive tree’s natural branches in Zenos’ allegory, they keep a higher law.
This is their covenant: “Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to fellowship, in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving, forever and ever. Amen” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:133).
Their ascent phase to seraph status—Isaiah’s equivalent of translated beings—is preceded by a descent phase of suffering and humiliation as they pay the price of the house of Israel’s temporal salvation: “Because their shame was twofold, and shouted insults were their lot, therefore in their land shall their inheritance be twofold and everlasting joy be theirs” (Isaiah 61:7). These deliver Israel’s natural lineages from destruction at the time God’s judgments come upon the world.
Members of the church worldwide who did not ascend to a translated state but who attained the level of God’s elect—Isaiah’s son/servant category—are also gathered to safety by them. The remainder, on the other hand, are left to suffer through the evil time, hopefully to be sanctified by its ordeal, or else to perish with the wicked. Having been blessed of God in our day more than all other peoples, they must then reap the reward of their works, whether they were good or evil.