My husband and I have recently started reading the book of Mormon. I would like to know why in Alma the word Christ and Church are used? In the KJV Bible, those words did not appear until the New Testament. The churches were called synagogues and congregations in the Old Testament.
We read in 2 Nephi 10:3
3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.
This tells us that at least as early as Jacob in the Book of Mormon they knew the name of Christ. Because it had been revealed to them.
This revelation then leads to the actions found in 2 Nephi 25:26
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
This is a big difference then what was happening in Jerusalem at the time. In Jerusalem the Law of Moses is what they had and what they followed. Nephites had the Law of Moses as well, but because of this revelation they had this response to the Law in the surrounding verses of 2 Nephi 25:24-25, 27
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled
27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.
So they had plenty of reasons to be talking about Christ. Now lets talk about churches vs synagogues. The Book of Mormon uses both terms. From how the Book of Mormon uses the term, it appears that “church” is most often used to describe a group of the followers of Christ, whereas “synagogue” is generally used as a more generic term for a place of worship. This would seem to fit with the idea of the word “church” being a more Christan term and most likely being introduced along with the teaching of Christ.