CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 10.
In this chapter, Jacob continues speaking to the Nephites about the righteous people who will choose the covenant when the gospel is restored in the future.
He prophesies that Christ will be born to the Jews. This was already prophesied in Isaiah, of course, and the Jews knew the Messiah would be born to them.
But the next part of the same sentence (in verse 3) is a harsh reprimand to all of us: Christ will be born “among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him – for … there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God”.
That’s not just talking about those Jews or Romans of that day, when Christ was crucified. It means even on our planet. There are amazing old discourses by early prophets and apostles of this dispensation that talk about how – of all the worlds He made – Christ had to be born on this planet (and at that time – even Christ had the “bounds of time and place” we learn about in D&C). They say He had to be born on this planet because we were the only people wicked enough to kill the Messiah! The “world” is so dark and so full of sin, that we are the only ones who would kill Him!
“For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations, they would repent, and know that he be their God” (verse 4).
Everyone else would hear His words, repent, and obey! Everyone else would hearken to His message, and obey! Everyone one else would embrace Him and love Him and serve Him! We were the only ones who would kill Him. So we are the “darkest” planet of people, and so the “brightest” light had to come here. That’s the Law of Opposition.
It is because of priestcraft and iniquities (sin).
Priestcraft is discussed later at the end of 2 Nephi, and in Alma. But basically, there are three things that differentiate priestcraft (which is bad) from Priesthood (which is organized by and given authority from God):
1. The person sets themselves up for a light unto the world. Not in the way we should all be a light to the world, but instead of or better than the Prophet. That’s what Lucifer did to Jehovah, and it is still the way he tries to work. So in priestcraft, the person does preach, most likely saying all the right things, but they aren’t calling attention to the glory of God. They are, instead, calling attention to themselves, wanting others to praise them for their skills without giving credit to Heavenly Father (who gives us all gifts, and whose plan it is, and whose words they are).
2. They preach for gain, and so want to be paid for their fancy-schmancy talking, but without actual benefit for the people.
3. They don’t seek the welfare of Zion (the covenant people), and are only looking out for their own selfish interests.
This combination of priestcraft and iniquity is why we crucified Christ on this planet (verse 5).
Because of this, “destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered” (verse 6).
When we are obedient and do things His way, we are rescued and gathered.
When we do not, we have – by our own choices – removed ourselves from His protection and provision, and so we get scattered and destroyed.
But always, He is waiting. Always, He is inviting. He is the ultimate prodigal-son’s-father, already watching and waiting so that He sees us the moment we are on the horizon headed home.
And then, in that day, “they shall be restored…” (verse 7).
And the Jews, specifically: “It shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion…” (verse 8). We know from our own Articles of Faith that we believe in the literal restoration of the Jews:
10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
And the temporal (physical, here and now) blessings include this land of freedom and liberty in which we live.
And the spiritual blessing is Zion (the covenant people) being established on earth, and later the Earth being restored to its ultimate state… Noah’s flood did baptize the earth, and soon the Earth being purified and sanctified by fire (like we are by the Spirit).
“Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men…” (verse 15). These are our premortal covenants! This is completing the plan of happiness! This is Him keeping His part!
Verse 17 is parallel poetry repeating the promise: “For I will fulfill my promises which I have made unto the children of men…”.
Then He says that part of keeping this promise is that the Jews and the Gentiles will all become covenant people (those who choose it), and all will be numbered among the House of Israel.
Holiness to the Lord, the HOUSE of the Lord. His people!
So, Jacob, says, “seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off…” (verse 20).
Such vital words! Such uplifting words!
He is merciful!
He has given us great knowledge – we have the ability and the way to really understand, so that we are not lost or confused or abandoned.
Be encouraged, and cheered up – He has not forgotten us, abandoned us, or rejected us.
We are not cast off!
This makes me cry and cry, good tears of peace and joy.
“Therefore, cheer up your hearts; and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves – to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (verse 23).
To choose eternal life, he says, we must “reconcile yourselves to the will of God”. We must do what He says, and do it His way. And even then, “it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved”.
I love the last verse in this chapter (verse 25):
“Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection,” – this is the gift of immortality!
“and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement,” – this is the gift of eternal life!
Immortality is living forever; eternal life is the quality of that forever living!
“that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God” – this is celestial-ness!
“that ye may praise him through grace divine.”
It is by HIS grace, by HIS plan that includes the atonement, that we are saved.
This is the great exchange of Isaiah 22, where we give Him our sins and He gives us His righteousness… and because He is perfect, that righteousness-in-us is perfected, as in whole and complete, so much that we become as He is.