2 Nephi 31

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 31.

This chapter begins Nephi’s farewell to his people, and he goes out with a bang.  His last words are words of doctrine, teaching the people what Christ will teach them.  Within these teachings are several promises to cling to and principles to remember (and apply).

Prophesying, or testifying, is plain and simple (verse 2).

This is how the Lord speaks to us, and it is how we should speak to each other.

“For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men” (verse 3).

Also, this is so all can understand in their own way:

“For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaking unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (verse 3).

And so, in order for all to understand, Nephi reviews the doctrine of Christ.

He starts with baptism, prophesying of John who would baptize the Savior “which should take away the sins of the world… And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!” (verse 5).

We see these words again in “The Living Christ“, in the second paragraph: “Though sinless, he was baptized to fulfill all righteousness”.

So, Nephi says, even though the Savior was holy, “he showeth… that he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” (verse 7).

What is always the response from Heavenly Father to our demonstrating obedience?

The Holy Spirit, which “descended upon him in the form of a dove” (verse 8).

This is how one who was holy already still submitted to the Father’s plan, and this was the example set for us (verse 9).

And so to follow him means to also submit, to “be willing to keep the commandments of the Father” (verse 10).   And “Repent!” is what the Father commands (verse 11).

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism – yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost…” (verse 13).

Then something remarkable happens.

Nephi hears the voice of the Son of God, speaking of the important of following through on our commitment to be obedient and follow his example (verse 14).

Then, Nephi hears the voice of the Father confirming his son’s words (verse 15).

This is another example, like when the Savior was baptized, when we have in one place two separate and distinct beings as Father and Son.  Not only that, but the Son has just testified of the Spirit, separate and distinct from him, so that is a third being.  They are not all tangled into one, but are three separate and distinct personages.  They are, however, united in purpose.

And the purpose is to bring us back home to our Father-in-Heaven.

“Wherefore, do the things which I have told you” (verse 17).

Our being obedient will get us home, because it is the Savior’s example we follow, and He leads the way.  So as we are obedient, we are “relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (verse 19).

So we continue the journey of our mortality, following His example.

“wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (verse 20).

Eternal life = celestial-ness.

The scriptures always mean celestial-ness when they say “eternal life” because the life, for it to be eternal, has to be present progressive.  Our progression continues, even after the testing in this life.

“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God” (verse 21).

So not only do we follow His example, but also do so under His authority.

So even from the start – from baptism itself – it must be done not only His way (immersion), but also by His authority (under proper priesthood authority).

I always liken it to my work.

Anyone could be a therapist if they wanted.  All they would have to do is set up an office, set out a sign, and call themselves therapists.  They might even be really good at what they do, and be very organized and have a big caseload and be very popular.  They might be genius, skilled, and really help people.

That’s fine.

But it doesn’t make them licensed.

To be licensed, they have to not only go to school and not only set up an office and not only be good at what they do, but they also have to go through the proper authority to apply to be a therapist.  Once interviewed, and all the tests are passed, then they are granted permission by the proper authority to be a therapist.   Their work might even look very much the same as before they were licensed – but now they are, indeed, licensed, and have the authority to be working as a therapist.

In the same way, lots of churches do baptisms by immersion.

But the actual license – the authority – comes through the Priesthood only.

“And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ…” (verse 21).

2 Nephi 30

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 30.

Nephi continues his speech, making sure the Jews don’t think they are hot-shots just for being Jews.

For because the thing that sets a “chosen people” apart is BEHAVING like the chosen people.

This is true because there is mutual choosing going on: He is choosing us, and we are choosing Him.   That’s what makes a covenant.  If we do not keep up our end of the deal, if we do not keep our covenants, then there is no covenant which we can claim, then there is no chosen-ness to give us any rights.

In fact, the Lord says that Gentiles who repent can also become part of the covenant.

It reminds us of Acts 10, when Peter has his vision to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  The word for those Gentiles in Greek means “God-fearers”.  God-fearers were coverts to Judaism that supported the Jews in every way, and who had converted to the Jewish God in every way – except for circumcision.

In the same way, here Nephi tells the people that if you do not behave like covenant-keepers, then you will experience the consequences of those outside the covenant.   But if you are covenant-keepers, even if you are a convert to the covenant, then you will receive the blessings of the covenant.

He tells the people that he don’t swant them to “suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be.  For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish…” (verse 1).

But also, that “as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord” (verse 2).

So it doesn’t matter if you were born a Jew or Gentile, or if you were a convert or not, or if you converted a long time ago or recently… none of that matters, not so much as whether you are in process of keeping your covenants and obeying the commandments.

“for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel” (verse 2).

Then Nephi prophesies that the book of his records “shall come forth”, even to the Gentiles, and “there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written” (verse 3).  This, Nephi says, is how the descendants will know their story – from his father Lehi bringing the family out of Jerusalem, to all the records that will be passed down (verse 4).

“And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ…” (verse 5).

“And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God…” (verse 6).

They rejoice because they know the blessings come as a result of the covenant.  In this way, not only are blessings gifts to us from the Lord, in and of themselves, but they are also evidence that a covenant is in place and that the Lord is keeping His part of it.  Even further, it is evidence that we are keeping our part of it, as best we can, through the atonement, and also as “judged” by the mercy of the Lord because of that atonement.

So blessings are not just blessings, but they are also evidence of covenants in process.

And this does cause us to rejoice!

And this does strengthen us and “quicken” us, so that we become “a pure and delightsome people” (verse 6).

But also the Jews, now scattered, shall begin to believe in Christ, and THEN they will be gathered (verse 7).

When we turn away from the Lord, we are scattered and destroyed.

When we turn to the Lord, we are gathered and rescued.

“And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth” (verse 8).

He wants to restore us to the place – the people – He created us to be.

He will return, physically, and the Earth will be renewed and restored to its celestial state, as will His people.   Part of that process will be the judgment of us all, with which we will agree and understand because He will be so fair and true to the laws He has given us.  Look at verse 9:

And with righteousness shall the Lord God judge…

He will be a fair and righteous judge.

(He will) reprove with equity…

All will be held to the laws they had and understood.

And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth

Nephi has already defined for us that the “rod” is the Scriptures, which is the word of God.  So again, it is by His own law that He has already given to us which will be the standard by which we are measured and the answer key by which we are graded.

In that way, too, our own choices now determine our judgment then.   Classes are not pass/fail so much as graded, A or B or C or D or F, and so this judgment will be the same.  We will be given the grade that we earn, and agree with that grade.  Our grade will be based on which laws we have proven that we are able to keep, and our reward will match our grade.

“For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people” (verse 10).   This has several layers to it.  First, there is the eternal layer such as the previous paragraph, where we will be divided by what “grade” we get, by which covenants we are able to keep.

Those who are able to keep the Telestial Law (obedience & sacrifice) will inherit the Telestial Kingdom.
Those who are able to keep the Terrestial Law  (chastity/fidelity) will inherit the Terrestial Kingdom.
Those who are able to keep the Celestial Law (consecration) will inherit the Celestial Kingdom.

Another way to see the “great division among the people” is considering the latter days in the context of Lehi’s dream, the one with the vision of the rod of iron.  In the beginning, we are all at the start together.  As we each start our journey along the iron rod, we are in line (in order of the Priesthood!).  But as we all end our journey, we are DIVIDED by our own choices either to stay near the iron rod to get to the tree of life, or to leave the iron rod and go to the great and spacious building.  The closer to the end of times, in these latter days of the Latter-days, there is more and more of a gap between that building and the iron rod – because we are that much closer to the tree of life, which is further and further away from that building.  So we will either cling to the iron rod – or by leaving it, be further away – and thus divided from the covenant people.

Back to verse 9 of this chapter, the last phrase is this:

And with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

If we know the rod of his mouth is His very words, the scriptures and the words of prophets, then we know the “breath of his lips” is the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that “burns” within us when convicting us to move us toward repentance, and the Holy Spirit that will fill our hearts in the end when Satan is bound and can no longer tempt us (verse 18).

There are always both temporal and spiritual applications, and this example is no different.

The people will be separated into who is righteous and who is wicked.  The righteous will be spared, and the wicked will be destroyed.  “… he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire” (verse 10).

And then, when all the people are governed by and respond to righteousness and faithfulness (verse 11), then there will be a time of peace – even with the animals, now celebrating a higher state of being than what we now experience in the telestial world.  The “rules” of animals will be changed, because we will no longer be in this fallen state:

“And then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den” (verses 12-14).

When the Holy Spirit has so filled us, and when we are living in such a state, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (verse 15).

And if we are so full of knowledge, then “all things shall be made known” (verse 16).

And all things shall be revealed (verse 17).

We shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord!

2 Nephi 29

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 29.

So in the last days, the Lord “shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them” (verse 1).

Anytime the scriptures use the word “shall”, that is covenant language, and it shows up in the very next phrase of the same sentence: “that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men” (verse 1).

So what was His covenant?

He promised to gather those who believe in Him (and their families, which is a profound topic for another blog).

So not only will the Lord remember His promises to Abraham, but also His promises to Nephi and his father (Lehi).

We know the covenants of Abraham, because they are restored to us today through the Temple.  (“that I would remember your seed” from verse 2).

But what was the promises made to Nephi?

“that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed…” (verse 2).

So the promise is that the records Nephi and his descendants are keeping will continue to be passed on, all the way through the last days.   We know – in our time – that we call these records “The Book of Mormon”.

But many will reject it, saying, “A Bible! A Bible!  We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible” (verse 3).

Yet the Bible is only the record of the Jews that were descendants of Judah.

All the tribes kept records.

(Note that this has implications, again for another blog, that there is more scripture not yet delivered to us, which is confirmed through the teachings of modern prophets that we could get more scripture if all the covenant people would read and study what we have thus far.)

Nephi explains it as the records of each people being for them to learn their lessons through their own experiences, so each people need their own record because they have their own history and lessons.  “What do the Gentiles mean (understand)? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews?” (verse 4)  Of course they cannot; it is a rhetorical question.  The other peoples need their own records, because it is how God worked amongst them specifically.

But it is the same God, and so the same lessons and principles are taught, and everything points to Christ.

But all people everywhere are Heavenly Father’s children, and He loves all of them, and wants all of them to succeed.  So all people need access to Scriptures in order to learn about them, and all people need to keep their own record of how the Lord worked in the lives of their people.

“Know ye not that there are more nations than one?  Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, ahve created all men?” (verse 7).

Many people, same God.

Many records of the different experiences of (with) the same Christ.

“Wherefore murmurm ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?  Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God… wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another” (verse 8).

It’s the same God, so He is going to tell all people the same things.

The Bible (from the Jews) and the Book of Mormon (from the Gentiles) are not going to be contradictory, because it is the same God who has authored them.  They are companion books, the same story given to different peoples, but go together in that the testify of Christ.

“And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also” (verse 8).   So we have the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which work together as Scriptures to us, proclaiming the Testament of Christ.

We have the Old Testament.

We have the New Testament.

And we have “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament”.

“And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to my own pleasure.”

Three testaments, in the above examples, but one God doing the testifying.

But He is testifying to different peoples: ancient tribes of Israel, Jews in Palestine, and Modern Gentiles.

“Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words, neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written” (verse 10).

The words of Scriptures are HIS words.

And He gives them HIS way.

“For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them…” (verse 11), and then according to these books of recorded words, He will judge us.

So He delivers to us the Bible (the record of the Jews) and the Book of Mormon (the record of the Nephites).  “And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall hear the words of the Jews…” (verse 13).

Everyone will have access to all His words that have been recorded and passed down generation after generation.

And knowing His words is what will gather us as the House of Israel, as we become His covenant people.

“And my word also shall be gathered in one” (verse 14).

In one what?

One family.

The family of Holiness.  (SEE HERE for the blog about the family of holiness.)

This is at-one-ness unfolding.

2 Nephi 28

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 28.

After the last chapter’s teaching about how the Scriptures will come forth for the benefit of all people, this chapter focuses on why that will be important.  Nephi says that in the last days, apostasy will reign.   There are two kinds of apostasy, really, or rather – two forms of it.  First, there is general apostasy that refers to periods of time when the authority of God (the power of the priesthood) was not passed down as it should have been, either because of people not behaving like covenant people or because of the world martyring the covenant people (and combinations of both).  There is also a personal apostasy, which is falling away from the truth once you have received it.

Nephi says that this great apostasy will not just happen, but he also explains that it will happen because of false teachers.  So then instead of one church, the church of Jesus Christ, there are many “churches which are built up” (verse 3).  “And they shall contend one with another…” (verse 4).  These churches will say the Holy Spirit is finished with its work (so no modern day revelation in prophets or personal revelation in our own lives), and that there are no more miracles (verse 6).  These are false teachings that Satan has stirred up to help turn away the hearts of people, so that they do not learn to listen to or pay attention to the evidence of God.

“Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (verse 7).  This is one extreme of people who will not care at all for spiritual matters.

“And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God – he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at least we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (verse 8).  This is another extreme of people who will twist the truth of God in order to justify their behavior, not realizing they are being their own judge and choosing already their own sentence.

“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord…” (verse 9).  But we know from scripture, that nothing is hidden from the Lord.  Not only can we not hide our counsel from Him, but we should not be giving Him counsel.  We should be receiving our counsel from Him!

So all these extreme ways, these twisted ways are perversions of the truth.

“Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted” (verse 11).

And so it spreads.

“Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up” (verse 12).

This is how false teachers lead whole peoples away from God.

And then they take what is God – by taking from God’s people – and keep it for themselves, like a physical type of the spiritual theft they represent.

“They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up” (verse 13).

Verse 14 is a “SNAP” kind of prophetic phrase, taken from Isaiah’s teachings.  He says these people who are proud and rebelling against God have “stiff necks and high heads”, which is a reference to the people literally not bowing down before God.  Their heads are high instead of bowed down, and their necks are stiff instead of bowed in submission.

And what is not of God will be pruned away and burned, like cleaning out my garden in the fall.

“For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains…” (verse 19).

And how does Satan do it?  How does Satan lead the people away?

Some he will “pacify, and lull them away into carnal security… and others he will flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell…” (verses 21 and 22).

“And thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance” (verse 22).

And so, “wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!”

Because God is still God, and God never changes.

And because He never changes, He is still our constant while the world changes around us.

And God works in the same ways He has always worked, leading His people the same way He has always led them, through prophets and through revelation and through scriptures.

That is how He leads us, one step at a time.

“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have” (verse 30).

There is always more.

There is always something unfolding.

There is always a surprise waiting, just ahead of us.

But we have to take the next step to get there.

2 Nephi 27

CLICK HERE to ready 2 Nephi 27.

This chapter compares to Isaiah 29.

Nephi starts with a somber view of these latter days of the Latter-days:  “… in the last days… they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations…” (verse 1).

But still, the Lord will try to reach them, as even the Earth testifies “with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire” (verse 2).

People in these last days will be looking for nourishment, and not find it.  They will dream of eating and drinking, but wake hungry and thirsty (verse 3).  This is a fascinating prophesy, especially in light of our society today being over-fed but under-nourished.  That’s a temporal application.  The spiritual application would be the same:  we are overfed (with false “enlightenment”) but under-nourished (with real truth and spiritual development).

Those not doing the work to nourish themselves spiritually will “have closed your eyes” and “rejected the prophets” (verse 5).

So the Lord will try to reach them by bringing “forth unto you the words of a book” (verse 6).  But the book can only be delivered and revealed by the Lord.  But then, that book (our Scriptures) “shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men” (verse 11).

But in the revealing of the book (The Book of Mormon, specifically), “the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein” (verse 12).

We know this happened!

No one saw the original plates except for Joseph Smith, other than the three witnesses – and they did testify of it, as you can read on the introduction page of “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ”.  See the introduction HERE, where the three witnesses testified.

I love the story in the next few verses, where it says “Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: “Read this, I pray thee.  And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them…  And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.  Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.” (verses 15-18).

The story of this actually happening is HERE (scroll down to verse 63-65).

So whether we are talking about the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon, or our own Scripture studies everyday, the point is that it is the Lord (by the power of the Spirit) who does teach us (reveal to us) what it means.

“For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever;” (verse 23).

But our love for Him must be shown, must be demonstrated in action.  We have to walk the talk.  Just talking it is not enough: “Forasmuch as this people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me…” (verse 25).

Even when we try to hide our hearts from Him, He knows us.  “For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not?  Or shall the thing framed of him that famed it, he had no understanding?” (verse 27).

But those who want to understand, will understand.  Those who have faith, will receive evidence of what they believe.  The impossible will be made possible.

“And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book” (verse 28).

That even counts as me, with cochlear implants.

“And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel…” (verse 30).   He is hope, our joy, our fulfillment!

“Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale…”

Anytime Abraham is mentioned, it is a renewing of covenants.  We are being reminded of the covenants, because ours are an extension of what was promised him.  In that way, it is his faithfulness, which binds the promises of the Lord, that has resulted in us being gathered – even when we ourselves did not deserve it.  What mercy this is!

Also, this verse reminds me of Isaiah 54:4-14, which has been precious scripture promises for me the last two years.  It is the promise that the Lord will compensate for what is sacrificed for (to) Him, and that the Lord will restore me – not just the restoration of the Gospel in this time, but also the restoration of Emily – to what is in Order – to the place (state of Being) that He promised I would inherit.  That’s the miracle of the atonement.

“They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine” (verse 35).

Restoration!

2 Nephi 26

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 26.

Nephi continues his instructions and prophesying, teaching his people that Christ will one day visit them.   This is in reference to the verse in John 10:16, when Christ said he would visit his “other sheep” just as he visited among the Jews of the Middle East.

“And after Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren; and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do” (verse 1).

Nephi then begins to prophesy, saying that contention among the people (which is never of God) will lead to division, which will lead to war, which will lead to the scattering and destruction of the people.  They will need the words of Christ to be gathered again, very much like the preaching of Isaiah that Nephi just taught (in previous chapters).

But we must turn to the Lord to be gathered.

We must submit to Him and focus on His words to fight that contention always seeking its way in, wanting to pull us away from God.

“Wherefore, all those who are proud, and that do wickedly, the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, for they shall be as stubble.  And they that kill the prophets, and the saints, the depths of the earth shall swallow them up, saith the Lord of Hosts; and mountains shall cover them, and whirlwinds shall carry them away, and buildings shall fall upon them and crush them to pieces and grind them to powder.  And they shall be visited with thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes, and all manner of destructions, for the fire of the anger of the Lord shall be kindled against them, and they shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall consume them, saith the Lord of Hosts” (verses 4-6).

This is not just immediate judgment – or consequences of the people’s choices – back then.

It is also a prophesy to our time (see verse 14).  We know that in the latter-days of the Latter-days, which we have begun, the Earth itself will testify because all other testimonies will have been rejected.  Rather than trying to harm us, it is the last warning we get – a tender mercy to get our attention and give us another chance to turn to Him, to acknowledge Him.  Those who do respond will be welcomed and nourished; those who do not, will be signing up for the pruning program instead.

More about that in the book of Jacob (up next!).

This is why, despite the destruction, we can cry with Nephi, “Thy ways are just” (verse 7).

And those who turn to Him, who do what He says, they will not perish (but have everlasting life, John 3:16).  “But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution – behold, they are they which shall not perish” (verse 8).   Not perish, and have everlasting life (John 3:16 again).

So what happens instead of their destruction?

“The Son of Righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him…” (verse 9).

This is the work of the atonement: to see God, to be healed by God, and to have peace with God.  This is to be at-one.

This is in stark contrast to those who “sell themselves for naught”, and receive destruction as “the reward of their pride and their foolishness” (verse 10).

At-one with God is the opposite of being torn-away from God “because they yield unto the devil and choose works of darkness rather than light” (verse 10).

Then Nephi teaches something very important, and that is how dependent we are upon the Spirit in order to receive correction, instruction, and guidance.  It is the Holy Spirit that helps us know what to do and what not to do, and that gives us promptings from the Lord.  This is a gift to us, a constant companionship that leads us along our way.

But without it, we are lost.

“For the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man.  And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction, and this grieveth my soul” (verse 11).

Nephi was grieving the destruction of his own people.  He saw it long before it happened, and knew it would come because they would stop listening to the Lord.

Yet still, there is hope, because the Lord keeps His promises.  And we have certain promises made to us about our posterity, and this gave Nephi hope.  No matter how far some strayed, there would also be those who reached out to them and those who remained righteous.  These righteous descendants would remember the Covenant and continue to testify of it.  This would help others around them, but also us – for it is their written words compiled with Nephi’s that made the record we now call “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ”.

Nephi said, “and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten” (verse 15).

Not only would they not be forgotten, but their written testimonies – later hidden in the earth by Moroni – would be brought forth in our time, when Joseph Smith was led to them.  So those witnesses – their testimonies – do literally speak to us “out of the ground” (verse 16).

“For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book” (verse 17).

What a miracle, that this very book I can hold in my hands and learn its words!

But not all will hold them, and not all will understand them.

“Those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God…” (verse 17).

And so again, we have the two choices: to become the covenant people of God, or not.

Becoming His people leads us to Him.

Choosing not to become His people leads us away from Him.

It’s that simple.

“And the multitude of their terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away – yea, thus saith the Lord God: It shall be at an instant, suddenly…” (verse 18).

And so the destruction begins to unfold, from His time to our time in the Latter-days.

His people were scattered and destroyed, which we read of throughout the rest of the Book of Mormon.  Later, there is the apostasy,  where “the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.  And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice” (verses 20 and 21).

This is the opposite of one true and living church of Jesus Christ, organized by Him under His authority, and established in these Latter-days for His covenant people, the righteous, the Saints.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And the opposite of the true Church is “secret combinations”.  Secret combinations are just that: combinations of power and false authority working in secret.  This is the organization of Satan’s efforts to kill our spiritual lives, get us to surrender our physical bodies (the gift of mortality he did not get), and pull us away from God all together.  It seeks after self-power (not empowered by God), unrighteous dominion, and to steal glory from God (who is the source of all things).

But, “my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.  He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him” (verses 23 and 24).

God does not work in secret to steal us from ourselves, but works in the light to give us life!

He loves all His children, and wants all of them to succeed.

“All men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden” (verse 28).

In the same way, as we seek to be like our Father-in-Heaven, we should testify of Him after the pattern which He has established.  This means when we testify, we testify His words and do it in His name, so that we do not set ourselves up as false Christs.  We do it because we are called or asked or assigned, not to “get gain and praise”.  We do it to testify of the message the Holy Spirit gives us that will be the benefit for all, not just ourselves or someone else.   This is testifying.

To speak our own words outside that pattern, to seek after speaking, to do it under our own name (or authority) rather than His, to speak to get gain or to build ourselves up, to speak to benefit only a certain person, ourselves, or group – that is priestcraft, instead of testifying.

“Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love.  And except they should have charity they were nothing” (verse 30).

Charity, the pure love of Christ, is most important of all!

And it is for everyone!

Love is pure and for the benefit of others.

Everything else is selfish.

“And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish” (verse 32).

“For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all area like unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (verse 33).

Love.  It’s all about love.

2 Nephi 25

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 25.

After all those chapters of Nephi reminding the people of the words of Isaiah, now Nephi begin to testify to his people.  He wants to expound upon the Scriptures so that they can learn.  He says that “Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand” (verse 1) because the people did not understand the style of prophecy or covenant language.  He also says that there was so much the Jews were doing wrong (which is why their family left Jerusalem, and why Jerusalem was about to be destroyed), that Nephi didn’t teach his descendants about the doings of the Jews.  Without that piece of information, about what the covenant people were doing that was not covenant behavior, it made it hard for the Nephites to understand Isaiah’s preaching.

So Nephi reassures the Nephites, exhorting them to listen to his teaching because he knows they do not understand, but that Isaiah’s words are actually very plain and direct so that the people are capable of understanding them.  He says, “they (Isaiah’s teachings) are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy” (verse 4).

What is the “spirit of prophecy”?

Revelation 19:10 teaches us:  “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Anyone with a testimony has the spirit of prophecy.

When we testify, we are being a prophet.

A prophet  is a testify-er.

All of us are to be a prophet, with a little p, by testifying of Christ.  There is the Prophet with a capital P that leads the whole church, but we are all to be prophets (with a little p)  by testifying of Christ.   This was our premortal covenant, that the Lord would atone for us, and we would testify of it.  Keepers of covenants are testify-ers.

Testifying is part of keeping our covenants.

This testifying is the spirit of prophecy.

Our “line upon line” comes through study, through obedience, and through testifying.

So as we gain and strengthen our testimony, we will have the spirit of prophecy, which does give us understanding of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit does tutor us.

Nephi says he will testify about that testimony he has gained since his father, Lehi, took the family out of Jerusalem.  He does this because he delights in sharing his testimony, because he knows it will help the people learn and they will strengthen their testimony.  He says, “I shall prophesy (testify) according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (verse 4).

But he also delights in testifying because it is he delights in the Scriptures, which is truly “feasting” upon the words of Christ.  As we feast upon the words of Christ, what is “out there” becomes “in here”, a part of us.  As we testify of Christ, what we believe becomes what we know.

“Yea, and my soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah, for I came out from Jerusalem, and mine eyes hath beheld the things of the Jews, and I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets…” (verse 5).

Because Nephi understands, and because he experienced “the judgments of God” coming upon the Jews (verse 6), he taught his children what he knew.

We are to testify to our “people”, to our “generation”.

And when we testify, we testify in plain-ness and simple-ness in which “no man can err”, so that people “shall know of a surety” (verse 7).

So Nephi testified to his people, and he wrote his record to be passed down “for their good” (verse 8).

This passing down of testimony is important because it is an intervention of sorts, a way to help each generation develop and strengthen their own testimony.  Without it, an entire generation falls.  Nephi said, “And as one generation hath been destroyed among the Jews because of iniquity, even so have they been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities…” (verse 9).  But, Nephi says, never are the people destroyed without first being warned by prophets.  Not just Prophets with a capital P, but also prophets, like you and me, who are testify-ers.

Those who listen and turn to the Lord are led to safety; while those who do not, those who harden their hearts, are destroyed “save it be those which are carried away captive” (verse 10).

Those who do not testify, and those who do not heed the testify-ers get destroyed and scattered.

Those who do testify, and those who heed the testimony of others, are protected and provided for – ransomed and led to safety.

This is why salvation is a family affair, and how we are to help all those “brothers and sisters” of this giant family on Earth.

We must testify to our “generation”.

So Nephi testifies of Christ to his people (verses 12-14):

“… when the day cometh that the Only Begotten of the Father, yea, even the Father of heaven and earth, shall manifest himself unto them in the flesh, behold, they will reject him, because of their inquities, and the harness of their hearts, and the stiffness of their necks.

 Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God.  Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day, and my heart doth magnify his holy name.

And behold it shall come to pass that after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto his people, unto as many as will believe on his name, behold, Jerusalem shall be destroyed again; for wo unto them that fight against God and the people of his church.

And we know that after the time of Christ, Jerusalem was again, indeed, destroyed.  The city itself was conquered in AD 66, and the Temple destroyed in AD 70.

But Nephi continues, “the Jews shall be scattered among all nations… the Jews shall be scattered by other nations” (verse 15).  This also we know from our own history, even recent history.

This scattering has a purpose, however.  Nephi teaches that “the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind – and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things And the Lord will… restore his people from their lost and fallen state.  Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and wonder among the children of men” (verses 16 and 17).

This same pattern fits us in our lives.

When we begin to believe, truly believe, even worshiping the Father according to the way He has designed, and looking only to Him, then He does restore us from our lost and fallen state.

And even then, He doesn’t just restore us.

He does more.

He moves us forward, with a “marvelous work and wonder”.

And He does it through the Scriptures (His words), by the power of the Spirit.

And He does it through our testimonies (our words), by the power of the Spirit.

His words and our words – that’s a covenant-in-process.

This is how we come to know anything: by the Spirit.

Just as no one knows Emily World without me sharing of it or seeing evidence of it, so no one knows of my mom’s world without knowing her and her sharing of it or seeing evidence of it in her life.   In the same way, we can only know the things of God by the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-11 says, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

We cannot know God without the Spirit of God.

We cannot have the Spirit of God without righteousness, which can only come through the atonement.

But because of the atonement, and by the Spirit, we can know God.

That knowing is our testimony.

When we testify, it is by the Spirit,and we are testifying of God – what is true about Him, how He works, and who He is.

And when we testify by the power of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit does testify with us, witnessing to those listening (or reading, like us reading Nephi’s words).   So when we hear (or read) the things of God, the Holy Spirit does also testify to us, to our spirits, that it is true.

D&C 18:34-36 explains it:  “And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and God, have spoken it.  These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man; For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them; wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.”

When we testify, really testify, in plain and simple words, we are speaking HIS words.

When we read or hear HIS words, the Holy Spirit does testify to us that they are HIS words.

When we read or hear HIS words, we have heard HIS voice.

“And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err…. yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved” (verse 20).

As he closes this sharing of his testimony, Nephi says that the Lord has promised “that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand… and they shall go according to the wil and pleasure of God” (verses 21 and 22).

That is why we must testify: because it is part of our premortal covenant, and because it is part of the covenant to which we belong now.

When we testify, the Lord is fulfilling the promises the Lord made to Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph… both in how He uses our testimony to strengthen others, and how He uses our testimony to strengthen us.

This is why we must “labor diligently” (verse 23) to testify, “to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God, for we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do” (verse 23).

And Nephi and his people, living before the time of Christ, continued keeping the Law of Moses that pointed to Christ, “until the law shall be fulfilled” (verse 24).   And they knew and understood, before Christ ever came, that He would come, and that the law would be fulfilled in Him.

“We are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments” (verse 25).

And so we testify.

We must testify.

“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” (verse 26).

This is the plain and simple truth.

“And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand” (verse 28).

The plain and simple truths of testimony are for those who need to turn to that plain and simple truth, who need to turn to God.  Once we are a covenant people turned toward God, then He reveals Himself by the power of the Spirit, “line upon line”.

“And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way its to believe in Christ and deny him not…” (verse 28).

This is part of being a Prophet or a prophet; this is a part of testifying.

Jacob said, “And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day” (Jacob 1:19).

He said it again in the next chapter (classic Hebrew poetry in the parallels), “I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up to the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God” (Jacob 2:2).

This is how we become like Christ: we testify.

This is how we take His name upon us: we testify.

We become like Christ by taking upon ourselves the blood (Jacob 1:19) and sins (Jacob 2:2) of our “generation” (2 Nephi 25:6,9), accepting the responsibility of their consequences if we do not testify to them, if we do not preach to them, if we do not share with them what we know.

This is why we must testify.

Then, as we testify, they have their own agency and become responsible to make choices in response to our testimony.

But they first need our testimony in order to respond to it.

Once they have it, then, like Jacob, we are cleansed from the blood and sins of our generation.

But this cleansing cannot be separated from our testifying.

We are cleansed through our faithfulness (to the premortal covenant, in which He agreed to atone for us and we agreed to testify of Him).

That is covenant keeping.

There cannot be covenant keeping without testifying, no matter how many rules you follow.  Covenant keeping isn’t about rules, it is about testifying.  Part of testifying includes the witness of our “good” behavior and positive interactions (charity), absolutely.  But that is more than just following the rules.   That’s loving.   Loving Him, and loving others.

And part of loving others is sharing, testifying, prophesying.

“Wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (verse 29).

Prophets give everything they have and everything they are, whether they are a big P Prophet or a little p prophet.  They give their whole being, so that He can fill them up with His righteousness (the Great Exchange of Isaiah 22).  They speak His words and do His service.   This is how to worship: to know He is so true and good, that we respond to Him by becoming as He is.  This is how to worship: to testify of Him in ways that are inviting and uplifting, so that others are drawn to Him just as He invites us to Him.

“ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God…” (verse 30).

That’s plain and simple.

2 Nephi 24

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 24.

This chapter compares to Isaiah 14.

After the judgments in the last chapter, the consequences for those who do not choose to become covenant people, it is great relief and deep comfort to read of the mercy that comes to those who do choose to become covenant people.

“For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel” (verse 1).  Here, of course, the names Jacob and Israel are symbolic of the covenant, and so this promise of mercy is for all who are of the covenant.

The promises in verse two have both temporal and spiritual meaning.  It is a promise that these scattered people will one day be gathered again, and it is a promise that this entire experience of being scattered and then gathered is a type of our mortality.  We had to leave the presence of our Heavenly Father to come to earth for mortality, but He promises to gather us back home again.  He promises.  That promise is His part of the covenant; our part is to keep up our end of the deal, to keep our promises, to behave like covenant people.

It’s like when you drop off children at school, and expect them to follow your rules until they get home again, even though they are away from home.

Heavenly Father has dropped us off at school, and expects us to behave the same as we would if we were still at home in His presence.

In verse three, He promises that the persecutions and oppressions of mortality will come to an end, that the hard part of mortality will finish.  This, again, is both temporal and spiritual, with many layers to it.  Primarily, when we are acting like the covenant people we are, He does lighten our load and help us even on the hard days.  He wants us to have peace and joy.  He wants us to enjoy life.  There is also the layer of the reign of peace the Lord will bring with Him when He returns… following the calamities and increased catastrophes of the last days.

“And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest, from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou was made to serve.”

He knows we have hard days.  He knows mortality is not easy.

That’s part of the plan.  It serves a purpose to teach us and shape us.  The more we submit to that plan, the more shape-able and teach-able we are.  The more teachable we are, the more joy we find even in those hard lessons, and the more peace we have as we experience them – even in the midst of those very hard days.

He promises Israel that Babylon will not win, even though Israel will very nearly be destroyed and certainly will be scattered.  The people will say, “How hath the oppressor ceased!”, and they will rejoice in their freedom.

“The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet; they break forth into singing” (verse 7).

Then Isaiah tells the story of how Lucifer got kicked out of Heaven for trying to steal the glory from God:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!  For thou has said in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.  Yet though shalt be brought down to hell…” (verses 12-15).

When Lucifer loses his power, so does his illusion of a kingdom fall apart, like a mirage that fades away.  The people will say that’s what shook us all up?  (verse 16).   That’s what made the world a wilderness, destroyed cities, and kept people prisoners? (verse 17).

But when Lucifer is destroyed, there will be no burial (verse 20), which we know also because we know he has no body.  He lost that opportunity when he got kicked out of Heaven.  He and his followers missed the chance to come to Earth to receive bodies like the rest of us that chose Jehovah’s plan, and so with no body there will be no burial.

This has been part of the plan, all along.

“The Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying: Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand – ” (verse 24).

So whether speaking of the spiritual conquering of Satan, or the temporal conquering of Babylon, the Lord reminds us that He will win.  It’s part of the plan, and He has promised it.

There is comfort and strength in this promise, for we know that no matter how bad things get, we already know the end of the story.  The Lord is going to win, and everything is going to be okay.  Knowing the end of the story helps us keep doing what we are asked to do.

“This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth…” (verse 26).

The whole purpose of Earth was for us to come here to receive our physical bodies, to be organized into families, and to learn to make good choices (that demonstrate our love through obedience).  That’s the plan.  He has not forgotten us, and He has not abandoned us.  He is ever present, helping us fulfill our purpose.

The Lord has done His part, which was to atone for us, and we must do 0ur part, which is to testify of that atonement.  That’s how Zion is established, and “his people shall trust in it” (verse 32).

Because He promised.

2 Nephi 23

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 23.

This chapter compares to Isaiah 13.

Isaiah’s “burden” in this chapter (verse 1) is a burden of a message.  It is the prophecy that he carries to the people.  It is the message he delivers to the people from the Lord.  This burden-message is notice that judgment has been declared, and the consequences are in process of unfolding.  It is like the judge reading out the sentence at the end of a trial, excepting that the Lord is always inviting us to repentance – that’s why He sends the messenger, the prophet, instead of just carrying out the sentence right away.  He always – because He has promised to do so – He always sends a prophet to warn us before judgment comes.

This is Isaiah being doing his prophet-ness, giving the final warning to the people.

And it is gruesome.

It reminds me of the second to the last paragraph of the Family Proclamation, in which the Prophet and Apostles declare:

 

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

 

That is a “burden”.

That is a burden-message which says, if you don’t repent, it’s gonna get ugly.

And we are seeing already, how as “the world” escalates, so do the consequences or “calamities”.  This is why we have a Prophet who warns us, waiting for us to repent and return to being at-one with our Heavenly Father as made possible by the atonement.

Verse 2 is powerful.  A “banner” was a standard or symbol of the King.  The “high mountain” is the Temple.  So we have the standard (symbols and tokens and laws) being lifted in the Temple, raised up and acknowledged.   Then a voice that exalts unto them and shakes their hand, so “that they may go into the gates of the nobles”.

This is a gathering of His people,  a gathering of His house.

And there will be a great noise, a “noise of the multitude in the mountains”, as His people are gathered and celebrating and rejoicing.

But those who are not His covenant people will be warned, are being warned now.  The consequences, calamities, and disasters promised for the latter-days are happening now.  It has already started.  “Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand” (verse 6).

The Lord’s people need not be afraid.

But those who are not His covenant people shall “be faint, every man’s heart shall melt” (verse 7).   “And they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames” (verse 8).

These flames are the lightning-fires of Elijah.

This is the same lightning-fire that will “destroy the sinners therefore out of ” the earth (verse 9).

This is the same lightning-fire that will happen when the worlds are moved back to their places (verse 13).

Isaiah then goes on to describe not only the destruction and scattering that will come when Assyria takes over, but also the horrific scene of Babylon taking over (verse 16-19).

Yet to those who repent, He will be merciful (verse 22).

It’s a promise.

2 Nephi 22

CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 22.

This chapter compares to Isaiah 12.

After all the explaining of what covenants are, after all the reprimands and dishing out of consequences, after all the hard work of repentance, the Lord is faithful in bringing us at-one again… even in the gathering of our families and in preparation to return to Him.

This is the song of praise that follows (verses 1-6):

And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.

Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 

Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.