2 Nephi 17-33…Believe in Christ

The people of Nephi are settled in their new land. They live the commandments and because of this, the Lord was with them and they “did prosper exceedingly” (2 Nephi 5:11) . They build swords to protect themselves. Through the guidance of the Lord to Nephi, he teaches them how to build buildings and work with the materials of the land. They built a temple. They were industrious and worked with their hands.

In all this, 40 years passed.

In those 40 years, the people began to forget the Lord and they needed reminding. Nephi loved the words of Isaiah, which he read from in the Brass plates. These words are identical to the words of Isaiah in the King James version of the Bible! And so for 13 chapters in 2 Nephi, Nephi quotes from Isaiah, specifically from Isaiah 2-14. Why? He’s teaching his people and us about prophecies surrounding the times around the Second Coming concerning the House of Israel. What we should know about this time, some of which has come or is coming to pass. He prophesies about Christ, most importantly, and what will happen with him.

In the ending of the book, Nephi provides gloriously sound doctrine. He worries for us, for his people. His words are for all dispensations and especially the last dispensation.

For all dispensations, he pleads for all to follow Christ. To obey the commandments. We are warned and shown the nature of Satan. How Satan binds us and leads us away.

How in our day, Satan will (2 Nephi 28:20-22) :

  • Rage in hearts.
  • Stir up to anger against what’s good.
  • Pacify.
  • Lull away into carnal security.
  • Cheat our souls .
  • Lead us away carefully down to hell.
  • Flatter us away.
  • Whisper in our ears until we’re grasped in his chains.

As William Shakespeare says in King Lear, “The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.”

We see this today all around us!! We find this happening to ourselves. We have to completely, thoroughly, absolutely and exhaustively protect ourselves and turn to the Lord.

Thankfully, the Lord through Nephi gives us the solution to what we are to do, which way we are to turn. We are to (verses in 2 Nephi 28-33):

  • Follow the Son (Jesus Christ)
  • With full purpose of heart, acting in no hypocrisy or deception, with real intent
  • Repent
  • Witness to the Father that we are willing to take upon us Chris’s name.
  • Be baptized
  • Receive the Holy Ghost
  • Endure to the end
  • Follow the example of the Son
  • Have unshaken faith in Christ
  • Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ
  • Have a perfect brightness of hope
  • Love God and and all men
  • Feast upon the words of Christ (the scriptures)
  • Search knowledge
  • Hearken unto the Spirit
  • Pray always
  • Believe in Christ (which Nephi quotes four times in two consecutive verses)

Nephi makes it crystal clear how we can overcome Satan. How we can be saved. And actually there is no other way we can be saved. Only through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

With this, he bids us an “everlasting farewell” (2 Nephi 33:14), if we don’t do as he’s been commanded to tell us. We will be judged by his words, the Lord’s words. We will never see Nephi if we don’t do these things. I would rather be able to say hello to Nephi someday. So all I have to do is what he says. Can I do this on my own. Not at all!  But as our Savior says, “…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) I am in that “all”, and you are too.

 

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2 Nephi 1-16…Delights

Catching up with our beloved family, we find that after 8 years of travel, they make it to the seashore, which they name Bountiful. Nephi is able to rest for “many days” (it would be nice to know exactly or even approximately how long Nephi thinks many days are, as he uses that term a lot) and then the Lord tells him to go to a mountain and talk to him. The Lord tell Nephi to build a ship to carry he and all his family across the waters to the promised land. Dear, righteous Nephi doesn’t complain or ask how, he simply asks where to find the ore to be able to make the tools to build the ship.  Oh how we wish to have the faith of Nephi!
Nephi’s brothers are back yet again to their murmuring ways and put Nephi down for thinking he can build a ship and refuse to help. With the Lord’s help, Nephi puts them back in place and they build the ship. We then find out that Sariah had 2 more sons in their travels, Jacob and Joseph. They get out in the ocean and Laman and Lemuel and others decide that they’ve yet again had enough with Nephi and tie him up. Tight. The Lord doesn’t like that so much. The Liahona stops working and a great storm arises to the point that they’re about to wreck when finally, finally they see that God was doing this because of them and let Nephi go. And instead of complaining for having “exceedingly swollen” wrists and ankles, dear, righteous Nephi praises God all day. He prays and the storm calms, the compass works and they set off again to their promised land.

After setting up camp, planting seeds and setting up an establishment, Lehi and Nephi delve into the Brass Plates in depth and talk about it to their family, which of course, Laman and Lemuel refuse to understand and has to have it explained to them.

Now we come to the chapters of this entry’s title. The journey had taken a toll on Lehi and he finds that he’s somewhat soon to die. He calls in each of his children and their families and Ishmael’s children and bestows a Patriarchal Blessing on each of them. Lehi dies and Laman and Lemuel see that this is finally their chance to be rid of their high and mighty brother once and for all. But the Lord warns Nephi so he packs up with all those going with him, Jacob, Joseph, Zoram, Sam, his mysterious sisters that nave had no mention up until this point, their families and leaves, traveling for “many days” (seriously, how many are many?!) and sets up a new land living “after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27). The families of Laman and Lemuel and all those who chose to follow him are cursed, however, they are cut off from the Lord. Sad.

I was not born in, but raised in the church. My mother converted when I was 3. I was actually baptized Episcopalian as an infant, which I still need to get the full story about from my mother. Anyway, being raised in the church, I never developed the proper reverence and appreciation for the Book of Mormon. I knew it was true, beyond a doubt. I prayed about that and received one of the strongest confirmations of my life, so that wasn’t the issue. Although I knew that this was an amazing book that testified of Jesus Christ, that it was a big deal, I never fully understood why it was so amazing and such a big deal… until now.

It wasn’t until this past week, when after several chapters of Lehi, Nephi and Jacob talking about Christ, that the dawn appeared and I am beginning to grasp what all the amazement is about. I had finished rereading the New Testament late last year, so it’s fresh in my mind. For me it was the epitome of talking about Christ, since he’s actually in it for about 30% of the book. However, now, this week at long last, my eyes have been opened and I know why. It’s the doctrine. The pure and simple doctrine of Jesus Christ and the explanations of things from the before the world was, the creation, our lives on earth, what happens after earth and what will happen in the end. Almost all of it! While the bible may talk about these things, there may be some things missing, or it’s just a shadow in verse. The Book of Mormon expounds on all these things! It truly has the fullness of the Gospel and now I can see why Joseph Smith promised what he did in the Introduction that “… a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”. ANY other book, including the Bible. I can see that now.

 

Through the chapters Nephi let’s us know what he delights in. Among these are the scriptures, the things of the Lord, the words of Isaiah, proving to his people the truth of the coming of Christ, the covenants of the Lord, His Grace, justice, power and mercy. He delights in proving that if Christ didn’t come, all would perish.

I too delight in the scriptures and in the things of the lord. I delight in His covenants, grace, justice, power and mercy. I am learning to delight in Isaiah 😉 and in proving to people about Christ and to believe in Him.

 

 

***Some extra musings: What happened to Sariah? There is no mention of her dying. Also, in the Brass Plates, Lehi and Nephi quote a lot from it, including writings from Joseph of Egypt. Nephi says that “the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater”. What did he write?! I know we’re not ready yet for further scriptures, we hardly handle the ones we have, but someday it  will be wonderful to read all these other words.