30 August 2008

"Those Who Fight Against Zion", 1 Nephi 22:13-19

1 Nephi 22:13-19

These are reassuring words to those who are enlisted in the cause of truth. Building on a discovery that I made and accounted for in my last Spanish entry about the people of God being endowed with power because of their faith, this group of verses reinforces that assurance with a promise of protection against the wicked. In the last days, our days, the opposition that would seem ominous from external forces will be completely overthrown. The wicked shall destroy themselves.

This simple lesson is plainly taught throughout the Book of Mormon. The Lord will preserve the righteous upon the land.

25 August 2008

"The Lord God Will... Do a Marvelous Work", 1 Nephi 22:6-12

1 Nephi 22:6-12

Yesterday, I sat in on part of a church service for one of our Spanish congregations. With a recent influx of locally called missionary couples into the ward, the fulfillment of these verse was ever present in my mind.

Here Nephi reviews the prophecies of Isaiah about the Gentiles being nurses to the House of Israel. Nephi expands upon Isaiah's prophecies and explains that the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles--building them up unto a great nation. These gentiles would first scatter the remnant of the House of Israel. Then in due season, with great love, the gentiles would gather together the House of Israel.

15 August 2008

"By the Spirit... According to the Flesh... Because of the Holy One of Israel", 1 Nephi 22: 1-5

1 Nephi 22: 1-5

When Nephi concluded reading these chapters from the prophet Isaiah to his brothers, they ask him how or in what sense are these prophecies to be understood. Whether this was an attempt to rationalize away their importance, or more simply a confession of confusion, Nephi states that these things are given by the voice of the Spirit in reference to things that will actually happen in the flesh.

Nephi goes on to explain how sooner or later the House of Israel (which they were a part of), was going to be scattered upon all the face of the earth. He even goes further to explain that this has already happened with many who did at one point belong to the House of Israel. He stops just short of saying that this is exactly what happened to them.

Then in verse 5, Nephi states that the reason for their separation and scattering is because of the Holy One of Israel. Everything that happens to the children of the Abrahamic Covenant is relative to their relationship with the Holy One of Israel, or by another name, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Nephi knew exactly where he was in relation to God's plan for all his children. He understood his part in the covenants of God. Nephi knew that what was spoken by the prophets of God would be fulfilled.

04 August 2008

"I Will... Setup My Standard To The People", 1 Nephi 21:22-26

1 Nephi 21:22-26

Verse 22 picks up as an answer to the question posed in verse 21: how is it that Zion had any children if everyone of her natural children had been destroyed? The answer is pivotal to understanding the purposes of the Lord in the last days and how exactly it is that the Lord will redeem His people.

The answer:
Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. (see vs 22)
Footnotes on "standard"include additional references to this final work (see footnotes). The standard is also called an ensign. Important doctrines related to the establishment of this final standard or ensign: The work is to be initiated among the gentiles, and it is of such as scope that it will reach the ends of the earth. This is a global work. Yet it is extremely individual.

This particular final point is strongly impressed upon my mind. We are dealing with the salvation of God's family, and in the end, it shall be as it was in the beginning--available to all. The atonement of Christ works for all men; Jew, Gentile, Tongan, Chinese, Ethiopian, Russian, Israeli, Scandinavian, Brazilian, Indian, French, Nigerian, Australian, American, and all. It is almost impossible for us to comprehend as mortals that all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God (see Isaiah 52:10, Mosiah 15:31, or Doctrine and Covenants 133:3). But this is the work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Then this chapter concludes with these words of encouragement: "For I will contend with them that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children," (see vs. 25). This is the faith, the hope, the promise that inspires the work to be accomplished. This is the strength to scale an insurmountable mountain.

In these closing verses are assurance to go ahead with the fight that we are to wage against the forces of this world. There is also the reminder that this is in part why our Lord is also referred to as our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Mighty One of Jacob.