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"The Anger of the Lord [Is] Kindled against His People,"

2 Nephi 15:24-25

"Therefore, as the fire..." Footnote on "fire" has at least two implied meanings:
  • The light that emanates from Christ himself.
  • Those faithful remnants of the house of Israel in the last days (see 3 Nephi 20:16).
This second thought I had not considered. This suggests that the Saints will be the ones that are doing work in the latter days. While the scripture referenced above sounds rather destructive, I recall reading just last evening that the Saint's power to lead in the last days would be noted because of their unique capacity towards kindness and Christ-like compassion.

So where the scripture talk of destruction of the wicked and power to consume, which in a sense is calculated to bring fear into the hearts of the wicked, the reality of the issue is that the power and capacity for good that is exhibited by the Saints will be increased. Their works will be works of kindness, love, and great mercy. Yet ironically, in the hearts of the wicked, these same works will bring fear because they repented not.

"...Devoureth the stubble," the footnote on "stubble" goes on to reinforce the destruction that will come upon the wicked. At the same time there is a reassurance of the safety of the righteous during this period. It is only the unrighteous that are classified as stubble ready to be burned.

"...And the flame consumeth the chaff," the chaff is the encasings of the wheat or other grain. I spent a fair amount of time grappling with this idea the other day. As it seemed to me to be unfair that the chaff should be destroyed and the wheat itself not. But the next few words in the verse give further insight.

"...Their root shall be rottenness, and their blossoms shall go up as dust;" The difference between the wheat and the chaff is that the wheat, once it has been formed, lasts a long time (years). Every other part of the plant is gone after the season is ended.

"...Because they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts," The rejection of eternal principles which are enduring, is the cause of their insustainable, perishable state.

"...And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." This reminds me of the words of Mormon where he observerd the awful state of the wicked once they came to a reality of their wickedness: "...For their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin," (Mormon 2:13).

"Therefore, is the anger of the Lord..." God is a Being of passions and emotions, similar to what we are. We read here and elsewhere about God's anger and jealousy. What must it take for a being of infinite patience, love, wisdom, and peace, to be provoked to fell anger? I'm missing an important point somewhere in all this. This can in part go to illustrate the gravity of the offenses that the House of Israel had committed against the Lord their God.

"...kindled against his people," It was hard to light due to the eternal nature of God, and his great tendencies towards mercy and kindness.

"...and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them;" Now the tables are turned. Where as the Lord had held out his outstretched hand in mercy waiting for many seasons for His people to come unto him, now that His eternal wrath has been kindled, that same merciful hand is now "stretched forth... against them."

(I cannot underestimate the weight of this particular verse, and how serious an offense it is to bring against oneself the wrath of an offended God. Nothing else can make sense in light of the chaos and destruction that result.)

"...and the hills did tremble," The earth itself cannot hold its peace out of fear in the presence of a jealous God.

"...and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets." This terrible imagery demonstrates to what extent the Lord will not tolerate his people to continue in wickedness.

"For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." And still even after all the wrath and destruction that comes upon the Lord's people once his anger has been kindled, after all of it, it is difficult -- nearly impossible -- to turn away the wrath of an offended God!