26 April 2010

"Concerning the Last Days," 2 Nephi 26:14-33

2 Nephi 26:14-33

The footnotes to verse 20 are quite insightful as to where true power lies: in humility.  The Lord places stumbling blocks in our paths when we know the right way and turn from it.

The work of the Lord is accomplished by the humble and weak things of the earth. The poor in Spirit are greater than the mighty ones for they have access to the grace and Spirit of God. Christ, the Lord, placed himself among the humble and poor things of the earth.

"But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish,"(vs. 31). See also Doctrine and Covenants 38:39 which says, "but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old."

Coming back to this entry after having let it sit for a couple of days, I appreciate the title even more: "Concerning the Last Days."  At no other time in the history of the world, has the work of the Lord been so uninhibited. It is interesting to note that as part of this prophecy concerning the last days, Nephi discussing things like the equality of the doctrine, "Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay;" (vs.25). 

14 April 2010

"The Law Which Ye Shall Do," 2 Nephi 26:1-13

2 Nephi 26:1-13

After going to considerable lengths to explain why it is that they observe the law of Moses, even though they regarded it as a "dead law," Nephi begins this chapter with a prophecy of a future law which Christ himself will bring: "and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do." (vs. 1)

There must be an opposition in all things. The verses that follow this introduction at the beginning of the chapter delve into the fate of the wicked at the time of Christ's coming. Then in verse 8, Nephi returns briefly to those that will "look forward unto Christ with steadfastness." There are promises given to those that will believe in Him: He shall appear unto them, He shall heal them, and they shall have peace with Him.

(The Spirit testifies to me that such are the blessings extended to all those who diligently look to Christ the Lord for their deliverance.)

Verses 10 and 11 are explanation of what happens when a righteous civilization turns from its righteousness. Destruction is eminent. This is because "the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man," (vs. 11).  I have been tempted with thoughts of apathy and indifference. Reminders such as these help me to realize the importance of continual vigilance and diligence towards the things of God. I do well to remember that there is no coasting into Heaven.

Then in verses 12 and 13, Nephi addresses the universal spread of the Gospel. "It must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God ...He manifesteth himself  unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost;" The verses that follow separate this spread of the Gospel from that which would take place in the last days. So in going back to these verses, this seems to suggests that there are even more peoples, that we do not have accounts of,  joining and converting to a true knowledge of Christ according to the power of the Holy Ghost. 

I won't speculate on this too much, but I am certain that there are entire civilizations that have been hidden from our present knowledge among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught.

06 April 2010

"Alive in Christ," 2 Nephi 25:21-30

2 Nephi 25:21-31

The premise for these final verses of chapter 25 is found in the end of verse 20:

...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.
 Then in verse 21, Nephi explains that this is the reason that the Lord had promised him that the things which he should write would be preserved and made available to future generations.

These verse that follow talk about Nephi's efforts to persuade his children to believe in Christ. He said that he "labored diligently to write, to persuade [his] children, and also [his] brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;"(See verse 23).

This same verse then concludes with this defining, doctrinal statement: "For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."

Nephi goes on to make a very interesting set of observations, comparing and contrasting faith in Christ to the deadness of the Mosaic law, and explaining why it is that they put so much emphasis on teaching Christ to their children.

And it is in verse 25 that we read, "we are made alive in Christ because of our faith, yet we keep the law because of the commandments." At first glance, this seems contradictory, as do many doctrines when viewed superficially. But Christ himself said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." These verses of scripture were penned during the period in which the Law of Moses had been given, and was in effect. Nephi understood the "deadness" of the law, which in and of itself had no saving power. Yet the purpose of the Mosaic law was to point the people to Christ, and his higher laws of the Gospel.

The law of Moses was a lesser law given to a people who wouldn't abide the greater law. Thus we see Christ himself repealing that law in the Sermon on the Mount with such phrases as "It hath been said in olden times (insert a Mosaic law), but I say unto you (insert Christ's higher law)."