Summary of Omni + Omni 1

Summary of Omni + Omni 1

                The Book of Omni… is the sixth book in the Book of Mormon….

Omni opens up with Omni confessing that he fought many battles to keep his people, the Nephities from falling into the hands of their enemy the Lamanites. However, he confesses that he has failed to follow all the commandments of God, calling himself a wicked man. He passes the plates down to his son Amaron.

Because of the wickedness, explains Amaron; “…the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous that they should not perish…” (Omni 1:7) This shows that even during great wickedness in the world, God does spare the righteous. Amaron passes the plates down to his brother Chemish, who only writes one verse testifying of what his brother had wrote to be true.

The plates are then transferred to the son of Chemish, Adinadom. Abinadom opens up by explaining that he has, with his; “…own sword, have taken the lives of many of the Lamanites in the defence of my brethren.” (Omni 1:10) Here we learn that killing another human being in defense of yourself or others IS justified, even under God’s wrath. Abinadom goes on to testify of the writing that has been added to the plates so far, and makes note that he has no prophecy to add, but that he would continue to preserve them by passing them down to the next generation.

Amaleki, the son of Abinadom continues to write on the plates, opening up by testifying of Mosiah, who was the king of Zarahemla. Amaleki explains that when Mosiah discovered the people of Zarahemla, he knew that they came out of Jerusalem; “…Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out of Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah was carried away captive into Babylon. And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.” (Omni 1:15-16)

                This is where things get very interesting, if we read in the Bible, in Jeremiah we learn that King Zedekiah was overtaken by the Chaldeans’ army in the plains of Jericho. Zedekiah is forced to watch his sons be murdered before his eyes, then having his own eyes removed and being bound in chains and sent to Babylon. (See Jeremiah 39:4-8). However, we learn from the Book of Mormon that one of the sons of Zedekiah escaped. Nephi testifies before corrupt judges who sought to incite the people against him, but Nephi testifies that Abraham, Moses, Zenock, Zenos, Ezias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lehi all testified of Christ. Nephi questions the judges; “… will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yeah, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem…?” (Helaman 8:21) This and other instances throughout the Book of Mormon show how much it meshes with the stories of the Bible. The reason for this is simple, they are all interconnected. The people of the Book of Mormon have ancestral ties with the people of the “Old World” found in the Bible.

Mulek and his people traveled across the ocean to the “New World”, where they became numerous. However, with most civilization, eventually the prosperity ends. The people of Zarahemla had fallen away from the Gospel and denied that there was a Creator. Because of this they had many wars and contentions amongst themselves, they lost the record of their people and they even lost their own language. Mosiah taught the people of Zarahemla his own language and caused that a genealogy being written up based on his own memory. The people loved Mosiah and caused that he be there king. The people gave Mosiah a large stone that had engraving upon it, by the power of God he was able to translate these engravings.

The engravings gave an account of Coriantumr and the slaying of his people.  It also held a genealogy of his fathers, who came out from the tower, at the “…. time the Lord confounded the language of the people…” (Omni 1:22) Here we learn that more people going back thousands of years were living in the Americas that we know of today. Coriantumr’s father came from the Tower of Babel, when the Lord not only confounded the languages, but scattered the people around the World.

Amaleki continues to write that he was born in the days of Mosiah, after his death, his son Benjamin ruled in his placed. Amaleki, knowing that King Benjamin was a just and good man decides to pass the plates onto him upon his death. Amaleki explains that “…there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord: and that which is evil cometh from the devil.” (Omni 1:25) How simple of principle is that?  If it is good, it comes from God. If it is bad, it comes from the devil. Before his death, Amaleki exhorts anyone reading his testimony to; “…come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” (Omni 1:26) Again, another simple principle. To be “saved” and return to the presence of God, we must come unto Him. It is NOT enough to simply confess that He is your savior. Coming unto Him means that you offer your whole soul unto him, continuing in fasting, prayer and enduring to the end. This is a process and something that is ongoing throughout your life. We must always follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do as He would do. Remember, faith without works is dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jacob 5

Jacob 5: Allegory of the Olive Tree

Allegory of the Olive Tree (See also: Romans 11:17-24)

Jacob quotes Zenos about the allegory of the tame and wild Olive Tree. The Olive Tree in the Lord’s Vineyard is like Israel and the Gentiles, the scattering and gathering of Israel… the Gentiles will be grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel.

Symbol What it might represent
The Vineyard The World
Master of the Vineyard God
Servants The Lord’s Prophets
Tame Olive Tree The House of Israel; The Covenant People
Wild Olive Tree Gentiles
Branches Groups of People
Roots of the Tame Olive Tree The Covenants the Lord makes with us
The Fruit The Lives/Works of men
Digging/Pruning/Fertilizing The work of the Lord to help His children obey
Transplanting Branches Scattering groups of people throughout the world
Grafting The joining of one group to another
Decaying Branches People dying spiritually from sin and apostasy
Casting branches into the fire God’s Wrath and Judgment

What is ‘Grafting’?

To graft branches, healthy, living branches are cut from a tree or plant and inserted into another place. The branches in this allegory represent groups of people that the Lord takes from one place and plants them in another. In the scriptural sense, grafting means to “…come to the knowledge of the true Messiah…” (1 Nephi 10:14).

In this chapter (which is super long), we learn about the Lord’s Vineyard. The chapter can be likened to Missionary Work and Rise and Fall of God’s Authority on the Earth.

Missionary Work

                “And the Lord of the Vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, saying unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof that they perish not, that I might preserve them unto myself, I have done this thing. Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words. And these will I place in the nethermost parts of my vineyard, withersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee; and I do it that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree; and also that I may lay fruit thereof against the season, unto myself; for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof.” (Jacob 5:11-13) God wants his servants to work hard, so that they will not lose one soul or “branch” of the Olive Tree.

                “Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all fruits. Wherefore, let us got to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard. Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last…” (Jacob 5:61-63) This really shows the importance of Missionary work in the last days, God will prune his vineyard one last time before his second coming… and it is the responsibility of the members of the church and the full time missionaries to teach the truths that we know to the world… we must labor diligently and with all our might… this last time

Young and Tender Branches of the House of Israel

(Jacob 5:8, 13–14, 19–25)

The “young and tender branches” seem to be those people who responded to the “pruning and fertilizing” by God and His prophets. They were more teachable than the old established branches, or the groups of Israelites who had to be removed and destroyed.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “In that parable the olive tree is the House of Israel… In its native land it began to die. So the Lord took branches like the Nephites, like the lost tribes, and like others that the Lord led off that we do not know anything about, to other parts of the earth. He planted them all over his vineyard, which is the world” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:204).

Zenos’s allegory helps us understand that the scattering of branches of Israel all over the world was a blessing both to Israel and to the rest of Heavenly Father’s children, the Gentiles. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “In general, the Lord sends to earth in the lineage of Jacob [Israel] those spirits who in pre-existence developed an especial talent for spirituality and for recognizing truth. Those born in this lineage, having the blood of Israel in their veins and finding it easy to accept the gospel, are said to have believing blood” (Mormon Doctrine, 81).

As scattered Israel mixed with the Gentiles around them, the blood of Israel was spread even further. Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented: “The scattering of Israel throughout the world sprinkled the blood that believes, so that many nations may now partake of the gospel plan” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 127; or Ensign,Nov. 1982, 87–88).

When Did All the Trees Become Corrupt?

(Jacob 5:32–46)

The part of the allegory when all the trees bear evil fruit seems to represent the period of the Apostasy, prior to the restoration of the gospel. When the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith in the First Vision, He told Joseph that he should join none of the churches of that day because they were all “wrong” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19).In Jacob 5:48, we read; “…Is it not the loftiness [Pride] of thy vineyard – have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? …behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves…” Essentially in this one verse we can see how easily churches after Christ was crucified began to pop up without any legitimate authority of power from God. However, they had some of the basic roots… but they began to lose their roots when they took strength upon themselves. The same people who claim that God won’t call another prophet, and that His word is complete the Bible.

Jacob 4

Jacob 4: Prophets

                Jacob explains that he spoke a lot of things to his people; however, because of the difficulty in engraving upon the plates… a lot of what he said is not recorded. Nevertheless, he hopes that when people in the future read these words that they will; “…receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt…” (Jacob 4:3)

Jacob explains the purpose of the plates and really all of the Book of Mormon; “…for this intent have we written these thing, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming…” (Jacob 4:4) Jacob tells us that him and his people and those who came before him in the Americas knew of Jesus Christ, and worshiped God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. His people also followed the Law of Moses, because; “…we search the prophets, and we have many revelation and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountain, or the waves of the sea.” (Jacob 4:6)

Jacob explains that God will give us and show us our own weaknesses that we might know of the true power of God, but also understand our potential and power as His children.

Jacob exclaims; “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8) The mysteries of God are great, and we will never truly understand his ways. Denying that He has commanded more than just the Bible to be written is not only denying the power of God, but also saying that we know more than God or that we know His ways. Do we know all of His ways? No. The Book of Mormon was written by men who were commanded of God to write. For it was His will to insure that His children in the New World as well as the Old World would have access to His word. In modern days, The Book of Mormon serves as yet ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRST.

Jacob gives us great counsel; “…seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand…” (Jacob 4:10) In other words, stop trying to deny His great works. The Bible is not the ONLY word of God. Jacob continues to explain how God has called prophets throughout the ages to manifest His word unto us. God has done it in the past, and He will do it again… for God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“…he that prophesieth let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not… these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls… we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old…. The jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand… because they desired it God hath done it, and they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:13-14)

2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32: Men must pray to gain Knowledge

“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?” (2 Nephi 32:2)

Nephi sees that many of his brethren are questioning what they should do after they had obtained a faith in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He asks them if they had remembered that after you receive the Holy Ghost, you are able to speak with the tongue of Angels! After we are baptized, we must ENDURE to the end. Part of this enduring is to constantly receive strength in all the daily battles against Satan that we will fight.

Nephi continues…  “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…  if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4) Here, Nephi explains that it is not just enough to pray, nor is it enough to just ponder and read the words of Christ. No, they must BOTH be done in order to understand the Words of God. We must diligently study the scriptures and then pray to understand the meaning of them.

After baptism, we receive the Holy Ghost, and with this Gift of the Holy Ghost we will be given guidance, so long as we do not upset the Spirit. We do this by reading and praying daily, avoiding sin and the unclean things of the world. We need to keep our minds as clean as possible. It should be recognized that no one, besides Jesus Christ, is perfect. Therefore, we need to strive to become like Jesus Christ… but when we fall short, we need to repent and move forward in His Gospel.

Nephi, after speaking to his brethren still sees that they do not fully understand, and this grieves him; “…now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7) In today’s world, so many are so easily led by the vain things of the world… look around and you can see the influence of a pop star or some celebrity, even politicians! People blindly follow these so called “role-models”, but when asked to sincerely pray and understand if for example the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, they ignore it. In fact many in the world will look at the Book of Mormon and toss it aside, even when it is given to them in ‘plainness’, but these same people ask; “Where is God?”

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God speaks TODAY! It is so plain, yet so hard for people to see through the stiffneckedness of the carnal man. Nephi explains that we can come to this knowledge if we pray, for the Spirit will teach a man to pray, and the evil spirit teaches a man to not pray; “…if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)

Nephi ends this chapter by telling us that we “…must pray always, and not faint…” (2 Nephi 32:9)

2 Nephi 30

2 Nephi 30: Wicked – Destroyed

                Nephi explains that the Gentiles who convert and repent of their sins can be numbered as the “Covenant People of God” and any Jew who does not repent can be cut off. Because of the Book of Mormon, the world will know that the Nephites (the ancient inhabitants of America) descended from the Jews; “… For after the book [The Book of Mormon] of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed. And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews. 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, which was had among their fathers.” (2 Nephi 30:3-5)

Because of the Book of Mormon, the Jews shall come unto Christ! How amazing is that? Nephi goes onto explain that in the Last Days there shall be; “…a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.” (2 Nephi 30:10) Can we not see this today? Race wars, Class wars… Liberals, Conservatives… pro-life, pro-choice… etc.

The Book of Mormon will come forth during this time of great division, but because of this great division the Lord God will sort out the righteous from the wicked and shall destroy those who follow the darkness. Nephi explains that there is nothing secret, that won’t be revealed in the Last Days, and when this happens the Devil will be locked up and shall not have power over the children of men for a period of time;  “Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men. There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed. Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long

2 Nephi 29

2 Nephi 29: Rejection of the Book of Mormon

                In the Last Days the Book of Mormon will be rejected by the voice of many, claiming; “…A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.” (2 Nephi 29:3)

However, God reminds us of the importance of having more than just the ‘Bible’; “…O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? …Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?” (2 Nephi 29:4,6)

                Those who claim to know that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, without even trying to actually read it for themselves will be among this group of people that have, currently are and will continue to reject it!

However, these same people need to ask this question; “…Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur 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, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.” (2 Nephi 29:7-8)

In  other words, the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both the Word of God, because God has had children throughout the ENTIRE world and not just in the ‘Ancient World’. God loves all His Children, and in doing so ensured that they would ALL hear His word in ancient times as well as modern times. To reject that God has given His children more of His word is just plain silly.

God is the SAME, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow! He will always call Prophets, He will always give us more of His word and guidance… we just have to sincerely try to understand through prayer and pondering and earnest study to know His word.

“…because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. 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. 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; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.” (2 Nephi 29:9-11)

God has called Prophets to write His word throughout the world, since the dawn of man. Out of all His books shall the world be judged! The Jews shall have the writings of the Nephites (The Book of Mormon) and the Nephites shall have the writings of the Jews (the Bible) and they shall come together as companions and they shall be of great worth unto His Children!

2 Nephi 28

2 Nephi 28: Apostasy

                Nephi explains to his people that in the Last Days, many false churches shall be built up;

“…it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.” (2 Nephi 28:3-4)

This foretelling of the Last Days by Nephi was incredibly accurate, anyone who takes a close look into the many religions and churches that have been built up in even the last 20 years can see that this has come true. So many churches that proclaim to have the “truth”, without offering any evidence of their divine “truth”, the same churches that are built up for gain.

Nephi knew that this would happen, and continues to explain; “…they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.” (2 Nephi 28:5-6)

How many churches or religions would say that all we have and ever will have of God is the Holy Bible? These same people fail to understand that the Bible itself, by definition, is a “collection of books” and this ‘collection’ was put together by men who (denying the Holy Ghost) put together the ‘Bible’ omitting parts of the words of God, and did all this by their own precepts and usually by VOTE. God however does not VOTE on these things. His word, and what He wants in His Gospel is to be determined by HIM and not a counsel of so called religious experts.

Today we see so many churches that will claim to preach the Gospel, however, many will actually say its ok to commit a little sin, for if God loves us He will have mercy on us… Nephi explains; “….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 last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.” (2 Nephi 28:8)

How many see people who claim that all we need is FAITH in Jesus Christ in order to be saved? They claim that good works are not necessary in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. However, by saying this they are doing exactly what Nephi said they would, they justify committing sin if we just place Jesus in our hearts. Is that really how it works?

Are we saved by Faith alone?

The simple answer is YES. However, one must first ask… What is Faith? Is Faith simply believing that Jesus Christ is your Savior? Could it really be that SIMPLE?

In order for us to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, we must believe in all of His teachings! If we believe in His teachings we will desire to follow HIS commandments! If we follow His commandments… we will do good works! So yes, Faith requires good works, and it requires us to be good people.

What if I commit sin and then commit good works, will that get me into the Kingdom of God? No, we cannot JUST do good works. We have to have a desire in our hearts to do the good works and to be good people without the reward of ‘getting into Heaven’, so to speak. Faith alone is dead without works.  It is also important to know, that while sinning “a little” is not encouraged with the idea that someone can “repent later”, it is good to know that if we do mess up, we can be forgiven because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ… for He took upon Himself all the sins of the world!

Nephi explains that in the Last Days many intelligent and ‘learned’ men will pervert the right way of God and fool the poor into believing their false doctrines;  “…O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!” (2 Nephi 28:15)

Nephi, speaking of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the Last Days, explains that many will exclaim that; “…We have received, and we need no more!” (2 Nephi 28:27) However, Nephi reminds us that even the Bible explains that we (the Children of God) will receive His Gospel; “…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.” (2 Nephi 28:30)

We must ask ourselves, why would God only leave His children with the Old and New Testaments? Surely an Eternal God would have more to say and teach to His children!