1 Nephi 22

1 Nephi 22: Righteousness Shall Prevail in the Last Days

                After reading from the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 20-21), Nephi’s brethren ask him what these things meant; “… are they to be understood according to things which are spiritual, which shall come to pass according to the spirit and not the flesh?” (1 Nephi 22:1) Nephi responds that they are to be understood both Spiritual and temporal, he also explains that by the Spirit all things are known unto the Prophets and through the Prophets we come to know all things; “…Behold they were manifest unto the prophet by the voice of the Spirit; for by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets, which shall come upon the children of men according to the flesh.” (1 Nephi 22:2)

                Nephi goes on to explain that Israel will be scattered because of their wickedness, however; The Lord and the Gentiles will shall ‘nurse’ Israel that they might “…bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.” (1 Nephi 22:12) Here we learn that Israel will eventually come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, Jesus Christ. First, they will be led into captivity and then gathered together in the land of their inheritance. We can see throughout history that the Jews have been persecuted, and now they are gathered in Israel. Does this mean the next step is them coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Only time will tell.

Nephi explains that in the Last Days; “…the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood. And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.” (1 Nephi 22:13-14)

In the Last Days, the Great and Abominable Church (presumably the Catholic Church) will wage war among the people of the Lord and eventually have the sword fall upon themselves. Everyone who fights against Israel shall be destroyed and those who pervert the right ways of the Lord shall be destroyed and GREAT shall be the fall of that Great and Abominable Church!

Nephi explains that “…the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned.” (1 Nephi 22:15) Again, those who fight against the Lord and His people will lose. Satan thinks he is in control, even his followers believe this… however the Lord can crush Satan at any time… he only allows Satan to tempt His children, so that we might have Agency to choose for ourselves the path we want to take.

Nephi writes that; “…the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded…” (1 Nephi 22:22) Those who follow the commandments of the Lord will be filled with the knowledge they need to avoid the churches of Satan built upon the world by the flesh.

Why are there so many Churches and Religions?

“…the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.” (1 Nephi 22:23)

After the death of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, the Church Jesus established on the earth and the Power and Authority that He had given to the Apostles was eventually lost with the last Apostle who like Apostles before him were persecuted, killed and even Crucified. From this time forth, the flesh of the world created their own religions and churches. These churches or religions were built up only to obtain power, gain, and popularity to seek the lusts of the world.

Jesus Christ made it clear; “…other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) The ‘other sheep’ are the people of Ancient America, who also heard His word. In the Last Days all the folds of the Lord shall come unto Him and become ONE FOLD, with ONE SHEPHERD (Jesus Christ)

Nephi explains that in the Last Days, Satan will be locked up for the space of many years (1,000 years) and shall not be loosed, so that the work of the Lord shall be carried across the entire world.

Nephi makes an end to this chapter and the 1st Book of Nephi by explaining that his testimony is not the only testimony; “…ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.” (1 Nephi 22:31) Nephi, like prophets of old have made it very clear. Those who Love the Lord and have His Spirit shall come to this knowledge through careful, prayerful study of the scriptures.

1 Nephi 14:

1 Nephi 14: Two Churches – The Church of God and the Church of the Devil

“….if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power… unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—…they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” (1 Nephi 14:1-2)

                In other words, if the Gentiles follow the Lord and do not harden their hearts against Him, they shall have stumbling blocks before them removed and they shall be numbered among the house of Israel in the Last Days and shall remain in the Promised Land forever.

The Angel shows Nephi more visions;

“…it came to pass that he [the Angel] said unto me [Nephi]: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (1 Nephi 14:9-10) Nephi saw that there could only be one Church of God, those who do not belong to that Church belong to the Church of Satan. Nephi is shown more of the vision of this Great and Abominable Church; “….I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.” (1 Nephi 14:11-12) Nephi saw that the Great and Abominable Church was strong in power and people and spread throughout the world. Nephi also saw the True Church of God upon the face of the earth, however its numbers were few. Nephi sees that Satan teams up to attack the True Church of the Lamb.

Nephi sees that there appear wars and rumors of wars throughout the land and that because of this great and abominable church, war was also declared among the Saints of the True Church of the Lamb. “…when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.” (1 Nephi 14:17) In the Last Days the Lord will deliver His people and will prepare a way for those who desire to join his church and fulfill their covenants with Him.

The Angel of the Lord commands Nephi to look, and Nephi looks. He sees one of the Twelve Apostles and is told that one of the Twelve would finish writing what he had seen in a book [the Bible] and shall also write regarding the End of the World and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Angel of the Lord speaks to Nephi; “…the things which he shall write are just and true; and behold they are written in the book[The Bible – New Testament]  which thou beheld proceeding out of the mouth of the Jew; and at the time they proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, or, at the time the book proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, the things which were written were plain and pure, and most precious and easy to the understanding of all men.” (1 Nephi 14:23) Here it makes sense why the Book of Mormon was needed. At the time of this Vision the Bible (which was still being written) was just a pure, and easy for the understanding of men. However, with time these things became perverted by evil men who desired to change the Word of God. Therefore, throughout the ages the Bible had been changed and parts of the book were also lost. Therefore the Book of Mormon would come forth in the last days to be a companion to the Bible, in order that we might understand more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi 13

1 Nephi 13: The Restoration and Zion

                 Nephi sees many nations throughout the world and is told by the Angel that those nations and kingdoms were of the Gentiles;

“…I [Nephi] saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church. And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity… I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.” (1 Nephi 13:4-6) Nephi saw the formation of an evil church, whose founder was the devil. In this church there was gold, silver, silks, scarlets and fine-twined lined and all manner of precious clothing.

Nephi sees that many of the seed of his brethren were divided among the waters and a multitude of them forming in the promised land [America], where they; “…had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations… I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.” (1 Nephi 13:19-20) Nephi had seen the colonizing of America and the scattering of the Gentiles!

Nephi also beheld a book that was carried with them into the Promised Land; the Angel asked him if he knew that this book was, and Nephi responded that he did not. The Angel explains; “…Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew… a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 13:23) This book that is being referred is the Bible, more specifically the Old Testament of the Bible which was written in part by the Jews.  The Angel explains to Nephi that at the time this Book “…contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record…” (1 Nephi 13:24) However, the Bible was continued with the New Testament which included more of God’s word and at the time of its completion was also considered the ‘fulness of the Gospel’. In this sense the Book of Mormon only adds to the value of the Old and New Testaments the same was the New Testament adds value to the Old Testament.

The Angel explains that after Jesus Christ formed His Church and called Apostles the church fell apart upon the death of Jesus Christ. From this point the great and abominable church was formed and from them; “…they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…. all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God…. after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles… even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—…because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” (1 Nephi 13:27-29)

Apostasy

                After Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, the Apostles he had called attempted to hold the church together, but even they were eventually persecuted and killed. With TRUE Authority gone from the earth the Church, its scripture and gospel were perverted. Elder M. Russell Ballard [An Apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] explained it well;

                “It’s no wonder, then, that the thousand year period known as the Middle Ages wasn’t exactly the best of times for Christianity. The name of the Lord was invoked upon all manner of horrifying campaigns, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, leaving a bloody trail of death, persecution, and destruction. Christ’s central teachings of faith, hope, charity, and tolerance seemed lost upon zealots who were absolutely determined that ‘every knee shall bow’ one way or another.”

Many wonderful men tried to bring those lost gospel truths to the light of the people, however with so many truths lost, many argued over who was right and as a result we see the formation of many churches throughout the world. It is also no wonder that this ‘great and abominable church’ was that of the Catholic Church. William Tyndale, a man who desired to have the scriptures in the hand of the common man, had an argument with a ‘learned’ clergy man, who said; “We had better be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” Tyndale responded: “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!

The Angel continues to speak to Nephi and explains that God will be merciful unto the Gentiles;

…I [God] will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious….” (1 Nephi 13:34) The Lord will command prophets in the Americas to write his Gospel, that it might not be perverted from the writings of the Bible in the ‘Old World’.

Nephi sees the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the coming forth of Zion in the Last Days, the Great Apostasy being unfolded and the coming forth of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sacred writings of God. The Angel of the Lord explains to Nephi that both books must come forth to reveal the truths that had been lost and to help guide people to their Savior Jesus Christ;

“…These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:40) Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible will help people come unto their Savior. The Angel explains to Nephi that in the Last Days the Book of Mormon and the Bible shall be established as one;

 “…wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.” (1 Nephi 13:41)

2 Kings 17-18

2 Kings 17-18

Chapter 17: The Catholic Church?

In the twelfth year of Ahaz the king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign over Samaria in Israel for nine years. Hoshea did evil in the sight of the Lord. Hoshea became a servant to Shal-maneser the king of Assyria. Every year Hoshea would give the king of Assyria a present, but one year he gave a present to the king of Egypt and not him, so he had Hoshea bound and taken to prison. Shal-maneser also took Israel under his control and we learn that because Israel was not righteous and feared other gods, they were put into bondage. This because they worshiped false gods, idols and images!

The Lord even sent messengers to tell them of their bad ways; “…the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.” (2 Kings 17:13-14). God has always sent prophets, but the people always reject them. See Amos 3:7. God has restored his church on the earth today, and he did so by using an instrument (a prophet) by the name of Joseph Smith to restore his church and that very same church has a living prophet today!

Israel would not hearken and because they did not hearken nor follow in the commandments that the Lord had set for them they were captives under the Assyrian Empire and only when they leave behind other gods and images will the Lord hear them.

Chapter 18: Hezekiah Reigns in Righteousness

In the third year of the reign of Hoshea, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz reigned as the king of Judah. Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to reign and he reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. Hezekiah was righteous and did well in the eyes of the Lord by removing the high places and breaking the images and cutting down the groves and break into pieces the serpent that Moses had made. Hezekiah listened to the counsel of the Lord and followed his commandments. He prospered where ever he went and he rebelled against the king of Assyria.

During this time the King of Assyria did carry away Israel into Assyria because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord. In the 14th year of the reign of Hezekiah, Assyria came to Judah and besieged them and took them. But Hezekiah sent to the King of Assyria and told him to put whatever offense on him. So the king of Assyria asked for three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. So Hezekiah took all the silver out of the house of the Lord and also took Gold off the temple and gave them to the king of Assyria. The King of Assyria wants the people of Judah to pay tribute to him and not follow Hezekiah, he warns that their Lord will not save them… because the gods of all the other lands did not save them from the Assyria Empire.