2 Nephi 1

2 Nephi 1: Prophecies of a Land of Liberty

                Lehi instructs his children that he had received a vision and in this vision he saw the destruction of Jerusalem and prophesied unto them that if they had stayed in Jerusalem, they too would have perished because of the destruction.

Lehi goes on to explain that he saw a “Land of Liberty” in his dream; this Land of Liberty is present day United States of America. Lehi explains that many will flock to this land and that; “…none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1:6) This means that many great men and women throughout history have been led to the United States by the hand of God. The forefathers of the United States established the first Free Nation of the World, and we led by God to establish a nation with religious liberties.

One might question how throughout ALL time and History; why was the North American Continent NEVER discovered… until much later in the history of mankind? Lehi explains; “…it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.” (2 Nephi 1:8) The Lord had a purpose for the future “America” the world knows today, to be a safe haven and inheritance for His believers. Lehi exclaims that those who follow God will prosper in the Land of Liberty, but those who chose the path of wickedness shall be judged accordingly.

Lehi prophesied of a day when “…they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise…” (2 Nephi 1:10) Because of their wickedness they shall be led captive by other nations and shall be led down a path to hell.

Because of this great judgment that will fall upon those who fall captivity to the devil, Lehi exhorts [urges] all to “…observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.” (2 Nephi 1:16) He reminds us that: “…Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments [God’s Commandments] ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” (2 Nephi 1:20) Lehi invites his family and the reader to “…be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;” (2 Nephi 1:21)

Lehi explains to his family that his time is limited upon the earth, but urges his sons and the sons of Ishmael to take heed to the words of Nephi and follow his counsel as they have followed his own counsel.

1 Nephi 9

1 Nephi 9: The Organization of the Books of Nephi

Nephi makes two sets of records, each bearing his name. Nephi explains that the larger plates will contain a secular history [not pertaining to religion] and the smaller ones will deal primarily with sacred things.

Nephi explains; “…I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people…. wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.” (1 Nephi 9:3-4)

Nephi tells us that the purpose for writing these plates (other than preserving the record of his people) were not 100% clear to him, however he did these things  because the Lord had commanded him to do so; “…for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.” (1 Nephi 9:5)

Today we have these records as part of the Book of Mormon, which God knew would be needed in the Last Days, because He; “…prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men…” (1 Nephi 9:6)

1 Nephi 3

1 Nephi 3: The Brass Plates

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                Nephi comes out from his tent, after having spoken with God… he explains that he has ‘dreamed a dream’ in which him and his brothers are to return to Jerusalem to obtain Brass Plates from a man named Laban; “…Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass.” (1 Nephi 3:3) Nephi’s brothers murmur and tell Nephi that he asks too much of them. However, Nephi explains that it is not his command, but the commandment of God for them to retrieve these Brass Plates.

Nephi speaks to his father; “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7) Lehi, after having heard these words was filled with joy… because he knew that Nephi had been commanded of God to do these things, and he felt blessed. Nephi showed great character and faith in following the commandments of God no matter how difficult. This example can be used for all!

Nephi and His brothers Travel to Jerusalem

 

Nephi and his brothers pack up their tents and head back towards Jerusalem, and while journeying they cast lots to see who would go into the house of Laban to retrieve the Brass Plates. The Lot is cast upon Laman. Laman enters the house of Laban and requests the Brass Plates, however Laban is angered; “…Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee.” (1 Nephi 3:13)

Laman was able to flee from his presences and return to his brethren outside of the house. Nephi’s brothers are determined to flee Jerusalem; however Nephi reminds them that God had commanded them to obtain the records. Nephi speaks to his brothers; “…As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 3:15-16) Nephi reminds them that with God, all is possible. Nephi derives a plan to return to the house of their father to take their inheritance (gold and silver) to please Laban and essentially buy the plates from him. Nephi explains to his brothers that after Jerusalem is destroyed, it would be up to them to preserve the record of their children.

Nephi and his brothers retrieve their inheritances and return to speak with Laban. This time Laban became greedy and desired both the Brass Plates and the precious metals; “…when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.” (1 Nephi 3:25) Nephi and his brothers AGAIN flee from the house of Laban. Because they were faithful, the Lord did protect them and the servants of Laban were unsuccessful of overtaking them in the wilderness and destroying them.

After two unsuccessful attempts, Laman and Lemuel became angered and they spoke hard words and beat both Nephi and Sam with rods. As they were being beaten by their brothers; “…an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.” (1 Nephi 3:29)

Even after having seen an angel of the Lord, both Laman and Lemuel began to murmur again saying; “…How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31) Both Laman and Lemuel had yet to come to believe in the Lord and His great power!

John 15

John 15: The World Hates the Truth

Jesus explains that He is; “…the true vine, and [His] Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1) Jesus tells us that everyone must abide with Him, because any branch that brings forth bad fruit will be cut off from Him. In this way the Father gets only the best fruit. Jesus explains; “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10) Jesus has made it clear that we cannot love Himself or God, if we do not follow His commandments. But Jesus promises us that the commandments are for our own good; “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) Simply put, following the commandments and living a righteous life, will lead to joy and happiness. Living a life of wickedness that is void of commandments, will only lead to pain and sorrow.

Jesus imparts the most important commandment, which truly does cover all commandments; “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) If we Love one another, we will automatically follow all of God’s commandments.

Jesus explains that we “…are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you my friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever yer shall ask of the Father in my name he may give it you.” (John 15:14-16) Jesus loves us so much that we are not only His friends, but His family. Anything the Father has revealed to Him, He has revealed to us.

Jesus knew that shortly after His now impending death, that the Apostles and followers of Christ would be persecuted, and would be persecuted throughout all time. So, He leaved His followers with some encouragement; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) He explains that as they have persecuted Him, so will they persecute anyone who believes on His name. He reminds everyone that; “…They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25) So will those who persecute the believers of Christ, be persecuted without a cause.

John 13

John 13: Washing of the Feet

                After Supper was over; Jesus, knowing that His hour had come and that He would soon go down to take upon Himself the Sins of the World and knowing that Judas would betray Him. He put aside His garments and girded a towel around Himself and began to wash the feet of His Apostles. As Jesus was washing the feet of the Apostles, Simon Peter asks Jesus; “…Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” (John 13:6) Peter was shocked that Jesus would do such a thing, seeing that He was the Son of God! Jesus tells Peter; “…What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” (John 13:7) Peter is shocked that someone like Jesus would be washing his feet! After all, he felt like he was nothing in the sight of Jesus, he tells Him; “…Thou shalt never wash my feet…” (John 13:8). But Peter forgot the importance of the work of the Lord, just because Jesus was the Son of God, did not mean He couldn’t serve His Apostles. Jesus responds; “…If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” (John 13:8) Upon hearing this statement, Peter asks God to wash also his hands and head. Jesus explains that he did not need further washing, for he was clean. However, Jesus points out that not ALL of the Apostles were clean.

After washing the feet of all the Apostles, including Judas Iscariot (who would soon betray Jesus), Jesus teaches them; “Ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you… I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (John 13:13-16) Jesus taught that we should LOVE one another, and treat each other with kindness and respect. We should never take on a role of superiority that puts down others. Leaders, lead best when those they are leading are their equals. We need to follow the example of the Lord, and do as He would do.

Upon addressing the Apostles, He boldly proclaims; “…one of you shall betray me.” (John 13:21) The Apostles immediately started to question one another and themselves, they all asked who it was, Jesus responded; “…He it is, to whom I shall give a sop [morsel or mouthful], when I have dipped it…” (John 13:26), immediately Jesus dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas and said to him; “…That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27) Upon receiving this, Satan entered into Judas and he immediately left. Some of the Apostle wondered why he left, but thought that maybe Jesus had commanded him to buy things for the feast.

After Judas had left, Jesus turned to the remaining Apostles and said; “…Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:31-35)

Peter asks Jesus why he cannot go with Him, and Jesus explains that he wouldn’t lay his life down for Him. He tells Peter that before the cock crows, he will deny him three times.

Numbers 9-10

Numbers 9-10

Chapter 9: Commanded to Keep the Passover

Israel is again commanded to keep the Passover. We also learn again, that the congregation of Israel moved when the cloud descended upon them and they journeyed every time the cloud went up.  (Numbers 9:17-21)

Chapter 10: Ark of the Covenant

The Lord speaks to Moses and commands him to make two trumpets, for the purpose of calling the assembly for the journeying of the camps of Israel. The trumpets will be used not only for assembly but for calling the princes of each tribe to gather together and to sound the alarm for war.

In the 20th day of the second year the cloud lifted up and the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.

Each tribe with their standard was lifted as they marched forth in a prescribed order. The Ark of the Covenant, however always went before them.