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!

2 Nephi 27

2 Nephi 27: Apostasy will cover the Earth

                Nephi explains that in the Last Days, that the world will fight against those who believe in God. Because of the rejection of the Prophets throughout the ages, the Lord had a book hidden from the world, with a purpose to come forward in God’s own time, this book is the Book of Mormon;

“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity. And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof. “(2 Nephi 27:5-7)

This Book would come forth at the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, or the beginning of the End. The book would contain an account of the beginning to the end of the world. However, the Book will be sealed and hidden, until God called a prophet to complete His works.

“Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them. But the book shall be delivered unto a man [Joseph Smith], and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another;” (2 Nephi 27:8-9)

When the time comes to reveal this book; “…the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few [Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon] according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.” (2 Nephi 27:12-13)

Here is where things get interesting…

 “…it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.” (2 Nephi 27:15)

Isaiah also said something similar; “the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” (Isaiah 29: 11-12)

Joseph Smith received this book [The Book of Mormon], being unlearned. What’s more, he sent it with Martin Harris to the learned Professor Anthon, who reportedly said precisely “I cannot read it, for it is sealed.”

Ezequiel prophesied of a Stick of Judah, (a stick is a book or a scroll) these are the Jews and this stick is the Bible. He also prophesied of a Stick of Joseph, these are descendants of Joseph, down through Lehi and his descendants who came to the New World. He and his descendants wrote the Book of Mormon. If this were not true, could we simply ignore prophecy?

The Book of Mormon was all part of God’s plan to reveal more of His word in the Last Days. For many false teachers and churches will teach; “…fear towards me [God] …taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Nephi 27:25)

This marvelous work and wonder has already come forth among the Children of God. Those who pray to know, shall know of its truth!

2 Nephi 25

2 Nephi 25: Isaiah’s Prophecies will be Understood

                Nephi opens up this chapter by explaining that he is going to share some of the words of Isaiah, but he explains that many will not understand, for the words of Isaiah; “…were hard for many of my people to understand…” (2 Nephi 25:1)

Nephi explains that the words of Isaiah are difficult to understand, for those who are not filled with the Holy Ghost; “…the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy…” (2 Nephi 25:4)

Nephi stresses that while he speaks, he is inspired by the words of Isaiah and encourages everyone to read them, for; “…they are of worth unto the children of men…” (2 Nephi 25:8) and he warns that “…in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.” (2 Nephi 25:8) In other words, when things come to pass, men will know that Isaiah did in fact preach of these things!

Nephi goes on to explain that the Jews shall return from Babylon, and they shall crucify the Messiah; “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God…” (2 Nephi 25:13)

                Nephi explains that Isaiah prophesied that after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jews would be scattered among all nations; “… after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind—and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things.” (2 Nephi 25:16)

                After many generations of being scattered, God the Father would once again bring His Children together, “… he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.” (2 Nephi 25:17) This Marvelous work and Wonder would be the Restoration of His Gospel and Church, here on the Earth. This was done through Joseph Smith, who was a servant to Jesus Christ.

Nephi warns that any nation with these words, will be judged by them. The works of the Lord will continue from generation to generation until the world no longer stands! Nephi explains that; “…we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do… we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:23 and 26)

                Nephi ends his writing in this chapter by telling his people that if you believe in God, you believe in His prophets. If you believe in His prophets, you believe in God;

“I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law… the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” (2 Nephi 25:28-29)

The right way is to believe on and worship Jesus Christ and no one else. It is true that we are saved by God’s grace, but only after we have also done our part. We have to at least try and where we fall short, God will make up in His grace.

2 Nephi 22

2 Nephi 22: All Men shall Praise the Lord

Praise will be offered to the Lord when his anger has passed away. The Lord is my strength and salvation! You will draw water from the well of salvation. Praise sung – great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!

“And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he had done excellent things…” (2 Nephi 22:4-5)

2 Nephi 21

2 Nephi 21: Knowledge of God will Flood the Earth

A root shall come forth from the rod of Jesse, possessing the seven spirits of God: He will judge the poor with equity, and slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

“The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion… together…” (2 Nephi 20:6) The world will come together and fighting and war will be a thing of the past. The gentiles shall seek him. The Lord will gather together scattered Israel. Peace will reign, and neighboring nations be subdued.

In Doctrine and Covenant Section 113 we learn more about 2 Nephi 21 and Isaiah chapter 11 and come to understand more of the meaning behind Isaiah’s words.

Answers to certain questions on the writings of Isaiah, given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at or near Far West, Missouri, March 1838.

“Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?

                                Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.” (D&C 113:1-2)

“What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah [2 Nephi 21:1], that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.” (D&C 113:3-4)

“What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter [2 Nephi 21:10]?

Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.” (D&C 113:5-6)

2 Nephi 19

2 Nephi 19: Isaiah speaks of Christ

Judah will not suffer as greatly as Israel. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” (2 Nephi 19:6-7)

Because of their unholy pride, Israel will be defeated by her enemies: its head (elder and honorable) and tail (false prophet) will be cut off. The people of Israel will also attack each other. Exile and slaughter will be a punishment for social injustice.

But it is important to note, that “…the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they are led of them that are destroyed.” (2 Nephi 19:16) Therefore those who lead and misguide will be dealt a very harsh punishment!

2 Nephi 17

2 Nephi 17: Ephraim and Sariah Wage War

In the days when Israel and Syria joined in league against Judah in the days of Ahaz. Via Isaiah and in the presence of his son Shear-Jashub (meaning: ‘a remnant shall return’) the Lord tells Ahaz not to fear, for the attack will not succeed, and Israel will no longer be a nation in 65 years’ time.

The Lord will give a sign: “…Behold a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.” (2 Nephi 17:14) Immanuel, meaning God with us. Before the child can distinguish good from evil (i.e. within a couple of years), he will be eating curds and honey (i.e. the land will be back to producing plenteous food), and both Israel and Syria will be defeated. However, the Assyrians (whom Judah called upon for help) will inflict heavy calamities upon Judah. Isaiah counsels against a Judah-Assyria alliance to counter the threat from the Israel-Syria one.

2 Nephi 16

2 Nephi 16: Isaiah sees the Lord

“In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (2 Nephi 16:1) Here Isaiah sees the Lord and his sins are forgiven. Isaiah is called by the Lord to prophesy and he does, prophesying of the day of the Lord. Isaiah speaks about the pre-mortal world where Jesus Christ volunteered to be our Savior.

“…I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I; send me. And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not.” (2 Nephi 16:8-9)

Isaiah knew that the Lord would be persecuted and would be rejected, and he prophesies of this!

2 Nephi 11

2 Nephi 11: Jacob sees the Savior

                Jacob testifies to his people that he has seen Christ, but he says that it is not just his word to believe, but the words of all the witnesses that have seen God.

“…wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.” (2 Nephi 11:3)

God has said that by the word of 2-3 witnesses his word shall be established. Jacob is not the only one claiming to have seen God and therefore testifies to the people that he has seen Him. He writes this down as a record to his people and all future generations, as well as the testimonies of others who say they have seen of Him.

Jacob testifies that a Savior would need to exist; “…that save Christ should come all men must perish. For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.” (2 Nephi 11:6-7)

2 Nephi 10

2 Nephi 10: America, Land of Liberty

                Jacob speaks to his people and informs them that many of them shall perish in unbelief, but many more shall be restored and given knowledge of their true redeemer. Jacob explains that the more ‘wicked’ part of the world would crucify Jesus Christ; “…it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” (2 Nephi 10:3)

Jacob explains that because of the “…priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.” (2 Nephi 10:5) Famines, destructions and pestilences shall come upon them, and they shall be destroyed. However, when they come to knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be restored to their lands and no longer shall they be dispersed throughout the entire world.

The Gentiles will not be without their inheritance, for the Lord will provide for them a land of LIBERTY, free from kings and free from oppression of other nations; “And this land [The United States of America – North American Continent] shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I [God] will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.” (2 Nephi 10:11-13)

                Jacob warns that anyone who raises up a King or any sort of dictator in this ‘land of Liberty’, would be destroyed! God will do this, to fulfill his covenant with the children of men, to; “…destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations. Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.” (2 Nephi 10:15-16)

                Jacob comforts his people by explaining that while they were forced to leave Jerusalem and the land of their inheritance, they have been granted a better land. This new land of ‘Liberty’ will be a beacon of peace for the whole world. Jacob explains that with this knowledge they should rejoice; ”…seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.” (2 Nephi 10:20)

Jacob ends this chapter by emphasizing the need to follow the Lord and avoid the temptations of the devil. Jacob tries to cheer everyone up; “…cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” (2 Nephi 10:23) As children of God, and as His followers we have been granted many blessings. We have the ability to choose freedom or death. We have been given this agency, and we will find much peace and joy in using our agency to follow God.