Mosiah 2

Mosiah 2The Book of Mosiah is the eighth book in the Book of Mormon…

Chapters 2-5 encompasses the speech given by King Benjamin to his people.

Mosiah sends a message throughout the land to all the people to gather near the temple to hear the words of King Benjamin. The people also brought “…the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses.” (Mosiah 2:3)

Everyone throughout the land pitched their tents round about the temple, so that the door of the tent was facing the temple, so that they might hear the words of King Benjamin.

“…the multitude being so great that King Benjamin could not teach then all within the walls of the temple, therefore he caused a tower to be erected, that thereby his people might hear the words which he should speak unto them.” (Mosiah 2:7)

After the tower was erected, King Benjamin began to speak to the people, however because the multitude of the people was so great, not everyone could hear his words. So, King Benjamin ordered that his words being written down and spread to those who were not in the sound of his voice.

King Benjamin addresses his people:

  • King Benjamin begins by inviting those listening to his words to “…open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.” (Mosiah 2:9) How important is this? We should not lean solely on our own understanding, we should listen with our minds and our hearts so that we can hear the words and accept them into our hearts with a clear mind. Then, and only then can we hear the still small voice whisper the truths of what is being taught. When we do this, the mysteries of God will be revealed unto us.
  • “…I am like as yourselves, subject to all  chosen by this people… I have been suffered to spend my days in your service… and have not sought gold nor silver, nor any manner of riches of you; Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves of on another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or committ adultery… I myself have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes…” (Mosiah 2:11-14) we learn so many important things from this. First, King Benjamin explains multiple times that he is a servant of his people, not the other way around. He was appointed to serve, just like any leader. Leaders need to lead by setting examples, as he explained he labored with his own hands and set an example by not participating in wickedness. Second, King Benjamin explains that he os human, and thereore not perfect, or in anyway superior to his peopke. Thirds, King Benjamin explains that we should not be taxed, or become slaves to him or to any one else. Societies should work to help one another and reduce the amount of tax that everyone should pay. We as humans beings only have one true master, Jesus Christ. Our rulers, kings, presidents, etc of today work to serve and guide us to do good. Unfortunately we know this is not true in today’s world. But King Benjamin testifies that it is how it should be.
  • King Benjamin explains that he does not say these things to boast, but rather to share his wisdom and his life experiences with his people, that they may learn wisdom and know that “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings he are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) King Benjamin then explains that if his people call him King and he still serves: “… ought not he to labor to serve one another?” (Mosiah 2:18)
  • King Benjamin explains that “…all that he [God] requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he promises you that if ye would keep his commandments that ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if he do keep his commandments he with bless you and prosper you.” (Mosiah 2:22) How great is that promise? If we follow God’s commandments we will be blessed! How simple, yet amazing is this doctrine?
  • “…beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and he list to obey the evil spirit… For behold there is a wo pronounced upon him that listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins…” (Mosiah 2:32-33) We need to avoid contentions and strive to love one another and avoid sin.
  • King Benjamin warns his people and us as readers that from a young age we have been taught good from evil and that we will be held accountable for that knowledge; “…after ye have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord… I say unto you that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God…” (Mosiah 2:36-37) 
  • If we do stray away from God, we can always repent. However, King Benjamin warns us that “…if that man repententh not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy of God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which with cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and with fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.” (Mosiah 2:38) Sin is so dangerous, because if we wait to repent it may be too late. It is interesting that King Benjamin explains the punishment, which one could attribute to a “hell” like torment as simply guilt. Is there a physical hell with fire and brimstone? The scriptures refer to one in many occasions throughout the Book of Mormon and the Bible, however, I personally believe that it is in reality more like King Benjamin describes, as a person torment that feels our bodies with guilt, like a fire. Have you ever done something wrong, and felt bad about it? I sure have, and it does feel like a fire burning on the insight, and the guilt tears you apart. Would you want that feeling forever? I sure wouldn’t.
  • On a positive note, King Benjamin asks his people to think about the “…blessed and happy state of those thst keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true: for the Lord God hath spoken it.” (Mosiah 2:41) Remember, wickedness never was happiness. Having a clean conscience helps anyone to sleep well at night. We should all strive to live a life free from guilt, and torment. This life is meant to be lived and the best way to do that is to follow God’s commandments. 

    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 15

    1 Nephi 15: Nephi and the Tree of Life

                    After having seen these visions, Nephi returns to the tent of his father Lehi, where he finds his brothers arguing over what their father had seen in his visions. Nephi explains that Lehi had seen visions that “…were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord…” (1 Nephi 15:4) Essentially Nephi is saying that those things Lehi spoke of were not easily understood without the inquiring of the Lord to have a deeper understanding. In other words, in order to understand the words of Lehi one must have the Spirit of the Lord.

    Nephi was saddened because of the destruction he saw in his visions, nevertheless he desired to know why his own brothers were fighting against their father. They explain to Nephi; “…Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 15:7) Nephi asks them if they had inquired of the Lord to know of its meanings, and they explained that they had NOT inquired of the Lord. Nephi asks his brothers; “Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.” (1 Nephi 15:11) Nephi knew that if you asked the Lord in FAITH, He would answer your prayers.

    Regardless of the hardness of their hearts, Nephi explains the meaning behind the branches of the Olive Tree; “…now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed— And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.” (1 Nephi 12-14) In other words, the seed of Nephi and his brothers will become the Gentiles in the Americas who will eventually come to the knowledge of their divine inheritance, that they shall be grafted into the Olive Tree in Israel. They will become the covenant people of the Lord!

    Nephi explains to his brothers that the Jews will also be restored and shall no more be confounded or scattered among the land. Nephi’s brothers then ask for a meaning of the Tree of Life, which Lehi and now Nephi had seen.

    The Tree of Life

     

    “And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15:24) Nephi urges them to give heed unto the words of the Lord that they might keep His commandments and shall overcome the adversary.

    25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.

    “And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw? And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.” (1 Nephi 15:27) Nephi explains that this river of water was an awful gulf, that separated the wicked from the tree of life… it was a representation of Hell.

    Nephi explains to his brothers that this vision is meant to be both temporal and spiritual, for if someone were to die in their wickedness they would be judged of their works. No unclean thing can enter into the presence of the Lord. Therefore, those who die in filthiness will remain in filthiness and shall be given their just reward.

    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!

    2 John 1 + Summary of 2 John

    2 John 1: John Rejoices + Summary of 2 John

                    John writes a general epistle and explains that; “…love [is when we]…walk after his commandments…” (2 John 1:6) He explains that if anyone comes to you and teaches you something different than Jesus Christ and His doctrine; “…receive him not in your house, neither bid him God speed.” (2  John 1:10)

                    In other words, if someone comes preaching something other than Christ, do not listen. If you love God, you will follow His commandments, simple as that!

    1 John 5

    1 John 5: Saints are Born of God

                    John explains that all Saints are born of God and that those who love God; “…keep his commandments…” (1 John 5:3) For those same people who love God and who keep the commandments of God; “…overcometh the world…” (1 John 5:4) Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we can too! For not only by water; “…but by water and blood.” (1 John 5:5) did Jesus Christ sacrifice Himself for us, setting the example.

    By the Spirit we may know the truth of things, for the “…witness of God is greater…” (1 John 5:9) John goes on to explain the purpose of what Jesus Christ did for us; “…God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11-12)

    John explains that those who have faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ will have confidence’ “…that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he will hear us; And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) In other words, God will answer our prayers according to His own will. This can be likened to a little child attempting to touch a hot stove. Obviously the parent says not to, because it’ll burn them! However, as little children in the eyes of God, we often want something, but God repeatedly says no. Why? Because He knows best and does not want us to be burned!

    1 John 4

    1 John 4: God is Love

                    John warns the believers of Christ to “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) During John’s time there were many false prophets and he warned that there would be many more in the future, even into our own times. We need to pray always and ask God what we should believe or not believe.

                    John explains that if we are following God and His commandments we will know whether a messenger is of God or of the devil. Those who follow the things of the world, will hear and respond to a message that is geared towards the desires of the world. The things of God may be hard for lovers of the world to understand or accept;

    “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:4-6)

                    John encourages us to love our neighbors as Jesus commanded, for if we love one another we will feel the Love of God and His Son Jesus Christ; “…let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:7-9)

                    Those who say they love God, but not their fellow man are hypocrites; “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)

    1 John 2

    1 John 2: Christ is our Advocate

                    John explains that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that if we wish to known God, we must follow His commandments. Those who say; “…I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4) Essentially John is saying that those who say they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but do not walk after His ways is a liar. In order to know God or to know His Son Jesus Christ and truly accept Him in your heart… WE MUST FOLLOW HIS COMMANDMENTS. If we love Him, we will follow Him.

    “…whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God… He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6) Again, we see that saying is different than doing. If we accept Jesus Christ, we must show it through actions. Salvation is FREE, but it is up to us to accept this FREE gift. Accepting the FREE gift means following Jesus Christ.

    John writes to everyone who has overcome the wicked one [the devil] and has followed after Jesus Christ. John warns; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16) John instructs us to love not the things of the world, but does that mean we can’t enjoy some worldly things? I would venture to say that while we are living in this world, it is OK to enjoy worldly things. However, we must have our main focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it ok to have money? Yes. Is it ok to have a nice house or car? Yes. It is only when the love of the worldly things takes away from the love of our Savior or away from the love of our neighbors and family. What matters most is that when we pass on from this life into the next we leave behind good memories with those we loved, we take with us knowledge and experience and nothing else.

    Romans 13

    Romans 13: Keep the Commandments

                    Paul explains that every soul is subject to a higher power; therefore Governments also derive their authority from God, and must therefore be obeyed. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe “…in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 1:11)

    Essentially, Paul explains that all Christians should do good to their fellow man, be righteous in upholding the law and the commandments, through obedience. Love your neighbor and let the saints cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.

    John 14

    John 14: Jesus is the Life

    Jesus speaks to His Apostles and others; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I got to prepare a place for you… if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And wither I go ye may know.” (John 14:1-4) Thomas was one who was gathered there and was confused as to how they would know where Jesus would go, he asks Him how they might know and Jesus responds; “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

    We learn that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is the one that will prepare the way for us to see God again. In the house of the Father there are many mansions, which can also be explained as inheritances. If we are good in this life we can inherit a bigger mansion that is closer to God. This is part of the Plan of Salvation and includes three different degrees of heaven. In a letter to the Corinthians this concept of mansions is explained further; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars…” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

    Phillip, who was also gathered there asked Jesus to show the Father to them, Jesus responds; “…Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not know me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9) Does this mean that Jesus and God the Father are one? No. Jesus was stating that if you have seen the Son, you have also seen the Power of God, because Jesus does nothing without the power and authority from the Father.

    Jesus then addresses everyone; “…whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:13-15) We are given a promise that if we ask with true desire and intent, God will answer our prayers. If we love God, and if we love Jesus we must follow His commandments. If someone were to say they have faith in Jesus or that they believe in Jesus, but do not follow His commandments, it is in vain. Jesus even says; “He that hath my commandment, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved by the Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself unto him.” (John 14:21) If someone loves God and love Jesus and FOLLOWS the commandments, they will see the light of Jesus Christ in their lives.

    Jesus, now knowing that His time was running short, left a promise to the Apostles and anyone who wanted to follow Him; “…the Comforter, which is in the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give unto you. Let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27) Jesus Christ tells them that the Comforter or the Holy Ghost would be their guide until another Prophet would be called before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We can understand that if we truly believe in Christ, He will comfort us one way or another, so we have no need for worrying. Peace be unto us.