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)

Acts 18

Acts 18: Apollos Preaches with Power

Paul departs from Athens and arrives in Corinth, where he stays with tentmakers named Aquila and Priscilla. Paul preaches to both Jews and Greeks, and many believe and are baptized. Paul receives encouragement in a vision to stay, and remains in Corinth for one and a half years. The Lord tells Paul in the vision; “…Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee…” (Acts 18:9-10) The Jews of Corinth attempt unsuccessfully to convict Paul before the civil authorities, but they refuse to convict Paul on the grounds of lawlessness. Paul cuts his hair in order to make a Nazirite vow. From here Paul travels to Ephesus, Antioch, Galatia and Phrygia. Aquila and Priscilla instruct a fervent Jew named Apollos about Christ; “…publickly shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:28)

A few things are very interesting from this chapter, first God tells Paul to not be afraid. Often times we can become afraid of spreading the Gospel, for fear of those who may reject it. God has made it clear that if we spread His Gospel, we will have His peace and comfort. The second thing that is interesting, is that Aquilla and Priscilla taught a Jew and not only did they verbally testify to him, they also used the scriptures to teach and convince. This means that it is ok to question things, but we need to fervently seek the answers by means of scripture study and help ourselves build our testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel through the testimonies and experiences of others.

Acts 17

Acts 17: The Unkown God

Paul goes to Amphipolis and Apollonia where he comes into Thessalonica and teaches Jews in a synagogue; “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath day reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) Many of the Jews listened and understood the scriptures and were converted, these Jews “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) And many of them believed, however an equal number of them did not believe and caused many to instigate a riot.

Some of those who believe ask Paul; “…May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” (Acts 17:19) Paul speaks to the men of Athens; “…I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

Paul then explains who God is; God… made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we life, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and the man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)

Paul explains that we are all the offspring of God, meaning we are His children, God created all men equally and the time of ignorance is over… God will no longer overlook worshipping false gods, the time is now to repent and turn to Him. God is not far from us, and Him being our Father we can turn to Him in prayer and receive guidance from Him. In today’s world we may not be worshiping a false god, but we might be worshiping Gold, Silver, Money or Fame.

Ezekiel 3-4

Ezekiel 3-4

Chapter 3: A Prophet’s Duty

Ezekiel is commanded to eat the scroll, and it tastes as sweet as honey. Yeah, you read that right! God commands Ezekiel to eat a book!

“MOREVER he said unto me… eat that thou findest; eat this roll [scroll/book], and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll… cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll… Then did I eat; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.” (Ezekiel 3:1-3)

So here is the question, would you take this to literally mean eating a book? I don’t think so. What we can learn here is that God wants us to indulge in the scriptures, make it part of a daily routine… just like we do with eating! If we stop reading his word, we should feel hungry! If we let it become part of a daily routine, we will be spiritually full!

The chapter goes on to explain that Ezekiel, a prophet is also a watchman. God warns Ezekiel that if he does not warn the wicked, and the wicked die because of their iniquity, Ezekiel is answerable for it! However, if Ezekiel tells them and the wicked do not heed him, he is not answerable. Likewise, Ezekiel is answerable if a righteousness man commits iniquity and is not warned.

See Ezekiel 3:18-21 for the Purpose of Prophets.

Chapter 4: The Famine of Jerusalem

Ezekiel represents Jerusalem with a ‘tile’ (a brick or maybe a rock/stone of some sorts) and uses an iron pan to make a models of a fort and battering rams to signify the forthcoming siege by the Chaldeans.

Ezekiel is then commanded to lie on his left side for 390 days (because the house of Israel has had 390 years of iniquity) and on his right side 40 days (because Judah has had 40 years of iniquity). While Ezekiel is doing this, he is commanded only to eat the worst kinds of grain, and have only cow’s dung for fuel, to represent the scarcity of provisions during the siege of Jerusalem.