2 Nephi 9

2 Nephi 9: The Last Days and the Spirits of the Dead

                Jacob speaks to his brethren and tells them that he has come to the knowledge of the things he is about to teach as being part of the covenants of the Lord, that was promised through the house of Israel. Jacob explains that he knew; “…he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.” (2 Nephi 9:2)

In the Last Days, the Jews will come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Jacob explains to his people that he teaches of these things, so that they may be filled with joy, because of the promised blessings the Lord has in store for them.

What is the meaning of Life?

                Jacob knows that many of his people, and many of us in present day are searching for the answers to questions like; what is the meaning to life? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going after death? Etc. Jacob explains; “…I know that ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come; wherefore I know that ye know that our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God.” (2 Nephi 9:4)

Jacob makes the obvious point, we all must die. Has there ever been a recorded history of mortal men living forever? No. However, this does not mean that our life does not go on after death. If one is to believe that we have life after death, that means that there must be some sort of plan for this, correct? Our Heavenly Father has a plan for us, this plan was created before the world was!

Jacob explains this Plan of Salvation;

“…it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.” (2 Nephi 9:5-7)

Let’s step back and understand what Jacob is teaching. We know that Jesus Christ was sent to earth (our Redeemer) to Redeem us from our sins! What sins? In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve something called Agency, this Agency would allow for Adam and Eve to make their own choices, even if they were contrary to the commandments of God. This was necessary for God to give His children the ability to choose for themselves, whether they wanted to follow good or evil. This gave our life meaning and purpose, however, God was not about to leave us without a plan to return to Him.

Here we have the Plan of Salvation, God knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him, but this was all part of the plan. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God by following the enticing’s of the Devil they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and thus given the opportunity to prove themselves in the world and become the first parents of all the Spirit Children of God. Because man was in a “fallen” state, i.e. we were unable to be in God’s presence. God gave us the Resurrection through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who DIED FOR OUR SINS! Because Jesus Christ died for our sins, we were given a gift from God, Salvation! Because of Jesus Christ, we know had a way to return to God! But, we again have to use our Agency… Follow Jesus Christ on the pathway back to God? OR Follow Satan on the pathway to disobedience and destruction?

If God had not given us a Redeemer, Jesus Christ… we would have been dead spiritually. The Free gift of Salvation is ours to take as long as we can be a disciple of Christ. This means that we are disciple-ined (disciplined in the teachings of Christ, i.e. we follow His commandments). Jacob goes on to teach his people and praise God; “….O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.” (2 Nephi 9:13) God’s plan for us is perfect, we must choose who to follow in this life.

The purpose of Life? Follow God’s commandments, obtain knowledge and become as perfect as we can in this life. If we make mistakes, we recognize the mistakes and move past them, always bettering ourselves and those around us.

Jacob teaches that in the next life, when were are judged; “…we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and the irrighteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness…. it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.” (2 Nephi 9:14-15)

The only thing that goes with us into the next life is our knowledge and memories. Nothing else will go with us, therefore we should strive to value friendship and family… love for our neighbor and our God. Jacob explains that after we die, those; “….who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.” (2 Nephi 9:16) Essentially not much changes from the time we die. If we are miserable in this life and only desire material wealth… we will desire material wealth in the next life. If we are happy with our life and the basics we have, we will enjoy the next life.

Those who follow God will be delivered from the devil in the last days! “…he [Jesus Christ] cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day… he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God… if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.” (2 Nephi 9:22-24) Jesus Christ died for all our sins that we might be given a chance to prove ourselves in this life, be baptized and follow His commandments until the day the Lord calls us home.

No Law… No Punishment

                “…he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him. For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 9:25-26)

God has given us laws and commandments so that there might be punishment and reward. For those who follow the commandments, the Lord has sent His Son to die for our sins, so that we can return to our Heavenly Father! Jacob warns of those who have been given the law, and chose to disobey… knowing full well that they are doing wickedness; “…wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!” (2 Nephi 9:27)

Wo unto those who think they are WISE:

Jacob explains that many who think they are wise, are actually foolish.

“…O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.” (2 Nephi 9:28)

Wo unto the…

  • “…unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.” (2 Nephi 9:30)
  •  “…wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they shall perish.” (2 Nephi 9:31)
  •  “…Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.” (2 Nephi 9:32)
  • “…Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities shall smite them at the last day.” (2 Nephi 9:33)
  • “…Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.” (2 Nephi 9:34)
  • “…Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die.” (2 Nephi 9:35)
  • “…Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell.” (2 Nephi 9:36)
  • “….wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.” (2 Nephi 9:37)
  • “…wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.” (2 Nephi 9:38)

Jacob encourages his people to follow the Lord and not to give into the enticing’s of the Devil; “…But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin? Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin.” (2 Nephi 9:47-48)

Because Jacob was called of God to speak unto his people, he must act as a teacher unto them… so that they might become holy. Jacob exhorts [urges] his people to follow God, that they might be quenched of their spiritual thirst

“Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.” (2 Nephi 9:50-51)

Moses 8

Moses 8: Noah and His Sons Preach the Gospel

Enoch passes away at the age of 430, his son; Methuselah was not taken up with his father so that he might fulfill the covenants of the Lord.

“…Methuselah prophesied that from his loins should spring all the kingdoms of the earth (through Noah), and he took glory unto himself. And there came forth a great famine into the land, and the Lord cursed the earth with a sore curse, and many of the inhabitants thereof died.” (Moses 8:3-4) From this, Methuselah lived to 187 years, before he bore Lamech. Methusaleh died 782 years later at the age of 969.

Lamech bore a son named Noah, at the age of 182. He blessed his son Noah saying; “…This son shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.” (Moses 8:9) Lamech died at the age of 777. Noah had children named Japheth, Shem and Ham. His children were called the “…sons of God.” (Moses 8:13)

As the men began to multiply on the face of the earth, the daughters born unto them were taken as wives. This angers the Lord, for; “…The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice.” (Moses 8:15)

Because of this Noah began to prophesy among the people and he taught the things of God, even from the beginning of man. The Lord tells Noah; “…My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; … and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.” (Moses 8:17) Here we learn that God will not always have patience with His children!

Because Noah spoke these things the giants who lived on the earth [giants did live on the earth during the time of Noah], those giants; “…sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him. And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order, and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch.” (Moses 8:18-19) God calls Noah as a prophet like He did in times past to preach unto His children and encourage them to repent! Noah called upon the people to repent; “…but they hearkened not unto his words; …And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually.” (Moses 8:20;22)

God saw the wickedness of men, even while Noah pleaded with them and even warned them that God was going to flood the earth because of their wickedness. The Lord speaks to Noah and says;

“…I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me; for they have sought his life… thus Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth… And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.” (Moses 8:26-27;30)

Noah tried to warn the people and pleaded with them to repent. However, the people did not repent and instead sought to destroy Noah. God saw this and comforted Noah, but told Noah that He would destroy all of the earth; man and beast. This is the Great Flood.

Revelation 9

Revelation 9: Wars and Plagues

                The Fifth Angel sounded; “…I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit… and there arose a smoke out of the pit… and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locust upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power… it was commanded of them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing… but only those men which have not the seal of God on their foreheads…” (Revelation 9:1-4) Here we have the Fifth Angel sounding the trumpet and a large hole opening from the earth, this hole would darken the sun and the air (so thick black air) and out of the smoke will come Locusts that have the ability to sting like scorpions, basically flying scorpions come out of the smoke. These locusts are commanded to only hurt men (and women) who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. Essentially they are commanded to only go after the wicked people of the earth.

In the next verse we read; “…to them [the locusts] it was given that they should not kill them [the wicked people], but that they should be tormented five months…And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Revelation 9:5-6) So when this Fifth Angel sounds the trumpets, all the wicked people of the earth will be stun by locusts [essentially flying scorpions] and be tormented to the point of wanting to die, but be unable to die! John describes the locusts as “…horses prepared unto battle… faces of men… hair of women… teeth of lions… breastplates of iron… sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle… tails like unto scorpions…” (Revelation 9:7-10) John also explains that they are led into “battle” by Abaddon, which in Greek is Apollyon. Apollyon means destruction and is often times used to describe Satan.

Will there really be locusts that can sting like scorpions? The simple answer is no. We must understand that John was describing things that he saw from a perspective of his time. How would someone from thousands of years past describe an airplane, tank, machine gun? In the words and descriptions of that time, so perhaps the “locusts” he saw were actually modern infantry coming out of thick dark smoke that was caused from bombs. We don’t know, and we won’t know. But we can kind of understand what John might have been seeing.

The Sixth Angel sounded; “…and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. Saying to the sixth angel… Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were release… [and]… were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year… to slay the third part of men… by these three was the third part of men killed.” (Revelation 9:13-15; 18) John explains that these last third of the worlds wicked were to be destroyed, because they never once felt bad for their sins and never desired to repent.

2 Timothy 3

2 Timothy 3: Apostasy and the Last Days

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

This is the second letter that Paul wrote to Timothy shortly before his death. In this letter to Timothy, he explained that in the Last Days there would come an Apostasy, which would bring on a time of war and wickedness.

Paul goes on to explain that those who have lots of knowledge may still not come to the knowledge of the truth; “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)

Paul reminds Timothy and the followers of Christ that when this time comes; “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

Paul ends this letter by explaining that even though all this bad will happen, that the followers of Jesus Christ need to hold on and endure to the end. He urges everyone to study the scriptures to know for themselves if they are true and to use them as a guide and tool for knowing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

For this very purpose members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourage others to find out whether or not the Book of Mormon is also a book of Holy Scripture. For Paul said that ALL scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine. One has to decide on their own after pondering its teaching and divine origin.

Romans 1

Romans 1: The Power of the Gospel unto the Salvation of God’s Children

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ and called as an Apostle and being separated unto the Gospel of God; writes to the Romans. Paul testifies of Jesus Christ, being the Son of God and that through the faith on His name [Jesus Christ] the Saints can overcome. Paul explains that he is in debt with not only God, but the Greeks, Barbarians and the Romans themselves. Paul explains that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Paul explains his desires to come to Rome. He exhorts the Saints in Rome to live their lives by Faith. He reminds them to not boast in their abilities, for their fathers of old; “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22) They became fools, by changing the glory of God. They turned the simple truths of God into something more corrupt, like men. Because of this corruption, God sent sufferings to all men who despised His name.

Paul warns of those who change the natural order of the role of men and women (homosexuality). He warns of those who participate in “…all unrighteousness, fornication [Sex outside of Marriage], wickedness, covetousness [eagerness to possess something, not belonging to yourself], maliciousness [the need to see others suffer]… envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity [wishing evil to others]; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…” (Romans 1:29-30)

Ezekiel 7-8

Ezekiel 7-8

Chapter 7: Desolation and War over Israel

Judgment by sword, famine and pestilence will plague the land of Israel. Robbers will enter and defile the temple. Ezekiel is directed to make a chain, as a symbol of the impending captivity. All of this occurs because of the evil and wickedness of the people.

Chapter 8: Vision of Wickedness

Ezekiel sees a vision of the wickedness and abominations of the Jews in Jerusalem.

“…he [God] put forth the form of a hand… and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven and brought me in the visions of God…” (Ezekiel 8:3) Ezekiel describes idolatrous images, and idolatrous behavior, such as worshipping the sun. Ezekiel however sees a vision of the ancient seventy men (Ezekiel 8:11), this group of Seventy men are very important. This is part of the structure of the Church of Jesus Christ… Quorums of the Seventy, and Apostles and Prophets at the top of his church. Great punishment is promised as a result of their wickedness.

2 Chronicles 33-34

2 Chronicles 33-34

Chapter 33: Manasseh Reigns in Wickedness

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah (his father) had broken down; he rose up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars in the house of the Lord. He also built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.

The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Because of this the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon.

Now when he (Manasseh) was in affliction, he implored the Lord, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

After this he built a wall outside the City of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then he put military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city. He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

The rest of the acts of Manasseh, his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. Also his prayer and how God received his entreaty, and all his sin and trespass, and the sites where he built high places and set up wooden images and carved images, before he was humbled, they are written among the sayings of Hozai. So Manasseh rested with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house. Then his son Amon reigned in his place. More LOST books of the Bible.

Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the Lord.

However, his servants conspired against him, and killed him in his own house. But the people of the land executed all those who had conspired against King Amon. Then the people of the land made his son Josiah king in his place.

Chapter 34: Josiah does Good

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.

For in the eighth year of his reign, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes. When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. When they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites who kept the doors had gathered from the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, from all the remnant of Israel, from all Judah and Benjamin, and which they had brought back to Jerusalem. Then they put it in the hand of the foremen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord; and they gave it to the workmen who worked in the house of the Lord, to repair and restore the house. They gave it to the craftsmen and builders to buy hewn stone and timber for beams, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. And the men did the work faithfully. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to supervise. Others of the Levites, all of whom were skillful with instruments of music, were overseers of all who did work in any kind of service. And some of the Levites were scribes, officers, and gatekeepers.

Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses.

Shaphan (the scribe) read the Book of the Law to the king. When the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes, because he knew of the importance of the book and its word therein. Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord.

Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers.