Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 10 – He Inviteth All to Come unto Him

1. Nephi prophesies of the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites.

ChristAppearsNephites

2 Nephi 26:1-2 After Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you.

‘Nephi is not only predicting Christ’s appearance to the Nephites but notes that, at that future time, the law that governs their lives will change. The Nephites will keep the law of Moses until that time. Nephi therefore explains clearly not only the person of the Christ, but also the meaning of Christ in fulfilling the law of Moses. He looks forward to the day when the Messiah will provide a new law. It is interesting that it will be “the law which ye shall do.” Nephi expects that one must act according to the law. Now his people act under and according to the law of Moses. After the Messiah comes, they will act under and according to Christ’s law.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

2 Nephi 26:11 For the Spirit will not always strive with man

“When the Spirit of the Lord is withdrawn…darkness, like the blackness of night surges through the soul of man, and the sun of righteousness seems set for him, he is then made to feel what it means to sin against the law of God as it has been revealed unto his soul. When you think of the bitterness of that personal suffering, you will not marvel that when the heavy burden of a world’s sin rested down upon the Son of God in Gethsemane–you certainly will not marvel that he sweat great drops of blood in his agony; nor wonder at his suffering on the cross.” (BH Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, p. 514)

2 Nephi 26:22 He leadeth them by the neck by a flaxen cord

“The first wrongdoing is like a single strand of flaxen thread; it is easily broken and thrown aside. But each time the wrong is repeated another strand is intertwined around the first, and on and on it goes until an almost unbreakable cord of multi-strands is woven. ‘The chains of habit,’ said Samuel Johnson, ‘are too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.'” (Carlos E Asay, The Road to Somewhere: A Guide for Young Men and Women [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 94.)”

2 Nephi 26:24 He layeth down his life that he may draw all men unto him

‘Some have criticized the Book of Mormon because it sounds too much like the New Testament. They ask, how could Old Testament era prophets speak with the same words and phrases that the New Testament writers did? They proclaim that the Book of Mormon is full of doctrinal anachronisms. We can see with this phrase, that a very similar phrase is found in the New Testament, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (Jn 12:32).

We do not have to worry about these apparent anachronisms because we understand that Nephi saw the ministry of Christ in vision (1 Nephi 11:27–8). We can even look to the Old Testament to show that other prophets wrote the exact words which Jesus spoke during his mortal ministry. The book of Psalms contains many of the events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ and some of the phrases that Jesus spoke while on the cross. Is that an anachronism or just evidence that the psalmist saw the Savior being crucified? See Ps 22:1; 22:7-8; 22:16-18; 31:5; 34:20; 69:19-21.’ (GospelDoctrine.com)

2 Nephi 26:25 Without money and without price

‘When earth life is over and things appear in their true perspective, we shall more clearly see and realize what the Lord and his prophets have repeatedly told us, that the fruits of the gospel are the only objectives worthy of life’s full efforts. Their possessor obtains true wealth-wealth in the Lord’s view of values….

‘I conceive the blessings of the gospel to be of such inestimable worth that the price for them must be very exacting, and if I correctly understand what the Lord has said on the subject, it is. The price, however, is within the reach of us all, because it is not to be paid in money nor in any of this world’s goods but in righteous living. What is required is whole hearted devotion to the gospel and unreserved allegiance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints….A half-hearted performance is not enough.'” (Marion G Romney, Conference Report, Oct. 1949)

2 Nephi 26:29 Priestcrafts

“Focusing on the needs of the students, a gospel teacher will never obscure their view of the Master by standing in the way or by shadowing the lesson with self-promotion or self-interest. This means that a gospel teacher must never indulge in priestcrafts, which are ‘that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world’ (2 Ne 26:29. A gospel teacher does not preach ‘to become popular’ (Alma 1:3) or ‘for the sake of riches and honor’ (Alma 1:16). He or she follows the marvelous Book of Mormon example in which ‘the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner’ (Alma 1:26). Both will always look to the Master.” (Dallin H Oaks, Conference Report, Oct. 1999)

2 Nephi 26:30 The Lord hath forbidden this thing

‘Nephi states strongly that Yahweh has “forbidden this thing,” by which he means the exclusion generated by priestcraft. The reference reaches past the word’s limited meaning (priestcraft as a profession) to its effects (excluding people from the gospel). In contrast, Nephi explains what Yahweh does want—charity, or love. Obeying this commandment eradicates any attitude or behavior that would lead to exclusion. Love is perforce inclusive.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

2 Nephi 26:31 The laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion

‘Nephi declares that the motivation for preaching the gospel must be for the love of the Father’s children. God’s servants are those who go forth in a spirit of charity. Nephi says that those who labor for money shall perish.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

2 Nephi 26:33 He inviteth them all to come unto him

“I hope we can all overcome any differences of culture, race, and language. …

“… In my experience, no race or class seems superior to any other in spirituality and faithfulness. …“Spiritual peace is not to be found in race or culture or nationality but rather through our commitment to God and to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel” (James E Faustin Conference Report, Apr. 1995).

2. Nephi testifies of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

2 Nephi 27:9 He shall deliver the words of the book

‘The first man, who will “deliver the words of the book,” is Joseph Smith, through whom “the words of those who have slumbered in the dust” were given to the world. The verse also identifies “another” man, traditionally Charles Anthon, professor of Greek and Latin at Columbia College (now Columbia University). Unnamed in this prophecy is a third man, “Dr. Mitchell,” to whom Martin Harris showed the material prior to his meeting with Charles Anthon.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

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2 Nephi 27:12 Three witnesses

‘No other book in the world has ever had a witness borne to it as dynamic and powerful as the one the Master provided to sustain the Book of Mormon in what is known as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses.” The ancient American prophets had predicted that through the power of the Lord the plates would be shown to three others  2 Ne. 27:12  Ether 5:2-4 besides the prophet to whom the records would be given for the purpose of their bearing witness. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris asked for that privilege.’ Milton R Hunter, General Conference, April 1969)

2 Nephi 27:15 Show them unto the learned

‘The reader might wonder, where the original copy of the Anthon Transcript might be? Stanley Kimball responds, Martin Harris probably kept his copy for many years, but there is nothing known about what he finally did with it. In 1884 a committee of the RLDS Church conversed with David Whitmer and were shown a transcript of which he wrote, “I have in my possession the original paper containing some of the characters transcribed from one of the golden plates, which paper Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon of New York.” Unfortunately we lack any further information regarding how, when, or why David Whitmer acquired this document. Though inconclusive, it is of interest to note that Martin Harris neither confirmed nor denied David Whitmer’s claim. The RLDS transcript was given to the Church in 1903 by the heirs of David Whitmer, fifteen years after his death in 1888.

One interesting, and possibly very meaningful, detail about the RLDS transcript is the word “Charactors” written across the top. Four students of early Church history, R.D. Webb, Ariel Crowley, Dean Jessee of the LDS Church Historian’s Office, and the anti-Mormon writer I. Woodbridge Riley, think that this word is in the hand of Joseph Smith. If so, the authenticity of the RLDS transcript would be strengthened greatly. ‘[Stanley B. Kimball, “The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems,” pp. 347-349, Reprinted by F.A.R.M.S. from BYU Studies, Vol. 10 (1970)]

2 Nephi 27:16 Not for the glory of God

‘What “gain” might Anthon have received? While Joseph knew that many wanted the plates for their gold, Anthon may have wanted the plates for their antiquity and the academic honors perhaps associated with translating an authentic ancient American document. Nephi understands that there are more ways than one to get the glory of the world. Whether we sell our souls for money or for acclaim, we have purchased that which has little value with that which is of incalculable value.

Veiled in this description of the “other” man’s motives is probably a continued warning to Joseph Smith to avoid such temptations.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

2 Nephi 27:22 Seal up the book again, and hide it up into me

“The question has been asked many times of our elders: Where are the plates? Does the Church have in its possession the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith?

“When the answer is given that the plates were received again by the Angel Moroni, who through the centuries since they were hid up unto the Lord has been their special guardian, the reply is generally made: What a wonderful aid it would be to your people in convincing the world of the truth of your story if you could show the plates to prove that Joseph Smith really had them.

“Perhaps it is natural for a man who hears for the first time the story of Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon to propound such a question and to think that the plates, if they had been placed in some museum where the public could examine them, would have added much to prove the authenticity of the Prophet’s story. With deeper reflection we discover that this would not have been the case, for it is not the way the Lord proves his truth, now or at any other time. However, in surprise, and in some cases with an incredulous smile, the propounder of this question turns away feeling that such an answer as he has received is an admission that Joseph Smith never had the plates and practiced a fraud upon the public.

“EXISTENCE OF PLATES WOULD NOT PROVE DIVINITY OF BOOK. It is well in considering this matter to remember the words of the Lord to Isaiah: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'(Isa 55:8)

“If the Lord had followed the thoughts of men and had commanded Joseph Smith to place the plates in some repository where they could have been inspected by the curious public, it would have led to endless disputations. Enemies of the Church would not have been convinced and would have contended most bitterly that the plates were spurious. No one could have read them for the characters engraved on them are unknown to the savants of the present age.

“The Lord does not convince men of his truth by placing before their eyes and in their hands tangible evidence, as a lawyer may do before the court, marking it exhibit A and exhibit B, and then expect it to be accepted. The Lord expects the searcher after truth to approach him with a contrite spirit and with sincerity of purpose; if he will do this and keep the commandments of the Lord, he shall receive the witness through the Holy Spirit and shall know the truth.”     (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, pp. 227-8)

3. Nephi prophesies that Satan will spread false doctrines in the last days.

2 Nephi 28:7 Eat, drink and be merry

“Some people cannot think of anything else but annihilation.  What a glorious prospect for the sinner!  Then he could say, ‘Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die, and next day we will be annihilated, and that will be the end of our sorrow and of God’s judgment upon us.’ Do not flatter yourselves that you are going to get out of it so easy.  This Book of Mormon is replete all the way through with the testimonies of the servants of God that men are born to be immortal; that after the resurrection their bodies are to live as long as their spirits, and their spirits cannot die.  They are immortal beings, and they are destined, if they commit the unpardonable sin, to be banished from the presence of God and endure the punishment of the devil and his angels throughout all eternity.  I think the wicked would prefer annihilation to the suffering of such punishment.  That would be an end to punishment–an end to being.  This view cannot be reconciled with the word of God.” (Collected Discourses 1886-1898, ed. by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, Joseph F. Smith, Jan. 20, 1995)

2 Nephi 28:8 God will beat us with a few stripes

‘Why do some of our youth risk engaging in ritual prodigalism, intending to spend a season rebelling and acting out in Babylon and succumbing to that devilishly democratic “everybody does it”? Crowds cannot make right what God has declared to be wrong. Though planning to return later, many such stragglers find that alcohol, drugs, and pornography will not let go easily. Babylon does not give exit permits gladly. It is an ironic implementation of that ancient boast, “One soul shall not be lost.”  (Moses 4:1)

The philosophy of ritual prodigalism is “eat, drink, and be merry, … [and] God will beat us with a few stripes.” This is a cynical and shallow view of God, of self, and of life. God never can justify us “in committing a little sin.”  (2 Ne. 28:8) He is the God of the universe, not some night-court judge with whom we can haggle and plea bargain!

Of course God is forgiving! But He knows the intents of our hearts. He also knows what good we might have done while AWOL. In any case, what others do is no excuse for the disciple from whom much is required. Besides, on the straight and narrow path, there are simply no corners to be cut.’ (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1988)

2 Nephi 28:9 Vain and foolish doctrines

“The idea that one is better off after one has sinned and repented is a devilish lie of the adversary. Does anyone here think that it is better to learn firsthand that a certain blow will break a bone or a certain mixture of chemicals will explode and sear off our skin? Are we better off after we have sustained and then healed such injuries? I believe we all can see that it is better to heed the warnings of wise persons who know the effects on our bodies” (Dallin H Oaks, “Sin and Suffering,” in Brigham Young University 1989–90 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1990], 151).

2 Nephi 28:12-14 False doctrine

‘We have no interest in teaching by the wisdom or learning or according to the precepts of men. We want to teach the gospel the way the Lord would have us teach it, and to do it under the power and influence of the Holy Ghost. If we will do that, we will teach sound doctrine. It will be the truth. It will build faith and increase righteousness in the hearts of men, and they will be led along that path which leads to the celestial world.

But if we teach without the Spirit of the Lord, if we are not guided by the Holy Ghost, we will be teaching at our peril. It is a serious thing to teach false doctrine, to teach that which is not true, to teach that which does not build faith in the hearts of men.’ (Bruce R McConkie, General Conference, October 1949)

2 Nephi 28:20 Stir them up to anger

“It should come as no surprise that one of the adversary’s tactics in the latter days is stirring up hatred among the children of men. He loves to see us criticize each other, make fun or take advantage of our neighbor’s known flaws, and generally pick on each other. The Book of Mormon is clear from where all anger, malice, greed, and hate come [2 Nephi 28:20]. By the looks of what we constantly see depicted in the news media, it appears that Satan is doing a pretty good job. In the name of reporting the news, we are besieged with sometimes graphic depictions—too often in living color—of greed, extortion, violent sexual crimes, and insults between business, athletic, or political opponents.” (Marvin J Ashton, Ensign, May 1992)

2 Nephi 28:21 All is well in Zion

“We have discussed elsewhere that other class of people who are basically unrepentant because they are not ‘doing the commandments.’ They are Church members who are steeped in lethargy. They neither drink nor commit the sexual sins. They do not gamble nor rob nor kill. They are good citizens and splendid neighbors, but spiritually speaking they seem to be in a long, deep sleep. They are doing nothing seriously wrong except in their failures to do the right things to earn their exaltation.” (Spencer W Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 211-2)

2 Nephi 28:22 His awful chains

‘We cannot say we will sow a few wild oats in our youth or that we will just dabble a little around the fringes of sin. There are no fringes of sin. Every act, good or bad, has a consequence. Every good act improves our ability to do good and more firmly stand against sin or failure. Every transgression, regardless of how minor, makes us more susceptible to Satan’s influence the next time he tempts us. Satan takes us an inch at a time, deceiving us as to the consequences of so-called minor sins until he captures us in major transgressions. Nephi describes this technique as one of pacifying, lulling, and flattering us away until Satan “grasps [us] with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance”’ (Richard C Edgley, General Conference, October 1994)

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4. Nephi teaches about the importance of the Book of Mormon.

2 Nephi 29:3 My words shall hiss forth

“Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand. …

“The Book of Mormon is to be used ‘for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel,’ the Lord says, and its words ‘shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth.’ (2 Ne. 29:2.) We, the members of the Church, and particularly the missionaries, have to be the ‘hissers,’ or the tellers and testifiers, of the Book of Mormon unto the ends of the earth.

“The Book of Mormon is the great standard we are to use. … The Book of Mormon is the great finder of the golden contact. It does not contain things which are ‘pleasing unto the world’ (1 Ne. 6:5). … It is a great sieve” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975).

 

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