After prophesying about some of the beliefs and misconceptions that would keep many of the Gentiles from accepting the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and also the blessings that would come to the house of Israel in the last days, Nephi warns his people that no one receives salvation by birthright. Covenant blessings can only be made fully alive through repentance, obedience to God’s commandments, and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
“And now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed. For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 30:1-2)
-Do the verses above imply that most of the Gentiles will repent and become part of the Lord’s covenant people in the last days? Or, do they imply that it will be a relatively small proportion that will do so? (see The Gentiles Shall Deny Me)
Nephi obtained a promise from the Lord that his record would be preserved for as long as the earth exists. Those who have access to his record and teachings will be held accountable for what they do with them.
“…The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand. Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written.” (2 Nephi 25:21-22)
-Which nations possess the record of the Nephite prophets as initiated by Nephi (a large portion of which is found in the Book of Mormon)?
-Is it at all intimidating to know that you will be responsible, in God’s eyes, for what you do with the truths found in the Book of Mormon?
-Do you think the blessing of having the light and knowledge contained in the Book of Mormon is worth the added responsibility?
-Are most, or all, true covenants with God tied to covenants he has made with others who have gone before (such as how promises received by Nephi were tied to the promises Joseph received)?
God, through his prophet Jacob, speaks concerning the inevitable fulfillment of His covenants in the last days. Spiritual darkness and destruction will follow those who fight against God as he fulfills His promises to gather the righteous to Zion.
“…That my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh, I must needs 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. For I will fulfil my promises which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh.” (2 Nephi 10:15-17)
-Based on this passage: How is understanding the covenants God has made, and how He will fulfill them in the last days, key to knowing whether you are in line with God’s will?
-If a person does not understand what God is doing, would it be easier for him or her to be drawn into a position where he or she is fighting against His work?
The very first messages of the Book of Mormon come from an introduction likely written by a prophet named Moroni who lived in the Americas around 400 A.D. To introduce the record his father Mormon had put together and abridged, Moroni declares the following truths about its purpose and meaning:
- “It is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi”
- “Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile”
- “Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophesy and of revelation”
- “Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they [the metal plates on which the record was kept] might not be destroyed”
- “To come forth by the gift and power of God”
- “To come forth in due time by way of the Gentile…the interpretation thereof by the gift of God”
- “To show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers…that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever”
- “To…convinc[e] Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations”
- “If there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement-seat of Christ” (For full text see Title Page of the Book of Mormon)
-How important would it be to make meaningful use of a gift, readily available to you in the form of a book, that was brought into being by the power of God?
-If God made covenants with those who lived before our time — who sought His help and guidance in their lives – is there any doubt that He would follow through with the promises He made to them? Could our relationship to God in the present have important ties to those promises He made in the past and is now fulfilling?
Prophets, Seers, and Revelators…
“The title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the … book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, … and … said title page is not by any means a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation” (Joseph Smith quoted in History of the Church, 1:71)
“The major mission of the Book of Mormon, as recorded on its title page, is ‘to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.’ The honest seeker after truth can gain the testimony that Jesus is the Christ as he prayerfully ponders the inspired words of the Book of Mormon. Over one-half of all the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to our Lord. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned more frequently per verse in the Book of Mormon than even in the New Testament. He is given over one hundred different names in the Book of Mormon. Those names have a particular significance in describing His divine nature” (Ezra Taft Benson from “Come unto Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 83).
Video from Book of Mormon Central: