The Covenant People of the Lord Are Armed with Righteousness and the Power of God

Nephi sees, in a vision of the great division that will occur in the last days, the power that God will give to those who are faithful to their covenant relationship with Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And…I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. (1 Nephi 14:13-14)

-If you believe this prophecy about how things will unfold in the time before Christ’s return, why do you think so many will end up yielding to the temptations of the devil and fight (it appears in an organized way) against Christ and His covenant people?

-What does it mean to be armed with righteousness? Will it be possible, individually and collectively as these events unfold, to withstand the power of the mother of abominations without being armed with righteousness and the power of God?

-Where do you feel you stand now in relation to God’s work and the godless work that is marshaling against the covenant people of the Lord?

Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators

“For the Church, the scriptures suggest both an accelerated sifting and accelerated spiritual and numerical growth—with all this preceding the time when the people of God will be ‘armed with righteousness’—not weapons—and when the Lord’s glory will be poured out upon them (1 Nephi 14:14; see also 1 Peter 4:17; D&C 112:25). The Lord is determined to have a tried, pure, and proven people (see D&C 100:16; 101:4; 136:31), and ‘there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it’ (Abraham 3:17)” (Neal A. Maxwell, “For I Will Lead You Along,” Ensign, May 1988, 8).


“Church members have a special rendezvous to keep, brothers and sisters. Nephi saw it. One future day, he said, Jesus’ covenant people, ‘scattered upon all the face of the earth,’ will be ‘armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.’ (1 Ne. 14:14.) This will happen, but only after more members become more saintly and more consecrated in conduct” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Repentance,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32).

“We [members of the Church] are a tiny fraction when compared to the billions of people on earth. But we are who we are, and we know what we know, and we are to go forth and preach the gospel.

“The Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers. But we have the power of the priesthood [see 1 Nephi 14:14]. …

“We can and in due time certainly will influence all of humanity. It will be known who we are and why we are. It might seem hopeless; it is monumentally difficult; but it is not only possible but certain that we will win the battle against Satan” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 7).

A Bitter Fountain Cannot Bring Forth Good Water

The Nephite prophet, Moroni, teaches about the power of real intent when seeking to give service to God through one’s actions.   

“…I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. And likewise also it is counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.” (Moroni 7:5-11)

Questions:

-If a person’s heart is truly in the right place (in terms of striving to serve Christ and diligently seeking the guidance of His Spirit) will his or her actions be counted as righteousness – even when that person acts imperfectly and makes mistakes?

-When it comes to defining good works and evil works, how important is the state of one’s heart (in relation to God) when determining which is which?

Whosoever Should Possess This Land Should Serve the True and Living God

The Jaredites were led by the Lord to a promised land in the Americas thousands of years ago. This land had special blessings and, proportionately, potential cursing for the Jaredites. Moroni (an ancient American prophet who abridged the Jaredite record around 400 A.D.) makes it clear that these same blessings and potential cursing apply to any nation or people who would possess the land thereafter.

“…[The Jaredites] did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth posses it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is an everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.” (Ether 2:8-10)

“And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written” (Ether 2:11-12)

Questions:

-Has liberty and freedom from bondage been increasing or decreasing in the United States in recent years?

-Based on the promises detailed in the above verses, is the loss of freedom (i.e. more captivity) in an American nation a sign that it is going in the wrong direction?

-Is there any way to be truly free without serving the true and living God who created us?

For a free copy of the Book of Mormon please go to https://www.ComeUntoChrist.org/site/book-of-mormon

God Has Not Ceased to Be a God of Miracles

The prophet Moroni continues to speak to those who do not believe God continues to perform miracles among the inhabitants of the Earth.

“Behold, [God] created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.” (Mormon 9:12-13)

“And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still. And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a God who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.” (Mormon 9:14-15)

Questions:

-Is there a greater miracle than the Resurrection?

-Does the theological stance that God has ceased to do miracles make sense when the resurrection of most of the world’s population is still to occur?

Blessed Are They Who Do Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness, For They Shall be Filled with the Holy Ghost

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the fourth of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 12:6)

Questions:

-Is hungering and thirsting after “righteousness” as defined by one’s culture different from hungering and thirsting after God’s righteousness?

-Is it possible to find true righteousness, and to be truly spiritually filled, without the influence of the Holy Ghost?

The Resurrection of Christ Redeemeth Mankind from the Fall of Adam

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, teaches important truths about Christ’s Resurrection:

  • Christ’s death was a necessary part of His working out salvation for mankind.
  • The salvation Christ extends is not only spiritual. It also overcomes the death that came into the world through Adam and Eve’s fall providing physical salvation as well (preparing the way for the Resurrection of all who ever lived).
  • The Resurrection ensured that no person will be held responsible for the “original sin” of Adam and Eve and, thereby, laid the groundwork for repentance to be meaningful—each individual only being responsible for his or her own sins that are not repented of.
  • There is an important link between physical resurrection and being brought back into the presence of the Lord for the Final Judgment.

“…[Christ] surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord. Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual. But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord. Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.” (Helaman 14:15-18)

Questions:

-How did Christ’s Resurrection overcome the first death or “original sin” for all?

-Why will all be physically resurrected before they are brought to the Last Judgment?

Ye Have Sought for Happiness in Doing Iniquity Which Is Contrary to God’s Righteousness

The Lamanite prophet, Samuel, teaches the Nephites that seeking for happiness outside of the commandments of God is fruitless.

“…Ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.” (Helaman 13:38)

Questions:

-Can temporary happiness be found separate from God’s will and influence?

-Will the happiness mentioned in the above question be inevitably interrupted?

-Will the happiness that comes from aligning oneself with God’s will and influence ever be interrupted?

Cursed Be They Who Hide Not Their Treasures unto Me

Treasures secured for any other reason than to serve God are cursed (and a curse upon those who secure the treasure without deference to God).

“…I will, saith the Lord, that they hide up their treasures unto me; and cursed be they who hide not their treasures unto me; for none hideth up their treasures unto me save it be the righteous; and he that hideth not up his treasures unto me, cursed is he, and also the treasure…” (Helaman 13:19)

Questions:

-Is the following statement true? Part of the reason why those who, outside the intent to serve God, amass great wealth are cursed is because their tainted wealth also affects others negatively (often on a large scale due to the wide-ranging influence of their ungodly power and riches).

-Do the sophisticated, atheistic, and agnostic wealthy (i.e. those who have no deference to God) tend to see themselves as filling in for a God that they see as missing or non-existent?

-Is playing God with the lives of others, where the will of a few overrides the will and agency of the many, ever end up being a good thing?

-What does it look like when a righteous person amasses wealth to serve God?

-How likely is the above-mentioned righteous person to be a well-known influence peddler and high-profile benefactor rather than an anonymous or low-profile benefactor?    

The Lord Suffereth the Righteous to Be Slain That His Justice and Judgment May Come upon the Wicked

Moroni, a Nephite captain, teaches that the Lord allows the righteous to be killed by the wicked in certain circumstances, but that these faithful souls immediately enter the Lord’s rest in the spirit world.

“For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.” (Alma 60:13)

Questions:

-Is a potential source of comfort lost when one realizes that the righteous, in some circumstances, are allowed by God to be killed?

-Can this loss of comfort, at least to some degree, be softened by the thought that a righteous person will never be called home to God before his or her time? And, that a righteous person will immediately enter into God’s rest?

That Which Ye Do Send out Shall Return unto You Again

Alma teaches his son that no good action will go unrewarded by God.

“…See that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored…” (Alma 41:14-15)

Questions:

-What are the implications of the above principle for those who intentionally and maliciously hurt others?

-How much joy does it bring our Savior when we act in a way that accepts His example and His Atonement, which magnifies the good we do into the eternities?