When the Father’s covenants are in being fulfilled, “kings shall shut their mouths.” That is, the noble of this world will not know what to say. They will be at a loss of words because of the Father’s acts.
Their plans for managing the world will be dashed and end. Their great investments will be lost.The control they imagined they had as “kings” will fade to dust. (Hag. 2: 22.)
How can such splendor, such great and masterful arrangements, such glory in mankind become nothing? How can it all fall to the dust? (Rev. 14: 7-8.)
“Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;”
For the most part, the gentiles will be unimpressed with the Lord’s stretched out arm. Gentiles will remain slow to respond, skeptical of the means, and dispute whether the Lord is really involved. Even those who claim to believe in His restored Book of Mormon and covenant will take lightly what He offers them. Only a few will be willing to undertake a form of repentance. But to receive “knowledge of the true points of my doctrine” it will require something more than half-hearted conversion.
How do you suppose “knowledge of Christ’s true points of doctrine” would change you?
“For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;“
Christ attributes the wisdom of this plan to “the Father.”
The gentiles will be set up “in this land.” What land has become a land for free people “by the power of the Father?” The most common answer is the United States. That is the conclusion of Meldrum and Porter in their book Prophecies and Promises – The Book of Mormon and the United State of America.
The “wisdom of the Father” decrees that the gentiles will receive the record and the land where Christ visited the Nephites. Why is it wise for this to be the case?
From the gentiles, who inherit the record, the record will “come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed.” The gentiles receive it first, then it will come from them to the “remnant.” Who are the gentiles? Do the Latter-day Saints have the record? Even though they are in possession of the record, they are nonetheless called “gentiles”
Note that the “covenant of the Father” is the reason for these events to unfold. Why is the unfolding history of the remnant, gentiles and house of Israel to fulfill “the covenant of the Father?” What was/is Christ’s role in the process? If Christ is directly involved, why is it nevertheless the “covenant of the Father?”
Christ refers to the objects of the covenant as “his people” – the Father’s people. This is an important transition in the description. These people belong to the Father! Immortality and eternal life is a family affair. Christ’s harvest of souls is for the glory of the Father. If there were any doubt of Christ’s motivation and selfless service, His comments here remove that doubt.
From what source does the gentile freedom come?
If gentile freedom is based on the Father’s power, how vulnerable is their hold on freedom if they rebel and reject the Father? How much credit can the gentiles take for establishing their land of freedom? To whom should gratitude flow for the gentile freedom?
The backdrop Christ gives to our history is wholly based on the Father’s will, covenants and design for mankind. We tend to question how involved the Father and His Son are in the daily events of life. From Christ’s statement here, how involved are they?
First, Christ’s words which were “declared unto you” (meaning the Nephites) will be “made known unto the gentiles.” So, the Nephites must receive both what Christ has declared and will declare to them before His ministry was completed. Then these Nephites must record or preserve the words Christ declared. These words, recorded by the Nephites must in turn, become “known unto the gentiles.” This initial part of Christ’s sign is directly tied to the Book of Mormon. However, what does it mean that the words of Christ must be “made known unto the gentiles?” We have them, but do we know them in the sense that is being used here?
The “sign” given to us will continue in the Lord’s statement which follows. So let’s turn to more…
Notice how the gathered are referred to by Christ as “my people” and “house of Israel” and “my Zion.” When the gathering is complete, the various groups are no longer separately identified. On the other side of this gathering they will be “one” people and a restored “house of Israel.”
Then they are “established” as “Zion.”
If you want to have a place there, do your connections in a church, organization, fraternity, fellowship, quorum or brotherhood matter? If not, what association alone will allow you to participate? How important is the “testimony of Jesus?”
Then the “work of the Father” will “commence.” What does it mean to “commence?” Why choose such a desperate hour to begin?
God’s wrath is “poured out” and takes a specific form: “wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds.” People go to war. The “wicked kill the wicked.” (D&C 63: 33; Proverbs 11: 5; Mormon 4: 5.)
The angel makes a point of stating what Nephi is beholding: “Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots.” How is this God’s wrath? The answer is that when God is angry, He withdraws His spirit. (Helaman 6: 35; Helaman 13: 8.) And when He withdraws His spirit from one, He generally pours it out on another. (Helaman 6: 34-36.) When His spirit withdraws, men are left to their natural, carnal state, filled with envy, jealousy, covetousness, ambition and greed. When the heavens become silent, the judgments of God follow. (Revelation 8: 1; D&C 88: 95.)
This is the means by which the tares ripen in iniquity, and the wheat ripens in righteousness. However, to preserve the spirit among those to be saved in the last days, it will be necessary for the same priesthood, the same calling, to be in possession of those to be preserved. Otherwise they can’t ripen into wheat. (D&C 86: 1-11.) For the wheat are destined for Celestial Glory and eternal life. (D&C 101: 65.) This cannot be realized without a covenant (D&C 132: 20) and the testimony of Jesus to them. (D&C 76: 51-57.)
Can anyone make you “wheat” if you do not the things the Lord commands you to do? (Luke 6: 46–a favorite verse of President Kimball’s.)
If His spirit withdraws from the world, but remains with His Saints, what peril is there if the Saints don’t also withdraw from the world?
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Denver Snuffer, One CD: Zion Symposium Talk, 4 Nephi, given February 23, 2008
Once the whore sets about to destroy the Lamb of God, He does not remain in His pavilion away. He takes up the fight for His Saints.
Why does this “power” “descend” upon the Saints?
Why are there two groups identified, “the Saints of the Lamb of God,” and also, “upon the covenant people of the Lord?” Are these the same or two different groups? If two, what is to happen in this descending of “power” upon these two?
Why are the “Saints” and the “covenant people” both “scattered upon all the face of the earth?” Why are they not gathered together in one place?
What does it mean to be “armed with righteousness?”
Why are “righteousness” and “the power of God” two different things?
Do the “covenant people” have to have “righteousness” to receive the “power of God?” Are they blessed for the covenant’s sake? What about the others? Who are “righteous” and their protection? Are they protected for righteousness sake?
Assuming the “power of God” is given to protect these groups, do they need munitions? Do they need intercontinental firepower? Do they need to form an army for their own defense?
What is the “power of God in great glory?” Will the children of the great whore be able to behold this “power of God in great glory,” or will it be hidden from them? If hidden, will they sense something? Will fear fall upon them that they flee from the presence of this glory? Wasn’t that the case with Daniel’s friends? (Daniel 10: 7.) Wasn’t that the case with the companions of Saul? ( JST Acts 9: 7 “And they who were journeying with him saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him who spake to him.”) Will Zion not be protected by this “power of God?” (D&C 45: 70.) If it is to be like the days of Noah (Luke 17: 26-27), then won’t there be someone who can speak the word of God and mountains flee, armies held at defiance, and rivers turned out of their course? (Moses 7: 13.)
Will the same things happen that happened at the time of the great flood? If so, how much relevance does the history from Enoch through Noah have to our day? Should we be familiar with that pattern to know how the pattern may repeat itself?
What can you do to be numbered with those who will be spared? Does the known history of the antediluvians tell you anything about how you need to prepare? Since Enoch had 365 years to develop a people who were worthy to be spared, how much greater a work will it be to prepare now that life spans are generally less than 90 years? How great a work lies before you?
There are and always have been two churches only. One is true. Its members belong to the Lamb of God. The Lamb, and their Father.
Either you belong to the elect family of Christ, the Church of the Firstborn, or you don’t. All other religions and philosophies are false. Read again the description of those who are saved. (See What’s in a name?) There are only “two,” and one of them is not the Catholic Church, nor the Presbyterian Church, nor the Lutheran Church, nor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, the ordinances received through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expected for those who belong to “the church of the Lamb of God,” but there is not a complete overlap of the “church of the Lamb of God” and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Therefore, based on what Nephi says above, unless we are part of that body of believers whose Father is Christ, and who posses a covenant from Him that they will be His, we belong to the whore of all the earth, a church of abominations. Those who are believers are they who He has declared to His Father “. . . having been true and faithful in all things.”
She will make you rich, or she will make you covet riches. If she gives them to you it is to corrupt you. If she withholds them from you, it is so you will lust and envy what you do not have.
The dialogue between Nephi and the angel is interrupted. Nephi is brought into the dialogue as the angel interrupts and asks Nephi a question. You should ask yourself why an angel behaves in this manner? Why interrupt the teaching by asking Nephi questions?
And what a question it is: ”Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel?” Once again, it is the “covenants of the Father” that is important and controls what is being taught and all history involved. It remains not only “in the beginning” but throughout “is the Word of God.” Consider how broadly the “Word” of God may be applied:
-Christ is the “Word of God” because He lived and did all in conformity with the will of the Father. (3 Nephi 11: 11.)
-All of creation came into being because of the Father’s Word, or power. (Mormon 9: 17.)
-Christ’s spoken Word had such power as to astonish onlookers. (Luke 4: 32, 36.)
-Nothing of power hereafter will exist unless obtained by the Father’s Word. (D&C 132: 13.)
-Moses made water come forth from the rock by the Father’s Word. (1 Nephi 17: 29.)
-Joseph Smith was able to bring the Book of Mormon forth because of the Father’s word. (Mormon 8: 16.)
-His Word is “quick” and “powerful” and can cut like a two-edged sword. (D&C 11: 2.)
-It was by this Word of God that Enoch had power to hold at defiance the armies of nations. (Moses 7: 13.)
Without the “covenants of the Father” the best laid plans, the most noble aspirations, the desire to have Zion return, will all fail. It will return by a covenant or not at all. It will return in strict conformity with His covenant, His Word, and not according to the vain desires of men.
The angel is setting up a contrast for Nephi. First he asks if Nephi remembers the Father’s covenants, to which Nephi responds that he does remember them. Now, often in the Book of Mormon the word “remember” is used to mean “keep.” If that is the way it is used here, then Nephi is being asked if he keeps the covenants of the Father, so far as they apply to him. Using that meaning, the angel is inquiring about Nephi’s worthiness to receive more. Or, in other words: “Do you follow the Father’s commandments?” “Yes.” “Then I will show you more.” Reminding Nephi that the only reason he is beholding these things is because of his obedience and sacrifice. Or, to put it more plainly, reminding US that this kind of information and learning from angelic ministers comes as a consequence of following everything taught to you before. You receive more because you follow what you already have.
Now, after the inquiry and answer, the contrast is shown: On the one hand: The Covenants of the Father. On the other hand: the Great and Abominable Church.
God’s covenants are strict and apply in a very precise manner. The great whore uses religion to promise to all people everywhere their desires for being comforted in their sins. The great and abominable church does not want you to forsake your sins, but to retain them and expect God will forgive and overlook them. The great and abominable church wants you to believe that the way is broad and many will enter into exaltation. This whore teaches that no matter your conduct, the odds are you are going to be exalted. So eat, drink and be merry. If God is going to be upset He will merely beat you with a few stripes and promote you into the kingdom of God anyway. (2 Nephi 28: 8.)
This contrast is drawn for Nephi because these are two extremes. Both of them are religious. One is founded on a true religion, the other is a false religion. One follows the Father’s covenants and will result in God’s promised results. The other follows the commandments of men who have mingled their own philosophies with scripture so that their doctrines are all corrupt. They share a vocabulary, but nothing else. For one, to “repent” is to return to God’s presence, for the other “repent” is to satisfy institutional demands and surrender to control by others. The angel uses the contrast because this is where mankind finds themselves. We live between these two choices. Our eternal consequences hinge on how we choose. Among all sects there are good people who are blinded by the craftiness of deceitful men. (D&C 123: 12.) Even though they may be honorable, by surrendering to deceit they forfeit the crown. (D&C 76: 74-76.)
This contrast is shown to Nephi, and shared by him with us, because we are always facing the dilemma of choosing between those who will promise you everything and give you nothing, and those who warn you to repent, as a result of which you may receive everything. Oddly, mankind seems to prefer the former.