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2 Nephi 30: 18

“Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings.”


The truth will be revealed. But truth of this nature will involve something else. Satan will have no power. When we gather enough light and truth, Satan’s influence and power ends. We find that Satan is “cast out” because he can no longer deceive.


His primary tool is the lie. When there is enough truth, there is no longer any reason to believe or teach a lie. Therefore, he has lost power.


His secondary tool is the lusts and appetites of the flesh. When these are controlled, he is rendered completely ineffective. He is bound.


Once the lies are exposed and the appetites of the flesh are subdued, the hearts of men are freed from captivity. Nephi is describing a future day when this will be the the common situation for mankind.


Of course, this doesn’t have to be a future day. It is possible to gain enough light and truth today so the lies are exposed to your view. It is also possible to subdue the appetites of the flesh. In any event, the desires, appetites and passions ought to be kept within the bounds which the Lord prescribes. We say that, but we don’t often do that. Most people are not willing to actually subdue their desires, passions and appetites. It seems weird to suppress the desire for revenge, to actually turn the other cheek, and to return good for evil. In short, it would appear the Savior’s conduct in willingly going to His death without accepting Peter’s offer to use the sword in His defense was a bit nutty. At least from the perspective of the damned. (They can’t even stop watching pornography. Latter-day “Saint” indeed. What’s saintly about the vengeful, lustful, and gluttonous? But that’s an aside…)


Binding Satan so he has no “power over the hearts of the children of men” is an interesting phrase. Why “power?” Why “power over the hearts?” Why “children of men” rather than sons of God? (See the dialogue between Moses and Satan where Moses refers to himself as a “son of God” but Satan calls him a “son of man” in Moses 1: 12-13.) Isn’t that interesting? 


Why is it that such power over the hearts of the children of men will be lost? It is as if entry into a Telestial World will bring about the binding of Satan, even before becoming a “son of God,” and beginning the final journey into the Lord’s presence. This is interesting – as if Nephi understood the Temple itself. (2 Nephi 5: 16.)


Satan’s power is lost for a “long time” but not forever. Why? How will Satan be loosed again?  (Rev. 20: 7; D&C 43: 31; D&C 88: 110.) I’ve described this event and the reasons in “The Great Competition” in Ten Parables.


The final phrase is because Nephi was through with his message for a while. He may have intended to take his writing up again, but the final phrase indicates he was done for the time. We cannot tell how long it was between the last verse of Chapter 30 and the first verse of Chapter 31. When he takes up his writing again, he is clearly ending his ministry. How long he took to compose his final thoughts is undisclosed. But this will be an old man, finishing his mortal warning to us.


Let’s take a look at it…

2 Nephi 30:16-17

“Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.  There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.”

This is another confirmation by Nephi of what was written before. The Nephites will have the records of the Jews and lost tribes of Israel, and the Jews and the lost tribes will have the records of the Nephites. “The things of all nations” will include these various Divine messages and teachings given to the various nations/people of the earth. The “children of men” in that day will have available to them the records that allow them to see how the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. They will realize that these distant echoes of the Gospel which appear in other faiths, traditions and sacred texts were, at one time, an authentic communication from the Lord or His servants.

So much of what appears to contradict will be found to have a common root. The things that have been sealed and kept from public discourse will become part of the public dialogue. We will not have the same requirement for “secrets” to be kept. But “nothing which is secret” will remain so. It will all “be revealed.”

When the truth is unsealed, so are the conspiracies, the foolishness and the ambitions that have worked to keep the truth from becoming known. None of the “work of darkness” which has been afoot will be kept from public view, but “it shall be manifest in the light.” Whatever excuses men have had to suppress the truth, deny the Spirit, and employ the “arm of flesh” as their guide will be exposed for what they are. They will put on display. The wisdom of the wise will be seen for the foolishness it was. The strength of man’s arm, the studied foolishness gained from social sciences, opinion polling, focus groups and other attempts to figure out where the ignorant are going and jump in front of the trend to feign leadership, will be seen for what it was. The endless praise and adoration given to these foolish and weak political, governmental, business, educational and “moral” leaders will be seen for what it was.

Oh the wisdom of God and the foolishness of men! When men are educated they think they are wise. (2 Nephi 9: 28.) All the studied ignorance of men will be recognized as foolishness, rather than as wisdom as it is now. (1 Cor. 3: 19.) Then the fools will at last shut their mouths and cease to thunder out their errors. (Isa. 52: 15.)

You can almost feel Nephi’s relief as he contemplates this outcome. The final vindication of the truth. The final conquest of the foolishness of men. It is consoling to consider that this odd and corrupt world we find ourselves in will at some point finally end. The truth will be vindicated. The errors and evil we enshrine in our institutions and art will collapse. We will emerge from behind the scales of darkness covering our eyes and at last see things as they are in the light of heaven.

…I’m thinking the most common reaction will be “oops” or some four letter equivalent…

You realize you can fix that today, right? You know the Gospel intends to take you out of this fallen world and into that kind of light even now, right? That was what Christ was trying to do all along. That is why He’s provided the scriptures (primarily the Book of Mormon for us) to help us catch on before the terrible end is upon us. So you can do something about all this.
Or you can think it just “weird,” remain as you are, and enjoy the decline. ‘Cuz lotsa folks is do’in just that, ya know…

2 Nephi 30: 11-15



“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.  And then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”


These words, again borrowed from Isaiah, are familiar to all of us. The time frame puts it inside the larger Nephi prophecy regarding the fulfillment of covenants made to the “fathers.”


What is interesting for us is the narrative of end-of-times peace and return of righteousness. This includes a “people of God” returning to inhabit the earth set inside the Book of Mormon narrative prophecy. The Book of Mormon remnant figure centrally into the progression. It (the book) comes forth, and from that time until the fulfillment of the return of righteousness and peace, the book’s involvement is central. The gentiles receive custody of it. Don’t do much with it. Some few actually believe it. They will eventually take it to the remnant. The remnant begin to come onboard with their conversion. They increase, the gentiles decrease, the momentum builds. The gentiles ultimately get swept away, while the remnant begin to grow into the fullness of the Gospel in all its rights, ordinances, and return to the knowledge of Christ.


As the culmination of these trends, which begin small, but gain momentum as they roll forth, we see the final product for what it was always intended to become: Zion. Once the stone cut out of the mountain without hands begins to roll forth, it will not stop until it has filled the whole earth.


Among those who are destined to fulfill these events, they will “not hurt nor destroy in all” the Lord’s “holy mountain.” What does it mean to “not hurt?” What does it mean to “not destroy?”  Why a “holy mountain?”


The earth itself will be “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” What “knowledge of the Lord” is referred to here? How completely does the water cover the sea?  Will there be any need for one man to say to another “know ye the Lord” in that day, or will all who remain know Him? (Jer. 31: 34; D&C 84: 96-99.)


We imagine that day, but do not live for it. We think ourselves qualified to be part of that group. But ask yourself, do you make others hurt? Do others who hurt find relief from their pain by what you are willing to suffer, without returning evil for evil, but good for evil? Or do you believe such ideas to be “weird?” Because they are, indeed, for all we do, all we say, all we live and all we are, so alien to us that they are weird indeed.


From inside that culture, looking back at us and our time, reading our foolishness, observing our entertainment, they will think us more than “weird.” They will think us utterly insane.  And they will be right. We are the madmen, claiming ourselves to be righteous, while dwelling in raw sewage and celebrating revenge, discord, hatred and anger. We speak of Zion while marketing Babylon. We ask “what will sell” before we undertake any project. We study the trends of the fallen, wicked and perverse in order to adapt our faith, our words, and our conversations to appeal to Babylon. The social statistics of Latter-day Saints run about 7 years behind the larger population.
We’re all headed to hell, but console ourselves that we remain “peculiar” because we are slower in our descent than the larger population. It never occurs to us that a complete break will be needed.


The Lord plans to provide that break. The question then will be whether we join with those who lament the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18: 9-11), or among those who will rejoice at the coming of Zion (D&C 84: 96-102.) Perspective is affected by what our hearts value. Unfortunately, the choice is “either-or,” and not both. (Luke 16: 13.)


Well this is indeed “getting weird”…

2 Nephi 30: 9-10

2 Nephi 30: 9-10:

“And with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.  For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.”
 
Nephi quotes Isaiah to weave a second witness into this end-of-times description of the Lord’s agenda.
 
Righteousness for the poor. Equity for the meek. Smiting for the earth. Death to the wicked. For the poor, why “righteousness?” For the meek, why “equity?” For the earth, why shall it be “smitten?” What is the “rod of His mouth” to be used to smite the earth?
 
For the wicked, it is the “breath of His lips” which will slay. Have you considered what this means? Why His “breath” when that is the mechanism that brings life to Adam, (Gen. 2: 7) and the Spirit to His disciples? (John 20: 22) Does the word “breath” imply the converse of bringing life, and the removal of the Holy Spirit? If so, how do those ideas affect the meaning of the Lord’s decision to “slay the wicked?” In what sense will they be “slain?”
 
What does it mean that “the time speedily cometh?” From what point is the measure taken to decide the “speed” of His coming? Is it from Nephi’s prophecy, or from the time in which the prophecy is set?
 
What does it mean there will be “caused a great division?”  How would that “division” manifest itself? Is it first spiritual, then physical? Or is it both from the start? If it is first a great spiritual division, followed at some point in a physical gathering together of these two groups into separate locations, how would it unfold?
 
How will the wicked be “destroyed?” (Mormon 4: 5.) Will they also be able to destroy the people whom the Lord identifies as “His people?” (1 Ne. 22: 16.)
 
What does it mean that the Lord “will spare His people, yea, even if it so be that He must destroy the wicked by fire?” Is that true?  Would the Lord personally intervene to protect His people? Has He done anything like that before? If so, when? Why? Can He still do that today? In a time of tremendous upheaval and destruction, can He selectively preserve His people? (3 Nephi 9: 1-13.) What protection is there from such forces of destruction?
 
Have you noticed how things seem to be speeding up?  Business cycles that used to take generations now play themselves out in a few years. Political dynasties are crumbling and institutions which were once impervious to change are being forced to change. Cultural norms are changing so quickly that change is itself the new culture.  The days seem to be shortening, don’t they. (Matt. 24: 22; JS-Matt. 1: 20.)

2 Nephi 30: 7-8

2 Nephi 30: 7-8:

“And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people.  And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.”

Nephi has circled back and is reiterating his earlier prophecy, assuring us that this is the order, these are the priorities and this work is indeed universal.

The scattered Jews will begin to believe in Christ, and as they do they will be gathered again. These will also be among the people destined to become “delightsome” as a result of the Gospel.

Again, we have the reminder of the universal nature of this work. Every nation, kindred, tongue and people will be invited. The invitation is to result in a “restoration of His people upon the earth.” That is, the purpose of the creation was to produce God’s people. By and large that hasn’t happened.

From the rebellion of Adam’s children, through the almost universal rebellion at the time of Noah, mankind has been unwilling to become His people. The times when we find a “people of God” upon the earth is the exception, not the rule.

The desire to see Zion return is not the same thing as seeing its return.

I sometimes wonder if people who speak of Zion have any clue of the tremendous gulf between what that will require and who we are as a people. Having a vocabulary is not the same thing as having the heart to produce Zion.

How do people live with one another in peace?  Without any poor among them? While seeking the best interest of all, and without ambition. Why would we believe we can get that great task done in a short effort in our day? There is no precedent living in anything like Zion, in this or the last seven generations.

Having the Gospel understood is the first step, of course. As a group, there is such a poor command of the scriptures that we have some considerable study before us. Passing familiarity with some scriptures is not of much use. They are the standard given to us to help reveal the basis for becoming a covenant people.

I notice how the subject of “calling and election” gets mentioned from time to time.  It would be better to learn about the fundamentals of the Gospel that we are not living than to attempt to understand what lies at the end of the struggle.

Losing ourselves implies something quite distant from the self-centered worry that grows out of not knowing your standing before God. The first step is to pray in sincerity, asking God to soften your heart that you may believe. The steps Nephi followed are described in first few chapters of The Second Comforter. Those steps are not given to us merely to contemplate. They are given for us to follow.

As we see Nephi wrapping up his two books of scripture, he turns to the distant view of a return upon the earth of a “people of God.”  We could have been that people. We even fancy ourselves as being likely to be among such a people. But if we lived that kind of life, we would already associate with such beings here, in the flesh. We would know we have part with them, because we would be associating with heaven now, as they will do then.

There is no one else who you need to look to other than the Lord. There is enough revealed in the Book of Mormon to tell you what you must do to become part of His people. You don’t need me, or a program, or a leader, other than Christ. He has offered the opportunity for each of us to become part of His people.

Well, onward still….

2 Nephi 30: 6

 
“And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.”

Once the remnant is in possession of the Gospel, they will “rejoice.” What does that mean? What form would “rejoicing” take as a result of receiving the Gospel?

What does it mean to “know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God?” How would they recognize that?

What are the “scales of darkness” which cover eyes? How would the scales have been over their eyes in the first place? What does it mean to have the scales “begin to fall from their eyes?” Does “begin to fall” mean something about a gradual process, rather than a single quick event? How do scales continue to remain in place, even as they “begin to fall?” What does that imply about the difficulty in overcoming errors because of false understanding or traditions? Even the remnant will struggle to fully remove the “scales of darkness.”

Why are there “not many generations” involved in this process? Do you need “generations” to pass away in order to fully remove darkness?

Why is it not possible to accomplish this in a single generation?

If the Lord’s purposes in redeeming the remnant will take “not many generations” then why do we think we can accomplish it in one? How gradual a process is involved?

What does it mean to become a “pure and delightsome people?” (For many editions of the Book of Mormon, this phrase used to be, “white and delightsome.” It was changed back to the original, “pure” rather than “white” in the 1980 edition.)

 
Why does purity and being “delightsome” to the Lord go together?

If this process is going to involve “not many generations” then how far away are we from this unfolding?

When we read prophecy like this, we should realize we are looking at unfolding history from the Lord’s perspective.  We want to know what will happen in our single lifetime. We are impatient. He is interested in having us know the truth.

Nephi’s prophecy gives us a perspective that helps put our own time into context. We are in a hurry. History is not. There is a great deal left to do. There is a great deal left to happen. Nephi is letting us see this lengthy agenda.

2 Nephi 30: 4-5

“And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews.  And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers.”
Once the remnant obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, from a believing gentile hand, they will realize they are originally come out of Jerusalem.  They will realize also that they are “descendants of the Jews.” 

It comes full circle. Those who were lost have returned again. The “prodigal” will return.  (Luke 15: 11-32.) There will be joy at the return.

This will happen as a preliminary to “the gospel of Jesus Christ [being] declared among them.” The Gospel being declared requires a true message, true messengers, authority, and ordinances. That will follow the remnant receiving the Book of Mormon. To what extent the gentiles bring those things and to what extent it will require heaven’s direct involvement, remains to be seen. But when the remnant reconnects, they will reconnect in every respect. The “gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them!”
As a result of these events, the remnant “shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers.” What does it mean to be restored? What knowledge? Which fathers? The Nephites, and Lehi, or to the earlier “fathers” as well? Does this include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

What does it mean they will be “also [restored] to the knowledge of Jesus Christ?”  What does this “knowledge” involve? What kind of relationship with Christ does this imply?

If we wonder at the “knowledge” the remnant will obtain, we have a parallel given to us: The future remnant knowledge of Christ shall be akin to that “which was had among their fathers.” Meaning they will grow to know what the earlier Nephite disciples and peoples knew. What kind of knowledge does that include?

When the right target receives the right Gospel, the results are dramatic. When the wrong group is entrusted with the Gospel, they tend to let it atrophy, grow dim, and become a social order without the power of godliness. The restoration was intended to cure that problem. But as with any gift from God, we must do more than to “take no thought but to ask.” (D&C 9: 6-7.) We must pursue knowledge and act with alacrity when it is given.
If we do not do this, then the result is not a blessing, but a cursing. (D&C 124: 47-48.) No matter what we are offered by the Lord, we must act consistent with His will to receive the blessings offered. When we fail to fulfill the obligation He appoints to us, then we fail to obtain what was offered. (D&C 124: 31-32.)
Once they have been given the gospel, the remnant will not fail. Their reconnection will be as a nail in a sure place, not to be moved. Their knowledge will grow into the perfect day, just as it might with anyone who is willing to receive what Christ offers.  (D&C 50: 24.) Noon at the summer solstice is a symbol of the perfect day. This year, in contrast, at midnight of the winter solstice there will be an eclipse. This would be a symbol in the heavens of the opposite of the perfect day.  When it arrives it undoubtedly is a sign relevant to the time. (Those things are never accidents or mere happenstance.)

The ideas begin to accumulate. Darkness and light. Free will and acceptance of what is offered by God. So many divergent roads that are offered in place of the one that remains strait and narrow, but nevertheless in a straight course before you. (2 Nephi 9: 41.)

2 Nephi 30: 3

2 Nephi 30: 3:
“And now, I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed.

Nephi speaks again prophetically about our time. He makes no distinction between the Jews and “the remnant of our seed,” or Nephite remnant in what he says here. The “book of which I have spoken” is the record of the Nephites. It will come forth, written as a warning to the gentiles. Here is another attempt to establish a time frame for a prophecy. It will be after the record exists, gets brought forth “unto the gentiles” and then is “sealed up again unto the Lord.” We are in that era now. The record exists, even if part of it is sealed. It has come forth, at least in that part intended to be released at the point of this prophecy. And it has been “sealed up again unto the Lord.” We don’t have possession of it at present.

I’ve addressed the cover story that the Angel Moroni still has the plates in what I’ve written before. Briefly, the Book of Mormon tells Joseph Smith to “seal them up unto the Lord” in detail in three places. This is one of them. The other two are 2 Nephi 27:22 (giving the most detailed instruction to Joseph) and Ether 5: 1-4. All of these instructions are to the same effect. Once the Book of Mormon has been translated, to the extent it is to come forth in our day, the plates are to be “sealed up again” by Joseph. Since he did everything else in the way he was instructed, there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t have sealed up the record and hid it again.

Here Nephi prophesies that “there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written.” Meaning that those words “written unto the gentiles” or what we have in print now, will in fact be believed by “many.” They “shall believe the words.” Nephi has assured us of that. Therefore, it is necessary that some group from among the gentiles distinguish itself by actually believing the words of the Book of Mormon. It will be this group which “shall carry them forth unto the remnant of” Nephi’s seed. Notice that they will “believe” in the book. (That will require them to have a correct understanding of the book’s content, otherwise they would have unbelief.)

Those who do not believe (or have unbelief) in the Book of Mormon will not, indeed cannot, bring the words to the remnant. They aren’t qualified. They would not be able to convert any of the remnant. It will be those who actually believe in and accept the precepts of the Book of Mormon who will carry them forth unto the remnant.



Considering the otherwise direful predictions about the gentiles, this is the one way where hope may come to them. The group that believes in the Book of Mormon will necessarily have to be preserved to fulfill their responsibility to carry the words to the remnant. This is a subset of the Saints, and clearly not all of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the church itself, there remains a condemnation because of their unbelief in the book. ( D&C 84: 54-57.) This condemnation of the church was repeated by President Benson and again by Elder Oaks.

If, therefore, you would like to be preserved, the manner in which that will happen, according to Nephi’s prophecy, will necessarily require you to abandon the condemnation of the larger church, and become one of those who believe in the Book of Mormon. Not only to say, but to do; as Section 84 above requires.

It is surprising how much information the Book of Mormon has for us. It is even more surprising that with such detail available to us, we have done so little to understand and teach it. The words of this prophecy by Nephi ought to be proclaimed among us. However, very little attention has been given to it.

One of the effects of pride is blindness. We can’t see what our pride prevents us from seeing. We have to come down to the depths of humility (to use a phrase Nephi coined in 2 Nephi 9: 42.) Interestingly it is only the Book of Mormon which tells us to “come down in the depths of humility.” (2 Ne. 9: 42; Helaman 6: 5; and 3 Ne. 12: 2.) Once Nephi coined the phrase, Mormon used it twice in his abridgement. It is a good phrase. It does tell us what we must do.

The great work of the Lord in this day revolves around the Book of Mormon. More instruction, prophecy and promises are contained in that book for our day than any other. You can get closer to God by abiding its precepts than any other book.

Joseph Smith didn’t write it. It was written by ancient prophets, sealed up to come forth in our day, and translated by the gift and power of God.

It is a perilous book. We neglect it at the risk of failure. Don’t let it remain a “sealed book” for you. Anyone can come to believe in it if they are willing.

2 Nephi 30: 2

2 Nephi 30: 2:

“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.

To the extent that gentiles “will repent” they may become part of the Lord’s “covenant people.” They are not the remnant, but they may join in the covenant. If they do, then by virtue of the covenant they become “covenant people.”

What is required for the gentiles to repent?

What covenant must they enter into or receive so they may be numbered among the “covenant people?” Is membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the only thing needed to “repent” and become a “covenant people?” If not, then what else would be required?

To the extent that “the Jews will not repent” then they will be “cast off.” Although history has shown how the Jews have been treated (as Nephi put it), “ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them.” (2 Ne. 29: 5.) These difficulties suffered by the Jews are preliminary. The Lord always watched over and preserved them from complete destruction. However, when the Gospel is offered to them in the last days, in the final offering to the last (who had once been first–see 1 Ne.13: 42), they will reject the offered renewal of the covenant at their peril. If they reject it, they “shall be cast off” because that will sever the covenant.  “The Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.”

Although we know the Lord will extend every opportunity to the descendants for the sake of a covenant with those who have become the friends of God, there are limits. God will do all He has promised to do. He will forbear, entreat, beseech, send messengers, labor alongside with His messengers, and do all He can to reclaim the heirs for the covenant’s sake. In the end, however, the heirs must either accept what He offers, or be cast off.

It is extraordinary how long the Lord will extend His hand to reclaim His people. But everyone must choose to follow Him. We have our agency. We cannot be forced to follow Him. Even though He may be longsuffering and patient, He cannot compel any to be saved.  (Moses 4: 1-3.) Unless a person is free to choose for themselves, there is no existence.  (D&C 93: 30.) 

If you remove the right to choose, it is not only agency that is obliterated, but it is existence itself. Though we are utterly dependent on God for our very existence, sustained from moment to moment by Him loaning us the ability to move, breathe and act (Mosiah 2: 21), because we are free to make choices we exist. If you destroy the right to choose you have ended the personality of the person. [I have explained this in the beginning of Beloved Enos.]

Well, all of this is of no import if the gentiles do not “repent.” Whenever we brush up against that subject we wind up engaged in discussions about justice, mercy, vengeance and restitution. I’ve written about this process in both The Second Comforter and Come, Let Us Adore Him. Briefly, here are some of the most important points:  To be forgiven we must forgive. Not just forgive, but plead for mercy for those who have offended us. The role of accusing is left to “the accuser of the brethren” or Satan. (Rev. 12: 10.) When we accuse others we interfere with their salvation. If we are the one who was offended, and we make no accusation against them, then we become their savior. Satan’s right to accuse is inferior to ours as victims of the offense. We suffer in the flesh the wrongs of others. If we make no claim for justice, surrender those and seek instead for mercy on behalf of others, then Satan’s accusations can have no claim upon them. We mimic Christ, follow His example, and in our own limited way also atone for the sins of others. Joseph Smith was trying to get us to understand this concept when he taught: “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (DHC. 4:445)

I have explained this at length in what I’ve written in Come, Let Us Adore Him. Christ said this in His ministry repeatedly. He lived it.  He showed by His own example the way to obtain forgiveness for every wrong you have ever done. It is in the same way He went about atoning for sins. It is by suffering offenses and returning good. It is by forgiving those who despitefully use and abuse you. It is through loving those who are your enemies. It is by becoming sons and daughters of God. And it can be done in no other way. (Matt. 5: 38-48.) If you do not forgive others, you cannot be forgiven. (Matt. 6: 14-15.) This is why Christ, in teaching us to pray, told us we are only forgiven as we forgive others.  (Matt. 6: 12.) It is as we forgive that we obtain forgiveness.

The way is strait and narrow, and cannot permit you to pass through while carrying any burden of accusation, desire for revenge or even just complaint about others. When you lay down what you might justly claim against others and seek nothing for their offenses, then you are able to enter in. To be blessed, we must seek peace with those who would make war against us. (Matt. 5: 9.) When we judge all others with mercy, it is with mercy alone we will be judged. (Matt. 7: 2.)

For the most part, the gentiles will not repent. They will hold courts, use their time judging, exact conditions, set limits, and annotate their permanent records with notes showing what discipline a person has undergone. And happily employ control, compulsion and dominion over one another (D&C 121: 37) right up to the time when the trumpet sounds and it is everlastingly too late.  Others will justify this failure to forgive, shout praises to the abuse, and claim all compulsion and dominion is necessary to protect us from the evil. Even though our Master told us not to resist the evil, but forgive it. (Matt. 5: 39.)

For the most part, the gentiles will demand they be judged by a law they cannot satisfy.  Some few, however, will forgive and plead for the weaknesses and failings of others. They will forgive, and thereby be forgiven. They will obtain for themselves a judgment based only on mercy, for they have shown mercy to others. This atoning act of love and intercession will be the hallmark by which the children of God are identified in the Day of Judgment. (Matt. 5: 9.) Only the peacemakers can be trusted to live in peace with one another. All others are unfit for the presence of God.