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1 Nephi 13: 42

1 Nephi 13: 42:

“And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”



Christ showed Himself to the Jews during His mortal ministry.


He showed Himself to the Nephites after His resurrection.


He visited others, who have also kept records of His appearances to them. The full extent of the records that have been kept has not become apparent to us yet.  Nephi would report in the final summation of his lifelong ministry the following about the many records to come forth:


“Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in  one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.” (2 Nephi 29: 10-14.)


The “lost tribes of Israel” are plural. However many the number may be, each kept records and they are to come into our possession at some point in fulfillment of this prophetic promise.


All of this was foreseen by Zenos even before Isaiah. Zenos tells us the lost tribes of Israel will be spread all about, into the “nethermost” parts of the earth: “And these will I place in the nethermost part of my vineyard, whithersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee; and I do it that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree; and also, that I may lay up fruit thereof against the season, unto myself; for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof. And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure.”  (Jacob 5: 13-14.)


Where is “nethermost?” How many were there?


When Christ informed the Nephites of His post-resurrection ministry, He informed them He would be visiting the various Israelite people:  “But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.”  (3 Nephi 17: 4.) He visited the Nephites. They were an organized body, led by prophets, expecting His birth and death. There were other organized believers who also looked for His coming. What their prophets told them, and how they understood His ministry will be in their records. What He taught them when He visited with them after His resurrection will also be in their records. It is likely to mirror the Nephite experience and record. However, it is undoubtedly true that we will again learn how involved a Redeemer He has been. Should we already realize that from what we’ve been given?  We ought to welcome His direct ministry among us. Somehow we find His intimate involvement hard to comprehend. We think, if someone should acknowledge they have seen Him, that such a person is somehow special, different, or unique. It ought to be commonplace.


In the unfolding ministry of the Lord, the Jews were the first, but will be the last, to receive again His ministry. The gentiles have been given the Gospel. The remnant will be receiving it from them – soon.

Fourth

It’s the Fourth (third, actually, but because we’re in Utah it gets celebrated early so as to keep the Sabbath, or something).  Therefore my wife, in her wisdom has determined to only put up one post–I’m adding this as an aside.
I had a couple of off-blog comments addressed to me that haven’t been put up.  But to make certain that the matter is clear to those involved:  Rest assured I take no offense at criticism.  It really isn’t important if folks like, dislike or are otherwise disposed toward me.  Largely I’m irrelevant.  Some of the things I have to say are quite important, in my view.  But they derive their importance from the subject, not from me.
I probably deserve more personal criticism than I will ever receive.  Therefore I do not and have not taken any offense at anything said to me on or off the blog.  Do not trouble yourself for a moment at the idea that you’ve offended me; because you certainly haven’t.
I’m a trial lawyer.  That means someone is hired (and paid quite well) to oppose everything I do, everything I write, and every argument I make as part of my daily work.  Criticism is always with me whenever I am working.  So to be criticized over ideas I present is no more offensive than to have a spirited argument in a case at work.  I have thick skin and a tolerance for being criticized.  Since I took no offense I don’t feel the need to forgive, but nevertheless if forgiveness is wanted it is freely given.

One other thought:  I think there are a number of you that are really seeing the Book of Mormon in its true light.  That is joyful for me.  Such a treasure; so unused; so little understood.  To have it become treasured by some of you for the first time is truly a delight for me.  Thank you.

1 Nephi 13: 40-41

1 Nephi 13: 40-41:

“And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved. And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.”
 
The “books” that the prior verse referred to are now called “records” by the angel. The “records” will be among and originate from the gentiles. The purpose of the “records” is to establish the truth of the original records of “the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The purpose of the whole is to confirm the reality of Christ in His mortal ministry. Christ, who came to earth, lived and died as a mortal, was the Savior of mankind. The New Testament record confirming His ministry, sacrifice and resurrection is true! Their testimonies of Christ are reliable. He is our Savior and our God!
 
The “plain and precious” things that got removed will be returned to us.  I’ve spoken of that before and won’t repeat it again here. But the “plain and precious” things will become known to “all kindreds, tongues and people” again. 
 
I was thinking about what was required for Joseph Smith to be able to get a message out in his day. He needed a printing press, which he could not afford. He needed Martin Harris to give a $3,000 note backed by a mortgage on his home to motivate the printer to make the first printings of the Book of Mormon. He needed an army of disciples to distribute the material on foot or horseback. He needed an infrastructure that went well beyond his individual means. Today Joseph would need a keyboard and an internet connection. He could speak to more people in a few minutes, across a wider swath of the globe, as a single individual acting alone, than he was able to speak to through an army of followers who uprooted their lives to follow his teachings.
 
We continue to make great sacrifices in purse and time to send missionaries throughout the world even today. In truth, if Joseph Smith had access to the internet he could have restored more things to more people in less time than has been done from 1830 to the present. It makes you wonder – if the truth were not packaged, marketed, focus-grouped through approved language, and accompanied by supporting photos and digital graphics – if the truth were simply spoken plainly, would it have any effect? Does it need an infrastructure of trained professional marketing to accompany it? Does it need a slick website to attract His sheep? Is His voice enough?
 
What if someone were to declare “that all men must come unto the Lamb of God, who is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world, or they cannot be saved.” What if they were to declare in sober words that the Lamb of God lives still! That He had appeared to and spoken with the one making the declaration.  Would there yet be those who would hear and repent?
 
Would that message be drowned out by the chorus of foolish and vain things being spoken in the name of Jesus Christ by those who, despite having real intent and sincere desire, have not been given power to declare His words? Would such a message only be another bit of entertainment for the bored and curious to give but passing notice? Could the world be given such a message and warned, but fail to see what it is they are being offered for one last time before the harvest is to begin? If so, would we notice?
The verse raises interesting options for the Lord to fulfill His promises in ways which have only come into existence in the last few years.  He certainly does have the ability to “hasten His work” when He chooses. (D&C 88: 73.)
 
Should someone choose to come, the verse reports: “they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” What does that include? Authoritative baptism? Authoritative bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost? Prophecy?  Revelation? The “rock” of seership we discussed a few days ago? How must they come?  The Book of Mormon suggests it must be through the gate of revelation.  (Moroni 10: 4-5.)  Without revelation you cannot obtain the testimony of Jesus; which is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19: 10.) Or, in other words, unless you find prophets who can bear testimony of Him, you have not yet found the means for salvation. This becomes quite interesting and important. Very frank about the conditions for salvation.
 
Then the promise is that all these witnesses, all these records, and all these disciples are to become “one.”  “[T]hey both (records) shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth” who in turn makes people to be “one” as well. A great assembly, a general congregation and Church of the Firstborn.
 
How great a promise has been offered to those who will receive! What good, however, is it to offer a gift if the one to whom it is offered refuses to accept? (D&C 88: 33.)

1 Nephi 13: 39

 
“And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.”
 
We know the New Testament will come forth first and get into the hands of the “remnant” of the promised people. It will get into their hands BEFORE some other materials will also come forth.
 
When did that happen? Was it something that occurred before the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830? Which native tribes received copies of the New Testament before the “other books” came forward? What are these “other books” referred to here? They “came forth by the power of the Lamb” but came “after” the New Testament was given to the “remnant.” What books have come forth “by the power of the Lamb” to your knowledge? Apart from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith History and Matthew, what other books would qualify? Did all these come after the “remnant” had first received the New Testament “book of the Lamb of God?”
 
The effect of the “other books” will be to “convince” the gentiles as well as “the remnant of the seed of my brethren” of the truth of the New Testament and “records of the prophets.” Have the gentiles become convinced? Have the “remnant” become convinced?  Have the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth become convinced? Are they convinced of the truth of “the records of the prophets” even if they are not yet convinced of the truth of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb?”
 
Is this a serial progression? That is, does it come and convince the gentiles first?  Then, having convinced them, does it next convince the “remnant?” Then, after having convinced both the gentiles and the “remnant,” does it in turn convince the scattered Jews? If serial, what stage of the unfolding of these events is happening now? What is needed before the phase would be completed and the next one begin?
What does it mean that “other books” will come forth? What kinds of “books” would they be? Who would have written them? Why would they come “by the power of the Lamb” only to meet the criteria? Is a good commentary written by CES among the promised “books” coming forward? What about the Ensign?
 
How would you be able to recognize a book coming “by the power of the Lamb” in fulfillment of this promise? Will these “books” be recognized as scripture? Do they include discoveries at Qumran and Nag Hammadi? Was Hugh Nibley working on such projects, and if so, was he among those in whom the “power of the Lamb” was working?
This verse has potential for broad application. It raises questions worth contemplating and may surprise you at some of the issues it requires us to confront. Such are the Lord’s dealings with mankind in every generation. We are  made prayerful because He gives us great subjects with which to grapple.

1 Nephi 13: 38

1 Nephi 13: 38:

“And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.”
 
Roles and definitions continue to be established here.  Nephi’s seed has been “destroyed” and only a “mixture” of his blood remains at the time of these events. Nephi has taken to calling them “the seed of my brethren” rather than a “mixture” of his (Nephi’s) seed.
 
The “book of the Lamb of God” is later identified as the record we know as the New Testament. Altered, limited, with plain and precious materials removed, nevertheless called the “book of the Lamb of God.” Acceptance of this New Testament book, notwithstanding its limitations and omissions, is akin to Christ referring to the Temple of Herod as His “Father’s house” despite the fact that it had been profaned.
 
Although Christ called Herod’s Temple His Father’s house, He did not commune with His Father there. Christ visited with angelic ministers on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17: 1-3), in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), in the wilderness (Matt. 4: 11), and alone while apart from others.  But there is no record of Him entertaining angels while in Herod’s Temple. Though the Temple had been profaned and was unworthy to receive such visitors, Christ still honored the site and referred to it in sacred terms. This is a great key to understanding Christ’s language here.
 
The “book of the Lamb of God” is revered and held in extraordinary esteem, as is evidenced by the terminology used in this revelation to Nephi. Nevertheless the book is corrupted, changed, with many plain and precious things removed.
 
Can the book that has come to the “seed of Nephi’s brethren” be said to be less than a fullness? Can the book be called “the book of the Lamb of God?” If it can be called “the book of the Lamb of God” can it also be said to contain a fullness?
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[Here’s a modern detour in question-asking: Do you focus on the book’s value and worth by calling it the “book of the Lamb of God” or do you focus on the book’s failings by saying many plain and precious things have been removed?  If you do the one are you “positive” and “hopeful” and “Christ-like?” And if you focus on the other are you “negative” and “judgmental” and “un-Christ-like?” Is Nephi being fair and accurate by including the book’s limitations? Or is he just another crank, tearing down the good works and valuable intent of others?  Should he repent of his negativity? Ought we be offended?
 
These kinds of questions are more a reflection of our own insecurities and foolishness than they are helpful to understanding Christ’s “strange act” unfolding before our disbelieving eyes.  (D&C 101: 93-95.)]
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This “book of the Lamb of God” will originate from the Jews, be brought by gentiles, and provided to the “remnant” who are identified with the “seed of Nephi’s brethren.” Since we can recall the history of these events, and know it is talking of the New Testament, we can see the various identities. New Testament converts from Judaism to Christianity, including the Apostles, Seventy, and Paul, are called “Jews.” The descendants of the Puritans, English Colonies, American States and United States who dispossessed the native peoples are all referred to as “gentiles” in the prophecy. (I’m ignoring Central and South American for the moment.) The natives will include among them some faction which is the “seed of my brethren” that is the “remnant” about whom these promises are being made.
 
The question remains as to the identity of the “remnant” about whom these prophecies are speaking.
 
I know side-issues are arising throughout this discussion.  But I’ve been focusing only on the “remnant” for weeks now.  I won’t depart from that single subject, despite the temptations that arise from questions flooding in on tangents. Bear with me. We’ll eventually get to other issues.
 
I’ve debated whether it is even possible to cover this subject on a blog. This is an experiment. I’m trying to cover a topic that should rightly be put into a book. Whether it will work or not is still an open question. I think it is helpful even if the ultimate objective can’t be met. We’ll press forward and see how it turns out.

1 Nephi 13: 37

“And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.”
Now we encounter words that require us to know meanings first. For the Lord’s “Zion” to be brought forth, we need to know what “Zion” means. What is it? When the Lord calls it “my Zion” does it belong to Him. Will the Lord be the one who “brings again Zion” as stated earlier in the 3rd Nephi materials of Christ’s prophecy? (3 Ne. 16: 18, quoting Isaiah 52: 8.) What are the role of people in “seeking to bring forth His Zion?”

Will they actually “bring again Zion” or is that the Lord’s doing? Unless the Lord determines to “bring again Zion” will men be able to accomplish it? Even if they are quite sincere and determined? What, then, must precede Zion’s return?

Even if they are not given the commission or command to participate in Zion’s return, will they nevertheless be blessed if they seek to bring it again? Is the promised “gift and power of the Holy Ghost” promised to those who would seek to bring forth Zion? What does that mean? How could anyone accomplish that?
What does it mean to “publish peace?”

What does it mean to “publish tidings of great joy?”

How does the “publishing of peace” and “tidings of great joy” relate to having your feet become beautiful upon the mountains? (I’ve already discussed having your feet clean of the blood and sins of your generation in an earlier post, How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.)
Why feet “upon the mountains?” What “mountains?” Are these literal, or figurative, or both? If the “mountains” are a symbol, what do they symbolize?

Tuesday I went to the Salt Lake Temple early with a missionary who reported to the MTC on Wednesday. I teach him in priest quorum. I wanted to make sure before his departure that the “endowment” he received would include some details of what the Mountain of the Lord’s House was intended to confer. Young men are still teachable. I’d really like to move to the Primary, however. Primary kids, despite their energy, have open hearts and they are willing to receive.

By the time we get LDS adults to teach there is just too much idolatry to deal with….

1 Nephi 13: 36

“And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.” 

Christ’s Gospel is in the Book of Mormon. I’ve written books explaining just how much of His Gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon. When writing The Second Comforter I found the Book of Mormon was the best source to explain the process. In the Preface to Eighteen Verses I wrote (and meant) the following: “I am convinced the Book of Mormon is the preeminent sacred text for our times. All other volumes of scriptures are not just inferior to it, but vastly so.”  (Id. p. iii.)

The Book of Mormon contains Christ’s Gospel.  It also contains His “rock” and His “salvation.” What is the “rock” contained within it?

John Hall thought the better translation of Christ’s colloquy with Peter would have included the Lord identifying Peter not as a “rock” but as a “seer stone.” And upon the stone or seership would the Lord build His church.

I’ve thought the Book of Mormon was more a Urim and Thummim than a book. It is a tremendous source of subject matter upon which to ponder, oftentimes drawing a veil at critical moments while inviting the reader to ponder, pray and ask to see more. Used in that fashion, the Book of Mormon can open the heavens and make any person a seer indeed.

The words of a prophet are best understood by a prophet. If you can come to understand the Book of Mormon’s words, you can become a prophet. Or, more correctly, a seer before whom scenes of God’s dealings with mankind, past, present and future, will be put on display. Mosiah 8: 17 reports: “But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.” 

Another way to interpret the “rock” is found in Eighteen Verses where I discussed the meaning of 1 Ne. 1: 6. The meaning of the “rock” before Lehi (who wrote in Egyptian and would therefore understand meanings) would mean Ma’-at.  Facsimile 2. figure 4, for example, shows the image of the Horus Hawk atop a rock and on the heavenly boat.

Still another meaning is found in Moses 7: 53 where Christ uses the term as a proper noun, or name for Himself.  He is “the Rock of Heaven.” In this instance the meaning of the above verse is that you can find the Lord within the Book of Mormon. (Remember that EB Grandin’s print shop provided all punctuation and capitalizations to the first edition. It was actually John H. Gilbert who did the work, which he described in a written recollection of the events dated 8 September 1892. (John Gilbert’s September 8th, 1892 recollections) If this was a proper noun and Gilbert did not capitalize it, we still don’t. But that would not mean the word “rock” ought not to be rendered instead “Rock” as a proper name for Christ.)

The “salvation” to be found in the Book of Mormon is the same as salvation to be found in all the Gospel. That is, by finding Christ.  For life eternal consists in coming to know Christ, and in turn Christ introducing you to the Father.  (John 17: 2-3.) It is this appearing which Joseph Smith referred to as literal, not figurative.  (D&C 130: 3.)

The prophetic message of the Book of Mormon is deeper and more profound the closer you examine it. It begins to become quite unlikely Joseph Smith could have produced such wisdom unless it truly is an ancient document. Of course the critics labor to make it seem so, but they haven’t seriously examined its contents to see what it says.

1 Nephi 13: 36

“And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.” 

Christ’s Gospel is in the Book of Mormon. I’ve written books explaining just how much of His Gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon. When writing The Second Comforter I found the Book of Mormon was the best source to explain the process. In the Preface to Eighteen Verses I wrote (and meant) the following: “I am convinced the Book of Mormon is the preeminent sacred text for our times. All other volumes of scriptures are not just inferior to it, but vastly so.”  (Id. p. iii.)

The Book of Mormon contains Christ’s Gospel.  It also contains His “rock” and His “salvation.” What is the “rock” contained within it?

John Hall thought the better translation of Christ’s colloquy with Peter would have included the Lord identifying Peter not as a “rock” but as a “seer stone.” And upon the stone or seership would the Lord build His church.

I’ve thought the Book of Mormon was more a Urim and Thummim than a book. It is a tremendous source of subject matter upon which to ponder, oftentimes drawing a veil at critical moments while inviting the reader to ponder, pray and ask to see more. Used in that fashion, the Book of Mormon can open the heavens and make any person a seer indeed.

The words of a prophet are best understood by a prophet. If you can come to understand the Book of Mormon’s words, you can become a prophet. Or, more correctly, a seer before whom scenes of God’s dealings with mankind, past, present and future, will be put on display. Mosiah 8: 17 reports: “But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.” 

Another way to interpret the “rock” is found in Eighteen Verses where I discussed the meaning of 1 Ne. 1: 6. The meaning of the “rock” before Lehi (who wrote in Egyptian and would therefore understand meanings) would mean Ma’-at.  Facsimile 2. figure 4, for example, shows the image of the Horus Hawk atop a rock and on the heavenly boat.

Still another meaning is found in Moses 7: 53 where Christ uses the term as a proper noun, or name for Himself.  He is “the Rock of Heaven.” In this instance the meaning of the above verse is that you can find the Lord within the Book of Mormon. (Remember that EB Grandin’s print shop provided all punctuation and capitalizations to the first edition. It was actually John H. Gilbert who did the work, which he described in a written recollection of the events dated 8 September 1892. (John Gilbert’s September 8th, 1892 recollections) If this was a proper noun and Gilbert did not capitalize it, we still don’t. But that would not mean the word “rock” ought not to be rendered instead “Rock” as a proper name for Christ.)

The “salvation” to be found in the Book of Mormon is the same as salvation to be found in all the Gospel. That is, by finding Christ.  For life eternal consists in coming to know Christ, and in turn Christ introducing you to the Father.  (John 17: 2-3.) It is this appearing which Joseph Smith referred to as literal, not figurative.  (D&C 130: 3.)

The prophetic message of the Book of Mormon is deeper and more profound the closer you examine it. It begins to become quite unlikely Joseph Smith could have produced such wisdom unless it truly is an ancient document. Of course the critics labor to make it seem so, but they haven’t seriously examined its contents to see what it says.

1 Nephi 13: 35

1 Nephi 13: 35:

“For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.

It is the Lamb who makes this promise. He declares He will “manifest” Himself to Nephi’s seed. Christ promises the same thing (to “manifest” Himself) to the gentiles in our day. (1 Nephi 14: 1.) This original promise would be repeated by later Book of Mormon prophets.

The descendants of Nephi to whom the Lord would manifest Himself “shall write many things” which the Lord would minister. What does the qualification “many things” imply?  Is “many” the same as “all things?”

The things to be written are what Christ “shall minister unto them.” Is this limited to His ministry after His resurrection? Would it include all things which He “ministered” to them, even through prophetic ministers sent by Him?

Here again the words “plain and precious” are repeated. Why is this phrase used? What does it mean? Why was this what was removed by the “great and abominable church,” but replaced through the things to be written by the Nephites? Is the fact Christ “ministered” to the Nephites, over a thousand-year dispensation, through many different ministers, in many different settings, alone evidence of something “plain and precious” to us?  When Nephi would later write: Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts. “ (2 Nephi 28: 29-32.)

Is not speaking to the Lord, and more importantly hearing from Him the most plain, the most precious of things? Would the Lord have ever promised to come, take up His abode (John 14: 23), and sup with you (Rev. 3: 20-21) if He did not mean it? Does the Book of Mormon reiterate the promises given in the New Testament? Have they been restored to us by the Book of Mormon?

Here again we find the word “destroyed” used. “Destroyed” does not mean complete eradication. It means the loss of order, political independence and social coherence. Many will die, but they will not cease to exist.

What does “dwindle in unbelief” mean? Will anything be kept, although they should “dwindle?” Can a people “dwindle” and yet retain some truths?

It is not just the Nephite descendants who will “dwindle in unbelief,” but “also the seed of thy brethren,” the Lamanites. Whatever truths remain will not permit them to have on-going access to the Lord’s presence. However, that does not mean they will not have Divine favor, does it?  After all, the Lord gives to everyone precisely what will be best for them to know according to His wisdom. (Alma 29: 8.) Does dwindling mean that people are altogether lost to some portion of God’s teachings and favor? How is it possible to determine if any people from any society are not being brought wisely along by the Lord?

The teachings that Christ will “minister” to the Nephites will be written, and then “these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles” at the appointed time. Why write them? Why preserve them? Why are the records of His acts important for others to learn about? Why would a record of His dealings need to eventually be brought to light? Will all His dealings eventually be brought to light?  (2 Nephi 29: 13; D&C 133: 30.) If He, therefore, imparts His word to you, what becomes your responsibility?

What does the coming forth of the Nephite record “by the gift and power of the Lamb” mean? Will this same pattern repeat? (D&C 133: 26.) Will the “gift and power of the Lamb” be on display again? Will this “make bare His arm?” Will people finally consider things which they have previously ignored? (Isa. 52: 15.) Can you and I consider them now?