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3 Nephi 21: 1

Now we jump to late in His ministry where Christ is teaching the Nephites. We pick it up in 3 Nephi, Chapter 21:
 
 
And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;”
 
Christ is telling the Nephites (and us) about timing. He will provide a “sign” to those who watch for such things. Contrary to what you’ve heard all your life about “signs,” they are and always have been part of the true Gospel. They invariably follow faith, but do not and never have produced faith. (D&C 63: 9-10.) There are examples of signs throughout God’s dealings with those who follow Him. (See, e.g., Helaman 14: 4; Ezek. 24: 24; Ex. 10: 2; Acts 2: 22, among many others.) We are supposed to see signs, that we may know God is dealing with us. (D&C 68: 10-11.)
 
Christ is giving a sign to us so we may understand when His Father’s promises are being fulfilled.
 
The time when His Father’s covenants are to be fulfilled will be the moment when Christ will “gather in, from their long dispersion, my people.” Note it is “I” meaning Christ, who will do the gathering. Christ is the great husbandman of this, the Lord’s vineyard. It is Christ who will personally do the gathering. How do you suppose Christ will “gather in” those whom He calls “His people?”

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.”

 
But note the sequence:
 
First, gathering in from a long dispersion.
 
Second, they convert into “my people” or the “house of Israel.”

Then they are “established” as “Zion.”

 
Why does the Lord refer to it as “my Zion?” Can you have Zion without the Lord’s presence? Can there be Zion without the Lord dwelling among them? (Moses 7: 16-18.) Notice in Enoch’s City that it was the Lord who came and dwelt there, then later the Lord is the one who names or calls the people “Zion.”
 
When the Lord calls it “my Zion” how literal is this? How directly will the Lord be involved?

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?”
 
Read again the description of the group of Saints who are included with those who will comprise Zion. As you read, keep in mind all we have discussed up to this point as you recognize familiar words used below:
 
“51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

  52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

  53 And who overcame by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

  54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

  55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

  56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

  57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.

  58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—

  59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

  60 And they shall overcome all things.

  61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

  62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.” D&C 76: 51-62.)
 
These, then are Zion.These are those who become “one” and are called by the Lord after they are gathered in the “house of Israel” and “my Zion.”

1 Nephi 14: 17

1 Nephi 14: 17: 

“And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.”
Now we get some indication of timing. A great deal has been described, but the timing of the events has been left out until now.
The “day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots” – that is, when the great and abominable church is caught up in worldwide violence, every nation at war with its neighbor or within itself. It is when those events are underway “the work of the Father shall commence” to fulfill all the prior commitments and covenants.
First, the great whore will reel and stagger as a drunkard, drunk with her own blood.

Then the “work of the Father” will “commence.” What does it mean to “commence?” Why choose such a desperate hour to begin?

Are there signs of this international and internal violence already afoot? Is the work of the Father now commenced?
The “commencement” of the work is “for the fulfilling of His covenants.” What does it mean to “fulfill?” Will every whit of His covenants be all completed, all finished, all kept?  (D&C 1: 38.)
Interestingly, the “fulfilling of His covenants which He hath made to His people who are of the house of Israel” is not divided into “remnant” and “gentile.” At the time when His final work begins, all of “the house of Israel” will be remembered, in whatever scattered place they may be found. Why the change? Why no longer focus upon the “remnant” and “Jew” and “gentile” and “scattered house of Israel?”  Why does He now call them all “his people?”
Do the fractures heal? Do the divided groups come together at last? Will the scattered, lost and forgotten remains of Israel be found throughout the world? (Jacob 5: 67-68.) Will the results be a restoration of all Israel, no matter what group they may have been identified with previously? (Jacob 5: 72-73.) Will these divided, but remembered people become one at last? (Jacob 5: 74.)
How much purging will be needed to bring this to pass?  (Jacob 5: 71; D&C 45: 68-71; D&C 133: 9-12.)
If the work has begun, are there “servants” already here beginning to move the now wild branches back to their natural roots? (Jacob 5: 70.) How does one respond and return to their natural roots? Who is the “tree of life?” How do we reattach ourselves to Him? (John 15: 1-6.) What of those who would have you attach yourselves to them, to become their disciples, to follow what they claim as their right to lead and control you? (D&C 121: 36-37.) How must they lead, if not by exercising control and dominion? (D&C 121: 41-42.)
[As long as we are in Section 121, there is an important but still unrecognized truth in that revelation. The caution in Section 121 about abuse is directed in whole at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other things, it is warning the LDS Church not to persecute the Lord’s Saints, and thereby fight against God. (D&C 121: 38.) It has been traditionally interpreted by the LDS Church to the complete contrary. The LDS teaching turns the warning on its ear, and reads it to mean that you shouldn’t fight against the LDS Church! The warning, however, is addressed to the Church and warning it to exercise caution, least they find themselves fighting against the Lord’s Saints, and thereby in turn fighting against the Lord. Read it carefully. It is not a caution to you or me, but a caution to the LDS Church itself. It means that there may be Saints of God who are at times at odds with, or critical of the LDS Church. When that happens, the LDS Church is warned to refrain from persecuting them, or else they may find themselves fighting against God. It is an unnoticed warning because the traditional interpretation is used to give the LDS Church protection against criticism.]

1 Nephi 14: 15-16

“And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth. And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and behold, thou seest all these things—” 

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: 33Proverbs 11: 5; Mormon 4: 5.)

The wicked get to destroy one another, but they do not get to destroy the righteous. (1 Nephi 22: 16.)
The destruction of God’s judgment will be “among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations.” But that was all nations, was it not? Therefore, what nation will not be at war in this coming day?

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.)

How should we each proceed?

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.)

Can anyone give you “oil” for your lamp?
What is your responsibility to obtain these things?
When the time comes that all nations of the earth are at war with one another as the means for the Lord’s wrath to be poured out upon the wicked, what is the role of the righteous? Will they join in the battle? Will they be spared?  (D&C 45: 68-71.)
Why does the Lord not require the righteous to shed the blood of the wicked? Why would He use the wicked to destroy the wicked?

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?

Will citizenship in both Babylon and Zion be possible? Will Zion need a bank?

CD Talks available

There are a couple of talks I gave in the past that were digitally recorded. They have been sold in the past for (as I recall) $10.00 apiece. The proceeds from those sales were donated to a shelter for abused girls in Utah.

The recordings are still available. They are not charging anything for the copies, but are asking that donations be made. There are costs associated with producing and mailing the copies, so some donation is appreciated to be fair to those providing them. Any donation you make that exceeds the costs to reproduce and mail them will be used to support the missionary effort of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Below are descriptions of the two recordings:
Denver Snuffer, One CD:   Zion Symposium Talk, 4 Nephi, given February 23, 2008
Denver Snuffer, Three CDs:   Christ’s Discourse on the Road to Emmaus, given April 14, 2007
Cost:  Donation 
For orders email:  thembones47@yahoo.com 
While I own the copyright for these materials, all the money raised in selling them has been donated. None of the donations will be given to me, nor have any ever been given to me. 
If you choose to make a donation, the money will go to those who will take the order, process your donation, and return anything above production costs to the missionary effort. Other than giving the talks and making this announcement, I am not involved in any other capacity. 
The second recording (3 CDs) is a talk that became the appendix in Eighteen Verses.  There are some differences between the recorded talk and the published appendix.
Anyone interested can contact the email address shown above to get a copy. Please do not contact me or the comment moderator.  I am only making the announcement.

1 Nephi 14: 14

1 Nephi 14: 14: 

“And it came to pass that 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.” 

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.

What is the “power of the Lamb of God?”

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?

1 Nephi 14: 13

1 Nephi 14: 13:

“And it came to pass that 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.”
 
Did you notice that? The whore is also a “mother?” Why is that? What do we learn from that bit of information? Just how loyal will the deceived be to the institution they regard as their great mother? It’s no wonder they react with such hostility at the threat posed by the Lamb of God.
 
Now did you notice also that the fight is against “the Lamb of God” and not the “Saints?” They are opposed to Christ and are going to fight against Him.
 
This is akin to David’s response to Goliath: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defiedThis day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17: 45-47.) David knew the fight was between the Lord and Goliath, not between him and Goliath. Therefore the advantage was all the Lord’s.
 
The coming fight will be between those who regard the worldly order as their mother, and the Lamb of God.
 
Did you notice also that the great mother whore includes “all the nations of the Gentiles?” Meaning that included among this great false order will be the United States, the greatest of the Gentile nations. We’ve been told in modern revelation that along with all other nations, the United States will be destroyed.  (D&C 87: 6.) We disbelieve this and hope to save the nation. We want to follow the counsel of the Lord to make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when we fail we may be received into everlasting habitations. (Luke 16: 9.) Your affiliations here will serve you here, but you will not be trusted with true riches. (Luke 16: 11.) The result is that we have no choice but to flee.
 
Well, the great whore wants to defeat the Lamb, but she cannot get access to Him. She must settle for destroying His teachings, His doctrines, His ordinances. She will target these truths because they link the Lord to some few who are here. She will at every turn deceive, mislead, corrupt and discourage. She understands that the fight is with the Lord, but to destroy Him she must destroy all that testifies truthfully of Him.
 
All that is corrupt and corrupted is welcomed by her. All that fails to redeem the souls of men and return them to the Lord’s presence is welcomed here in her dominion. She will confer tax benefits, honors, protection and awards upon those who cannot teach the doctrines that save. Wealth will amass, privileges will be given, and the great whore’s dominion will expand to include “all churches” in these last days. (2 Nephi 28: 12-14.)  Persecution is the heritage of the righteous because this world has no part in Christ. (John 14: 30.)  When the righteous are no longer persecuted, and the honors and awards of men begin to be bestowed upon any religion, you may know they have made friends of the children of mammon.
 
She cannot destroy Him, so she will turn her anger upon those who preserve His doctrine, His teachings, His truths and destroy them that He may be cast out of this world. This is her plan.
 
But this battle is between principalities and dominions involving spiritual wickedness in high places, and not just flesh and blood. (Eph. 6: 12.) Therefore we should fear not, because the battle is, always was, and always will be the Lord’s. (D&C 105: 14.)

1 Nephi 14: 11-12

 
“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.”
 
The whore has “dominion” over all. All nations. All kindreds.  All tongues. All people. She has dominion over them all.  What does “dominion” mean?
 
Notice the “church of the Lamb of God” are referred to as “the Saints of God.”
 
The Saints on the other hand, were “few” in number by comparison with the great dominion of the whore.
 
The Saints numbers are few because of “the wickedness and abominations of the whore.” How would the whore’s wickedness and abominations cause the Saints to be “few” in number? What trouble must the Saints overcome because of the whore’s widespread wickedness? What challenges must the Saints overcome because of the whore’s universal abominations? How do they “overcome” these challenges?  (D&C 76: 53.)
 
What does it mean the whore “sits upon many waters?”  (Rev. 17: 15.) Why are they likened to water? (Gen 49: 4.)
 
Note the Saints are also “upon all the face of the earth” but are not said to be “sitting upon many waters.” They do have, however, “dominions” (in the plural). Why is the whore’s dominion singular, while the Saint’s plural? The whore’s control is one, but the Saints are divided into sub-groups.  Why? Will they be led by various prophets from various locations?  (D&C 133: 26.)
 
This fragmentation of the Saints is set in a time frame of this prophecy and it will not last. However it will exist before the wrath poured out upon the whore begins.
 
Why is the whore much more successful than the church of the Lamb of God? Or, more importantly, is the number of those involved in these two different cultures any indication of their relative standing before the Lord? If not, then what matter? Is it the quantity of those who are following a particular creed or organization, or the quality of the knowledge some few possess of the Lord?
 
Will getting more people to join the Church change the outcome of this prophecy from Nephi?
 
What is important, then, for those who want to be on the right side of this divide? How do they become one of the “few” who are Saints belonging to the Lamb of God?
 
How should “success” be defined? By numbers, buildings, activity and wealth or possession of knowledge of Christ? If success has nothing to do with numbers, buildings, activity and wealth, why do we concern ourselves with them? If it has something to do with knowledge of Christ, why are so few able to declare they know Him? Who can state they have seen Him? Who can testify as a witness of Him? How successful have we been in distributing the knowledge of the Son of God?
 
Where should our efforts be focused? Is the Book of Mormon important in accomplishing what the Lord expects from His Saints?
 
What interesting information Nephi has given us in this verse. But it gets more interesting as it proceeds further….

1 Nephi 14: 10

1 Nephi 14: 10:

“And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” 

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.”

The other and all-inclusive great church is comprised of all philosophies, all belief systems, all unbelief systems, all rationalizations, all theories and vanities that distract people from repenting and following Christ. These vary from very good things that are uplifting, and possess even great portions of truth, to the degrading and perverse. This all-inclusive church is a “whore” because she is completely indiscriminate and open for all to have her acceptance and affection. She welcomes you. The only requirement being that you have false beliefs.

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.

Look at her list of trade goods, given in the description of her fall by John the Revelator:
“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.”  (Rev. 18: 11-13.)
The final two on the list are the reason for the other items. The earlier ones lead inevitably to slavery and loss of the souls of men. The devil, who founded her, is not interested in anything other than slavery and the loss of your soul.
The great illusion of a whore is to imagine she likes you. To imagine she cares for you. To imagine she desires what you desire and is cooperating with you because she finds you attractive, appealing, and that you fulfill her longing. It is a lie, an illusion and a fraud. Her bodily diseases are less virulent than her contamination of the soul. Empty, false, vain and foolish thoughts occupy the imagination of those who have intercourse with the great whore. She prefers the lie, relies on it. You would not be her customer if not for the lies.
What an amazing congruence of sexual images and religious failing have been given to us by Nephi and John the Revelator. How apt! How perfect!  Imagining something that is degrading and debilitating to be sacred. It is a work of a god or a devil.  And of course it is for us to decide between them.
The whore does have her allures, doesn’t she? How many of us are in her embrace, speaking of love and Jesus and the joy of the Saints, while remaining wretched, poor, foolish and lost? She offers you vanity as a religion.  “Vanity” because it is vain, or without any effect to save, i.e., without power. Only a form of godliness, nothing real.
Such powerful deception as is implied in these verses demands our attention. It ought to force us forward to seek and obtain a more sure word of prophecy, so we know our God and covenant directly with Him. It should make us refuse all the imitations, all the deceptions, all those who pretend to speak truth, and instead  demand that true messengers be sent from whom we can be taught further light and knowledge.
There’s the rub, isn’t it? How to tell the one from the other? A concealed and veiled resurrected Christ laid aside all glory and walked with two of His disciples for approximately seven miles on the day of His resurrection. After His departure, the one asked the other: “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24: 32.) Undoubtedly the reason they already knew it was Him was because truth has power that vanity does not. Therefore, it appears that before our eyes are opened, we must determine truth first. I’ve written about this in the Appendix to Eighteen Verses.
Interesting cause and effect. Interesting the Lord would open the scriptures to touch their hearts. What a powerful pattern the Lord has given for those who follow Him.

1 Nephi 14: 8-9

1 Nephi 14: 8-9:


“And it came to pass that when the angel had spoken these words, he said unto me: Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel? I said unto him, Yea.  And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.”

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.