“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?