2 Nephi 28: 31

“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.”
Now we move beyond the wo’s to cursing.  Cursing by one holding authority to seal is a terrible thing to encounter. However, we should expect that one having that authority, possessing correct knowledge, along with the ability to lead into light and truth, would do all he could to be clear about a matter so those who read what he has said will understand unmistakably the responsibilities they face. Nephi is discharging a duty, and doing so with our best interests in mind. We shouldn’t take offense. We should be grateful even if it is painful to read.
So again we confront the phrase “trust in man” along with “maketh flesh his arm.” Have you considered the meaning of these terms? Have you thought about them as symbols?
“Trust in man” is another way of describing reliance on man to save. Man’s theories or hopes or vain formulas as the path to God is another way to describe “trust in man.” Do you want a preacher who will give you the philosophies of men mingled with scripture? 
Something from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to “flesh out” the meaning of a phrase in scripture? A little story of personal experience from your own life, to personalize the meaning of a verse from the Bible? Will you trade that for an inspired warning that your soul is in jeopardy and you are cursed because of what you accept in place of the power of the Holy Ghost as your guide?
“Maketh flesh his arm” is another way of saying the “strength” of man, rather than the “strength” of God. The arm is also the means by which a sign or covenant might be set forth. By putting the “flesh his arm” rather than the signs of priestly authority from a true messenger, the implication is that any surrogate for God will do if they just have a few bona-fides. Credentials will be enough.  Have they been to college and received training for the ministry? A man cannot preach unless he’s been trained for the ministry, you see. Are they a scholar? We like to defer to them. We quote them, study them, and believe in their techniques and methods.
But Nephi keeps thundering back: No man’s precepts should be accepted when they do not originate in revelation and the Holy Ghost.  Without a connection to revelation and the Holy Ghost, the teachings are all the arm of flesh. If you want to trust in that, you will be cursed.

Nephi puts it into two, opposing camps. There are only two. There are either inspired teachings, given by revelation and confirmed by the Holy Ghost, or they are man’s understanding. The first will save you. The other will curse you. There is no happy marriage. You cannot have both. This sword cuts both ways, and forces you to make a decision. Your eternity will be affected by the decision. So either you find the right way and follow it, or you are relying upon men and will in the end be cursed.

Interesting choice. Terrible dilemma. Glad we are absolutely guaranteed that the men we trust to lead us cannot ever lead us astray.  Or the majority of them won’t anyway. Because if we had to rely only on something as flimsy as the Holy Ghost to choose we would be forced to fast and pray, be humble and penitent to solve this terrible dilemma for us; working out our salvation with fear and trembling before God. (Philip. 2: 12.) 
I’m glad we don’t have to go through that.  We’re the best of heaven and have come down to strut and fret our hour upon the stage, all the while enwrapped in several layers of guaranteed eternal life insurance policies paid for by the blood of martyrs and pioneers who suffered so we might be able to live comfortably. We are just GOOD people. They envied us. Everyone has, you know.  The prophets all looked down from antiquity and longed to live among us, the favored few…
Oh, wait a minute, I got carried away. I forgot we were trying to understand Nephi’s message. For a minute there I was too wrapped up in our own message. Well, to return to Nephi – someone’s going to be cursed for trusting in men. Only those whose precepts and teachings originate in the Holy Ghost are going to be saved. It is a terrible burden to confront. It almost makes us want to turn away in sorrow rather than continue on following our Lord. (See John 6: 65-67.) But, then again, who else has the words of eternal life other than Him?

8 thoughts on “2 Nephi 28: 31

  1. Well said Denver, well said! Great post! Got me laughing(sadly) bright and early.

    “Because if we had to rely only on something as flimsy as the Holy Ghost to choose we would be forced to fast and pray, be humble and penitent to solve this terrible dilemma for us; working out our salvation with fear and trembling before God.”
    It always has been much easier to have a king, or prophet or whatever. Much easier.

  2. Even if the Prophet could never lead us astray, that’s only IF we ourselves have the Spirit to understand his words correctly or we will STILL be lead astray & misinterpret him as most everyone does.

    So it does come down to whether we have the Spirit to discern truth from error & right from wrong & a devil from a saint, even while sitting in Church or talking with Church members.

    I can’t count 2 people I know who can do this & I myself error many times because of the confusion of seemingly righteous people preaching the philososphies of men that everyone in the Church seems to be accepting as truth today. Because it’s much easier than the true Gospel.

    I continually watch in amazement how most all members & leaders I know easily fall for & support the evil devils around them.

    It is so true that if the end does not come quickly, there will be no one left to save.

  3. Not sure where to post this, so it goes here.

    My wife is preparing a lesson on covenants and I suggested she include some material we have discussed. The lesson says that the natural seed of Abraham inherit the promises made to Abraham as well as those who accept the Gospel of Christ and are adopted unto him (Gentiles – us).

    We had read that in D&C 77 that the 144,000 are sent to Israel to gather them to the Church of the Firstborn (not to the LDS Church). So the ones being gathered have or will have their calling and election made sure.

    So it occurred to me that only those Gentiles of a similar nature (having or prepared to receive their calling and election) will be adopted into Israel, even into Lehi’s posterity – not your “normal” Gentile or your “normal” LDS member.

    That raises the stakes a bit. I wonder how many of us are shooting that high.

    Thanks to Denver Snuffer for this line of discussion.

  4. WONDERFUL POST!!!!!!!!!

    Isiah Chapter 28 is applicable here. Here the Lord tells us we have made a covenant with death and hell that His judgements will pass us by. Or in other words we believe we can never be led astray, we are his chosen and all is well in Zion. For which the Lords says he will replace all the leaders who imply such foolishness for they “err in wisdom and stumble in judgement” even and espeically the “priest and the prophet.” Or in other words the very ones who are not supposed to be able to lead the saints astray.

  5. I have no desire to live vicariously through anyone else’s spiritual experiences. However, in the post on 2 Nephi:28&29, you imply the saints are unbelieving because they do not want to hear about any revelation from “unauthorized” sources. Well, I do. Especially if it can give me ANY insight into receiving the Second Comforter.

    So, I’m asking. If there is information you can give us regarding the ministry of Abraham, Elijah, or John to the “heirs of salvation,” please tell us.

    Specifically, what are their roles in our coming to Christ? Can we expect to see them somewhere along the path? Are their roles always the same? Are there passages in scripture which can help us understand their roles? What line of authority could Elijah create? Does he bring the sealing power to ALL “heirs of salvation?” What message might Abraham bring to an individual which has application to “all who are living?” How does John “bring men to salvation?”

    I’m not sure your criticism of the saints’ reluctance to learn is fair, if there is no one able or authorized to teach them these things.

  6. Gordon, I think the criticism is because we all, each of us, have as much opportunity to gain knowledge as the next person. Everything is there, in the scriptures, laying on our nightstands, clear as day. It’s because of our complacency, false security (pride) and cares of the world that we haven’t feasted as we should.

  7. For a moment while reading this post, I thought I was reading the words of Elijah – the only prophet I know of who used sarcasm. Perhaps Denver is really Elijah returned?

  8. Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “2 Nephi 28: 31”:

    Some people don’t care for Denver’s postings. The reactions I’ve encountered range from being “uncomfortable” to calling him an apostate.

    I know he’s teaching the truth.

    (edited by CM)

Comments are closed.