2 Nephi 29: 1-2

The quote of the Lord continues into 2 Nephi 29: 1-2:

“But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;  And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;”
The thought, “there shall be many” will be concluded in verse 3, and will be discussed there.

The day of the Lord’s “marvelous work” will be when He “remembers [His] covenants” made previously to “the children of men.” Those covenants to “the children of men” are all inclusive. This will include promises made to all mankind, without regard to their status as Israel, gentile, heathen, or even if they are living or dead as the work begins. It is the Lord’s covenants made in the pre-earth councils, and is for all mankind.

As fulfillment of these complete covenants, the Lord will “set [His] hand again the second time to recover my people.” Now the focus moves from “the children of men” to a sub-set of those He calls “my people.” His people are, by definition, necessarily affiliated with “the house of Israel” through covenant. These would include those called the “remnant” as well as those believing “gentiles” who accept the covenant and return through repentance to Christ.

Why do we see layers of covenants or promises referred to here? Why the covenants made “unto the children of men?”  Why then further “the house of Israel?” Why further “promises made unto Nephi?” Why still further “thy father” [meaning Lehi]? Why a work which will affect all these groups? And, finally, why does all of the foregoing return to “remembering Nephi’s seed?” What role does Nephi’s seed, or remnant fulfill in the promises made to all mankind?

Why does the Lord make a covenant with all humanity, but then reiterate the covenant with Abraham? Why do the covenants get repeated through Isaac and Jacob, the last of whom supplies the name of the covenant people “Israel?”  Why, after all those covenant recipients do the covenants get renewed with Lehi? Why immediately following Nephi do the covenants get renewed yet again in Nephi? Why does the Lord engage in this covenant making process to tie together the events of history and the lives of men? Can He still do this today? Does He still expect or want to enter into covenants with men today to further His purposes? Do those covenants necessarily get confined to an institution or priestly process rather than through Him, directly? Why not?

When we get to Nephi’s descendants, why are they the ones who are to provide “a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel?” What does this say about the significance of the Book of Mormon? Why is it the “standard unto the Lord’s people?” What does that do to clarify the condemnation resting upon the church under D&C 84: 57? How important is “the standard” established by the Lord? Why would Joseph Smith say the “fullness of the gospel” is contained in the Book of Mormon?

Why does the title page of the Book of Mormon, which was part of the translated record, contain this description:  “Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.”

What does it mean that these words shall “hiss forth to the ends of the earth?”
Did you notice the Lord taking personal credit for the words of the Book of Mormon? What does the phrase “the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth?” How does the Lord taking personal credit for these words affect the Book of Mormon’s significance?

12 thoughts on “2 Nephi 29: 1-2

  1. I offer the following, if you find it useful.

    As I look at the Gospel I seem to see the following:

    I began by being born spiritually to my Heavenly Father. I then lived with him in a state of innocence that is approximated by the Garden of Eden experience of Adam and Eve.

    Through my second birth, through the lineage of the Fathers, even unto Adam/Michael, I was able to partake of the knowledge of the fruits of both good and evil. Here in this lone and dreary (telestial) world, I gain the opportunity to experience parenthood. In this way I can be a little like my Heavenly Father.

    Next, through the blood of the atonement and the waters of baptism I am born (a third time) unto Christ and receive his surname (Christ’s Son – Christian). Here, through the grace of the covenant of Baptism, I become a son to my Father Christ and to my mother the Church. Through the companionship of the Holy Ghost, which I am offered as a reward for entering into this covenant, I leave the loneliness and dreariness of the telestial world and enter into a terrestrial one.

    As a child of Elohim I was able to partake of his spiritual heritage. As a child of Adam I am able to partake of his mortal heritage. And as a child of Christ I can partake of his heritage, which is resurrection unto eternal life.

    If I am true and faithful to the example of my Fathers, I can progress into the first stage of the Celestial Kingdom by accepting the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood. With this priesthood I can now serve with my angelic brethren in administering the bounties of God’s love to his children. If I continue, I can enter the second degree of the Celestial Kingdom by accepting the endowments offered in God’s Holy House. Finally I can attain to “all that my Father has” by entering into the New and Everlasting Covenant of Eternal Marriage.

    If I am true and faithful to these covenants, that are offered to me through the Grace of Christ; and I do not recant, then God has promised that he will honor these covenants in the eternities, Luckily he has provided many opportunities to repent and be forgiven for falling short of my covenantal commitments and responsibilities. Until He calls me to His presence and confirms the Words of Eternal Life upon me, I wait on Him in faith and hope.

  2. I think of “hiss” as the warning sound of a snake. The snake doesn’t particularly WANT to bite you but he lets you know in no uncertain terms that if you continue on your chosen path, there is going to be trouble between you and him. It’s like a parent who says, “Don’t make me come over there and get you”–hoping that the warning will be sufficient and you will stop the offending behavior and he/she won’t have to be the meany.

  3. I think history clearly shows us, that God does bite, and bites hard at times. Can mercy rob justice? Where much was/is given, giving much is required.

    Conform to God’s laws = Blessings and intelligence.

    Non-conformance = penalties, unhappiness.

    We can bless or curse our posterity depending on what we do with the laws or ways of God.

    The Council of the Gods established these rules and laws in the beginning. All must be saved and exalted based upon the same laws/principles/knowledge.

  4. No one can hold on to a covenant without God doing it for them. False priests should reconsider how they tell people over and over to keep covenants, implying that man has power to do so. They don’t. “Keep” means to hold on to something given as a gift. To hold on requires a power beyond our own. In fact, even any covenant we entered into before we were born is lost by our own efforts, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, save Jesus only.

    Jesus’ saying to keep His commandments is an indirect way of pointing out our weakness. It is the impossible request, unless you ask Him to do it for you. That is why it equates to loving Him. He loves you back and does it for you. In fact, He has loved you first and has sustained all the good in your life up to this very moment.

    Anyone who risks sounding like Satan, scaring people that if they do not walk up to their covenants they will be in the devil’s grasp, are children of Satan. It is guaranteed that man cannot walk up to the covenants anyway. Satan thinks he has a great advantage in this because we believe him when he says we are doomed to his service for breaking the covenants. That is nonsense. We are in his service when we believe his lie. The Atonement sweeps away Satan’s arguments and pays for us. It casts him out.

    Will we accept the Gospel when it is offered to us for free? Or will we demand to work it off under Satan’s plan?

    Accepting doesn’t mean we will be idle, like the evangelicals practice lip service to accept the Atonement. It is work, but not our own. We may put in the time, but the Author has already written the plan. It includes provisions for our continual mistakes. We have to accept that we will still make mistakes, but by the end, we will have no disposition to sin, even if we still do sin. We will be continually under the plan of mercy, completely saved from justice. We will be perfect in this life, justified, and under a whole different set of rules — it is intended that this happen BEFORE WE DIE – THE END IS THE END OF ALL OF OUR EFFORTS! THE PERFECT DAY BEGINS IN THIS LIFE, WHEN OUR EFFORTS ARE RECOGNIZED AS THE WORKS OF THE FATHER, AND NOT OUR OWN!

  5. Part II-

    Hence, endure your own stupidity until you are able to stop doing stupid efforts to save yourself, and finally accept the Atonement. Endure to the end of that phase in your life. The Holy Ghost will guide you through it. Why else is the “work” we are called to do done with “fear and trembling”? What causes a person to tremble, as if to shake their very bones? Nothing I’ve ever imagined up for myself to do has ever had that effect on me. Whose work is it anyway if the directions for the labor come in that manner? Who is the Savior? What part do we then have in “our own salvation” that the scripture says we must “work out”? Who is the sole Author and Finisher of this work? Of what, then, have we to boast? Who is keeping the covenants for us if we can’t do it for ourselves? Is He reliable? Has He proved He can keep them for us? If we can’t walk up to the covenants, who will do it for us on our behalf? What sort of peace could that bring a soul to know they have a right to the Savior of mankind to do this for them? If an infinite payment is made to Satan’s demands about the covenants, does Satan have any more claim over us?

    Does this not change the endowment from a burden of rules to a great outpouring of a gift, as the name implies? Yet we will not receive it as such. A covenant is more something that is done “to” you, not so much something we “do”. We simply receive and Jesus will save us. As for Abraham, some covenants, even if we go through and learn about them, are not actually received without patience and at later times. Therefore, we do not need to worry ourselves about our lack of ability until the promised day of redemption and reception of the gift, but we must pray always.

    I believe our corporate contract mentality has LDS running around trying to fulfill terms of a contract, which proves they’ve never received the gift. No marriages will endure such nonsense. Jesus will say all the wonderful works they did in His name are nothing. He never knew them, and they never let Him do anything for them. They said, “Let us do it ourselves.” What does it profit a man if a gift is given him, and he receive not the gift? I defy any litany of the usual scriptures to counter this idea. All of them can be understood in the light of God’s grace, and you’ll have to do your own convincing of yourself to understand that.

    All work and doing scriptures are spoken in the capacity of our understanding, God knowing that with the veil we are universally prone to do our own acts. This truth of grace is the key to unlocking God’s intent with all of those verses, and mitigates the tone of them to His real meaning which I’ve explained above, as the angels have shown it. If you do not understand it is because you do not ask, seek, or knock.

  6. To the Zang Family,

    It feels like you are over thinking the problem. The covenants are offered freely through the Lord’s grace, we’ve done nothing to earn them nor could we. The work that we must perform is to actually avail ourselves of these covenants.

    The fear and trembling comes in as we strive to keep these covenants while living in this world where Satan rules with an iron fist. Luckily for us the Lord has provided abundant opportunities to turn around (repent) and stop following after Babylon. When we come to ourselves and let go of the world (Babylon), the Lord makes up our deficiencies and we move a little closer to Him.

    With time we get better at this process, as long as we are reminded when we get of course, hence the purpose of prophets.

    Too bad we’ve put our designated prophets on pedestals that allow us to ignore them more easily. Seems like the Lord continually has to call others to the task, for our sake.

  7. To those who are interested, Anonymous has some feelings in regard to this issue that are hard to let go of. It is their right to have them, so I won’t address Anonymous, who seems decided, but some of you may be wondering about a response (Anonymous, I am sincere, you are welcome to your thoughts, no offense intended, and this is not addressed to you, and deserves no response):

    It is important for all of you to know that what I wrote didn’t come from my own thoughts, so it would be impossible for me to have over thought the problem. My words may not do it justice, but poor wording would be my only mistake there.

    The rest of what Anonymous wrote in their first paragraph says the same thing I said above. I don’t understand the reason for presenting it as if it is different, but that is no matter. They are the same thought, at least in words.

    “the Lord makes up our deficiencies and we move a little closer to Him” is true only so far as we understand that we are completely deficient. Then what follows is Him doing it all for us. To assume our efforts count for anything is false doctrine.

    “With time we get better at this process, as long as we are reminded when we get off course, hence the purpose of prophets.” Reminding us when we get off course is like taking out the trash for prophets. It is unpleasant business. That is not their main purpose.

    “With time we get better at this process…” To prove the counter-point with a parable, the sarcastic fellow mocks and pretends to agree with: “yes, with good practice, we can do very well at killing sheep and goats and bullocks. Our knife slitting skills can be honed to a ‘T’. And that is a perfect square, a religious symbol, even more support.”

    It is well established that the fear mentioned is reverence for the Lord, not fear of Satan. Those who think Satan deserves to be feared are giving him power over them, and are his children.

  8. There are more than one Anonymous, so I’m not sure who your comments are addressed to.

    My feelings are simple, if you focus on the Lord’s completion of the covenants without maintaining a focus on our own efforts, you can quickly get to a typical “saved by grace” mentality.

    Keeping in mind the sacrosanct nature of our agency, our efforts are the invitation that allows the Lord to complete us.

    We do, through experience, lose interest in certain distractions/sins and become a little more like Him. This never is sufficient, but it is still necessary.

  9. I am suggesting there is nothing wrong with the “saved by grace” mentality. We LDS are prejudiced against it because the attack from the Baptists and other sectors using “saved by grace” as a weapon has caused us to bristle and respond incorrectly (especially since some used it to justify sin). King Benjamin is 100% saved by grace. His long, detailed explanation puts Nephi’s scripture in context. “after all we can do” is widely misused. See my previous comments on the subject peppered throughout this blog. A good search should produce the results, but then again a search into higher spheres will produce even better. Angels told King Benjamin of the doctrine then, and angels continue to do so today.

    For one to say the Lord completes the covenant is a mute point when the Lord puts in 100% and we put in 0%. That is “complete” on the Lord’s part, not “completion” adding to something we’ve put into it.

    Our efforts only invite the criticism of the prophets. After all we try to do, as Nephi says, we may finally be ready to bend the knee, confess that Jesus is the Christ, and enter in at the gate to allow His works to prevail. These are hard words that make the wicked angry who delight in the work of their own hands.

    I seem angry because I have held the same view as Anonymous August 11, 2010 1:26 PM most all of my life until I was told differently. I am temporarily angry at myself. With such weaknesses, I command no respect for what I write. I don’t prefer to go the rounds about this, but I will put my beastly side on display so everyone can be the wiser for it. My tears shall ascend up and my cries shall be heard. The fire from heaven will consume the sacrifice of the beast. Let those who have ears to hear, hear. I lay my weaknesses on the altar for all of you to see. Let us see if the Lord will have respect for my sacrifice, or the works of those who cut themselves.

    Remember, 1000 truths can cause us to swallow 1 lie.

  10. How odd that we run to make ourselves look like other religions with their worldly doctrines, but shy away from looking like other religions when their criticisms of us are correct.

    Granted the Baptists may be missing pieces of the puzzle themselves, but listen to what is implied above in Anonymous’ post: that there is something wrong with focusing on the Lord’s efforts with the covenants because it makes it look like those criticisms about us might have some merit! Think about it…suggesting it is wrong to focus on the Lord’s efforts. Is it ever wrong to completely focus on the Lord’s efforts, no matter what the societal outcome? If we assume He will not put us to work after focusing on Him 100%, then we are weak in faith and don’t know His character. Our own efforts should never come before focusing on His efforts completely. Again, our efforts do not invite Him to complete us, they push Him away. Our efforts invite His censure, as He has spoken in the Sermon on the Mount.

    If the Baptists and others are not producing good works, then they have not been visited by the Lord. Reliance on grace is proved by the fruit of good works, as the Lord also explained in the Sermon on the Mount. Good works do not come before grace. They happen because 100% grace is received. Then they are good, because they are not your works. This only comes after you’ve given up all you can do.

  11. I just wish you actually knew as much about what you are talking about as you imply.

    Been there, done that. bought the T-shirt, paid the price.

    I’ll discontinue this dialogue now.

  12. Hello Everyone, Anonymous is right, I don’t know everything about the doctrine of grace. Anonymous is also right that this is a good time to end the dialogue on it. Even though I wasn’t addressing them, it is still a good time to wrap it up. I can see what I wrote is still somewhat ambiguous, so the summary and clarification would be:

    1. Baptists and others define grace differently than us. Therefore when I say “there is nothing wrong with saved by grace”, I am not talking about the Protestant’s definition of grace, which is wrong.

    2. Grace involves action on our parts. What I am trying to advance is related to the source of the power to do those acts, and the order in which the power is given, and the mystery of what our act really is. Our act may be small and simple, but represents a monumental achievement. I have been saying this is not really an action, but that may be misguided to put it that way.

    Neal A. Maxwell labored hard to convey this thought that the only real thing we have to offer is our wills. The act of receiving the Heavenly will to preside over ours is an extreme act of contrition. Then all of our actions under this presiding will rightly belong to the presiding will that thought it up, and not us. This is so difficult a thing to put in words I can’t even say that describes it well at all, so I will leave off on the subject.

    3. What I am also suggesting is that in one large part of LDS culture, we have decided to move so far away from the Protestant form of grace that we have begun to worship the works of our own hands.

    4. I am suggesting King Benjamin and his angel(s) have the solution. If I hint that I know the solution is there, that doesn’t mean I imply I know the full extant of the solution.

    And now I will address Anonymous, if you care to end this on a good note, since it seems I gave the impression I was bantering with you.

    My intention was to banter with certain ways one could take what you were saying (to banter with the ideas, as it were, not you) for the benefit of others–not saying that is what you meant, and not applying any labels to you–that is why I broke from the conversation with you, so you wouldn’t think I was taking cheap shots at you. If you thought I was sarcastically implying that I was, you are mistaken. I take full responsibility if I gave off that impression and you have my deepest apologies.

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