2 Nephi 29: 12

“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.” 

This is more than interesting. The Lord speaks, various people write what He speaks to them. These groups include:

1.  Jews– we get that and it’s the Bible, right?
2.  Nephites– we get that too, the Book of Mormon, right?

3.  Other tribes– how many? Who? When?  Where? What?
4.  All the nations of the earth–Now it’s just too broad. What does “all the nations” mean, exactly?

So, let’s take this a bit by bit, going through each one:

1. Jews: We have a Bible. But we DON’T have all the writings of the Jews, do we? We already referred to missing prophets Zenos and Zenok, and there are others. Look in your Bible Dictionary for “Missing Scripture” and you’ll tree a list. (I’m pulling your leg.  If you look that up it’ll refer you to “Lost Books” so go there.)

[That reminds me of a joke I tell: If I get a tattoo it’ll say “Leviticus 19: 28.” But you probably won’t think that’s funny.]

Anyway, the Jews recorded more both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament than we have currently. So don’t get all certain the Bible is the final word from the ancient Jews. It isn’t. Never was. There’s more coming.

2. Nephites: Clearly more coming. Sealed material has not been revealed, and will be some day. Providing, of course, we were to actually merit the disclosure. So, I suppose that means don’t hold your breath.

3. Other Tribes: We got nothing. Not even a number. The one chance we had to get a number was blown by both the disciples in Jerusalem and the Nephites. I’ve written about this in The Second Comforter. So the only way to triangulate is to either take the allegory of the Olive Tree in Jacob 5 and try to estimate– a risky proposition since it was intended to convey an overall meaning not a number– or we can work backwards from the crucifixion to the approximate 11 1/2 months later when Jesus appeared to the Nephites. Take the time spent with the Nephites, then estimate He’s been busy doing that same ministry elsewhere. Divide the time taken to minister into the available time and you get something between 10 and 18 other potential groups out there depending on your estimate of the time used. The record attempts to prevent us from being too accurate because it identifies three days specifically, then resorts to just “many times” to cover what may have been days or weeks. (3 Nephi 26: 13.)  However, when you read of the Nephite disciples “journeying and preaching” but coming together in “mighty prayer and fasting” and the Lord’s appearance again there, it seems closer to the 10 number than the 18. (3 Nephi 27: 1.) Well, you work it out. It’s just an unknown plural number which might be greater than just a couple. And for these we have no record at all.

4.  All nations: Nothing here, either. And no basis from which to compile an estimate.

So, from the foregoing we can see that we have some tiny fragment of the whole, and cannot even begin to construct an outline of what we are missing. But despite our ignorance, the Lord spoke to them, they wrote it, and it is available for some group to eventually read.  Apparently not us. We do not even get the rest of the record written on parchment and hidden by John, (referred to in the headnote to Section 7 of the D&C). We only get a part of the information from it. (D&C 7: 1-8.)

So, there’s a lot to be had.  We don’t have it…But what we do have we won’t study. Well,  maybe there is a cause and effect…

Seems to me, you don’t want to talk about it. Seems to me, you just turn your pretty head and walk away. (Joe Walsh, from the James Gang era, before the heaviest toll was taken.)  

So the Lord wants us to know there’s ever so much out there. That we have a tiny fraction of what was once available. And we just don’t seem to care. We’d rather reduce the volume of topics we study and eliminate the “mysteries” from our diet of Gospel study, so as to relieve ourselves of any responsibility for what we already possess. We are beyond dumbing down the Gospel. We’re discarding it by the week. Tighter and tighter, until you are left alone, without God in the world. There’s a brilliant phrase. It comes from the Book of Mormon. It is found at Mosiah 27: 31; Alma 41: 11 and Mormon 5: 16. Of all the phrases turned in the Book of Mormon this is the most solitary, profound and descriptive of the fall from grace mankind experiences. It is perfect, even if what it describes is perfectly horrid.

Well, enough of this…

5 thoughts on “2 Nephi 29: 12

  1. Nice James Gang add in. “I got nothin’ to say, still I don’t s’pose I can blame ya.”

    You really should check out Phish doing a live version of the tune.

  2. There is a really cool clue about the number of tribes Christ visited after his death, which is found in- of all places- the Book of Daniel. In Dan. 9:24-27, Gabriel reveals to Daniel that the time of the (first) coming of the Savior will be 69 weeks AFTER the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

    For lots of reasons, Bible scholars believe that this command was issued by Artaxerxes. They also believe that the word “week” as used in this prophecy, refers to a period of 7 years- rather than a period of 7 days. Apparently the Jews used the word “week” in both ways.

    So, 69 “weeks” (483 years) after Artxerxes issued the command to rebuild Jerusalem, Christ comes and is killed. He is, “cut off, but not for himself” (Dan. 9:26), in other words, crucified for our benefit.

    Now, here’s the part that baffles Bible scholars, but which should make perfect sense to Mormons. After Christ is killed, “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (7 years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” (Dan. 9:27)

    After his death, does Christ “confirm the covenant with many” and cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease?” He does. 3 Nephi 15:5 “Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel.” And, 3 Nephi 9: 19, “And ye shall offer up unto me no more the sheding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away.” This is a perfect Book of Mormon realization of Daniel’s prophecy.

    And how does all this relate to the number of tribes Christ visited? Well, in 3 Nephi 8:5 (4 days into the beginning of the Nephite new year- reckoned from the sign prophesied by Samuel of Christ’s birth) the sign of Christ’s death is given, and his voice is heard in the darkness. And in 3 Nephi 10:18 we learn that in the ending of that same year, that Christ appeared to the Nephites and the Lamanites, and spent several(?) days with them- probably extending into the new year.

    So, one year after Christ is crucified, he appears to the Nephites and Lamanites and tells them that he has other sheep to visit who “have not as yet heard my voice.” A year has passed and these tribes have not yet been visited.

    If Christ “confirms the covenant with many” for a period of 7 years- as Daniel tells us, and Christ appears to the lost sheep for the first time on the first anniversary of the week of his death, then this suggests a pattern: namely, after his death, Christ ministers to 7 tribes, or churches, beginning with his post-mortal ministry to the Jews; continuing one year later with the Nephites, and on subsequent April 6ths with the the other tribes. This may also tell us how many Book of Mormon equivalents there are out there.

    If Christ was 33 years old when he died, and he continued to minister to the tribes of Israel for an additional 7 years, then he spent a total of 40 years in his ministry “in the wilderness.” How very fitting.

  3. Do you have a list of books that represent some of these sacred writings of other nations, or that you think are candidates? What translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls would you recommend?

    For records that haven’t come out yet, and holy people we do not presently associate with, how do we avoid the mistakes of the Jews and Nephites who ignored the Lord’s hints about other people and other records? Can we all unite and mourn and plead for Him to reveal them?

    If He was hinting and willing to reveal it during ancient times, I don’t see a reason why we need to wait until His Second Coming to get them. How do we qualify to get them now?

    This post makes me think of Elijah mourning, yet there were 1000 people in Israel who hadn’t sworn to Baal. Don’t lose hope. We dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Some of us may sound corrupt when we still are pure in heart, even though there are so many wolves in sheeps clothing.

    Has this post pricked anyone else’s hearts? It is more than about records, there are people we are not gathered with who could be of one heart and one mind with us and our God. We are scattered and smitten, afflicted and tossed to and fro. Will we not hear a humble man crying in his garden for Zion? Or will we be divided into war or famine?


  4. Denver, I thought it was funny. Reminds me when one of my sons was 16, he wanted to get “CTR” tattooed on his forearm. (He was serious, however.)

    McKay and Gordon, awesome comment – thanks for the insight.

    As a total ‘off comment,’ comment…I read the back of the lastest Ensign this morning (you know the part with all the personal stories.) I had a couple thougths. My first was, “wow, is this the best we can do in the spritual experiences catagory of 13 mil people?” I also wondered if they would print a personal experience if the person were to mention angelic visitors or anything along those lines.

  5. Most of he people that I know that have tried to share such encounters have been thoroughly vilified by their local wards and stakes. It’s not a task for the faint of heart.

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