2 Nephi 30: 2

2 Nephi 30: 2:

“For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.

To the extent that gentiles “will repent” they may become part of the Lord’s “covenant people.” They are not the remnant, but they may join in the covenant. If they do, then by virtue of the covenant they become “covenant people.”

What is required for the gentiles to repent?

What covenant must they enter into or receive so they may be numbered among the “covenant people?” Is membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the only thing needed to “repent” and become a “covenant people?” If not, then what else would be required?

To the extent that “the Jews will not repent” then they will be “cast off.” Although history has shown how the Jews have been treated (as Nephi put it), “ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them.” (2 Ne. 29: 5.) These difficulties suffered by the Jews are preliminary. The Lord always watched over and preserved them from complete destruction. However, when the Gospel is offered to them in the last days, in the final offering to the last (who had once been first–see 1 Ne.13: 42), they will reject the offered renewal of the covenant at their peril. If they reject it, they “shall be cast off” because that will sever the covenant.  “The Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.”

Although we know the Lord will extend every opportunity to the descendants for the sake of a covenant with those who have become the friends of God, there are limits. God will do all He has promised to do. He will forbear, entreat, beseech, send messengers, labor alongside with His messengers, and do all He can to reclaim the heirs for the covenant’s sake. In the end, however, the heirs must either accept what He offers, or be cast off.

It is extraordinary how long the Lord will extend His hand to reclaim His people. But everyone must choose to follow Him. We have our agency. We cannot be forced to follow Him. Even though He may be longsuffering and patient, He cannot compel any to be saved.  (Moses 4: 1-3.) Unless a person is free to choose for themselves, there is no existence.  (D&C 93: 30.) 

If you remove the right to choose, it is not only agency that is obliterated, but it is existence itself. Though we are utterly dependent on God for our very existence, sustained from moment to moment by Him loaning us the ability to move, breathe and act (Mosiah 2: 21), because we are free to make choices we exist. If you destroy the right to choose you have ended the personality of the person. [I have explained this in the beginning of Beloved Enos.]

Well, all of this is of no import if the gentiles do not “repent.” Whenever we brush up against that subject we wind up engaged in discussions about justice, mercy, vengeance and restitution. I’ve written about this process in both The Second Comforter and Come, Let Us Adore Him. Briefly, here are some of the most important points:  To be forgiven we must forgive. Not just forgive, but plead for mercy for those who have offended us. The role of accusing is left to “the accuser of the brethren” or Satan. (Rev. 12: 10.) When we accuse others we interfere with their salvation. If we are the one who was offended, and we make no accusation against them, then we become their savior. Satan’s right to accuse is inferior to ours as victims of the offense. We suffer in the flesh the wrongs of others. If we make no claim for justice, surrender those and seek instead for mercy on behalf of others, then Satan’s accusations can have no claim upon them. We mimic Christ, follow His example, and in our own limited way also atone for the sins of others. Joseph Smith was trying to get us to understand this concept when he taught: “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (DHC. 4:445)

I have explained this at length in what I’ve written in Come, Let Us Adore Him. Christ said this in His ministry repeatedly. He lived it.  He showed by His own example the way to obtain forgiveness for every wrong you have ever done. It is in the same way He went about atoning for sins. It is by suffering offenses and returning good. It is by forgiving those who despitefully use and abuse you. It is through loving those who are your enemies. It is by becoming sons and daughters of God. And it can be done in no other way. (Matt. 5: 38-48.) If you do not forgive others, you cannot be forgiven. (Matt. 6: 14-15.) This is why Christ, in teaching us to pray, told us we are only forgiven as we forgive others.  (Matt. 6: 12.) It is as we forgive that we obtain forgiveness.

The way is strait and narrow, and cannot permit you to pass through while carrying any burden of accusation, desire for revenge or even just complaint about others. When you lay down what you might justly claim against others and seek nothing for their offenses, then you are able to enter in. To be blessed, we must seek peace with those who would make war against us. (Matt. 5: 9.) When we judge all others with mercy, it is with mercy alone we will be judged. (Matt. 7: 2.)

For the most part, the gentiles will not repent. They will hold courts, use their time judging, exact conditions, set limits, and annotate their permanent records with notes showing what discipline a person has undergone. And happily employ control, compulsion and dominion over one another (D&C 121: 37) right up to the time when the trumpet sounds and it is everlastingly too late.  Others will justify this failure to forgive, shout praises to the abuse, and claim all compulsion and dominion is necessary to protect us from the evil. Even though our Master told us not to resist the evil, but forgive it. (Matt. 5: 39.)

For the most part, the gentiles will demand they be judged by a law they cannot satisfy.  Some few, however, will forgive and plead for the weaknesses and failings of others. They will forgive, and thereby be forgiven. They will obtain for themselves a judgment based only on mercy, for they have shown mercy to others. This atoning act of love and intercession will be the hallmark by which the children of God are identified in the Day of Judgment. (Matt. 5: 9.) Only the peacemakers can be trusted to live in peace with one another. All others are unfit for the presence of God.

13 thoughts on “2 Nephi 30: 2

  1. In the church, why do we annotate permanent membership records with notes showing what discipline a person has undergone?

  2. Yay for forgiveness! And forgiveness to such a level that it is granted before anything at all happens and that the forgiver does not even think that they had ever been offended. Good times, indeed! :)

  3. Question regarding this topic of forgiveness and letting others go free from any claims or accusations we may have against them.

    What of the times we have forgotten about? Is the important thing to just apply the teaching now, each time a situation arises or a memory is recalled?

    If I could go back and apply the teaching in instances where I came up short I would. If my entire past was now brought before my eyes right now I would apply the teaching. Is my internal decision and willingness to live this teaching enough to be retroactive so to speak?

  4. Some annotations are necessary at an organizational level, I believe, especially ones that would prevent a sex offender to be put in positions working with children or youth. We do have obligations to protect the innocent.

  5. Does this apply to only the victims? Parents, for example, whose children have been victims of child rape or abuse at the hands of a spouse… do they have any kind of accusatory role? Or are they just pissed off for nothing? If they cannot really “forgive” except in a general way, like people who say over the pulpit “I love you all” are they still held accountable?

    I almost feel like this attitude could result in a stance of not feeling obliged to protect one’s family or those dependent on us. Hey, if someone rapes my wife and kids and I forgive them, so much the better for me. And if the wife is mad at me, she’ll just be condemned, that’s all. In some twisted way, the unconditional forgiver is off the hook. He doesn’t have to stand against the evil – he just forgives it all.

    Is this getting weird to anyone else?

  6. Chris said: I’ve followed this blog for quite a while and appreciate all who participate in this endeavor. I’m especially grateful to Denver for his willing obedience and his search for the truth. I’ve only posed a couple comments, but feel compelled to seek some assistance.

    Despite the time I make to study, I feel so far behind those of you who are able to keep up with the daily blog and who have read all the books, along with other materials. I know I’m not the only one who wishes they could catch up or could at least find a way to get started in an orderly manner, taking advantage of what’s here. I’m going through The Second Comforter for the second time, this time with an eye to getting my life in order and learning what is most important. For my own sake and that of the silent followers of this blog that want some sort of framework to go with, here’s what appears to me to be one good approach. I don’t want a rigid formula as I want to go where the spirit guides, but I have to start somewhere. I’d love some input from this group (including Denver when appropriate)…

    Denver has taught us both understand-feel-do-become and desire-believe-ponder-inquire. He’s reminded us that we must keep the commandments; repent of one thing at a time (what hinders me most?); trust that God knows what he is asking of us; trust Joseph Smith (though don’t worship the guy); study (beginning with “…the most correct of any book on the earth…”), and live what you learn.

    continued on next post…)

  7. That said, regarding how to study, I’ve decided that after having read several of Denver’s books (or being part way into them), I can start with the Book of Mormon and use both Denver’s books (such as Nephi’s Isaiah, Beloved Enos) and the portions of this blog focusing on scriptural sections of the Book of Mormon to work my way through that great book. I do think it’s important that I first make an attempt to understand a verse without Denver’s sources so that I don’t become dependent on him/this group for my own understanding. As I do so, keeping my own notes, relying on the Spirit for guidance, asking the Lord a lot of questions as I go and pondering throughout the day what I learn are the important pieces for my framework. When I get a chance I can dip into the other stuff in the blog.

    As anyone who is really excited about what they are finding, and discovering a wealth of additional information available on it, I don’t want to miss out on anything and I don’t want to get overwhelmed by how much there is – hence the need to make this a somewhat structured approach.

    What am I missing? How have you of this group gone about studying in a way that has given you such insight and a quickening of your curiosity? What do you do to gain the understanding as quickly as possible without stumbling? I hope this makes sense and your input will not only help me, but many who don’t feel confident about joining in…as yet.


  8. Anonymous, 12:05,

    I agree with you, we have a solemn responsibility to stand against evil, done to ourselves or others. To do nothing & let evil people do whatever they want is also a very serious sin that can cost us our exaltation.

    The more you love & forgive someone the more you will not allow someone to hurt you or others & you will try to stop them by whatever means or consequence it takes.

    One need only think of Moroni, a man of perfect understanding, he understood all this more than any of us, yet he certainly applied discipline & consequences when needed, even if it pained him to do so.

    We can totally love & forgive someone while still adminstering consequences to them as commanded by the Lord for their own good.

    Joseph Smith may have believed in not accusing but he definately excommunicated & disciplined people for wrong doing. It is said that he even defended himself in his last moments by shooting back at his murderers. Thus did he not try to administer justice or consequences upon his accusers?

  9. Hi Chris,

    I’m no authority on anything, but one thing that crossed my mind might be interesting to you, I’ll call it the “upward spiral” concept: there are only a handful of the same principles hashed over again and again, yet in an upward spiral, so that when revisiting the same principles (coming around to the same point on the circle, but one level higher in the circle), one sees a greater depth to it. Therefore, it’s not about “catching up” to a point in a line of information stretching out into the horizon endlessly, it’s about mastering your ring of the spiral until you feel it ascending you upwards and then you can start all over again with the same ideas at the higher level.

    I imagine in the blog, Denver can only go over and over the same ideas at one level of the spiral, seeing that going deeper wouldn’t be worthy of a blog. You can reach the point of saturation with only a few posts. With the books, maybe a little deeper, etc. Not all books are needed to reach the level of saturation that helps you see it from the light of the perspective he puts there.

    That’s one way of looking at it. The Book of Mormon is so much better than the blog or the books because all those layers are overlapped in one in the book. Denver seems to help us remove prejudices concerning the book so we can begin to use it properly. You can plumb its depths and get very near to God, layer by layer.


  10. It does seem weird. When Pope Innocent III was asked by St. Francis to approve the order which was proposed to follow the Sermon on the Mount, the Pope was understandably skeptical. The Sermon was great in theory, but the Pope never thought it possible to actually live it. When St. Francis not only did, but taught others who did as well, the order was eventually approved.

    We have Jesus, and we have St. Francis, and recently we had Mother Theresa. So there have been three, I suppose. All of whom were definitely weird. Surely this wasn’t meant to be a real lifestyle. Just theory.

    I can imagine 10,000 reasons why it won’t work. But so far none of them have actually entered my life. But because I can theorize why it ought not be lived, it makes me comfortable in saying it isn’t meant to be.

    Good stuff; better stuff, the best stuff just got better…. Or whatever it is that Snapple is saying these days… I’m OK and you’re OK. So we’re all OK together.

  11. Brian-
    Thanks. That makes sense and eases the overwhelm a bit (a bit). I’ll keep plugging away at it…


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