2 Nephi 33: 10

2 Nephi 33: 10:

“And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” 

After the conditional statement warning the gentiles of their need to be reconciled to Christ, Nephi speaks to his “beloved brethren” and the “Jews,” but omits specific mention of the gentiles. Instead he refers to “all ye ends of the earth.” This would include all those who are neither Jew, nor Israelite, nor gentile. This is a lot of people who are called “heathen” because they have little direct prophetic mention. Nephi, for example, only refers to them once in his writings. (2 Nephi 26: 33.) In that single reference Nephi promises all, if they will repent and return to Christ, can be saved. All are invited. All can come. Everyone may learn of Christ, find Him and be saved.

There is a distinction between God’s absolute willingness to accept all who will come to Him, on the one hand, and the prophetic foreknowledge of who would accept the invitation, on the other. The opportunity is open for all. There will be few who will accept.

Nephi’s testimony is based on Christ and employs both Christ’s doctrine and teachings. He assures us as readers that if we are willing to accept his writings we are, in fact, accepting the words of Christ. If you believe Christ, you will believe Nephi. For almost everything Nephi has written comes directly or indirectly from Christ. To believe in Nephi’s words is to believe in Christ, and to believe in Christ is to accept Nephi’s words.

Think about that for a moment. Nephi does not leave you wondering if the message will save you or not, whether he has some special inside information or not, or whether he has seen the Lord or not. He is direct and does not require you to guess. He has not adopted any equivocal or carefully studied words or phrases to tell you about Christ. He is blunt, even plain. His words offend those who are unwilling to surrender their sins and repent. He says what he has written “are the words of Christ.” This means that before he taught, before he wrote, before he concluded his testimony, he consulted with and obtained approval from Christ.

There is nothing vague in Nephi’s warnings, nor unclear in his message.

He openly invites the gentiles to repent. He does so repeatedly. He tells us that with the exception of only a few, we are condemned and will fail in our dispensation. As to those few, he warns us that we will be prone to err because of the things we are taught. (2 Nephi 28: 14.) He offers us a clear, light filled body of teachings that will clarify for us the body of doctrine that will save us. However, we must take his warnings seriously and study them with care. 

Imagine how much effort and thought went into preparing to carve into the metal plates. Imagine the amount of thought he employed before undertaking the final, permanent etchings to complete his ministry. His brother commented about how arduous the process was during his writing on the same plates. (Jacob 4: 1.)

Nephi saw our day, and knew how difficult it would be for us. He wrote a message to be preserved and available no matter who would lead us, no matter what messages we would hear, no matter what confusion would develop. He gave us a message to announce the conditions of salvation over the heads of any foolish, vain or false teachings. They are a lifeline extended to the gentiles, as well as his beloved mixed blood descendants (the remnant), and the Jews.

Nephi knows his words will teach anyone who accepts them “to do good.”

The gentile problem is not in reading his words, but in “believing in them.” Gentile interpretation almost always involves unbelief. We do not let his words hold their “plain meaning” but want to construe them, read into them praise, and remove from them the blunt warnings given us. We want to make ourselves justified by the words that warn, condemn and challenge us to do more. Our unbelief separates us from Nephi’s message even as we read his words.

It does no good to argue with him. It does no good to juxtapose his words of counsel and warning with other words of comfort and reassurance. He is alarmed by our condition and warns us to flee from error. We want to read into these words other ideas Nephi never intended.

When we began back with Alma, Chapter 13, it was with the idea we would let the words speak for themselves. We were going to try and see what was being said apart from our own desires or hopes.  We’ve been trying to let Nephi have his own words and meanings as we’ve been looking at his teachings, as well.

An inspired teacher will not offer their own words and pretend they come from Christ. They are not going to dare speak in the name of Christ if they offer only their suppositions, hopes, and understanding. They know, as Nephi, that to do so is to take the Lord’s name in vain, and to preach for doctrines the commandments of men. It is often the case, however, that men will urge their own views hoping to make them more convincing, while using the name of Christ. Surely every such teacher will be held to account before Christ for every idle word spoken in His name without His authority or approval.

Nephi knew this doctrine. Nephi understood how weighty a matter is was to use the Lord’s name in connection with teaching doctrine. Nephi writes in the full confidence that the Lord has approved his message, inspired his words, and will vindicate them to those who will believe them.

Personally, I would hardly dare to teach doctrine if I did not know what I say to be true. Nephi’s example is perhaps more important in this respect than in any other. He is surely worthy to be called a “teacher and a ruler” by all of us. (2 Nephi 5: 19.)

11 thoughts on “2 Nephi 33: 10

  1. Denver said, “Personally, I would hardly dare to teach doctrine if I did not know what I say to be true.”

    I think this is a good warning for those of us that make comments on this comment board. To ask questions is great, or to seek clarification on a matter, or to express gratitude or testimony, etc…but occassionally I think we sometimes drift off course asserting things we THINK to be true…even with supporting evidence…that I often wonder about.

    I for one am going to take this warning personally.

  2. Gosh, that’s a good post. So many people teach for doctrine the philosophies of men. They expound, describe, explain and illustrate points that make little to no sense to those who see things as they really are. Sometimes these poor folks get off on a roll, just pulling things out of their — out of the air, it seems. Yet on they go…

    How do we deal with it? People can be so anxious to show what they know, what they understand. They want to be leaders, want to be lauded for their learning and understanding. They want people to say, Gosh you’re amazing. It’s sick really. A pile of steaming dung.

  3. Denver,

    You once asked your readers if there is a difference between the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” and the “Doctrine of Christ”. I’ve contemplated your question and have come up with the following but ask that you give me greater insight if I’m missing something (keeping in the spirit of the two earlier comment, I’m not looking to expound but to gain understanding).

    The Doctrine of Christ which you discussed is outlined by Nephi (2 Ne 31) and was summed up as Faith, repentance, baptism by water, baptism by fire, enduring to the end (which contains several parts of living righteously)

    As for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the word gospel means “good news” and I found it used in the scriptures in the following ways (this is not an exhausted list):

    Paul MINISTERED the Gospel of God (Rom 15:16).
    Mark WROTE to his audience the BEGINNING of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1).
    Nephi said that the gospel would be DECLARED to his remnant (2 Nephi 30:5)
    The Nephite disciples did PREACH the gospel of Christ to all the people (3 Ne 28:23, Mor 9:22)
    Mormon asked us to BELIEVE the gospel of Jesus Christn
    Moroni instructed that his audience to LAY HOLD UPON the gospel of Christ.
    Great things shall be revealed upon all who have ENDURED VALIANTLY for the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C:121:29).
    The record that Joseph and Sidney bore “is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son”(D&C 76: 14, 82).

    So it seems that the gospel of Jesus Christ is simply the actual testimony of Jesus Christ declared/taught/preached to others by His servants that he lives and is the Savior and Redeemer. Even more simply, the gospel of Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. And that the Doctrine of Christ is the “Doing” part of what Christ commands us to do once we hear and accept the testimony of the gospel. This would also explain how you have said that the “Fullness” of the gospel is to see the Second Comforter as Joseph and Sidney stated.

    But the term “fullness of the Gospel” seems to have more layers of understanding. Virtually all references to the Fullness of the gospel have to do with the Book of Mormon. In fact in most cases, one could remove the words “fullness of gospel” and replace it with the words “Book of Mormon” and make perfect sense (3 Ne 16:10, 12; 20:28, 30; D&C 35:12,17 plus many others). Other versus state the fullness in found or contained in the Book of Mormon. But it now seems abundantly clear that the Book of Mormon was written to show us the way to have the Second Comforter revealed. I know you have tried to drill this into us but it’s great to have this understanding opened up to me.

    It reminds me of what my son told me “The Book of Mormon is a revealed book about revelation”

  4. Not only does it seem that most all active members believe in & teach for truth the philosophies of men, they call many truths falsehoods. They think the ‘humble followers of Christ’ who believe in seemingly foolish doctrines, are on the path of apostacy, for they live their lives so different from everyone else & believe such opposite things from everyone else at Church.

    It is often impossible today, especially at Church, to tell truth from error or the philosphies of men from the doctrines of Christ or even a righteous person from an evil person.

    Satan has so cleaverly disguised falsehoods & convinced almost everyone to accept them as truth that now the truth seems so entirely false. Most members persecute & cast out the righteous, while thinking themselves to be righteous.

  5. I awoke this AM to find your second post from September 7..my birthday! Thanks ever so much for the wonderful ‘gift’. It was just like Christmas morning….and it likewise, as all gifts, pulls at the heart…

  6. Could the Gospel of Jesus Christ be preparing us for the doctrine of Christ? As one Church helps prepares us for another.

  7. AK, that is the conclusion I have come to as well. We start with the the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then move on to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Its like baptism. First we are baptized by water, then we can be baptized by fire!

    The amazing thing is that most members of the church assume that they are one and the same, and that we are doing enough by being “active church members, keeping our covenants, etc., etc.”. Just one example of false and vain doctrine we cling to.

  8. I have a calling to teach the Young Women in our ward and have been given a manual, prepared by the correlation dept of course, from which I am to teach. I have had this calling a short time but have always been concerned whether or not I am teaching correct doctrine. However, w/o having an audience w/ Christ, how am I to know for sure that what I am teaching is correct doctrine? Is a confirmation of the Spirit enough. Maybe I am reading into Denver’s words too much, but I feel like maybe it’s not enough because things are so convoluted and it is difficult to discern between truth and error. How do I go about preparing lessons and feeling at least somewhat confident that I am teaching these girls true doctrine?

  9. AK said:
    “Could the Gospel of Jesus Christ be preparing us for the doctrine of Christ? As one Church helps prepares us for another.”

    I tend to see it in the opposite order, though I might be missing something. Isn’t it the doctrine that provides the steps/teachings that get us to the gospel/good news especially in the fullness of the Gospel where we have direct communication with God? What could be better news than knowing that we are accepted of the Lord from his own mouth?

  10. Sabrina,

    I would say that the more you study the Prophet’s words already given to us, especially the Presidents of the Church’s words, on any given subject, the more the Spirit will explain the truth about a particular subject to your soul & give you more & you will begin to see more clearly between the philosophies of men about it & the teachings of the Prophets on it.

    We must judge & prove all we hear from others & all that we are taught by revelation, by what the scriptures & Presidents of the Church say.

    I like to get those books like “The teachings of Pres. Kimball, Benson, Hinckley, etc….” & conference talks by each President of the Church. So I have the doctrine they taught right at hand.

  11. AnonymousNV I think the order we place them in may be determined by our life’s experiences, how we see the world.

    Looking at 2 Nephi 31:2 to 2 Nephi 32:6 the doctrine of Christ leads us to “he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh.”

    “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” term has been used by so many in so many ways. While the “doctrine of Christ” speaks to me of personal relationship, revelation, and redemption.

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