Tag: fire

2 Nephi 31: 17

2 Nephi 31: 17: 

“Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.” 

You must “do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do.” You must “follow Him.” There is no other way nor name given under heaven to obtain salvation. (Mosiah 5: 8.)

It was for this reason Nephi was “shown” these things. The Lord and His Father taught Nephi so he could in turn teach others, including us.  The message was intended to save many, not just Nephi. But we must give heed to the message when we hear it.

The “gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water.” You must repent first. Then, having repented, receive baptism by water. When this is done, “then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”

Without the “fire” to purge the sacrifice upon the altar, it is not cleansed. It cannot become holy unless exposed to that fire.

But note – this is automatic. It is not by the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost is not required in this teaching. Nephi, with elaboration from the Father and the Son, is teaching that this is an event that follows the process of “repentance and baptism by water.”  That is, the ordinance of baptism, when accompanied by repentance and done right, is the reason for this event. 

Laying on of hands is for “the gift of the Holy Ghost” so there may be a companion and guide for a person. This is an ordinance. It is also the moment one is confirmed a member of the church. But it is not necessarily co-equal with receiving “fire and the Holy Ghost” as described here. There is nothing that excludes it from being coincidental in time, however. They may happen at the same moment. That is, after baptism, and while receiving the laying on of hands, one may receive both the gift of the Holy Ghost, and also fire and the Holy Ghost. As a result one is renewed in the manner described in this chapter. They are not co-equal.

Laying on of hands does not appear to be an ordinance in the Book of Mormon until the coming of Christ in 3 Nephi. The only potential exception is found in Alma 31: 36, where Alma “clapped his hands upon them who were with him” and they received the Holy Ghost. This is similar to the Lord “breathing” the Holy Ghost upon His disciples. (John 20: 22.) They were instructed to lay on hands, and would perform that act rather than breathing upon those who were to receive the Holy Ghost. The ordinance is different from “clapping” or from “breathing” and involves the process we follow in the church today. (D&C 33: 15.)

The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost promised here is given without man’s involvement, comes from heaven, is promised by both the Father and the Son. It is a signal of redemption, purification and holiness. It is included in the “gate” for entering into God’s presence.  For God is a “consuming fire” and those who enter into that presence must be able to endure that fire. (Heb. 12: 29; see also Deu. 4: 24.)  Without the capacity to do so, a person would be consumed by the flames. (Lev. 10: 1-2.) The fire and the Holy Ghost are also given as a sign to the recipient that they may know it is safe for them to enter into God’s presence and not be consumed. In earlier versions of the First Vision, Joseph described the “pillar of light” as a “pillar of fire” which gradually descended. He wondered if the trees would be consumed as it descended, but seeing they were not he thought it safe for him to be exposed to it as well. When it fell upon him, the vision opened up and he saw the Father and the Son.

Christ also entered into this glorious light on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Matt. 17: 1-2.)

We are to do as Nephi instructs, “do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter.”

We live below the standard Christ set for us.  We needn’t. Have faith. Press forward feasting on His words. You can and will find Him there.

2 Nephi 28: 23

“Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.” 

This is a continuation of the warning. Nephi wants us to take quite seriously his warnings.

When you read words like these it becomes apparent the only safe way to measure his warning is to apply it directly and personally to ourselves. To think this was meant only for “others” is too complacent.

When the truth has made you angry, and you have forfeited the option of repentance extended to you, the “grasp of death” is upon you. You will remain subject to “death and hell.” Being “seized” by these two things, as you stand before the “throne of God” you will be certain that there will be, for you, a continuation of “the deaths.” (D&C 132: 25.)

Judgment is based “according to their works.”  (See also Rev. 20: 12-13; explained further in D&C 128: 6-8.) Joseph ties sealing power to these “works” which must be done under this authority and then recorded to become binding. This is the practice of the church. It is and has always been the practice of those having such authority. They not only perform the work, but upon having done so they create a record of having done so.

Upon being judged, they go “into the place prepared for them.” This place is, for those who are grasped with “death and hell” called “a lake of fire and brimstone.” A lake because it engulfs them so tightly they are flooded with the guilt. Fire because it is designed to purge and refine. Brimstone because of the bitterness of the experience. The torment there is “endless” meaning from God. (D&C 19: 4-12.)

This purging does not confer blessings, but merely balances out the claims of justice for those who would not accept mercy. (D&C 19: 15-19.)

Crying repentance is to warn, so the claims of justice may be avoided by obtaining mercy through Christ. Christ’s mercy is offered to all, but will only be received in full by few. All will be resurrected because of His sacrifice (1 Cor. 15: 22), and those who died without law will not be punished for their ignorance (D&C 76: 71-72; D&C 45, 54), but to receive the full benefit of His atonement must do as He commands (D&C 132: 22-23).

Those who love others and want their eternal welfare will invite everyone to repent and come to Christ. The prospect of others suffering needlessly because they would not repent is a great horror to them. This is why Nephi’s words are at times so blunt. This is why he wants to stir us all up to our terrible situation. It is merciful to speak to us in these frank terms.

I know some who have read these words of counsel from Nephi and find them objectionable. However, Isaiah spoke against those whose words were “smooth” but filled with deceit. (Isa. 30: 10.) To people who are content and filled with pride, it takes a great deal of candor to bring them to their senses. (Enos 1: 23.) Nephi’s warnings are intended to save as many of the gentiles who read his record from self-destruction as he can bring to repentance. It is better for us to take counsel from his hand than to dismiss his teachings. He can only warn his readers.  Since we are his readers, he must be speaking to us.