Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Fall of the Great and Abominable Church

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13 And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood.
14 And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it. (1 Nephi 22:13-14)

These aren’t the only verses that speak of the consequences of fighting against Zion. Verses 15-16, 18, 22-23 say more, so they are worth examining as well. But I’m going to look at the above verses today.

First, I notice the entities that are referred to by the different names who will be punished—the great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, every nation which shall war against thee O house of Israel, all that fight against Zion, that great whore, that great and abominable church. There’s a chiasmus there in the order they are mentioned.

the great and abominable church,
the whore of all the earth,
every nation which shall war against thee O house of Israel,
all that fight against Zion,
that great whore,
that great and abominable church

The entities that are victimized in these verses are the house of Israel, the people of the Lord, and Zion. 

How are these good entities attacked? What is done to them that must be stopped, according to Nephi?
--The house of Israel is warred against.
--The people of the Lord are being ensnared with pits dug for them.
--Zion is being fought against.
--As a bonus, “the right ways of the Lord” are also being perverted, so apparently the gospel path suffers too from being disrupted, obscured, diverted, neglected, avoided, slandered, etc.

These verses also describe how judgments catch up with the great and abominable church, the whore, and nations that fight against Zion. It comes in different forms:
--They fight among themselves (unity among the wicked can’t continue. They will offend each other and turn against each other)
--They are drunken with their own blood (apparently they will get so obsessed with the fight against each other that it clouds their judgment)
--They shall fall into the pit they digged to ensnare others in (they are found guilty of the very accusations they bring against the people of the Lord. Hypocrisy is exposed, since they project their own sins onto others.)
--They will be destroyed (their own violent and destructive tendencies will be turned against them)
--They will “tumble to the dust” with a great fall (Evidently all their previous ascendency and status will be lost)

I think we are told this so that we know the consequences and judgment for fighting against Zion and the Lord are real, and so we will recognize it when it happens. (Apparently it comes in at least five forms.) We will pass through narrow times because of the great and abominable church, the whore, and nations and all who fight against Zion. We’ll wonder if there will be an end to it. Here we are told there will be.