Sunday, March 31, 2019

Part of the Great Work of the Lord which Nephi Sees

In 1 Nephi 13-14 we have parts of Nephi’s vision in which he saw history and the future (all of which was future for him). We are pretty familiar with the parts of history from 1 Nephi 13:

·      The formation of the great and abominable church
·      The Gentiles coming out of captivity to the land of promise
·      The fight for independence
·      The book carried with them that has many covenants and prophecies
·      The coming forth of the Book of Mormon

However, we are less familiar with the stuff from 1 Nephi 14, except for v12-14 that talks about the mother of abominations gathering multitudes to fight the saints and the saints being armed with the power of God.  Let’s look at v1-10:

1 And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks
2 And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.
3 And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.
4 For behold, this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him.
5 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso repenteth not must perish.
6 Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.
7 For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.
8 And it came to pass that when the angel had spoken these words, he said unto me: Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel? I said unto him, Yea.
9 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.
10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:1-10)

What I realized is these verses have important aspects of history too, but it is hard to see how because we’re in it.

These verses talk about:
·      the Lord taking away stumbling blocks,
·      a great work that either convinces and delivers people to life, or brings them to captivity and destruction temporally and spiritually
·      people of the great and abominable church digging pits and falling into them themselves and becoming captives of the devil

Don’t we live in a day in which all kinds of deep pits are being dug for people which can take them captive? Pornography is a pit. Excessive cell phone use is a pit. Drug use is a pit. Excessive video gaming is a pit. All kinds of addictions are pits. The risks of captivity through addiction today have multiplied, and there are lots of people that stumble over this, that, or the other thing.

But the Lord wants people to know the risks and avoid stumbling and falling into the pits, so He will do His best to make the truth known and people have to choose. We all of us have to choose whether we go on and stay in our various pits (because we all have our struggles and vulnerabilities that drag us down into pits) or whether we will get out of it and leave it alone.

Further, verse 3 warns that those who dig the pits for others to fall into will fall into them themselves, to their utter destruction. So that’s a warning to those figuratively in any “pit-digging” industries to get out of that work.

Whenever the prophets warn us about something, they are pointing out a pit that we might fall into. I’m so grateful for that because it takes a number of years for society to get the memo that certain things are harmful, and even then, they may never get it. If we went by society, we would become casualties of whatever it is.  But if we listen to the prophets, we will know to be cautious ahead of time, even if we don’t immediately see and understand the full significance and danger.