The Book of Mormon (Nephi to Moroni)
These choice prophets of the Lord longed for the fulfillment of the vision they had witnessed. The end result of our faith is to see the same vision they saw – to become seers ourselves, to be one with them, and to stand upon Mount Zion with them in the latter days. The vision of Zion will forever remain only a vision, however, until we seek its fruition with all our hearts. One wonders if the eventual establishment of the city of Zion is only the collective and individual faith of the Latter day Saints who seek the heavenly city. (See Hebrews 11:8-16; 1 Peter 2:9-11; D&C 45:11-14. In every dispensation there have been "strangers and foreigners" who have set aside this world and all its demands to seek for a city, the heavenly Zion, whose maker and builder is God. The highway on which they walk is a strait [also “straight”] and narrow path, and has been cast up out of the midst of the great deep, and it passes directly through the Garden of Gethsemane of this world, "a strange country." This world for these "holy men" and their families is not home, and their hearts ache to return to the heavenly home from whence they once came on their missions in mortality). Certainly, we must do what we can do in accordance with our individual faith, but I am persuaded that God will give the “assist” to bring to pass the promised day of which the prophets have spoken. (See D&C 84:100).
1 Nephi 13:35-37 -- Compare Isaiah 52:7-10
Nephi viewed a vision of the earth's future in answer to his petition to see the same vision his father had seen, and he recorded some of what he saw. (See 1 Nephi 10:17-19; 11:1-6. That this vision is available for all who seek it in faith is implicit in Nephi's statement: "I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him"). Like John the Beloved who beheld the same vision on the Isle of Patmos, Nephi's vision sweeps down the annals of time into our day and beyond to the final scenes preceding the Second Coming. (See 1 Nephi 14:24, 28). His use of the phrase "at that day" is consistent with the way all the prophets refer to the dispensation of the fullness of times.
Reference to Isaiah's 52nd chapter occurs throughout the doctrinal themes of The Book of Mormon prophets. Nephi first mentions it here. Those who teach the gospel in the last days will indeed publish peace to the world, and in the figurative and literal sense will stand upon Mount Zion.
For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. (See Isaiah 52:7-10; Mark 13:10; 3 Nephi 20:40).
1 Nephi 21:13-17, 22-23 -- Compare JST Isaiah 49:13-16, 22-23
This passage is a quotation from Isaiah's record included in Nephi's writings. The reader is referred to the notes in this compilation at the beginning of the section on Isaiah's writings for treatment of the correlation between the writings of The Book of Mormon prophets and the writings of Isaiah. The role of the Gentiles in America in the latter days is clearly set forth by Nephi in his record, and their influence upon the seed of Nephi is a mixed blessing for both.
It is of interest that the text of the JST corresponds in most cases with The Book of Mormon text where The Book of Mormon prophets quote Isaiah. This suggests that Joseph may have referred to The Book of Mormon text in making his inspired revision of the Bible. However, a close comparison of these verses in The Book of Mormon and the JST will reveal that there are textual variations. Why isn't the text precisely the same? I suggest that were he merely copying words from one book to another the text would conform more closely than it does.
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
But, behold, Zion hath said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me but he will show that he hath not.
For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
1 Nephi 22:10-19
Nephi continues his prophetic statement concerning the future status of the house of Israel based upon what he had seen in his vision. His words are a warning to the wicked that they will not prevail against Zion, and a statement ringing with conviction that the righteous will be preserved in their work of establishing Zion in the last days.
And I would, my brethren, that ye should know that all the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of the nations.
Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.
Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.
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.
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.
For behold, saith the prophet, the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned.
For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.
Behold, my brethren, I say unto you, that these things must shortly come; yea, even blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come; and it must needs be upon the face of this earth; and it cometh unto men according to the flesh if it so be that they will harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel.
For behold, the righteous shall not perish; for the time surely must come that all they who fight against Zion shall be cut off.
1 Nephi 6:12-13
The prophets teach throughout the scriptures that those who embrace the gospel are accounted as the "salt of the earth." (See Matthew 5:13; 3 Nephi 16:13-15; D&C 101:39-41; 103:8-10). When men reject the gospel they are accounted as "salt that hath lost its savor, and thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast our and trodden under feet of men." In the last days the prophets make it clear that the Gentile nation of America will be licking up the dust of the feet of the remnant of the seed of Nephi. (See 3 Nephi 16:10-16; 21:14-29).
And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things.
Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.
2 Nephi 8 -- Compare JST Isaiah 51, 52:1-2
This reference is Jacob's quotation of Isaiah's vision of Zion. Oh, that we may see as they saw, and know as we are known!
In the first compilation I made of the Zion scriptures I naively stated that the JST text compared "precisely" with The Book of Mormon text where Isaiah was quoted. Not only are they not precise, but every single edition differs somewhat the KJV, the JST, and The Book of Mormon are all slightly different textually in their various editions.
Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness. Look unto the rock from whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence ye are digged.
Look unto Abraham, your father, and unto Sarah, she that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed him.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light for the people.
My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arm shall judge the people. The isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner. But my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revil-ings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool. But my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
Awake, awake! Put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days. Art thou not he that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
Art thou not he who hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
I am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man, who shall die, and of the son of man, who shall be made like unto grass?
And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?
The captive exile hasteneth, that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.
But I am the Lord thy God, whose waves roared; the Lord of Hosts is my name.
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion: Behold, thou art my people.
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling wrung out --
And none to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither that taketh her by the hand, of all the sons that she hath brought up.
These two sons are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for thee -- thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword -- and by whom shall I comfort thee?
Thy sons have fainted, save these two; they lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net, they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, and not with wine:
Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God pleadeth the cause of his people; behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.
But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; who have said to thy soul: Bow down, that we may go over -- and thou hast laid thy body as the ground and as the street to them that went over.
Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
2 Nephi 10:5-19
Jacob continues his prophecy by speaking of the crucifixion of the Savior at the hands of the Jews, the scattering of Israel, the gathering, the establishment of America as a land of freedom, and its future. The role of the Gentiles in the latter days who will inhabit the land specifically designated by the Lord as the land of inheritance for the seed of Nephi's brethren is likewise revealed.
Jacob prophesies again that all who fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and he calls these people the "whore of all the earth." They are literally the great and abominable church. For a time the hearts of the Gentiles shall be softened so they may become the instrument of delivering the gospel to Nephi's seed, but the eventual destiny of the majority of the Gentiles is to reject the gospel. We have seen, and are witnessing currently, the fulfillment of these prophetic words:
But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.
Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.
But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance.
And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.
Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?
But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.
And I will fortify this land against all other nations.
And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.
For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.
Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh, I must need destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations.
Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.
For I will fulfil my promises which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh --
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, thus saith our God: I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles; nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel.
Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.
2 Nephi 12:1-9 -- Compare JST Isaiah 2:1-9
Nephi continues quoting Isaiah in this chapter of his record, and says again in the verses preceding this chapter, "Now these are the words, and ye may liken them unto you and unto all men." (Nephi and his brother Jacob were qualified to make such emphatic prophecies because of the knowledge they had obtained by revelation: "And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him. And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him. . ." [2 Nephi 11:2-3]).
This is another of Isaiah's typological prophecies, having more than one fulfillment. (See the notes throughout Isaiah's prophecies in this compilation). Once again, there are slight textual differences between The Book of Mormon and the JST verses.
The word that Isaiah, the son of Amos, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways.
Therefore, O Lord, thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and hearken unto soothsayers like the Philis-tines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.
Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.
And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not.
2 Nephi 13:13-17 -- Compare JST Isaiah 3:13-17
Nephi quotes Isaiah's account of the condition of the daughters of Zion in the latter days, when they yield their faith to worldliness. The verses that follow these cited are graphic.
The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.
The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard and the spoil of the poor in your houses.
What mean ye? Ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of Hosts.
Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet --
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
2 Nephi 14 -- Compare JST Isaiah 3:27; 4
Nephi continues his quotations from Isaiah's writings in this chapter, and in six short verses gives us a view of millennial conditions yet to prevail upon the earth. It is significant that Nephi picked up the last verse of the preceding chapter in his record, because the subject matter is obviously related but was severed by Bible translators who put the verse in the wrong chapter. Note the use once again of the phrase "in that day."
And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.
In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the earth excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel.
And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion, and remain in Jerusalem shall be called holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.
2 Nephi 18:13-18 -- Compare Isaiah 8:13-18
Nephi cites Isaiah's prophecy that many will stumble at the "stumblingstone" of Christ among the house of Israel. He holds Christ up as our ideal, "our sanctuary," then specifies his dwelling place in mount Zion. The Lord's power will be manifest through his people "for signs and wonders."
Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.
2 Nephi 20:5-12, 20-25, 30-32 -- Compare JST Isaiah 10:5-12, 20-25, 30-32
See the notes concerning these verses under the Isaiah reference in this compilation.
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is their indignation.
I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but in his heart it is to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
For he saith: Are not my princes altogether kings?
Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus?
As my hand hath founded the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and to her idols?
Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
The remnant shall return, yea, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return; the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
For the Lord God of Hosts shall make a consumption, even determined in all the land.
Therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Hosts: O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
Lift up the voice, O daughter of Gallim; cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
As yet shall he remain at Nob that day; he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
2 Nephi 22 -- Compare Isaiah 12
Nephi is still quoting Isaiah in this chapter we called "The Psalm of Isaiah" in this compilation. Isaiah speaks of the millennial day when all men shall praise the Lord, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as with a flood, and the Lord shall dwell once more among men. The Jews had a hard time identifying Christ when he came to earth the first time. In their expectation of the Millennial Messiah they did not recognize Christ among them.
And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
2 Nephi 24:32 -- Compare JST Isaiah 14:32
See the notes for this passage under the Isaiah reference in this compilation.
What shall then answer the messengers of the nations? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.
2 Nephi 26:23-33
Nephi speaks of the universal application of the gospel in the lives of all God's children in this chapter, and gives a specific prophecy concerning the conditions that must prevail in Zion. In the preceding verses Nephi speaks of the pride of those who reject the gospel because of their own wisdom, their own learning, and their desire to get gain at the expense of the poor. Does he speak of our day?
He warns against priestcrafts, always forbidden by the Lord in his work, which he then defines as preaching to set oneself up as a light to the world for the purpose of getting gain and the praise of men. This condition is virtually universal in Christianity today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not exempt from priestcrafts. (Utah has a well-earned, nationally prominent reputation for being the investment fraud capitol of the world. It all starts with a man with experience taking money from people with money, who wind up getting the experience).
God does not work in darkness, nor does he exclude any from salvation, as Nephi plainly teaches. Satan is leading us along carefully in these last days, so carefully that many of us are blind to our true condition. The gospel comes to each of us as a free gift, and the fullness of the gospel is the Holy Ghost. If we are laboring to bring souls to Christ our labors will result in our being filled with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, and having his companionship will fill us with charity. (See Moroni 7:47-48, where Moroni simply and beautifully outlines this process in these words: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." We must always remember that God's love is a gift, not something we can earn by our own righteousness). It is a gift that cannot be bought and sold.
Let us not be deceived by Satan into thinking that our pursuit of money can "enhance" our work in the kingdom, or that its expenditure in sharing the fullness of the gospel with others is necessary to dispense the pure gospel. Yes, money is necessary in our labors among the nations of the world and building temples, but our hearts in relation to money must remain pure. The laborer in Zion so deceived will only perish spiritually. Our erudite and faithless professions of devotion to God, when we suppose our money is an evidence of our righteousness, convict us in these verses. These words resound from Nephi's record: "Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price."
For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship?
Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
2 Nephi 27:1-3 Compare JST Isaiah 29:6-8
Once again we have evidence of textual differences in The Book of Mormon and the JST. Nephi introduces this chapter with the first verse, which cannot be found in either the KJV or the JST. Nephi's introduction spells out the specific time for the fulfillment of the prophecy that follows -- he says it will be in the day when all the nations of the Gentiles inhabit the land of America, and in a day when they are drunken with iniquity and abominations. He prophesies of latter-day destructions that will befall those who oppose the work of establishing Zion, then proceeds to give a remarkable prophecy about the restoration of the gospel in the last days, and the coming forth of The Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith's inspired revisions of the KJV beginning with JST Isaiah 29:8 correspond to Nephi's text of this chapter.
But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles -- yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations -- And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm and tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire.
And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold, he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
2 Nephi 28:18-28
If we had no other evidence of Nephi's prophetic role, these verses would be sufficient. The entire chapter is filled with descriptions of the conditions we see all around us today -- priests contending one with another, teaching with their learning, while denying the power of the Holy Ghost by not leaning upon his Spirit when they preach, and those full of pride who teach false doctrines, wear expensive clothes, and flaunt their education and wealth. How grateful I have been for examples of men and women of means who have consecrated their all to the building up of the kingdom of God here on the earth.
Once again we need to be reminded that The Book of Mormon prophets wrote what they did for us in our day -- their words were never published and distributed among their own people. We need to liken their words to ourselves. Too often we point a finger of scorn at the rest of the world outside our Church, using the very scriptures that apply to us. Those in the Church who are built upon the rock of Christ's atonement will receive the call to repentance with gladness. All others are pacified and content in their carnal security, and resent the waves of truth that wash out the foundations of their sand castles of self-deception.
In these verses Nephi tells us in no uncertain terms what Satan will do to deceive us:
But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.
For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
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.
Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
Mosiah 12:17-27 -- Compare Isaiah 52:7-10
This prophecy is cited throughout The Book of Mormon record, as it is Isaiah's vision of those who declare glad tidings of peace and joy in the last days.
And it came to pass that king Noah caused that Abinadi should be cast into prison; and he commanded that the priests should gather themselves together that he might hold a council with them what he should do with him.
And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words.
And it came to pass that one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;
Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem;
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?
And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?
I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.
Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?
Mosiah 15:11-19, 28-31 -- Compare Isaiah 52:7-10
Abinadi answers the question of the wicked priests in this chapter, persuasively and passionately expounding the doctrine of Christ's atonement. He declares that all who accept Christ as their Savior become his seed, spiritual heirs of the kingdom of God through his atonement. These are they, says Abinadi, who Isaiah saw standing upon Mount Zion publishing the glad tidings of Christ's redemptive sacrifice. He speaks of these heirs of eternal life in the past, present, and future tense, and he rejoices in the knowledge that he is one of them despite his imminent death in the flesh.
He concludes his witness with a prophecy that the day will come when the fullness of the gospel shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord -- I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?
Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.
And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;
For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.
And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
3 Nephi 16:13-20 -- Compare Isaiah 52:8-10
But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.
And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.
But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me -- that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.
And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.
3 Nephi 20:36-41 -- Compare Isaiah 52:1-3
The key to understanding this chapter lies in the Savior's statement to the Nephites that
. . .the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land [speaking of America], for your inheritance.
And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people --
Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (3 Nephi 20:14-16).
The Savior then details the scattering and the gathering of Israel in the last days -- "this people," meaning Nephi's seed, will be gathered to the land of their inheritance (America) to build the New Jerusalem, and "my people," meaning the Jews, will be gathered to Jerusalem. Then, the Savior says, the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled:
And then shall be brought to pass that which is written: Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
For thus saith the Lord: Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and ye shall be redeemed without money.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak.
And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
3 Nephi 21:1
The Savior sets forth "a sign" in this chapter that pertains to the time in which all the prophecies of the establishment of Zion he has given the Nephites will be fulfilled. The sign will be fulfilled when there is a gathering of Israel in the last days, when the gospel is restored in its fullness among the Gentiles who then give it to Nephi's descendants, when Joseph Smith's role is fulfilled, and when the remnant of Jacob asserts itself against the degenerate Gentiles.
In a limited sense, of course, Zion was established with the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, and we are building Zion today all around the world as its stakes and borders expand (see D&C 82:14), and as Zion is built up in the far-flung stakes around the world. (See Elder Bruce R. McConkie, in Mexico and Central America Area Conference Report, Aug. 1972, 43-45; also see President Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 6, where as Prophet he sanctioned Elder McConkie’s teaching that we are currently gathering Israel and building Zion all around the world; also Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Come, Let Israel Build Zion,” Ensign, May 1977, 115-18). But the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecies relating to Zion still awaits us. The entire chapter contains much valuable doctrinal material pertaining to the establishment of Zion in the last days, but only the first verse containing the word Zion is cited here:
And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion.
While Ether does not specifically use the word Zion is his record, it is clear from his account that his vision of the New Jerusalem to be built on the land of America is so significant we cannot leave it out of our compilation. In addition we see evidence in what Moroni tells us about Ether that he likewise qualified for his "prophet's reward." He was utterly rejected by the Jaredites, despite his "great and marvelous" revelations, and was cast out from among his people to spend his dying days in the cavity of a rock while he viewed the destruction of his people. Who can doubt the prophetic visions these men had, given all they forsook to obtain them?
Ether speaks of both the New Jerusalem to be established upon the American continent, and he speaks of the old Jerusalem being built up in the latter days as a holy city once again. We see again the theme of two world capitols of Zion, consistent throughout the prophetic record.
And now I, Moroni, proceed to finish my record concerning the destruction of the people of whom I have been writing.
For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;
And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.
Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.
And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come -- after it should be destroyed it should be built up again a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a New Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel -- And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.
For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.
And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.
And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.
And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.
And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.
And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether; but they esteemed him as naught, and cast him out; and he his himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people.
And as he dwelt in the cavity of a rock he made the remainder of this record, viewing the destructions which came upon the people, by night.
Moroni 10:31 -- Compare Isaiah 52:1
And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.