Book of Mormon Lesson 09 (2 Nephi 26–30)
● Ammon told King Limhi: “A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light.”(Mosiah 8:17).
● Nephi was a great seer—revealing many things about the future.
NEPHI “LIKENS” ISAIAH’S PROPHECIES
In this portion of the Book of Mormon, Nephi explains the prophecies of Isaiah that are found in Isaiah 29, and then adds his own prophecies to them.
Nephi “Likens” Isaiah to His People
● Before the Savior visits the Nephites, there will be “great wars and contentions” for many generations (2 Nephi 26:1–2).
● Between the time of Christ’s death and His ministry among the Nephites, the wicked will be destroyed by great natural disasters(2 Nephi 26:3–7).
— Nephi lamented the fallen and slain of his people but was compelled to acknowledge to the Lord, “Thy ways are just” (v. 7).
● Nephi described those who will be preserved at the Savior’s coming (2 Nephi 26:7–8).
— The “righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not.”
— Those who “look forward unto Christ with steadfastness” despite persecution.
● “The Son of righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him” (2 Nephi 26:9).
● Four generations after the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites, when the Spirit ceases to strive with them, there will be a “speedy destruction” (2 Nephi 26:10–11).
● Christ will then manifest himself unto all nations (2 Nephi 26:12–13).
—Nephi used “Jew” in the broader sense of the word—as a term for Israel.
—Nephi promised that both Jew and gentile will be convinced that Jesus is the Christ.
Nephi “Likens” Isaiah to Us
● The Nephites will “speak out of the dust” to the righteous in the latter days (2 Nephi 26:14–19). These words echo those Isaiah and David:
— They shall open the earth and find salvation (Isaiah 45:8).
— Truth shall spring out of the earth and righteousness from heaven (Psalm 85:11).
— These things will “be written and sealed up in a book” (v. 17).
— The remnant of the Nephites will be smitten by the Gentiles (v. 19).
● Conditions among the Gentiles (2 Nephi 26:20–22).
— They will stumble “because of the greatness of their stumbling block,” which is pride (v. 20).
— They “put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain” (v. 20).
— They also establish many churches, “which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice (v. 21).
— They will also support “secret combinations” of all kinds (v. 22).
● Satan’s method of leading them to destruction: He “leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever” (v. 22). A flaxen cord is made of thin, light strands—like a small strand of wax-coated floss. Satan uses “flaxen cords” to carefully lead people along until they are so far into wickedness that he can bind them with “strong cords.”
● Everything God does is for the benefit of man’s salvation (2 Nephi 26:23–28). God does everything selflessly, with nothing to gain personally, and solely for our blessing and benefit.
● Nephi warned against priestcrafts (2 Nephi 26:29–31).
— Priestcraft is to build up a religious following for the purpose of getting gain.
— This practice mimics the selfish pretensions of Satan, who offered in the premortal existence to save us all, but was really seeking his own aggrandizement.
— Priestcraft is considered an abomination by the Lord, and he forbids it (v. 30; Alma 1:16; 3 Nephi 18:24; Moroni 7:45–47; D&C 6:7; D&C 105:5).
● Other things forbidden by the Lord (2 Nephi 26:32). Nephi essentially reviewed the ten commandments as he listed the other things forbidden by God: murder, lying, stealing, taking the name of God in vain, envying, malice, contention, and whoredoms.
● All good things come from God (2 Nephi 26:33). He does only those things that are good, he does it with plainness.
● God accepts anyone who comes unto Him (2 Nephi 26:33). He invites everyone to come unto him and partake of his goodness and will not deny any person who does so— black and white, bond and free, male and female, even the heathen—“and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”
PROPHECIES OF THE LATTER DAYS
The Destruction of the Wicked
● Judgments of earthquake, storm, tempest and devouring fire (2 Nephi 27:1–4). Judgments come on men because of disobedience. Nephi foresaw a people in the latter days “drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations.”
The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon
● The Book of Mormon and its translation (2 Nephi 27:5–11).
— The Book of Mormon as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith was partly sealed, and he was commanded not to translate that part, which contains revelations from the beginning to the end of the world (v. 7).
— Nephi tells us how and when the sealed portion will eventually become available to us (vv. 10–11; Ether 4:4–7; 1 Nephi 14:26; 3 Nephi 26:9–11).
● Witnesses will testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 27:12–14; Ether 5:2–4; 2 Cor. 13:1).
● Part of the book will be shown to a learned man, who will ask to see it (2 Nephi 27:15–18; Isaiah 29:11–12; JS–Hist. 63–65). But the book is “sealed” to those who seek the glory of the world.
● An unlearned man will miraculously translate the book (2 Nephi 27:19–20). The learned will not do it, “for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said concerning the “unlearned” status of Joseph Smith: “We have no hesitancy . . . in stipulating that Joseph was, by the standards of the world, “not learned.” Isaiah foresaw it (Isaiah 29:12). Joseph did not have the skilled, formal tutoring [that] Saul had at the feet of Gamaliel. (Acts 22:3). Emma Smith reportedly said that Joseph, at the time of the translation of the Book of Mormon, could not compose a ‘well-worded letter let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon . . . [which was] marvelous to me, a marvel and a wonder, as much as to anyone else.’ This obscure young man apparently paused while translating and dictating to Emma—probably from the fourth chapter of 1 Nephi— concerning the ‘wall of Jerusalem,’—and said, in effect, ‘Emma, I didn’t know there was a wall around Jerusalem.’”1
● The sealed portion of the book will eventually be revealed in the Lord’s “own due time” when He “shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men” (2 Nephi 27:21–22).
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Now the Lord is withholding from us a great many truths that he would gladly reveal if we were ready to receive them . . . How many have read the Book: of Mormon through? How many have made themselves familiar with the things revealed to us in the Doctrine read Covenants . . . regarding our salvation and exaltation and how it may be obtained? Until we are prepared to receive the things already given., I fear the Lord will hold from us those other things which one time will be revealed.”2
● Speaking of the sealed portion, the Lord says “I will bring them forth in mine own due time” (vv. 21–22). The world shall not have them “until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.” The Lord will control the entire process.
● The coming forth of the Book of Mormon will be “a marvelous work and a wonder”—confounding the world and its supposed wisdom (2 Nephi 27:23–27).
● Healing the spiritually deaf and blind (2 Nephi 27:28–30, 35; Isaiah 29:18–19).
● Receiving additional words of God (2 Nephi 28:29–30).
— Those who receive them will receive even more.
— Those who reject them will lose what they already have.
● The foolishness of clinging exclusively to the Bible (2 Nephi 29:1–6).
— The hypocrisy of clinging to the Bible, which they also reject.
— The wickedness of the world’s attitude toward the Jews.
● The Book of Mormon provides a second witness for Christ (2 Nephi 29:7–11).
Wickedness in the Latter Days
President Joseph F. Smith said, “There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity.”3 These are the three great dangers of our time, and Nephi speaks of all three in his prophecies concerning us.
● Apostasy: (2 Nephi 28:2–10; 2 Nephi 26:20–21; JS–Hist 1:5–6, 19, 21)
He will build up false churches that will:
— Claim to be the Lord’s but are full of contention (vv. 3–4).
— Teach with their own learning and deny the Holy Spirit (v. 4).
— Deny the power of God (v. 5).
— Teach that sin and wickedness are excusable (vv. 5–8).
— Teach false doctrine, be puffed up in pride, work in darkness (v. 9).
— Persecute and kill the Saints (v. 10).
● Pride & Greed: (2 Nephi 28:11–14)
Because of the love of the world, they will:
— Go “out of the way” and become corrupted (v. 11).
— Exploit the poor because of their greed (v. 13).
— Persecute the meek (v. 13).
— Deceive of the humble followers of Christ (v. 14).
● Wickedness: (2 Nephi 28:15–19)
— Whoredoms, perversion, reviling righteousness.
Satan’s Methods of Deception in the Latter Days
● Strategy #1: Stir up people to anger against that which is good (2 Nephi 28:20, 28).
● Strategy #2: Pacify people—“lull them away into carnal security” (2 Nephi 28:21). The word carnal refers to the flesh. To have carnal security is to feel secure in the practices and ideas of the world. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, we accept evil as harmless or normal.
● Strategy #3: Flatter people into believing that there is no devil and no hell, and they can “be at ease” just the way they are—without need for repentance (2 Nephi 28:22–24). President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (2 Ne. 3:12). It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.”4
● President Spencer W. Kimball said: “These are momentous days, the last days, when there will be numerous deceptions. . . . Lucifer, the arch deceiver . . . is exerting every effort. Deceptions will increase; cults will become more numerous; more and more of the weak and faithless will fall by the wayside. . . . One is assured protection through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. . . . If one lives in total harmony and faith, sustaining the authorities of the Church and lives all the principles, the spirit will guide him; but if he gets arrogant and sets himself up as a final judge, he may be deceived.”5
● Nephi pronounces “wo” (or woe)—a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief—upon all those who allow themselves to be deceived by Satan (2 Nephi 28:25–28).
Multiple Nations Will Witness of Christ
● Nephi pronounced a woe upon those in the latter days (2 Nephi 28:29–32) who will say, “We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!” (v. 29).
— Those who receive the additional scriptures will receive even more.
— Those who reject them will lose what they already have (the Bible). Nephi also spoke against secular humanism itself, saying, “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men” (v. 31).
● The Book of Mormon provides a second witness for Christ (2 Nephi 29:7–11). The idea that God only speaks to one group of people in one age of the world is false. God remembers all his children wherever they are.
● There will yet be a third witness from the lost tribes of Israel (2 Nephi 29:12–14). The witness provided in the Bible will be joined with the witness provided in the Book of Mormon, and together they will eventually be joined with the witness provided by the lost tribes of Israel (vv. 12–13).
The Triumph of Good Over Evil
● The righteous must carefully guard against evil (2 Nephi 30:1–2).
— Those Gentiles who repent and come into the Church by baptism are considered “the covenant people of the Lord.”
— Israelites that will not repent shall be “cast off.”
● The gospel will come through the Gentiles to Nephi’s posterity and to the Jews (2 Nephi 30:3–9).
● The Lord will “cause a great division among the people” (2 Nephi 30:10–11). The wicked (tares) will be separated from the righteous (wheat) in preparation for their (the tares) burning (Matthew 13:25–30). We are already seeing a great division among the people of these last days, as the wicked become ever more wicked and the righteous more righteous. This will continue until the gulf is absolute and one must either be part of the Lord’s cause or part of the great and abominable “church” of secularism and wickedness.
● Blessings the righteous will enjoy in the Millennium (2 Nephi 30:12–18). Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Great and marvelous though the changes will be incident to life during the millennial era, yet mortality as such will continue. Children will be born, grow up, marry, advance to old age, and pass through the equivalent of death. Crops will be planted, harvested, and eaten; industries will be expanded, cities built, and education fostered; men will continue to care for their own needs, handle their own affairs, and enjoy the full endowment of free agency. Speaking a pure language (Zeph. 3:9), dwelling in peace, living without disease, and progressing as the Holy Spirit will guide, the advancement and perfection of society during the millennium will exceed anything men have supposed or expected.”6
● The Evidence of Destruction In the Western Hemisphere at the Time of Christ’s Death Is Widespread. In Mexico, “Copilco [experienced] a lava flow thirty feet thick, covering architecture, burials, and pottery vessels. This layer of lava dates from the time of Christ . . . In highland Guatemala to the west of Guatemala City lies a large inland lake, Lake Atitlan [possibly the Waters of Mormon]. During a period of low water in the 1930s, ruins were detected in the water . . . [Ceramics recovered from this underwater site] dated from about the time of Christ . . . There are, interestingly, several volcanoes in the mountains surrounding the lake . . . [At] Tres Zapotes in southern Veracruz, in the Tuxtla Mountains . . . in the late 1930s, Matthew W. Sterling and Philip Pucker discover[ed] . . . a cap of volcanic ash which covered [other] archaeological materials. Then later there was evidence that the site had been re-inhabited . . . We know . . . that the volcanic layer occurred at the time of Christ and covered materials that dated back several centuries before the time of Christ.”7 This is only a small sample of the evidence showing widespread and profound destruction around AD 33.
● The Evidence of Christ’s Appearance on this Continent Is Also Widespread. Daniel H. Ludlow said: “Many American tribes have a tradition of the appearance of a great white God to their ancestors of many years ago. The name or title frequently given to this personage, especially among the Quiche tribes of Central America, is Quetzalcoatl, which literally means ‘bird-serpent’ or ‘serpent of precious plumage.’ It is interesting to speculate that perhaps this title was given to the resurrected Jesus Christ because he had been lifted up on a cross as the serpent had been lifted up on a stick by Moses. (Helaman 8:13–16; Numbers 21:6–9; John 3:14). Also, he appeared to them by descending out of the sky like a bird. (3 Nephi 11:8). This theory might also explain why the very first thing the Savior did after his appearance to the Nephites was to invite the people to feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet that they might know that ‘it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come’ (3 Nephi 11:14–15).”8
1. In Conference Report, October 1983; Ensign, November 1983, 54.
2. Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:201–202.
3. Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 312.
4. In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1975, 64.
5. “That You May Not Be Deceived,” Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, 11 November 1959, 3, 8, 12.
6. Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 496–497.
7. Warren Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, , 36–45.
8. A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon , 261.