2 Ne 28:1-29:14
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- Verses 28:11-15. In these verses Nephi is speaking about many of the people of our day. Verse 12 focuses on pride and false teachers. Verse 13 is interesting because Nephi says that the people of our day rob the poor with their fine sanctuaries and rob the poor because of their fine clothing. Typically we only use the word rob when we are talking about taking something that rightly belongs to someone else. Under that interpretation, Nephi is saying that both communities collectively and we all individually have an obligation to take care of the poor. A community that can build a fine sanctuary has money to take care of the poor. Those with the resources should take care of the poor. So, if that community fails to use their money to take care of the poor, they rob the poor. At the individual level, the same line of reasoning applies. We rob the poor when we don't take care of them but we buy fine clothing.
- Verse 28:21: All is well. The phrase "all is well," used here and in verse 25, is used only one other time in the Book of Mormon (Hel 13:28). In the KJV of the Old Testament, the phrase is used only twice. In 2 Sam 18:28, the phrase is used in describing Ahimaaz's failure to tell David about the death of his son Absalom. If Nephi (or Joseph Smith as translator) indeed has the phraseology of this incident in mind, the "all is well" allusion here suggests an interpretation that Ahimaaz's motivation was impure. In this light, the "all is well" phrase suggests a type of shutting of one's eyes, either to oneself (self-betrayal) or to others (deception or half-truths). The other Old Testament occurence of "all is well" is in 2 Kgs 5:22 where Elisha's servant Gehazi chases down Naaman without Elisha's knowledge in order to obtain money as a token of appreciation for Namaan's being healed. Again, the phrase "all is well" is spoken by someone in a deceitful act.
- Verse 28:21: At ease in Zion. This phrase occurs in Amos 6:1. The "at ease" portion of this phrase also occurs in have been this phrase from Amos that Isaiah borrows in Isa 32:9 and 11 in parallel with "careless daughters." Some scholars have suggested that Amos has influenced Isaiah's writings, and since Nephi has been quoting exentsively from Isaiah, there may be a transitive type of influence (or, perhaps Nephi had direct access to Amos's writings).
- Verse 28:22: Obscuring the existence of the devil. Among many of the ancient truths that has been obscured over time, is the truth of the Adversary's reality. See Moses 1:12-23 for an example of an account of the devil that has disappeared from the modern Bible. The devil figure is so prominently absent from much of the Old Testament that many modern theologians and critics hold that he was not "discovered" until well after the time of kings David and Solomon. This perception that the devil was merely "discovered", or "created" by ancient theologians to account for evil they did not want to attribute to God, has, in turn, led many to believe that the devil does not in fact exist, fulfilling the Devil's purpose with renewed effectiveness. Clearly, however, Satan does exist.
- Verse 28:22: Undoing the Fall? The strategy of the devil that Nephi is describing here seems to echo Lehi's teaching in 2 Ne 2:11 in an interesting way. It seems that the devil, in trying to deceive others as to his existence, is trying to undo the oppositional "compound in one" concept that Lehi juxtaposes against a state of "one body" and "no life niether death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."
Points to ponder
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- Verse 28:21. What attitude is Nephi preaching against in this verse? How is that attitude different than the "all is well" attitude expressed in the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints"?
- Verse 28:21. What is meant here by "hell"?
- Verse 28:21. What is meant by saying that the devil cheateth their souls? What about this is cheating?
- Verse 28:23. Does verse 23 say that hell and the devil will be judged? What would it mean to judge hell? What does it mean to judge the devil? Is there a chance he could fare better or worse at his judgment depending on how he acts now?
- Verse 28:29. How can we apply this verse to ourselves? Are there ways in which we say "we have enough"?
- Verse 28:32. What is God saying about the Gentiles when he says they will deny him?
- Verse 29:6. Which is more applicable to this verse, Matt 5:22 or the various sayings about fools in the Old Testament book of Proverbs?
- Verse 29:7. Is this a democratization of divine knowledge, or merely a declaration that God is able to speak to more than one covenant people?
- Verse 29:8. How does the Lord speak the same words to all nations, when he has already admitted that he operates under the constraining factor of speaking to his servants "in their weakness, after the manner of their language" (D&C 1:24)?
- Verse 29:8. There are many cases where more than one nation has run together. But, other than the Book of Mormon, what other examples do we have that the testimony of those nations have run together?
- Verse 29:9. Is the Lord criticizing the concept of the canon that Christian sects adopted when, after the close of the New Testament, they believed that the scriptures could not be added upon because God no longer called prophets and because revelation had ceased?
- Verse 29:10. What is that causes Christians to hate the idea of God revealing more than is in the Bible?
- Verse 29:11. Why is Nephi implying that the Lord only spoke to literate peoples?
- Verse 29:12. If the Lord spoke to every nation, then how did the nations who relied on oral traditions to pass on information, rather than writing, receive and retain these revelations?
- Verse 29:13. Did the lost tribes follow the pattern of the other two groups and primarily produce their records during Old Testament times, even if each group will have to wait until the final dispensation to receive each other's records?
- Verse 29:14. Will just about all of this happen after the Second Coming of Christ?
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- Verse 28:21. William Clayton uses the phrase "all is well" in the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints" to a very different purpose than Nephi uses it in these verses (21 & 25). "Come, Come, Ye Saints" counsels the saints to trust in the Lord and following him. Then, come what may, all is well.
- Verse 28:21. Brigham City, directed by Richard Dutcher, relies heavily on the "all is well" theme.
- Verse 28:26: Precepts of men. See this comment on the blog and surrounding discussion.
- Verse 28:32. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Prophets in the Land Again," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 104–7. Elder Holland said: "To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long... this conference calls out Jehovah's unrelenting refrain, '[My] hand is stretched out still...' His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears."
- Verse 29:5: LDS perspective on Jews. See What Do We Think of the Jews? by Russell Arben Fox at the Times and Seasons blog for more on the LDS view on Jews. Note also several links to articles, books, and reviews in the comments. (Here is a related thread, though its focus is more on cultural reflections, not doctrinal or early Church history issues.)
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