2 Ne 33:1-15
From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
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- Verse 7: Nephi tells us he has great faith in Christ that he will meet many of the souls of his own people spotless at the judgement-seat. It is interesting that he sees this belief--that many will be spotless--as part of his faith in Christ.
In verse 9 Nephi starts by saying the same thing about the Gentiles that he has told us about his own people and about the Jews: that he loves them (i.e. has charity towards them). But then, whereas about his own people he said he had faith that he would meet many of them spotless, about the Gentiles he cannot even say he has hope for them--except they accept and follow Christ. Why is his attitude so different toward the Gentiles than it is toward his own people?
It might seem that Nephi believes that because his people are heirs to the promises of Abraham, whereas the Gentiles are not, the requirements for their salvation are not so stringent. That's a poor reading though. We see from 2 Ne 26:33 that Nephi knows that "both Jew and Gentile" have equal access to come unto Christ and receive the blessings thereof (see also 2 Ne 30:1-2). So, why then is his attitude toward the Gentiles so different from that toward his own people?
One possible answer is that for his own people he has already seen the steps they have taken to come to Christ. It was easy for him to see this because he lives with them. Since Nephi has already seen many of them sincerely seek to follow Christ, he can already say he has faith that through Christ, many of them will be found spotless at the judgment-seat. He doesn't say the same thing about the Gentiles because his experience with them is not the same. Nephi feels it important to warn the Gentiles that he cannot have faith that they will be found spotless (like he has for his brethren) unless they, like his brethren, accept and follow Christ. Finally, one more reason that Nephi doesn't warn his own people like he does the Gentiles may be simply because he knows his own people won't be reading this text.
- v. 12: Nephi shows great optimism and hope in the Atonement when he prays many of us if not all of us will be in heaven.
- Verse 13: Nephi seems not to know how many will be saved. He prays that many of us will be but he doesn't tell us of any assurance he receives that they will. The phrase "many, if not all" could mean that he doesn't think everyone down to the last person can be saved but hopes that most everyone will be. Alternatively, maybe it suggests he holds out hope that every person can be saved.
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