Grace for Grace – Helaman 12:1-26

1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. [“Trust in the Lord.” The most important lesson for a servant of God.]

2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art [creative method]; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them [The Lord can, often through His holy angels and the prayers of the righteous, speak to the minds and hearts of our enemies and foes. Remember this when you pray for assistance and you exercise faith.]; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. [Why does ease and property often lead to wickedness amongst the people? Is the acquiring of wealth and fortune a greater burden than to be poor? Could you give up everything you have if the Lord required it? Do you care more for the needs of others than for your own desires? If you are blessed with wealth seek to know the Lord’s will and be very cautious.]

3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. [Often those who are of the covenant, or the people of God suffer when they fall into iniquity. The Lord allows them to stumble that they may be humbled and remember to repent.]

4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!

5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!

Why is the world so wicked and slow to come unto the Lord? The answer lies in the kind of covenants that were made before birth. Most people come into this world with no intention of following Christ or the Adversary. They just want to live. Many of the children of men are very old souls, having existed in a telestial state for a very long time. Those who are born under the covenant are often the younger of souls, born in the first estate to the Father, and learning through their experiences to choose the good and reject the bitter. But, there is a time of reckoning and as the Times of the Gathering of Israel commences all must decide what they will finally choose.

6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.

7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. [Even the dust obeys God’s command.]

8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.

9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.

10 And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.

11 Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;

12 Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.

13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.

14 Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done;

Mormon is describing the power of God, which is also the power of those who hold His sealing power.

15 And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. [The Nephites were well aware of the cosmos and the moving of the planets and stars.]

16 And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep [oceans and seas]—Be thou dried up—it is done.

17 Behold, if he say unto this mountain—Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up—behold it is done. [This has occurred historically in the days of Enoch.]

18 And behold, if a man hide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say—Let it be accursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up—behold, it shall be accursed.

19 And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever.

20 And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man—Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever—it shall be done. [The Lord has in the past hid up the treasures of the world and even the remains of entire civilizations. One of the miracles that will occur before the Second Coming in glory will be the discovery of entire civilizations hidden from the world by snow and ice.]

21 And if the Lord shall say—Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be cut off from my presence—he will cause that it shall be so. [The banishment of the damned to Outer Darkness.]

22 And wo unto him to whom he shall say this, for it shall be unto him that will do iniquity, and he cannot be saved; therefore, for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared. [Those of perdition are claimed by the Adversary, Satan, and the dark realm, never to be redeemed worlds without end.]

23 Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. [Those born without the law are saved from perdition, but must accept Christ to receive Eternal Life. Moroni 8:22]

24 And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance [change of heart] and good works [covenants], that they might be restored [resurrected] unto grace for grace, according to their works. [This is a simple definition of the Everlasting Covenant, and it extends far beyond this life. “Grace” is another word for estates or glory. The individual must pass from one estate or glory to another until they are perfected in all things.] 

25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; [Outer Darkness, or to a telestial world where the Lord does not go.]

26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.

There is some confusion regarding the state of the damned. Yes, it is misery, but it is a conscious choice. These souls seek self gratification and dominion. No spirit is tricked or accidentally chooses Satan’s path, it is a their desire. many of these spirits are as repulsed by the works of righteousness as you are by their terrible deeds.

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Gadianton Expansion – Helaman 11:1-38

1 And now it came to pass in the seventy and second year of the reign of the judges that the contentions [dividing of political factions] did increase, insomuch that there were wars throughout all the land among all the people of Nephi.

2 And it was this secret band of robbers who did carry on this work of destruction and wickedness. And this war did last all that year; and in the seventy and third year it did also last. [The Gadianton knew that by creating contention based upon skin color, ideologies, and anything that would divide the people, they could use it to their benefit to control and gain power over them. The same tactic is used today.]

3 And it came to pass that in this year Nephi did cry unto the Lord, saying:

4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee. [This thought was put into Nephi’s heart by the Spirit of the Lord.]

5 And so it was done, according to the words of Nephi. And there was a great famine upon the land, among all the people of Nephi. And thus in the seventy and fourth year the famine did continue, and the work of destruction did cease by the sword but became sore by famine.

6 And this work of destruction did also continue in the seventy and fifth year. For the earth was smitten that it was dry, and did not yield forth grain in the season of grain; and the whole earth was smitten, even among the Lamanites as well as among the Nephites, so that they were smitten that they did perish by thousands in the more wicked parts of the land.

7 And it came to pass that the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God; and they began to remember the words of Nephi. [In the future, as the United States suffers from the effects of famine and plague, the people will both repent and become ferocious, as the righteous and wicked divide more. At this juncture the Remnant of Jacob shall come down like a whirlwind upon the wicked and cleanse much of the darkness from these places.]

8 And the people began to plead with their chief judges and their leaders, that they would say unto Nephi: Behold, we know that thou art a man of God, and therefore cry unto the Lord our God that he turn away from us this famine, lest all the words which thou hast spoken concerning our destruction be fulfilled.

9 And it came to pass that the judges did say unto Nephi, according to the words which had been desired. And it came to pass that when Nephi saw that the people had repented and did humble themselves in sackcloth, he cried again unto the Lord, saying:

10 O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them insomuch that they have become extinct, and they have concealed their secret plans in the earth.

11 Now, O Lord, because of this their humility wilt thou turn away thine anger, and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of those wicked men whom thou hast already destroyed.

12 O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this famine may cease in this land.

13 O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit, and her grain in the season of grain. [Even though the Lord said to Nephi that He would honor His words upon the land, Nephi continues to seek the Lord’s approval and asks if it is good to lift the famine curse.]

14 O Lord, thou didst hearken unto my words when I said, Let there be a famine, that the pestilence of the sword might cease; and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words, for thou saidst that: If this people repent I will spare them.

15 Yea, O Lord, and thou seest that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come unto them.

16 And now, O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again if they will serve thee? And if so, O Lord, thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou hast said. [The “anger” is the translated word used to describe the Lord’s actions. The Lord delivers justice according to righteousness. The word “judgment” would be a better word.]

17 And it came to pass that in the seventy and sixth year the Lord did turn away his anger from the people, and caused that rain should fall upon the earth, insomuch that it did bring forth her fruit in the season of her fruit. And it came to pass that it did bring forth her grain in the season of her grain.

18 And behold, the people did rejoice and glorify God, and the whole face of the land was filled with rejoicing; and they did no more seek to destroy Nephi, but they did esteem him as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God.

19 And behold, Lehi, his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness. [The same brother that stood with him in the prison of the Lamanites on the day of their conversion.]

20 And thus it did come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east. [The people did mingle freely with the Lamanites and spread throughout the continent.]

21 And it came to pass that the seventy and sixth year did end in peace. And the seventy and seventh year began in peace; and the church did spread throughout the face of all the land; and the more part of the people [higher percentage], both the Nephites and the Lamanites, did belong to the church; and they did have exceedingly great peace in the land; and thus ended the seventy and seventh year.

22 And also they had peace in the seventy and eighth year, save it were a few contentions concerning the points of doctrine which had been laid down by the prophets.

23 And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year. [It literally requires a steady stream of revelation to know what is truth and what is error. It takes much time and effort, continually struggling to know the voice of the Lord before such confidence in personal revelation is reached. Nephi and Lehi had developed this gift. You can too.]

24 And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were a certain number of the dissenters from the people of Nephi, who had some years before gone over unto the Lamanites, and taken upon themselves the name of Lamanites, and also a certain number who were real descendants of the Lamanites, being stirred up to anger by them, or by those dissenters, therefore they commenced a war with their brethren.

25 And they did commit murder and plunder; and then they would retreat back into the mountains, and into the wilderness and secret places, hiding themselves that they could not be discovered, receiving daily an addition to their numbers, inasmuch as there were dissenters that went forth unto them.

26 And thus in time, yea, even in the space of not many years, they became an exceedingly great band of robbers; and they did search out all the secret plans of Gadianton; and thus they became robbers of Gadianton. [These Gadianton Robbers were not a part of the original Gadianton Group, but learned of their ways and adopted it into their methods.] 

27 Now behold, these robbers did make great havoc, yea, even great destruction among the people of Nephi, and also among the people of the Lamanites.

28 And it came to pass that it was expedient that there should be a stop put to this work of destruction; therefore they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness and upon the mountains to search out this band of robbers, and to destroy them. [This group would be similar to modern day terrorists that also used organized crime to forward their plunder and search for power and control.]

29 But behold, it came to pass that in that same year they were driven back even into their own lands. And thus ended the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

30 And it came to pass in the commencement of the eighty and first year they did go forth again against this band of robbers, and did destroy many; and they were also visited with much destruction.

31 And they were again obliged to return out of the wilderness and out of the mountains unto their own lands, because of the exceeding greatness of the numbers of those robbers who infested the mountains and the wilderness. [These robbers infested both the Appalachian Mountains, and later the wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains (more so after the coming of Christ)]

32 And it came to pass that thus ended this year. And the robbers did still increase and wax strong, insomuch that they did defy the whole armies of the Nephites, and also of the Lamanites; and they did cause great fear to come unto the people upon all the face of the land. [This is because they could not identify them as friend or foe based on their appearance only.]

33 Yea, for they did visit many parts of the land, and did do great destruction unto them; yea, did kill many, and did carry away others captive into the wilderness, yea, and more especially their women and their children. [They dealt in human trafficking.]

34 Now this great evil, which came unto the people because of their iniquity, did stir them up again in remembrance of the Lord their God.

35 And thus ended the eighty and first year of the reign of the judges.

36 And in the eighty and second year they began again to forget the Lord their God. And in the eighty and third year they began to wax strong in iniquity. And in the eighty and fourth year they did not mend their ways. [How quickly people forget.]

37 And it came to pass in the eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening again for destruction.

The ripening in iniquity is something that often ebbs and flows, eventually becoming fully ripe. At this point the Lord will intervene for the sake of future generations. If they are not under the everlasting covenant they are allowed to do as they wish until it interferes with the Lord’s purposes, at which time they are removed.

38 And thus ended the eighty and fifth year.

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Sealing Power of Nephi – Helaman 10:1-19

1 And it came to pass that there arose a division among the people, insomuch that they divided hither and thither and went their ways, leaving Nephi alone, as he was standing in the midst of them. [What was the division amongst the people that would cause them to suddenly divide up and go leaving Nephi alone? The Adversary is a master at creating confusion.] 

2 And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him.

3 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying: [This is a distinct voice, one that Nephi recognizes. It is not heard with the physical sound, but by the Spirit, which cuts to the very heart. See 1 Kings 19:12, 1 Nephi 17:45, Helaman 5:30]

4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments. [It is important to understand that the Lord watches everything we do and knows our hearts. Many believe that they are too insignificant in the vast cosmos to warrant such attention, but they underestimate the Lord. When we exercise great faith, especially toward the conversion of others, the Lord sets things in motion to help us prepare to do more as His servant.]

5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

The Lord blesses Nephi because of his “unwearyingness.” It is not that Nephi wasn’t tired, but his consistency to seek His will and exercise faith (seeking the Lord’s will and acting upon it) is what leads to the forthcoming blessing.

6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.

This is a declaration of the God of Heaven at His Heavenly Throne, in the presence of the angels regarding Nephi’s authority to act in His name. This is a pattern in the Heavenly Realm, where God governs all things. The angels are His witnesses and the order of the Principalities will watch, assist, and record all the events related to the works of Nephi in this capacity.

7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth [command in my name] shall be sealed in heaven [honored by God]; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth [curse in my name] shall be loosed in heaven [cursed by God]; and thus shall ye have power among this people. [specific to this people only]

8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain [collapse], it shall be done.

9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done. [Power to control the earth, to cause earthquakes, and level the earth.]

10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.

11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent [turn your heart to me] ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction. [both spiritual and physical]

12 And behold, now it came to pass that when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him, concerning their destruction if they did not repent. [It would be the inclination of most after having such a powerful revelation from God to go home and think about it. To talk with your family and prepare for that mission. But Nephi, like a parent with an urgent need to save their child from danger feels compelled to go out immediately out to save others.]

13 Now behold, notwithstanding that great miracle which Nephi had done in telling them concerning the death of the chief judge, they did harden their hearts and did not hearken unto the words of the Lord. [People often refuse to listen to people who tell them they need to change their lives and do that which is outside their comfort and lifestyle. We all know people like this and they do fine until tragedy hits them.]

14 Therefore Nephi did declare unto them the word of the Lord [as was received by revelation], saying: Except ye repent, thus saith the Lord, ye shall be smitten even unto destruction.

15 And it came to pass that when Nephi had declared unto them the word, behold, they did still harden their hearts and would not hearken unto his words; therefore they did revile against him, and did seek to lay their hands upon him that they might cast him into prison.  [Anyone accused of causing contention amongst the people was subject to being thrown in jail according to the will of the people, until they appeared before the judge.]

16 But behold, the power of God was with him, and they could not take him to cast him into prison, for he was taken by the Spirit and conveyed away out of the midst of them.

This is a power of the Spirit given to those who hold the sealing power. It was demonstrated by Enoch, Elijah, Jesus Christ during His mission, and the Apostle Paul. He was not translated, but his body transfigured briefly to allow for this to occur. In the Spirit, there are many things that are possible which are beyond the laws of physics.

17 And it came to pass that thus he did go forth in the Spirit, from multitude to multitude, declaring the word of God, even until he had declared it unto them all, or sent it forth among all the people. [The sealing power creates an open conduit between the person and the Lord, which creates an immediate understanding of where you are to go and who you are to speak with. The thoughts and intentions of others, and also the Adversary are made bare to Nephi. It is the ultimate authority as a servant of God in this world.]

18 And it came to pass that they would not hearken unto his words; and there began to be contentions, insomuch that they were divided against themselves and began to slay one another with the sword.

19 And thus ended the seventy and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

 

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Nephi Exposes the Murderer – Helaman 9:1-41

1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Nephi had spoken these words, certain men who were among them ran to the judgment-seat; yea, even there were five who went, and they said among themselves, as they went:

2 Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true.

This is a very human approach to determining the validity of a prophet. Those with little to no faith react in such a manner. Often, the truth doesn’t reveal itself right away and the doubters scoff and congratulate themselves that they knew he or she was false, but the Lord always keeps His word.

3 And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood.

4 And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the chief judge.

5 But now, when they saw they believed, and fear came upon them lest all the judgments which Nephi had spoken should come upon the people; therefore they did quake, and had fallen to the earth. [A natural reaction in the face of shock and despair.]

6 Now, immediately when the judge had been murdered—he being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy [A cloak of secrecy: this expression was Joseph’s best translation to explain the hidden nature of this Gadianton practice.], and he fled, and the servants ran and told the people, raising the cry of murder among them;

7 And behold the people did gather themselves together unto the place of the judgment-seat—and behold, to their astonishment they saw those five men who had fallen to the earth.

8 And now behold, the people knew nothing concerning the multitude who had gathered together at the garden of Nephi; therefore they said among themselves: These men are they who have murdered the judge, and God has smitten them that they could not flee from us. [Despite the people’s wickedness and lack of faith, they still maintained a strong belief that God could intervene in their lives. They believed in witchcraft too and were very superstitious.]

9 And it came to pass that they laid hold on them, and bound them and cast them into prison. And there was a proclamation sent abroad that the judge was slain, and that the murderers had been taken and were cast into prison.

10 And it came to pass that on the morrow the people did assemble themselves together to mourn and to fast, at the burial of the great chief judge who had been slain.

11 And thus also those judges who were at the garden of Nephi, and heard his words, were also gathered together at the burial. [Wanting to know what those men had seen, being that at least a portion of Nephi’s words had been true in their eyes.]

12 And it came to pass that they inquired among the people, saying: Where are the five who were sent to inquire concerning the chief judge whether he was dead? And they answered and said: Concerning this five whom ye say ye have sent, we know not; but there are five who are the murderers, whom we have cast into prison.

13 And it came to pass that the judges desired that they should be brought; and they were brought, and behold they were the five who were sent; and behold the judges inquired of them to know concerning the matter, and they told them all that they had done, saying:

14 We ran and came to the place of the judgment-seat, and when we saw all things even as Nephi had testified, we were astonished insomuch that we fell to the earth; and when we were recovered from our astonishment, behold they cast us into prison.

15 Now, as for the murder of this man, we know not who has done it; and only this much we know, we ran and came according as ye desired, and behold he was dead, according to the words of Nephi. [I am reminded how the Lord is in every detail. Nephi was led by the Spirit to pray upon his tower when he did, the Lord knowing that these judges would be there to witness the prophecies.]

16 And now it came to pass that the judges did expound the matter unto the people, and did cry out against Nephi, saying: Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet. [And this was put into the judge’s hearts by the Adversary. The gift of prophecy has a dark equivalent, which is to say that which the Adversary gives you to say.]

17 And now behold, we will detect this man, and he shall confess his fault and make known unto us the true murderer of this judge.

18 And it came to pass that the five were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges in the words which they had spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them. [These five men’s hearts had been changed, for they did not believe that Nephi could have known or was involved in this murder.] 

19 Nevertheless, they caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers [unexpected] ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death—

20 Saying unto him: Thou art confederate [accomplice]; who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him. [The equivalent of offering a plea deal.]

21 But Nephi said unto them: O ye fools, ye uncircumcised [unclean] of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked [unwilling to look and consider spiritual things] people, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin?

22 O ye ought to begin to howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent.

23 Behold ye say that I have agreed with a man [working together] that he should murder Seezoram, our chief judge. But behold, I say unto you, that this is because I have testified unto you that ye might know concerning this thing; yea, even for a witness unto you, that I did know of the wickedness and abominations which are among you.

24 And because I have done this, ye say that I have agreed with a man that he should do this thing; yea, because I showed unto you this sign ye are angry with me, and seek to destroy my life. [By walking them through their thoughts and intentions Nephi demonstrates his prophetic discernment to them through the power of God.]

25 And now behold, I will show unto you another sign, and see if ye will in this thing seek to destroy me. [We will see if you still desire to destroy me after this second sign.]

26 Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him—

27 Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?

28 And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay.

29 And ye shall say unto him: Have ye murdered your brother?

30 And he shall stand with fear, and wist not what to say. And behold, he shall deny unto you; and he shall make as if he were astonished; nevertheless, he shall declare unto you that he is innocent.

31 But behold, ye shall examine him, and ye shall find blood upon the skirts of his cloak. [bottom of his robe]

32 And when ye have seen this, ye shall say: From whence cometh this blood? Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother?

33 And then shall he tremble, and shall look pale, even as if death had come upon him.

34 And then shall ye say: Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.

35 And then shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder.

36 And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God. [Seantum’s fear is not only that he was caught, but that a prophet of God had been the means of his undoing. The fear of God had come upon Seantum.]

It is also important that Nephi emphasized that he was an honest man. That this information was given to him by the power of God and that he was sent by God to deliver it. Nephi gives the Lord all the credit.

37 And it came to pass that they went and did, even according as Nephi had said unto them. And behold, the words which he had said were true; for according to the words he did deny; and also according to the words he did confess.

38 And he was brought to prove that he himself was the very murderer, insomuch that the five were set at liberty, and also was Nephi.

39 And there were some of the Nephites who believed on the words of Nephi; and there were some also, who believed because of the testimony of the five, for they had been converted while they were in prison.

40 And now there were some among the people, who said that Nephi was a prophet. [Some were converted because they saw direct evidence that Nephi was a prophet because of these circumstances. But why did the Lord have Nephi prophecy of Seezoram’s murder in such a dramatic fashion? Their had been several murders of judges already without a spiritual intervention of this kind.]

41 And there were others who said: Behold, he is a god, for except he was a god he could not know of all things. For behold, he has told us the thoughts of our hearts, and also has told us things; and even he has brought unto our knowledge the true murderer of our chief judge. [Nephi became quite the news among the people for this act of prophecy. Some placing him on godlike status.]

We will see in the coming chapters the Lord’s purpose in having Nephi prophecy of Seezoram’s murder. This would be a test for the Nephites, as well as a test for the prophet Nephi. The Lord is in every detail.

 

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Only by Revelation – Helaman 8:1-28

1 And now it came to pass that when Nephi had said these words, behold, there were men who were judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry, and they cried out against him, saying unto the people: Why do ye not seize upon this man and bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done?

2 Why seest thou this man, and hearest him revile against this people and against our law?

3 For behold, Nephi had spoken unto them concerning the corruptness of their law; yea, many things did Nephi speak which cannot be written; and nothing did he speak which was contrary to the commandments of God. [He only spoke that which he received by revelation.]

4 And those judges were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness; nevertheless, they durst not lay their own hands upon him, for they feared the people lest they should cry out against them.

5 Therefore they did cry unto the people, saying: Why do you suffer this man to revile against us? For behold he doth condemn all this people, even unto destruction; yea, and also that these our great cities shall be taken from us, that we shall have no place in them.

6 And now we know that this is impossible, for behold, we are powerful, and our cities great, therefore our enemies can have no power over us.

7 And it came to pass that thus they did stir up the people to anger against Nephi, and raised contentions among them; for there were some who did cry out: Let this man alone, for he is a good man, and those things which he saith will surely come to pass except we repent; [What happens when someone speaks out against the powerful and corrupt today?]

8 Yea, behold, all the judgments will come upon us which he has testified unto us; for we know that he has testified aright unto us concerning our iniquities. And behold they are many, and he knoweth as well all things which shall befall us as he knoweth of our iniquities;

9 Yea, and behold, if he had not been a prophet he could not have testified concerning those things. [Nephi was not the only one who was aware that they people were wicked. Many living in sin often are aware of their situation, yet choose to ignore the signs.]

10 And it came to pass that those people who sought to destroy Nephi were compelled because of their fear, that they did not lay their hands on him; therefore he began again to speak unto them, seeing that he had gained favor in the eyes of some, insomuch that the remainder of them did fear.

11 Therefore he was constrained [by the Spirit] to speak more unto them saying: Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite [exercise the power of God] upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither [began to move], insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?

I have seen this in vision. The waters gathered up in the distance in two mounds like a tide.

12 And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may know concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?

13 But, behold, ye not only deny my words, but ye also deny all the words which have been spoken by our fathers, and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses, who had such great power given unto him, yea, the words which he hath spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah. [Much of these words were removed from scripture by the Jews while captive in Babylon.]

14 Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he [Christ] be lifted up who should come.

Why is the serpent a symbol of Christ in this act of Moses? The “serpent” is a symbol of a being of light, a higher being who has the power to lay down his life and take it up again. A serpent’s ability to shed his skin is where this comes from. It was a “serpent” that tempted Eve in the Garden, or in other words, an angel of light.

15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith [turn to God seeking His will, a broken heart], having a contrite spirit [willing to do all that He requires], might live, even unto that life which is eternal.

16 And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham.

17 Yea, and behold, Abraham saw of his coming, and was filled with gladness and did rejoice.

18 Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God [according to previous covenants under the 4th estate]; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them.

19 And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet Zenos did testify boldly; for the which he was slain.

20 And behold, also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah, and Jeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah. O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy?

I asked the Lord about Zenoch and Zenos mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The Lord said they were two prophets of Israel that lived before the time of Nephi. Zenock was alive at the time of Isaiah and was stoned for preaching the Messiah would be the Son of God. Zenos came later and was run through with a weapon for preaching similar doctrine. Zenoch was called the preacher of righteousness. There words and identities were lost after Jerusalem was destroyed. There is some quoting of their words in later books of the Bible, but their names are not mentioned. The doctrine of the Messiah giving His life was removed by the Jewish Rabbis after going to Babylon, considered heretical. (Personal Journal)

21 And now will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem? But behold, this is not all—

22 Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things. Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come.

23 And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory, because of that which is to come.

24 And now, seeing ye know these things and cannot deny them except ye shall lie, therefore in this ye have sinned, for ye have rejected all these things, notwithstanding so many evidences which ye have received; yea, even ye have received all things, both things in heaven, and all things which are in the earth, as a witness that they are true.

What evidences is Nephi referring to? They know that the prophecies regarding Jerusalem were true according to Lehi and Mulek who fled the destruction. They have also witnessed the history of miracles amongst the people since the time they came to the Americas. God had given the House of Israel many signs in the Heavens to watch and observe. The Nephites abided by the Holy Days established under Moses. All things pointed toward Christ and God’s majesty in this world. But like today, many had brushed this aside for a secular view of life and the gratification of the flesh.

25 But behold, ye have rejected the truth, and rebelled against your holy God; and even at this time, instead of laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nothing doth corrupt, and where nothing can come which is unclean, ye are heaping up for yourselves wrath against the day of judgment.

26 Yea, even at this time ye are ripening, because of your murders and your fornication [sexual sins] and wickedness, for everlasting destruction; yea, and except ye repent it will come unto you soon.

27 Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.

28 And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men. [A direct prophecy given to Nephi in the very moment. It was not even thought through, but blurted out as the Spirit testified.]

 

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