Was Joseph Smith foreordained to restore the gospel?
Is Happiness found in living the gospel?
What was the curse that came upon the Lamanites?
Is it possible that Joseph Smith wrote himself – by name – into both the Book of Mormon and the Bible? Were the Nephites a temple-building people? Is there racism taught and practiced in the Book of Mormon? We’ll answer these and more questions in this episode.
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For the sake of time, I will not cite all the parallel phrases and words from the Old and New Testaments that are in the Book of Mormon text. For a complete transcript of this lesson please click on the link in the description below.
As father Lehi was approaching the end of his life, he gave a final message to his extended family. He reminds them how merciful the Lord had been in bringing them to the promise land.
2 Nephi 1:1 The phrase “and rehearsed
unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them” is similar, to Mark 5:19.
2 Nephi 1:2 The words “the mercies of
God” is also in Romans 12:1.
2 Nephi 1:4 He tells them that by this time, Jerusalem has been destroyed.
2 Nephi 1:5 Lehi tells them this new land of promise was a choice land the Lord had covenanted for their descendants.
2 Nephi 1:6 He prophesied that the Lord would prevent others from settling in the New World until the time was right.
2 Nephi 1:7 The phrases “liberty unto them” is also in Jeremiah 34:8 and, “iniquity shall abound” same as Matthew 24:12.
In the LDS Gospel Topic Essay titled: Book of Mormon and DNA Studies it states “The Book of Mormon itself, however, does not claim that the peoples it describes were either the predominant or the exclusive inhabitants of the lands they occupied. In fact, cultural and demographic clues in its text hint at the presence of other groups.” My question is – How can the LDS Church now say the Book of Mormon does not claim its people were the “exclusive inhabitants of the lands they occupied” when here in 2 Nephi 1:8 it says, “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.” This verse does not allow for another group of people to have migrated to the Americas before the Book of Mormon people arrived.
2 Nephi 1:9 The Lord promised Lehi that if Lehi’s people and Mulek’s people (see, Mosiah 25:2) will keep the commandments, they shall be blessed and prosper in safety.
2 Nephi 1:10 But, when the day comes that the Lamanites “dwindle in unbelief” and “reject the Holy One of Israel” God will punish them. The phrase “the creation of the world” is the same as Romans 1:20.
2 Nephi 1:11 The Lord will allow other nations to come take their land and to scatter them.
2 Nephi 1:12 The phrase “one generation passeth to another” is similar, to Ecclesiastes 1:4.
2 Nephi 1:13 Lehi pleads with Lemuel and Laman to awake from their deep spiritual sleep. The words “awake from a deep sleep” is similar, to Romans 13:11.
2 Nephi 1:14 The phrase “from whence no traveler can return” is similar, to one of Shakespeare’s lines in Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, where it reads, “from whose bourn no traveler returns.” The phrase “I go the way of all the earth” is also in 1 Kings 2:2.
2 Nephi 1:15 The phrase “I have beheld his glory” is similar, to John 1:14.
2 Nephi 1:17 The phrases “for the hardness of your hearts” is similar, to Mark 10:5 and, “destroyed forever” is same in Psalm 92:7.
2 Nephi 1:18 Lehi is concerned for his older brothers that “a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations.” The words “by sword, and by famine” is similar, to Jeremiah 16:4.
2 Nephi 1:19 The words “his will be done” is similar, Matthew 6:10.
2 Nephi 1:20 The phrase “shall be cut off from my presence” is also in Leviticus 22:3.
2 Nephi 1:22 “That ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing: and also, that ye may not incur the displeasure of a just God upon you, unto the destruction, yea, the eternal destruction of both soul and body.” Lehi defines “cursed” as being stopped in their eternal progression and subject to Satan – eternally. Basically, never being privileged to dwell with God in the Celestial Kingdom. The words “be cursed with a sore cursing” is similar, to Malachi 3:9.
2 Nephi 1:23 “Put on the armor of righteousness” is similar, to Ephesians 6:11 and 2 Corinthians 6:7.
2 Nephi 1:25 The phrases “I exceedingly fear and tremble” is similar, to Hebrews 12:21, and “power and authority over” is the same in Luke 9:1.
2 Nephi 1:26 “used sharpness” similar, to 2 Corinthians 13:10.
2 Nephi 1:28-29 Next, Lehi offers his blessings – like a birth-right blessing – to his sons and sons-in-law. The phrases “who are the sons of Ishmael” is similar, to Genesis 25:16 and, “and if ye will hearken unto” is the same in 2 Kings 10:6.
2 Nephi 1:30-31 Finally, Zoram – Laban’s old servant – has been made an official member of Lehi’s family. The words “because thou hast been faithful” is also in Luke 19:17.
2 Nephi 1:32 The phrase “if ye shall keep the commandments of the Lord” is similar, to Deuteronomy 28:9.
Lehi is now going to teach about what he understands to be The Fall of Adam and Eve, and redemption through Jesus Christ.
2 Nephi 2:1 Lehi’s remarks in this sermon is directed at his son Jacob who was the first-born in the wilderness. The phrase “Thou art my firstborn” is also in Genesis 49:3.
2 Nephi 2:2 The words “and he shall consecrate” is also in Numbers 6:12.
2 Nephi 2:3 Lehi promises Jacob that he has been “redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer.” The phrase “the fulness of time he cometh” is similar, to Galatians 4:4. Lehi basically is saying that the Atonement of Christ worked before it was actually performed by the Savior.
2 Nephi 2:4 Nephi lets us know that Jacob was visited by the pre-earthly Savior “And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory.” The phrase “the same, yesterday, today, and forever” is the same as Hebrews 13:8.
2 Nephi 2:5 The phrase “by the law no flesh is justified” is similar, to Romans 3:20.
2 Nephi 2:6 “Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.” The phrase “full of grace and truth” is the same as John 1:14. Now, if we read 2 Nephi 2:6 dated 588-570 B.C. on its own – we might readily accept the idea that the “Holy Messiah” or Christ was known from the days of Adam. But that is not a Biblical teaching – it is uniquely a Book of Mormon concept.
2 Nephi 2:7 “Behold he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin.” The phrase “a broken heart and contrite spirit” is similar, to Psalm 34:18.
2 Nephi 2:8 “that they may know that no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.” The phrases “who layeth down his life” is similar, to John 10:17. “by the power of the Spirit” is same as Romans 15:19. “the resurrection of the dead” is same as Matthew 22:31. And, “the first that should rise” is same as Acts 26:23.
2 Nephi 2:9 The words “the firstfruits unto God” is the same in Revelation 14:4 and, “he shall make intercession” is similar, to Romans 8:27.
Everything we just covered in Verses 7 through 10 is anachronistic – meaning it is out of the correct timeframe. It was written on the other side of the world by people who could have no knowledge of such things – hundreds of years before they transpired. And being written almost six centuries before the birth of Christ – when the Law of Moses was still observed.
Here is another well-known passage 2 Nephi 2:11 “For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” Lehi is saying that in order to have true agency, we must have choices. The words “neither good nor bad” is also in 2 Samuel 13:22.
Next, Lehi will explain why Adam and Eve were faced with the opposing choices of two trees in the Garden of Eden.
2 Nephi 2:15 “the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.” The phrase “the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air” is similar, to Daniel 2:38.
Next, Lehi explains how Satan opposes God and why he tries to get us to follow him.
2 Nephi 2:18 The phrases “that old serpent, who is the devil” is similar, to Revelation 20:2. “who is the father of all lies” is similar, to John 8:44 and, “and ye shall not die” is the same as Genesis 42:20.
2 Nephi 2:19-20 After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit – they were forced out of the garden – and they began having children.
Next, Lehi teaches what would have happened if Adam and Eve had not partaken of the forbidden fruit.
2 Nephi 2:22-23 “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.” That phrase “knew no sin” is same as 2 Corinthians 5:21. As we know, this interpretation of the Edenic state is in contrast with the biblical Christian view.
Next, Lehi gives his response to the question “Was God surprised when they ate the fruit? Was there a ‘plan B’ in case Adam and Eve did not partake of the forbidden fruit?” Lehi’s answer is “No!” because God knows all things.
2 Nephi 24 Lehi says, God “knoweth all things” same as in 1 John 3:20.
Joseph Smith taught in the book – The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 63 “Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall.” Once again, this is not biblical Christianity.
Next, is one of the most often quoted verse from the Book of Mormon. 2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” That goes along with the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255 which says, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence.”
Next, Lehi emphasizes the role of the Atonement in overcoming the effects of the fall.
2 Nephi 2:26 “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.”
2 Nephi 2:27 “And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.” The phrase “all men might be miserable” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 15:19.
2 Nephi 2:28-29 Lehi hopes that his sons will choose eternal life – which to a Latter-day Saint means exaltation.
2 Nephi 2:30 Lehi ends his heart-felt sermon to his sons by saying “I have chosen the good part” which is similar, to Luke 10:42.
In Chapter 3 we are told by Lehi about a prophecy given by Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. This prophecy is not in the Bible, but it was supposedly on the Brass Plates which we will learn about in Chapter 4. The prophecy is about one of Joseph’s descendants – namely, the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I need to point out that there are four “Josephs” who will be referenced in this chapter: Joseph who was sold into Egypt – Joseph, Lehi’s son – Joseph Smith, Senior – and, Joseph Smith, Junior.
In Chapter 2, Lehi just addressed his son Jacob. Now in Chapter 3, Lehi addresses his youngest son – Joseph.
2 Nephi 3:4 Lehi tells his son Joseph “For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried into Egypt.” The phrase “fruit of my loins” or, variants of it, is used 21 times in this chapter alone.
2 Nephi 3:5 “Wherefore Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel.” The phrase “that out of the fruit of his loins” is similar, to Acts 2:30.
[2 Nephi 3:6 Lehi taught “For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.” Joseph of Egypt in 1500 BC prophesied about Joseph Smith, Jr. who would live 3300 years later in New York State – calling him a “choice seer”. The phrase “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up” is similar, to Acts 7:37.
2 Nephi 3:7-24 The rest of the chapter makes boasting remarks about this last Joseph. He will be a choice seer – esteemed highly – shall do a work of great worth – be great in God’s eyes like Moses – doing much good as an instrument in God’s hands – having exceeding faith – working mighty wonders – doing great things in the sight of God – be made a spokesman – and he will write much. And so, will the fruit of the loins of Lehi’s son, Joseph.
Back to 2 Nephi 3:9 The words “like unto Moses” is also in Deuteronomy 34:10.
2 Nephi 3:11 The words “unto him will I give power” is similar, to Revelation 2:26.
2 Nephi 3:12 The writing that is coming from all the fruit of loins – ends up being the Book of Mormon and the Bible which “shall grow together, and the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace.”
This Verse is supposed to support the LDS belief that it was prophesied – both the Nephites in the New World and the Jews in the Old World – would keep written records. Liberties were taken by the Mormon Church to teach the concept that the Bible is the “Stick of Judah” and the Book of Mormon is the “stick of Joseph” in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Thus, the Bible and the Book of Mormon can become one in our hands. It seemed to be a literal fulfillment of prophesy when the Church started printing a quadruple combination of all the LDS scriptures – all in one handy volume called the “quad.” However, the truth is – Ezekiel was not speaking about “books” at all in the way the Mormon Church claims. It is actually clear when you read more of Chapter 37 of Ezekiel. Ironically, Verses 18 asks what the previous verses mean and then the explanation is given in Verses 19-22. We see that rather than remotely speaking about two “books” – it relates to two kingdoms being brought together under one King. Watch this short video for more clarification (Episode 21 T2M).
Since Joseph Smith’s ancestors were English and Lehi’s ancestors were Hebrew – I’m not sure how Joseph Smith, Jr. is a descendent or the fruit of Joseph, son of Lehi. But that’s what it says here.
2 Nephi 3:15 There is one more Joseph that I haven’t mentioned – Joseph Smith, Sr. It says, “And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father.” And that’s how you get all four Joseph’s mentioned in one chapter. The phrase “after the name of his father” is also in Luke 1:59.
The Sunday School manual brings up the Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24-28 found in the LDS Bible appendix – where we read more of the prophesies of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt.
SO! What about Genesis 50 and those questionable additions? Shall we take a closer look? The twelve verses added to Genesis 50 in the Joseph Smith Translation – hereafter referred to as the JST – have a familiar connection with 2 Nephi 3:5-18.
The Chapter heading for 2 Nephi 3 says, “Joseph of Egypt saw the Nephites in vision – He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer.” The prophecy about Joseph Smith, the seer in 2 Nephi 3:5-18 says exactly the same thing as Genesis 50:26-33 in the JST with only a few words changed. The LDS Church says the similarity exists because God inspired both texts. But it is also possible that the similarity exists because Joseph Smith wrote both texts! In this prophecy, the “choice seer” was to be a descendant of the biblical Joseph – who will bring God’s word to his descendants. The Book of Mormon identifies Smith as “the choice seer” in this prophecy – but Smith’s own family genealogy indicates his ancestors were English – not Israelites or Native Americans. So, how could he be descendant of the biblical Josephs?
In these additional passages there is reference to “the fruit” or “seed” “of my” or “thy” loins” found 13 times. But this wording does not appear anywhere in the original biblical Genesis. In fact, the only usage of the phrase “the fruit of his loins” in the entire Bible is in Acts 2:30. And in the JST, the word “seer” shows up 5 times. The words “latter day” shows up 3 times.
Though there is no biblical manuscript support for Joseph Smith’s additions to Genesis, the LDS Church maintains that this passage is an example of Joseph Smith’s prophetic mission.
Genesis 50:33 in the JST and 2 Nephi 3:14 both say – speaking of Joseph Smith “And they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded.” The god who inspired that prophecy apparently didn’t know that those seeking to destroy Smith would succeed! He was shot and killed by his enemies while in jail at Carthage Illinois, 1844.
Genesis 50:34 The JST prophesies that when Moses would later lead the people of Israel – he would “smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.” But in the King James Version of the Bible this is not what happened. Exodus 14:16-21 says that Moses was instructed by God to lift, up his rod and stretch out his hand over the sea – whereupon the sea was divided by the Lord and the people crossed over on dry ground. Moses did not “smite” the waters of the sea as it says in the JST. In Exodus 7:17 it is recorded that Moses did use his rod to smite the rivers. And, in Exodus 17:6 Moses used his rod to smite a rock. But he did not use his rod to smite the Red Sea as Joseph Smith’s addition to Genesis 50 says.
Genesis 50:38 in the JST gets it wrong. In Exodus 13:19 Moses carried Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, and they were not buried in Hebron where his father’s bones are – but in Shechem as recorded in Joshua 24:32.
I just find too many reasons not to accept Joseph Smith’s additions to the biblical text as authentic. The JST isn’t a translation – as a person needs manuscripts from which to translate. Joseph Smith worked more as an editor than a translator by writing himself in to the biblical text.]
Okay, we got a little side-tracked. But the Come Follow Me manual brought it up!
The first part of Chapter 4 can be summarized with 2 Nephi 4:12 “And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried.”
The rest of Chapter 4 verses 15 through 35 are known as “The Psalm of Nephi” where he both delights in the scriptures and the things of the Lord – while at the same time, expressing concern for his own weaknesses and shortcomings.
There is a lot of phraseology taken from the Old and New Testament that is included in these verses of Nephi’s Psalm. Click on the link below for examples in the transcript.
The author of Nephi’s Psalm was obviously familiar with the King James Version of the Bible.
Chapter 5 is a pivotal point in the family of Lehi – as we read of the separation of Nephi and his followers from his wicked brothers – Laman and Lemuel and their followers. It begins with Nephi’s brothers rebelling against him again.
2 Nephi 5:1 Nephi cries his heart out to the Lord.
2 Nephi 5:2-3 His brothers were planning to kill him. The phrase “For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler” is similar, to Luke 19:14.
2 Nephi 5:5-6 “The Lord did warn me, that I Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who should go with me.” Nephi here mentions that he had sisters – who will remain nameless. There were only six women in the entire Book of Mormon who were mentioned by name.
2 Nephi 5:7-9 So they traveled for many days in the wilderness until they reached a place they called “Nephi” and decided to call themselves “the people of Nephi” in short – “Nephites.”
2 Nephi 5:10 They were still living the Law of Moses.
2 Nephi 5:11 God was with them and they prospered.
2 Nephi 5:12 They also had with them the Brass Plates and the compass ball.
2 Nephi 5:14 They made lots of swords – patterned after the sword that Nephi cut Laban’s head off with. The phrase “lest by any means” is the same as Galatians 2:2.
2 Nephi 5:15 They constructed buildings and worked with wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious ores that were in great abundance.
[2 Nephi 5:16 The Nephites built an “exceedingly fine” temple just like Solomon’s – 90 feet long by 30 feet wide by 30 feet high – see 1 Kings 6:2. The Bible said it took around 150,000 men seven years to build Solomon’s temple – but of course it only took a couple dozen Nephites to build theirs. After this verse, Nephi never mentions the temple again. His brother Jacob did use this temple to preach a sermon, but after that we find no mention of any temple for hundreds of years. The Nephites would eventually build 3 temples – this one in the Land of Nephi, one in the Land of Zarahemla (see Mosiah 1:18), and one in the Land of Bountiful (see 3 Nephi 11:1). Guess they just weren’t much of a temple-building people. While there is mention of these temples in the Book of Mormon, it seems they were used for open assembly or a gathering place to hear the word of God (see Jacob 1-2), with no mention of the temple being used for sacred ordinances such as eternal marriage sealings, or ordinances for the dead.]
2 Nephi 5:18 The people wanted Nephi to be their king – but he said they should have no king.
2 Nephi 5:19 The phrase “And behold the words of the Lord” are similar, to 1 Kings 19:9.
2 Nephi 5:20 God spoke to Nephi concerning his brothers Laman and Lemuel – that “Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” The phrase “will not hearken unto thy words” is also in Joshua 1:18.
[This is where the narrative in the Book of Mormon takes on the sensitive topic of a certain people-group being cursed.
2 Nephi 5:21a “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint;” This cursing is God withdrawing His Spirit because of their wickedness.
2 Nephi 5:21b “wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” The dark skin was the sign of the curse.
Now, we know the God of the Bible is not racist. He accepts all people (see Romans 2:22; John 3:16; Acts 10:34; Galatians 3:28). Some people may argue that racism against the blacks is taught in the Bible – where God curses Cain with a mark (see Genesis 4:15-16). But nowhere is dark skin implied as a curse, nor is this curse of Cain ever passed down to his children. Likewise, the curse on Ham and Canaan (see Genesis 9-10) is never said to be a dark skin.
2 Nephi 5:22 “And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.” For someone to be “loathsome”, it means “repulsive.” The words “be loathsome unto” is in Numbers 11:20.
2 Nephi 5:23 “And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.” If any white and delightsome Nephite tried to mix their seed with a loathsome, dark-skinned Lamanite, God would curse that Nephite with dark skin, too. Brigham Young said the same thing regarding those of the black race in Journal of Discourse Vol. 10 p. 110 “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.” see Gospel Topic Essay – Race and the Priesthood (link).
But God’s curse of the Lamanites was more than skin deep – they became useless, malicious, and devious. Remember, it was because God had withdrawn His Spirit from them. 2 Nephi 5:24 “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.” Since the LDS Church today, teaches that Native Americans are descendants of the Lamanites – these racial slurs stigmatize this particular people-group and consequently any other people of color.
2 Nephi 5:25 “And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction.” For someone to be a “scourge”, it meant to be a “menace.” The phrases “in remembrance of me” is same as in Luke 22:19 and, “they shall scourge” is also in Luke 18:33.
Note: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints removed some of the racist language from two of its official Chapter Headings. Before 2010, the heading to 2 Nephi 5 read “The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple – Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites.” Here is the 2010 cleaned up version “The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple – Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cut off from the presence of the Lord, are cursed, and become a scourge unto the Nephites.”
And in the original chapter heading for Mormon 5 before 2010 it read “Mormon again leads the Nephite armies in battles of blood and carnage – The Book of Mormon shall come forth to convince all Israel that Jesus is the Christ – The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people – They shall receive the gospel from the Gentiles in latter days.” Here is the new version “Mormon again leads the Nephite armies in battles of blood and carnage – The Book of Mormon will come forth to convince all Israel that Jesus is the Christ – Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them – They will receive the gospel from the Gentiles in the latter days.”
I believe the LDS Church made these changes because it’s embarrassed by the obvious racism in the Book of Mormon. And yet – the original chapter headings to 2 Nephi 5 and Mormon 5 were completely accurate in describing the actual content of those chapters.]
2 Nephi 5:26 “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people.” Remember Jacob and Joseph were Nephi’s younger brothers. The words “the land of my people” is also in Isaiah 32:13.
So, the obvious question that comes up – was this an Aaronic or a Melchizedek priesthood these men held? In Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 1, pg. 124, Joseph Fielding Smith addresses this issue: “The Nephites were descendants of Joseph. Lehi discovered this when reading the brass plates. He was a descendant of Manasseh and Ishmael, who had accompanied Lehi with his family, was of the tribe of Ephraim. Therefore, there were no Levites who accompanied Lehi to the Western Hemisphere. Under these conditions the Nephites officiated by virtue of the Melchizedek Priesthood from the days of Lehi to the days of the appearance of our Savior among men… Additional light is thrown on this appointment showing that these two brothers of Nephi held the Melchizedek Priesthood, in the sixth chapter, second verse of 2 Nephi, where Jacob makes this explanation regarding the priesthood which he and Joseph held: ‘Behold, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as the king or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety, behold ye know that I have spoken unto you exceeding many things.’ This seems to be a confirmation of the ordinations that he and his brother Joseph received in the Melchizedek Priesthood. All through the Book of Mormon we find references to the Nephites officiating by virtue of the Higher Priesthood after the holy order.”
The problem with this argument is that no one on earth has ever held a Melchizedek priesthood. And, speaking of Christ, Hebrews 7:17 states “For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” If a person will read the entire 7th chapter of Hebrews, they will clearly understand this principle.
2 Nephi 5:27 “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.”
Nephi ends the chapter by saying that he wrote on the Small Plates – things that were profitable to his people.
And, this concludes our lesson for today.
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