2 Nephi 6-10

According to the Book of Mormon, who is the keeper at Heaven’s gate – Peter, Christ, or Joseph Smith? Are there references in the Book of Mormon to masonic symbols used in LDS temple architecture? Is the term “Christ” mentioned in the Old Testament era of the Book of Mormon an anachronism? All these questions and more - answered in this episode.

Our Come Follow Me manual states as an introduction to this lesson: “It had been at least 40 years since Lehi’s family left Jerusalem.  They were in a strange new land, half a world away from Jerusalem and the rest of God’s covenant people.  Lehi had died, and his posterity had already started what would become a centuries-long contention between the Nephites – “who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God” – and the Lamanites, who did not (2 Nephi 5:6).  In these circumstances, Jacob, who was Nephi’s younger brother and now ordained as a teacher for the Nephites, wanted the covenant people to know that God would never forget them, so they must never forget Him.”

Nephi now records some teachings of his younger brother, Jacob – as Jacob teaches his people.  He, like Nephi, turns to the words of Isaiah.  And, Jacob basically quotes the same portions of Isaiah that Nephi did in 1 Nephi 20-21 as he now reads from Isaiah 49:22-60.  

2 Nephi 6:3 The phrase “things which are written” is the same in Revelation 22:19.

2 Nephi 6:4 The phrases “things which are, and which are to come” is similar, to Revelation 1:9 and “for your sakes, that ye may learn” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 4:6. 

2 Nephi 6:5 Jacob taught his people that the teachings of Isaiah “may be likened unto you” – meaning, the reader will find application.

2 Nephi 6:6-7 These verses in – almost their entirety – are from Isaiah 49:22-23.

2 Nephi 6:8 Jacob says, “For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive.”

2 Nephi 6:9 “Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again.  And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me.”  The phrases “the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel” is also in Isaiah 30:15 and, “they should scourge him” is similar, to Luke 18:33.

2 Nephi 6:10 Jacob says that because of what the Jews did to Christ – they would be afflicted, scattered, smitten, and hated.  This happened in 70 A.D. when the Roman Army invaded and destroyed Jerusalem.  

2 Nephi 6:11 The phrases “driven to and fro” is also in Job 13:25 and, “come to the knowledge of” is the same in 2 Timothy 3:7.

2 Nephi 6:12 The Gentiles – who are the non-Jews – will be blessed. 

2 Nephi 6:13 The phrase “lick up the dust of their feet” is similar, to Isaiah 49:23.

2 Nephi 6:14 Jacob then explains that Isaiah spoke of the eventual return of the Jews to their homelands.  The phrases “again the second time to recover” is also in Isaiah 11:11 and, “power and great glory” is the same as Matthew 24:30.

In 2 Nephi 6:15 The Signs of the times are mentioned.

2 Nephi 6-16-18 The Lord will fight their battles and deliver his covenant people. These three verses are almost identical to Isaiah 49:24-26.

Jacob now quotes in Chapter 7, what is basically known as Isaiah 50 in the Bible.  And, from Chapter 8, what is Isaiah 51 in the Bible.  I’ll let you read and consider those two chapters on your, own. 

 

However, I need to point out that 2 Nephi 7:5 is a correction from the original Book of Mormon.  Since the 1964 edition, it now says in part, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear.” But, in the 1830 edition it reads, “The Lord God hath appointed mine ear.”  So, it changed from “appointed” to “opened”.

Now, after quoting Isaiah – Jacob in 2 Nephi 9 is going to explain these chapters to his people. 

2 Nephi 9:1 The phrase “the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel” is similar, to 2 Chronicles 6:11.

2 Nephi 9:2 Jacob tells his people that the Jews will be gathered in all their lands of promise to be “restored to the true church and fold of God” – referring to Mormonism.  The phrase “by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning” is similar, to Luke 1:70.  This was written around 550 BC and predicts a restoration of the “true church”, centuries before Christ was even born and able to establish it in the first place. 

2 Nephi 9:3 The phrase “and lift up your heads” is the same as in Luke 21:28.

Jacob teaches that the resurrected Lord will appear to those in Jerusalem. 

Jacob now builds a case for his people as to why they need the Atonement.

2 Nephi 9:6 He teaches that without death we could not be resurrected.  Adam brought death – Christ brought life.  “And because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.”  The phrases “death hath passed upon all men” is similar, to Romans 5:12 and, “by reason of transgression” is also in Daniel 8:12.

2 Nephi 9:7 “Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement – save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption.” The phrase “this corruption could not put on incorruption” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 15:53. 

As you know, the Atonement made it possible for mankind to overcome two types of death – physical death and spiritual death.  At this point, Jacob is emphasizing what would have happed if Christ had not overcome physical death for us.

2 Nephi 9:8 Jacob says that if there was no resurrection then our spirits would become subject to the devil. 

2 Nephi 9:9 “And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies in misery, like unto himself.”  The phrases “the father of lies” is similar, to John 8:44.  And, “who transformed himself nigh unto an angel of light” is similar, to 2 Corinthians 11:14. 

 

2 Nephi 9:10-11 “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.  And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.” The word-strings “death and hell…shall deliver up its dead” is similar, to Revelation 20:13.

Jacob goes on, 2 Nephi 9:12 “And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.”  The phrase “the power of the resurrection” is similar, to Philippians 3:10.

2 Nephi 9:13 Mentions “the paradise of God” same as in Revelation 2:7.

2 Nephi 9:14 Jacob then emphasizes the differences between the wicked and the righteous at Judgment Day.  The phrases “have a perfect knowledge of” is similar, to Acts 24:22 and, “with the robe of righteousness” is the same in Isaiah 61:10. 

2 Nephi 9:15 All men and women will be accountable before the “Holy One of Israel.”  The phrase “must appear before the judgment seat” is similar, to 2 Corinthians 5:10.

2 Nephi 9:16 Jacob teaches “And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away.”  This verse says that God’s word cannot pass away.  The Book of Mormon teaches on the one hand – “plain and precious” truths were taken away see 1 Nephi 13:38-40, but here, it says God’s word “cannot not pass away”.  In fact, both teachings that contradict each other are found here in the books of 1st & 2nd Nephi.  So, which is true?  By consulting the Bible, we find Jesus Himself, promising in Luke 21:33 “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”

2 Nephi 9:16 Now consider all these many New Testament phrases in just one verse, “word, which cannot pass away” similar, to Matthew 24:35. “they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still” similar, to Revelation 22:11.  “the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them” similar, to Matthew 25:41. “lake of fire and brimstone” same as in Revelation 20:10And, “ascendeth up for ever and ever” same as Revelation 14:11.  New Testament phraseology everywhere!

2 Nephi 9:17 The words “gone forth out of his mouth, and his” is similar, to Zechariah 9:7.

Now, Jacob emphasizes the joy and status of the righteous, eternally.

2 Nephi 9:18 “But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.”  The phrases “endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame” is similar, to Hebrews 12:2. “inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world” similar, to Matthew 25:34. And, “joy shall be full” similar, to John 15:11. 

2 Nephi 9:19 The phrases “mercy of our God” is also in Luke 1:78 and, “lake of fire and brimstone” is same in Revelation 20:10.

2 Nephi 9:20 Jacob says “O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.”  In other words – He is Omniscient. 

A common question that comes up – is whether or, not Christ paid for the sins of ALL people – meaning the entire world.  Or, only for those who repent of all their sins.  Jacob answers it in this next verse.

2 Nephi 9:21 “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto this voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.” In other words, Christ paid for all sins, whether repented of or not.  According to LDS scripture, how much did he suffer?  See D&C 18:10-14 and D&C 19:16-18The phrases “cometh into the world” is the same as in John 1:9 and, “of every living creature” is also in Leviticus 11:46.  

2 Nephi 9:23 “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.” The phrase “commandeth all men that they must repent” is similar, to Acts 17:30. 

2 Nephi 9:24 “And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.”  The first half of this verse you will recognize is similar, to Mark 16:16.  This verse speaks of being “baptized in his name”.  Baptism doesn’t show up in the Bible until we read about John the Baptist in the New Testament.  Baptism is absent in the Jewish Canon or Old Testament Septuagint.  Yet, it is mentioned 58 times in the Old Testament era of the Book of Mormon – which is anachronistic.  To the Latter-day Saint – to be “damned” means to be stopped from eternal progression in the Celestial Kingdom.  Those who are “damned” will inherit one of the lesser kingdoms or glories. 

2 Nephi 9:25-27 Jacob teaches that God is completely fair and that a person who has not been taught about God’s laws and commandments is not accountable for those laws.  Mormonism teaches from Doctrine and Covenants 138 that everyone who did not get an opportunity to learn and accept the gospel in this life will get that opportunity in the spirit world.  But, for those who have heard the Mormon gospel and don’t live it – “awful is his state!”  The phrases “where there is no law given there is no punishment” is similar, to Romans 4:15. “there is no condemnation” is similar, to Romans 8:1. “and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone” is similar, to Revelation 20:10.

2 Nephi 9:27, 30-38 In these verses, Jacob gives his 10 “woes” that basically function as the equivalent Nephite 10 commandments.  Not formulated as “thou-shalt-not” but as “wo-unto”.  Jacob pronounces a “wo” or curse upon those who do not keep the commandments. 

2 Nephi 9:28 “O that cunning plan of the evil one!  O this vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men?  When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not.  And they shall perish.” The phrase “their wisdom is foolishness” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 3:19.

2 Nephi 9:29 “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”  In D&C 88:118, Latter-day Saints are commanded to seek wisdom and learning.

2 Nephi 9:30 The phrases “But wo unto the rich” is similar, to Luke 6:24 and, “the things of the world” is also in 1 Corinthians 7:34 and, “their treasure shall perish with them” similar, to Acts 8:20.

Jacob now teaches about the fate of those who waste their mortal lives in wicked living.

2 Nephi 9:34 Liars “shall be thrust down to hell” is the same as in Luke 10:15. But, according D&C 63:17-18 and D&C 76:103-106 the unrepentant liar will inherit the Telestial kingdom. 

Then Jacob says in 2 Nephi 9:38 “And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.” The phrase “die in their sins” is similar, to John 8:21.

2 Nephi 9:39 “Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.” That phrase is almost the same as in Romans 8:6. I wonder what Paul would have thought – had he known his very words would be inserted into a book written nearly 600 years earlier on the other side of the world.  

Jacob now invites his people to be loyal to Christ and to remember that His paths are righteous. 

2 Nephi 9:41 Speaking of Heaven, Jacob says “the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there.” I guess this disproves the popular folklore that St. Peter will meet us at the pearly gates of heaven see Revelation 21:21. I do wonder about Jacob’s statement that ONLY Christ – and no other servant will be there to allow souls to enter heaven.  Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, vol. 7 p. 289 said “…no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith… Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance… I cannot go there without his consent… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven.”

While the Latter-day Saints certainly don’t worship Joseph Smith – there seems to be evidence that Church Authorities wanted to elevate him almost to the same level as Jesus Christ.  Consider another statement from Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, vol. 14 p. 203 “Well, now, examine the character of the Savior, and examine the character of those who have written in the Old and New Testaments; and then compare them with the character of Joseph Smith, the founder of this work… and you will find that his character stands as fair as that of any man’s mentioned in the Bible.  We can find no person who presents a better character to the world when the facts are known than Joseph Smith, Jun., the prophet and his brother Hyrum Smith, who was murdered with him.”   

2 Nephi 9:42 The phrases “knocketh, to him will he open” is similar, to Matthew 7:7 and, “are puffed up” is the same as in 1 Corinthians 5:2. 

Next, Jacob reminds his people that in their final judgment before God – the wicked will have a perfect recollection of all their sins.  As far as the righteous are concerned – they can take comfort knowing that the sins which they have repented of will not even be mentioned on Judgement Day. 

2 Nephi 9:44 This passage has a parallel to the modern-day LDS temples.  “O, my beloved brethren, remember my words.  Behold I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all searching eye.” 

The “all searching eye” or “all seeing eye” of God is represented in the architecture of the Nauvoo Temple and the Salt Lake Temple. History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, vol. 4, p. 550-551 records Joseph Smith’s induction into the Masonic lodge in 1842: “Tuesday, 15th. – I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple.  Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion.  The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested.  In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office.”  The next day Smith recorded in History of the Church, vol. 4. p. 552: “Wednesday, March 16th. – I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree.” 

Mormon involvement in Freemasonry grew rapidly.  In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, p. 527 it reads,  “The introduction of Freemasonry in Nauvoo had both political and religious implications… Eventually nearly 1,500 LDS men became associated with Illinois Freemasonry, including many members of the Church’s governing priesthood bodies – this at a time when the total number of non-LDS Masons in Illinois lodges barely reached 150.”

The Mormon endowment ceremony introduced by Joseph Smith was inspired by the Masonic lodge ceremonies.  It was also obvious that the Nauvoo Temple architecture – and later the Salt Lake Temple – was influenced by Masonry with the use of Masonic symbols and shapes.  Along with sunstones, moon and star stones, cloud stones, aprons, beehives, compass, square, and hand grip – was the all-seeing eye.  Other Book of Mormon references of the “all searching eye” include: Jacob 2:10 “under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God” and, Mosiah 27:31 “the glance of his all-searching eye”.

The Jacob pleads in 2 Nephi 9:45 “O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation.”

2 Nephi 9:46 The phrase “the day of judgment” is the same as in Matthew 10:15. “Holy, holy are they judgments, O Lord God Almighty” is similar, to Revelation 4:8.  And, “freed from sin” is same as in Romans 6:7.

2 Nephi 9:50-51 is almost a direct quote from Isaiah 55:1-2.

Jacob wraps up 2 Nephi Chapter 9 by giving a prophesy of the restoration through Joseph Smith and the conversion of the Lamanites in the last days.  Verse 53 “And behold how great the covenants of the Lord, and how great his condescensions unto the children of men; and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy, he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel.” 

2 Nephi 10:2 Jacob predicted that many of the Nephite descendants would “perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.”  The phrase “because of unbelief” is the same in Romans 11:20.  

And now, Jacob will disclose for the first time to his people the name of the Redeemer.  

2 Nephi 10:3 “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ – for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name – should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him – for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.”  The phrase “and there is none other” is the same as in Mark 12:32

An angel revealed that “Christ” “should be his name”.  And the angel does that – 550 years before Jesus was born.  If you remember, in a previous lesson we covered an important change in the Book of Mormon regarding 1 Nephi 12:18.  Here it is: Once again, the original 1830 edition of 1 Nephi 12:18 reads, “…yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and Jesus Christ, which is the Lamb of God…”  The problem is – that the name “Jesus Christ” was not revealed to the Nephites until 50 years later – here in 2 Nephi 10:3 – which reads “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ – for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name – should come among the Jews”  In order to correct this contradiction, 1 Nephi 12:18 was changed in a later edition of the Book of Mormon to read “Messiah” instead of “Jesus Christ”.

The word “Christ” was an English term created long after the Savior lived.  The word “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name.  It is a title – meaning, “anointed one”.  Lehi and his family were supposedly Jews, and Jews were – and remain today – singularly monotheistic.  That is why the Jews in the Holy Land rejected Jesus when he claimed to be the Son of God.  And, because they determined it to be blasphemy – they ended up killing Him.   

Jacob goes on to say in 2 Nephi 10:6 about the Jews who crucified Christ “Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.” The phrase “which shall not be destroyed” is in Daniel 6:26.

Then he explains that the Jews will eventually believe in Christ and will be gathered to the lands of their inheritance.  This began in 1948, with the creation of Israel as a nation.

2 Nephi 10:8 The phrase “shall be great in the eyes of” is similar, to Luke 1:15. 

Then speaking of America, Jacob says in 2 Nephi 10:11-13 “And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.”

Next, is a warning to all people – that no one will successfully fight against Zion – meaning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  2 Nephi 10:16 “Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.”  The phrases “Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female” is similar, to Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28 and, “they who are not for me are against me” is similar, to Matthew 12:30.

2 Nephi 10:18 The phrase “Wherefore, my beloved brethren” is the same as James 1:19.

2 Nephi 10:19 “Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me saith God.”

2 Nephi 10:20 The phrases “let us remember him, and lay aside our sins” is similar, to Hebrews 12:1 and, “hath made the sea” is also in Jonah 1:9.

2 Nephi 10:22 The phrases “according to his will and pleasure” is similar, to Ephesians 1:5 and, “And now behold, the Lord” is also in Joshua 14:10.

Next, Jacob tries to be encouraging by saying in 2 Nephi 10:23 “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves – to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.”  When he says “everlasting death” he means spiritual death – the second death.  In Mormonism, it means being cut off from being in the presence of God forever – In other words, not making it to the Celestial kingdom.  “Eternal life” in Mormonism, means exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial kingdom.  It means living in the family unit, becoming gods, living plural marriage, having billions of spirit children, and creating worlds for them to live on.  According to the 1916 First Presidency Statement, in the Improvement Era, August 1916 “Only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring.  Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or estates by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation.”

2 Nephi 10:24 The phrase “through the grace of God that ye are saved” is similar, to Acts 15:11.     

Jacob ends his teaching with 2 Nephi 10:25 “Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.” The phrase “the atonement, that ye may” is also in 2 Samuel 21:3.

And, this concludes our lesson for today.

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