In our previous lesson, the sons of Helaman traveled north to preach to the people there. Having much success on previous missions, they expected the same outcome. But such was not to be the case this time. It is now the year 23 BC.
Helaman 7 In the title of this section in the 1830 edition page 426 it read “Samnel, a Lamanite” which was changed in later editions to “Samuel, a Lamanite.”
Helaman 7:1-3 Nephi returns to Zarahemla from the land northward after the people rejected all of his words.
Helaman 7:4 And while he was gone, the Gadianton robbers had taken over the government of his land. ^The phrase “the power and authority” is in Luke 20:20.
Helaman 7:5 “Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills -” In the 1830 edition page 426 it read “bacause” which was later corrected to “because” in later editions.
Helaman 7:6-9 Nephi’s heart was swollen with sorrow and exclaimed in the agony of his soul that he wished he was living back in the days of his ancestor Nephi who first came to the promised land. But he is stuck where he is living among the wickedness of his brethren.
Helaman 7:7 The phrase “the commandment of God” is in 1 Corinthians 7:19.
Helaman 7:8 In the 1830 edition page 427 it read “Yea, if my days could have been in them days” which was changed in later editions to “in those days.”
Helaman 7:10 “And behold, now it came to pass that it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near the garden gate by which led the highway.” In the 1830 edition page 427 it read “higway” which was changed to the correct spelling, “highway” in later editions.
Helaman 7:11 Some men passing by saw and heard Nephi in the act of verbal prayer. So, they told multitudes of the other Nephites who came to observe. In the 1830 edition page 427 it read “there was certain men passing by” which was changed in later editions to “there were certain men passing by.”
Helaman 7:12-14 When Nephi noticed the gathering of people, he asked them why they were gawking at him? Did they come to hear about their iniquities?
Helaman 7:13 The words “he opened his mouth and” are in Matthew 5:2.
Helaman 7:14 In the 1830 edition page 427 it places a question mark at the end of the verse, which was corrected in later editions to an exclamation mark.
Helaman 7:15-16 He told them the devil has gotten a hold of their hearts and seeks to hurl their souls down to hell.
Helaman 7:17 “O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you?
Helaman 7:18 “It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.” The phrase “the good shepherd” is in John 10:11.
Helaman 7:19 Nephi now gets direct with them. “And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.” They are about to be dog-meat.
Helaman 7:20 “O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you? Such a short time after God saved them from their enemies.
Helaman 7:21 It was all to get rich and to be praised of men, that they were willing to murder, plunder and steal.
Helaman 7:22 Then Nephi makes a prediction of great troubles to come. “And for this cause wo shall come upon you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this great city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto your strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies.” In the 1830 edition page 428 it read “citties” which was corrected in later editions (“cities.”)
Helaman 7:23 “For behold, thus saith the Lord: I will not show unto the wicked of my strength, to one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent of their sins, and hearken unto my words. Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent.”
Helaman 7:24 “For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent.” We can see the inescapable future in that verse.
Helaman 7:25-27 Three times Nephi says “wo” to them for the great abomination of uniting themselves with the secret band of Gadianton, and because of their pride and great riches, and their wickedness.
Helaman 7:25 ^The words “which was established” are in Hebrews 8:6.
Helaman 7:28 “And except ye repent ye shall perish; yea, even your lands shall be taken from you, and ye shall be destroyed from off the face of the earth.” The phrase “except ye repent ye shall” is in Luke 13:5.
Helaman 7:29 Nephi assures them that he is not just speaking as himself – God has made these things known to him.
Helaman 8 As we begin this chapter, we hear the angry cries of the corrupt judges who claim that Nephi has violated their government by the statements he made. Mormon will use the word “behold” 22 times in this chapter.
Helaman 8:1-2 Those judges wanted Nephi to be punished for the crime of speaking against their laws.
Helaman 8:2 ^The words “seest thou this” are in Luke 7:44.
Helaman 8:3 “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.” The words “was contrary to” are in Colossians 2:14.
Helaman 8:4 We are told the real reason they were angry. “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.” The phrase “for they feared the people” is from Acts 5:26.
Helaman 8:5-6 The judges asked the people how they could tolerate this man condemning them to destruction? They were sufficiently powerful enough to defend against any outside enemies, when in fact, their most dangerous enemy was within.
Helaman 8:7-9 Some of the people were riled up against Nephi, and others agreed with Nephi that awful things will happen if they as a people do not repent. God’s judgments will come upon them as Nephi prophesied, they would.
Helaman 8:8 In the 1830 edition page 429 the word “befall” was misspelled “befal” but corrected in later editions.
Helaman 8:10 Those who wanted to see Nephi destroyed, so that he could no longer expose their wicked deeds, are forced to back off because others had come to Nephi’s defense. The phrase “lay their hands on” is similar, to Mark 14:46.
Helaman 8:11 Nephi went on to remind them of how God gave Moses the power “to smite the waters of the Red Sea,” which parted so the Israelites could pass through on dry ground and then drown the Egyptians. The words “have ye not read” are in Luke 6:3 and, “that God gave” are in 1 John 5:10.
In Genesis 50:34, the Joseph Smith Translation prophesied that when Moses would later lead the children of Israel – he would “smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.” But in the King James Version of the Bible that 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 Joseph Smith Translation and here in Helaman 8:11. 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 Nephi and Joseph Smith said.
Helaman 8:12 Nephi said if God gave Moses such great power then why would God not give Nephi power to call them unto repentance?
Helaman 8:13 They not only would deny his words but all the words of past prophets, including Moses who spoke about the coming of the Messiah. He is going to have them recall the story recorded in Numbers 21:5-9.
Helaman 8:14 Speaking of Moses, Mormon adds this explanation that is not in the Old Testament because it would be anachronistic. “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 be lifted up who should come.” Nephi is referring to Christ on the cross. We recall from the New Testament that Jesus also indicated it was a type and shadow of His own crucifixion (see John 3:14-15).
Helaman 8:15 “ 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, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.” Nephi is speaking here in the LDS context of exaltation. ^The words “the Son of God with” are in Romans 1:4 and, “is eternal” are in Romans 6:23.
Helaman 8:16-17 Nephi claims all the prophets from Moses to Abraham testified of Christ. However, there is nothing in the Old Testament proving that was the case.
Helaman 8:16 The people accused Nephi of performing a fake miracle in order to convert people. ^The words “the holy prophets” are in 2 Peter 3:2.
Helaman 8:18 “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; 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.” In other words, there were many before Abraham who held the Melchizedek Priesthood – according to the Book of Mormon. Again, there is nothing in the Old Testament to back that up. The words “before his coming” are in Acts 13:24.
Helaman 8:19 Nephi names the prophet Zenos as one who was killed because he testified of Christ. In the 1830 edition page 430 it read “Zenas” which was corrected to “Zenos” in later editions.
Helaman 8:20-22 Along with Zenos, there was Zenock and Ezias. All three of these prophets are not mentioned in the Bible but were supposedly in the Brass Plates of Laban, which basically contains the Old Testament up to about 600 BC. Zenos is mentioned 12 times in the Book of Mormon, Zenock is mentioned 5 times, but this is the first and only mention of Ezias. They along with Isaiah and Jeremiah all testified of the coming of Christ. Lehi and Nephi and everyone after them testified of Christ’s coming.
Helaman 8:23 “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.” Nephi said Christ “is God.” The phrase “of that which is to come” is in 1 Timothy 4:8.
Helaman 8:24 “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.” In other words, all things bear witness of Christ. Evidence in abundance is all around us that God exists. The phrase “seeing ye know these things” is from 2 Peter 3:17.
Helaman 8:25-26 Nephi tells them they are laying wrath up for themselves on the day of judgment, except if they repent.
Helaman 8:25 In the 1830 edition page 431 the word “treusures” is misspelled but corrected in later editions. The phrase “the day of judgment” is in Matthew 10:15.
Helaman 8:27 As a sign of his own authentic role as prophet, Nephi prophecies that at that very moment the chief judge has been murdered by the judge’s own brother.
Helaman 8:28 Finally, Nephi tells these people that Satan and Gadianton are the founders of the secret combination which is destroying their country. Speaking of the murdered chief judge and his brother, “the both belong to your secret band , whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.”
Helaman 9 In this chapter the word “behold” is written 26 times.
Helaman 9:1-2 From the crowd, five men ran to the judgment-seat to see if Nephi’s words are true. They talked as they ran, saying that if it is true, then they will believe that Nephi is a prophet.
Helaman 9:1 The phrase “and they said among themselves” is in Mark 16:3.
Helaman 9:3-5 When they found the chief judge dead – killed by his brother – they fell, down on the ground with fear that Nephi was right about the judgements which were about to come upon the people.
Helaman 9:4 The words “they were astonished” are in Acts 12:16.
Helaman 9:6-9 When the dead judge’s servants found out he had been murdered, they ran and told the citizens. Everyone rushed to the judgment-seat, where they found the five men face-down on the floor. They assumed these guys were the murderers and that God had smitten them so they could not flee from the crime scene. They arrested them and put them into prison. A proclamation was sent out to inform everyone the judge had been murdered, and they had captured the guilty parties.
Helaman 9:6 This verse says that the judge had been stabbed by “a garb of secrecy.” The word “garb” means “clothing.” So, in context it means the judge had been stabbed under a “cloak of secrecy.”
Helaman 9:10 The next day people assembled to mourn, fast, and bury their chief judge.
Helaman 9:11-15 Those other judges who had been at Nephi’s garden summoned the five prisoners to question them. Listening to their alibi, the judges realized these were the same men who ran to the judgment seat after Nephi testified the chief judge had been murdered.
Helaman 9:13 ^The words “all that they had done” are in Luke 9:10.
Helaman 9:14 In the 1830 edition page 432 it read “place of the judgment” omitting the word “seat” which was corrected in later editions to read “place of the judgment-seat.”
Helaman 9:16 “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.” The words “chosen of God, and” are in 1 Peter 2:4.
Helaman 9:17 They were determined to find out who this murderer is, who collaborated with Nephi to make Nephi look like a prophet.
Helaman 9:18 When the five men were release from prison, they came to Nephi’s defense against those judges who were trying to discredit Nephi.
Helaman 9:19 “Nevertheless, they caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death -” They wanted to make his death look legal. The words “before the multitude” are in Acts 19:9 and, “began to question” are in Mark 8:11 and, “that they might accuse him” are from Luke 11:54.
Helaman 9:20 “Saying unto him: Thou art confederate; 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 will tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.” They tried to bribe Nephi and offer him a plea bargain for his confession.
Helaman 9:21-22 Nephi begins his defense by calling his accusers uncircumcised of the heart, spiritually blind, and stiffnecked. He suggests they howl and mourn, since they will soon be destroyed unless they repent.
Helaman 9:23-24 Nephi says the real reason they are trying to frame him is that they do not want to believe that God inspired him to know that the chief judge had been murdered and that his brother was responsible. Because if Nephi, was right on that matter, they would have to believe what he has said about their wickedness is true.
Helaman 9:25-35 Then Nephi says he will show them another sign that he is a prophet. He tells them to go to the house of Seantum (the brother of the murdered judge), and ask him if he killed his brother? He will claim he is innocent but check the skirts of his cloak and you will find the blood stains of his brother. He will tremble and turn pale, so you will know he is guilty. Then he will confess to the murder.
Helaman 9:25 ^The words “another sign” are in Revelation 15:1.
Helaman 9:30 ^The words “and wist not” are in Acts 12:9.
Helaman 9:36 Nephi predicts, “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.” The phrase “by the power of God” is in 1 Peter 1:5 and, “that I am sent” is from John 3:28.
Helaman 9:37-38 Sure enough, everything happened just like Nephi said it would. And, the five guys along with Nephi were exonerated and set free.
Helaman 9:39-41 Some people believed the words of Nephi, some believed the testimony of the five guys, some said Nephi was a prophet, and some said he was a god. ^The words “who believed on the” are in Acts 11:17 and, “believed because of” are in John 4:41.
Helaman 10:1-2 These people continued arguing as to who Nephi is until they divided up and went their ways – leaving Nephi standing there all alone. So, Nephi walked home pondering what had just happened.
Helaman 10:1 ^The words “a division among the” are in John 7:43 and, “standing in the midst” are in John 8:9.
Helaman 10:3 ^The words “behold a voice” are in Matthew 17:5. As he was walking, Nephi felt very dejected and discouraged when a voice came to him saying:
Helaman 10:4 “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.”
Helaman 10:5 “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.” God trusts Nephi completely. Anything Nephi says will be done because anything he says will be exactly what God wants him to say.
Helaman 10:6 The voice now introduces itself to Nephi. “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.” In the 1830 edition page 434 the word “angels” was misspelled “angles” but corrected in later editions.
Helaman 10:7 “Behold, I give you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.” The phrase “Behold, I given unto you power” is from Luke 10:19. Mormonism teaches that this “sealing power” was the same power given by Jesus to Peter in Matthew 16:19 and restored to the earth through Joseph Smith (see D&C 128:8-10 and D&C 132:46). And, that these same sealing powers or “keys” are held today by the President of the LDS Church.
In Mathew 16:19, Jesus promised Peter, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Latter-day Saints are taught that this was Jesus giving Peter the power of priesthood keys – to seal couples and or families together forever after this life. However, in scripture the term “key” is an instrument for opening or unlocking something. The person who has the keys to a building has, the ability to open or to lock the doors. If you were in possession of the keys to a building, you would have the responsibility to not only open the doors for others but, also to lock it so others would not be permitted to come inside. Possessing the “keys” in scripture establishes a position of power and authority.
Here the Lord tells Peter that He was going to give him the keys to the Kingdom that Jesus had come to establish – which we understand to be His church here on earth. In this, the apostle Peter was becoming the administrator of the church – or to be more exact – of the Body of believers. With those keys to the Kingdom and the authority to do certain things – what he was permitted to do on earth would be acceptable to God in heaven. Why would Jesus believe that His church would be in safe hands once He left – especially since He left the keys with the likes of Peter? Because the Lord knew what the Holy Spirit was going to do, by guiding and instructing Peter on how to proceed, so there was no need for concern. In bestowing these keys to His kingdom, it was going to be Peter’s job under the direction of the Holy Spirit to opening up the kingdom to the rest of the world. Did Peter fulfill this call Jesus gave him? He most certainly did!
It was Peter alone who was instrumental in opening two main doors in the Kingdom of God on earth. In possessing the keys, Peter had the administration of the church. The first main door Peter would open through the keys he possessed would be to the House of Israel by virtue of the Holy Spirit. That took place on the Day of Pentecost that we read about in Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit convicted thousands of Jews that Jesus is God in the flesh. The other main door Peter opened with these keys to the kingdom was in Acts 10 where Peter who was drawn to a gentile’s home – that of Cornelius – shared the Good News with the first non-Jews, who were Gentiles. Because of this act of opening the door with the Keys Jesus gave Peter, the Gospel went out to all the world. All, of these future actions of Peter were set in place by the Lord in Matthew 16:19.
The phrase “to bind” and “to loose” was a very common phrase used by the Jews. To bind meant to prohibit and to, loose meant to allow or permit. Again, to bind a thing was to forbid it. It was not – to tie or seal something or someone to someone else. And to loose it, meant to allow it to be done. When Jesus gave this power to Peter He meant that whatsoever they forbade in the church would have Divine approval. And whatever they permitted or commanded would also have Divine approval. Jesus knew the Holy Spirit was coming and would guide and establish and teach these men, who He chose, all things pertaining to His kingdom.
We have, to note something important here that Jesus said, “And WHATSOEVER – not whomsoever – thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” From this we can obviously see He is referring to the decisions the apostles would make relative to events, situations, and decisions for the Kingdom – and not to sealing people together. There is no record in the Bible nor the Book of Mormon, of men and women, or families being sealed in or out of the temple. That was not the purpose or intent of the keys given to Peter. Again, this instruction from Jesus has been taken out of context by religious men and women who, in Jesus’ name, continue to twist the text and context of His Word.
Helaman 10:8 “And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.” The phrase “if ye shall say unto this” is in Matthew 21:21 and, “rent in twain” is from Matthew 27:51.
Helaman 10:9 “And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.”
Helaman 10:10 “And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.” God tells Nephi he has the power to rip apart temples, smooth mountains, and smite people.
Helaman 10:11 But before Nephi can begin wielding around all that, power he has, to first call the people to repentance. “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 ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction.” The phrase “I command you, that ye” is in John 15:17 and, “Except ye repent ye” in Luke 13:3.
Helaman 10:12-14 Nephi obeys God and instead of going home, he returned to the multitudes and began declaring the word of the Lord – that unless they repented, they would be smitten unto destruction.
Helaman 10:12 The words “unto the multitudes” are in Matthew 11:7.
Helaman 10:15 But the people had hardened hearts and would not listen to him. They mocked him and tried to grab him so they could put him into prison. The phrase “that they might cast him” is in Luke 4:29.
Helaman 10:16 “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 reminds us of the account in the Bible when Jesus announces His divine Sonship in the Nazareth synagogue, and they tried to grab Him to throw Him off a cliff “But he passing through the midst of them went his way.” (see Luke 4:30).
Helaman 10:17 “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.” In other words, everyone had been warned and given an opportunity to repent.
Helaman 10:18 But the people would not change and there began to be contention and killings among people.
Helaman 10:19 “And thus ended the seventy and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.” It was now about 20 BC.
Helaman 11:1-2 Contentions increased and there were wars throughout the land. The Gadianton robbers were responsible.
Helaman 11:3 It had been a couple of years since Nephi was given the power of God, and he had not used it to smite the people. But it was now time, to cry unto the Lord.
Helaman 11:4 “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.” Nephi preferred the people starve to death rather than be killed by the sword. ^The phrase “in remembrance of” is in Luke 1:54.
Helaman 11:5 “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.” Many were being destroyed by the famine.
Helaman 11:6 Because crops could not grow, thousands were dying including Nephites and Lamanites. If I was Nephi, I would not want to be responsible for that kind of tragedy.
Helaman 11:7 “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.” The words “remember the words of” are in Acts 20:35.
Helaman 11:8 The people began to remember the Lord, and that He was the one who was starving them to death. So, they begged the judges to ask Nephi if he would ask God to stop the famine.
Helaman 11:9 The judges did ask Nephi to ask God to put an end to their starvation. And when Nephi saw that the people had repented sufficiently, he prayed to the Lord.
Helaman 11:10 “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.” The people had already cleaned out their corrupt government leaders.
Helaman 11:11 “Now, O Lord, because of this their humility wilt thou turn away thine anger, and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of these wicked men who thou hast already destroyed.” Don’t forget all the innocent women and children God also killed in the famine.
Helaman 11:12 “O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this famine may cease in this land.”
Helaman 11:13-15 Nephi tells the Lord He should listen to his prayer and make it rain. God obeyed Nephi when he asked for the famine in the first place, so He ought to listen to Nephi now when he asking God to put an end to it.
Helaman 11:16 “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.”
Helaman 11:17 God listened to Nephi and turned away His anger and caused it to rain again so they could grow their fruit and grain.
Helaman 11:18-19 The people rejoiced and glorified God. And, they did not seek to kill Nephi anymore and looked at him as a great prophet along with his brother Lehi.
Helaman 11:18 The words “glorify God” are in John 21:29 and, “a great prophet” are in Luke 7:16.
Helaman 11:19 ^The phrase “was not a whit behind” is from 2 Corinthians 11:5 and, “things pertaining to” is in 1 Corinthians 6:4.
Helaman 11:20-21 As you would expect, the Nephites began to prosper and multiply. There was peace and the, majority of the Nephites and Lamanites belonged to the church.
Helaman 11:22 With that, we begin to brace ourselves for another cycle of apostasy. It started with a few contentions around points of doctrine taught by the prophets.
Helaman 11:23 Trouble was brewing again. “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.”
Helaman 11:24-25 But the next year a number of Nephite dissenters who had joined the Lamanites years before began to commit murder and plunder.
Helaman 11:24 In the 1830 edition page 438 it read “and took upon themselves” which was changed in the 1964 edition to “and taken upon themselves.”
Helaman 11:26 “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.” Thus, the re-formulation of the Gadianton robbers.
Helaman 11:27-28 Because these robbers were creating destruction among the Nephites and Lamanites, an army was sent into the wilderness and mountains to search them out and destroy them.
Helaman 11:29-31 But it was not easy because of the great numbers of those robbers. Their best efforts were not sufficient to win the war against these robbers.
Helaman 11:31 ^The words “the exceeding greatness of” are in Ephesians 1:19.
Helaman 11:32-33 These robbers continued their guerilla warfare and became stronger putting fear into people across the land.
Helaman 11:34-37 Mormon reminds us that these tragic circumstances were a direct result of widespread wickedness and pride. They were ripening again for destruction.
Helaman 11:38 “And thus ended the eighty and fifth year.” It is now only six years before the birth of Jesus and about 40 years before the destruction of the wicked at the coming of the resurrected Lord to the Nephites.
Helaman 12 This chapter consists of an extensive passage of theological reflection by Mormon on the hardness of Nephite hearts. These words follow immediately on the preceding narrative with no chapter division in the 1830 edition. Mormon pauses in the historical narrative to insert insights into the nature of man. He explains the cycle of apostasy and what he hopes we have learned from what he has just presented to us in the previous chapters.
Helaman 12:1 “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.”
Helaman 12:2 Then Mormon warns us that prosperity can be dangerous. When the blessings come, people tend to harden their hearts and forget the Lord.
Helaman 12:3 So unless God disciplines them with afflictions, death, terror, famine, and pestilence – they will not remember Him. But, does God really work this way?
Helaman 12:4-5 Mormon describes the children of men to be quick to do wrong and slow to walk in the path of wisdom.
Helaman 12:4 The phrase “things of the world” is in 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Helaman 12:6 “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.” They do not want His guidance.
Helaman 12:7 Mormon now explains that even the particles of dust obey God, whereas people often do not. “Oh how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.” In effect, people are “dumber than dirt” when it comes to obeying God. The inanimate dust obeys when God speaks, whereas the highest of creation so often fails to listen and obey the word of God.
Helaman 12:8 “For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” People are less than dust in the wind. The phrase “to the dividing asunder” is from Hebrews 4:12.
Helaman 12:9-12 By the power of his voice, mentioned three times here – at His command (not priesthood power) – God makes the earth tremble, quake, break up, shake, rock, and roll.
Helaman 12:13 “Yea, and if he say unto the earth – Move – it is moved.”
Helaman 12:14 Mormon gives us a brief course in astronomy. He understood the solar system – that the earth rotates and that is what makes the sun look like it is going around the earth. “Yea, if he say unto the earth – Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours – it is done;”
Helaman 12:15 He could be referring to incidents in the Old Testament where the sun stood still (see Joshua 10:12-14), and where the sun went back ten degrees, according to the sun dial (see Isaiah 38:7-8 and 2 Kings 20:8-11). “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.”
Helaman 12:16 “And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep – Be thou dried up – it is done.” Like the parting of the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:22).
Helaman 12:17 “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 will be described as happening to the city of Moronihah preceding the appearance of Jesus to the Nephites (see 3 Nephi 8:10; 9:8).
Helaman 12:18-19 Mormon says, if a man hides a treasure in the ground and God calls that treasure “accursed,” it is accursed. And if God says that no one will find it again, no one will ever find it. These verses may have been influenced by the treasure-digging of Joseph Smith’s day.
Helaman 12:18 ^The words “of him who hath” are in Romans 8:20.
Helaman 12:20 Mormon makes the transition from elements being subject to God, to the fact that people are also subject to God. He focuses on the final judgment for each individual in eternity. “And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man – Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever – it shall be done.”
Helaman 12:21 “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.”
Helaman 12:22 “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.” The words “cannot be saved” are in Acts 15:1 and, “might be saved” are in 2 Thessalonians 2:10.
Helaman 12:23 Mormon reminds us that forgiveness is still available. “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.”
Helaman 12:24 “And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.” That is not what is taught in the Bible. It is not our works that saves us, but our belief and faith in the work finished on our behalf by Jesus Christ. The phrase “grace for grace” is in John 1:16 and, “according to their works” is in Revelation 20:13.
Helaman 12:25 “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;” ^The words “I would that all men” are in 1 Corinthians 7:7.
Helaman 12:26 “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.” Mormon is talking here about “eternal exaltation” when he says, “everlasting life.” And when he says, “everlasting damnation” he means they are forbidden from the privilege of “eternal progression.” The words “have everlasting life” are in John 3:16.
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