Posts Tagged 'Voice of the Lord'

1 Kings Chapter 19

Jezebel had married Ahab, who was the king of Israel. She was from Sidon and had brought with her the practice of worshipping Baal and other false gods. With Ahab, she had led the people of Israel into greater wickedness. She had sought out the prophets of the Lord, and killed many of them. Elijah had been in hiding and had been preserved by the Lord, until he was commanded to go to Ahab. The prophet challenged the wicked priests of Baal, and proved Baal to be a false god. Elijah had the wicked priests and prophets destroyed. This chapter continues the account with the following:

1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

Ahab returned to Jezebel and told her what had happened, including that Elijah had killed her prophets. Jezebel swore to kill Elijah, so he left and went into Judah, leaving his servant in Israel.

4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Elijah traveled for a day and sat under a tree in the desert wilderness. Elijah felt that he couldn’t do anymore to help the people. It seems like he felt as though he had failed and was the only righteous man living, and he was ready to die. An angel came to him as he slept, and touched him, telling him to wake and eat. When Elijah awoke, he saw a cake and water next to him, which he ate and drank. He went back to sleep, and the angel came again and told him the same thing, because he would need strength for his journey. He woke and ate and drank, and this food gave him strength for a long time, during which he fasted, as he traveled to Horeb. Horeb was the mount where the Lord had spoken to Moses a long time before Elijah lived.

9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Elijah arrived at a cave and stayed there, when the Lord spoke to him. The Lord asked him what he was doing there. Elijah said that he was upset with the wickedness of the people of Israel, and since they wanted to kill him, he had come to this place to hide. Then, Elijah was commanded to stand on the mount, before the Lord. As the Lord passed Elijah, there was a strong wind that split the mountain and rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then, Elijah felt an earthquake, but the Lord was not there. After that, there was fire, but the Lord was not present in the fire. Finally, there was a still, small voice, and when Elijah heard it, he went to the cave entrance and heard the voice of the Lord. The voice of the Lord, the voice of the Spirit, is a still, small voice. This is how we can all expect the Lord to speak to our hearts and minds. Because it is this way, we have to separate ourselves from the world, just as Elijah did, and push away the distractions, so that we may be able to hear Him speak.

The Lord asked what Elijah was doing there. Elijah again repeated why he was there, that he had done much for the Lord because the people had lost their way, killing the prophets and leaving only him remaining. The Lord told him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael to rule over Syria and Jehu to rule over Israel. Then, he was to anoint Elisha as the prophet to follow after him. The Lord revealed to Elijah, that anyone that escaped death from Hazael, was to be killed by Jehu, and anyone that escaped death from Jehu, would be killed by Elisha. He told him that there were 7,000 people in Israel, which did not worship Baal. With this, the Lord helped Elijah to know that he was not alone.

19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.
20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?
21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

Elijah left and found Elisha working in the fields. When Elijah passed him, he threw his mantel on him as a sign that he was to go with him, I believe. The mantle of Elijah was a symbol of authority. Elisha left the field and asked to say goodbye to his parents before following Elijah. Elijah told him to go back. Elisha went, fed the people his oxen, and then left and followed Elijah.

Elisha is an example of a righteous man, who had the courage and faith to leave his family and work, to follow the prophet of the Lord. Today, very few are asked to leave everything they have, as Elisha was in that day, but we are all invited to leave behind the things of the world that have no lasting value, to follow those things that the prophet teaches and exhorts us to do. For most of us, this will take just as much courage and faith, if not a great deal more. I can imagine that for many of us, it would be easier to follow if we had the prophet come to us personally and extend a call to action, but most of us are required to believe and follow in faith without the prophet being in our presence. The blessings will be great for those who choose to follow the prophet, as Elisha chose to follow Elijah.

The Lord did not leave Elijah in his times of trial and depression. He gave him physical blessings to help him have strength to physically continue in the work. Moreover, he blessed him spiritually, with the spirit and with direction in his calling, which would help him to continue in his service to the Lord. He received these blessings, because he had a desire to do what was right, and to help others to know God. When we want to be righteous and bring others to Christ, we will have the help of the Lord as well. The spirit will be there, as a still, small voice, to bless and guide us. I know these things to be true, because I have felt the blessing of strength beyond my own, both physically and spiritually, when I have had moments where I have felt defeated and down in what I believe to be righteous endeavors of my own. God loves us and will not leave us comfortless.

D&C Section 18 (Part 2)

(This is a continuation of the previous post: Part 1)

This is a revelation given to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. It was in response to asking the Lord about the restoration of the higher priesthood, which had been promised to them.

What Is the “Church of the Devil”?

“Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men (v. 18 ). And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing (v. 19). Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil (v. 20).”

These men were already told that they were being called to serve as apostles. Now the Lord is telling them what they should do as part of that calling. One of the things is that they should not contend with a church, unless it is the “church of the devil”, also knows as the “great and abominable church” (see 1 Nephi 13:6). This is not in reference to actual religious churches. Anything that is done in the name of Satan, or with his influence, is part of that church of the devil. Only those groups that are purposely seeking to do evil, are those that they were told they may contend with. Otherwise, all other groups that were trying to live a good life, were not to be contended with. Instead, those are the places that these men were to use their testimonies to influence people toward the truth of the gospel. We too, should help others who are seeking to live good, by being an influence of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but not to argue over differences in our beliefs.

Why Is It Improper to Contend?

To contend is to argue, contest, compete or even to fight over something. In 3 Nephi 11:28-30, the Savior teaches why this is not right. “And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been (v. 28 ). For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another (v. 29). Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (v. 30).”

Contending about the gospel will not bring more people to Christ. Only the spirit can influence the hearts of men to change and gain a testimony. If we are contentious, the spirit cannot guide our words and cannot be there to touch the hearts of others. Instead we must do as the Lord told Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer in this revelation. He said, “Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness (v. 21).” If we teach others with serious but kind words, being led by the spirit as to what we should say, then we have done all that is asked of us.

Once we have taught and shared our testimonies with others, it is up to them to allow the spirit to touch them. “And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved (v. 22). Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved (v. 23); Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day (v. 24); Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father (v. 25).”

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

The Lord told Joseph, Oliver and David, that he would call twelve disciples who would also go out and preach the gospel to the world (v. 26-28 ). They would have the Aaronic priesthood and be able to baptize as the scriptures had taught them (v. 29-30). The Lord gave revelation here to those twelve disciples. He told them they would ordain others to teach the gospel (v. 31-33).

“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man (v. 34); For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them (v. 35); Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words (v. 36).” This revelation teaches us that as we read the revelations of the Lord, we can be able to hear the voice of the Lord, as we allow the spirit to witness the truth to us.

The Choosing of the Twelve Special Witnesses by the Special Witness of the Book of Mormon

“And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken (v. 37); And by their desires and their works you shall know them (v. 38 ). And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them (v. 39). And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name (v. 40).” The twelve apostles were chosen by their desires to serve the Lord. They were called by the those who were the first special witnesses of the modern-day church and restoration.

Joseph, Oliver and David were blessed to receive this revelation. They were told that they were to teach the people of the world to repent and be baptized (v. 41-42). There callings came with great responsibility and blessings. “And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my commandments in all things (v. 43); And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father (v. 44). Wherefore, the blessings which I give unto you are above all things (v. 45). And after that you have received this, if you keep not my commandments you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father (v. 46). Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit have spoken it. Amen (v. 47).”

3 Nephi, Chapter 10

What did Christ promise those who were spared destruction?

The people have experienced three days in the darkness in complete misery and then they heard the voice of the Lord speak to them.  “And now behold, it came to pass that all the people of the land did hear these sayings, and did witness of it. And after these sayings there was silence in the land for the space of many hours (v. 1); For so great was the astonishment of the people that they did cease lamenting and howling for the loss of their kindred which had been slain; therefore there was silence in all the land for the space of many hours (v. 2).”  The people were left astonished and silent because of their amazement by the words they had heard the Lord speak.
After many hours the silence was broken.  “And it came to pass that there came a voice again unto the people, and all the people did hear, and did witness of it, saying (v. 3):  O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you (v. 4).  And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not (v. 5).”  The voice of the Lord spoke a message that seems like a reminder to them of all the times that the people have been spared, protected, and nurtured by the Lord.
“O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart (v. 6).”  The Savior promises the Nephites who have been spared, that He will continue to protect them and nurture them, if they repent and return to Him.
“But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers (v. 7).  And now it came to pass that after the people had heard these words, behold, they began to weep and howl again because of the loss of their kindred and friends (v. 8 ).”  If they would not repent and turn to Him, they would suffer the same way that their friends and family had, who had not been spared.
What would it be like to see the Savior?
“And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away (v. 9).  And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared live did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer (v. 10).”  After the three days, the darkness left as the morning came, the trembling and loud noises of the earth stopped and the earth came together again, the weeping and wailing of the people stopped, their mourning became joy and their lamentations became praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
These changes to the physical nature of the earth and to the people, came because of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  These same changes are symbols of how our individual lives can change through the Savior’s power.  When life has us shaken, afraid, weeping and wailing, mourning, or in what feels like utter darkness, the Savior’s atonement can spare us of these things.  When we repent and turn to Him, he brings us true joy.
“And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets (v. 11).  And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared (v. 12)—And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness (v. 13).”  Mormon tells us that these people had been spared because they had been more righteous, had received the prophets, and had not killed the prophets or the saints.  Many of the prophets had prophesied and testified of this destruction that they had just experienced.  Among them were Zenos, Zenock, and Jacob (v. 14-17).
“And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them (v. 18 )—Showing his body unto them, and ministering unto them; and an account of his ministry shall be given hereafter. Therefore for this time I make an end of my sayings (v. 19).”  Mormon tells us that those who were spared received great blessings including being able to see the Savior.  We can have this same blessing if we chose to follow the prophets today.  If the Savior comes again in our lifetime, then those of us who listen to the prophets today and who do not cast them out of our lives, but try to live righteously, will have the opportunity to witness His coming.  What an awesome blessing that will be.

3 Nephi, Chapter 9

How were Nephite cities destroyed?

When someone speaks over a loud speaker I tend to try to listen harder than if they had been standing in the room with me, because it seems that what they have to say will be more important.  “And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying (v. 1):  Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen (v. 2)!”

At this time the Nephites have been sitting in utter darkness, crying and moaning about their situation; hurt, sad, and scared.  Then they hear this voice.  I imagine that some would have been more afraid, some would have been overcome by the feeling of the spirit, and so on.  I cannot imagine that anyone would have been trying to ignore the voice or pretend it wasn’t there.  He said “the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice”, because the people had been so deep in sin that they lost their loved ones, which brings a misery and sadness that only the devil would find pleasing.

The voice continues to tell the people that He has destroyed Zarahemla and its people with fire (v. 3).   He buried the city of Moroni and its people in the sea (v. 4).  He covered the city of Moronihah and its people with earth (v. 5).  He buried the city of Gilgal and its people in the earth (v. 6).  He covered the cities of Onihah, Mocum, and Jerusalem and their people with water (v. 7).  He sunk the cities of Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, and Gimgimno and their people into the earth (v. 8 ).  He burned the city of Jacobugath and its people with fire (v. 9).  He destroyed the cities of Laman, Josh, Gad, and Kiskumen and their people with fire (v. 10).  He did these things and more, because the people had been so wicked and had hurt, cast out, and killed the prophets and the righteous (v. 5, 7-12).  The city of Jacobugath had been the most wicked city on the whole earth because of secret combinations who murdered and destroyed the governement and the peace of the land (v. 9).  There were no more righteous people in the cities of Laman, Josh, Gad and Kiskumen (v. 11).

I can imagine the fear and sadness that the people who were saved would have been feeling then.  Hearing of all the destruction around them and the loss of so many of their brothers and sisters because of their wickedness would have been awful.  If I had been there, I think I may have been overcome with feelings of grief over the loss of so many people and the utter destruction of so much of the land.  Also, I would have been wondering what this meant for me.  I may have wondered why had the people who were left, been spared the same destruction, what was going to happen to them now, and so on.

Can a person be righteous and still need to repent?

Everyone needs to repent, because no one is perfect.  Every person on the earth suffers temptations and we all give in to some of them because we are mortal and human.  This is why we have been given the atonement by the Savior.  Even the most righteous people, striving the hardest to live good lives, still need to repent of the little things they may do wrong.

“O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you (v. 13)?  Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me (v. 14).”  Some of the Nephites were spared because they were more righteous than the others.  They needed to turn more fully to the Lord and repent of their sins.  If they “return[ed] unto [Him] they would be healed, and have mercy and eternal life from Him.  What wonderful blessings to hear straight from the voice of the Lord.  These same blessings and more apply to us as well, if we will repent, be converted, and turn to the Lord.

Sin has caused me the most heartache and pain out of everything in my life.  I have personally felt the healing power of the Lord in my life, as I have used the gift of the atonement.  It is the most wonderful feeling, when the burden and sadness of sin, is lifted off of my shoulders.  If that was all the Lord had promised to us, it would be worth it.  But He has promised us so much more, because He has promised us eternal life if we repent and return unto Him.  This gift is the greatest of all gifts and I am trying hard each day to live to have that promised fulfilled.

What are some of the roles of Jesus Christ?

The Savior, Jesus Christ, has been given many different names throughout the scriptures.  In this chapter He is given the names and titles of “the Son of God”, “the light and the life of the world”, “Alpha and Omega”, and “the beginning and the end” (v. 15, 18).  The Savior was the creator of the heavens, the earth, and all things in them.  He has been one in purpose, working with God and praising God (v. 15).  He came to the earth and fulfilled the prophecies that we read about in the scriptures (v. 16).  He has given the redemption of man to all who believe in Him and receive Him, and has fulfilled the law of Moses (v. 17).  And earlier in the chapter we read that He has also destroyed the wicked (v. 2-12).  These are only a few of the names, titles, and roles that the Savior has been for the world that we know.  Of these I think the greatest thing is that he is the redeemer, who has given us the chance to return to live with our Father in Heaven again and have eternal life, if we believe and receive Him.  I am so grateful to the Savior, for all that He has done so that I can have blessing beyond my greatest imaginations.  He has given these things to me personally, as well as to every person who has ever lived, or will ever live, on this earth.  I recognize that I am nothing without Him and I owe all that I ever will become to His example and His service to me personally.  I love the Savior and I hope and pray that I can show him that, through my thoughts and actions every day of my life.

The law of Moses is fulfilled

The difference between the law that says “Thou salt not kill.” and the law that says “Thou shalt not be angry with thy brother.” is that the latter is a higher law.  The law of Moses included the ten commandments and a law that man should not kill.  The law of Christ however, is a higher law.  In 3 Nephi 12:21-22 we read, “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God (v. 21); But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (v. 22).”

Things, such as laws, changed when Jesus came into the world, because he knew that he would be giving an ultimate sacrifice for everyone, he knew that a higher law was needed to keep people out of the “danger of hell fire”.

“And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings (v. 19).  And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not (v. 20).  Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin (v. 21).  Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved (v. 22).”

The Savior told the Nephites that the sacrifices of the firstling of the flock and burnt offerings was no longer required.  Instead he wanted people to give a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  In return, the Savior would give the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The Savior will save those who repent and come “unto [Him] as a little child”.

The Savior fulfilled the law of Moses as the ultimate sacrifice.  In it’s place he gave us a higher law.  We are asked to sacrifice our personal sins to the Lord, meaning to give up the things that hold us back from the possibility of returning to God.  To come unto Him as a little child, we must realize that we are dependent on the Savior.  We must have humility and meekness in our hearts.  If we are willing to give up our sins and turn to Him, we are promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, to help us avoid further sin and ultimately to be saved.

Helaman, Chapter 10

How does pondering help us receive answers to prayers?

“And it came to pass that there arose a division among the people, insomuch that they divided hither and thither and went their ways, leaving Nephi alone, as he was standing in the midst of them (v. 1).  And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him (v. 2).  And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying (v. 3):”

To ponder is to think deeply.  We can be blessed greatly through pondering the things of God.  In 1 Nephi 11:1 we read, “For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.”  When Nephi pondered the things his father had told him, he was blessed by revelation from the spirit.  In 3 Nephi 17:2-3 the Savior said, “I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time (v. 2).  Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again (v. 3).”  The Savior explained that pondering will prepare us to understand His teachings.

As Nephi pondered the wickedness of the people, the voice of the Lord spoke to him.  Enos 1:10, it says the voice of the Lord came into his mind.  In D&C 8:2, it says the voice of the Lord speaks to the heart and mind.  When we ponder, we give the Lord a chance to respond to our questions, to expound on things we have learned, and to inspire us to do his will for us.  It takes a good deal of effort to take time out of life to ponder like this, but I know from personal experience that great blessings will come when we do.

What power was given to Nephi?

Satan has the power to influence us when we are weak.  If we use others who are weak to support us, we will all be vulnerable to his traps and snares.  If we are weak and we stand together with others who are strong, he will not be able to influence us as easily because of their help.  If we are strong and we stand with the strong, we will be so much more powerful ourselves.  This is a promise from God that has been given time and time again.

The voice of the Lord spoke to Nephi.  “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 (v. 4).  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 one unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will (v. 5).  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 (v. 6).  Behold, I give unto 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 (v. 7).  And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done (v. 8 ).  And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done (v. 9).  And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass (v. 10).”

Because Nephi stood firm in teaching the people and cared more for doing the will of the Lord, than his own life, he was given great blessings.  He was given the power to do mighty things, such as cause famines and destruction.  He was also given the power to bind or loose things eternally, which is the sealing power.  In Matthew 16:19, Peter was given the sealing.  Also in D&C 132:46, Joseph Smith was given the sealing power as well.  This power to bind things eternally, is the greatest priesthood power that we have on the earth today.  When a family is sealed in the Temple of the Lord, they become the strongest they can.  The power that Satan has is weak in comparison to the bond that a family makes when they are sealed together.  I am so grateful that my family has had the opportunity to be sealed for time and all eternity.  I can feel the strength that this blessing gives to us and I am working hard each day to keep the covenants I have made, so that this bond cannot be broken by Satan.

How did Nephi use the sealing power?

If I had been given a great magical power and had the ability to share it with others, I think I would be particularly selective in this.  I would only share it with those who I trusted to use it the right way.  Nephi was given the great priesthood power to seal and bind things eternally.  He was given these things by God because he was trusted by God that he would do nothing to go against the will of the Lord.  I trust that Nephi would have only used this power to do what the Lord wanted him to do with it.

“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 (v. 11).  And behold, now it came to pass that when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him, concerning their destruction if they did not repent (v. 12).”  Nephi returned immediately to the people and told them if they did not repent, they would be destroyed.

“Now behold, notwithstanding that great miracle which Nephi had done in telling them concerning the death of the chief judge, they did harden their hearts and did not hearken unto the words of the Lord (v. 13).”  Even though they had just witnessed his prophecies being fulfilled, they chose not to listen to him now.

“Therefore Nephi did declare unto them the word of the Lord, saying: Except ye repent, thus saith the Lord, ye shall be smitten even unto destruction (v. 14).  And it came to pass that when Nephi had declared unto them the word, behold, they did still harden their hearts and would not hearken unto his words; therefore they did revile against him, and did seek to lay their hands upon him that they might cast him into prison (v. 15).  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 (v. 16).  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 (v. 17).”  They could not bind him and take him to prison.  He was able to go, by the power of the spirit of God, to tell more of the people what he had tried to tell these Nephites.

“And it came to pass that they would not hearken unto his words; and there began to be contentions, insomuch that they were divided against themselves and began to slay one another with the sword (v. 18 ).  And thus ended the seventy and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi (v. 19).”  And so their destruction begins with divisions and fighting among themselves.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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