Nephi foretells how Christ will show himself unto the Nephites after his resurrection. He sees the destruction of the wicked before the Savior appears to his people after His resurrection and cries out:
O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just.” (7)
He holds out hope to those who “hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish. (8) But the Son of righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him…” (9)
This shows that even though we look forward unto Christ with steadfastness, we will still suffer persecution at times, like the righteous back in Book of Mormon times. But if we endure with faith, love, and patience, we will not perish.
Christ will heal us from every sorrow, every pain, every loneliness or humiliation we have experienced. He will bind all our wounds, and peace will be ours in the end.
Selling ourselves for naught
Nephi grieves over the eventual destruction of his people, which he has seen in vision. He says that they “sell themselves for naught; for, for the reward of their pride and their foolishness they shall reap destruction.”(10)
In what ways do we sell ourselves for naught?
The world is full of examples of people seeking temporary rewards to satisfy their pride and foolishness. But these worldly acclaims and rewards won’t last. We sell our souls for that which is fleeting. Satan will NOT reward his followers in the end. He seeks our misery…and that is what we sell ourselves for when we sin in any way.
This is why Nephi pours his whole soul into leaving plates behind for his posterity…and for us now. He doesn’t want us to sell our souls for naught and reap misery and destruction.
And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; (11) And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost…”2 Nephi 26:12
Through the power of the Holy Ghost, which we receive when we are baptized and confirmed by one holding authority from Jesus Christ, our Savior can be manifest to us, convincing us of heavenly truths.
Manifest means to readily perceive by the senses and especially by the sense of sight; easily understood or recognized by the mind; obvious. That means we can know that Jesus is the VERY Christ and we can understand this easily in our minds and hearts through the Holy Ghost. That is a great blessing promised to us.
Dangers of Pride
Nephi foretells the apostasy and scattering of his people by the Gentiles in the future (the white man driving the American Indians out of their lands). Then he tells how the Gentiles will be “lifted up in the pride of their eyes” and how they “put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.” (20)
It’s easy to be lifted up in pride. When we “put down” anything, we set ourselves up higher. That is pride. When we lean unto our “own wisdom” and “own learning,,” that is pride, and we risk losing the Holy Ghost as our companion. That is tragic, because He is part of the Godhead. We can have a member of the Godhead with us always if we don’t lose sight of God’s will. We can also lose that member of the Godhead from our lives if we drive Him away through pride. Satan wants this last option for us.
…and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.”2 Nephi 26:22
The devil uses pride as the “gateway drug” for sin, starting small and subtle, knowing our weaknesses and pricking at those until he binds us with stronger vices. Satan is selfish and seeks for all men to be miserable like unto himself. When he can get us to lift ourselves up in pride (in any way), he gets his flaxen cords around us.
God’s power comes from love
God, in comparison, “doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.” (24)
God is the greatest of all, yet He condescends to our level to lift us up, not pullus down, like the devil does. That is the opposite of pride. That is incomprehensible love.
Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.”2 Nephi 26:27
To follow Christ, I must seek to do things not for my own benefit, but to benefit others. And my motive must be to bring men to love God and want to repent. I must want to repent as well.
Priestcrafts are defined by Nephi.
Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.”2 Nephi 26:29
We must do a motive check to understand why we want to do certain things. Do we act to get gain and praise of the world? If so, we lean toward the dark side (forgive my Star Wars terminology, but it fits). The righteous are motivated to put God before themselves and seek the welfare of Zion. Actions and service are selfless, not meant to gather praise of men.
What motivates me to action? Am I seeking attention from the world, or am I trying to help God in His great work of gathering souls to repentance so they can feast on the fruit of His love?
To help us combat Satan’s binding cords and be free, God “hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing.” (30)
- Love is key to avoiding Satanic bondage.
- Love thinketh not of her own and doesn’t seek praise from outside sources.
- Love is a gift from God.
Nephi outlines a bunch of devilish actions: murder, lying, stealing, taking God’s name in vain, envy, contention, whoredoms, etc. Then he states God’s pure motives plainly, for all men to witness.
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”2 Nephi 26:33
God is the ultimate good. He is no respecter of persons, meaning He loves all men and all diversity. He wants ALL of His children to return to Him and have the peace and joy only He can provide. He asks us to love Him, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love definitely is the key to returning to Him.