Nephi talks about how God will be put down and denied in the last days—even by churches that sprout up for the glory of man. He exposes some of the lies and tactics Satan will use to deceive men:
- “there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men.” (5)
- “he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.” (6)
- “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.” (7)
- “nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin.”
All these philosophies revolve around justifying sin, instead of overcoming it through repentance and reliance upon our Savior.
Why is it important to know about Satan’s lies? How can that knowledge help us withstand him and stand strong with God?
Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hid their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.”2 Nephi 28:9
The Lord doesn’t think very highly of these philosophies. He calls them not only false, but vain and foolish.
Vain is defined as having no real value; idle, worthless; marked by futility or ineffectualness. The world’s doctrines have no value; they’re as worthless and filling as a mirage of water. No matter how hard we cling to this doctrine, it cannot save us.
People who embrace these vain and foolish doctrines are puffed up in their hearts and seek to hide their motives from the Lord. They work in darkness, the opposite of what God is—Light.
Pride puffs them up and “they rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. (13) They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ.” (14)
Let us be part of the FEW.
The Lord warns the wicked: “Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.” (16)
I find it amazing that God never destroys people without giving them ample warnings to repent.
But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.”2 Nephi 28:17
God doesn’t want to punish us. He wants to bring us home.
Repentance is a merciful gift. Am I using it enough?
For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish.”2 Nephi 28:19
This shows that tribulation, change, hardships, and trials shake us up, which stirs us up to repentance or anger. Like Star Wars, anger leads to the dark side. Anger will cause us to perish, whereas repentance frees us from Satan’s chains.
Christ and Satan are the perfect examples of extreme opposites. Christ is love. Satan is hate and anger. This verse shows the devil’s anger.
For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.”2 Nephi 28:20
Boy, is he having a lot of success. So many seem to hate that which is good.
He doesn’t always rage though. Many would shun a rager. But the devil is skilled at subtlety as well.
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”2 Nephi 28:21
When you pacify a baby, you give them something to suck on to distract them from crying. The devil pacifies us with distractions to keep us from grasping onto what really matters. He deceives us into thinking all is well, and that makes us believe we don’t need to change. Carnal security is tempting. When our physical life is in turmoil, it’s easy to lose faith.
The devil tempts us with what seems like security, when really it’s only a mirage, a temporary lull before destruction or misery.
It says he cheateth their souls. I believe he cheats us out of everlasting joy we could’ve had if we’d followed God. And the devil does all this cheating, tempting, and lulling carefully. He doesn’t blatantly tempt us at first. He carefully plans and tricks us according to our weaknesses.
A smart soldier knows his weaknesses and builds defenses around those.
Do I know my weaknesses? Do I turn to God for help in making my weaknesses become strengths?
Another strategy of the devil is to “flattereth away; and telleth them there is no hell.” (22)
If he can convince us he doesn’t exist, we don’t see a need to believe in God. Opposition in all things. If there is no evil, there is no good. But God warns us not to be deceived:
wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!”2 Nephi 28:26
Satan also loves to damn us—literally, like a dam on a river. He does this by making us feel that we have enough and don’t need anything more in life.
We have received, and we need no more!”2 Nephi 28:27
We must never feel that we have enough. From the last post, we learned that God yearns to give us ALL He has, but we must want it. Don’t let Satan lull us into not wanting more.
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.”
“And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”Alma 12:10-11
Notice, how those who refuse to receive are “taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction.” His will, not their own. The devil seeks to take our agency and choices away. He wants to act upon us, not let us act for ourselves. That is why Nephi clearly states all his tactics so we won’t be easily deceived by that miserable miser.
…wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.”2 Nephi 28:28
A hard hearted person will get angry at truth. But those who are built upon Christ will receive it with gladness.
Am I open to receiving more truth from God?
This chapter ends with God warning the Gentiles that we should not deny Him, but “if they will repent and come unto me,” He will be merciful.
Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is the key to freedom, mercy, and ultimately, joy.