2 Nephi 28:19-32 — LeGrand Baker — choosing good or evil
2 Nephi 28:19-32
19 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;
20 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.
21 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.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none–and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
It doesn’t seem to make much difference which message is received from the Devil. If one sees good and becomes angry because he sees it as evil; or if one sees evil and perceives it as good, either has the same effect upon his soul. The system seems to be (I’m paraphrasing Chauncy Riddle here) If one sees a good thing the devil teaches him that the goodness is of the devil. If one sees a bad thing the devil teaches him that it cannot be of the devil because there is none.
23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
In an ancient temple context, the word ‘works’ almost always means ordinances (as in the book of James and in Alma 12).
28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rockreceiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
There is only one truly sacred rock. Symbolically it is the one at Jerusalem upon which the holy of holies stood. In truth, it is the Saviour, whose earthly throne was in that holy of holies.
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.
More obvious references to the ancient temple drama. I don’t know how Nephi could have said it any more clearly. The options are either coming into the presence of God, or not coming into the presence of God. Its either one, or else it’s the other.
A personal note: As I wrote this, the contrast between good and evil caused me to reflect. Most of the people who will read what I have just written are my close personal friends – people whom I love and trust. This note is to you. It seems to me, that as one walks in the darkness that is this world, the next best thing to being in the presence of God, is to have friends who try to be like Him. To each of you, thank you for being my friend. Please accept the embrace I would send with this note, as if only you were near enough to hug. – LeGrand