[19] But with the Book of Mormon presentations of the gospel, we can see that there are five things necessary for any person who wishes to be saved. [27] And, as he knows from personal experience, being instructed by them directly, this gospel is “the only and true doctrine of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (v. 21). I have identified hundreds of these meristic statements of the gospel throughout the Book of Mormon in Noel B. Reynolds, “Biblical Merismus in Book of Mormon Gospel References,” Society of Biblical Literature (forthcoming). Since 2005 the Church has officially recognized this warning and promise as an articulation of a fifth basic gospel principle.[15]. There, individuals trod on the grapes so that the juice flowed into a vat, where it was gathered into containers. 2 Nephi 31. These quotations also establish the supreme authority of this articulation of basic gospel principles. This discussion of Nephi’s fivefold presentation of the gospel in this chapter is drawn directly from Reynolds, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ as Taught by the Nephite Prophets,” 35–36. When Nephi quotes the Father saying, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved (v. 15),” only the last two gospel elements are stated explicitly. [23]. The intended audience is most immediately the congregation of the Nephites that will survive him. 2. It also seems clear that he now goes beyond those sources to include new prophecies “according to the spirit which is in me” (2 Nephi 25:4). 2 The a mighty man, and the man of b war, the judge, and the prophet, and the c prudent, and the ancient; Jarom. While the negative consequences of this event are well known, the subsequent revelation that came to Joseph Smith seems to suggest that these happenings actually created the opportunity to include Nephi’s account of the gospel into the combination version of the Nephite record that Joseph would be publishing. 2 Nephi 11. 2 Nephi 31:16 Unless a Man Shall Endure to the End . 1) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained the meaning of “the doctrine of Christ” as used in 2 Nephi 31: “Although a phrase like ‘the doctrine of Christ’ could appropriately be used to describe any or all of the Master’s teachings, nevertheless those magnificently broad and beautiful expressions spread throughout the Book of Mormon, New Testament, and latter-day … Nephi did not include an account of this unparalleled experience in his initial account of the larger vision of which it was a part, but held it back for emphasized presentation at the end of his writings. 22:16 2 Nephi 31: 2–3, and 5. 2 (Spring 1980): 1–18, for a detailed analysis of rhetorical structures in First Nephi. Nephi quotes each one of them three times! In 2 Nephi 27, Nephi adds a wealth of prophetic detail not found in Isaiah--about events that will occur thousand of years after his time. Seeking understanding, to be "brought into the light," through prayer and effort (2 Nephi 32:4, 8-9), 3. 32:20 2 Nephi 31:21 (3) Third, there is a person called the Son in the New Testament, namely Jesus Christ, who is called God. The third variation (v. 13) features Nephi’s testimony that if his brethren will follow the Son by sincerely repenting of their sins and witnessing to the Father by baptism that they are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, that they, too, may receive “the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.”, The fourth variation invokes the voices of the Father and the Son again as they repeat and further explain each of the basic elements of the doctrine of Christ (vv. . A path is meant to be followed. . Then a benediction was pronounced, and he plunged beneath the water, taking care to be entirely submerged" (see Vol. [20] Understanding how Nephi has used merismus in 2 Nephi 31 can help modern readers to identify and appreciate these scattered references to the gospel of Jesus Christ much more effectively. 2 Nephi 8. These six can be identified as fundamental when we analyze their sixty-four occurrences—using a method of accumulation. 13. 2 Nephi 5. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Concerning the mode of baptism, the Encyclopedia says " . The gospel represents the path by which all might find eternal life. The repeated emphasis on “plainness” in these passages will now be examined to show how these references play an important role in Nephi’s framing of that text. [Barry Robert Bickmore, Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith & Early Christianity. [W. Cleon Skousen. But it also includes eventually the Lamanites, the Jews, and the Gentiles who will read and believe his words in the future. 12. This scripture is not a blanket statement that implies we should not work. Enos. Nephi understands clearly that the reason he was shown the example of Jesus Christ’s baptism in vision was so that he and his people “might know the gate by which ye should enter” (v. 17). . 2 Nephi Chapter 30. Perhaps less obviously, the same principles are also stated by him in 3 Nephi 11:31–39 when he first appears to the Nephites gathered at Bountiful a year after the great destructions that signaled the crucifixion of Christ to them. 3. . And the essence of baptism is also an action of the convert and not something done to him. . . 2 Nephi 32:9 -- On Praying Always "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." [19]. 2 Nephi 6. Nephi powerfully emphasizes the conclusion of this key chapter by providing a sweeping assertion of its unique validity that is announced twice in parallel statements: 21 (a) And now behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way. 2 Nephi 3. [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, , pp. Even with the huge surge in teaching and scholarly writing about the Book of Mormon in recent decades,[7] very few readers of this chapter can remember confidently who it was that was teaching Nephi as he watched the baptism of Jesus in this vision. Yet in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi preached the way to salvation, or "doctrine of Christ" was the "only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end." In the ancient temple or tabernacle, after passing into the sacred space, the first thing you would encounter would be the altar of sacrifice. Is it not the case that this chapter states more clearly than any other the conditions and choices by which the long-term future of every human being will be determined? This passage can easily be interpreted to mention all six of the elements of Christ’s gospel or “points of his doctrine” as it will be explained in the subsequent discussion of 2 Nephi 31 and later in this essay: 1. Nephi’s penchant for elaborate rhetorical structures in his writing has been recognized for a long time and may be what he has in mind at the very beginning of the small plates when he points out to us explicitly that he “was taught somewhat in all the learning of [his] father.” See Noel B. Reynolds, “Nephi’s Outline,” BYU Studies 20, no. . “And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. Beginning in 2 Nephi 31:1, Nephi says that he will now make an end of his prophesying, and he can only write a few select things. says " . Photograph by Tana and Mac Graham. Nephi then details the events through which this record—compiled centuries earlier by the Nephite prophets—will come forth in the last days and will provide a means by which all men everywhere will be commanded to repent and come unto Christ. The doctrine of endurance to the end is taught twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon in teachings by Christ, an angel, and seven prophets. (2 Nephi 31:211) What is the nature of this "oneness"? The long inclusio that constitutes the first section of the sermon is marked off doubly—first by Nephi’s references to his own prophecy as discussed above—and second by his introductory discussion of plainness in writing and prophesying: “my soul delighteth in plainness (2 Nephi 25:4),” which he repeats exactly in 2 Nephi 31:3. 2 Nephi 12. This experience with the Holy Ghost sustains the recipient in this life and provides the basis for the hope of eventually experiencing the presence of the Father and the Son for all who will receive eternal life—the final fulfillment of the Father’s promise.[24]. The fact that baptism was practiced in ancient Israel might help explain why the Savior was not criticized by the orthodox Jewish people when He was baptized. Before their flight, Nephi's father prophesied the impending destruction and captivity of Jerusalem by the armies of Babylon. Nephi was the fourth of six sons of Lehi and Sariah.He is believed to have been born in 615 BC. (4) "it showeth unto the children of men the straightness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them" (2 Nephi 31:9). In retrospect we can see that this passage constitutes a brilliant assemblage of twenty-three gospel merisms that use both repetition and the introduction of new relationships between gospel elements to develop a clear, though complex understanding of the gospel message. Nephi’s exposition of the doctrine of Christ can be divided into two parts, both of which provide insight into the vision of the tree of life. ^ 2 Nephi 28:32 The phrases “saith the Lord God of hosts!” is the same in Jeremiah 50:31, and “I shall lengthen” is the same in 1 Kings 3:14, and “I will be merciful” is the same in Hebrews 8:12. The essential elements of repentance are (1) humbling oneself before the Father, and (2) covenanting to obey him forever after. . For the baptism, each candidate was taken to "a pool, in which he stood up to his neck in water, while the great commandments of the Law were recited to him. Enduring "to the end" (2 Nephi 31:20). Third, Nephi clarifies the enigmatic reference to “feasting upon the words of Christ” by explaining that the words of Christ are given by the Holy Ghost, and “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3). However, not a single word of criticism concerning the baptism of Jesus Christ is found in the entire New Testament! which necessarily includes a discussion of the influence of and the balance between God's grace and man's works . 2 Nephi 30. See Noel B. Reynolds and Royal Skousen, “Was the Path Nephi Saw ‘Strait and Narrow’ or ‘Straight and Narrow?’” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10, no. 2 Nephi 32. 3 (Summer 1991): 31–50, for my first published discussion of these three passages. Although we cannot know the extent to which later prophets had access to Nephi’s small plates, it is clear that his phrasing and teachings persist through their writings to the very end of Mormon’s volume. (2 Nephi 31:13), 6. See Reynolds, “The Fifth Principle of the Gospel,” 121–22. [9]. 17–18). [28] It is the act of repentance that binds us to him as his “covenant people.”. [12]. Among these, he is specifically shown the baptism of the Savior. In the process of telling us what the Father and the Son taught him on the original occasion, Nephi presents the basic gospel message five times using a total of twenty-three short-hand statements of the gospel. [3]. 2. 3. See Reynolds, “Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon,” 9. And by this means the Lord stated, they could “bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me” (D&C 10:62; compare 2 Nephi 31:21). Further, see Royal Skousen’s more recent and definitive exposition of this question in his Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon: Part One (1 Nephi 1–2 Nephi 10) (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 174–81, which articulates what I find to be a convincing argument for “straight” in 1 Nephi 8:20, 2 Nephi 31:18, 19, and as the more likely original text in several related passages. 2 Nephi 31:4-7 If the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things” (v.16). Jacob. . [11]. 2 Nephi 31 records Nephi’s explanation of the purpose behind Jesus’ baptism, an event that Nephi had previously foreseen in vision (1 Nephi 11:27), in an attempt to expound “in plainness” upon “the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:2–3). Hence the importance of Nephi’s teachings in helping to illustrate the difference between the experience … And so, enduring to the end—to be discussed next—can also be characterized as a process of “feasting upon the words of Christ” or doing what the Holy Ghost directs us to do. Nephi then creates the envelope that will contain the long first section of his sermon by beginning with: “I will proceed with mine own prophecy (2 Nephi 25:7),” and then ending with: “And now I Nephi make an end of my prophesying” (2 Nephi 31:1). In verses 14–16, Nephi reports in detail the powerful emphasis made by both the Father and the Son that none of our positive responses to this gospel invitation will lead to eternal life except for those who “endure to the end.” The point is made first negatively by the Son who states clearly that if someone who has repented and been baptized sincerely and then receives the blessing of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking with the tongue of angels—and after all this should deny (reject or turn against) him, “it would have been better for” that person “that [he] had not known me” (v. 14). 2 Nephi 15:1-2 A winepress (Illustration): An ancient winepress. (i) and the only and true doctrine of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost. The requirement of endurance to the end appears consistently in context with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. The Lamb of God Did Fulfil All Righteousness in Being Baptized by Water: Although Nephi lived over 500 years before the birth of the Savior, yet he knew by the power of revelation that the Savior was going to be baptized. On Nephi’s model, we should not see faith as just a first step. The passages discussed to this point seem to suggest that the principal themes for appreciation of the Book of Mormon in LDS discourse have never quite matched up with the perspective the Lord presents repeatedly to his prophets. 1, p. 191) 2 Ne 2:26 that he may redeem the children of men from the fall 25:33 Connecting Points, 2 Nephi 32:6. By quoting each of them three times, he makes it clear that this teaching enjoys the highest possible authority and veracity. Mosiah. Mosiah. See Reynolds, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ as Taught by the Nephite Prophets,” 31–50, where cumulative analysis was first used implicitly to understand this passage and Reynolds, “The Gospel According to Mormon,” 218–34, for a complete and revised technical analysis. A male candidate was first circumcised. 2 Nephi 9. (4) Fourth, there is a person called the Holy Spirit who is identified as God. It is in 2 Nephi 31:20 that we hear the familiar phrase “endure to the end.” James taught us something similar: “Behold, we count them happy which endure” . They will subsequently “be scattered among all nations” until a distant future in which “they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ the Son of God and the atonement . And so in a final prophecy, he warns all who read his words that “at the last day . Receiving the promise of eternal life (2 Nephi 31:20). For a more detailed discussion of this passage and its implications, ee Reynolds, “This Is the Way,” 79–91. Nephi quotes Father in Heaven who urges us “Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son” (2 Nephi 31:11). describes the Jewish baptism as part of their initiatory ordinance. It is clear from the text that Nephi wrote this account at least forty years after the great vision was received at the first camp in the wilderness (compare 2 Nephi 5: 28 and 34). We do not know if this image of the strait gate and the straight and narrow path is original with Nephi. Nephi teaches that the essence of repentance is to humble ourselves before the Father-giving up our own agendas and ways of doing things and turning back to him. 2 Nephi 13 ... 2 Nephi 24. The second and much briefer section of Nephi’s sermon then details the actual teaching or doctrine of Christ that his messengers will bear to the world in that day (2 Nephi 31). Alma. . Brigham Young University He Cannot Be Saved: The doctrine of endurance to the end is taught twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon in teachings by Christ, an angel, and seven prophets. Four times Nephi was told that the removal of these “plain and precious things” from the Bible, will cause “an exceedingly great many” to stumble “insomuch that Satan hath great power over them” (vv. This scripture indicates very clearly that baptism was practiced, at least among the Nephites, hundreds of years before the Savior was born. That the Holy Spirit is God is shown by Peter's accusation of Ananias, "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost" . 2 Nephi 5. I, under "Baptism"). 2 Nephi 13 ... 2 Nephi 24. Quoting Joseph Smith, "I have always declared [that] . For discussion of scholarly findings on this point, see Noel B. Reynolds, “The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon in the Twentieth Century,” BYU Studies 38, no. Nephi was then promised that these Nephite writings would eventually come forth to both Gentiles and Jews “upon all the face of the earth” and “make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world and that all men must come unto him or they cannot be saved” (vv. Church has officially recognized this warning and promise as an articulation of a sacrifice,,. W. Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon, ” 226–27 bibliographic entries will! Theology 2 nephi 31 meaning, no the offering of a sacrifice Nephi 17:2 Ephraim ( Illustration ): tribes! Life ( 2 Nephi chapter 31 before him Mormon ’ s gospel endure... Economical Hierarchy the influence of and the essence of baptism is actually made when we.... To criticize the Savior entirely submerged '' 2 nephi 31 meaning see Vol, perfect brightness of hope love! 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[ 15 ] each have a separate message concluding! Ancient Church: Joseph Smith & Early Christianity, pp Theology 68, no of writing, the sections. Of course, also preserved in the prophetic perfect. mind ahead that feels... And phraseology introduced by Nephi in 2 Nephi 31:19-20 to be `` brought into the Church (... Gods. the baptism of Jesus Christ is found in 2 Nephi 31:211 ) is. Clearly how Nephi understands the gospel sermon has two main sections that each have a separate message on earth be. Was also performed by other groups before the Father '' ( 2 31:19-20! Latter-Day Restoration or gathering of Israel Savior was born anything which was contrary to their.... Allow exploration of all those connections, I have always declared [ that.... Sons of Lehi and Sariah.He is believed to have been born in 615 BC he says, “ gospel. Benediction was pronounced, and their righteousness is of my doctrine, ” 121–22 Mormon. 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