Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Lord’s Wilderness (1 Nephi 16-22)

The Truth

READ 1 Nephi 16:1-4 and 1 Nephi 17:45
Are “hard things” difficult to understand or difficult to bear, for the wicked?
·       Both
·      They are difficult to understand because they are spiritually understood and without sufficient light, the wicked cannot comprehend them the way God means them to be comprehended
·       They are difficult to bear because they require changes that the wicked have not wanted to make
What does the fact that the wicked are cut to their center by the truth tell us about wickedness and truth?
·       Wickedness tends to insulate those that participate in it – it is like the cook who burns his nerve endings on his fingers so that he can no longer feel the pain – they are “past feeling”
·        Truth “cuts” through all of that “insulation” to expose the core of the soul
·       The insulation consists of all of the lies/rationalizations we tell ourselves and unbelief (false beliefs) we espouse which protect us from having to experience godly sorrow and repentance in the face of the truth
What does “feeling” God’s words imply about how He speaks to us?
·      He speaks to our spirits and it can affect our emotions; but the Holy Spirit is not a feeling – it is the mind of God and pure intelligence; however, many of us will have a powerful emotional response to that Spirit or light, hence the “feelings” that many people equate with the Spirit
·      Many times He speaks through the “still, small voice” which is like that because we are not attuned to its frequency and have “interference” (the concerns and desires of the world) which makes it difficult to hear or feel
·        Rarely does He actually cause the air to vibrate through the sound of His voice
·        When He does have to use the “voice of thunder” it is usually a last ditch effort to get our attention
What does it mean to be “slow to remember the Lord”?
·      We are so rooted in the temporal, material world that we fail to see God “hiding in plain sight” – in nature, in symbolism, in the lives of His followers, in actual fact behind a veil, in the very elements that this entire universe is constructed from at a quantum level (he is the ultimate “observer” from quantum physics, keeping this whole creation from devolving into chaos – retaining the elements in their particle form in space and time rather than devolving back into waves)
·       Because we don’t see Him every day in all we do, we have forgotten Him
·       We have to force ourselves to remember Him – it is not the natural state of the natural man to “always remember Him”
·       We only remember Him in times of tribulation – He has to force us to our knees for us to remember Him
·      When we are self-reliant and things are going well, we are slow to remember the Lord (despite the blessings which He is giving us but we think we deserve from our own industry)
·      Even when things go badly we are slow to remember the Lord because He has so little to do with our daily lives (we have forgotten Him) and when we do finally remember Him it is with guilt and a lack of faith, knowing we are “fair weather friends” only coming to Him as the last resort because we figure there will be a price required for blessings – a submission to His will and a change of lifestyle
·       But in His mercy and grace, He will still accept us, even then!
What is the secret to understanding “hard things”?
·       Keep the commandments with all diligence (v4 and Alma 26:22)
·       Be filled with light/Spirit (see D&C 11:13, D&C 84:44-47)
·       So you can comprehend “all things” (see D&C 88:67)
·       The things of God are spiritually discerned (see 1 Corinthians 2:14)

The Lord’s Wilderness: Leaving the World Behind

READ 1 Nephi 16:9
Why does the Lord send people into the wilderness?
·       To escape destruction – for rescue and asylum
·       To be tested and tried - as a “school” to prepare them to enter His presence – God segregates and tests His people
·       As a curse or tribulation (i.e. the Children of Israel with Noah & the LDS with Brigham Young)
·      Note: for further reading about the idea of the “Lord’s Wilderness”, see I Need Thee Every Hour: The Joy of Coming to Christ by Blaine Yorgason
Why must the Lord send people into the wilderness to prepare them to be with Him?
·       Because we must leave the world behind in our hearts, which is possible but that much harder to do if you are living “in the world”
·       We must “flee Babylon” spiritually and sometimes it takes fleeing it physically to make that break (see D&C 133:7)
·      We need to remove the enticements and distractions of Babylon – so our eyes become single to His glory alone (see D&C 88:66-68)
·       We must be trained in the ways of the Lord to enter His presence (see TPJS 64:1), which takes time and focus; there is a reason that both Luke and Rey went to remote locations to learn the ways of the Force more quickly than they would have otherwise!
What happened to Lehi and Nephi before this “wilderness school” could take place?
·      They had both repented and been born of the Spirit – they had entered the gospel covenant with Christ and received (at least) the baptism of fire/Holy Ghost – they had entered in at the Gate

READ 1 Nephi 16:11-12 and 1 Nephi 17:21
What did Lehi’s family take into their wilderness school and what was left behind?
·       Necessities of life were taken
·       Everything else was left behind in Jerusalem

READ 1 Nephi 16:34-36
What happens if one starts on a “wilderness experience” but turns back?
·       Best case: You will lose your opportunity to come unto Christ and the Priesthood that enables this (D&C 84:24-26); at least for a season but more likely for several generations, which means for the individual who turned back, they lose their opportunity (see D&C 124:50-52; D&C 84:23-25)
·       Worst case: You could be destroyed (see 2 Nephi 1:4)

The Lord’s Wilderness: Separation from Worldly People

READ 1 Nephi 17:22
Who must be left behind when one enters the “Lord’s Wilderness”?
·       Worldly people – the wicked
·       Religious people… who will not follow the Lord into His Wilderness
If these people are not left behind, how might they hinder the Wilderness Traveler?
·       For the religious but not spiritually in tuned, their stringent living of the “law” and cultural mores they have adopted (in this case, the Law of Moses but in other cases hedonistic Babylon) will constrain the wilderness traveler from doing whatever it is the Lord asks, because it will be so contrary to the culture of the society in which the others are living; the Lord’s wilderness traveler will have to contend with Babylon in the wilderness, as Nephi had to do with Laman and the others
·       From exerting peer pressure to outright persecution, the society will try to stop the wilderness traveler from following the Lord’s will
·       Wilderness travelers will have less and less in common with the world – leading to more persecution and hatred over time
What does this imply about a wilderness school?
·      It is a lonely journey – at least with regards to people; even if you are with others, they may not understand you and may even fight against and persecute you
·      Spiritually though, you are less and less alone, as angels and Gods “take up their abode” with you
·     Many times the separation is temporary, as the Lord sends the traveler back to preach to those who had been left behind – in Lehi’s case, it was his own sons and their wives (see 1 Nephi 17:23 and 1 Nephi 8:17)

The Lord’s Wilderness: Traveling Only As the Lord Directs

READ 1 Nephi 16:10, 30, and 1 Nephi 17:13
Who directs travel in the Lord’s Wilderness?
·       Only the Lord
Why does the Lord require strict obedience in this journey?
·    Minor deviations add time and additional, unnecessary trials to the wilderness experience and lessons have to be learned or relearned
·     Major deviations may bring it to a halt altogether
·     Lehi and Company took eight years to make a journey that should have been made in months on camel (1 Nephi 17:4)
·     Only in exhibiting absolute trust, faith and obedience does one gain knowledge of God (see TPJS 246:1)
·     The purpose of the “school” is to train us to think as He does in all things and at all times (see Isaiah 55:8-9, LoF 7:9)

The Lord’s Wilderness: Affliction and Trial

READ 1 Nephi 16:14-22 and 1 Nephi 17:1, 8-10, 17-19
Why does the Lord try His people during their Wilderness experience?
·       That is how true faith in God is developed
·       He must bring us to the point where we willingly sacrifice ALL earthly things – including our lives
·       It is only this level of sacrifice that will lead to mankind knowing that the course they are pursuing is pleasing to the Lord (see LoF 6:7)
·       And without this actual knowledge, it is impossible to exercise faith unto salvation (see LoF 6:5)
What is the choice you are faced with when experiencing “wilderness trials”?
·       To murmur against God and the situation He has either put you in or not prevented you from being in
·      Or have faith in the “trial” nature of the affliction – that it is really up to God to solve the issue or at least to inspire you how to solve it, then to get to work (building a new bow or boat), as faith is a principle of action

READ 1 Nephi 16:23-25, 31-32 and 1 Nephi 17:48-52
Why does God require us to exercise faith in the face of trials, even thought He could easily overcome them Himself on our behalf?
·    We must develop necessarily confidence in God – in His attributes (love for us) and power (ability to overcome all earthly challenges)
·       God works by faith and we must gain that same level of faith in His power if we are to be like Him (see LoF 7:5)
·      We have to experience trials and gain faith during a mortal experience where we can actually suffer and die – the stakes are very real to the mortal, which enables us to gain so much more light and grace than if the trials were just conceptual in nature, if we will overcome the trials through faith in Christ

READ 1 Nephi 17:35
What does it mean to “esteem” all flesh as one but “favor” the righteous?
·       Esteem means to value
·       Favor means to bless with eternal blessings
·       God works according to natural divine law – He is not respecter of persons (“esteem”) and because of this, He can only “favor” those who align themselves with the light, as that is the natural law – light cleaves to light, etc.  
·       This is not to confused with physical, “Telestial” blessings like the “rain falling on both the evil and the good”

The Lord’s Wilderness: Discovering Our Weakness

READ 1 Nephi 17:38-42
Why did the children of Israel harden their hearts in the face of a life-threatening trial?
·       They were tenaciously hanging on to the natural man within each of them
·       They would rather curse God and die than submit their whole souls to Him by looking to Him and living
·      This shows the degree of both their lack of faith and their natural man desires to retain control of their lives, even in the face of death – it seems crazy but how often does it happen today?
What can the “Wilderness School” reveal to each of us?
·       Our desperate dependence upon God – the depth of the plight we find ourselves in
·       Godly sorrow – which comes from a realization of our inability to rescue ourselves from our plight
·       The natural man – fallen, carnal, sensual, devilish – our earthly predilection to commit sin, which which we receive via mortal birth as an effect of the Fall of Man
·       Our personal tendencies toward specific sins 
·       It is all a humbling discovery
How do we overcome the natural man and these personal tendencies to sin?
·       Soften your heart – desire and pray to have it softened!!
·       Come unto Christ – look to Him for salvation – cry unto Him “save me now, Lord!”
·      Lay your whole soul on His altar (see Omni 1:26) – sacrifice your sins, your ragged attempts at righteousness (see Isaiah 64:6), your broken heart and contrite spirit

READ 1 Nephi 17:2-3, 12-13
What happens when the wilderness traveler does their best to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord and exercises faith in the face of affliction?
·       The Lord takes care of all worldly, temporal needs; although He provides what is sufficient and not in excess
·       God is eager to help provide exactly what we need to survive His wilderness

The Lord’s Wilderness: Lord Takes Care of Daily Needs

When traveling the “Lord’s Wilderness,” when does He usually provide for our needs?
·       At the last possible minute – the “4th Watch” (see Matthew 14:24-25) – and His idea of the last minute and ours are not usually the same
·      He makes us pass the test of the “imminent failure of faith” – He will provide for us but He is in the business of teaching, stretching and purifying us to the point where our trust in Him is absolute

The Lord’s Wilderness: A Means of Daily Revelation Is Given

READ 1 Nephi 16:10, 26-29
Why did the Lord give Lehi the Liahona?
·       He gives His Wilderness travelers a means of daily revelation (see Ether 2:5, Abraham 3:1) to help them survive
·       But they must “give heed” to what is written there with faith and diligence

READ 1 Nephi 18:9, 12-15, 21-22
What happens if the Lord’s revelation is not followed?
·       He will remove His guiding hand and let nature take its course

READ 1 Nephi 5:20-22
How are the scriptures a tool or “means” through which to receive daily revelation?
·       Through study of the Lord’s word to others, the wilderness traveler is better able to hear and discern the Lord’s voice to them
·       The Lord will “open” the meaning of the scriptures to you (see JS History 1:74, Luke 24:32, and 1 Corinthians 2)
What must we do to allow the Lord to “open the scriptures” to us?
·       We must desire to know Him and the mysteries of Godliness
·       We must ask – He is bound to honor our agency and unless we ask, seek and knock, He cannot open to us
·       We must believe that He is no respecter of persons – He will answer and give grace to all who humble themselves and come unto Him seeking wisdom (see James 1:5 and Ether 12:27-28)
·     We must prize His inspiration given through the scriptures enough to record it and follow it – we must pray with real intent (we must all write our own “Book of Gramarye” scripture study guide or “Small Plates” spiritual journal)

The Lord’s Wilderness: Land of Bountiful

READ 1 Nephi 17:5-6
Why did the Lord give Lehi’s family a “Land of Bountiful” between their desert wilderness journey and their ocean wilderness journey?
·       Periods of rest and reprieve are designed to help us prepare for the next leg of the wilderness experience
·       But we must remember that they are not ends in and of themselves

READ 1 Nephi 17:7, 47-48, 53-54 and 1 Nephi 18:3-5
How does the Lord sustain the Wilderness traveler?
·       He speaks to them by His own voice
·       He sends angels to them (see 1 Nephi 3:29)
·       He shows them visions (see also 1 Nephi 11-14)
·       He fills them with His power, glory and Spirit

The Lord’s Wilderness: Facing the Imminent Failure of Faith

READ 1 Nephi 18:15-16, 20-24 (see also 1 Nephi 18:9-14)
What was this trial to Nephi?
·       It was the “choose to exercise faith in the face of the failure of faith” trial 
·       It was an Abrahamic test involving life and death
Must every Wilderness traveler face a trial of imminent destruction?
·       The sacrifice of all earthly things is required to acquire faith unto salvation – including the laying down of one’s own life (see LoF 6:7)
Was this hurricane trial for Nephi or for Laman and what constitutes passing it?
·       It is really Nephi’s trial – if he passes it by being willing to lay down his life while refusing to doubt the Lord or hate his brothers (for putting his life and his family’s lives in danger), he will pass and they will survive and be led to the promised land
·     If Laman did not repent, it would have been easy for the Lord to wash him and any other wicked family members overboard to die in the waves; Laman only “passes” the test (repents) when faced with death – but to be fair, some of the Children of Israel who were bit by the fiery flying serpents chose to die rather than repent, so Laman should get some credit for repenting at that last extremity 

The Lord’s Wilderness: Entering into the Highest Blessings

Who led the family to the Promised Land?
·       The Lord, through the Liahona (see also 2 Nephi 32:6)
What does landing on and entering the Promised Land represent?
·       Being saved and sealed up in the Celestial Kingdom of God
·       Entering into the presence of God after a successful mortal journey across the Lord’s wildernesses (desert and ocean)

The Arm of the Lord: Nephi Uses Isaiah

What is Nephi trying to teach us by presenting this material the way he does?
·      He requires us to piece these words together like a jigsaw puzzle to discover the message – we must labor in the scriptures and the Spirit, that those messages might be made plain to us – they are a web of interconnections that we must see
·       The fact that some things Nephi quotes from Isaiah are enigmatic or obscure to us doesn’t make them less significant to Nephi or to the final outcome of his people’s history; but since the Book was compiled by Mormon for the latter days, it does beg the question of what we should do with it – perhaps we should inquire of the Lord with more energy and a contrite heart?
·    It separates scripture reading people into two groups – those who are content to read the scriptures for face value and either misunderstand or miss altogether what Nephi is seeking to show the reader AND those who continue to seek after understanding through labor and the Spirit and who connect with God by so doing and continue to be taught more sacred saving truths

READ 1 Nephi 19:7-17
Why do people value the same information so differently?
·     Some harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit – not necessarily the information – but this causes them to cast away “simple” things that are hidden, albeit in plain sight, by the Lord for those with eyes to see (see 2 Nephi 33:2 and Alma 12:9-11)
·       Some people look beyond the mark – they want to be titillated by information but will not act on the knowledge through repentance and submitting their whole souls to God – they are the “goose-pimple gang” – they are blind but think they can see (see Jacob 4:14)
·       Some people fear/worship/respect the words of men in religious authority over their regard for God’s words through the Spirit to them personally or through obscure prophets who lack credentials (see D&C 3:7)
·       Some people boast of their own strength and knowledge – they think that because something hasn’t occurred to them, it couldn’t possibly be true – they ask for iron clad proofs and as soon as the Lord begins to share a way for them to obtain the proof they seek, they discount it by their wisdom – they require proof to come on their terms alone (see D&C 3:13)
·      It is iniquity or sin which causes them to lose light and spirit, plunging them into spiritual darkness or blindness (see D&C 84:49-54; Matthew 6:22-23; D&C 112:23)
·      While others are humble seekers after truth who are looking for God’s truth delivered by His messengers, regardless of their outward appearance
Why does Christ suffer all of these shameful abuses at the hands of men?
·       Because He loves us – we are His work and glory
·       Because His nature is perfected such that He is filled with love/light/glory
Why do so many prophets testify of Christ’s death and resurrection?
·       Because they have become His Sons – and the acts of atonement and resurrection are what enable those who come unto Christ to become His spiritual seed – we become His Sons and He becomes the Father of our spiritual birth and ultimately the father (enabler) of our exaltation
·       If they see it in vision as witnesses, they are called to witness or bear testimony of it (see Jeremiah 23:28)

READ 1 Nephi 19:18-24
Why is Nephi telling us these things?
·       He is not – he’s really telling the Remnant of his people!
·       OK, he’s also telling those Gentiles who will accept his testimony, repent and come unto Christ
·    It is a warning of coming destruction: if you turn away from Christ and reject Him, you and your posterity will suffer the consequences
·       But if you repent and come back, He will receive you again and save you
·       We are “self-elect” – come to Christ and be saved or reject Him and be damned – all of our own choosing
Why do prophets use the scriptures instead of adopting an “I am scripture” attitude?
·       Their eyes are all single to God so they are “one” with each other – if one prophet said it well, another prophet will quote the first and say, “I add my witness that this is true because I have also experienced it or have received the same revelation myself”
·      True followers of Christ are meek and humble – even Christ quoted Isaiah to the Nephites instead of using His own words
Why does Nephi quote Isaiah so much?
·       To more fully persuade the reader to believe in the Lord their redeemer
·    He is “likening the scriptures unto” his people and to his own message – he is using Isaiah’s language but not necessarily in the primary way that Isaiah intended it – Nephi will attempt to give us a hint into the things he saw but was commanded that he should not write, about the end of the world and the part his descendants would play.  Why do you think Nephi made changes to the Isaiah material – see 2 Nephi 27 vs Isaiah 29 as an example?!
·     Because he is forbidden about writing “plainly” about certain aspects of his own vision (see 1 Nephi 14:21-28) and Isaiah is one of the “others” Nephi sees as having seen and written about the same vision that Nephi saw, but cannot plainly divulge (see 1 Nephi 14:26)
·      If the truth about the future were laid out clearly, there would be no test of faith for those living at the time the test is taking place – which would destroy the purposes of the Lord
Why is Nephi prohibited from plainly sharing all he knows?
·       We tend to want things given to us before we are ready for them – this can cause us harm because we are not ready to believe or live them – and gospel principles are meant to be lived once revealed to us, otherwise we are simply spiritual voyeurs
·      But for those with eyes to see or who are willing to soften their hearts and put in the labor to obtain eyes to see, the Lord has provided in His inspired scriptures everything we need in order to know what is being withheld; He can open the heavens any time to reveal the truth to the humble truth seeker

Read the following two Isaiah chapters with the mindset that Nephi is using what Isaiah wrote of the vision of the Last Days, which they both saw, to describe his vision to us – and make no mistake, it is a warning!

READ 1 Nephi 20:1-2
Who is being addressed here by God?
·       Not just biological members of the House of Israel
·       Not just baptized members of the LDS church (“true” Church)
·    But those who have made a covenant with God to be His sons and daughters and have received a new name (from “Jacob” to “Israel”) in a Holy Place
·       However, they profess what they do not believe or practice!  They claim to be God’s people but they are not…
·       Remember that Nephi is writing to the Remnant and to us (latter day Gentile Church) and interpreting his vision through Isaiah – he wants us to liken these scriptures to ourselves

READ 1 Nephi 20:4
What does it mean that one’s neck is an “iron sinew”?
·       An iron neck is one that will have trouble bowing
·       It means that one is full of pride
What does it mean that one’s brow is “brass”?
·       A brass brow means that it is armored or reinforced against being split open
·       It means that one unwilling to allow additional knowledge into their minds

READ 1 Nephi 20:8
Why do we not hear God?
·         We are not listening to or for Him
·       The Holy Spirit works on our spirit, not our body; it is subtle and difficult for the natural man to discern it; many times we will sense the emotional response to being touched by the Spirit before we will discern the spiritual message or intelligence being relayed or “heard”
·       Being filled with the Spirit is tied directly to keeping the commandments – living in alignment with God’s frequency and being filled with light as a result
·     When we fail to act precisely as Christ did (i.e. keep His commandments), our feelings are coarsened and we lose light and knowledge (see D&C 93:39)
·       As a result, we cannot “feel” Him, which means we cannot hear Him, either
What does it mean that we are “treacherous” and “transgressors from the womb”?
·       We have not lived in alignment with God’s behaviors since our births on earth
·       We are treacherous – we follow our own will without regard to a relationship with God, to whom we owe everything
·       Our transgressions define us – we are NOT precisely like Christ and His Father, which means we cannot be saved (see LoF 7:9) – we are natural, fallen men and women

READ 1 Nephi 20:9-11
So why is God willing to defer His justified anger and continue to work with us to refine us?
·       We are His work and His glory (see Moses 1:39)
·       It is for His own sake or glory that He has suffered eternal sacrifice to enable Him to extend grace to us and save us, regardless of our poor performance – but He will not compel us, we must still exercise our agency (see D&C 121:46)
·       He will not give His glory to another because we are His children

READ 1 Nephi 20:14, 18-21
What is Nephi trying to tell us about his Last Days vision by quoting these verses?
·       God will destroy the nations of the earth
·       Only those who repent and live God’s covenant will be spared – from Jacob (literal bloodline) to Israel (those who have covenanted with God) to Babylon (those who have embraced the world)
·    But if they repent, they will be redeemed spiritually and saved physically in a miraculous manner – we can thirst spiritually and physically

READ 1 Nephi 21:8-11
What does “in an acceptable time” imply about those living on the “isles of the sea”?
·       The Lord has not forgotten them – He has a timetable
·       Nephi is using this scripture specifically because it can be applied to the Remnant of Lehi’s people living in America (an “isle of the sea” to Nephi) who must wait a long time for redemption but will ultimately get it
What does the command to those who sit in darkness to “show themselves” sound like?
·       They don’t want to show themselves – they are hiding in shame
·       They have now been offered salvation and can feel confident to come out of the shadows and “show themselves” to the Lord
·       The “prisoners” are spiritual prisoners or lost, benighted people, i.e. the Remnant
·       They are no longer in bondage but are freed from prison
What does it mean to have their “pastures” elevated to the “high places”?
·      The Remnant is now “fed” by Christ spiritually in the “high places” where Christ is – they are taught the mysteries of Godliness and can rend the veil and ascend (see 2 Nephi 32:6) 
·       They have been made holy themselves, so the places where they now stand on earth are holy
What is “the Way”?
·       The Fullness of the Gospel – the Way back to Christ in the flesh; it is the “way” to exaltation
·       The Way runs up the “mountain” of the Lord’s House or the actual Heavenly Temple
·     We must learn to walk in His Ways – the portals that connect earth and heaven, passing the angels who stand as sentinels (John the Beloved, Elijah, etc.); there is a reason Abraham was taught astronomy…

READ 1 Nephi 21:14-16
Since 1833 and the expulsion from “Zion” in Jackson County, it seems like the Lord has forgotten Zion, but is this true?
·       No
·       He is just waiting for a people prepared to receive Him when He comes to visit them, without being totally wasted at His coming – which “coming” refers to either His coming to you personally or His coming to the earth in glory
·       And remember, it is the Remnant who will build such a city – not the Gentiles (they will assist)
Who has forgotten the Remnant of the House of Israel?
·       The Gentile “kings and queens” who were supposed to serve as nursing fathers and mothers have forgotten the Remnant and served instead as their destroyers, but the Lord has not forgotten the Remnant (see 1 Nephi 21:22-23)
·      We (latter-day Gentile church) are those “last” to whom the fullness of the gospel was to be given “first” in the latter days, so that we could help Israel to awake and arise to who they really are – but we have utterly failed in this mission; the proof is that there is no Zion today (which the Remnant are prophesied to build with assistance from the Gentiles)
·     The Remnant are engraved on His hands because they will exercise faith in His atonement and rend the veil to enter His presence again in mortality to be redeemed (see Ether 3:13)

READ 1 Nephi 21:22-26
What does it mean that the Gentile “kings” will be the Remnant’s “nursing fathers”?
·    They are “great” (relatively wealthy, successful, powerful) gentiles of western European descent who have overcome their condemnation (D&C 84:55) through repentance
·       They will prepare and then support the “nation” of Remnant prophets – introducing them to the Lord through the Book of Mormon and through their own redemptive experiences with rending the veil and knowing the Lord, then assisting or serving them as they (the Remnant) build Zion in the Last Days
What does it mean that the “prey of the terrible shall be delivered”?
·       God can do anything even making the great super-power nations of the earth look like fools or destroy them all together
·      The Remnant, who are “captives” and “prey” to the “mighty”, shall be delivered by God and become sovereign (their own country)
·       God will allow the mighty to destroy each other or destroy themselves 

READ 1 Nephi 22:2
How are prophetic writings understood?
·       Only by the voice of the Spirit
·       By the same Spirit under which they were given
·       By other prophets – i.e. those who have also seen through the veil (for 5 minutes! See TPJS 365:1)

READ 1 Nephi 22:3-5
What became of the House of Israel after Christ’s mortal ministry and why?
·       They were scattered across the world – in all continents
·       They are hated by the rest of the world
·       Because they hardened their own hearts against Christ

READ 1 Nephi 22:6-10
Who will scatter the Remnant?
·       The gentiles of the United States of America
·       Not the Spanish conquistadors
·      This gives us an idea about who the Remnant might be and who they are not – they were living in North America (but not Mexico or Canada) at the time they were scattered
What is the marvelous work that the Lord will perform among the Gentiles?
·       The restoration of the Gospel, primarily to the Remnant
·       Through the Book of Mormon
Why is the “marvelous work” of “great worth” to the Remnant but only of “worth” to the Gentiles?
·      The Gentiles will take lightly the Lord’s gift and come unto condemnation (D&C 84:49-58) and only a few will live the Fullness of the Gospel (see 3 Nephi 16:10, 13; 3 Nephi 20:15-16; 3 Nephi 21:14; 2 Nephi 28:11-14)
·      While the Remnant will embrace the message and be brought to the knowledge of Christ – i.e. they will rend the veil, enter His presence in the flesh and be redeemed (3 Nephi 20:13) and establish Zion (3 Nephi 16:11; 3 Nephi 20:21-23) which is the Fullness of the Gospel and will be of “great worth” to each of them

READ 1 Nephi 22:11-12
What does it mean for God to “make bare His arm”?
·       To show forth His power publicly
·       People across the world will see the works and know that they could only be done by God
What is the relationship between the “marvelous work” and the Lord making “bare His arm”?
·       The marvelous work IS the Lord making “bare His arm” publicly before the world
·    The bringing to pass of His covenants to the House of Israel will seem to be such an impossible or unlikely task or it will be accomplished in such a miraculous way that it will be a “marvelous work” or seemingly impossible task
How are a people (the Remnant) brought out of obscurity and darkness?
·       By discovering who they actually are
·       By discovering the promises that have been reserved for them
·       By knowing Christ – who He is and what He has done for them
·       By being filled with light as a result of being redeemed by Christ after entering into His presence (see Ether 3:13)

READ 1 Nephi 22:13-19
What is the relationship between the Lord making “bare His arm” and the destruction of Babylon?
·       He will also make bare His arm or use His power publicly to destroy Babylon and the Abominable Church
·      It will be amazing enough (to destroy Babylon - the great nations of the earth) that people will know only God could have done it
·       He will do it as a sign of His power to subdue all enemies and put them under His feet (see D&C 76:61)
How does the Lord use fire or “glory”?
·       He destroys the wicked/Babylon/Abominable Church with His fire, power and glory
·       He protects the righteous by the same fire, power and glory
Why are the wicked destroyed but the righteous are saved by the same fire/glory?
·       It is not a question of where He aims it…
·     It is the fact that some people can “abide” the glory while others cannot (see Moses 1:2, 13-14, 25, 31; Moses 7:3; D&C 67:11; Helaman 5:23; 3 Nephi 17:24; D&C 84:19-24; Exodus 24:17; JSH 1:37; D&C 29:9; 1 Nephi 14:14; D&C 35:7-15; Mormon 9:3-5); it depends on whether or not they are filled with the same glory – do they resonate at the same frequency?
Where does the Lord first “pour out” His “wrath”?
·       On His House (see D&C 112:23-26)
·     On the House of Israel who have betrayed Him for Babylon (the Great and Spacious Building, see 1 Nephi 11:35) and now fight against Zion (those who know Him)

READ 1 Nephi 22:20-28
What kinds of objectives do the churches of the devil have?
·       Political power – “power over the flesh”
·       Economic power – “get gain” and “material things”
·       Public relations/media power – “become popular in the eyes of the world”
·       Power to do whatever they want but to hide or get away with their sins – “lusts of flesh” and “all manner of iniquity”
Can Churches do a lot of good with political, economic and public relations power?
·      On the surface…
·     But organizations, like people, have a limited number of things they can focus on if they are to successfully meet their objectives
·      Opportunity cost comes into play – the cost of doing one activity includes the inability to do another one
·     Some of these objectives are mutually exclusive… political, economic and PR power all require making tradeoffs with the world as they all demand pleasing the world in some way in a transaction to receive the desired power
Does gaining political, economic and public relations power at the expense of the truth benefit Zion?
·       Nope!
·       It doesn’t matter how much you can do in the world if you have lost the truth – don’t let the “good” become the enemy of the “best”
·    Ultimately, only those who can enter the presence of God can survive His coming in glory regardless of how many “wonderful works” they did in His Name (see 3 Nephi 14:21)!
How can you identify Christ’s true sheep?
·       They KNOW HIM!  (v25)
·      You can’t know someone by reading about them or even hearing about them from someone else, you must meet them in person and interact with them over time
·       Through that relationship and ongoing interaction with Him, they become more like Him (see Alma 5:14)
·       They know His voice… because they’ve actually heard it enough to recognize it
How can we avoid being consumed as stubble?
·       We must repent!
·      We must be humble and ask “what lack I yet” rather than assume we are chosen people because we know more than others or are more “religious” than others


Due to some recent work and life changes, I'm taking a hiatus from the weekly blog.  I will leave the blog up for anyone who would like ...