Friday, July 23, 2010
3 Nephi 21: 29
3 Nephi 21: 29:
"And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward."
When the time comes to redistribute the survivors to their respective promised lands of inheritance, they will not flee, nor will the process be hurried. No one will pursue them. They will at last be free to go to their homes without being molested along the way.
The Father will go before them. The Father will be on their rear guard. His glory and His presence will be their shield and protection.
How will the earth respond to such a passage? Psalms 48: 1-4 gives some idea of this great and joyful procession. Psalms 67 is another great anthem of this event.
Though the days before were terrible, in their wake all be comforted, for to know the Great Comforter is to know at last peace. Isaiah could not refrain from adding to the anthems of praise of this future event: "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted." (Isa. 49: 8-13.)
This ultimate triumph was always intended to be the outcome. The end will be joyful. Though His covenant people may pass through the trials and rigors of mortality, the fruit offered to them is delicious even in times of tragedy and distress. (Alma 32: 28.) To make it through what is coming and endure to the final comfort, it will be necessary to come and plant that seed inside you now. Unless you do so, you will not have the strength to lay hold on the promises of the Lord.
The end will be worth all the shame and bitterness endured while the world still lies in sin and error. (2 Nephi 9: 18.) The final triumph will be won by those who can endure the presence of the Father. This requires more than enduring the presence of the Son. Those who can rise to this glory must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and become kings and priests, holding that same priesthood and bearing that same right which was in the beginning and is named after the Son of God. They will be everlasting, for they came from everlasting and have reconnected with that while here in mortality.
The Book of Mormon is a message of hope and triumph. But to win that triumph and possess that hope requires the reader to follow the same path and take the same steps as all others who went before. There simply is not a way to avoid the rigors of the journey. It must change YOU. The work of the Father is to develop YOU. To do so it will require you to cooperate with Him. It is His work and His glory, but you must choose to let Him bring you along. Read Nephi's remarkable summary: "Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it. And he raiseth up a righteous nation, and destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes. He ruleth high in the heavens, for it is his throne, and this earth is his footstool. And he loveth those who will have him to be their God. Behold, he loved our fathers, and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and he remembered the covenants which he had made;" (1 Ne. 17: 36-40, emphasis added.) Can you not see the pleading, the meekness and the humility in this description of our God?
Great is His wisdom and endless His mercy and the extent of His doings no man can find out! He makes Himself known to those who seek after Him, and those who cry out they do not know Him is only because they have chosen to ignore His plea!
We will return then to Nephi's writings and continue this effort to understand what great covenants the Book of Mormon lay before us if we choose to receive them.