In this week's review of the Book of Mormon, we’ll look at chapters 25 through 33 of 2 Nephi. The primary theme that we see in these nine chapters of Second Nephi is that Nephi prophesies of the coming forth of a sealed book beginning at verse 6 in chapter 27. Here, we’ll examine the primary concepts and themes of this sealed book prophecy.
A Sealed Book
One of the most obvious ways that a book can be sealed is with a lock and some sort of band or case. But here in this week’s review, Nephi opens chapter 25 with the idea that the Book of Isaiah is hard to understand suggesting that a book can be sealed when the concepts cannot be assembled in a coherent message. Moreover, some have advanced the idea that the Book of Isaiah has come down from antiquity in its original form because the translators couldn’t understand it and therefore translated it without interpretation. Another way a book can be sealed is when the underlying concepts of a writing are not understood. We see this especially in the writings of Paul whose writings many have said are hard to understand; primarily, because most don’t understand Paul’s theology including the translators. We also see in the first chapter of First Nephi that understanding the learning of Jews would help to unlock concepts in the Book of Mormon. Another way a book can be sealed is if it written in an unknown language. And yet another way a book can be sealed that we see in this week’s reading is that God reserves a specific time for a writing to come forth.
When we look at the Sealed Book mentioned here, we are told that this Sealed Book is reserved for a specific time – the due time of the Lord - which we will consider later.
What we see in this week reading is that the Book of Mormon is comprised of two parts. We can say that because one part has a history of the world from the beginning to the end noted at verse 7 of chapter 27 and the Book of Mormon in its current published form does not have that. So lets take this week’s reading and parse it out into two parts.
So we might ask ourselves, where does this Sealed Part of the Book of Mormon come from?
“The expression, “all things” applies to the things of the Brother of Jared saw in his vision of the end from the beginning (Ether 3:25-26), things that at some point will be shown to the Gentiles and the House of Israel (Ether 4:4-7, 13-16); visions of the end from the beginning others have seen, written and sealed up (1 Nephi 14:24-26); things revealed by seers (Mosiah 8:17); the things that Jesus taught the Nephites that Mormon kept back (3 Nephi 26:3-11); things to be revealed when the prophecies of Isaiah are fulfilled, following a “great division among the people (2 Nephi 30:9-18; cf. Isaiah 11:4-9)” – Studies in the Book of Mormon, pg 38.
Receiving the Sealed Part
The big question here is when will the Gentiles receive this Sealed Part and the fullness of the Gospel. Well, to see that we have to go to the fourth chapter of Ether at verse 6 where the Lord tells the Brother of Jared when his vision can be revealed to the Gentiles.
"For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord."
So here we see Moroni saying that the Gentiles will receive this Sealed Part when the Gentiles have repented. Moreover, we can link this same idea of the Gentiles repenting with the present Published Part in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapter of First Nephi. Here, Nephi is saying that the Gentiles need to repent at verse 5 in chapter fourteen of First Nephi.
"And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso repenteth not must perish."
And when the Gentiles do repent who have the current Published Part, that they will be numbered with the House of Israel, that they will not be brought down into captivity and will not be confounded – 1 Nephi 14:2. And we see also that if the Gentiles continue in this repentant condition that the Gentiles will receive the Sealed Part.
We have yet another warning by Yeshua/Jesus himself for the Gentiles to repent at 3 Nephi 16:10.
"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them."
I think by now I would be having a mental complex!
Gentiles in Captivity
The tell-tale sign that the Gentiles have not repented with the current Published Part is that they will be brought down into captivity, which is not only an Endtime tribulation but it is a curse of not obeying the Law that God gave to Israel. We see this curse set out in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy verses 48-50.
"Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:"
Nephi warns the Gentiles over and over about being deceived that it is almost a mantra. Nephi uses the word combinations of stumbling blocks, false doctrines and the precepts of men that appears to be the reason that the Gentiles need to repent. Because Nephi suggests that the Gentiles can repent, apparently the Gentiles have enough information with the Published Part of the Book of Mormon and the Bible to repent. So if the Gentiles don’t repent and are brought down into captivity, what will it take to get the Gentiles to repent. As we saw in the previous post, we saw God execute Endtime tribulations to motivate repentance. We also see Nephi prophesying at verse 13 in the 15th chapter of First Nephi that the Gentiles will receive the fullness of the Gospel who then will take it to the remnant of Nephi’s seed, essentially to the House of Israel. As we evaluate these events, a sequence of events appears that looks like this,
Compelled to Repent
It will be unfortunate if the Gentiles are forced to repent by suffering under Endtime tribulations. Notice here what Alma says about being compelled to repent,
Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe. Alma 32:16
Well, what do the Gentiles need to repent of? In the view of this website, which promotes a restoration of the Law, the Gentiles must live the Law that God gave to Israel as Yeshua/Jesus would live it by having Pure Hearts and Clean Hands – 2 Nephi 25:16; Psalms 24:4..
Well, like any prophecy – it’s a wait and see!