Saturday, February 29, 2020

Precepts of God and precepts of men

The word, 'precept' does not appear in the Book of Mormon very often. In fact, all occurrences are found in 2 Nephi 27 and 28. In these chapters, Nephi is paraphrasing Isaiah 28:13
But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept
and quoting Isaiah 29:13
their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men
From Isaiah, Nephi gets the contrasting idea of precepts of God and precepts of men and expands on this in his comments in 2 Nephi 28. His teachings lay out this contrast. First he explains what those precepts of men are
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.
The precepts of men is that there is no God or he has done his work, therefore there are no miracles. This kind of language is repeated in Mormon and Moroni's writing, like Mormon 9 and Moroni 7. In 2 Nephi 28:26 and 31, Nephi goes on to explain
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
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. 
We see the same theme. Hearkening unto the precepts of men means denying God, his power, gifts and miracles. Compare with Moroni 7:35-36
has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them?
and Mormon 9:7
And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues
and Moroni 10:7
And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God
The precepts of men lead us to do what Mormon and Moroni warn against; deny the things that God has given us for our benefit and progression. Nephi says "wo unto him" and "cursed is he" that hearkens unto these precepts. On the other hand
thus saith the Lord God:...blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts (2 Nephi 28:30)
Hearkening unto the precepts of God or the precepts of men is also an example of "The Two Ways", that we encounter all over the Book of Mormon. 

A major theme in the chapters 27-29 is the Book of Mormon that should come forth. 2 Nephi 28:30 that I just quoted, is clearly linked up to this theme. That is, an important part of the precepts that God wants to give his children is the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and his gifts and miracles. It counters the precepts of men. How fitting that the last authors of the Book of Mormon, Mormon and Moroni warn us against the unbelief that comes from the precepts of men in the latter days and urge us instead to receive the words that they wrote because they are the "words of Christ" (Moroni 10:26-27).

As Joseph Smith said:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

The Office of the Ministry of Angels -- Part 1

Although "The Office of the Ministry of Angels" sounds like a government building you would take a form to in order to check out a trumpet, this phrase actually refers to a pattern described by Mormon in a letter to his son.

I stumbled upon these verses, which have never really jumped out at me, when I was looking into the concept of "preparation." See this post as a refresher if needed before reading on.

I've learned to pay close attention to words and patterns when I study the Book of Mormon -- the words have been carefully prepared for us to allow us to spend a lifetime learning from them, one layer at a time, one concept at a time, if we are willing to take the time and effort to "give heed" to them. (See Alma 12:9-10).

In the previous post linked above, I outlined a pattern given by Mormon in Moroni 7:31-32 to explain the work angels are called to do (and why).

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.
32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. (Moroni 7)

Here is the pattern outlined in those two verses, with color coding added to help us keep track of each element:

  • Angels are sent.
  • They call men to repentance.
  • They "fulfill" and "do the work of the covenants" of the Father.
    • This is accomplished by declaring "the word of Christ" ...
    • ...unto "chosen vessels of the Lord."
  • The chosen vessels bear testimony of Him.
  • By so doing, God "prepareth a way" for the residue of men to have faith in Christ...
  • that the power of the Holy Ghost can have place in their hearts.

I love it when a pattern is so detailed I run out of unique colors to use and I have to resort to darker hues with white texts.  I count ten distinct details loaded into these two verses.

In other words: angels minister to mankind by calling prophets to teach the people to repent and have faith in Christ and be changed by the power of the Holy Ghost. This is the essence of the preparatory gospel.

The pattern and examples as evidence internal consistency

Not only is the pattern a fascinating doctrinal teaching, it also serves as yet another example of the Book of Mormon's incredible internal consistency.

It makes sense that Mormon would be able to summarize this pattern so succinctly -- he saw it happen over and over. He made a point to document the elements of this pattern repeatedly (without overtly stating this is what he was doing).

For me, this is a remarkable discovery.  It reinforces the fact that Mormon is the author of the Nephite abridgment. We get a summary of the pattern in two short verses at the very end of the large plate abridgment, long after the many examples of the pattern have been given.  We also see this pattern a few times on the small plates, too.

Examples in the Book of Mormon

Off the top of your head, can you think of sermons in the Book of Mormon where the speaker states he is rehearsing the words given to him by an angel?  I could think of a few, and so I started with those. It turns out there are many.

I'm not sure if Mormon learned this pattern as a result of abridging 1,000 years of Nephite records, or if he already knew the pattern from his own private spiritual experiences. Either way, studying the major examples of this pattern can teach us about how God works to fulfill His covenants.

Rather than spell out every example in one post, I'm going to offer up one pattern and then spend the next 4-5 posts highlighting additional examples.  I'm sure there are more to find now that I know what to look for.

Alma 9

Let's begin with a short example from Alma 9.  I'll color code the text according to the pattern spelled out above.

25 And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed, the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people, declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand;
26 And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.
27 And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name.
28 Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil.
29 Now behold, this is the voice of the angel, crying unto the people.
30 And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people. (Alma 9)

Notice that in this example, almost every detail is in there, all packed into 6 verses, 8 out of the 10, to be precise. What is missing?

First, we don't get a direct statement that Alma is a "chosen vessel," just a generic statement that the Lord sends angels to "visit many of his people." Don't worry, though, that detail is specifically addressed by Amulek, who follows Alma in speaking to the wicked Nephites of Ammonihah:

7 ...behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; (Alma 10)

Second, we don't get a mention of the the power of the Holy Ghost having place in the heart of the people.  The people were very wicked, so instead, in this case, Alma mentions that their "hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God."

Also notice that the bulk of the passage above is Alma-2 quoting the angel (from the end of verse 25 through the end of verse 28). He is passing along a specific message, not just winging it.

I like to think that Mormon had a checklist as he searched the records and made his abridgment, and  that he made a point to include each detail to show that the work was proceeding in the days of Alma-2 as at other times in Nephite history.

One final note -- a tender detail

Moroni 7 is a posthumous tribute to a fallen leader by his dutiful son, who has taken the responsibility of his father's great literary work. Moroni records the words of his father Mormon to a righteous people in a place of worship, presumably during much happier times for the Nephites earlier in Moroni's life, before war and sin destroyed the once delightsome people.

Moroni seems to have cherished this sermon, which include his father's description of the sacred work of the ministry of angels. Thus, it is poignant to remember that Moroni would later be chosen to be the angel who opens the final dispensation. He would visit the "chosen vessel" -- a boy named Joseph Smith -- and deliver the word of God to Him.  His figure would stand atop the temples of God in the last days as a symbol of the "work of the covenant."

I love this detail.

If you find this kind of pattern-finding helpful/interesting, take a look at this series of posts outlining a completely different pattern: Crying to God for mercy and finding it through Jesus Christ. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Friday, February 28, 2020

More Isaiah in 2 Nephi 28-29

I demonstrated yesterday how Nephi worked Isaiah 29 and other Isaiah references into his text in 2 Nephi 26-27. Even though he is not working a whole Isaiah chapter into 2 Nephi 28-29, we see a continuation of the trend of Isaiah references interspersed in his text (marked with yellow). I think that he also might be mixing phrases from "lost" prophets like Zenos in there too that we don't recognize, but this is of course impossible to prove. But one other thing we see, is that Nephi repeats other phrases from earlier in his writings (marked with green). Below is 2 Nephi 28:7-29:2 with the various quotes marked up. Again, I have probably missed some, but this is what I found.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die (Isaiah 22:13); and it shall be well with us.
And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark (Isaiah 29:15, just quoted in the previous chapter).
10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men (Isaiah 29:13, just quoted in the previous chapter).
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!
16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught (Isaiah 29:21, just quoted in the previous chapter) and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.
17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.
18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof (1 Nephi 22:14).
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.
23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil (2 Nephi 9:26), 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 lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment (2 Nephi 9:26).
24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
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 rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
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 (Isaiah 28:13); 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 (2 Nephi 4:34), or shall hearken unto the precepts of men (Isaiah 29:13 again), 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.
But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them (Isaiah 29:14, just quoted in the previous chapter), that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people (Isaiah 11:11, quoted be Nephi previously), which are of the house of Israel;
And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth (Isaiah 5:26, quoted by Nephi previously), for a standard unto my people (Isaiah 49:22, quoted by both Nephi and Jacob previously), which are of the house of Israel

Internal consistency in King Benjamin's speech

I don't believe this has been pointed out on this blog before, but I found another subtle example of internal consistency. After King Benjamin finishes speaking to his people, he wants to know if they will accept his words. The people respond:

 5 And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God. (Mosiah 5)

Compare this with the word of the Lord delivered to King Benjamin, which he delivered to the people:

25 And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.
26 Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever.
27 And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. (Mosiah 3)

I've posted recently how these verses make reference to several different passages from Revelation. What I hadn't noticed is how closely the people were paying attention.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Isaiah in 2 Nephi 26-27

I knew that Nephi is working Isaiah 29 into his text in these chapters, but I took a closer look and it's quite mind-blowing to see how this is done. In 2 Nephi 26, he starts quoting Isaiah 29:3. He continues all the way through to Isaiah 29:24, but with a lot of other text in between. Who knows, perhaps this Isaiah passage originally looked more like 2 Nephi 26-27, but comparing with Isaiah 29 as it looks now in the KJV demonstrates a very complex relationship between the two texts. This post must necessarily be very long, because to show this, I have to quote from 2 Nephi 26:15 to the end of chapter 27. 

When Nephi is quoting Isaiah, the text is marked with yellow. The italic text in brackets (three phrases) is the only part of Isaiah 29 that is not covered by Nephi. Everything else is covered from start to finish. So by reading only the yellow text below is basically the same as reading Isaiah 29:3-24. As you can see, Nephi is constantly jumping in and out of Isaiah 29. He jumps out of the Isaiah text, adds a phrase or two or drifts off into longer sequences, but always jumps back in right where he left off. Doing this, he still manages to k
eep a coherent text. It's quite amazing. In addition to that, he makes several other quotations and references to other parts of Isaiah in between (marked with green). I might have missed some of those, but anyway, here goes:

15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
16 For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust. [Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust]
17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book [Reference to Isaiah 29:11 to be quoted in the next chapter], and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.
18 Wherefore, as those who have been destroyed have been destroyed speedily; and the multitude of their terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away—yea, thus saith the Lord God: It shall be at an instant, suddenly
19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have dwindled in unbelief shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles.
20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block  (Reference to Isaiah 8:14-15 cited by Nephi earlier), that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor (Quote from Isaiah 3:15 cited by Nephi earlier).
21 And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice.
22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. (Reference to Isaiah 55:1, also quoted by Jacob in 2 Nephi 9:50).
26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
32 And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
1 But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations—
2 And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire.
3 And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
4 For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink.
5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.
6 And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the [And the vision of all is become unto you as the] words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.
7 And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof. (Comment: Even though "the vision of all..." phrase is missing, this last statement by Nephi captures the essence of it. "The vision of all" (hazut hakkol) signifies all that Jehovah has revealed, past, present and future, just as Nephi puts it.)
8 Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them.
9 But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another;
10 But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.
11 And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.
12 Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.
13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.
14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!
15 But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.
16 And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God.
17 And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.
18 Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.
19 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned [saying, Read this, I pray thee]; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.
20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.
21 Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.
22 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him:
25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—
26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.
27 And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding?
28 But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.
29 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
30 And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;
32 And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.
33 Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
34 But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
35 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

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