11. "Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ"
Nephi Teaches the Importance of Feasting on the Words of Christ
2 Nephi 31
As readers draw to the end of 2 Nephi, Frederick W. Axelgard's article is well worth reading. It offers a holistic approach to studying 1 and 2 Nephi, "which seeks to integrate rather than fragment the meaning of scriptural passages." He reasons that a deeper conviction of scriptural truth is gained when one considers how sections fit together as a whole, recognizing thematic developments and organizational structure.
In 2 Nephi 31, Nephi beholds the baptism of Jesus Christ and understands it to be a model for all baptism. Noel Reynolds proposes that through this story, one can learn that baptism can be seen as a witness to God of one's repentance. Baptism has also been viewed through the lens of being a cleansing, and being a burial. Taking baptism as a witness to God of repentance, however, further illuminates how Nephi views the role of baptism.
The vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi 8 and 11-14 and the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 31-32 are two familiar subjects in the Book of Mormon. What may not be well recognized is that Nephi apparently drew upon elements of the vision of the tree of life to teach the doctrine of Christ. Recognition of this connection sets the stage for us to appreciate how the vision of the tree of life portrays the fundamental doctrine of Christ--the way to return to God's presence and partake of eternal life as described in 2 Nephi 31-32.
"Nephi's Later Reflections on the Tree of Life Vision," Michael B. Parker, Insights 22:5
Even though Nephi's Vision of the Tree of Life happens at the beginning of Nephi's account, this vision affects Nephi's preaching at the end of 2 Nephi. Parker notes marked similarities between the two accounts and shows how Nephi's testimony at the end of 2 Nephi is bolstered by Nephi's powerful vision of the Tree of Life.
Nephi teaches that the Lord speaks to men "according to their language." We find that the Lord uses literary devices and techniques that are familiar to people so that they can better communicate the message of the Lord. For example, the Book of Mormon utilizes both Hebrew and Mesoamerican literary devices to communicate more effectively and artfully the message of the Lord.
2 Nephi 32
When Nephi declares that he speaks with the tongue of angels, it is thought that Nephi is alluding to admittance into the divine council, or admittance into the heavenly court of God. Stephen Smoot explores the concept of the divine council in the Hebrew Bible and Book of Mormon in order to provide greater context for theophanic experiences.
"Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology," Keith E. Norman, Occasional Papers
In a sense, the idea of deification has for centuries been somewhat of a "lost doctrine" outside of Greek Orthodox circles. But in the past few decades there has been resurgence of interest in the idea in the broader Christian and scholarly communities. Norman examines the significance of the idea of deification in early Christianity, focusing on Athanasius's interpretation of that ancient Christian doctrine and the important role it played in the Christological controversies of the early fourth century.
In the Hebrew Bible, the Sod of God was a council of celestial beings who consulted with God, learned His sod/secret plan, and then fulfilled that plan. This paper argues that the LDS endowment is, in part, a ritual reenactment of the sod, where the participants observe the sod/council of God, learn the sod/secret plan of God, and covenant to fulfill that plan.
2 Nephi 33
As Nephi concludes his record, he powerfully testifies of Christ using Isaiah as inspiration. This KnoWhy discusses how Nephi used Isaiah to help him testify of Christ.
After a lifetime of service, Nephi, one of God's great prophets, bade farewell to his people and to all those who would read his writings. From his farewell statement we gain insights into his love and willingness to sacrifice for his people and into his personal relationship with the Lord. We learn why he kept records, how he felt about his writings, and what effect he thought they would have on those who would read them.
Rust, in the third annual FARMS Book of Mormon lecture delivered on 27 February 1990, examined literary aspects of the book that develop the primary purposes set out on the title page. He discussed the elements characteristic of an epic that will allow modern-day Lamanites to trust in the Lord's deliverance and detailed literary (especially poetic) presentations of covenants in the Book of Mormon. Literary elements combine with the influence of the Spirit to testify of the purposes of the Book of Mormon.