Welcome to the 1990 Independence Edition of the Book of Mormon followed by Commentary. The views expressed in this podcast are those of the podcaster and don't necessarily reflect the beliefs of the Church of Christ.
Wrap it up and put a bow on it, this is the end of the reign of Kings. A new form of government by the people is introduced in the America's 1800 years before the United States went to war with England. Still think this land isn't a land of liberty? Are you worried that the government is gaining too much control? Fret not. God won't let that happen.
The end of the journeys of Alma and Limhi and the beginning of a new story of Alma and the sons of King Mosiah. There is a lesson to be learned when considering the similarities of these two groups of people. They both went through hardships but the righteous followers of Alma had their burdens lifted by the Lord. They were protected and guided by the voice of God until they were led to the Land of Zarahemla. The Limhi group though, endured tremendous hardships until they finally paid for the sins as prophesied by Abinadi. They were burdened with grievous trials and tribulations until they eventually submitted themselves to the Lord. They were not guided by the voice of God but by the leadership and idea of Gideon. Yet their escape and eventual return to Zarahemla was similar.
Origin stories: the conversion of Alma, who is the founder of the Church of Christ/God in America. The chapter is split into two different stories and is tied together by the sub story of wicked king Noah and his evil priests. The latter half being a continuation of the story of King Limhi. Important topics covered in this chapter are: Paid Ministry (it's bad), a checklist for baptism (it's good), and authority of the priesthood (it's important).
Abinadi enters the scene like an old west Sheriff or as the Texas ranger with a 'Big Iron on His Hip' from the Marty Robbins song. I envision him in similar fashion as the character of Wyatt Earp: legendary lawman as portrayed by Kurt Russel in the movie Tombstone. "You called down the thunder? Well, now you got it!" He strolls into town and confronts King Noah with absolute authority; such that can't he be touched and he will not allow himself to be interrupted until he is finished speaking the decrees of God.
The epic roller coaster ride begins. The book of Omni summarizes the events leading up to Mosiah Chapters 5 and 6. Up is South and down is North. King Mosiah is the grandson of King Mosiah. We begin with the end of the story in King Limhi, who speaks of his grandfather King Zeniff. King Zeniff then retells the story that was first eluded to in the Book of Omni. Along the way we read about the destruction of the Jaredites and we discover that King Mosiah (the grandfather) is in possession of two large stones with which he translates ancient records, but he hasn't seen the 24 gold plates that King Limhi has discovered when his people ventured into the valley of bones. Oh and by the way that's just the beginning of the ending. We've only hinted at the story of the Prophet Abinadi. While all this is happening the Lamanites keep going to war with any Nephites they can find because as we read in chapter 6, they taught their children to murder, rob and destroy the Nephites with an eternal hatred.
King Benjamin's Speech and the covenant his people made upon hearing his words. It is in similitude with Baptism and should be included in any Baptism study. Then in chapter three we learn how King Benjamin feels about denying help to anyone who petitions you for aid. Are we to judge the beggar? Have all beggars come to their situation because of their own decisions? Read Matthew chapter 26 verse 39. Is Christ not begging His father to let this cup pass? Add that reference to the margin of your Book of Mormon if it isn't there already. And finally good King Benjamin passes away in chapter 4 and his son leads the people following in the footsteps of his father, the servant king of the Book of Mormon.
King Benjamin's Proclamation. Wouldn't it have been great to have been there for this sermon? We have similar men among us in our locals today who have been "Servant Kings" just like King Benjamin was. One of the points he drove home in his proclamation is that little children are innocent and cannot commit sin. We are ever and always indebted to our God and all He asks of us is to obey His commandments. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 1:49
I'm going way out on a limb during this episode of the podcast as I compare the Book of Mormon to the Star Wars Saga. The first 200 pages that we just finished studying is like "Star Wars: A New Hope" from 1977. It was directed by George Lucas. It's the classic movie/story that everybody loves. With the beginning of The Words of Mormon we get a new 'feel' to the narrative of the Book of Mormon. It is an abridged version of The Large Plates of Nephi. From here on the story telling is changed and there is a fast paced style that connects multiple stories into one. The pace of the first 200 pages was generational as the writers wrote about what happened in their time from their perspective. The pace in these next 400 pages is hectic with Moroni telling sometimes three or four stories of different people all happening at the same time. The next 100 pages is more like a JJ Abrams directed movie where the action drives the story forward. At one point in The Book of Mosiah there will be three or four different groups of Nephites and Lamanites chasing each other through the wilderness at the same time. It's going to be fun.
We have come to the end of the "Small Plates of Nephi". This first part of the Book of Mormon is said to be the "more spiritual" history of the Book of Mormon. Everything you need to know for your salvation is covered in the first 200 pages. The generations of writers started with Lehi then his son Nephi, then Nephi gave the records to his brother Jacob, who transferred them to his son Enos, who conferred them upon his son Jarom, who handed the baton to Omni. In the book of Omni the records changed possession quickly through Omni's son Amaron who gave the records to Omni's other son Chemish, who gave them to his son Abinadom, with no writers contributing more than a few verses, until Abinadom bestows upon Amaleki the honor of being the last writer in the "Small Plates of Nephi". Amaleki then gives the records to King Benjamin who combines them with, or at least stores them with the Large Plates of Nephi. Amaleki essentially ends his narrative like the new Star Wars character on 'The Mandalorian' who says, "I have spoken".
Wrestling with God. What is the secret to a remission of our sins? How is it done? This small book is like a testimony from Enos to the church on any given Wednesday night prayer service. The lesson that is to be learned is to have faith in Christ. Believe in Christ then "go to it", and be a Christian.
The last words of Jacob are recorded in chapter 4, complete with an Amen. Then we have another chapter that was added. Remember we are writing on metal plates here. We can't just press delete or backspace so instead we get a denouement. The encounter with Sherem was important enough that Jacob added it to his record and it is a defining moment for Jacob. We learn more about him. Then, he feels his age and time wearing on him and he describes his life "as it were a dream". Maybe its just me, but I relate to it in a sort of french film noir kind of way. The doomed working-class antihero, alone, haunted by the impending doom of his brothers attacks on his people, resigned to his fate as the defender of Christ and leader of the stiff necked Nephites. As his scene ends he tips his Fedora hat and says, "Adieu".
Who was Xenos? I am not sure, but I love his prophecy as related by Jacob. Grab your crayons and a blank sheet of paper and get ready to visualize each step of the prophecy. It is a lot of coloring and it might be hard to understand at times, but if you "Go to and labor with your might" you just may gain a deeper understanding of the prophecy of Xenos.
Materials needed for this podcast. Two blank sheets of paper (one to start over with). A green crayon (Israeal, the Tame Olive tree). A brown crayon (the Gentiles, the wild Olive tree). A red or orange crayon(depending on if you prefer apples or oranges as good fruit). A black crayon (bad fruit).
With a topic that thematically relates to Christian Tactician, I take my turn at diagnosing the duties and responsibilities of a man. The responsibility of the ministry to be "watchmen" is the same responsibility that husbands have over their families, with the same consequences for failure. Jacob is compelled by God to condemn the actions of the Nephites with harsh words such that "many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds." The whole Church suffers from the consequences of sin. I believe these two chapters are written in such a compelling and powerful way so as to give men warning who hear it. I for one am convicted by Jacob's strong imagery and the explanation of the consequences of failure upon our children and our wives. Indeed, the entirety of the Church of Christ is not unaffected by the sins of the few. These chapters are difficult for a man to hear. Sometimes I ask myself, "How can a man ever be Holy? How is it done?"
The topics of this podcast include baptism 600 years before Christ, endure to the end, and then Nephi ends his portion of the Book of Mormon "throwin' shade" on all the bad guys with a mic drop and a bat flip. What an incredible life and a gauntlet thrown for all the future contributors to the Book of Mormon. His life story will be celebrated and remembered throughout the world as a standard and the world will be judged by the words he was commanded to write.
Modern day churches, Epicurean Ideals, and Theology are discussed at the beginning of Chapter 12. "Is it okay if I attend another church since I am a scattered member?" We are judged by our works. We aren't supposed to judge another man's works. Our works are our own confirmation of where we stand with God. What have you done for the Lord today? The chapter ends with a few last opinions of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah is confusing. If you don't believe me then listen to Nephi, he said as much. As confusing as Isaiah is there is a promise and a hope associated with his words and there is a reason God had them recorded for us. In the last days, when it is wisdom in the Lord and it is His will, we will know when the prophecies of Isaiah are fulfilled. Many great verses are highlighted in this chapter. Ever wonder why God instituted the Law of Moses? Nephi gives us an explanation of why his people obeyed the law. Plenty of verses that speak to our day and time.
Nephi continues to quote Isaiah. I have only selected a few verses from each chapter and I am reluctant to expound on the meaning of these prophecies. I highlight a few verses here and there that are more notable and recognizable to everybody. "Here am I; send me." and "To the law and to the testimony..." are two that should feel like putting on an old sweater. We know these verses. Do you know what a teil tree is? How about a gin? I had to look them up.
The first of three chapters that quote Isaiah. I highlight a bumper sticker verse, a word that is missing from the book of Isaiah and reference the fact that Nephi plainly states that the law of Moses typifies Christ. Nephi states that these words of Isaiah apply to us, to all people everywhere, not just God's ancient covenant people.
Jacob preaches a great sermon and Nephi decides to add it to his book. Several statements of Jacob are found to be "words in red". The subject of Jacob's sermon is death and hell, and the resurrection and eternal life. If you have ever wondered, "What happens when we die?" these chapters are for you.
The opinions contained in this podcast are that of the author and don't necessarily reflect beliefs of the Church of Christ.
In other words sometimes I am wrong and I am willing to be forgiven.
Nephi had sisters? They get four words in chapter 4. Beginning of the Nephite/Lamanite separation. Chapter 5 begins long quotes of Isaiah chapters 49-52ish with a few words that were missing from the Bible that add volumes of prophetic understanding. This was an exciting chapter to study.
Friend of the Podcast, Adam Yates has made a suggestion regarding Ch.5 vs. 2 and we have added bonus commentary to the end of the podcast. It is important to point out that there was no Levitical priesthood in the Book of Mormon. They were, "called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order."
The "Little Joseph" and the "Oh Wretched Man That I Am" chapters. Two chapters that are remembered for their powerful prophecies and gritty content. We read Lehi's last words to his family and his little Joseph. Chapter three is hard to read out loud because of the emotion that it is written with. As Nephi stated, "...upon these (plates), I write the things of my soul".
Lehi's last words to his sons. The opposition in all things is discussed as well as man's free will and opportunity to have joy. Bible references interspersed add great cross references to your studies and clearer understanding of the topics. At the time of this recording I had four boys, we shall see if the last comment will still be applicable in September.
Chapter 6 is Isaiah 48-49, Chapter 7 is Nephi explaining Isaiah to his brothers (and us). Many great verses to highlight in chapter 7. Basically, disregard everything you've read about how scary the Book of Revalation is because Nephi tells us not to worry or fear. Unless, you belong to a Church that is set up to become popular in the eyes of the world, then you should worry.
The namesake, Chapter 5 verse 122, Laman and Lemuel get shocked with lightning by Nephi superhero style, listening to and feeling the still small voice, and other highlightable (is that a word?) verses from chapter 5.
A short chapter with few comments that are aimed more at individual verses for study; as opposed to a reflection on the chapter, which flows through a concise and easy to understand narrative requiring little interjection.