On Tuesday September 11th, two passenger jets were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center. Another plane was crashed into the Pentagon. A forth plane was headed for the White House or some other significant target, but it did not succeed. It crashed in western Pennsylvania. As the events unfolded, many Americans, including me, were shocked, scared and in unbelief. How could this happen in America? All Tuesday and for the next few days, everyone was in fear of another attack. Jill told me that she thought this was it – that the last day was here. That might be the case, but what I told her was that if it is the last day or not, that does not matter. What matters is if it is your last day on Earth or not. The last day will come whether we are ready or not. We will die someday, ready or not. The bottom line is that we are prepared. If we are prepared, then there is no reason to fear. If we die in righteousness, then we will be saved. But if our death is imminent and we have not done righteousness all our days, then we will fear.
Just as Nephi pointed out – the righteous need not fear. The righteous will not perish and will not be confounded. However, the wicked have much to fear for they will face their Judge and will be sentenced to spiritual death.
I think Nephi sums it all up in the final verse of 1 Nephi. “Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day.”
One of the speakers in a recent Sacrament meeting told an interesting story. In his talk he mentioned that members used to write letters to President Kimball and he would respond to many of them. One letter asked President Kimball if the fire in the scripture in Malachi regarding tithing was a "real" fire or if it was symbolic. President Kimball responded that the only fire he knew of was the one that burns! I can't find the source on that quote … but it is interesting if not funny! To relate this back to chapter 22, verse 22 talks about fire.
To summarize my insights from reading chapter 22:
First, it seems to me that many of the things discussed in these chapters are signs. We are given these signs so that we know that God indeed is in charge and knows what He is doing. These signs assure us and strengthen our faith. These signs also show the love of God towards all his children … especially those who love him.
Second, to reiterate again … "the righteous need not fear" (v. 17, 22).
Third, Nephi describes the work and glory of Satan. In verse 23 he tells us that Satan seeks to "get power over the flesh" meaning he desires control over our bodies. Satan and his followers seek the popularity of the World or in another word vanity. Satan and those who belong to his church "seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity."
In conclusion, we need to know that there are signs that indicate Christ's 2nd coming and we need to look for them. And not only should we look for those signs, but we should align our lives with the Savior's. If we do, then we need not worry about cataclysmic events that will surly take place.
January 5, 2012 update
Most of this original post discussed my commentary on 1 Nephi 22. There's not much said on 1 Nephi 21 (Isaiah 49). For more insight into 1 Nephi 21 (Isaiah 49), see this post on my Isaiah blog.