To begin, here is a list I composed when I was a missionary. This list numbers all of Nephi’s prophesies concerning Christ, the Jews and Gentiles and the Lamanites and Nephites.
- In the Last Days, when Isaiah's prophecies begin to be fulfilled, men will know of a surety when they come to pass (25:7).
- Jews carried away captive by Babylon, then return to Jerusalem and are restored to their lands of inheritance (25:11).
- Jews reject and crucify the Christ and he is resurrected after 3 days (25:12-13).
- Jerusalem is destroyed again after the Messiah (25:14).
- The Jews are scattered among all nations and Babylon is destroyed (25:15).
- Jews are restored and gathered again a 2nd time (25:17).
- Christ will come 600 years after Lehi left Jerusalem (25:19).
- Christ will manifest himself to the Nephites (26:1-9).
- The Nephite destruction (26:10).
- The coming forth of the Book of Mormon (26:16-17).
- The rise of false churches and secret combinations among the Gentiles (26:20).
- Darkness and apostasy in the last days (27:1-5).
- Sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will be read from housetops (27:11).
- Three witnesses of Book of Mormon (27:12).
- Martin Harris takes characters to Dr. Anthon and other professor (27:15-20).
- A marvelous work and a wonder – the restoration of the Gospel (27:26).
Nephi truly understood the purpose of the Law of Moses. He understood that everything they did in the Law of Moses was the typifying of Christ and was to help the people remember Christ. He taught his people the deadness of the law meaning that once Christ would come, the law would no longer be needed. I also like the part where Nephi says, “after the law is fulfilled in Christ, they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away” (v. 27). This was one of the problems in Jerusalem when Christ came. The people still clung to their old traditions (the Law of Moses) and did not accept the teachings of Christ. Nephi and the Book of Mormon prophets were prepared and taught the people to repent and live the higher law, but they still obeyed the lower Law of Moses.
After All We Can Do
In verse 23, Nephi talks about reconciliation again. He writes in order to persuade his children and brethren to “believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” I think this is the source of the saying “we are saved by grace after all we can do.”
A few years ago (around 2004), a co-worker invited me to lunch on a rainy day. At the time, I did not know why he was taking me to lunch, but I had a premonition as to what his purpose was. After beginning our lunch, we began to chat about work. Then he launched into a religious discussion. What he wanted was that I read a prayer from a Billy Graham pamphlet that in essence "saved me." After further discussion, I summarized to him that what he believed was that once a person read aloud this prayer, he would be saved no matter what he did the rest of his life. I could commit sin and still be saved without true repentance … theoretically. To me, this represented a serious flaw in his understanding of the Atonement. As Nephi teaches us, no matter how "good" we are, we still cannot be saved by our actions alone. We need the Atonement in order to be "saved." We must strive to keep the commandments and truly repent and prepare ourselves to be judged of God and Christ. If we choose not to even try to keep the commandments, then the Atonement will be ineffective in our lives.
A Voice from the Dust
Just as a general comment – when I was reading this part of the chapter (beginning in verse 24) I could feel Nephi’s words. In other words, the Spirit was testifying to me the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. What I felt was the love Nephi had for the Savior. And after reading this part of the chapter, I felt an intense desire to study the teachings of Christ, namely the New Testament. Nephi would have loved the New Testament as it contains the teachings of Christ. His heart would have rejoiced in learning the true law of God. Living the law of Christ would not have been difficult for Nephi, however. He was already living the higher law.
(Heart), Might, Mind and Strength
In verse 29, you can especially feel Nephi’s words, “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.”
There are several references in the scriptures that include the phrase "might, mind and strength" (Mosiah 2:11, Moroni 10:32, D&C 4:2, D&C 11:20, D&C 33:7, D&C 59:5, D&C 98:47). In essence, Nephi is telling us the first great commandment … to "love the Lord thy God" (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30). And not only should we love the Lord, but we need to love Him with all our heart and mind and might. In other words, we should not hold back any of our love for him. And how do we love him? We love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:15, D&C 124:87) with all our hearts, minds, might and strength.