Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gentiles The Arm of Flesh "A Curse"

All is not lost for the individual latter day Gentile if they will hearken to the invitation to repent and come unto the Lord. After having prophesied extensively about the latter day Gentiles, about their work of restoration and about their failures in righteousness, Nephi writes the following:

"...and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed. For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord...for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel." (2Nephi 30: 1-2)

The Gentiles will fall into wickedness and all kinds of abomination and evil after their latter day work of restoration of the Book of Mormon and the gospel. As a result, the Lord promised to remove the fullness of the gospel from them. (3Nephi 16: 10) There never the less remains the possibility that individual Gentiles may yet be saved. The only acceptable course for a repentant Gentile (or anyone else) is to enter into covenant with the Lord. And He covenants with "none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel." (2 Nephi  30: 2) This proves to be too great a challenge for most latter day Gentiles. According to Nephi, the propensity of the Gentiles is to tie themselves and their salvation to men who cannot save them. They will be under the mistaken idea that "the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;" (Nephi 28: 5) They will believe falsely that following men is the same thing as following Christ. Nephi describes this gross error of the Gentiles as follows:

"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. 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;" (2Nephi 28: 31-32) 

Relying on, and trusting in the arm of flesh is a curse to the latter day Gentiles just as Nephi prophesied it would be. Instead of trusting in and relying on the Lord, and the direction of the Holy Ghost, the latter day Gentiles choose unwisely to strictly follow a group of men and their precepts. Unfortunately, those precepts according to Nephi too often come from the "learning" of the man and not from the Holy Ghost that gives utterance. (2Nephi 28: 4) In this way, even the humble followers of Christ are "led that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2Nephi 28: 14)

The problem with relying on flesh of any kind, regardless of title or position is described in a revelation given to Joseph Smith. Joseph was told concerning the telestial kingdom, 

"And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.

These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76: 98-101)

Among those in the telestial glory will be all those who "followed" fleshy leaders. Even great leaders such as Moses, Cephas, (Peter) Paul, and Enoch did not have power to, and could not save, or ensure a celestial reward for their followers. Following any of these men or any other man as prophet leaders will result in a telestial reward. In this case, according to the revelation of the Lord, "following the prophet" is a formula for the least reward. No wonder Nephi said that anyone who relies on the arm of flesh is "cursed." (2Nephi 28: 31-32)

It is interesting to note; we learn from the verses above that some of the followers of Enoch landed in the telestial kingdom. As we know, many of Enoch's contemporaries were translated along with Enoch to the heavenly city. We must conclude that those who were translated along with Enoch "followed," someone other than Enoch. Otherwise, instead of being translated, they might have ended in the telestial kingdom with those who "say they are of Enoch."  Following Enoch and trusting in Enoch could not ever save anyone. Those who were translated with Enoch, were disciples and followers of the Redeeming Christ, not Enoch. 

For any Gentile that will repent, turn to the Lord, and trust in Him and His redeeming power, the mercy of the Lord is always extended. He, unlike any man who claims to have and exercise His power, is the only one with the power to bring His children unto Him and then to the Father. Because, He employs no servant there. (2 Nephi 9: 41)

"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." (2 Nephi 28: 32)

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