1 Ne 22:2 by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets
Nephi has personal experience with this. When he saw the vision of the tree of life, he was taken away in the spirit that he might behold a glorious vision. Nephi is teaching that Isaiah received his prophecies by the power of that same Spirit. The Spirit is also able to make all things known unto those who are not prophets, And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5). Joseph F. Smith taught what effect the Holy Ghost can have upon the saints as a group.
Joseph F. Smith
"That Spirit, it must be remembered, is, by way of preeminence, called 'The Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father.' He teaches all things; and brings to the remembrance of the Saints all the instructions of the Master. He guides into all truth, and as in all truth there is unity or harmony, so, it is believed that if the Saints are in possession of this Spirit, the harmony in the Church of Christ will be superior to the harmony that can be looked for or hoped for, in any other organization whatsoever. And because the Saints have free access to the Holy Spirit, and may walk within his light and fellowship and possess the intelligence which he is able to impart, a stricter harmony among the Saints may be insisted upon than in any other organization of men whatsoever." (Gospel Doctrine, p. 131)
1 Ne 22:3 the things....I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual
With God, all things are spiritual, all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal (DC 29:34). So the promises to the house of Israel are both temporal and spiritual. Temporal in the sense that there will be a literal scattering and gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth and spiritual in that those who turn unto the Lord in the last days will be spiritually gathered into the fold of God, he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd (v. 25).
One of the most contended issues in ecclesiastical history is whether to interpret a scripture in a literal (temporal) or a figurative (spiritual) sense.
"No question is more basic to scriptural interpretation than the determination of whether a particular passage, story, or even an entire book of scripture is to be understood as figurative or literal. Having read to his brothers what we know as Isaiah chapters 48 and 49, Nephi was asked if what he had read was to be understood in a figurative or a literal sense. Short of the actual destruction of scriptural records, Satan has no more effective way of opposing scriptural truths than confusing the figurative and the literal. Like potter's clay, some simply mold the scriptures into the likeness of the theories of men. Conversely, by making scriptural metaphors literal, the most marvelous truths are distorted beyond recognition. The bread and wine of the sacrament are an obvious illustration. By eating the sacramental bread, do we literally eat the body of Christ? And in drinking the wine or water in a sacramental ritual are we figuratively drinking Christ's blood, or doing so literally, as some suppose? Such is the issue, ever present in scriptural interpretation: Is the passage, the story, or the book to be interpreted figuratively or literally?
"In answering his brothers, Nephi explained that these prophecies of Isaiah were to be understood as being "both temporal and spiritual." That is, they would literally come to pass, yet their interpretation would go beyond the event of their temporal fulfillment, for they carried spiritual or symbolic meanings also. Nephi further explained that it is only by the spirit of revelation that such questions can be answered, saying, "For by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 168-9)
1 Ne 22:4 Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away
Let's review what has happened to the tribes of Israel by the time of Nephi's writing. The twelve tribes of Israel each inhabited a specific portion of the land of Canaan, see map #5. The tribes were ruled by judges until the reign of the kings: Saul, David, and Solomon. After the reign of Solomon, the ten northern tribes, comprising all the tribes except the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, split from the two southern tribes. From this time forth, they were divided into the kingdom of Israel (also called the northern kingdom led by the tribe of Ephraim) and the kingdom of Judah (also called the southern kingdom led by the tribe of Judah), see map #9.
The scattering of Israel came because of the wickedness of the people. When Moses gave the law to the children of Israel, he also gave them a list of specific blessings and cursings which would take place depending on their obedience to the law. One of the curses listed is that they would be scattered by their enemies,
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee....The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth...And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee...And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind (Deut 28:15, 25, 37, 64-5)
The scattering of Israel began with the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom. This occurred about 722 BC. The entire northern kingdom was destroyed and the people were taken to Assyria. This is how the ten tribes get lost. They are scattered by the Assyrians, and yet a body of them is preserved which remains as a cohesive body and is somehow led to the lands of the north. The Bible doesn't tell us much about what happened to them, In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God (2 Kings 17:6-7). This is what Nephi is referring to when he says that the more part of all the tribes have been led away. In Nephi's day, the only tribes which were left were the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. There were a few in Jerusalem from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Levi (see 1 Chron 9:3) but the vast majority of these three tribes had been taken north with the rest of the northern kingdom.
1 Ne 22:7 Who is this mighty nation?
The mighty nation is the United States of America. The U.S. government is largely responsible for what happened to the American Indians in the early decades of the nation.
1 Ne 22:8 Lamanites nourished by the Gentiles
Spencer W. Kimball
"A loving father does not despise his children. These [Lamanites] are a chosen people, and this Church has an important part in restoring them to their rightful inheritance. The chasm between what they are and what they will be is opportunity. The gospel furnishes that opportunity; it is ours to give." (Ensign, Dec. 1975, p. 7 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.70)
1 Ne 22:12 he will bring them again out of captivity
This is meant in a spiritual sense. The members of the house of Israel, the Indians of North and South America, will be brought out of spiritual captivity when they begin to understand that they are of the house of Israel and when they begin to believe in the Mighty One of Israel.
"Scattered Israel is to be freed from the captivity of ignorance and the bondage of false forms of worship. No longer are they to walk in darkness and worship gods of wood and stone or other supposed gods who have neither body, parts, nor passions. Their obscurity has ended, for now they know the true and living God who 'is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.' Jeremiah prophetically described this day, saying: 'O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord.' (Jeremiah 16:19-21.)" (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 173)
1 Ne 22:13 that great and abominable church...they shall war among themselves
Nephi makes it clear that the destruction that comes upon the great and abominable church will come as a result of wars among the nations which support that church. Joseph Smith helps us to understand which wars are part of the wars attending the last days. In the 87th section of the D&C, he records that the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place (DC 87:2). This statement is made in the section in which he prophecies of the Civil War. So the wars to be poured out upon all nations begin with the Civil War. The many wars since, including WWI and WWII, are those wars which were prophesied to come in the last days. These are the wars and rumors of wars of the last days. There is no reason to think that these wars will stop until the fullness of the wrath of God (v. 16) has been poured out and Satan is bound for a millennium. D&C 88 says that the final destruction of the great church directly precedes the coming of the Lord:
And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood--she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea--behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.
And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled; (DC 88:94-5).
1 Ne 22:14 all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed
Isaiah made it clear that the day will soon come when the Lord will fight Zion's battles, I will contend with him that contendeth with thee (1 Ne 21:25). The D&C teaches that the fame of Zion will spread because of the power of the Lord which will preserve it:
And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand. (DC 45:66-70)
The day will come when Zion, or the New Jerusalem, will become so powerful, both spiritually and politically, that it will strike fear into the hearts of the wicked. Verse 19 of chapter 22 reads, all they who fight against Zion shall be cut off. This doctrine was sometimes boldly and tactlessly declared by the early saints in Missouri. This contributed to the paranoia and hatred which was so easily engendered among the Missourians of the early 1830's.
1 Ne 22:17 he will preserve the righteous by his power...Wherefore, the righteous need not fear
Many have worried how selective the Lord will be when he separates the wheat from the tares. Many have suggested that some of the righteous must inevitably suffer in the destructions which are to attend the Second Coming. Nevertheless, the Lord has given the righteous the promise that they will be preserved. He has also said, verily it is a day of sacrifice and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming (DC 64:23). Although many have considered the payment of tithing as the best type of fire insurance available, there is one caveat. The section heading for DC 119 explains that at the time this revelation was given, the term, "tithing," refers to "not just one tenth, but all free-will offerings, or contributions, to the Church funds." One may safely conclude that if the sacrifice has been great enough in the eyes of the Lord (in the payment of tithing, fast-offerings, sacrifice of one's time and talents), there is no reason to fear the destructions of the last days. The Lord is able to preserve the righteous by his power.
Mark E. Petersen
"... in these, the last days, the Lord has predicted that there shall be two simultaneous movements. One of these movements is the great tribulation that shall come upon the world. The wicked will destroy the wicked.
"The other great movement which will be going forward simultaneously is that there shall be a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it shall roll forth and eventually fill the whole earth. The Church to which you and I belong is that stone. It has been cut out of the mountain without hands, and your destiny and mine is to help roll it forth. (D&C 65:2.)
"Now do you suppose for one moment that the judgments of God are going to interfere with the progress of his work? He is consistent, isn't he? Although he will pour out his tribulations upon the wicked, he nevertheless will carry forward his work, and his people, under divine protection, will roll forth that stone until eventually it fills the whole earth.
"And so says the Book of Mormon:
"For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
"Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. (1 Nephi 22:16-17.)
"I believe that. In the midst of all these tribulations God will send fire from heaven, if necessary, to destroy our enemies while we carry forward our work and push that stone until it fills the whole earth!
"Your destiny is to do that very thing, and this is the kind of protection you will have. You do not need to fear about world conditions. You do not need to fear about anybody. Just serve the Lord and keep his commandments and build the kingdom, and as you do so you will be protected in these last days. God will have his hand over you, and you can plan your lives in confidence. (Conference Report, October 1960, pp. 81-83. as taken from D. Ludlow's A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.122-3)
"God has been and is our helper, and is on our right and left, and round about us like a wall of fire to defend this people, if they serve him with an undivided heart." (Journal of Discourses, 8:172 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.74)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Do not think for a moment that the days of trial are over. They are not. If we keep the commandments of the Lord, we shall prosper, we shall be blessed; the plagues, the calamities that have been promised will be poured out upon the peoples of the earth, and we shall escape them, yea, they shall pass us by. But remember the Lord says if we fail to keep his word, if we walk in the ways of the world, they will not pass us by, but we shall be visited with floods and with fire, with sword and with plague and destruction. We may escape these things through faithfulness." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:34 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.75)
"It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and 'the righteous shall hardly escape;' still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death..." (History of the Church, 4:11 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.75)
1 Ne 22:18 blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come
These three signs occurred on the American Continent when the Savior was crucified (see 3 Ne 10:13) but in this context, Nephi is referring to the last days. The images of blood and fire are commonly used in describing the destructions of the last days, but the image of a "vapor of smoke" is not. This particular sign was explained by Elder McConkie:
Bruce R. McConkie
"It may be, for instance, that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be." (Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p.133 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.75)
1 Ne 22:20 A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me
Gospel scholars have described many similarities between the mission of Moses and the mortal mission of Christ. However, the principle which prompted Nephi's use of Deut. 18:15 was not Christ's mortal ministry. It was his Second Coming. Furthermore, when the Deuteronomy passage is quoted elsewhere, it is always in reference to his Second Coming (3 Ne 20:22-23; Acts 3:22-23; JS-Hist. 1:40). Therefore, we should assume that most of the similarities between Moses and Christ refer not to Christ's mortal reign but to his Millenial reign.
Did not Moses save Israel from the most powerful military force on the earth? Will not Christ save Israel from an army assembled from all nations? Was not Moses the lawgiver for Israel? Will not Christ dispense the word of the Lord from Jerusalem and the law of the Lord from Zion? Did not Moses offer the children of Israel a land of promise, flowing with milk and honey? Will not Christ establish Israel in their land of promise and supply pools of living water and the bread of life? Did not Moses live with his people, judge them, and lead them in person? Will not Christ become the Great Judge and dwell with his people?
While we don't think about Moses delivery of the children of Israel in apocalyptic terms, we should. Moses' delivery of the children of Israel is a type of Christ's delivery of Israel from a besieging army. Even the destructions which were brought upon Egypt are but a foreshadowing of the way in which his enemies will be destroyed. Indeed, the destruction of Egypt at the hand of Moses shows us how the Lord will destroy Babylon in the last days. Fortunately, he will not need his saints to fight, for he has promised 'I will fight your battles' (DC 105:14) just as he fought their battles in Moses' day (Ex. 14:14).
Plagues of Egypt
Apocalyptic Destruction of Wicked
Waters of Egypt turned to blood. (Ex. 7:20)
The rivers and fountains of waters...became blood. (Rev. 16:4)
Frogs covered the land of Egypt. (Ex. 8:6)
Three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon. (Rev 16:13)
Plagues of lice and flies. (Ex. 8:17,24)
God will send forth flies and maggots. (DC 29:18)
All the cattle of Egypt died. (Ex. 9:6)
Desolation upon the cattle and sheep. (Joel 1:15-20)
Plague of boils upon man and beast. (Ex. 9:10)
There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast. (Rev. 16:2)
Plague of hail and fire (Ex. 9:23)
Men scorched with fire and a plague of great hailstones. (Rev. 16:8,21)
Locusts covered the face of the whole earth. (Ex. 10:14-15)
There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. (Rev. 9:3-10)
A thick darkness in all the land for three days. (Ex. 10:22)
The sun became black as sackcloth. (Rev. 6:12)
The firstborn males are killed. (Ex. 12:29-30)
The third part of men are killed by fire, smoke, and brimstone. (Rev. 9:18)
Pharaoh's army destroyed by water. (Ex. 14:28)
Saint's enemies destroyed by fire. (1 Ne. 22:17)
After the plagues of Egypt are repeated upon the wicked of the last days, the saints will clearly see the connection. Then it will seem most natural to 'sing the song of Moses, the servant of God' in conjunction with 'the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.' (Rev. 15:3) Then will the saints understand in fullness that the prophet whom the Lord should raise up like unto Moses would be like him in so many ways. For 'it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.' (Acts 3:23)
1 Ne 22:23 churches...built up to get gain, and...to become popular in the eyes of the world
The current trend in many churches is to condone all sorts of behavior that have been traditionally contrary to the teachings of the Bible. This sort of "doctrinal open-mindedness" is a form of flattery designed to cater to the self justification of would be patrons. It is a form of flattery because it tells the sinner that he need not repent. Moroni prophesied similarly, there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity (Mormon 8:31).
The message of Mormonism is the opposite. It requires abstinence before marriage and fidelity thereafter. It requires abstaining from abusive drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. It condemns the practice of homosexuality. It calls for the exercise of faith, repentance, hope and charity. It requires the individual's time, money, effort, sacrifice, and talents. To the carnal mind, it sounds like the most miserable form of existence possible. Nevertheless, to those who have made the sacrifice, it is the most rewarding and liberating experience, for the truth shall make you free (Jn 8:32).
1 Ne 22:26 Satan... cannot be loosed for the space of many years
The book of Revelation tells us that Satan is actually bound and that the time period described is a thousand years, he...bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season (Rev 20:2-3).