WE know we are under condemnation for treating lightly the things we have received, and we have been told how to receive them, or how to go about letting God do his own work in us.
Heaven tries to speak to us and tell us concepts that we don’t have words for or understanding of. When teaching a child the concept of hot, you really start with things that are warm. You don’t give a child scalding hot food and then tell them “careful, it’s hot”, you give them warm food and tell them it’s hot. As they learn to “blow on it” and to be careful you can give them food that really is hot. Before that understanding is developed they have zero conceptual understanding of the word or what it stands for.
Heaven is trying to teach us about things we have no understanding of. We have to learn line up on line, and go from grace to grace to even grasp the concepts of the eternities.
To learn this language, YOU must study it out. YOU must read. The plan for this series is to study the Book of Mormon. To do this it’s better to start with some concepts. We are trying to study “hot” but we have to start with “warm” and we need to begin to define words.
Words are just symbols, and often people have different meanings attached to the same symbol. For example, take the question “are you a Mormon?”. For one person, the question might be paraphrased as “are you one of those false Jesus, holy underwear’n, multi-wife cultists?”. And for another person the same question may be paraphrased “rulds2?”. The meaning attached to the symbol is critical for understanding. We seek the meaning that Heaven intends. Often the meaning is found in the conflict, as this helps to define. But Heaven uses other tools as well. Some are types, shadows, similitudes, tone, themes, and groups. These things lead to key words and phrases. We are going to discuss a few of these in the next few articles so we can be on the same page.
Just by way of example, let’s take the phrase “grievous to be borne” in the Book of Mormon. Looking at the search results, we find that each time this key phrase is used, it speaks either of tasks or taxes (same thing) laid on the back of the afflicted. This is a simple and fun one to look at, as it only takes a small amount of effort to see the underlying theme and connection.
Nephi uses this method constantly. He has entire themes wrapped up on one word, though many require study to find.
Although this is complex, and combines both tone and group, I want to start at the very beginning of 2nd Nephi, Chapters 1, 2 and 3. These are very important, and the amount of types and keywords is beyond the scope of this article. We are going to just bounce around on the surface here, using the word “hot” but really we are only going to be delving into the “warm.” If you desire to follow these articles it will require that you pull your Book of Mormon out and read it as we go along.
Looking at chapter 1, the tone is one of pessimism, and the language focuses on temporal, earthly blessings for those who are slow to understand the gospel. Many times they are advised to “awake” (a key word) and “arise” (a key word) “from the dust” (a key word).
The entire chapter could really be summed up in this verse:
O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever. (2 Nephi 1:19)
He wishes that this won’t happen, but is resigned to it. It’s a tone of pessimism that you would do well to read a few times over and learn. We will run into it quite a bit, and it permeates the tone applied to the Gentiles (who are us, we will get into that in “groups”). In this chapter Laman and Lemuel have become a type for those who are of the world, the same way that the “learned” are a type in the last article.
Chapter 2 is a type for Israel, or one who has entered the waters and is holding to the Iron Rod. This is seriously one of the greatest chapters in the Book of Mormon and bedrock information for those who accept the Gospel and strive to follow its precepts.
The entire chapter can be summed up in these two verses:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)
The tone in this chapter is very decidedly different than in chapter 1. This is uplifting and happy and speaks of possibilities.
Chapter 3 is the most difficult to understand because it delves directly into very deep concepts and key words and phrases. It speaks of the journey through the lone and dreary wilderness of Lehi’s affliction, the covenants with the fathers, and the fruit of his loins. All of these things are types, or also similitudes of the attributes or qualities one takes upon themselves when conversing with the Lord through the veil after having been true and faithful.
So here in the first three chapters we find three very important types. Laman and Lemuel are a type of the world, Jacob is Israel, and Joseph is the Abrahamic covenant or becoming the seed of Christ.
We are beginning to “warm” up to the language of Heaven.