With Healing in His Wings – 2 Nephi 25:13

13 Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day, and my heart doth magnify his holy name.
(2 Nephi 25:13)

During the Savior’s mortal ministry, he healed many people who were sick and even raised two people from the dead. Then, after suffering for our sins and subjecting Himself to crucifixion, He rose from the dead with the power to heal us all. Nephi described this power using a phrase Malachi would later use, when he said that the Savior would rise “with healing in his wings.” (See also Malachi 4:2.)

Gordon B. Hinckley taught that this power to heal extends far beyond physical illnesses or injuries. More importantly, the Savior has the power to heal the wounds in our souls:

I would that the healing power of Christ might spread over the earth and be diffused through our society and into our homes, that it might cure men’s hearts of the evil and adverse elements of greed and hate and conflict. I believe it could happen. I believe it must happen. If the lamb is to lie down with the lion, then peace must overcome conflict, healing must mend injury.
Jesus of Nazareth healed the sick among whom He moved. His regenerating power is with us today to be invoked through His holy priesthood. His divine teachings, His incomparable example, His matchless life, His all-encompassing sacrifice will bring healing to broken hearts, reconciliation to those who argue and shout, even peace to warring nations if sought with humility and forgiveness and love.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, ours is a ministry of healing, with a duty to bind the wounds and ease the pain of those who suffer. Upon a world afflicted with greed and contention, upon families distressed by argument and selfishness, upon individuals burdened with sin and troubles and sorrows, I invoke the healing power of Christ, giving my witness of its efficacy and wonder. I testify of Him who is the great source of healing. He is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, “The Sun of Righteousness,” who came “with healing in his wings” (“The Healing Power of Christ,” General Conference, October 1988).

Today, I will remember that the Savior has the power to heal all wounds, whether physical or spiritual. As President Hinckley testified, the Savior can heal individuals, families, and even nations. I will strive to draw closer to Christ and to bring others closer to Him so that we can all be healed

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They Are Plain unto All Those Who Are Filled with the Spirit of Prophecy – 2 Nephi 25:4

4 Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.
(2 Nephi 25:4)

After quoting thirteen chapters of Isaiah, Nephi comments on his people’s negative reaction to those words. He explains to us that many of his people didn’t understand Isaiah because they weren’t familiar with “the manner of prophecying of the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:1-2). But then, in the passage above, he explains another reason that many people don’t understand Isaiah: because they don’t have “the spirit of prophecy.”

As Joseph Smith learned in 1831, true gospel learning requires both an inspired teacher and an inspired student. (See D&C 50:17-22.) One of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to help us understand the truths we learn from other people, including through the scriptures. Therefore, if we have the Spirit with us as we read, the words of the scriptures will be “plain” to us as Nephi says in the passage above.

Furthermore, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught, studying the scriptures with a proper attitude can help us to receive the Holy Ghost:

The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation.
Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study.
Similarly, what a scripture in the Book of Mormon meant to me when I first read it at age sixteen is not conclusive upon me as I read it at age sixty. With the benefit of my life’s experiences and with my greater familiarity with revelation, I can learn things that were not available to me yesterday by reading the scriptures today (“Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, January 1995)

Today, I will seek to be receptive to the influence of the Holy Ghost as I study the scriptures. I will remember that the Holy Ghost will help me to better understand the meaning of the scriptures, and that I can also receive personalized inspiration as I study.

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We Did Take Our Tents – 2 Nephi 5:5-7

5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.
7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.
(2 Nephi 5:5-7)

The Book of Mormon opens with Lehi praying for and preaching to his friends and neighbors in Jerusalem, and then ultimately leaving the city with his family to camp in tents. Now, thirty years later, Nephi makes a similar decision. After pleading with his brothers and praying for them, he recognizes that the relationship is not going to improve. Facing threats on his life, he travels into the wilderness for many days with all of the family members who will go with him.

For the rest of the chapter, Nephi talks about the establishment of a new home. They build buildings including a temple, plant crops, raise livestock, worship together, and prepare for the future. Above all, he tells us, they “lived after the manner of happiness.”

I’m not surprised that Nephi considered his new life to be happy. While he still lived near his brothers, he must have been miserable. They complained about being “afflicted…because of his words” (2 Nephi 5:3), and they continually threatened to kill him. He tells us in the prior chapter that he felt guilty because he became angry with them (2 Nephi 4:27, 29). It must have been a relief to get away from so much contention.

But I also think a source of Nephi’s happiness is suggested by a phrase in the passage above: “We did take our tents and whatsover things were possible for us…” He and his father had enjoyed many spiritual experiences while living in tents in the wilderness. Now, he’s going back to the basics, taking only the essentials, and building a life around activities that are important and that bring joy into his life.

As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has counseled us:

If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.
Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.
Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace (“Of Things That Matter Most,” General Conference, October 2010).

Today, I will refocus and simplify my life. Just as Nephi found joy when his life became simpler, I will look for ways to reduce the complexity and the intensity of my life and spend my time and energy on the things that matter most.

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Rejoice, O My Heart – 2 Nephi 4:28-30

28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
(2 Nephi 4:28-30)

In the following chapter, Nephi will tell us that he and his people “lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 27:5). But in this chapter, we see how hard-fought that happiness really is. To live happily clearly doesn’t mean that happiness comes easily. In these verses, Nephi conveys his struggle to overcome anger and discouragement. Earlier in the chapter, he tells us, “When I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins.” But then he follows with a statement of hope: “Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has indicated that one of the commandments we most often break is simply, “Be of good cheer.” He gave the following advice about how to obey it:

Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”
I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring. Surely he must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.” Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse (“The Tongue of Angels,” General Conference, April 2007).

Today, I will follow Nephi’s example of overcoming negative emotions and choosing to be cheerful. I will recognize that happiness doesn’t always come naturally, and I will discipline my thoughts and my words to enable me to live happily.

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If I Have Seen So Great Things – 2 Nephi 4:26-28

26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
(2 Nephi 4:26-28)

After relating his family’s miraculous experiences during their journey from Jerusalem to the American continent, Nephi gives us a glimpse of his own personal struggle to overcome his weaknesses and live up to Heavenly Father’s expectations of him. In the last 20 verses of 2 Nephi 4, often called “Nephi’s Psalm,” he walks us through seven stages in his own arduous process of repentance and growth:

  1. Testimony and love of the gospel (v. 15-16) – “My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.”
  2. Recognition of, and sorrow for, his weaknesses (v. 17-19) – “I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.”
  3. Gratitude for the blessings he has received from God (v. 20-25) – “He hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.”
  4. Frustration at his inability to live up to the promise of those blessings (v. 26-27) – “If I have seen so great things,…why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?”
  5. Determination to do better (v. 28-30) – “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.”
  6. Pleading with God to help him (v. 31-33) – “O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul?… Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?”
  7. Promising to continue to trust in God (v. 34-35) – “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.”

He makes repentance look like hard work, and it is. “Repentance is sometimes a painful process, but it leads to forgiveness and lasting peace” (Gospel Topics, “Repentance“). Here’s how Elder D. Todd Christofferson characterized this process of change in our lives:

Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make Their will and interest our greatest desire. Such submissiveness is not reached in a day, but through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will tutor us if we are willing until, in process of time, it may accurately be said that He is in us as the Father is in Him. At times I tremble to consider what may be required, but I know that it is only in this perfect union that a fulness of joy can be found. I am grateful beyond expression that I am invited to be one with those holy beings I revere and worship as my Heavenly Father and Redeemer (“That They May Be One in Us,” General Conference, October 2002).

Today, I will follow Nephi’s example of genuine repentance. I will begin with my testimony of the things I know to be true. I will acknowledge the hand of the Lord in my life, and will also recognize the areas where I fall short. I will commit to do better and will ask for His help in overcoming my weaknesses. Above all, I will continue to trust in Him, recognizing that this process will require sustained effort over time.

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Carried in Their Arms and upon Their Shoulders – 1 Nephi 22:8-9

8 And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.
9 And it shall also be of worth unto the Gentiles; and not only unto the Gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
(1 Nephi 22:8-9)

After quoting two chapters of Isaiah to his brothers, Nephi teaches them the meaning of what he has just read. The house of Israel will be scattered among all nations, he says, and hated of all men. But the day will come when the Lord will do “a marvelous work among the Gentiles” and they will carry the house of Israel in their arms and on their shoulders. In the passage from Isaiah that he is paraphrasing, these Gentiles are referred to as kings and queens, while the house of Israel is characterized as prisoners and captives. (See 1 Nephi 21:7, 22-23 and 1 Nephi 21:9-10, 21, 24-25). What a beautiful characterization of a fundamental gospel truth: those who have received much have the responsibility to share with those in need.

We feel this obligation whether we have been blessed temporally or spiritually. As King Benjamin would later teach his people, we will only retain a remission of our sins if we are willing to use the blessings we have received to the benefit of other people:

And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants (Mosiah 4:26).

I love the following statement of the prophet Joseph Smith:

The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 37: “Charity, the Pure Love of Christ”).

Today, I will recognize my role in fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. To the degree that I have been blessed with advantages, I will nourish other people who lack those advantages. I will do what I can to help those in need, both temporally and spiritually. I will remember Isaiah’s imagery of kings and queens carrying prisoners “in their arms and upon their shoulders.”

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The Things Which Have Been Written – 1 Nephi 22:30-31

30 Wherefore, my brethren, I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true; and they testify that a man must be obedient to the commandments of God.
31 Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.
(1 Nephi 22:30-31)

After quoting two chapters of Isaiah and elaborating on the words of multiple prophets, Nephi ends his first book by pleading with his brothers to take seriously the words in the scriptures. Since they have accused him of being “like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart” (1 Nephi 17:20), Nephi makes a point of demonstrating to them that he and his father are not the only ones who have taught these things, that these truths have been taught by prophets throughout the ages.

The value of multiple witnesses is a recurring theme in Nephi’s writings. During his vision, the angel explained to him that modern scriptures, including the Book of Mormon would bolster the credibility of the Bible:

And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth (1 Nephi 13:40-41).

And after quoting the words of his brother, Jacob, and before quoting a number of chapters from the prophet Isaiah, Nephi explains that he believes the three testimonies together to be stronger than his testimony alone:

And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words (2 Nephi 11:2-3).

Today, I will be grateful for the many witnesses I have received of the gospel, including the testimonies of prophets found in the scriptures. I am grateful for the personal testimonies I have heard from family members and church leaders over the years, and I am also grateful to know that they are not the only ones to have taught these things. God has revealed the fundamental truths of the gospel to prophets throughout the ages, and their combined testimony is a powerful witness of the truth of the gospel.

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