Question: A few weeks ago or so, I ordered your books and have read several. I want to thank you. The feeling I’ve had the past few years telling me something is missing is subsiding as I discover new truths. Why have I heard this before? Is the word “hated” in 2 Nephi 29:5 indicative of a breach of covenant? If so, what would you call the covenant that Ephraim violates?
Answer: First, we need to clarity that the context of this passage from Nephi is the start of Isaiah’s end-time scenario, not the time of Joseph Smith as many have assumed who haven’t analyzed the words of Isaiah and Book of Mormon prophets. The Lord’s “marvelous work” and “setting his hand the second time” are quotes from Isaiah 11:11 and 29:14. These events form an integral part of the end-time restoration of the house of Israel—the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lehi’s descendants to God’s covenant—that immediately precedes the coming of the Lord to reign on the earth. The passage in full states:
“Behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
“And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
“Because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people.
“And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people” (2 Nephi 29:1–5).
Nephi sets the stage for this situation by first rebuking the Ephraimite Gentiles who are “at ease in Zion,” who when they reject “more of the word of God” that he brings forth, they ultimately end up denying Christ (2 Nephi 28:24–32). The “Bible” (or “scriptures”) these Gentiles reject (2 Nephi 29:3) are the additional ancient “records” the Lord brings forth that convince the Jews that Jesus is the Christ (see 1 Nephi 13:39–42; 14:26; 2 Nephi 25:17–18).
Now to your question: As Ephraim’s birthright privileges require that these Gentiles perform a saving ministry to the house of Israel—whom the scriptures define as the Jews, Israel’s Ten Tribes, and Lamanites of today—their neglect of their birthright roles, and more than that, their outright detachment from and “hatred” of them, signals their dropping the ball and ultimately causing the Lord to intervene in their affairs.
Thus, when the Gentiles say, “The Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men” (2 Nephi 28:5), the Lord anticipates their appropriating his authority by saying, “The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee. Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work” (2 Nephi 27:20–21).
That “work”—which by definition is the Lord’s “great and marvelous work,” as also word links affirm—will in the end be performed solely by the spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles at the Lord’s raising up his end-time servant—again in fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah:
“And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
“But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant” (3 Nephi 21:8–11; cf. Isaiah 29:13–14; 52:13–15; 57:18–19).