You can read 1 Nephi 14:8-17 here.
Context and General Information
- Nephi is seeing the vision of the tree of life and learning its interpretation.
- The Angel asks Nephi if he remembers the covenants of Heavenly Father to the House of Israel. Nephi responds that yes, he does.
- The Angel shows Nephi that the Devil is the founder of the “great and abominable church” – a proverbial church which is literally anything that fights against the Lord and tries to hurt people.
- The Devil and his “church” has influence all over the earth.
- The Saints of God are also found on the earth, but their numbers are few.
- The Devil will inspire those who follow Him to fight against the Lamb of God.
- The power of the Lamb of God, however, will be with the covenant saints of the Lord. They will be armed with righteousness and the power of God.
- Nephi witnesses wars and conflicts all over the earth.
- The Lord would commence in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants – which He made with the House of Israel.
They Were Armed with Righteousness
There is a lot in this scripture block that I’m not one hundred percent sure of. I have my opinions. I don’t think that the “great and abominable church” is a specific church. I just think that it is anything that is actively working against Good.
I also think that that there are a lot of good people in this earth that may not have the gospel in their lives. They may not have covenanted with God. I don’t think that people who haven’t covenanted with God are evil. I think that the Lord looks on our hearts.
All of that being said, I do believe that evil exists. I know that there are true influences trying to coax us into sin, pain, and misery. I also know that we aren’t left alone on this earth.
In 1 Nephi, we read:
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” – 1 Nephi 14:14
I find this so interesting. First of all, we must understand that the Power of the Lamb of God descended on the saints of the church.
If you are not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we consider anyone who covenants with God a saint. You don’t need to be canonized to be a saint. You simply need to be committed to Christ and striving.
Also, according to this scripture, the power of God goes to the Saints – all over the earth. They don’t need to live in Utah or in the U.S. If you have covenanted with the Lord, and if you are living up to your covenants, then you the power of God will descend on you – no matter where you are.
Okay. Anyway – the things I find interesting…
Armed with Righteousness
Armed. The saints of God – their “weapon” is righteousness. I’m reminded of the scripture in Ephesians where Paul teaches to put on the whole armor of God:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” – Ephesians 6:11-17
This really relates to what we are reading in 1 Nephi. Paul teaches that the whole armor of God will enable to withstand the “wiles of the devil.”
We don’t fight flesh and blood – but against spiritual wickedness – in other words, against “the church of the devil.”
If we will covenant with God, and keep His covenants, then He offers to arm us with righteousness – armor of truth; a breastplate of righteousness; boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace; a shield of faith; a helmet of salvation; and a sword of the Spirit.
With this armor, we cannot fail. We won’t be deceived. We will be destroyed by the enemy of us all (Satan!). The only “issues” with this armor is our agency. Heavenly Father won’t force us to covenant with Him. He won’t force us to become saints.
But if we do, we are armed. And there is no better protection than righteousness.
PS Didn’t proofread. Please excuse any mistakes.