Summary: Many gentiles shall reject the Book of Mormon--They shall say: We need no more Bible--The Lord speaks to many nations--He will judge the world out of the books thus written.
This chapter is interesting, because it is sort of a little blip about how this book we're reading is 1) God-ordained, 2) For our benefit, 3) About His children, and 4) Our responsibility to study. I certainly came away from this chapter with a renewed dedication to my scripture study. Did you? I am so grateful for all of you and for your help with this goal.
Verse 8 was interesting to me: "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God?"
When I read this, my first instinct was to think something like, "Well, I don't murmur about having this book. I know it's from God. It's a good thing this verse is in here for all those other people who need to hear this." Do any of you have thoughts like this? But then I realized. . .all those excuses I make--I'm tired, I'm busy, I haven't paid attention to Joel all day, I won't be able to concentrate if I read now--well, isn't this a form of murmuring? Isn't that another way to say that I am not grateful to have this book?
I think too often I wait until I really feel I have a fire going under me to motivate me to read. I think sometimes I really want to feel that burning desire to read all night long and into the day, as we hear some people talk about. But I think the fact is, those stories are so noteworthy because they are so rare! I think our true devotion and gratitude is shown by our being willing to make time for scripture study when it is not convenient, when it is difficult, or when we just plain don't feel like it (my most frequent reason).
Another verse I found interesting was verse 11. It talks about the Book of Life. Remember the Book of Life vaguely from seminary? It isn't something that comes up very regularly in church. I looked it up to see what the Bible Dictionary has to say (I love this resource), and this is what I found:
In one sense the book of life is the sum total of one’s thoughts and actions - the record of his life. However, the scriptures indicate that a heavenly record is kept of the faithful, whose names are recorded, as well as an account of their righteous deeds (D&C 88: 2; D&C 128: 7).
This makes it a little less abstract for me. My first thought when I read this was: Is my name in this book? If it isn't, what should I be doing to ensure that it is? What should I be teaching my children so they can live their lives worthily? Heavenly Father commands His children to record His words. Why? I think this is because this way we can remember to live by them.
In verse 13, it is shown that the Nephites and the Jews will have each other's words. (Check--this is happening now) But it also says that the words of the lost tribes of Israel shall be given to us, and that they will have our words as well. What do you think about this? Robert J. Matthews says this:
"There will also be “other” books in the last days that will prove that “the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.” These last records, the product of latter-day revelation, “shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away” from the Bible through the centuries, “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. …” (1 Ne. 13:39–40.) (1973 May Ensign)
So, perhaps this is happening now? These are amazing times. These are wicked times, but so much good is happening as well.
To wrap-up: We have two nations witnessing of Christ. We have records being made of our righteousness. We have prophets continuing to give us the word of God.
We have the Book of Mormon as a companion to the Bible. While some may claim this isn't necessary; the Bible contains all the truth, we know that it is an invaluable resource. But we also know that it is good. It isn't always quantifiable, but it is there. We know that it is good. I know that it is good.
How do you know that it is good? I will answer in the comments, but I'd be interested in hearing what about the Book of Mormon is a testament to you of its divinity.