Viewpoint: Do Your Part in This “Marvelous Work”
Contributed By the Church News
With help from the resources given us, may we all determine how we as individuals and in our families and leadership responsibilities do our part in this ‘“marvelous work.”
While being “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord,” the prophet Nephi was shown in vision a grand panorama pertaining to the latter days (see 1 Nephi 14).
Among other things, Nephi beheld the destiny of the Gentiles, or the nations of the earth, and that the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, would manifest Himself to them in word and power. Nephi saw that if they did not harden their hearts, they would be numbered among the house of Israel to bear the responsibilities and enjoy the blessings attendant to being the covenant people of God.
Nephi beheld further that the “devil and his children,” characterized as the “great and abominable church” would go far and wide to lead captive those who subject themselves to him, but that “if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them” (verse 5).
The time would come, Nephi was told, that the Lamb of God would perform “a great and marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other,” leading them either to peace and eternal life or delivering them to the consequences of their own hard-heartedness: temporal and spiritual captivity (see verse 7).
Nephi was shown that the church of the Lamb of God would be “upon all the face of the earth” but that its dominions would be small, its numbers relatively few, by reason of “the wickedness and abominations” of the devil and his followers (see verse 12).
Nevertheless, the Saints of the church of the Lamb of God would be “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (see verse 14).
Nephi was given to understand that “one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb,” namely, the Apostle John, would be shown in vision many things that Nephi had seen, that Nephi would be permitted to record only a portion of the vision (see verses 18-26) and it would fall to John to write the remainder, which would be conveyed to the world in what we now have as the book of Revelation in the New Testament.
Thus, 1 Nephi 14 and the book of Revelation complement each other and ought to be studied and considered in tandem. Taken together, they provide assurance of the ultimate triumph of the Son of God and His righteousness, even though things might at times appear bleak from a limited, temporal perspective because of the pervasiveness of evil and wickedness in the world.
We today are blessed and privileged, not only to witness but also to take part in the fulfillment of the prophecies given to us by Nephi and John.
Beginning with the visit of the Father and Son to the 14-year-old Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820, and with the subsequent restoration of priesthood authority and keys, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the unfolding of foundational revelations, doctrines, and ordinances and the organization of the Church in 1830, the “great and marvelous work” Nephi learned of in his vision has begun.
“Now behold a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men,” the Lord declared at the dawn of this gospel dispensation. “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work” (D&C 4:1-3).
Since that time, the “marvelous work” has progressed, often opposed but never halted, until the church of the Lamb of God is indeed over much of the face of the earth, consistent with Nephi’s vision. It is anchored by stakes of Zion in which increasing numbers of the membership of the Church have convenient access to temples of God.
The historic developments of October 2012—adjustment in the ages of eligibility for missionary service by young men and women and changes to youth curriculum—led to an immediate boost in the number of faithful young people ready and willing to serve the Lord. This has benefited and given greater momentum to all aspects of the work of God, bringing to mind the Lord’s declaration to the early leaders of the Church:
“Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” (D&C 88:73).
In keeping with a longstanding tradition, much of the year-end articles of the Church News this coming week are devoted to a specific gospel theme. That theme this year is “hastening the Lord’s work of salvation,” carrying forward an emphasis that began in 2012 and continued in 2013, focusing mainly on the participation of youth in various aspects of the work of salvation. This year’s articles are more generally focused on the membership of the Church.
Articles pertain to what the Brethren have designated as our divinely appointed responsibilities: helping members live the gospel of Christ; gathering Israel through missionary, family history, and temple work; caring for the poor and needy; and enabling the salvation of the dead by building temples and performing vicarious ordinances.
In connection with this, the Church News was involved in a recent roundtable discussion with executive directors of Church departments regarding the work of salvation as defined in the Church’s Handbook 2, chapter 5: member missionary work; convert retention; activation of the less active; family history and temple work; and teaching and learning. Comments from the executive directors are reported in one of the upcoming articles.
Readers are also invited to review the Church website “Hastening the Work of Salvation: A Unified Effort in Conversion, Retention, and Activation.”
With help from the resources given us, may we all determine how we as individuals and in our families and leadership responsibilities do our part in this “marvelous work.”