Monday, March 14, 2022

Destruction, Part 3: Four Hundred Years Passeth Not Away...

For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men, a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other, either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds, unto their being brought down into captivity and also unto destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the Devil of which I have spoken.

—1 Nephi 3:26, RE

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Imagine this scenario: You’re a prophet that has seen in vision the final winding up scenes of this creation, the coming destruction of the wicked, the deliverance of the righteous, and frankly the end of the world. It saddens and sickens you to see the coming suffering, terror, sorrow and fear, yet you also know the way of escape for those who are willing to receive it. With all your heart you yearn to warn future believers of what is coming. You’ve even obtained a promise that what you write will be made available to the world in the last days, which means you have a real chance to make a difference. There’s really just one restriction; you’re not allowed to directly tell these future people any details about what’s going to happen. 

Oh sure, you can speak in generalities, but specific dates, times, places, people and events are off limits. What do you write?

The Book of Mormon is many things, but perhaps most delightfully, it is a masterpiece in prophetic creativity. “What is prophetic creativity” you ask? Well it’s a term I made up just now to refer to the brilliant efforts of the various Book of Mormon writers to reveal what we need to know while also concealing what they were not allowed to reveal. 


Let’s take Nephi as an example. If you look at 1 Nephi Chapter 3 in the Restoration Edition scriptures, you’ll learn that Nephi heard his Father Lehi’s vision and desired to see what his father saw. He took the necessary steps to qualify for this blessing, and ultimately saw much more than we’re told about in Lehi’s recounting. He frankly saw the entire future of this creation until the end, including the ministry of Christ, the great apostasy, the persecution of gospel believers, the apostate church tampering with scripture, the destruction of his posterity by the Lamanites, the scattering and destruction of the Lamanites by invading gentiles, the restoration of the gospel among the gentiles, the end of the times of the gentiles, the gathering of Israel, the destruction of the wicked and the return of the Lord. Nephi told us all he could about his vision, but then stopped short and informed us that the remainder of the vision was not his to write. That work was reserved for John, and has come to us in the book of Revelation. 

And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth. And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying, Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots, and behold, thou seest all these things. And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots — which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose foundation is the Devil — then at that day the work of the Father shall commence in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.

And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying, Look. And I looked and beheld a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and the angel said unto me, Behold one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Behold, he shall see and write the remainder of these things, yea, and also many things which have been; and he shall also write concerning the end of the world…And behold, the things which this apostle of the Lamb shall write are many things which thou hast seen; and behold, the remainder shalt thou see. But the things which thou shalt see hereafter thou shalt not write, for the Lord God hath ordained the apostle of the Lamb of God that he should write them…And I, Nephi, heard and bear record that the name of the apostle of the Lamb was John, according to the word of the angel. (1 Nephi 3:29-31 RE)


Nephi was a creative and inspired soul, and though he was forbidden to directly write about the end of the world, he was not forbidden to expound existing scripture. So he adopted the words of Isaiah, and used those writings to reveal much about the last days events, players, issues, problems and solutions to those who have eyes to see. He yearned for us to understand what is coming, though he couldn’t tell us directly. (For much more on this topic, see Nephi’s Isaiah by Denver Snuffer.)

Nephi’s brother Jacob did much the same thing, but he used the words of Zenos to provide big-picture information about the Lord’s purposes and efforts to gather redeemed souls into his family before the end. The allegory of the olive tree is the most sweeping, direct and all-encompassing statement of the Lord’s purposes and efforts in the last days, or the days we are now witnessing. Unable to directly prophesy of these days, he craftily said the following:

And now behold, my brethren, as I said unto you that I would prophesy, behold, this is my prophecy, that the things which this prophet Zenos spake concerning the house of Israel, in the which he likened them unto a tame olive tree, must surely come to pass. And in the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard. And after that, the end soon cometh. (Jacob 4:1 RE)

(Pro tip: that “day when the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people” is now. Today. It’s happening before our eyes.)

Christ gave the most masterful sermon ever recorded (or that we currently have access to anyhow) and used the words of Isaiah, Micah and Moses to convey information about the last days’ marvelous work and gathering of Israel. He concluded with a command that his sermon be recorded so it could be received by the last-days gentiles who would witness the end:

Write the things which I have told you, and, according to the time and the will of the Father, they shall go forth unto the gentiles. And whosoever will hearken unto my words, and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things. (3 Nephi 10:4 RE)

Moroni used the record of the Jaredites (the book of Ether) to convey information about the issues, players, actions and motivations that would lead to our destruction, taking occasion to specifically warn us against them. 

Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you — which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the eternal God shall fall upon you to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you, that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation because of this secret combination which shall be among you; (Ether 3:18 RE)

Mormon, who assembled the record and wrote more than anyone else, did something equally brilliant: rather than quoting ancient prophets, he instead used events from Nephite history to weave a prophetic picture of our day. Have you ever wondered why some parts of Nephite history are glossed over, with just a few sentences to cover decades or centuries, then other events are given in such detail that a matter of days may consume many chapters? It’s not random and it’s not sloppy. Mormon was an ingenious, inspired, exceptional prophet masquerading as a historian. He assembled the record with absolute intent, great care and pinpoint accuracy. He did not write a history; he, like the other prophet-writers of the Book of Mormon, wrote a prophecy. It’s about us and about our day, labored over, crafted in love and given in absolute desire to save us from what’s coming. It’s time we understood it.

Because the Book of Mormon is more prophecy than history, and because there are so many messages encoded in what’s recorded, uncovering and discussing them all is the work of a lifetime. But for our purposes today, in the context of this blog series, I’d like to focus on one specific, identical warning hidden by both Nephi and Mormon for us to discover. 


I’m indebted to Don Bradley and his excellent book, The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Book of Mormon’s Missing Stories who pointed out the pattern we’ll now discuss. (As an aside, this book really is a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.)

We’ll call the pattern 1-200-320-400. I know, it’s not a very catchy name, but it’s accurate. Here’s how it works: Through two phases of Nephite civilization, one before Christ and one after, we see a pattern of parallel events at years 1, 200, 320 and 400. Here’s a quick outline:

Year 1: The foundation of the civilization is laid when a prophetic messenger departs his current dwelling place, guided by the spirit and bound for a promised land. The departure leads to an ocean crossing, establishment of a colony, and restoration of truth. There follows a period of increasing light, truth, safety and prosperity for the society. 

Year 200: The civilization reaches its zenith of prosperity, truth and righteousness. This is an inflection point at which decline begins.

Year 320: A watershed event takes place to increase the pace of decline and ensure destruction.

Year 400: Some remnant of the righteous flee to safety and the wicked and unfaithful are swept off. 

So with that outline in mind, let’s look at the specifics of the pattern at the two ends of Nephite Civilization. The first begins with Nephi’s departure from Jeruaslem, and the second begins with the birth of Christ:

Year 1: Departure

Nephi

Nephi and his family flee Jerusalem under the guidance of the spirit. They cross the great deep and arrive at the promised land. Truth is restored, a new settlement is established, and a kingdom is created.

Christ

Christ leaves the sacred realms above, crosses the great deep, and arrives here, conceived by the Holy Ghost and born in the Israelite promised land. His teachings restore truth, establish a colony of believers, and lay the foundation of his kingdom. He is cast out of Jerusalem at his death. 

Year 200: Zenith of Civilization, Beginning of Decline

Nephi

And now behold, two hundred years had passed away and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land. They observed to keep the law of Moses and the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord…Wherefore, we withstood the Lamanites and swept them away out of our lands…And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceeding rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things…And it came to pass that the prophets of the Lord did threaten the people of Nephi, according to the word of God, that if they did not keep the commandments, but should fall into transgression, they should be destroyed from off the face of the land.(Jarom 1:3-5 RE)

Christ

And it came to pass that two hundred years had passed away…the people had multiplied insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceeding rich because of their prosperity in Christ. And now in this two hundred and first year, there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride… and they began to be divided into classes. And they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain…(4 Nephi 1:4-5 RE)

Year 320: Watershed Event that Hastens the Decline

Nephi

…three hundred and twenty years had passed away; and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed…Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous, that they should not perish, but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. (Omni 1:3 RE)

Christ

…when three hundred and twenty years had passed away, Ammaron, being constrained by the holy ghost, did hide up the records which were sacred…And he did hide them up unto the Lord, that they might come again unto the remnant of the house of Jacob according to the prophecies and the promises of the Lord. And thus is the end of the record of Ammaron. (4 Nephi 1:9 RE)

And it came to pass in this year [321], there began to be a war between…the Nephites and the Lamanites…And it came to pass that the war began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla by the waters of Sidon. (Mormon 1:3 RE) 

Year 400: Wicked Swept Off while a Righteous Remnant Flees

Nephi

Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla. For behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi — and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him into the wilderness (Omni 1:6 RE)

(Note that Mosiah’s remnant fled ahead of the complete Nephite destruction. When Zeniff returned to possess the land of Nephi, no Nephites remained, and Lamanites possessed the city and land of Nephi. The only Nephites still identified were those who had fled with Mosiah and joined the people of Zarahemla.)

Christ

Behold…, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed, and my father also was killed by them. And I, even I, remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people…Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior. And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down, from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall. Yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. (Mormon 4:1 RE)

As you can see from the above comparison, this very distinctive pattern occurs in very much the same way for the society established by Nephi and the one established by Christ among the Nephites. Obviously there are myriad differences along the way, but the major signposts hold. Both Mormon and Nephi put the signposts there intentionally and called out the specific years and their corresponding events because they’re trying to send us a message. They expect us to look at the 1-200-320-400 pattern and liken it unto ourselves. 

Answers

In my previous post I closed with the following three questions regarding Roger Williams, the “man among the gentiles” in Nephi’s vision:

  • Why was he shown to Nephi? 
  • Why does it matter that we understand who Nephi saw? 
  • And how might this all play into the topic of destruction?

It’s time for some answers.

Why was he shown to Nephi? 

Simply put, he was a signpost, put there in the vision and recorded in Nephi because we needed to know where to start counting our own cycle. (There are other important reasons as well, which we’ll get to later, but for today, this is what we need to know.)

Why does it matter that we understand who Nephi saw? 

Because placing the correct representative in the correct place in the timeline calibrates everything else and gives us the thundering warning we desperately need. 

And how might this all play into the topic of destruction?

Because that’s how the pattern ends. Always. It will end this way in our current cycle as well. The point of revealing the pattern is to awaken us to how little time we have left.

So let’s apply the pattern using Roger Williams as founder and see if it holds.

Year 1 [1630]: Departure

Williams departed England in December, 1630, under the direction of the spirit. He crossed the great deep, arrived at the promised land, was cast out of Salem (namesake of Jerusalem) and fled for his safety, he founded a colony, taught truth, established a free government and instigated an era of equality, freedom and prosperity. As I mentioned in the last post, more than any other, he founded America.

Year 200 [1830]: Zenith and Inflection Point

200 years after Roger Williams left England, the Book of Mormon was published—an event so marvelous and miraculous from heaven’s perspective that all else in gentile history pales in comparison. The record prepared and preserved for thousands of years to usher in the Father’s last days’ work and gather scattered Israel burst on the scene and changed the world forever. 

Of course, this is also the year an official church was established according to the laws of government, providing jealous and aspiring men the motivation and opportunity to take control and capture souls. Within just over two years, the new church was condemned by God precisely because of how they treated the Book of Mormon (see T&C 82:20). Inflection point indeed. 

Year 320 [1950]: Watershed

All the following took place in 1950:

  • The Korean War began when North Korea invaded South Korea in June. The U.S. rapidly jumped in and stayed there for 3 years, spending $30 billion and 54,000 U.S. lives. The death toll for the war was 3 million including military deaths on both sides and civilian deaths, which were greater than military deaths. This war is technically still ongoing, with a ceasefire but no formal end or resolution to the conflict. Korea has remained divided and the U.S. thirst for war has continued unabated ever since.
  • The first credit cards were issued, ushering in the era debt-fueled consumerism. Trivia: the first credit card issuer was Diner’s Club.
  • President Harry Truman sent U.S. military forces to Vietnam to aid French forces, ushering in another foreign war disaster for the U.S. The Vietnam war ultimately persisted for 20 years, costing some 1.3 million lives.
  • The NSC-68 report to President Truman recommended aggressive U.S. military expansion to counter the Soviets, ushering in the Cold War, which has waxed and waned, but remained in some form ever since. As of today, it threatens to erupt into World War III.
  • Albert Einstein spoke out about the U.S. development of the Hydrogen bomb. “If successful,” Einstein warned, “radioactive poisoning of the atmosphere, hence the annihilation of any life on earth, has been brought within the range of technical possibilities.” In response, the FBI ordered a full domestic intelligence report on Einstein and the INS began a five-year examination of the possibility of deporting him. (Incidentally, Einstein in 1948 wrote to the Polish ambassador: “I suppose you must realize by now that the U.S. is no longer a free country, that undoubtedly our conversation is being recorded. The room is wired, and my house is closely watched.”)
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy announced that “I have here in my hand a list of 205” known Communists working for the State Department, which slammed the Red Scare into high gear. Whether McCarthy was correct or not, Communism remains an existential threat to the world.

The above items, all from year 320 since Roger Williams [1950], demonstrate the sprouting seeds of economic, military and social destruction, now bearing fruit in our day. The U.S. has increasingly become proud, warlike, and economically irresponsible since that watershed year.

Year 400 [2030]: Swept Off

I’m sure you’ve already done the math—400 years from the Roger Williams signpost will be the year 2030. I’m only noting that year here to spur some thought. I’m not making any predictions or claims about 2030 or any other date. I’m simply pointing out a pattern that shows we are at the end of the line. Our time is nearly up, but there’s a lot more to the process of destruction that we need to unpack before we can even consider grappling with what the next 8 years may hold. 

Making Predictions?

I realize it’s foolish to make specific claims about dates, places and events, and I have no intention of doing so. In fact, there’s no way I would even consider writing about this topic were it not for a string of unmistakable events leading me to this point and urging me on. The Book of Mormon contains this pattern for a reason. It is specific about dates, and in his note about the “man among the gentiles” Nephi gave us an equally specific event to use as a sign post for our calendar. As I mentioned before, there’s no other reason to even mention the man. He doesn’t play into the rest of the narrative. He’s not necessary to the story. He was put there so we would ask questions. 

I did ask, and the result of my inquiry is this series.

OK, to summarize then, the 1-200-320-400 pattern is specifically shown in the Book of Mormon, not because we need to know something about the Nephites’ days, but because we need to know something about our own. Using Roger Williams’ flight from England as the starting point yields a match to our history and a dire warning to the latter-day gentiles as well as to the covenant people. Time is short, but realizing such should not lead to panic. Rather it should lead to earnest preparation for what clearly lies ahead. How might such knowledge benefit us, what should we expect, and what must we do? Why would prophets who all saw our day provide this information for us, and what do they expect us to do with it? 

Again, let me reiterate, I’m not assigning a particular date or timeline to anything in the future; I’m simply pointing out that the 400-year-cycle demonstrated so clearly in the Book of Mormon fits our current situation and is nearly at an end.

We still have much ground to cover concerning decline, destruction, turning points and hope. We also need to complete our discussion of Roger Williams, who yet has more to teach us. 

Stay tuned. 


And behold, he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people. And four hundred years passeth not away save the sword of justice falleth upon this people, yea, heavy destruction awaiteth this people, and it surely cometh unto this people. And nothing can save this people, save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things, and shall be slain for his people. And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings...

—Helaman 5:2 RE

8 comments:

  1. I'm surprised, Adrian, you didn't mention Agenda 2030, as in the Great Reset, that is being crammed down our throats, like it or not.

    The Gadianton Agenda 2030 fits the timeline you've mentioned to a T! And you know the oath-taking Gadiantons didn't just randomly pick that year!


    And of course back circa 1950 the loving, Gadianton United Nations, got its start, and as you noted, the first item on its agenda was to start a war with Korea and then prepare for the next "domino" of Vietnam.

    As far as timelines (I agree with you), to me, it's a futile endeavor to try to pin things down date-wise. I think the BoM without entertaining any dates or timeline patterns is of priceless value because of the typology of the recorded events. Some things occur in our times more than once, and some are one-time events. But of all the stuff that COULD be written, only certain things were recorded "for a wise purpose".

    But overall, to me, the record's contents are a prophecy. I always bristle when hearing it tritely described as a "history" book of the ancient inhabitants of this land. No, it's a prophecy of our day. And if it's that, then it's PRICELESS. Layers of prophecy upon layers, a sealed book until we unlock it by revelation, when the greater things will be given once we break our veil of unbelief. (Ether 1:19 RE)

    "Come unto me, O ye gentiles, and I will shew unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you because of unbelief. Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you — yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name with a broken heart and a contrite spirit — then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed."

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    Replies
    1. Well put, Underdog2. Alarming on all levels if we have eyes to see.

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    2. I was going to comment, but Underdog2 said it well enough. Great post! Makes sense.

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  2. Great (and dreadful) post. Well put comments. Lots more could (and probably will) be noted about the timing here, including that the 2030 date follows seven years behind the second in the pair of "Great (and Dreadful) American Eclipses." For those looking at Don Bradley's book, Adrian's referring to the discussion in Chapter 12 "The Lost Middle Period". 200 years of ascent, 200 years of decline. Stunning re-application of the pattern he noted. And the Heavens only allow for the punchline of Don Bradley's discussion to be given on an obscure blog on the interwebs, ironically available for the entire world to consider were any to look for it.

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  3. Could not all this fit with William Bradshaw and the Mayflower in 1620? And then 1820 for the First Vision. And then WWII And then 2020? Something to consider.

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  4. Matthew 11:10 in the RE edition state::

    "Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When its branches are yet tender and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is near at hand. So likewise, my elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors. But of that day and hour no one knows — no, not the angels of God in Heaven, but my Father only."

    Two things: In this passage, THESE THINGS, is talking about the tribulations that are referenced that culminate into fleeing into the wilderness. It's AFTER that, I believe, that this passage is referencing about the Coming in Glory.

    Thus, I see no reason to preclude that the scriptures can't predict the time when the remnant will flee into the wilderness, and when Zion will come . Of course, it is likely couched in some way that those that have eyes to see and ears to hear will both see and hear and understand.

    Furthermore, I've always concluded that not knowing the day or hour doesn't mean the month or year.

    In all, because it is hidden and not plain, I think there are some mysteries here that will not be totally known until after they happen. Thus, while it's good to find theories about when THESE THINGS will occur, we should never hang our hats on them, waiting in fear for callouts to happen on a certain day. We should be prepared so that when the call will come, we can heed it in a timely fashion.

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  5. Adrian,

    Many paintings of Christ's birth show a star that looks like it has light spraying down to the earth. When I first saw the Hale Bopp comet, I thought it looked like a star that had its top cut off and was spraying light into the sky.

    I thought that maybe that comet was marking the birth of a prophet. 2027 is 30 years later.

    I have a low confidence internal bet that 2027 will start his ministry. 2030 would be 3 years into that ministry.

    Again, I don't have much confidence in my perspective on this.

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  6. Fabulous Adrian, Ii loved that Columbus is replaced with righteous Roger Williams. He truly loved the Indians and did right by them. A truly remarkable pioneer! Dinah

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