The year is some time between 559 and 545 BC, and Nephi's life is coming to a close. These last few chapters of 2nd Nephi (28 thru 33) contain Nephi's final teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ before he passes the leadership of the Nephites on to his little brother, Jacob.
Remember Jacob? He's that little fellow on the bottom left with the Schwarzenegger arms. If the above picture was taken in approx 592 BC (they left Jerusalem in 600 BC and wandered around for 8 years before building their boat), in 545BC Nephi is right close to 70 years old or there abouts. Seems like a young age to be at the end of your life, but remember, Nephi had just completed teaching his last of many Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi 27, and that could wear anyone out.
But as my good friend Matt always says when he does his impression of our other good friend Doug, aaaat any rate.
In 2nd Nephi 28, Nephi discusses Precepts. Precepts are..., well, they're..., uh...
I don't really dig Google's definition of precept, it seems a little weak. But look at the synonyms below: Principle, Rule, Tenet, Canon, Doctrine, Command, Order, Decree... That I can dig.
Nephi talks about 2 different kinds of precepts: The precepts of Jesus Christ and the precepts of men. One of these is true (can you guess which one?). About the other, Nephi describes them with words like: FALSE, VAIN & FOOLISH.
Let's take a look at some foolish doctrine...
2 Ne 28: 5-6
5. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precpet; for behold there is no God today, for The Lord and The Redeemer hath done His work, and He hath given His power unto men;
6. Behold, hearken ye unto My precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the Hand of The Lord, believe it not; for this day He is not a God of miracles; He hath done His work.
And, how about this gem:
8. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God -He will justify in committing a little sin, yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the Kingdom of God.
And my all-time favorite from he who must not be named:
22. .... I am no devil, for there is none...Anyone who believes that bunch of horse wallop raise your hand...
The wise prophet Nephi says,
9. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from The Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
30. For behold, thus saith The Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto My precepts, and lend an ear unto My counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
32. Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith The Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny Me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith The Lord God, if they will repent and come unto Me; for Mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith The Lord God of Hosts.
"Precept upon precept; here a little and there a little."
With the Savior's help, bit by bit, step by step, decade by decade, The Lord's living water will distil upon our souls like the dews from heaven D&C 121: 45).
"For Mine arm is lengthened out all the day long."
Peace be with you....