2 Nephi 9:3 — Rejoice now, because later generations are redeemed?

We had a nice study group last Friday on 2 Nephi 9:3. My interest was on the Abrahamic Covenant, which was mentioned in verse 1. The verse didn’t seem odd to me because a lot of Nephi’s writings or compilations have to do with this same theme: our future posterity will be redeemed because of the Abrahamic Covenant. In fact the very title page talks about how the Book of Mormon lets the future Lamanites know that they are not cut off forever because of the covenants of the Lord. So even Mormon and Moroni are thinking about this.

But, most of the discussion revolved around the question: can you make someone feel better now by telling them that something good will happen in the future?  They were relating it to ways we try to comfort people by telling them their problems will all be fixed in the resurrection. Does that work? they asked. (They general consensus was no, it doesn’t.)

In the end, I kinda liked some combination of our discussion and the focus on the Abrahamic Covenant. What if we read verses 1-3 as saying something like this:

In the future, your family (your very descendants) will be redeemed and enjoy the blessings Isaiah describes of Zion and prosperity. In addition, remember that God has spoken through his prophets from the beginning of the world, and most especially to the house of Israel. Thus, you find yourselves in the middle of a story. God has spoken comfort to your family before, in generations past, by establishing covenants. And you have the promise now that your future family will be redeemed because of those same covenants. Therefore you, right now, are still covenant Israel. You have left Jerusalem but you are still a holy people. We have been divided into Lamanites and Nephites, but we are still a covenant family. Take the future redemption as a sign that you are still a holy people, right now. And live in light of that fact. That huge cool experience in the future won’t happen to you, true, but take it as a sign that God is watching over you now. And let that cause you to rejoice!

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