“Come Unto Me All Ye Ends of the Earth”

Brant Gardner

This verse follows the declaration that “God worketh not in darkness.” It is a contrast, not a continuation of the theme, linked to the previous thought by an implied conjunction: “God worketh not in darkness, but rather he doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world.” Although Nephi has, to this point, simply stated Christ’s love for the world, the next phrase reverses the positive declaration, making a negation. The statement of what the Messiah does is followed by a statement of what he does not do. He does not command anyone “that they shall not partake of his salvation.” It seems unnecessarily convoluted. Why doesn’t Nephi state positively that Yahweh commands all to partake in his salvation?

As I read this passage, the literary reason is that Nephi is emphasizing something that should not be done, here and in the following verses. I suggest that Nephi understands that this negation has been done—perhaps only prophetically, but perhaps in his own history. Given the context of the secret combinations, Nephi is arguing against secret gospels, doctrines, or societies. He is arguing against either a philosophy or a community that would exclude and condemn those who did not have the “secrets” of the community. Given Jacob’s warnings about secret combinations in 2 Nephi 9:9, Nephi’s New World experience may be directly relevant to the dangers of these secret combinations.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2