Oh, what a cliffhanger!
It is hard for me to stop at the end of chapter 8 and not keep going! This is where it is really going to get good, right!?!?
A few things about these chapters--to me they seemed almost to be a concentrated version of everything we have read up to this point regarding the very visible pride cycle. The people are righteous then wicked then righteous then wicked, always compelled by their state of safety or the amount of their riches, and within a surprisingly short period of time. I got nervous for the people when I read the verse in chapter six which reads:
"Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did willfully rebel against God." (3 Nephi 6:18)
Yikes! After reading of all the prophesies and fulfillment of those prophesies up to this point, there is no question what the result of that choice will be. They "yiled themselves unto the power of Satan" (7:5) and are united in hatred (7:11).
United in hatred after they had received "so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls" (3 Nephi 5:20)? Wow. And after they had seen the signs of His birth!
I also recognized something present in our world today-- 6:12
"And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches."
It's no wonder we can't seem to fix this problem--it is thousands of years in the making!
I was surprised in chapter seven when we read about the power Nephi had in preaching to the people:
"And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily." (3 Nephi 7:18)
As for the great destruction that ensues--I am so glad I did not have to be there then! But then again--Christ will come again, and I hope I am prepared for that day! We just had a Sunday school lesson regarding the second coming of Christ, and I have no doubt that it will be just as the scriptures describe: a great day for those who are righteous, and a dreadful day for those who are wicked.