After 12 chapters of Isaiah and Nephi's depressing comments on priestcrafts, apostasy, and the destruction of the wicked, 2 Nephi 31 practically sparkles. It reads like a rousing frontier revival sermon preached by Nephi in 550 BC, urging the faithful listener or reader to commit themselves to baptism. Yes, there are chronology problems with this setting, but let's stress the positive today. He begins in 31:5:
And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!He continues, rather oddly in the past tense, in 31:8-9:
Wherefore, after [Jesus] was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.He then covers repentance, baptism by water, and "a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost" (31:17). I assume that's literal water and figurative fire. He closes with a beautiful challenge to continued faith and striving (31:20, slight edits):
And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
Press forward with steadfastness in Christ,
having perfect brightness of hope and love of God and all men.
Wherefore, press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and enduring to the end,
and behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.