And now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed.
For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.
I’ve mentioned before that a key theme of the Book of Mormon – including 2 Nephi 25-30 – is the restoration of Israel and conversely judgment upon the Gentiles who have oppressed them. Yet these verses help correct any misapprehension we may have of that: Israel will be restored, collectively. On an individual scale, however, it is personal repentance and faith that make the difference. We will not be saved based on who our ancestors were, nor on what our nationality is, nor on nominal membership of the Church; we cannot be complacent and think everything is okay because we belong to the “right” group. We are all going to be held accountable, for God is just. Likewise He mercifully extends his salvation to all, on the same conditions.
A significant part of this chapter starts quoting, without citation markers from Isaiah 11 (quoted earlier explicitly in 2 Nephi 21). Yet we see here how it all ties in, both with what Nephi is saying in this chapter and in capping what has been taught in previous chapters. Thus after speaking of God restoring Israel and beginning his work, Nephi moves onto quoting – with some interpolations – those parts of Isaiah 11 speaking of the Lord coming in judgment, and then the paradisical state of the millennium (2 Nephi 30:9-14//Isaiah 11:4-8). And then he continues by quoting Isaiah 11:9, which is likewise speaking of this paradise:
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.
There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.
Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings.
(2 Nephi 30:15-18)
Notice how verse 15 (quoting Isaiah 11:9) introduces this idea that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord”, and then Nephi riffs on that theme: thus all things shall be made known, all secrets shall be revealed, and all things which have been revealed will be revealed. In 2 Nephi 25-30 generally, there’s been this thread of knowledge, and a tension between the learning of men and the knowledge that comes from revelation from God. Thus Isaiah is difficult to understand, but plain to those filled with the spirit of prophecy. There is the sealed book that the learned man cannot read, but which the unlearned can by the will of God. Then there’s been the problem of men relying on their own learning, and teaching it as doctrine, rather than the knowledge that comes through the Holy Ghost. Here, however, he points to this promised paradise as being an age in which revealed knowledge will fill the earth, in which all things can and will be made known, and which will be so freely available it is compared to the oceans. If mankind rejecting revelation and relying on their own learning has been amongst the causes of the spiritual ills besetting the last days, one of the conditions of the millennial age is that revealed knowledge will flow like water.