Book of Mormon | Moroni the Man, Pahoran the Propagandist UPDATE: ‘Sword of Justice’
I have one addition to my article Moroni the Man, Pahoran the Propagandist:
In that article, talking about Moroni’s letter to Pahoran, I wrote:
14. then tells them what will be the result of their failure to repent: “Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defence of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you; yea, and it shall fall upon you and visit you even to your utter destruction” (Alma 60:29).
15. reminds them that if they can’t do the job, they shouldn’t be in the position:
“Behold, I wait for assistance from you; and, except ye do administer unto our relief, behold, I come unto you, even in the land of Zarahemla, and smite you with the sword, insomuch that ye can have no more power to impede the progress of this people in the cause of our freedom” (Alma 60:30).
Note that there are two swords here: the sword of justice, and Moroni’s sword. These are not the same! They are two separate but related swords here.
The term “sword of justice” is unique in the LDS scriptures (Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) to the Book of Mormon. Here are all the other times it is used:
“All forms of the words SWORD and JUSTICE in the Scriptures”:
–Alma 26:19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the *sword of his justice* fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?
–Alma 54:6 Behold, I would tell you somewhat concerning the *justice of God, and the sword of his almighty wrath, which doth hang over you* except ye repent and withdraw your armies into your own lands, or the land of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi.
–Helaman 13:5 And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the *sword of justice* hangeth over this people; and four hundred years pass not away save the *sword of justice* falleth upon this people.
–3 Nephi 20:20 And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the *sword of my justice* shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.
–3 Nephi 29:4 And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the *sword of his justice* is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.
–Ether 8:23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the *sword of the justice* of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
–3 Nephi 2:19 And thus ended the fifteenth year, and thus were the people in a state of many afflictions; and the *sword of destruction did hang over them, insomuch that they were about to be smitten down by it*, and this because of their iniquity.
In addition, there is this, written by the record-keeper Moroni, speaking about people in a different time; but note the connection between this and what was happening during the war at the same time that Captain Moroni wrote the epistle to Pahoran and the other Nephite leaders:
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts…unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities…
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
38 … Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?
41 Behold, *the sword of vengeance hangeth over you*; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
Note that *every* use of this phrase “sword of justice” and “sword of vengeance” is prophetic (even the previous one by Captain Moroni), and talks of the sword as being held by God and falling in judgment against people who oppose God/ don’t/ aren’t willing to repent.
Captain Moroni uses this term in his epistle as a prophetic indicator, not as a vain threat or war talk, and not in hypocrisy. It is one more piece of evidence that Moroni is speaking by the authority of God, under direction from the Spirit; and not of himself.
He also explains—afterwards—that should the sword fall, he and his forces will be the physical executioners to fulfill the prophecy.