1 Nephi 13: The Restoration and Zion
Nephi sees many nations throughout the world and is told by the Angel that those nations and kingdoms were of the Gentiles;
“…I [Nephi] saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church. And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity… I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.” (1 Nephi 13:4-6) Nephi saw the formation of an evil church, whose founder was the devil. In this church there was gold, silver, silks, scarlets and fine-twined lined and all manner of precious clothing.
Nephi sees that many of the seed of his brethren were divided among the waters and a multitude of them forming in the promised land [America], where they; “…had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations… I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.” (1 Nephi 13:19-20) Nephi had seen the colonizing of America and the scattering of the Gentiles!
Nephi also beheld a book that was carried with them into the Promised Land; the Angel asked him if he knew that this book was, and Nephi responded that he did not. The Angel explains; “…Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew… a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 13:23) This book that is being referred is the Bible, more specifically the Old Testament of the Bible which was written in part by the Jews. The Angel explains to Nephi that at the time this Book “…contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record…” (1 Nephi 13:24) However, the Bible was continued with the New Testament which included more of God’s word and at the time of its completion was also considered the ‘fulness of the Gospel’. In this sense the Book of Mormon only adds to the value of the Old and New Testaments the same was the New Testament adds value to the Old Testament.
The Angel explains that after Jesus Christ formed His Church and called Apostles the church fell apart upon the death of Jesus Christ. From this point the great and abominable church was formed and from them; “…they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…. all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God…. after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles… even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—…because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” (1 Nephi 13:27-29)
After Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, the Apostles he had called attempted to hold the church together, but even they were eventually persecuted and killed. With TRUE Authority gone from the earth the Church, its scripture and gospel were perverted. Elder M. Russell Ballard [An Apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] explained it well;
“It’s no wonder, then, that the thousand year period known as the Middle Ages wasn’t exactly the best of times for Christianity. The name of the Lord was invoked upon all manner of horrifying campaigns, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, leaving a bloody trail of death, persecution, and destruction. Christ’s central teachings of faith, hope, charity, and tolerance seemed lost upon zealots who were absolutely determined that ‘every knee shall bow’ one way or another.”
Many wonderful men tried to bring those lost gospel truths to the light of the people, however with so many truths lost, many argued over who was right and as a result we see the formation of many churches throughout the world. It is also no wonder that this ‘great and abominable church’ was that of the Catholic Church. William Tyndale, a man who desired to have the scriptures in the hand of the common man, had an argument with a ‘learned’ clergy man, who said; “We had better be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” Tyndale responded: “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!
The Angel continues to speak to Nephi and explains that God will be merciful unto the Gentiles;
“…I [God] will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious….” (1 Nephi 13:34) The Lord will command prophets in the Americas to write his Gospel, that it might not be perverted from the writings of the Bible in the ‘Old World’.
Nephi sees the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the coming forth of Zion in the Last Days, the Great Apostasy being unfolded and the coming forth of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sacred writings of God. The Angel of the Lord explains to Nephi that both books must come forth to reveal the truths that had been lost and to help guide people to their Savior Jesus Christ;
“…These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:40) Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible will help people come unto their Savior. The Angel explains to Nephi that in the Last Days the Book of Mormon and the Bible shall be established as one;
“…wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.” (1 Nephi 13:41)