1 Nephi 15

1 Nephi 15: Nephi and the Tree of Life

                After having seen these visions, Nephi returns to the tent of his father Lehi, where he finds his brothers arguing over what their father had seen in his visions. Nephi explains that Lehi had seen visions that “…were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord…” (1 Nephi 15:4) Essentially Nephi is saying that those things Lehi spoke of were not easily understood without the inquiring of the Lord to have a deeper understanding. In other words, in order to understand the words of Lehi one must have the Spirit of the Lord.

Nephi was saddened because of the destruction he saw in his visions, nevertheless he desired to know why his own brothers were fighting against their father. They explain to Nephi; “…Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 15:7) Nephi asks them if they had inquired of the Lord to know of its meanings, and they explained that they had NOT inquired of the Lord. Nephi asks his brothers; “Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.” (1 Nephi 15:11) Nephi knew that if you asked the Lord in FAITH, He would answer your prayers.

Regardless of the hardness of their hearts, Nephi explains the meaning behind the branches of the Olive Tree; “…now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed— And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.” (1 Nephi 12-14) In other words, the seed of Nephi and his brothers will become the Gentiles in the Americas who will eventually come to the knowledge of their divine inheritance, that they shall be grafted into the Olive Tree in Israel. They will become the covenant people of the Lord!

Nephi explains to his brothers that the Jews will also be restored and shall no more be confounded or scattered among the land. Nephi’s brothers then ask for a meaning of the Tree of Life, which Lehi and now Nephi had seen.

The Tree of Life

 

“And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15:24) Nephi urges them to give heed unto the words of the Lord that they might keep His commandments and shall overcome the adversary.

25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.

“And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw? And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.” (1 Nephi 15:27) Nephi explains that this river of water was an awful gulf, that separated the wicked from the tree of life… it was a representation of Hell.

Nephi explains to his brothers that this vision is meant to be both temporal and spiritual, for if someone were to die in their wickedness they would be judged of their works. No unclean thing can enter into the presence of the Lord. Therefore, those who die in filthiness will remain in filthiness and shall be given their just reward.

1 Nephi 14:

1 Nephi 14: Two Churches – The Church of God and the Church of the Devil

“….if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power… unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—…they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” (1 Nephi 14:1-2)

                In other words, if the Gentiles follow the Lord and do not harden their hearts against Him, they shall have stumbling blocks before them removed and they shall be numbered among the house of Israel in the Last Days and shall remain in the Promised Land forever.

The Angel shows Nephi more visions;

“…it came to pass that he [the Angel] said unto me [Nephi]: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (1 Nephi 14:9-10) Nephi saw that there could only be one Church of God, those who do not belong to that Church belong to the Church of Satan. Nephi is shown more of the vision of this Great and Abominable Church; “….I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.” (1 Nephi 14:11-12) Nephi saw that the Great and Abominable Church was strong in power and people and spread throughout the world. Nephi also saw the True Church of God upon the face of the earth, however its numbers were few. Nephi sees that Satan teams up to attack the True Church of the Lamb.

Nephi sees that there appear wars and rumors of wars throughout the land and that because of this great and abominable church, war was also declared among the Saints of the True Church of the Lamb. “…when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.” (1 Nephi 14:17) In the Last Days the Lord will deliver His people and will prepare a way for those who desire to join his church and fulfill their covenants with Him.

The Angel of the Lord commands Nephi to look, and Nephi looks. He sees one of the Twelve Apostles and is told that one of the Twelve would finish writing what he had seen in a book [the Bible] and shall also write regarding the End of the World and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Angel of the Lord speaks to Nephi; “…the things which he shall write are just and true; and behold they are written in the book[The Bible – New Testament]  which thou beheld proceeding out of the mouth of the Jew; and at the time they proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, or, at the time the book proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, the things which were written were plain and pure, and most precious and easy to the understanding of all men.” (1 Nephi 14:23) Here it makes sense why the Book of Mormon was needed. At the time of this Vision the Bible (which was still being written) was just a pure, and easy for the understanding of men. However, with time these things became perverted by evil men who desired to change the Word of God. Therefore, throughout the ages the Bible had been changed and parts of the book were also lost. Therefore the Book of Mormon would come forth in the last days to be a companion to the Bible, in order that we might understand more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi 13

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)

Apostasy

                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)

1 Nephi 12

1 Nephi 12: The Loathsome and Filthy

                Nephi sees another vision;

“…I looked and beheld the land of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea… I beheld multitudes gathered together to battle, one against the other; and I beheld wars, and rumors of wars, and great slaughters with the sword among my people.” (1 Nephi 12:2)

Nephi saw many generations pass away because of these wars, he also saw a mist of darkness upon the face of the land of promise. Nephi explains; “…I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises; and I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up; and I saw many cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth, because of the quaking thereof.” (1 Nephi 12:4) After seeing this great destruction, Nephi beheld a vapor of darkness go before the world which was like unto a mist that was a representation of the; “…temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.” (1 Nephi 12:17)

The Angel explains that the Large and Spacious building which Lehi and Nephi had now both seen in visions was the; “…vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them…” (1 Nephi 12:18) However, the Love of God is strong, because he sent his Only Begotten Son to Atone for the sins of the world, Nephi saw; “…the heavens open, and the Lamb of God descending out of heaven; and he came down and showed himself unto them… I also saw and bear record that the Holy Ghost fell upon twelve others; and they were ordained of God, and chosen.” (1 Nephi 12:6-7) The Angel then explains to Nephi that Jesus Christ ordained Twelve Apostles to minister when he was gone and that those Twelve Apostles; “…shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel… And these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed [the seed of Nephi]…” (1 Nephi 12:9-10)

The Angel then shows Nephi how many of his seeds generation would pass away, and how eventually they would be overcome by the seed of his brothers and because of great wars and temptations the seed of Nephi would “…dwindle in unbelief.” (1 Nephi 12:22) Because of this unbelief they would become; “…a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” (1 Nephi 12:23)

1 Nephi 11

1 Nephi 11: Nephi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

                Nephi , believing on the words of his father Lehi desired to see for himself the things which is father was able to behold he prayed to the Lord and; “…was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord… into an exceedingly high mountain, which I [Nehpi] never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.” (1 Nephi 11:1) Nephi is then asked by an angel of the Lord if he truly believed on the words of his father, and Nephi responded that he believed all the words. Because Nephi believed the words (had faith without seeing) he was then granted the ability to see what his father had seen in visions and dreams.

The Angel then shouts for Joy that Nephi believed, and told him to LOOK. Nephi looked and asked the Angel to give him an interpretation of the Tree which his father Lehi had seen. Nephi is then left by the Angel to see a vision;

“…it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.” (1 Nephi 11:13) The heavens then open and the angel comes down and asks Nephi; “…what beholdest thou?” (1 Nephi 11:14) Nephi responds; “…A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.” (1 Nephi 11:15) The Angel then asks; “…Knowest thou the condescension of God?” (1 Nephi 11:16)

What is the Condescension of God?

Condescension: the act of descending to a lower and less dignified state; of waiving the privileges of one’s rank and status; of bestowing honors and favors upon one of lesser stature or status.

The Angel asks Nephi if he understood what the condescension of God was, to which Nephi responded; “…I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Nepi 11:17)

The Angel explains that the virgin he had seen is; “…the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh…. [the Angel then carries Nephi into another vision and commands him to look] …I [Nephi]  looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:18;20-21)

So what is the Condescension of God? Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained it better than I could;

“When we think of him, we think of the most noble and exalted being there is. Then we read this question, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” and discover that somehow it is associated with his love for us, his children, his spirit children who are now dwelling as mortals here on earth. We discover in our text that he shall be the Father of a Son born “after the manner of the flesh”; that is, he condescends, in his infinite wisdom, to be the Father of a holy being who shall be born into mortality…

So when we think of Christ’s condescension in this matter, we must think of the glory and dominion and exaltation that he possessed. We read in the revelations that he was ‘like unto God’ (Abraham  3:24). We read the language of the Father where he says, ‘worlds without number have I created; … and by the Son I created them, which is mine only Begotten’ (Moses 1:33). We discover that Christ was like the Father; that he was co-creator, that he had the might and power and dominion and omnipotence of the Father and that he acted under his direction in the regulating and the creating of the universe.

We read the words which an angel spake to King Benjamin, in which the angel described him as “the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity,” and then said that he would come down and tabernacle in a body of clay and minister among men; that he would be the Son of God and that Mary would be his mother (see Mosiah 3:5, 8).

Here we have a glorious thing. Here we have exalted, noble beings on a plane and status so far above our present circumstance that we have no way of comprehending their dominion and glory, and we have one of them, God our Eternal Father, through the condescension and infinite love and mercy that he has for us, stepping down from his noble status and becoming the Father of a Son after the manner of the flesh. We have that Son being born, that Son who was his firstborn in the spirit, who had like power and omnipotence with the Father. We have each of them performing a work that there is no way for us to understand as far as magnitude and glory and importance is concerned.” (Bruce R. McConkie – Behold the Condescension of God; December 1984)

Nephi, after seeing the virgin and the Lamb of God being born explains to the Angel that the Tree is; “…the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.” (1 Nephi 11:22) The Angel confirms that this is true and proceeds to show Nephi more visions of the Lamb of God and his ministry upon the earth. Nephi is commanded to look, and he looks; “….I [Nephi] beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.” (1 Nephi 11:31)

Nephi is commanded again to look, and he beholds the Lamb of God being judged before the world, lifted upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. Nephi is then shown the vision of the Tree of Life, which his father Lehi had seen. In the vision, there was a great and spacious building which Nephi declared; “….was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (1 Nephi 11:36)

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 10: Lehi tells of the coming of Jesus and the scattering of the Jews

                Nephi explains that before he starts his account of his people, he must speak concerning the words of his father Lehi. After the dream of Lehi, Lehi began to speak about the Jews, saying that the great city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and that they would be carried away captive into Babylon. Lehi also foretells that the Jews would be led out of captivity to return to the land of their inheritance. Nephi explains what his father told him; “…six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world. And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah, of whom he had spoken, or this Redeemer of the world. Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.” (1 Nephi 10:4-6) Nephi explains that because the world was in a lost and fallen state, because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, mankind needed a Redeemer! This Redeemer would come and take upon himself the sins of the world!

Lehi mentions that before the coming of this Messiah, that a prophet would come before to prepare the way; “…he should go forth and cry in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose…” (1 Nephi 10:8) – See also Matthew 3:3 Lehi explains that this Prophet [John the Baptist] would baptize the Messiah and after this baptism the Messiah would become the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the World!

Lehi explained to Nephi, who then taught us that this Lamb of God would be rejected and slain by the Jews, then; “…rise from the dead, and should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 10:11) Because of this Lehi explained that the house of Israel would be divided and be scattered and broken off upon all the face of the earth. This is compared like unto an Olive Tree, which in the last days the remnants of the branches of Israel [after having received the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ] “…should be grafted in…” (1 Nephi 10:14) into the Olive Tree. Nephi explains that all these visions and writings were done in a tent in the valley of Lemuel.

After Nephi had heard about these visions and dreams he became desirous to see and hear for himself through the power of the Holy Ghost. Nephi explains that; “…he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” (1 Nephi 10:19) Nephi knew that if he had faith to know these things, that the mysteries of God could be unfolded before him. He just had to have faith to TRULY know if what his father Lehi had seen was true.

1 Nephi 9

1 Nephi 9: The Organization of the Books of Nephi

Nephi makes two sets of records, each bearing his name. Nephi explains that the larger plates will contain a secular history [not pertaining to religion] and the smaller ones will deal primarily with sacred things.

Nephi explains; “…I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people…. wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.” (1 Nephi 9:3-4)

Nephi tells us that the purpose for writing these plates (other than preserving the record of his people) were not 100% clear to him, however he did these things  because the Lord had commanded him to do so; “…for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.” (1 Nephi 9:5)

Today we have these records as part of the Book of Mormon, which God knew would be needed in the Last Days, because He; “…prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men…” (1 Nephi 9:6)

1 Nephi 8

1 Nephi 8: The Tree of Life

Lehis-Dream-of-the-Tree-of-Life.62620.4-12

                Nephi and his brethren gathered all manner of seeds; grains and fruits. While they were in the wilderness, Lehi (the father), spoke unto his children and the family of Ishmael saying that he had dreamed and dream, in other words he had seen a vision. In this vision he sees a man dressed in a white robe, who commanded that Lehi should follow him. After a while of following this man, Lehi explains that he was in a ‘dark and dreary state.’ He continues; “…after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy… I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen… as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” (1 Nephi 8:8-12)

Nephi saw a tree, whose fruit was the whitest and sweetest he had ever seen and tasted! He explained that the fruit filled his souls ‘with exceedingly great joy’. It was so desirable that he desired that all his family would partake of this fruit as well; “…as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go… it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.” (1 Nephi 8:13-15) Lehi was able to find Sariah, Sam and Nephi through the dark and dreary state. They followed the sound of Lehi’s voice so that they might also partake of the fruit of the tree. Lehi was also desirous that Laman and Lemuel would also partake of the fruit of this tree; however Laman and Lemuel did not hearken unto the voice of their father.

Lehi goes onto explain more of his vision; “…I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood… I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world. And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.” (1 Nephi 8:19-21) Lehi see a ‘Rod of Iron’ that led from a strait and narrow path to the tree that produced this wonderful fruit. Lehi saw many people pressing forward to obtain this fruit!

Lehi explains that there arose a mist of darkness that caused many to be led off the path and be lost. However, there were others who were determined that they might obtain the fruit of the tree; “…I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.” (1 Nephi 8:24) Many made it through the darkness, and obtained the fruit of the tree. However, some of those who partook of the tree looked around and did cast their eyes as if they were ashamed.

Lehi explains that he looked across the river and beheld; “… a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.” (1 Nephi 8:26-28)

This is an example of the path we take to follow Jesus Christ, it is long and arduous, mists of darkness will overcome us… but if we hold to the word of God [The Iron Rod] we can make it to the Tree of Life. Many of those partake of the fruit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will sadly fall away and are led to the ‘Great and Spacious Building’ that is the world and its worldly desires and passions!

Nephi explains that Lehi had a vision of many people who did make it to the Tree of Life and many who fell away into forbidden paths to either be drowned in the river or to boast themselves in the Great and Spacious building of Sin. Lehi feared for Laman and Lemuel, because he desired that they should be more life their younger brothers Nephi and Sam. Lehi pleads with Laman and Lemuel to follow the commandments of the Lord that perhaps the Lord would be merciful unto them.

1 Nephi 7

1 Nephi 7: Return to Jerusalem to get Ishmael

                Lehi is commanded by the Lord that his sons should return to Jerusalem to find wives that they might raise children unto the Lord in the Promised Land.

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness… it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord… the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.” (1 Nephi 7: 2;3-4)

As they journeyed back from Jerusalem into the wilderness; Laman and Lemuel along with two of the daughters of Ishmael and two of his sons did rebel against Nephi.  Nephi was troubled because of this and spoke to them; “…Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you” (1 Nephi 7:8)

                Nephi then asks them how they can deny having seen an Angel of the Lord or forget seeing the hand of the Lord in delivering them from Laban. Nephi asks; “…how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” (1 Nephi 7:12) Nephi explains to them that if they work hard and exercise faith in the Lord, they will obtain the Promised Land. Nephi warns that if they return to Jerusalem, they would perish.

After speaking these words, Laman and Lemuel were upset with Nephi insomuch that they bound him with cords “….they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.” (1 Nephi 7:16) Nephi prayed to the Lord that he would have strength to break free from these cords, and upon saying these words to the Lord; “…behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.” (1 Nephi 7:18) This however only enraged Laman and Lemuel even more! They moved towards Nephi to take his life when;  “…one of the daughters of Ishmael, yea, and also her mother, and one of the sons of Ishmael, did plead with my brethren, insomuch that they did soften their hearts; and they did cease striving to take away my life.” (1 Nephi 7:19) Laman and Lemuel agreed to not take the life of Nephi and in doing so were brought to sorrow and did plead with Nephi that he might forgive them. Nephi accepted their forgiveness and they continued their journey into the wilderness to the camp where Lehi was waiting. There, they gave thanks to the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices to Him.

1 Nephi 6

1 Nephi 6: Nephi writes about God

                Nephi explains that his purpose for writing the record of his people is to; “…persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.” (1 Nephi 6:4)

Nephi explains that he does not have room to write out their entire genealogy, except that; “…it sufficeth me to say that we are descendants of Joseph.” (1 Nephi :2)

Instead, Nephi desires to bring people unto the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He makes it clear that the things he will write about his people in the record will not be; “…pleasing unto the world…” (1 Nephi 6:5) However, he WILL WRITE those things which are; “…pleasing unto God…” (1 Nephi 6:5)