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)

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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.

Moses 6

Moses 6: Enoch Preaches the Gospel Plan

                God continues to tell Moses about Adam and Eve and his offspring…

“…Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent…. Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth…  Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (Moses 6:1-2)

Now, Seth was good in the eyes of the Lord and offered acceptable sacrifice like his brother Abel. “…And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.” (Moses 6:3)These men began to call upon the name of the Lord, and they were blessed for it. God tells Moses that Adam and his offspring kept “…a book of remembrance was kept…  in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration; And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.” (Moses 6:5-6) Here we learn that not only were these children righteous, many of Adams offspring also knew how to read and write!

We also learn that Adam and his offspring were given the Priesthood from God Himself, and that; “…this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.” (Moses 6:7) Adam kept a record of his family and created a book of his generations (see verse 8).

8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by theHoly Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

God goes on to explain to Moses that; “…Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth… after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he begat many sons and daughters; … all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” (Moses 6:10-12) Adam lived for 930 years!

Seth (who died at the age of 912 – see verse 16), the son of Adam went on to have many sons and daughters including Enos. The posterity of Adam was “…numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.” (Moses 6:15)

God goes on to explain more of the genealogy of Adam;

“…Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan… Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat many sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died… Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; and Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died…Mahalaleel lived sixty-five years, and begat Jared; and Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died… Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begat Enoch; and Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God” (Moses 6:17-21)

God explains that because Satan raged in the hearts of men, God had to call the righteous men to teach them. So God called preachers of righteousness who; “… spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.” (Moses 6:23) From this we learn that the work of bringing souls to God has existed since the dawn of time. Jared lived until the age of 962, before he died.  At the age of 65, Enoch had Methuselah. One day Enoch was traveling when God descended upon him from heaven and said;

“…Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off; And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.” (Moses 6:27-28)

God had commanded Enoch to warn the children of Adam that they were breaking God’s commandments and following after Satan. He warned that those who did not cease from their actions and repent immediately would be destroyed. Enoch bowed himself before the Lord and asked; “…Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31) The Lord responded to Enoch saying; “…Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.” (Moses 6:32-33)

Despite the fact that Enoch was slow at speech, God gave him a commandment and promised him that if he was faithful that His Spirit would be with him and all the words he needed would come forth. So, Enoch went forth and preached among men, and was hated for it; “…all men were offended because of him.” (Moses 6:37) However, the Lord promised to protect Enoch and; “…it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.” (Moses 6: 39)

With Enoch’s presence and the words he spoke, it brought forth a great deal of attention. There came a man named Mahijah, questioning Enoch;

“…Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest? And he [Enoch] said unto them: I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day. And my father taught me in all the ways of God. And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.” (Moses 6:40-42)

Enoch went on to explain that God created the Heavens and the Earth, and that death will one day come upon them, for it is written in the book of remembrance that even Adam died. After hearing these words the people were scared of his presence, because he spoke with authority from God. Enoch said that because; “…Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe. Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent…  If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.” (Moses 6:48-52) This is very important doctrine that Enoch taught to the offspring of Adam. Because Adam (their father, and the first man) fell, death came into the world and so all men and women became partakers of misery and woe. However, God made a plan for us to return to Him and overcome this world of misery and woe. If we hearken unto the voice of God and repent of our sins and overcome the temptations of the Devil… we can return to live with God.

Why do we need to be baptized?

God explains that Adam asked Him; “…Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.” (Moses 6:53-54) Because God has forgiven the transgression of Adam and Eve, we must be baptized in water to obtain the promise of returning to live with God again. Because Jesus Christ would go on to Atone for the sins of the world, this ‘original sin’ was no longer, because Jesus Christ ATONED for that sin. We are born into this world to experience life and learn to overcome sin, so that we might better ourselves. In this life we will; “…taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves…” (Moses 6:55-56)

Enoch goes on to teach the people and asks the offspring of Adam to continue to teach this to their children; “…that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence…” (Moses 6:57)

Why the Fall of Adam?

“…by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;” (Moses 6:59-60) The Fall of Adam had to occur in order to bring forth Agency among men, that we might learn for ourselves, be baptized (born again) into the Kingdom of God.

God goes on to explain to Moses that He gave us the Holy Ghost to be a comforter in this life, and that all things bear record of Him. God explains that even Adam was baptized;

“…Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.” (Moses 6:64-65)

Revelation 19

Revelation 19: The Spirit of Prophecy = Testimony

                John explains that the Great Whore is brought down and judged by the Lord and how heaven shouted; “…Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God…” (Revelation 19:1) and the 24 Elders and the four beasts in heaven fell down and worshipped God.

John hears a voice in heaven say; “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come… Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” (Revelation 19:7; 9) This of course is likened unto the Covenant relationship that Israel had made with God.  This marriage is a symbolic representation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints explained;

“In this dispensation the Bridegroom, who is the Lamb of God, shall come to claim his bride, which is the Church composed of the faithful saints who have watched for his return. As he taught in the parable of the marriage of the king’s son, the great marriage supper of the Lamb shall then be celebrated. (Matt. 22:1–14.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 469).

 

John saw the Lord, and explained that he was “…arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [made clean through His Atonement]…” (Revelation 19:8) John explained that when he fell at His feet to worship Him; “…he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) Here we learn that Jesus does not see himself as superior (even though He is), but He treats everyone with respect. If Jesus Christ does that, shouldn’t we do that to our fellow man? Also, we learn that having a testimony in Jesus Christ means that you also believe in prophecy, and if someone believes in prophecy they will understand the need for a modern day prophet and obtain a testimony of those things.

 

John goes on to explain that when Jesus Christ comes for the Second Coming, He will come on a white horse and “…clothed with a vesture dipped in blood…And the armies which were in heaven followed him in upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:13-14) and written upon the thigh of the Lord; “…KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16) And the world went to battle Him and those who had followed the False Prophet, who had placed the mark of the beast (666) were destroyed from the face of the Earth.

 

1 John 5

1 John 5: Saints are Born of God

                John explains that all Saints are born of God and that those who love God; “…keep his commandments…” (1 John 5:3) For those same people who love God and who keep the commandments of God; “…overcometh the world…” (1 John 5:4) Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we can too! For not only by water; “…but by water and blood.” (1 John 5:5) did Jesus Christ sacrifice Himself for us, setting the example.

By the Spirit we may know the truth of things, for the “…witness of God is greater…” (1 John 5:9) John goes on to explain the purpose of what Jesus Christ did for us; “…God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11-12)

John explains that those who have faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ will have confidence’ “…that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he will hear us; And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) In other words, God will answer our prayers according to His own will. This can be likened to a little child attempting to touch a hot stove. Obviously the parent says not to, because it’ll burn them! However, as little children in the eyes of God, we often want something, but God repeatedly says no. Why? Because He knows best and does not want us to be burned!

Hebrews 10

Hebrews 10: The Just Live by Faith

                Paul explains that the way sin was taken away from the people in the Old Testament; through the shedding of the blood of animals can no longer take away the sin. Instead we “…are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) The sacrifice, also known as the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the ultimate price paid for the sin of mankind. Jesus Christ gave us a way to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Paul invites those followers of Christ to “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22) For if we sin after we come to the knowledge of Him, it will be difficult for us to be forgiven, for we know right from wrong;

                “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26)

Essentially Paul is telling us that we need to live by faith and once we have knowledge of our Redeemer, we need to live a pure and clean life (as best our abilities).

Hebrews 2

Hebrews 2: The Atonement

                Paul writes to the Hebrews and asks them; “…if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation…” (Hebrews 2:2-3) Essentially Paul asks; if we know that our wickedness comes with punishment, WHY would we NOT accept SALVATION?

Jesus, “…by the grace of God should taste death for every man… to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10) Paul goes on to say; “…I will put my trust in him…” (Hebrews 2:13) and he encourages others to do the same.

Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can ALL be Saved, if we so choose. Jesus Christ was; “…made like unto his brethren, that he might be merciful and faithful… to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [comfort] them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18) Jesus Christ knows our temptations, our fears, our suffering, our deepest desires; he suffered so that He would know how to comfort us in our times of sorrow and rejoice with us in our times of rejoicing!