2 Nephi 1

2 Nephi 1: Prophecies of a Land of Liberty

                Lehi instructs his children that he had received a vision and in this vision he saw the destruction of Jerusalem and prophesied unto them that if they had stayed in Jerusalem, they too would have perished because of the destruction.

Lehi goes on to explain that he saw a “Land of Liberty” in his dream; this Land of Liberty is present day United States of America. Lehi explains that many will flock to this land and that; “…none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1:6) This means that many great men and women throughout history have been led to the United States by the hand of God. The forefathers of the United States established the first Free Nation of the World, and we led by God to establish a nation with religious liberties.

One might question how throughout ALL time and History; why was the North American Continent NEVER discovered… until much later in the history of mankind? Lehi explains; “…it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.” (2 Nephi 1:8) The Lord had a purpose for the future “America” the world knows today, to be a safe haven and inheritance for His believers. Lehi exclaims that those who follow God will prosper in the Land of Liberty, but those who chose the path of wickedness shall be judged accordingly.

Lehi prophesied of a day when “…they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise…” (2 Nephi 1:10) Because of their wickedness they shall be led captive by other nations and shall be led down a path to hell.

Because of this great judgment that will fall upon those who fall captivity to the devil, Lehi exhorts [urges] all to “…observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.” (2 Nephi 1:16) He reminds us that: “…Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments [God’s Commandments] ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” (2 Nephi 1:20) Lehi invites his family and the reader to “…be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;” (2 Nephi 1:21)

Lehi explains to his family that his time is limited upon the earth, but urges his sons and the sons of Ishmael to take heed to the words of Nephi and follow his counsel as they have followed his own counsel.

1 Nephi 8

1 Nephi 8: The Tree of Life

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                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 3

1 Nephi 3: The Brass Plates

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                Nephi comes out from his tent, after having spoken with God… he explains that he has ‘dreamed a dream’ in which him and his brothers are to return to Jerusalem to obtain Brass Plates from a man named Laban; “…Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass.” (1 Nephi 3:3) Nephi’s brothers murmur and tell Nephi that he asks too much of them. However, Nephi explains that it is not his command, but the commandment of God for them to retrieve these Brass Plates.

Nephi speaks to his father; “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7) Lehi, after having heard these words was filled with joy… because he knew that Nephi had been commanded of God to do these things, and he felt blessed. Nephi showed great character and faith in following the commandments of God no matter how difficult. This example can be used for all!

Nephi and His brothers Travel to Jerusalem

 

Nephi and his brothers pack up their tents and head back towards Jerusalem, and while journeying they cast lots to see who would go into the house of Laban to retrieve the Brass Plates. The Lot is cast upon Laman. Laman enters the house of Laban and requests the Brass Plates, however Laban is angered; “…Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee.” (1 Nephi 3:13)

Laman was able to flee from his presences and return to his brethren outside of the house. Nephi’s brothers are determined to flee Jerusalem; however Nephi reminds them that God had commanded them to obtain the records. Nephi speaks to his brothers; “…As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 3:15-16) Nephi reminds them that with God, all is possible. Nephi derives a plan to return to the house of their father to take their inheritance (gold and silver) to please Laban and essentially buy the plates from him. Nephi explains to his brothers that after Jerusalem is destroyed, it would be up to them to preserve the record of their children.

Nephi and his brothers retrieve their inheritances and return to speak with Laban. This time Laban became greedy and desired both the Brass Plates and the precious metals; “…when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.” (1 Nephi 3:25) Nephi and his brothers AGAIN flee from the house of Laban. Because they were faithful, the Lord did protect them and the servants of Laban were unsuccessful of overtaking them in the wilderness and destroying them.

After two unsuccessful attempts, Laman and Lemuel became angered and they spoke hard words and beat both Nephi and Sam with rods. As they were being beaten by their brothers; “…an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.” (1 Nephi 3:29)

Even after having seen an angel of the Lord, both Laman and Lemuel began to murmur again saying; “…How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31) Both Laman and Lemuel had yet to come to believe in the Lord and His great power!

1 Nephi 2

1 Nephi 2: Lehi Leaves Jerusalem

 

The Lord God speaks to Lehi in a drew and commands him that he should depart from Jerusalem and take his family into the wilderness.

“…it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him… he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 1:3-4)

After three days of traveling Lehi and his family (Sariah – his wife, Laman, Lemuel and Sam – his sons) pitched tents near a river river, near the border of the Red Sea. Lehi calls the river ‘Laman’ and speaks to Laman saying; “…O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness! And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” (1 Nephi 1:9-10)

Lehi spoke to his two sons Laman and Lemuel because of their stiffneckedness, for their murmurings [complaining] because they did not want to leave Jerusalem, which was the land of their inheritance. They also did not want to leave behind worldly possessions such as gold and silver. Laman and Lemuel believed that their father was a foolish man who follows the foolish imaginations of his heart. They complained to their father; “…because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them. Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.” (1 Nephi 1:12-13)

Lehi, being overcome with the Spirit of the Lord did confound them that they did not wish to murmur against their father again. Nephi explains that he believed his father, but that he had some doubt and prayed to the Lord to help him understand and remove any doubt he had about his father. Nephi explains;

“…I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 1:16)

Nephi speaks to his younger brother Sam and tells him everything that he had seen, and he did believe on the words of Nephi. Laman and Lemuel however did not believe the words of Nephi. Nevertheless, Nephi prays to God that they might come to the same knowledge that he had obtained and believe on the words of his father Lehi. The Lord responds to Nephi’s prayer; “…Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart… inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” (1 Nephi 1:19-20)

The Lord promises Nephi that if he continues to have faith and keep the commandments of God that he would be led to the Promised Land. The Lord also promises that Nephi would be delivered from his brothers if they tried to hurt him.