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Showing posts from April, 2008

The Response of Nephi's Brothers, 1 Nephi 16: 1-6

1 Nephi 16: 1-6

This conversation between Nephi and his brothers, Laman, Lemuel, and Sam, is very genuine. It paints a view of Laman and Lemuel that is not typically understood. They tell Nephi that what he had spoken to them was hard to understand. Nephi said that he knew that he had spoken against wickedness but it seems that it was never his intention to elevate himself above his brothers.

In fact, there is such a brotherly bond of love conveyed from these simple verses of communication that I am inclined to be much more sympathetic towards Laman and Lemuel, and even sense something of love that Nephi must have had for his older brothers. Here for one brief moment brothers are talking civilly to each other, and it is beautiful!

Yes, Laman and Lemuel made bad choices throughout the accounts of Nephi. They simply could not understand the will of God in all that was happening to them. Clearly, their cursing was passed on to their children, but beyond that I think this is where their con…

"Our Father Also Saw... The Justice of God", 1 Nephi 15: 26-36

1 Nephi 15: 26-36

This has stuck out as something almost new to me in this reading. After describing the gulf of misery which separates the wicked from the tree of life, symbolized by the river of filthy water which Lehi saw, Nephi uses this as a springboard to make one final observation.

Nephi states that his father also saw the justice of God in his vision, though nowhere else is there an account of it. He describes it as a bright flame that ascends up to God (the image of a flaming pillar is depicted in my mind), which is a divider between the righteous and the wicked (see vs. 30). This "flaming fire" of justice is the topic of their conversation for the remainder of the chapter.

Nephi declares that it is the justice of God that divides the righteous from the wicked. In studying the justice of God, close to it is the concept that God is no respecter of persons. I love this truth. In Isaiah 26, it talks about the gates of the city of Judah being opened for the righteous nati…

"Give Heed to the Word of God", 1 Nephi 15:20-25

1 Nephi 15:20-25

In verse 20, Nephi says that he rehearsed the words of Isaiah to his brothers. He used Isaiah (scripture) to reinforce what he had already explained to them. This was wise because it validated his words and his father's words.

What followed, after Nephi's brothers clearly saw that Nephi understood the things that their father had said, is a question and answer session. In the midst of this, Nephi yet takes opportunity to teach his brothers.

Verses 24 and 25 are extremely important. Nephi is using several absolutes in these verses. Those who hearken to the word of God will never perish.

In explaining the importance of the word of God, Nephi exhorts them with all the energy of his soul to give heed to the word of God and keep the commandments of God in all things. This complete effort, extending himself as far as he possibly could go is what compels me. What Nephi is saying is important and how he is saying it is important.

"Natural Branches of the Olive Tree", 1 Nephi 15:12-20

1 Nephi 15:12-20

The inciting question of this section is back in verse 7. Nephi's brothers cannot understand what their father had taught concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and what that has to do with the Gentiles.

Nephi plainly explains to them the significance of these things, pointing out that the olive tree is in reference to the House of Israel. The natural branches are in reference to their direct posterity.

At the heart of the conversation is reception of the Gospel of the Messiah. Nephi understands that at some future date, his own posterity will be blessed with the visitation of the Messiah. Then at some later date, they will reject the Messiah. A great expanse of time will then pass and then the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah will be given to the Gentiles.

For Nephi, I think that the most exciting part of this is in verse 14. At that day when the descendants of Lehi come to the knowledge of their forefathers, they will become aware of their inclusion…

"Surely These Things Shall Be Made Known Unto You", 1 Nephi 15:1-11

1 Nephi 15:1-11

The first thing that calls my attention at the beginning of this chapter is the immediacy of the work that was required of Nephi after the vision. The vision itself was the preparation for the work that was required of him. However, Nephi was so overwhelmed by what he had seen of the destruction of his people -- and what was presently required of him -- that he lost all strength. It wasn't until after this recovery that Nephi returned to his brothers to inquire of them the manner of their arguments.

Nephi's first question after hearing his brothers' initial complaint, demonstrates his motivation again. The footnotes on verse 8 reminds me of this perspective that Nephi had. He was concerned with the immortal welfare of his brothers.

Nephi's brothers state that the Lord will not reveal the mysteries that their father spoke of unto them. Nephi responds with knowledge and a reminder of the Lord's promise.

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath sa…

"A Great and a Marvelous Work", 1 Nephi 14

1 Nephi 14

Chapter 14 reminds me that Christ shall come at the end of time to perform one final work among the inhabitants of the earth. Verse 7 calls it a great and a marvelous work, which shall have an everlasting outcome and shall divide men between salvation and damnation.

This work has already begun. It began with Joseph Smith and it continues today. We now have the Book of Mormon, as Nephi saw that it would come forth, to assist in this great and marvelous work. Repentance is prescribed for those that will joined to the Church of the Lamb of God.

This is where a clear distinction is drawn between the church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil. Though the saints of God are relatively few, they are "armed with righteousness and the power of God in great glory," (vs. 14).

At the end of Nephi's account, he gives a simple witness that what he saw and wrote was true. Though he did not account for it all, what he had written was true. He saw what his father saw. Hi…

Stumbling Blocks Removed, 1 Nephi 14:1-2

1 Nephi 14:1-2

I am compelled by the significance of these first two verses this morning. Once the Book of Mormon is brought forth, there is a significant promise attached to it: Christ shall manifest himself in word and power to those who "hearken" (listen and obey) to Him. And the way that we should know it is by the removal of our stumbling blocks.

Stumbling blocks are the weakness that God gives us a mortals. God gives us weaknesses so that we may choose to humble ourselves before Him. There would be no need for a Savior if we where already perfected, but then there would be no progression, no learning, no opposition, no experience, etc.
See also Ether 12:27.

These blessings are contingent upon our humility, but are also extended to us indefinitely upon the land of promise, if we continue to listen to and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.