1 Nephi 16-22 | Jan 29-Feb 4 | Book of Mormon Matters with John W. Welch and Lynne Hilton Wilson
Welcome back to Scripture Central. I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson, and this is John W. Welch.
Today, we get to finish up first Nephi. Here we have been during the month of January enjoying this Book of first Nephi. I hope you have loved reading through it again, even though you’ve read it many times. These final chapters, chapters 16 to 22, I think can be characterized by Nephi telling us that we have to live the gospel. Things work if you do what is right. Nephi will tell us things that he has been doing, what he has done. They would never have made it all the way to the promised land if they hadn’t really put their shoulders to the wheel or pulled on the ore, whatever the metaphor is. But the message, I think for us, and the testimony that I have, is that this book is a great guide for our lives. I know that these accounts that we have here about the righteous living and the doing of the gospel are a fundamental part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that when I live the gospel, when I obey, when I keep the Sabbath day holy, when I do what I’m supposed to do, when I serve, when I love and care for people, all these things are doing things.
It brings the light of the gospel into my life. And Nephi wants to finish up this story.
Well, he starts by doing by getting married. We actually have the marriages finally. That’s number one. So do it. Now, this doesn’t mean- Let’s talk about that. Let’s open up. First Nephi, chapter 16. The daughters of Ishmael are taken to wife. As we mentioned earlier, the marriages are probably arranged. That’s part of the Antiquities. Although there may have been in this setting where they were, I don’t know, Jack, what do you think? Because they were already immersed in the of Jesus Christ, did they have some agency? Did the daughter who defended Nephi earlier, is she able to defend him now? Or do you think it was completely arranged ahead of time and they had no choice? I don’t know. It doesn’t tell us. He just says, I took a daughter of an issueante wife in chapter 16.
Under their circumstance, they didn’t have many other choices.
Well, they’ve got a few daughters, but yeah.
But I think they were all pretty excited about it. Extended families are great. It’s not like we do today, where a couple gets married and pretty well goes off on their own. In the ancient world, people lived together in a single home. It was typical for the groom to go and live in the wife’s home with her family, maybe to get to know the family, but whatever. They could live in one place or the other, but they lived in small villages. They lived together. They knew each other. Yeah.
I know by the time of the New Testament, they are living with the groom’s family more often. But I think it also depends who has the more money right now. Here we see them living with the groom’s family.
The brides are coming in. The larger house and things like that.
We’ve got enough daughters to take care of Zoram and Laman and Lemuel and Sam and Nephi. But it sounds like at the same time as we are now starting seed with the next generation, that Sariah is young enough to again bear children and that she is having sons and daughters. We now have our first Reference of daughters coming up after this period of time. That’s exciting, too. But this is a family text, and we see a lot about the family in this text. I hope that That is not frustrating to me. It’s just the dynamics of how the Lord was taking… Because the family is often the unit to describe the children of Israel are married to God, or the church is married to our savior. It’s just a metaphor as well, so we can look at it that way in case this doesn’t fit into your life. Chapter 16 also says that once the marriages are over, they’re ready to take their journey again. As they prepare, they’ve got all the seeds packed up, they’ve harvested, and they’ve repaired their sandals or whatever was required, they find something outside the tent.
Yeah, Lehigh opens up the tent door and there is a brass ball.
A fine brass.
Yeah, and they appreciated that.
It’s got two scandals, but it’s not named.
Where does it come from?
I believe it’s from God.
Well, they did, too.
Let’s read it. Chapter 16, verse 10. They talk about this ball, and then halfway through the verse, it says, And within the ball were two scandals, and the one pointed the way whether we should go into the wilderness. I think it’s so significant that we have our own personal guides in our lives, that as recipients of the gift of the Holy Ghost, if we listen to those first thoughts, if we pray constantly for guidance and direction, if we seek the spirit night and day, every hour, every minute, we can receive this if we always remember the Lord. It’s so hard. It sounds so easy, but It isn’t. It’s hard to keep the spirit with you at all times because if we offend the spirit, it’s gone. Just like they did when they didn’t obey the Commandments, the ball didn’t work. They didn’t have the direction from the Leahona. But I am so grateful for a personal Leahona through the gift of the Holy Ghost.
It helps to have reminders of things. Having a beautiful ball that whatever its nature might have been or what it looked like, it was a gift from God. It was something that they realized had been given to them. I imagine they consulted it often. Every day, they would have to say, Where do we go today? Or, How do we follow? Or, Where do we go to hunt? And they used it. It’s a daily reminder.
What do we have as a daily reminder that was also brass that they used as their guide before the ball?
The brass plates.
Amen. Go to your scriptures every day. Get your direction. They have the brass plates and the brass ball. Nice parallels.
A nice echo framing what we’ve talked about in the last lesson in the very middle of the book.
Yes. But they leave the Valley of Lemuel and the River of Laman and now continue on on the borders of the Red Sea. This path is, again, following the Frankincense Trail. The geography of this part is spot on. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s just fascinating. He tells us where he’s going and when they turn east and when they turn south and when they’re going southeast. Very, very clear that this appears to be the Frankincense Trail, but perhaps not exactly on the trail because they’re following the Liahona. But It’s still interesting that they’re still naming the locations. Do you see in verse 13, they come to a place, a four days journey that we called Shazar.
They may be following places that aren’t normally on the trail, like you say. They are naming these places. They don’t know where they are. They don’t have GPS or a map that says, This is where you now are. I think by following the pointer, they’re not right on the main highway of the Frankincense Trail. I think they’re a large group. Most merchants on the Frankincense Trail would not have had their women and their children.
We’ve got a lot of nursing babies right now.
They’re going slow because they’re carrying their tents and all these things. There It might also have been greater exposure to robbers if you’re on the main highway. Taking a path less traveled by- To quote a famous, Arthur. Might have been where they were willing to go.
But it says it led them at least to the fertile places.
Well, they’re fertile enough.
Fertile enough is the right word. This is still the Arabian desert.
They’re finding places where there’s growth and where there’s fertile plants. There will also be animals, birds, and other things that they can then hunt for.
But they get hungry. Why can’t they? Keep going. Chapter 16.
Well, Nephite has a bow.
They all have bow.
It’s called a steel bow.
Nephi is a steel, yeah.
It may have been a pure steel, nothing but steel metal bow, but more likely it was what we think is a composite bow.
Yeah, an owl.
Which is partly made of wood, but then has metal straps on it to strengthen it. A strengthened bow like that could be shorter because it’s got more tension, and so you can shoot heavy short arrows with a nice bow. But a completely metal bow would have been Bulky, long, and more of a military bow. What Nephite needs is something that will shoot darts.
Well, it says his brother’s bow’s lost their spring. That’s right. His bow breaks. People have hypothesized, perhaps this is a place of a lot of humidity or something. I don’t know. But the rust or the change of climate, it changes the wood. Anybody who’s gone from a humid climate to lived in a desert climate knows you’re going to have real problems as a musician. I can barely keep my instrument in tune if I go from a dry climate to a moist climate. That’s right.
I like the idea, though, of it being a composite bow because then you have these metal pieces and you have pressure points where the wood is now being pulled against the tighter metal, the more rigid metal, and it would be at those pressure points where the bow would be most vulnerable because it doesn’t lose the spring, it breaks.
Well, I don’t think they’ve got a lot of food around or else they wouldn’t be hungry.
I think this is their low point now.
There are no supermarkets where they are now.
Yeah, they are on the verge of starvation, and everybody’s complaining about it.
They now have to start with something What are we going to do? Some of them just sit around and complain, I suppose. But not Nephite. He’s our doer. He says, I’m going to go and I’m going to find a way to make a bow. And notice it, it also says he makes arrows.
Now, why would you have to make arrows if your bow is broken? You should have all these old arrows.
Well, my nephew actually is an archery man, and he tells me you have to have arrows specific to the bow. The different kinds of bowls require different kinds of arrows. I don’t know if that’s how now it works, but I don’t know what it was.
But that would make sense. Only people who did a lot of archery would know that a bow that is too stiff for long, flexible arrows, that’s not going to match. You have to match the two. That’s why Nephi had to make boas to go with his new arrow.
It also says that they were killing their animals or their food with slings. They are not hunters. They are providing food for their families. They are not trying to kill other animals. They are only trying to provide food. But because they’re on the go, they require so much immediate food, and right now, they don’t have enough.
We think of slings as just being slingshots, but these were very effective weapons.
Don’t you remember the Old Testament? They had the slingers, the Benjaminites were slingers?
A whole division of the army. They have these long slings and heavy, sharp stones that they could then use very effectively as David does against Goliath.
But Niphi not only is resourceful and has an attitude of, I can do hard things, and when the going gets tough is when you rely on the Lord more. I love the fact that he goes to his dad and asks. But that’s when they find out the Leahona doesn’t work if you’re complaining, and the spirit doesn’t work if you’re complaining. I think there’s so many ties between understanding how to hear the Lord and understand. Do you remember also when Joseph Smith has the frustration time with Emma. That’s a good point. He can’t translate. I know in my life, when I get too excited or anxious or mad or angry about things, I don’t feel the spirit the same.
Until you work it out, until you settle. Go and settle. Jesus says, When you come to the altar of the temple, or the altar in the sermon on the mount, and you have ought against your brother, or It also has your brother has ought against you when you’re aware of it, either way, you must go and settle first. Then come, and you may offer your sacrifice at the altar.
So Lehi has to repent, change his heart, and then open the ball again. That’s when they get a little chastisement. It came to pass that I nefi beheld the pointers which were on the ball. They did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
One, two, three. What What does it take? Faith, diligence, and heed. What’s the difference?
I think one is mental, one is action. What’s heed, Jack?
I don’t know. Obedience. When you hear, it’s come from hearing. Hear and obey. Heed. Heed my words. So obey. So it takes not just faith in the sense of belief or loyalty or intentions, but then diligence, you have to apply yourself.
If you do those three, then it’s going to give you new messages. That’s verse 29. They get new messages, and they change from time to time. And that’s when the Lord says one of my favorite phrases, By small means, the Lord can bring about great things. Jack, I feel that almost every day in my life. The tiny things make the most difference. If I start on my knees, if I start with prayers, the things that I did as a child, the things that I do that feel like nothing in my ministering, the Lord magnifies. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I love this verse. This is my life.
It is so true. We often overlook those small things. If you write your resume, you don’t put those small things on the resume. The world looks for other things, but the Lord sees the heart.
I think it’s also interesting that Nephi is sent to the mountains to get the animals. They’re not up in the mountains. He’s got to go up there to get them. Then he refers to in verse 31, I did slay wild beast in the plural. So he’s bringing home lots. I still am baffled why his brothers couldn’t have made a bow just as fast or slings or whatever. Anyway, it’s fascinating to think of all the family dynamics. We’re going to have to learn a lot about this in heaven. But I don’t know if the starvation period had anything to do with it, but it sounds as if the way Nephites put the story together anyway, that Ishmael’s death follows shortly after this period of real hunger. Perhaps it was something else.
Others may be sick. We were quick to blame Laman and Lemuel for not doing something.
But they may have been ill.
Or they may be home taking care of people.
Oh, that’s excellent. Thank you.
I wondered about Let’s step down to verse 34.
It came to pass that Ishmael died and was buried in the place which was called Nahum. This is not a name that they have named. This is one of our greatest archeological evidence of the Book of Mormen. I believe it was 1976 when this was discovered, and it’s not too far from the Frankincense Trail is a very, very large burial grounds. In fact, at the time, The largest burial grounds that have ever been found, I don’t know if that is still claimed. The fact that Nahum was named by them is so significant because we have found that name, N-H-M, remember, there’s no vowels, on a stone at the largest burial ground in this area. We even can wonder then, as we look back at the text, did he die right outside of there, or did they carry him to this place to be buried with the other bones? Because in this area, Usually, you wanted to be buried away from where people live because you didn’t know how contagious things were, and you tried to be buried within a short period of time after the death.
There was corpse impurity as well. You didn’t want to touch the bodies. Here they are out in the desert. What do they do with him? They probably would have given all the respect they could. They would have wrapped him carefully, but then carried him to this place where he could be properly buried and the body would then not be vulnerable to grave robbers or to animals digging up the body and things like that. That would have been very important to them and explains why they would have told us.
It was named Nahum.
This is the place where we could find it.
They found the stone. I mean, this is just powerful. Joseph wouldn’t have had a clue. We’ve come up to so many archeological evidence, but this one is the best.
It’s a good one.
It’s a good one. But the daughters mourn, and that’s very consistent, again, with the ancient world. This pathos of the death, their suffering with their hunger and affliction, and now with the death of their father, they’re just beside themselves. This then begins a, I don’t want to say a rebellion again, but verse 37 of chapter 16 reads, Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, behold, said, Let us slay our Father and our brothers, Nephi, who has taken upon us to be our ruler and our teacher, and we who are his elder brothers. We have another problem here, but the voice of the Lord comes and saves the day in verse 39. It always comes when we need him. Even the voice the Lord came and did speak many words unto them and did chasten them exceedingly. And after they were chastened by the voice the Lord, they did turn away from their anger and did repent of their sins insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food that we did not perish. It reminds me so much of the children of Israel. If they are obeying, the Lord bless them. That is just one of the major promises of the Old Testament that when we are obeying the Lord, we will be taken care of.
Then when we go on into chapter 17, it’s very hard. We know that they are now, it says, waiting through much affliction. They’re probably staying, again, off the beaten path, but they’re following the Leahona, which is taking them-nearly eastward. Nearly eastward. So if go eastward from northwest Yemen, it takes you right across the Southern part of the empty quarter in the middle of the Arabian desert.
Now, empty quarters because-There’s nothing there. There’s nothing there.
No doubt they would have suffered and would have had a lot of afflictions.
You’re nursing, you’re pregnant, you’re carrying your seeds.
As they get to and following in, they are now finally able to get up into some mountains and down to the Coast of the Indian Ocean. There are only a few places where you can go from the desert inland over that range of mountains, the coastal mountains, to a very fertile part of what is now Oman and Southern Yemen. The winds that hit those mountains coming up in the monsoon periods, of course, drop a lot of water. This is an area that is really verdant and big trees.
The trees are big enough to even build a boat.
In those trees, even today, there are lots of bees.
It says wild honey. Wild honey. Because before, I think they were eating more like date honey and pomegranate, the natural fruits there. But here, it says wild honey.
But they don’t have bee hives that they are keeping. No, they’re wild. They would go out. And there are these hives on the bushes and on the trees, especially on the cliffs right there by the in the ocean. They come to this place, and it must have been… So happy. A great relief to come to a place like this.
It says it took them eight years.
Now, they didn’t turn it into a beach resort because there are a lot of sharks in the water there, too. Yeah. So when they tried, they get mad at Nephi at one point, and they’re trying to throw him into the ocean, you’d say, Well, the ocean is not very deep right there. Why would that put him to death?
Oh, but the animal is there.
Probably, Nephi wasn’t a very good swimmer. When would he have learned to swim? He’s from Jerusalem.
But the sharks in that water would have been-I didn’t know that.
Let’s throw our brother in there and he’ll be good shark bait.
The mountain is close enough for Nephi to go to the mountain and pray and get inspiration. Now, when I want to get revelation, I go to the temple. When Nephi wanted it, he went to the mountains.
Well, there’s no temple, and The temple is sometimes called the Mountain of the Lord.
It is. Yeah, definitely.
This is a wonderful place, and they must have been there for a while. One of the attributes of this area is that there was iron ore.
Well, this is so fascinating because Nephite asks. He doesn’t say, How am I going to do this? I love his questions. I want to change my prayers and my questions. He doesn’t say how. He says, Where should I go to find the or? He He’s approaching every prayer from this perspective of belief and faith, and I will do what you’re asking me to do. It’s just fabulous. I love it.
Being in the right place at the right time is often the most important thing in our lives.
I’m also fascinated with the fact that somebody had to have some metalurgy. Someone had to be a blacksmith of some level in that family because they’re able to build some pretty significant things to know where to find the ore. The Lord leads them, but he often has to use what we the small and precious things again.
Do what we can, and he’ll do the rest.
He makes the tools. This is now in chapter 17, verse 16. It came to pass that I did make tools out of the ore, which I did mountain out of the rock. He says he builds the bellows out of the skins of the animals. They’re living in a much different civilization here than they were for the last several years.
This brings up the point that we said we’d talk about later, which is metalurgy. Nephi obviously knows how to work with metal. Laman and Lemuel, if they were traditional first and second sons, they would have spent more time on the farm in the agriculture, out working in the fields. The younger sons are skilled then in trades. They might be making pots or working with metal. The younger sons also usually have much more education because the older sons are providing enough food for the family to live.
When the land will be inherited by the older two. So land is more important. Yeah.
And land is more part of their lives.
They’ve got to come up with a means to support their family, so they got to have an education.
So it makes sense that Nephi would have known a skill. And languages. And he’s already been able to make a bow. So we can tell that Nephi must have had several technical skills that allowed him to do what he needed to.
So they start building the boat, and of course, they get this brother Others get mad at him again.
In the last part of chapter 17, we can understand again how this party would have felt about getting on this ship.
Oh, they wanted to stay where they were. Well, first of all, I don’t think they’re salesmen. I don’t think they’re sailors.
Yeah. It does take a skill to know how to sail ships. There were boats sailing along the Southern coasts of Arabia at that time, and they may have gone and at least talk to some people about when to leave.
The chapter ends with the rebellion again of saying, We aren’t going to go with you. We don’t want to go. It’s fascinating to me that Nephi goes back to these stories to develop their faith with the Exodus cycle. Don’t you remember that Moses did this? Can’t you believe this? Don’t you remember our history? That is what he used to build their faith. I do the same thing now. I try to build faith by going back and saying, I believe Have you helped. Can you please help again?
I know that when we’re on the Lord’s errand, he will help us to accomplish what we need. We know the very famous verse in first Nephi 3:7, I will go and do the things that the Lord has commanded. Yes. Notice how this chapter 17 begins with an echo of that. And thus we see that the Commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the Commandments of God, he doth nourish them and strengthen them and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.
The theme is so consistent.
It’s beautiful. So there again, the message is driven home, not just once, not twice, but multiple, that when we are on the Lord’s errand, he will provide a way that we can do this. I think one of the points, a good takeaway here from this is how even though Laman and Lemuel continue continually persist in objecting to what he’s doing and even threatened to kill him.
Oh, multiple times. Yeah.
That Nephi does not lose his cool. He doesn’t respond with anger. You don’t fight fire with fire. He assures them that as the Lord had helped them to come out of Israel as ancient people.
Yeah, that’s all chapter 17, middle section.
He will help us now. He reminds them, You’ve seen an angel. You’ve heard his voice, and you’ve heard him speaking in a still small voice, but you were past feeling. Yeah.
Then we see in verse 50, If God had commanded me to do all these things, I could do them. If he commanded me that I should say unto this water, ‘Be thou earth, ‘ I could do it. He has so much faith. And yet it says in verse 52, For the space of many days, they left alone because they were so frightened of him. And that’s when the Lord then shocks him in verse 53, I will shock them, sayeth the Lord, and this will I do that they may know that I am the Lord their God. And they shook and they finally believed to cooperate. They were humbled by being forced to be humbled, as we read about later in King Benjamin. And so they get their message. Yeah, they did shake them. But it says in verse 55 that they said, We know for a surety that it was the Lord is with thee. I think this is significant for Nephite to be writing this record down after the time that they had separated. He’s saying, Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember? Nephite is really clearly the good guys, and they They’re really clearly the bad guys, I think because of the perspective of history.
But there are moments where you see that they come back and they come back and they humble themselves.
Now, that’s right. As difficult as this must have been for Nephi to to separate from Laman and Lemuel, as he will do after the death of Lehi. He knows that he can’t risk the whole success of their calling to raise up a righteous seed that can receive and be visited by the resurrected Jesus as he has been promised.
That he saw in a vision.
In the vision that he saw. That remains a very powerful motivation. Yeah, of course. Gives Nephite confidence and purpose. The small plates of Nephi will be kept among the Nephites. Of course, Jacob is the high priest, and they will be kept in the treasury or maybe the Holy of Holies of that temple where their most sacred things were kept. We don’t know that Laman and Lemuel ever actually read these, but the Nephites would have taken this out and would have read this as a part of their creation account, their epic story of how they got to where they are.
We know that they read them because they quote from these plates all throughout the rest of the book. But as we finish up chapter 17 and go to 18, he finishes the boat. They’re able to cooperate enough to actually help him on the building. We’re not talking about a big ship yet. I keep calling it a boat just because they’re not as big as I would have thought as we see the ancient ones that do these world trips. Again, in 18:3, I, Nephite, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord, wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things. This is our hope now that we can, too, go to the temple oft, go to our knees oft, and receive great things. This verse is for us now. But chapter 18 is where we finally introduce Jacob and Joseph, the little brothers. And they gather seed in chapter 18, verse 6, and they get ready to go on the boat. But unfortunately, the problems happen on the boat, too. The Leona doesn’t work because they’re arguing again. That’s verses 12, 13, 14. They get angry, and it just doesn’t work.
It happens every time.
The spirit leaves and the direction doesn’t work. Ancient mariners had a very close connection to the forces of nature and of the gods that they believed in. You have to know the currents. You have to be able to read the signs of the clouds, the birds that you have to follow. Being led by the spirit was so important. We don’t know how Nephi… He didn’t have a map. He didn’t have the way to go, but he did have the power of revelation. And that would be the way that God would bring these people to the new world.
And they get there. Let’s start with chapter 18, verse 23. It came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days, and I’d add weeks and months, we did arrive at the promised land, and we went forth upon the land and did pitch our tents, and we did call it the promised land. Now, this is so fascinating to me because this phrase, promised land, is a Nephi phrase. Either the land of promise or promised land, it’s all over Nephite, and it’s nowhere else. It’s right here. He continues on to say, They planted seeds, and they find silver and copper, and gold, and cows, and oxes, asses, and horses. I am excited to say that there have been so many archeological discoveries. Never leave your faith because something hasn’t been uncovered yet. Look what’s happened since the Dead Sea scrolls in 1948. Look what’s happened since… We have found so many animals. I’m from California. The La Brea Tar pits have had horses for a long time that date pre-Columbian. We have had so many examples of animals that look like horses, but they are a smaller horse rather than the same Arabian horse.
They’re more diminutive, but they’re much larger than a pony. They’re real horses.
Many people have seen already the archeological report that we’ve been able to release recently on archeological discoveries of horses, horse bones in an area in northeastern Mexico. The interesting thing there is as they’ve done carbon dating on these horse bones, they date to all of the period covered not only by the Nephites, but also by the Jerodites. Yes.
But chapter 19, my favorite part, is when he begins testifying of Christ. Nephite begins writing some things that are sacred on these plates. We had talked about the idea of ore. You’ve done a lot of work on plates, Jack, but I’m just fascinated with the idea that no one ever says they’re 24 karat gold. These things are probably copper with a gold, what do you call the aloe on the outside?
Well, it’s tombaga. Yes.
The ancient way they used to take them.
The ancient people of America were able to make a foil of metal and thin plates that matches the description of something that you might use for a very carefully written record.
A place to write something, inscribe it.
These are copper and gold mixed together. As you heat it and then spread it out and it cools, you then wash the surface of the Alloy with a slight acid, like citric acid. The acid will then leach out the copper, the first few layers of copper atoms, and will leave the gold.
Like a gold plate.
As a gold surface. It’s like a gold plating, but they don’t have to do it with electrolysis.
Which then you could actually carve into the gold and see the copper underneath.
That’s right. Wow. If you do this and then write scratch on the gold foil, you, first of all, have a different color of the copper Coming through.
But also then that could oxidize a little bit and you’d have an even stronger color. Of course. It’d be good. Copper is going to oxidize. Making the inscriptions a little easier to read.
He says in verse 6 of chapter 19, I do not write anything upon plates. Save it me that I think it be sacred. I like to use that approach for my scriptures, for my journals, for my letters. Let’s make sure we’re saying the things that matter most.
What this tells us is that they write on other substances as well.
Oh, yeah. You can write on bark, you can write on leather. Even in Israel, by this time, they were thinning out the leather.
They know how to do that. But the most important things they preserve with the most durable medium, and that would be the metal. Well, we finish up here, Lynn, with coming back to the four stages of the prophetic worldview.
So the last half of 19, 20, 21, and 22 of chapters first Nephe.
If you remember what we talked about last week when we were going through the four stages of first Nephe, 11, 12, 13, and 14, Nephe will now echo that here. At the end of chapter 19, it’s all about Christ. And the Prophecies of his Coming. He quotes there the prophecies from Zenoce and Zenoce and Nahum. It talks also about the suffering and the crucifixion of Jesus and the cataclysm at the time of his death. By the way, those words which are prophesied here by Zenoce will be quoted very specifically and accurately in the Prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite. Wow. Which tells us that Emmanuel- Had access to see this. Has access to this record.
Or to the brass plates.
Yes. Remember, he was converted as a Lamanite, but then comes to Zerahemla to spend some time with his missionaries, Nephi and Lehi, and They had the brass plates and the plates of Nephi. So that all fits very nicely there.
So your stage one of Christ is beautifully described this whole second half of chapter 19, because it says as we end the chapter, they refer to him as the Holy One of Israel.
That’s right. But then in chapter 20, what’s stage two? Even though Jesus will come to these people who have been brought back to Jerusalem, all will not accept him.
Well, chapter 20 is Isaiah, Isaiah 48.
That’s right. What happens is, Nephi now finds in Isaiah, propheses about what will happen when Christ comes, when the Messiah comes, even though These people, I should know better, they will be put into another furnace of affliction.
Yeah, verse 10, I have refined thee. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
And those gatherings will then happen as they go forth again out of Babylon. Then in chapter 21, we have the conclusion of the second phase of Nephi’s vision, and that is There will be some of the Gentiles who will receive the gospel. And verse 22, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles and set up my standard to the people, and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
Jack, do you think Nephi is including these chapters of Isaiah here because he wants to show the repetition between his people and the vision and now the Israelites in the ancient world?
Exactly. We have Lehi’s vision, we have Nephi’s vision, and now we have Isaiah’s confirmation. So these three- And they’re all saying the same thing. They say the same, looking forward to the ultimate end game of how the life on earth will develop.
And Nephi, in chapter 21, verse 15, quotes one of my favorite verses of Isaiah. He’s talking about the Lord. They’re claiming the Lord’s forsaken us. He’s forgotten us. He’s not answering our prayers. But that’s when he answers, Can a woman forget her suckling child? That she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Yey, they may forget.
Some women do. But yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel? Behold, I have engraven thee on the palms of my hands. Even though they’re being claimed God is not here, I will never, I have engraven thee on the palms of my hands. This is so messianic.
Exactly. That’s the end of Nephi’s third stage in chapter 13, where he talks about, even though there will be apostasy and the covenants will be broken and lost, they will not be forgotten, and the Lord will then again commence to bring about a marvelous work and a wonder.
This is the changing point from the third stage to the fourth stage.
Then as you leave that and go on to chapter 22.
This is Nephite’s commentary.
This is now, Nephi will pick up the commentary and will assure people that the Lord will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles. That’s verse 7, so that the restoration will occur.
Then in verse 8, Our seed is scattered. But then listen to what happens. The Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles. Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed, wherefore it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms upon their shoulders.
And he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be, and here’s that word, gathered.
So this is stage 4 with the gathering of the righteous. And they’re going to be gathered with this marvelous work. Jack, what’s the marvelous work?
The Coming forth of the Book of Bormund.
The marvelous work in the wonder. Go read all of our The first half of the doctrine covenants, the marvelous work and the wonder.
But at the same time, think back to chapter 14 of first Nephi. At the same time, the righteous are being gathered. What happens in verse 13? Oh, it’s back to the Abominable. There is an abominable church.
Yeah, the Abominable.
The blood is the great and Abominable church, which is the whore of the earth. This again is Satan. They will war against thee, O house of Israel. Verse For behold, sayeth the prophet, the time comes speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men.
Well, that’s the millennium.
And that’s how the fourth stage ends. The Lord will prevail. We can see these things working out in the decades, in the centuries, in the- In the worldview. In the worldview of how the gospel was expected to come, and how it will happen.
I had never understood why first Nephite ended there. This is so helpful. He is a master writer, and without computers and without a pencil and paper, I don’t know how he could organize everything so clearly. But there seems to be a rhyme and reason why he has to end first Nephite here. It’s because he has shown what he needs to show, and next week we’ll start in second Nephite. I hope that all of our scripture study be enhanced by the spirit of the Lord directing us, because I believe this is the word of God and that the spirit wants us to become better because of it.
I can testify that although the writings of Isaiah are confusing to many people, Nephi’s vision gives us the key, the overview, and with the help of the Book of Norman, we can get through and get out of the Prophecies of Isaiah, clarity, inspiration, and recognize that what people in the world have struggled to do to understand Isaiah idea, Joseph Smith was able to bring forth with a wonderful process of using the Euromun thummum to receive revelation and to produce a miraculous miracle. This, I think, is for me the final purpose of all of what’s done so that we can have understanding and knowledge and go forth as they did with confidence and know that even though there may be trouble around, the Lord will prevail. He needs us to be faithful and confident, but there’s no reason that we can’t know that if he has kept every word that he has promised up to this point, and he has, he will be true to his word to the very end. I know that to be true in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.