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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

1 Nephi 11

Nephi sees the Spirit of the Lord and is shown the vision of the tree of life--He sees the mother of the Son of God and learns the condescension of God--He sees the baptism, ministry, and crucifixion of the Lamb of God--He sees also the call and ministry of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Immediately we see another example of Nephi's great faith: "I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and [believed] that the Lord was able to make them known unto me..." Then again in verse 6: "And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the Most high God."

What happens next reminds me of how the Lord always blesses us more than we anticipate. Not only is Nephi going to be shown the vision of the tree of life, but He will also witness the Savior's entire life and ministry because of his faithfulness. How amazing is that! It just reminds me that when we are willing to exercise faith or make a sacrifice of something, whatever we give seems so small in the end when compared to the blessings we receive.

The next section is where symbolism comes in.
The tree of life: "The love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men...it is the most desirable above all things" (vs. 22)
The rod of iron: "The word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters" (vs. 25)
The living waters: "A representation of the love of God" (vs. 25)
The great and spacious building: "The world and the wisdom thereof." "The pride of the world."(vs. 35-36)

The next section is where Nephi witnesses Jesus' baptism, which is almost the exact account we read in the Bible. He then witnesses Jesus' ministry and crucifixion. Then, I believe, Nephi witnesses the start of the Great Apostasy when "the multitudes of the earth...were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb." (vs. 34)

A concept I also wanted to address from this chapter is "The condescension of God." I have always been a little unclear about this, so I researched it on lds.org and found the perfect talk by Bishop Richard C. Edgely. This is what he had to say:
Condescension is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: “voluntary descent from one’s rank or dignity in relations with an inferior.” President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) taught, “It means to descend or come down from an exalted position to a place of inferior station.”
He went further to explain what it means in the scriptures:
"As the angel taught Nephi, he may have been speaking of two condescensions—one of God the Father and one of the Son, Jesus Christ. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles elaborates, “ ‘The condescension of God,’ of which the scriptures speak, means that the Immortal Father—the glorified, exalted, enthroned ruler of the universe—came down from his station of dominion and power to become the Father of a Son who would be born of Mary, ‘after the manner of the flesh.’ ” 2 God the Father also condescended by sending His Only Begotten Son to suffer the sins of the world. The Savior is God’s gift to us.

While God the Father’s condescension reflects His great love for all mankind by permitting His Only Begotten to be sacrificed for even the humblest and lowliest of His children, Christ’s condescension was more personal and visible—for He was the sacrifice. His condescension was manifest by who He was and the way He lived. His condescension can be seen in almost every recorded act of His 33 years of mortality."

I could not have said that better myself by a long shot! This chapter is amazing, and I personally learned so much from it. I hope you can too!


Elise said...

Oh, Thank You for talking more about the condecension of Christ. I read the talk you quoted from, and it really is a wonderful talk. I especially loved that you pointed out that Heavenly Father will bless us more than we can anticipate. It really makes me wonder what blessings are available to me that I am not readying myself for.

Holly said...

What a great post Chelsea, thorough yet brief. I love your thoughts and insights. The condescension of God is an interesting topic, but yet so refreshing to learn that he would do such a thing, as would Jesus Christ, for the immortality and eternal life of His children. Thanks for your summary.