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Thursday, March 19, 2009

1 Nephi 12

Summary: Nephi has a vision of the land of promise and the ensuing righteousness, iniquity, and eventual downfall of its inhabitants; the coming of Christ, how the 12 disciples and apostles will judge Israel; and the awful state of those who dwindle in unbelief.

This chapter is essentially the "thesis statement" for the entire Book of Mormon, or the "statement"/chapter of purpose, intent, or main idea for the entire book.

As the chapter begins an angel tells Nephi to look, "And I looked and beheld the aland of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the bsand of the sea."

As Nephi continues to behold this vision of his people he sees them: battle each other, commence wars and rumors of wars, great slaughters, many generations pass away, mists of darkness, lightnings, thunderings, earthquakes, tumultuos noises, mountains tumbling to pieces, earth broken up, cities sunken, cities burned, cities tumble to the earth, vapors of darkness.

Suddenly in verse 6: "I saw the heavens open, and the aLamb of God descending out of heaven; and he came down and bshowed himself unto them." How comforting for Nephi to know and see that the Lord would not only come again but his coming would stop the mass destruction and wickedness of his posterity.... for a time.

Nephi sees how the church is established with Christ's 2nd coming: "I also saw and bear record that the Holy Ghost fell upon atwelve others; and they were ordained of God, and chosen.
8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the Twelve Disciples of the Lamb, who are chosen to minister unto thy seed.
9 And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the aTwelve Apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall bjudge the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them; for ye are of the house of Israel."

Nephi beholds 3, almost 4 generations pass away in righteousness. Then the multitudes of the earth (his seed and his brothers' seed) gather together to battle. I can't imagine literally watching my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on living their lives righteously and then falling into iniquity and rebellion, only to fight against their own family members. How frustrating!

Then, in verses 16-18 Nephi sees the application of his father's and his own previous vision of the tree of life. Actually, the symbols in the vision (the mist of darkness, the great and spacious building, and the river of filthy water) foreshadows the downfall of Nephi's seed.

Finally, Nephi sees how the pride of his seed and the temptations of the devil contribute to the downfall and overpower of his people by the seed of his brother. But, the people of his brother's seed continue in their destructive ways and the angel tells Nephi that they dwindle in unbelief. Still, a sad fate to learn that the truth and faith did not endure in your own seed, nor in the seed of any of your family members.

The last verse: "And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a adark, and loathsome, and a bfilthy people, full of cidleness and all manner of abominations." Although this depiction of the fate of your own posterity seems somewhat sullen and discouraging, it is also a comfort to know that the earth did not pass away this way and that a record of these mistakes was being kept to pass on to US.

I took the last verse as a challenge, it empowered me to avoid that same fate for myself, my children, and their children. I feel the increasing importance of teaching my children the correct principles found in the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel... and to teach them more often, simply, and with increased conviction. They may be young, but this is the most impressionable time of their life when I can mold them and indoctrinate them without them being tainted and imprinted on by the world and by Satan's subtleties in large doses. The things they learn are the things that will likely STICK (I hope and pray) when they begin to think on their own and find their own testimony, and when the storms of life begin to rage.

I am grateful for Nephi's courage, faith, conviction, moral uprightness, strict obedience, prayer, and pure example of faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings. The way in which he continually sought the Lord's will through prayer and revelation is a great example to us as a people who intend to save our own seed from unrighteousness and destruction. If we will but look to the source and avoid the temptations of the Satan and the world, we too have the same promise Nephi did, that our seed will be saved.

1 comment:

Elise said...

This is an interesting thought about this chapter being a thesis statement for the Book of Mormon. I think there is a lot of truth to that! You expressed some good thoughts about Nephi and how he must have felt to see his descendants fall into unbelief.