Blogging the Book of Mormon – What Desirest Thou? (Deux) – 1 Nephi 11:8-23

You can read 1 Nephi 11:8-23 here.

Context and General Information

  • According to Nephi’s desire and faith, the Spirit begins to show Nephi the things that Lehi saw in a dream.
  • Nephi sees the tree his father saw – it exceeds all beauty.
  • After seeing the tree, the Spirit tells Nephi that it is most precious above all. The Spirit then asks Nephi, “What desirest thou?”
  • Nephi wants to know the interpretation of this tree.
  • Nephi spoke to the Spirit as a man speaks to another man. The Spirit was in the form of a man, but Nephi knew it wasn’t actually a man.
  • The Spirit answers Nephi by telling him to Look!
  • Nephi saw Jerusalem, Nazareth, and a virgin.
  • The Spirit asks Nephi if he knows the condescension of God, but Nephi doesn’t.
  • The Spirit explains that the virgin that Nephi sees is the mother of the Son of God. She was carried away in the Spirit, then the Spirit told Nephi: Look!
  • Nephi looked and saw the virgin bearing a child in her arms – the Son of God.
  • Through this, Nephi begins to understand the meaning of the tree- the love of God – it is the most desirable above all things and the most joyous to the soul.

What Desirest Thou? (Deux)

FYI, we will be studying this section of scriptures for more than one day. Just letting you know now.

We have already studied Nephi’s desire. He wanted to know the the things his father had seen. This is how chapter 11 opens. Now, after a little back and forth, the Spirit rejoices – Nephi has the desire and faith in order to learn more about this dream. The Lord will grant according to Nephi’s desires.

So then, what we read next looks like this, right? (Spoiler alert, this is NOT how it goes).

The Spirit pulls down a giant blackboard, dons a pair of glasses and writes at the top of the Blackboard: Lehi’s Dream. “Get your plates and etching tool out Nephi. You’re gonna need to take notes.”

Then he continues, “First all – the tree. It symbolizes the love of God. Okay? Get it? Let me know when you’re done writing…”

If you’ve read the text, then you know that there is no blackboard, no glasses, no list of meanings.

The Spirit doesn’t just show Nephi the dream and tells him what it means. Instead, the Spirit commands: Look!

And Nephi looks.

This is kind of fascinating to me. Look! The command, “Look!” appears at least 12 times throughout the vision that Nephi sees. (There are other similar commands, too – like Behold…but I didn’t count the “beholds.”) Instead of answering Nephi’s question outright, the Spirit bids him to look.

And what does Nephi see? We read:

“And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.” – 1 Nephi 11:8-22

So – Nephi sees the tree of life. Nephi confirms this:

“And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.” – 1 Nephi 11:9

After this the Spirit asks Nephi again What desirest thou?

You know, as I write this, I realize that the Spirit probably already knew the answer to this.

Think about it. Nephi had already been praying and pondering – to know what Lehi saw. Then, after Nephi was taken away into a high mountain the Spirit asked him “What desirest thou?” He probably already knew the answer then. Nephi told him – to see what his father had seen.

Then, as we know, the Spirit asked Nephi if he believed. Yes, Nephi believed. Rejoicing! The Spirit shows Nephi this one thing – a tree. Then asks him again, “What desirest thou?”

Why is he asking this again? Why is it so important for Nephi to reiterate what he desires so many times? I firmly believe that the Spirit already knows what Nephi desires. We know that the Spirit can discern our thoughts. So, why is the Spirit asking this again?

I can’t say that I know for sure.

Right now, the only thought I’m having is prayer.

I don’t know if it is the right train of thought, but we’ll see where it goes.

Remember the parable:

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:1-8

This is such an interesting parable. I found the following in the Institute Manual:

“Luke stated the main message of the parable of the importuning widow and unjust judge- “men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” (Luke 18:1). The Greek word translated as “to faint” means to become discouraged or weary or to tire of something. In the parable, praying without giving up is represented by a widow who repeatedly appeals to a judge to remedy her injustice.” – New Testament Student Manual

“To faint” means to become discouraged or weary or to tire of something. Nephi doesn’t get discouraged or tired when repeatedly asked “What desirest thou?”

In fact, I kind of wonder – even though the Lord probably knew his heart and what he desired, maybe Nephi needed to say it. To get better answers, we need better questions. The Lord was willing to answer his questions, but he had to ask them first.

Maybe, before being asked “What desirest thou?” Nephi hadn’t really verbalized his feeling. I’m not sure if this makes sense. I have found that there are many times when I have “feelings.” Then, if I’m asked to describe what I’m feeling, I have to kind of search to figure it out. If you are reading this blog, then you get to see me trying to sort out the feelings I have into words. I think that this process can lead to epiphanies.

So – maybe Nephi needed to say what he wanted so that he would know precisely what he wanted – so that the Lord could then answer his prayer. He needed to be asked repeatedly because for some reason, we have to pray in the same way – without getting discouraged, always expressing our faith.

The institute manual continues:

“Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow. …” – New Testament Student Manual

I’m interrupting this quote for a second because I love what comes next, but I want to address one idea first. We have to persist. Nephi didn’t get frustrated when asked repeatedly, “What desirest thou?” He thought about it, and then he asked. He persisted, and this is why he received.

Okay, continuing on:

“Keep knocking on that door. Keep pleading. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child.” – New Testament Student Manual

I will go back to the experience that I shared in this blog post.

When I read this chapter and quote back in Heber, it was needful! I needed to read it! I already wrote about nudges. I kept feeling a nudge when I read the question “What desirest thou?” And I realized, I desire home.

The next day, when continuing on in 1 Nephi 11, I AGAIN read “What desirest thou?” Again, I had the nudge. At first, I kind of put the thought away – about my desire – because I had already explored it. Was it worth repeating? But, I was getting nudged. (And if you are reading this blog post, I hope it doesn’t annoy you to hear more about this story. Maybe you can find another commentary. For now, I’m going to keep sharing. Thanks!)

So, I asked myself again: What desirest thou?

The next nudge I received was the thought about the parable that I shared earlier. Were these two things related? Maybe not. As in, maybe not in a scholarly way. Don’t go to your Sunday School class and say that there is a relationship between the Spirit asking Nephi “What desirest thou?” and the parable of the importuning widow and the unjust judge. You may seem crazy.

Of course, this isn’t a scholarly blog. So yay!

Now here’s the connection. Yes, I pondered my desire. But had I been like that widow? Had I knelt down and prayed about it? Had I poured out my soul to the Lord telling him what I desired? Did I answer that question –What Desirest Thou? – again and again (like Nephi) so I could discover on a deep level exactly that which I desired, and so I could also receive it?

I mean, the Spirit wasn’t setting Nephi up! He asked Nephi what he desired so that Nephi would express his desire, so that then the Lord could deliver! AMAZING!

We’re kind of doing a part two on “What desirest thou?” today. I hope that’s okay. And we’re combining it with the parable told in Luke. What is it you desire? Does the Lord know it?

I have an admission to make – yes, of course the Lord knew that I desired home. He is omniscient, and I’m sure that He had heard me talk about my desire with my husband, my friends, and others. And yes, I had lightly mentioned it in a few of my prayers.

But I hadn’t cried day and night. I hand’t shared with Him my desires and why they are my desires. I pondered, yes. And I prayed, technically, but I knew that I was not praying the way that the Lord wanted me to pray. I knew that I was capable of praying in a way that really created an environment where I could commune with God. I’d had amazing experiences praying, and then I’d become lazy.

I realized that I take for granted that God knows my heart, and I just think that I should be lazy sometimes – let Him read my mind and answer my prayers. I don’t trouble the Lord. I don’t weary Him with my prayers, with my desires, with my gratitude.

And yet the Lord is so merciful and patient with me. Even though I hadn’t humbled myself in prayer the way I ought to, He loves me. He sees the efforts I make. And He was speaking to me through the words of Nephi:

 

What desirest thou?

I knew that my desire was righteous. And I knew that I need to kneel down, pray, and tell Him directly.

010 prayer
Instant Messages, G. Bjorn Thorkelson

After realizing that I needed to trouble the Lord with my prayers, I made a decision to find a quiet place to pray, really pray, ever day. At the time, I was living in my in-laws house, and it was hard to really get comfortable for a quiet prayer.

So, I went outside and found a good spot…

river bed
A Quiet Place to Pray

 

…and prayed. I made an effort to pray here every day.  I have wearied the Lord with my prayers, and the answer didn’t come right away, but the Lord has still gently guided me on the path. And at some future point, I know that I’ll receive what I desire.

So – what desirest thou? Think about it. Is it a righteous desire? Pray about it. Weary the Lord with your prayers. Ask, seek, knock…And He will answer.

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Blogging the Book of Mormon – What Desirest Thou? – 1 Nephi 11:1-7

You can read 1 Nephi 11:1-7 here.

Context and General Information

  • After both desiring to see the things that his father saw, and then believing that he could Nephi sat pondering.
  • While pondering, Nephi was “caught away” in the Spirit of the Lord – to a high mountain.
  • The Spirit asked him, “What desirest thou?”
  • Nephi told the Spirit that he wanted to see what his father saw.
  • Nephi believed what his father saw.
  • The Spirit was joyous to know that Nephi was faithful, and Nephi would be blessed to see what his father saw.

What Desirest Thou?

I really believe that we can get exactly what we need from the scriptures every single day. No, I don’t believe that. I know it. I have experienced in my life.

I don’t want to be a scriptorian. I don’t care about “knowing” the scriptures. I know that the Pharisees “knew” the scriptures. In fact, they used the scriptures against the Savior. It is an irony that also serves as a warning to me. I don’t want to get caught up in the facts of the scriptures. I don’t want to study the scriptures so that people will say to me, Wow. You really know the scriptures.

However.

I do love the scriptures! I want to know them, not to show others that I know them, but so that they can be a source of strength in my life. I want to be close to the Spirit and to God on a daily basis. I know that a good way to do this is through prayerfully studying the scriptures. I have experienced this in my life. I know that if we open our scriptures, our minds, and our hearts, then we will be instructed in a way that is 100% relevant to our lives every single day.

If you are reading this blog, and feeling overwhelmed by the scriptures or if you feel like you’ve read them and they are boring, then I’ll share something that I try to do when I read the scriptures. I try to keep my mind open to those little nudges. Maybe something stands out to you and makes you feel good. Maybe something makes you pause and say, huh. Maybe you get stuck on an idea and then go off on a tangent that seems unrelated to what you are studying.

In my experiences – those little nudges are often the Spirit – speaking to me and helping me to know the answers to my questions, give me comfort, or help to calm my concerns.

Remember – if you want better answers, then ask better questions. …And it doesn’t hurt to be like a four year old – keep asking why (and finding an answer) until you can’t go any further.

OKAY

Sorry – to put all of that in here, but I hope it helps you in your personal study, and I hope it helps you to see why I’m about to dig into this one concept.

***

There are a lot of interesting things happening here in 1 Nephi 11 so far. First of all – Nephi is desiring to know what his father had seen. We talked about this a bit in this post and this post.

Nephi is also pondering in his heart. Man we could get into that…I’d love to write more about that, but that’s not the nudge for today.

As Nephi ponders, he is caught away in the Spirit – to a high mountain. This is another idea that I’d love to study further. Maybe one day in the future. For now, though, this isn’t the nudge that I’m feeling I really need to address today. But it is worth noting. Nephi is desiring, pondering, and then the Spirit responds. But the Spirit takes him to a holy place before showing him the vision.

After being brought to a mountain top, the Spirit asks Nephi, What desirest thou?

This is my nudge for today. I don’t really know why. But it has caught my eye and now my curiosity.

Nephi’s Desire

After being asked this question of the Spirit, Nephi answered him:

“And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.” – 1 Nephi 11:3

What does Nephi want? Vision. He wants to see what his father saw. He wants to understand the vision of the tree of life. He recognizes that there is more than what his father simply related to them, and Nephi wants to know it.

Nephi is feeling a nudge! This isn’t a scripture or something that Nephi could really study. He did ponder it. Why was he so interested in pondering it and knowing it? I’m not sure – other than he had a desire.

I would venture to guess that Nephi was feeling drawn to this vision. He was having a nudge. Feeling an impression. It didn’t really “stand out” to him in a way that he could understand it immediately. Instead, I think that he was probably puzzled by the whole thing, and it wouldn’t leave him alone. This nudge turned into a full-fledged desire – Nephi needed to know what that dream meant!

After expressing his desire to the Spirit, the Spirit then asks Nephi if he believes his father. Nephi responds:

“And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.” – 1 Nephi 11:5

Isn’t that interesting. Nephi didn’t want to know Lehi’s dream so that he would believe it. Nephi already believed his father and what his father said about the dream. His belief in what his father said is what is nudging Nephi to find a deeper understanding of what his father had taught.

When Nephi gave this response, the Spirit rejoiced:

“And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.” – 1 Nephi 11:6, emphasis added

Nephi hasn’t yet received what he desires, but he will. And why will he receive? Because of his faith. Because he followed this nudging, had faith that the Lord would answer his prayer, and did the work (praying, pondering, and believing) required to receive.

A Story about My Desire

I’m going to share an experience that I have had with this scripture. I was feeling a nudge about that phrase what desirest thou? And I knew that I needed to ask myself:

What desirest thou?

Even though this question was asked to Nephi, as I read it, it felt so personal to me. What did I desire???

Going to my favorite scripture study tool (the dictionary):

Desire: (verb)

  1. Strongly wish for or want (something) “he never achieved the status he so desired.”synonyms:want, wish for, long for, yearn for, crave, be desperate for, be bent on, covet, aspire to, fancy; Informalhave a yen for, have a jones for, yen for, hanker after/for

I think that I know why this was standing out to me when I originally read this. I knew exactly what I desired then…

Home

(When I say home – I mean a place to call home. I don’t mean “a house.” I just mean one consistent place for my family to feel at home.)

Several years ago, my husband and I started our own business. At the time, we were living in the Phoenix area. If you are familiar with Phoenix, then you know that in the summer time it gets pretty warm…

Giant Saguaro
Does this picture look hot to you?
Hiking in North Phoenix
How about this one???

Now, we really loved living in Arizona, but it is easy to talk yourself into moving away when July comes around! My husband and I started toying with the idea. Finally, the next year, we decided it was the right thing to do. We were still building our business, but we knew we needed to move. So, we sold our house. We sold most of our possessions. We made the move – to Hawai’i.

Sunrise
From sunup
Hanging in Hawaii
all the day long
Hawaii Sunset
to sundown.

We really loved it there. We made the move. Shipped our car, sold a ton of our stuff, and found a little three month rental. We figured we’d find something permanent when we got there and then we’d ship everything else from the mainland.

A few months later, when the rental was about to expire, we hadn’t found anything on O’ahu or the other islands, and my husband had a strong impression move to Utah… When he mentioned it to me, I also felt comforted that moving to Utah was the right thing to do, so we did.

We moved to Utah, and then we moved again. And then we moved across the country to Massachusetts. Then back to the west. And then again and again – to other towns and states.

Midway
Midway
Swiss Oaks
Swiss Oaks (Midway)
Pine Canyon Road
Pine Canyon – Another move in Midway
Wompatuck
Wompatuck, Mass.
Nantasket in January
The Frozen Atlantic…a little different than tropical Pacific
Heber Valley
Heber Valley in late spring.

We were in Heber for a few months even though we anticipated only a few weeks. But that’s how life goes sometimes. Throughout that time, I found myself:

  • wanting…
  • wishing for…
  • longing for…
  • yearning for…
  • craving…
  • desperate for…
  • bent on…
  • coveting… (okay, not coveting, I promise)
  • aspring to…
  • hankering for…
  • jonesing for…

HOME!!!!!!!

I promise you that it wasn’t a complaint. It wasn’t me feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t actually coveting. I felt satisfied with the decisions I had made. I have been SO grateful to live in every place we’ve lived. (After Heber, we didn’t move to a home yet, but moved to another part of another valley, then out of state again…and the journey continues). You saw the pictures. AMAZING. There is nothing that I will change about our journey, and I felt that way even when I was desiring home back at my time in Heber.

Despite my satisfaction with life, I felt a longing, a desire. In church one day, we sang “Love at Home,” and I just felt how deeply I wanted home. I had loved our adventures, but I was ready to settle down for a long while.

What desirest thou? for me – it was home…I’ve gone on about this too long. But I think that you get the idea.

One – The Desire

As I mentioned earlier, I kind of think that Nephi had a nudge – to desire to know more. I believe that his desire wasn’t unrighteous, but that it was a good, spiritual desire.

Additionally, I truly believe that my desire for home was a good, spiritual desire. It is righteous. It is a nudge.

Two – Go to the Lord

Ask. Seek. Knock. And we will find. After Nephi realized what his desire was, he went to the Lord. He pondered on the words of his father. He tried to do what he could to obtain his desire.

Prayer is such a crucial part of this process. In the Bible Dictionary we learn:

“The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” – Bible Dictionary: Prayer

I don’t want to get prescriptive here because I think that the work we need to do largely depends on what we desire. However, I know that prayer is a form of work, and as we pray we will be guided on the work that we need to do in order to receive that which we desire.

Three – Believe

After Nephi told the Spirit his desire, the Spirit asks:

“…Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?” – 1 Nephi 11:4

This is not really the response I would have expected. I mean, Nephi has the desire, then he is asking God. Doesn’t it seem like he believes? Then, the Spirit asks, “What do you desire?” Nephi tells him what he desires, and then this?

So, why does the Spirit ask him this?

I’m not completely sure, but think about it. What if Nephi said, “I want to see what my father saw,” but then – at his core he didn’t believe it in the first place? It wouldn’t have done Nephi any good to know it. The Lord wasn’t going to answer Nephi of a little curiosity, he was only going to fulfill his desire and that desire had to be backed by real faith.

So – what about my situation back in Heber?

Well – first of all – without getting too personal (it’s probably already too late for that!!! haha!), I will state that there were times when I had received priesthood blessings that stated that soon I would be settled. We would have a place to call home.

So – the thought that came to me was, “Do I believe?” Did I really believe what the Lord had said to me in the past? Did I believe that the Lord would grant my desire? Did I believe that there really was a home for me and my family?

In a way, it probably seems like I was cheating because I had Nephi’s example. But YES! Yes I did believe! I believed the promptings of the Spirit. I believed that my desire was righteous and that it wasn’t just some little flirtation or curiosity. I believed that the Lord was capable and that He would do as He has already indicated and promised in blessings and other spiritual impressions.

Four – Thou Shalt Behold the Things which Thou Hast Desired

Nephi’s desire was granted after he told the Spirit of his faith. I don’t know how long Nephi was pondering and desiring. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just important to know that Nephi desired, sought, believed, and then received.

And this was the hope that I had. I believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises. Not only did I believe the words of the blessings and spiritual blessings I had received, but also because of this experience of Nephi’s. And I still believe that the Lord will fulfill His promises. I believe that His promises are sure.

***

So – back to the nudge. I don’t know how much I really “learned” about the scriptures that day when I read this chapter in Heber, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be a “scriptorian.” I want the scriptures to be alive in my life.

The nudge I felt was about this phrase – What do I desire? And I know that this nudge was a way for the Spirit to comfort me as I continued on in my own little life journey.

Following this nudge may not have told me more about this scripture story, but it did help me to better understand how the Lord works sometimes – at least how he worked with Nephi. Following this nudge helped me to see that we can count on the Lord to fulfill His promises to us. This nudge helped me to really determine if my desires were righteous. It reminded me that prayer really is work. The nudge made me realize that not only should I desire and pray, but I must believe. Faith comes first here – it is what will power the miracle. And the nudge helped to increase my hope in the Lord’s willingness to grant us according to our righteous desires.

Thanks for reading this. I hope it wasn’t too personal or needy. I hope that it helps you to listen to your little nudges and pauses and “huhs” as you study the scriptures.

Blogging the Book of Mormon – The Nature of God – 1 Nephi 10:18-22

You can read 1 Nephi 10:18-22 here.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi wants to know the mysteries of God. He is also testifying of the kind of god that God is.

The Nature of our Heavenly Father

I’ve been so fascinated by the scripture in 1 Nephi 2 –

“And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.” – 1 Nephi 2:12

I don’t know if this is the most important scripture, but I think that it is quickly making its way into the top ten of “most important scriptures.” (Interesting idea for a post, huh?!).

Why do I think that it is so important?—because in this scripture, we get the key to trusting God. Laman and Lemuel murmur because they know not the dealings of that God who had created them.

While we might not outright murmur against God, it can be hard to conjure up the kind of faith and trust in God that made Nephi so courageous. As I’ve been writing these last few days – Nephi isn’t mythical or magical. He is normal like you and me. Yes he was courageous. And we can be courageous, too. How?—by knowing the God that created us.

So – here in 1 Nephi, 10, we can learn more about Heavenly Father. Through understanding more about His nature, we can develop the kind of trust in Him that will help to make us courageous.

One – God is a Giver of Gifts

“I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.” – 1 Nephi 10:17

Heavenly Father has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a gift of God to all who diligently seek Him.

We shouldn’t confuse this with the power of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift that is given by they laying on of hands by those in authority. It is a gift that is given by way of covenants and ordinances. We must be baptized, by immersion, and then one who is authorized and worthy to hold and administer in the Melchizedek Priesthood can bestow this gift on us.

We must diligently seek God first – and then covenant with Him by following Christ into the waters of baptism. Additionally, we must be willing to keep His commandments and always remember Him, otherwise we remove ourselves from the companionship and gift of the Holy Ghost.

There will be more study on this later on (in 2 Nephi 32, for sure…maybe before, too.)

The real point is – God hasn’t left us alone on this earth. He has given us a gift that empowers us and makes us capable. It is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I truly can’t imagine a better gift. When I was younger, I kind of felt like it was a cheesy concept – the Holy Ghost being a gift. But now, I realize that there has been no better gift in my life than the constant companionship of the comforter.

And this is the kind of God we believe in – one who will give us constant access to a member of the godhead as a gift.

Two – Consistent

“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever;…” – 1 Nephi 10:18

Wasatch Back Sunset

Heavenly Father is consistent and unchanging. Now, we have to understand, that means that Heavenly Father is consistent and unchanging. This doesn’t mean that His commandments are unchanging. We can look at dietary codes – dietary codes have always existed because Heavenly Father is unchanging and He cares not only about only our spiritual health but also our temporal health. Although our Father in Heaven is consistent, the codes themselves have changed – they are based on time periods and place. Though the Word of Wisdom is a little different than the dietary rules of ancient Jews, the concept behind it – the principle with a purpose – has the same purpose. It is God that is unchanging, but He often will change His methods to suit us.

We can trust Him. His intentions are always the same even if his procedures differ. We can trust Him because He loves us – because His work and glory are our immortality and eternal life.

We can also trust that He works the same way. He is a God of miracles. He will reveal to us through His Spirit – the Holy Ghost. We can seek answers faithfully and trust Him – knowing that He Will Answer.

Three – He Has a Plan

“…the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.” – 1 Nephi 10:18

There is a plan for us and for our lives. We aren’t accidental creations of our God. We aren’t mistakes. The Fall, for example, wasn’t a big mess-up. It was a part of a plan. This plan has always had a way to provide us success. This way is the Savior. If we repent and come unto Him, then there is a way for us to return to God.

And this way has existed even before the earth was created.

We can trust God because not only is He God, but He has a plan!.

Four – Eternal

“…the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” – 1 Nephi 10:19

I really hope that I revisit this concept soon because maybe it is worth an in-depth study on its own. But for now, when I think of “one eternal round,” I think of the eternal nature of God. I think of the Hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob”:

The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter;
There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit;
There is no end to race.” – If You Could Hie to Kolob – really go read all of the lyrics to this song. Amazing

Another quote I really like that has helped me to understand more about “one eternal round” was given by Elder Maxwell:

“Repeatedly God has described His course as reiterative, “one eternal round”…. We mortals sometimes experience boredom in the routine repetition of our mortal tasks, including even good works; and thus vulnerable, we are urged not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; D&C 64:33; 84:80; Alma 37:34). But given God’s divine love, there is no boredom on His part amid His repetitive work, for his course, though one eternal round, involves continuous redemption for His children; it is full of goodness and mercy as His long-suffering shows His love in action. In fact we cannot even comprehend the infinite blessings which await the faithful—” eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . .” (1 Corinthians 2:9)” – Neal A. Maxwell

He is eternally working, eternally creating, eternally existing. He is doing this with pure love and without boredom. What a loving God. I can’t even imagine. I get annoyed. I get bored. I get sick of my kids asking the same thing. Why do they need dinner every single night? Didn’t they just eat yesterday?

Yet God’s is one eternal round, and we can take comfort in this. Even though He has had billions of children, He still keeps listening to us, loving us, and answering our prayers.

Five – Clean

“…no unclean thing can dwell with God…” – 1 Nephi 10:21

God is clean. He is free from the filth of wickedness and sin. And He dwells in cleanliness. Not only that, but we learn that no unclean thing can dwell with Him.

We need to remember this because there will be a point when we are judged for our works on this earth. Does this mean that we need to be “perfect” in and of ourselves – and without the Savior? NO! THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! Remember – God has a plan, and there is a way. It is through Christ.

Christ will perfect us. Christ will make us clean.

And yes, we must be perfect and clean to enter into God’s kingdom.

This is not taught to us to make us feel bad about being imperfect. We are taught this truth so that we will come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

If we choose not to come unto Christ, if we choose to remain in wickedness, then we will be unclean. And we will not be permitted to dwell with God – whose state is a state of never-ending joy and peace.

So – we must remember this fact, and when we consider it along with the other facts – that God has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost, that He is Consistent, that God has a plan, that He is eternal – we can have hope! We can be clean! There is a way and so many blessings that make life and peace and joy (forever!) with Him possible.

And, when we understand these things about the God who created us, we will reduce our tendency to murmur, and we will instead supplant that tendency with faith and trust in God.

Blogging the Book of Mormon – Understanding the Mysteries of God 2 – What the Lord Will Do – 1 Nephi 10:17-19

You can read 1 Nephi 10:17-19 here.

Context and General Information

  • After listening to the vision/dream and then prophesies and testimony of his father, Lehi, Nephi wants to understand the things of which his father spoke.
Prickly Pear Blossoms
Yet another pretty, but unrelated, picture. Enjoy!

Understanding the Mysteries of God

In Part one, we studied how our part in understanding the mysteries of God. The primary things that we must do include:

  • Desire
  • Diligently Seek

Understand

Before talking about the role the Lord plays in our understanding of God’s mysteries, I think that we need to understand what it means to understand.

I realize that the scripture we are reading today doesn’t use the word “understand.” Instead, Nephi is desirous to “see, hear, and know” the words of his father. Additionally, Nephi doesn’t use the word “understand” later on, but instead promises us that if we will diligently seek, then we will fine, and the “mysteries of God shall be unfolded.”

I’m using the word understanding of my own accord, but I feel like it is the right word. Several times as I’ve been writing this blog post, I’ve wanted to use the word: know. I’ve wanted to say, for example, To know the mysteries of God… But then I keep feeling like “knowing” isn’t quite the word I want to use. It’s a nice word, but not really precise.

Here’s a reason why I’m thinking about it. In the Book of Mosiah, Abinadi is teaching to the priests of King Noah. If you are familiar with the story, then you know that they are wicked.

However, we have to remember they are priests. They know the commandments. They know what is said in the scriptures. But they refuse to apply these scriptures and commandments in their own lives. Abinadi later says to them:

“Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise.  …” – Mosiah 12:27

The priests of Noah claim to preach the law of Moses. They claim to know what God’s will is, but they live at odds with His word. They do not understand!

The priests of Noah weren’t the only ones with this problem.

The most obvious example of this is the Jews who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s coming. The Pharisees knew the gospel. They knew the prophecies. They knew the law. Yet, as Isaiah said:

“…Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.’ – Isaiah 6:9

What is the point of knowing if you will not understand!?!?!?!

Thankfully, Heavenly Father has given us a way to understand His mysteries. If we do our part of desiring to know more and diligently seeking, then He will help us understand through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost

The thing is – when we do our part, when we desire and when we seek, we are qualifying for the Holy Ghost. Nephi teaches:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” – 1 Nephi 10:17-19

I know that I spent a whole blog post writing about the things that we must do in order to know and understand the mysteries of God. But we have to understand that we can’t understand the mysteries of God without the Holy Ghost.

Yes, we can desire, and yes we can search. But if we don’t have the third ingredient – which is the power of the Holy Ghost, then we may come to know the scriptures and even the mysteries of God, but I don’t think that we will understand them.

The Savior taught the disciples that it is the Holy Ghost that would testify of Him:

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: – John 15:26

Isn’t this interesting – Christ was speaking to the apostles. It was the Savior! Jesus Christ Himself! And yes, He bore testimony of Himself through His words and His deeds, but here – the Savior teaches that it is the Holy Ghost that will testify of Him. This is what will leave an imprint on their hearts.

Elder Robert D. Hales also taught about the Holy Ghost:

Personal revelation is essential, but it is only one part of the work of the Holy Ghost. As the scriptures attest, the Holy Ghost also testifies of the Savior and God the Father.6 He teaches us “the peaceable things of the kingdom”7 and causes us to “abound in hope.”8 He “leadeth [us] to do good … [and] to judge righteously.”9 He gives “to every man [and woman] … a [spiritual] gift … that all may be profited thereby.”10 He “giveth [us] knowledge”11 and “bring[s] all things to [our] remembrance.”12 Through the Holy Ghost, we “may be sanctified”13 and receive “a remission of [our] sins.”14 He is the “Comforter,” the same who was “promised unto [the Savior’s] disciples.”15Robert D. Hales

It is the Holy Ghost that will testify to us, and when He does, we will gain understanding. We will feel comfort and hope. Even if we are being corrected, we will be consumed with the Love of God and more understanding. The Holy Ghost will witness of the truth, and this truth lights our minds with understanding.

In the Book of Moroni, we read:

“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” – Moroni 10:5

I love this scripture. I know that if you are a latter-day saint, then you associate this scripture with knowing the Book of Mormon is true. And yes, the Holy Ghost will bear witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon if you ask in faith.

However, I love to look at this scripture alone because it succinctly teaches us about one of the roles of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost teaches us the truth of ALL things. He will help us to know the mysteries of God. He will help us to know how to apply them in our lives. He will give us truth on any and every subject – if we will go to the Lord in desire and diligently seeking.

We can know God’s mysteries – from something as broad as understanding the scattering and gathering of Israel – down to something very specific and personal like where to live. The Holy Ghost will shed light on the truth. He is not a fortune teller. It isn’t a crystal ball we gaze into. We must do the work, but we will be guided on our paths if we will seek to know His mysteries and qualify for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

I’m grateful for Nephi and his example. He didn’t know the mysteries of God. He wasn’t born with this innate knowledge. But he knew that he could find it. And He did – through his desire, his diligent seeking, and through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Blogging the Book of Mormon – Understanding the Mysteries of God 1 – What WE Must Do – 1 Nephi 10:17-19

You can read 1 Nephi 10:17-19 here.

Context and General Information

  • After listening to the vision/dream and then prophesies and testimony of his father, Lehi, Nephi wants to understand the things of which his father spoke.
IMG_2237
A Pretty Tree from My Backyard (when We Lived in AZ…)

Understanding the Mysteries of God

I have to admit, I love scriptures like the ones we are reading today – where the prophets have given us practical advice that we can apply immediately. I love finding little templates and patterns in the scriptures.

Something about Nephi

In the scripture block, we read:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, … —I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, …” – 1 Nephi 10:17

I took out the parenthetical phrase that Nephi included in this verse. It is important, and we will get back to it later, but for now, I just wanted to really focus on this fact: Nephi DOESN’T ALREADY KNOW about the things that his father had been prophesying to them.

The things that Lehi had taught – the vision of the tree of life, the coming of the Messiah, the prophet that would prepare the way for the Lord, the scattering and gathering of Israel – were all mysteries of God that Nephi didn’t fully grasp.

This is important to really understand! Nephi did not just naturally know everything. I’m not a fan of defaming historical or religious figures. However, I also think that it is a disservice for us to “mythicize” our historical and religious figures. It is both a disservice to us and to them.

I might be the only one who has done this or who does this. It is easy to think of the prophets as “special.” As if they have access to something that we don’t have. It is easy to think that they didn’t struggle, that they didn’t wrestle with God. It is easy to think that they just understood the gospel inherently.

And Nephi – he is large in stature. He is courageous. We’ve seen his picture:

nephi-subdues-rebellious-brothers-39641-gallery
The dude is jacked! Building a Boat! Physically shocking his brothers!

Even though I’m being a little tongue in cheek – Nephi did do all of these things. He did build a boat. He was big (even though we don’t really know what, exactly, this meant, or how he might have looked). He did physically shock his brothers. He did display immense amounts of faith throughout his life. But he wasn’t Hercules. He wasn’t “magically” endowed with these powers.

He cultivated them, and so can we. In fact, Nephi gives us the exact pattern he used to understand the mysteries of God.

Was Nephi special? Absolutely. God made Him special. This is the miracle of the grace of our Savior. He can take normal people like us – and if we are humble, then we can be made into people who seem mythical – in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength.

Okay…so let’s get on with it, then.

Desire

We read:

“…I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, …” – 1 Nephi 10:17

In order to understand the mysteries of God, the first thing we need to have is desire. I guess it seems obvious, but it’s important to recognize. Heavenly Father doesn’t just pour his wisdom on people. It would actually be unfair. We must have desire.

What exactly is desire? Well, according to one of my favorite scripture supplements:

Desire: to long or hope for : exhibit or feel desire for
2 a : to express a wish for : request they desire an immediate answer
b archaic : to express a wish to : ask desired them to reconsider” – Miriam Webster Online Dictionary: Desire

Later on in this entry, the site explains that often “desire is used when a person has a great feeling for and actually strives to get what is wanted.” I really love this. The scriptures put it a similar way:

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” – Moroni 10:4

When we have a true desire, it is implied that we have real intent. What is real intent? Well, I think of it this way: that we intend to do something when we receive this information. And the work that we do in order to receive such knowledge is a display of our intent. Knowing the mysteries of God isn’t passive. This knowledge should impact how we live our lives.

We do have examples of people who had “knowledge” of the scriptures and therefore, you would think, they had knowledge of God; however, they didn’t have real intent. The Pharisees. What was the point of their knowledge when they didn’t even recognize their Messiah?!

Nephi’s desire was pure and backed with real intent. His desire to understand the mysteries of God was not so that he could position himself above others. His desire to understand God’s mysteries was so that He could do what he needed to do to change his life and continue to move closer to the tree of life. He wanted joy. He wanted to fulfill the measure of his creation. He loved and trusted his God, so he wanted to know and understand more. His motives were pure, therefore his desire was good.

And that’s all we need to do to – have a pure desire backed with real intent.

Diligently Seeketh

Nephi wrote:

“For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, …” – 1 Nephi 10:19

The true signal of our desire to understand God and His mysteries is displayed in our willingness to diligently seeketh. I think that “seeking” is pretty obvious, but diligence in that seeking – that’s the key. When we diligently seek, we show care. We are conscientious. We are tenacious. We keep seeking until we find. We ask. We search.

I can’t help by think of my kids. If you are mother, I’m sure that you can relate.

Mom can't find it
truth!

I can’t even count the times my kids have “lost” something that they absolutely can’t find. And then, when I look, I find it within 2.4 seconds…Here’s one particularly funny experience: My son had this little Mario plush figure that he absolutely loved. He played with Mario, slept, ate, drank, watched TV, all with Mario.

One Saturday, I went out to run some errands. When I got home, everyone was outside playing in the backyard. I said hello, and my son asked me, “Where is Mario?” I responded to him that I didn’t know. My husband and children proceeded to tell me that Mario was lost. My son was so sad. I asked, “Where did you guys look for it?”

“Everywhere!” was the response.

Well, I went inside. Knowing that my son often loved to throw Mario up in the air so Mario could “fly,” I went into the living room to see if I could find him there. Mario wasn’t in the obvious places (on the floor or couch). So, the next place to look – behind bookshelf or the piano.

I went over to the bookshelf first. And there was Mario! within 4 seconds I had found Mario. It was literally the first place I looked. I mean, this almost felt scripted – it was so easy to find.

I brought plush-Mario outside, “Where was he?” my family asked.
“In the living room.” I said.
“But we looked there.”

***

I think that we have all experienced something like this. When we are searching, we have to really want to find what we are looking for. We have to think, retrace our steps, lift up objects, move bookshelves. If our desire to find the precious object is real, then we will not give up searching until we find it.

The same goes for the mysteries of God. They are there for the finding. The prophets have “found” the mysteries of God. We know that they are available to us, but we just have to do a little bit of work for them. The Savior, Himself, implored (and promised):

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

It isn’t a trick. Heavenly Father isn’t setting us up just to see us flat on our backs. He wants us to seek. He wants us to ask. He wants us to knock.

And He will answer.

Blogging the Book of Mormon – Prophecy – 1 Nephi 10:11-16

You can read 1 Nephi 10:11-16 here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi has been teaching about Jesus Christ, and then John the Baptist.
  • Lehi teaches his family that the Jews would begin to dwindle in unbelief after they killed the Messiah. Though the Messiah was slain, he would rise from the dead.
  • Lehi tells about the Gentiles and the House of Israel.
  • The House of Israel would be like an olive tree – whose branches should be broken off and scattered upon the face of the earth.
  • Lehi teaches that leaving Jerusalem and going to the promised land with his family is a fulfillment of the word of the Lord.
  • After Israel is scattered, they would be gathered again. This would happen after the Gentiles received the fulness of the gospel. They would help to gather Israel.
  • Lehi continued to prophesy of many more things – all while dwelling in a tent in the valley of Lemuel. Nephi, however, didn’t include everything in this book.

Prophecy

In these verses, we read a quick synopsis of more prophecies that Lehi taught to his family. We read:

“And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book; for I have written as many of them as were expedient for me in mine other book.” – 1 Nephi 10:15

It’s interesting that Nephi uses the phrase: “did my father prophesy and speak.” What is meant by prophesy?

Before we answer this question – let’s reiterate what Lehi had been prophesying and speaking of:

  • The Savior
  • John the Baptist
  • The Dwindling in Unbelief of the Jews
  • The Scattering and Gathering of Israel
  • The Metaphor of Israel Being an Olive Tree
  • How Their (Lehi’s) Family’s Flight from Jerusalem to a Promised Land is a Fulfillment of God’s Word

Now, if we take a second to ponder these concepts that Lehi did “prophesy and speak” of, we will notice that they are all things that were probably addressed in the Brass Plates. We know that Lehi had the Brass Plates and that he was studying them. We read:

“And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.” – 1 Nephi 5:10

These Brass Plates weren’t sitting in a safe corner of the tent, collecting dust. Lehi didn’t proclaim to love them and value them, while spending his time on other things. Lehi didn’t set these plates on a coffee table, reading them from time to time – at his leisure. As soon as he received the plates from his sons, he gave thanks and then he searched them from the beginning. Nephi writes:

“And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.” – 1 Nephi 5:21

The point I’m trying to make is this: the stuff that Lehi was prophesying of in 1 Nephi 10, wasn’t randomly put into his mind. He had exposure to these concepts—because he had been searching the scriptures.

Quick Note: Keep in mind, we know that he started searching the Brass Plates in 1 Nephi 5 – which is right when his boys returned with the plates. In Chapter 10, plenty of time has passed. Remember in chapter 7, Lehi’s sons went back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael and his family. So, Lehi has been searching these plates for a while by the time we get to 1 Nephi 10.

***

Today, when I started my scripture study, I kind of thought that Lehi had some kind of spiritual experience where an angel or the Lord or something came over Lehi, and then he started prophesying of all the things mentioned above. I kind of thought that maybe he was like an oracle – but in a mystical Harry Potter way, not in the way that he probably actually was.

Did Lehi have some kind of spiritual experience where an angel or the Lord or something come over him? YES! He was reading the scriptures! He was having an experience with the word of God. This is the basis for all of his prophesies. We know, for example, that the comparison between the house of Israel and the Olive Tree was a story from the Brass Plates. Jacob will include this story in his record later on. Lehi wasn’t just making this up out of thin air while in some weird trance-like state. He had been searching the scriptures for weeks or maybe months, and these scriptures were being written on his heart.

So – is the reiteration of another prophet’s prophecies prophecy???

I believe the answer is YES!

In the Book of Revelation, we read:

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Revelation 19:10, emphasis added

This scripture is referenced in the Bible Dictionary, too – as it explains: In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost. (See Bible Dictionary: Prophets.)

***

Down the Rabbit Hole
Thanks for Coming with Me

Okay. Maybe you’re wondering why this seems important to me today. Why I am going down this rabbit hole…Well, I’ll tell you.

When I started my scripture study today, I had no idea what I would write about. How could I possibly find something to write about in these verses? They are interesting, for sure, and I knew that we would absolutely be studying ALL of these topics in the future as we study future scriptures that get into these concepts more.

I wasn’t feeling like I needed to explore each individual prophecy.

And then, as I studied, I kind of wondered about Nephi’s use of the word “prophecy” – how it might be different than what I was imagining. I knew that Lehi had been studying the scriptures, and that many of these prophecies came from the scriptures. Were some of these prophecies individualized to Lehi? Sure, it isn’t written in the scriptures that Lehi’s family was moving to the promised land to fulfill the word of God. That was the individualized inspiration that Lehi received. But it was based on a general prophecy that was written in the Brass Plates – that Israel would be scattered like the branches of an olive tree.

I started realizing that these prophecies, and this gift of prophecy is not uniquely Lehi’s gift. I’m reminded of the scripture:

“And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” – Numbers 11:29

Of course, in God’s church, there is order. When Moses says, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,” he doesn’t mean that we should all be vying to do the duty of President Nelson.

Instead, what he means is that God wants all of us to have the Spirit of prophecy. He wants all of us to do just as Lehi did- study the scriptures, feel the Spirit, and then through the Spirit of Prophecy make application in our own lives.

The Lord wants all of us to have his spirit daily. He wants all of us to be like Lehi – teaching and testifying to our children. And this is accessible to us! Lehi was inspired by the scriptures – the word of God. He searched and poured over them. He studied them, analyzed what they taught, and then applied them to his life. This is the spirit of prophecy that is available to us all.

Constant Companion

And as a mother, I find it so important to be a “prophet” to my children and family. I need to have the spirit in my life – daily! I want my children to have experiences like Nephi did – when he hung out with his dad in the tent. Lehi’s tent was a really cool place.

***

One last thing. It works! I share this story to illustrate that I know we can have the Spirit of prophecy in our own lives, and that we can teach our children or others in our reach with this spirit.

One night, my family was reading the scriptures together. We don’t look like families you might see on the cover of the Ensign magazine, but scripture reading has always been a priority.

At the time, we were living with my in-laws, so we gathered in the office, where two of my children slept at night. They slept on little foam pads. The pads were set up—sheets, comforters—and everyone is just kind of lounging around in the room.

At the time, my son was a typical seven year old boy. He couldn’t possibly sit still (unless he was asleep). While reading scriptures it was not unusual to see him do somersaults, the splits, or just rock around and move. He is active. And it was always easy to think that he’s not listening.

That night, we were studying the story of Nephi getting the brass plates. We had just finished 1 Nephi 4, and we were recapping the whole story. We were talking about how retrieving the plates was a commandment from God, and that – truly – God will not give us a commandment without preparing a way for us to keep that commandment.

As we were discussing this concept, I brought up the fact that sometimes, though – we have to go through a few failures. I asked my kids, “Did Nephi get the plates the first time?” No. “Did Nephi get the plates the second time?” No.

Then I said, “Because it was so hard, Laman and Lemuel thought that it was impossible. This is why they didn’t believe the angel.” Then I asked, “But, just because they didn’t get the plates the first two times, does that mean that they should give up?”

My little boy, while rolling around on the ground (very literally, like combat rolling around), spoke up, “No! Just like Mom always says, God’s not Lucy from Charlie Brown. He’s not going to put the football out and then take it away!”

It’s true. I do always say that. I smiled at my husband. I didn’t think Rex was listening at that moment – let alone whenever I had made my statement about God not being Lucy (which statement I HAD NOT made that day! I probably said it a week or two before). He continued to roll around the floor while telling us that even if we have to try a few times, God will help us do what he told us to do.

(I smile when I think about it.)

It works! We can bear witness, we can utilize the spirit of prophecy in our own lives and prophesy to our children—what we know about our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can help others to know and understand what we know when we share it!

The Spirit of prophecy is real, and it is available to us all. As I mentioned earlier, this is not to be confused with the calling of being a Prophet, Seer, Revelator and President of the Church. Instead, what is available to us all is the ability, through the Holy Ghost, to learn of the Savior and then testify of Him.

Blogging the Book of Mormon – Lehi Prophesies of John the Baptist – 1 Nephi 10:7-10

You can read 1 Nephi 10:7-10.

Context and General Information

  • After Lehi prophesied of the coming of the Savior, he prophesied of the prophet that would come to prepare the way of the Savior.
  • Lehi prophesied that this man would go forth and cry in the wilderness. He would also baptize Jesus Christ.
  • Lehi prophesied that after baptizing the Messiah, he would then testify that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who should take away the sins of the world.
John the Baptist
John Preaching in the Widlerness, by Del Parson

John the Baptist

I find the prophecies about John the Baptist really fascinating. All of the prophets testify and prophesy of Christ. However, it isn’t very often that there is a prophecy about a prophet.

And I wonder why that is. Right now, off the top of my head, the only prophecies of prophets I can think of is this – John the Baptist and Joseph Smith (See 2 Nephi 3.)

I can’t say that I’m exactly sure why there are prophecies of John the Baptist, so let’s go ahead and look him up in the Bible Dictionary.

“Son of Zacharias and Elisabeth, being of priestly descent through both parents. This lineage was essential, since John was the embodiment of the law of Moses, designed to prepare the way for the Messiah and make ready a people to receive Him. He was the outstanding bearer of the Aaronic Priesthood in all history and was entrusted with its most noble mission.” – Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist

Okay. So I didn’t really know this. The embodiment of the law of Moses. That is interesting. Preparing the way for the Savior.

FYI, I haven’t thought this through. I have a busy day, so today is a bit more “stream of consciousness” than usual. Welcome to my brain. Please don’t judge me. 🙂

Back to what we were saying before. Here are the thoughts I’m having in regards to “preparing” and “embodiment of the Law of Moses.”

The Law of Moses was a preparatory gospel paving the way for the higher law that the Lord would give in His ministry.

The Aaronich Priesthood is a preparatory priesthood which leads to the Melchizedek Preisthood.

John the Baptist is kind of a signpost for this change – from the lower law to the higher law. He prepared the way for Christ.

There is so much more in the Bible Dictionary about John the Baptist, but I think that we will study it later. For now, I want to focus on the tenth verse:

“And after he had baptized the Messiah with water, he should behold and bear record that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world.”- 1 Nephi 10:7-10

I just love this scripture because it makes me think of the fulfillment of this prophecy. In the New Testament, we read:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29

This is the very moment that is prophesied of by Lehi – this is the moment where the lesser priesthood makes way for the higher priesthood; where the lesser law of Moses makes way for the higher law of Christ.

John the Baptist has a large following. Instead of trying to nurture his own numbers and ego, he turns them over to the Savior. That’s what the lesser law is all about, after all – preparing for the Messiah. And here, John the Baptist – who was testified to precede Christ, did precede the Christ. John the Baptist was a humble prophet who fulfilled his mission on this earth.

By the way – one of the reasons why I love that scripture from John so much is because it is one of the scriptures included in Handel’s Messiah.

Can you imagine it? Can you imagine being there, listening to the John the Baptist utter those words, “Behold the Lamb of God.???

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The prophets knew that the Savior would come. That this gospel is real. That there is a purpose to our lives here on earth, and that purpose is possible because of the Messiah. And because of the testimonies of the prophets, we too can know that the gospel is real, that there is a purpose to our lives on earth, and that purpose is possible because of the Messiah.