Context and General Information
- Nephi is quoting Isaiah – see Isaiah 48.
- Through Isaiah, the Lord is speaking.
- The Lord asks the house of Israel to listen to Him.
- The Lord is HE. He is Jehovah.
- The Lord is the first and the last.
- The Lord created the earth and his hand spans the heavens.
- The earth and the heavens obey Him.
- The Lord pleads with us to hear.
- The Lord will fulfill His word which he hath declared through the prophets.
- The Lord has called prophets, and will bless them.
The Lord’s Declaration of His Divinity
I find today’s scriptures particularly powerful:
“12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called, for I am he; I am the first, and I am also the last.
13 Mine hand hath also laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens. I call unto them and they stand up together.
Long story short, in these two verses, the Savior testifies of Himself. It might be helpful for us to study this testimony – so that we can improve our ability to Hearken unto Him.
Long story long – these two verses will comprise three separate blog posts. 🙂
I am He
The first thing that the Savior declares is: I am He.
That really stands out to me, and I want to learn more about it. The first thing we can do – go to the scriptures. If you look in 1 Nephi 20, you will find that there is NOT a footnote for that phrase. Strike One.
Now, if you go to Isaiah 48, you will see, that again, there is not a footnote for that phrase. Strike two. We aren’t going to strike out – don’t worry about that. Now, we just have to get more creative.
There are so many ways to study the scriptures. We can go to the footnotes first. We can go to the dictionary. I did check the dictionary, but it really doesn’t give any insight to this phrase either. Now, we can also go to the study helps in the scriptures. I can’t say that there are any entries in the Topical Guide or the Bible dictionary that are helping me with the phrase: I am He.
So – now, let’s let our minds wander. Sometimes, when the mind wanders, we might think of another scripture. Maybe the Spirit will guide us to a story or some other impression. I can’t say exactly how you should let your mind wander. How does it happen for me? Well, I kind of sit back and stare off into space with the general thought of hmmm…
In any case, I just want to illustrate – I don’t know what I’m thinking. I’m just kind of sitting and pondering, wondering. As thoughts come, it is good to follow down that path to see where it leads.
So – I have no idea why “I am He,” is standing out to me, but there is no denying that it does. Now what. After a little bit of staring and rubbing my mouth and chin (I have a thing where I tend to do that. It’s weird, yes. I’m also self conscious about it. Whatever). I have a thought. I’ll google “I am he. LDS”
(Note: I don’t google often. I really truly strive to let the Spirit work with my mind first and foremost. That being said, google can, at times, be a useful tool. Just follow the spirit.)
One of the results for my search is a talk from the April 1999 Ensign – titled “I am He,” by Jonathan Stephenson. The opening blurb quote:
“The Lord repeatedly declared with clarity that He was the Messiah—our deliverer and only source for salvation.” – Jonathan Stephenson, Ensign, April 1999.
Hmmm…already, we’re getting somewhere. I am He. It’s not just some generic thing that the Lord is saying. The Lord wants his covenant people to listen because it’s Him – It’s their God. It’s our Savior. It’s the Messiah. And He is declaring this with clarity.
Who is He?
One of the most critical aspects of pondering is asking questions. You don’t have to answer them immediately. But be your inner-four year old.
So – the Lord, in 1 Nephi 20:12, declared “I am he.” Maybe we should ask who? Who is the Lord? Well, first and foremost – He is the Son of God. In the Bible Dictionary, we read:
“Jesus, who is called Christ, is the firstborn of the Father in the spirit and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. …” – Christ: Bible Dictionary
So – Jesus Christ is the literal son of God.
The Bible Dictionary continues:
“He is Jehovah and was foreordained to His great calling in the Grand Councils before the world was. He was born of Mary at Bethlehem, lived a sinless life, and wrought out a perfect atonement for all mankind by the shedding of His blood and His death on the cross. He rose from the grave and brought to pass the bodily resurrection of every living thing and the salvation and exaltation of the faithful.
He is the greatest Being to be born on this earth—the perfect example—and all religious things should be done in His name. He is Lord of lords, King of kings, the Creator, the Savior, the God of the whole earth, the Captain of our salvation, the Bright and Morning Star. He is in all things, above all things, through all things, and round about all things; He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; His name is above every name and is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved.” – Christ: Bible Dictionary
So…let’s put that in bullet form:
- The Son of God
- The Son of Mary
- A person who truly lived during ancient times
- The One who performed the Atonement for us
- The Resurrection
- The Exemplar
- The Lord of lords
- The King of kings
- The Creator
- The Savior
- The God of this earth
- Alpha and Omega
You could, no doubt, add more to this list.
All of the prophets have borne witness of Christ. And, above all, He bears witness of Himself. He does this – not to brag – but to let us know that His voice is the trusted voice.
When the Lord says, I am He, we could fill easily substitute “he,” with other titles. I am the Creator. I am the Resurrection. I am Salvation, etc.
So, in 1 Nephi 20:12, which is a quote of Isaiah 48:12, the Lord speaks. He doesn’t do it anonymously. He doesn’t expect us to have blind faith in an unknown being. He declares:
“12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called, for I am he;…” – 1 Nephi 20:12
Be beckons us to Hearken, and He give us His witness. He is the Savior. He is the Son of God. He is HE of whom the prophets have testified. Not only should we hearken, but we can take comfort because we know who He is.
More to come next time…