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Average Joe

Some thoughts on 1 Nephi chapter one

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First Book of Nephi, Chapter 1

 

1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

 

            Revelation begins with those things we are taught as a child by out parents.

 

 2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

 

I might paraphrase this as follows: “the learning of the gospel and the reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic of the world.”

 

 3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

 

 4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

 

 5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

 

Why do we need to pray with all our heart? So our whole heart may be filled with the spirit of the lord. (see vs. 12 &15) This in turn allows us to see things from the lord’s perspective.

 

 6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly.

 

First spiritual manifestation is the ministering of angels, as it says in Palms 104:4, “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” The Lord has revealed that “there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:5). The Aaronic Priesthood holds “the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:26) but worthy women and children may have angels minister unto themselves. 

 

 7 And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen.

 

 8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

 

Angels are precursors to introduction to Heavenly Father, where visions of eternity are manifest.

 

 9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.

 

 10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

 

 11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read.

 

Joseph Smith taught: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter.” To receive the other Comforter is to have Christ appear to him and to see the visions of eternity. (Teachings, pp. 149–151.)

 

 12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

 

 13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

 

 14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

 

 15 And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.

 

 16 And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.

 

Our personal revelation should be shared with our families in family histories and testimonies unless constrained by the spirit so that like Nephi they might be taught somewhat in all the learning of their father

 

 17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.

 

 18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

 

Personal revelation is often a direction to go and do, go then and do so. Don’t fall under the admonition, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Indeed, those of the Terresterial Kingdom include: "...they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God. (D&C 76:79).

 

 19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

 

 20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

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