Thursday, November 24, 2011

And much spake my father concerning this thing (1 Nephi: 9-10)

Chapter 9 of 1st Nephi is a dividing line between Nephi's abridgement of his father's record, chapters 1-8, and his own record, the rest of 1st and 2nd Nephi. 

My brother Irch and I writing in our plates (journals) & sipping soda from our Borg mugs
Nephi tells us in chapter 9 about making 2 sets of records, both called the plates of Nephi.  The larger plates he ear marked for the more secular history of the people, and his smaller plates he set aside for his ministry, or "the things of his soul".  Nephi will hand these smaller plates down to his children to continue  after him, and they comprise the books of 1st & 2nd Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom and Omni (approximately a 470-year span).  When Mormon was putting what we now know as the BOM together near 1000 years later he put the book of Lehi first (which become the lost 116 pages when Joseph Smith loaned it to his buddy Martin Harris after he translated it), and then the book of Mosiah and so on. Then Mormon found Nephi's smaller plates in and amongst all the other records he was abridging.  To tie Nephi's smaller plates into what will follow in Mosiah, Mormon put his commentary, Words of Mormon, between them (which probably wouldn't have been necessary if the Book of Lehi had not been lost, and remained a part of our modern day Book of Mormon).  If you look at the estimated time frame at the bottom of the pages, page 142 (Omni) was written between 279 and 130 B.C. and page 143 (Words of Mormon) depicts about 385 A.D., then page 145 (Mosiah) goes back to about 130 B.C. 

Wake up!  Sorry I'm boring you.  I do think it is helpful to know that stuff.  And interesting too, I think, but I'll rip a scripture into you and then change the subject.

1st Nephi 9: 5-6
5.  Wherefore, The Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in Him, which purpose I know not.
6.  But The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.  And thus it is.  Amen.
I'll bet Lehi had a lot to say.  Speaking of his Dad's experiences and the things The Lord showed him, Nephi says in verse 8, "And much spake my father concerning these things."  I would love to read his record.  Maybe someday we'll be able to read it.  I just love it when Nephi says that he makes these smaller plates "for a wise purpose in Him, which purpose I know not."  It brings to my mind a picture of what Joseph Smith's feelings must have been, after wading through such despair, thinking he had lost his salvation over losing the manuscript, seeing that The Lord had known from the beginning that it would happen, and had taken measures to make it ok.  Surely "The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning," and that "He prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men." 

That's my niece Emily (not to be confused with my wife Emilie) when she was baptized.  See the painting in the background?  Of course you do; dumb question. 
That which Lehi, Nephi, Benjamin, Alma, Mormon and all the rest of the prophets of the BOM spake much about was centered in Jesus Christ.  630 or so years before Christ's baptism, Lehi saw it happen in vision.  We're a mere 10 chapters into the BOM and Nephi is making the theme of their records plain and clear.  Speaking for his Dad, he said...

1 Nephi 10: 4-10
4.  Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would The Lord God raise up among the Jews -even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world.
5.  And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah, of whom he had spoken, or this Redeemer of the world.
6.  Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.
7.  And he spake also concerning a prophet who should come before the Messiah, to prepare the way of The Lord.
8.  Yeah, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness:  Prepare ye the way of The Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.  And much spake my father concerning this thing.
9.  And my father said he should baptize in Bethabara, beyond Jordan; and he also said he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water.
10.  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.

I'm very thankful for the Book of Mormon and the testimony of Jesus Christ it has built and strengthened within me.  I'm very thankful for the coming forth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith, whose transgression of losing the 116 pages of translation He forgave . 

I'm very thankful to be typing the words of this blog post on my laptop, which is upon my parents-in-law's table, upon which soon will be set a bounteous Thanksgiving meal, from which I will be shoveling a mighty heaping helping of their hospitality into my grateful tummy.  I'm hungry, and must needs end here so's I can have some victuals.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Tune in next time when Nephi sees a vision of Columbus, the Mayflower, the coming forth of the Holy Bible and the American Revolution.

Peace be with you...

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I like the perspective of the Lord knows all thing that will happen and plans for the-type lesson we learn from the lost manuscript.