Friday, March 30, 2012

Fulfilling Joseph's Promise (2 Nephi 3)

We don't hear much about Lehi's son, Joseph.  He and Sam don't have books of their own in the BOM like their brother Jacob, but that doesn't mean they turned to the dark side or anything.  Chapter 3 in 2nd Nephi is Lehi's speech and blessing for Joseph, his youngest son.

This is actually Israel Blesses Ephraim with the Birthright, by Keith Larson, but I like the image for Lehi and Joseph and Jacob (actually, that means the man standing is Joseph, Israel's son).

Joseph was born during a tough time in Lehi's life.  He tells Joseph that he was born in the "wilderness of mine afflictions" and that he was born in "the days of my greatest sorrows."  It's probably safe to say that Joseph had as rough a time as Jacob did, probably rougher 'cause he was younger.

Can you see the little baby hanging on to his Mom?  I think this is probably Joseph. 
I know Lehi is a wise and wonderful creature, and is trying to give his son comfort, and promised blessings for the future, but if my Dad (if he were a prophet) said this to me, I think I'd freak out:

2 Nephi 3: 3
3.  And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may The Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.

"Wait, what did you say?!!"


Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel):

Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, one of the 12 sons of Israel.  The brass plates (remember those?) contain a lot of Joseph's writings that we don't have.  Lehi seems to have loved reading these writings because Joseph specifically prophesied of Lehi and his descendants.

2 Nephi 3: 5
5.  Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day.  And he obtained a promise of The Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins The Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not The Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of The Lord that The Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light -yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.
Lehi Blessing his son Joseph, -by Avard Fairbanks

Joseph, son of Lehi

2 Nephi 3: 25
25.  And now, blessed art thou, Joseph.  Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken.  Remember the words of thy dying father.  Amen.
Very nice

Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith translated the ancient writings of the Nephites by the gift and power of God.  Imagine for a minute that you are Joseph Smith.  You are translating along, and then you get to these next verses.  This is The Lord's revelation to Joseph, son of Jacob:

2 Nephi 3: 6-11
6.  For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall The Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

7.  Yea, Joseph truly said:  Thus saith The Lord unto me:  A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins.  And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

8.  And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him.  And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

9.  And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

10.  And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

11.  But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins -and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith The Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

Can you imagine that?  That would be such a humbling experience.  It must have been quite a confidence builder that helped Joseph Smith through some very hard times.  Especially these next few verses:

2 Nephi 3: 12-14
12.  Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing of peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith The Lord.

13.  And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith The Lord.

14.  And thus prophesied Joseph, saying:  Behold, that seer will The Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of The Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled.  Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise.
15.  And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father.  And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which The Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of The Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

Joseph Smith's father, Joseph Smith, Sr., was the first one Joseph told about Moroni's visit, and the first to believe.

2 things I want to talk about here...

Joseph, son of Israel, lived around 16-1700 BC.  He wrote in detail about his descendants (Lehi's family) breaking off of the house of Israel in the Holy Land.  He knew that this group of people (the Nephites) would have the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that after a time they would apostatize from the truth.  The Holy Spirit showed Joseph that, eventually, there would be a chosen servant who would be an instrument in The Lord's hands in restoring his people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He saw that this man would be one of his own descendants.  He saw that his name would be Joseph.  He wrote about how the writings of the Nephites before they apostatized from the gospel would come to this man, Joseph Smith, and he would bring them about in the form of the Book of Mormon, which would be, to the descendants of Lehi and the Book of Mormon peoples, the familiar words of their own ancestors speaking to them.  He saw that this book would be an instrument in restoring his father's (Jacob, or Israel) house to the truth of the gospel, and bring them to the true Messiah.  Joseph saw that Joseph Smith would have enemies who would try to destroy him, but that The Lord would bless him, and make sure the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ would succeed.

Joseph said that this book which was to be written by the "fruit of his loins, or the BOM, would work together with the book which was to be written by the "fruit of the loins of Judah", or The Bible, to bring about peace, and confound false doctrines, and lay down contentions.  Believers of The Bible represent many many different faiths, denominations and sects, whose doctrines differ among themselves greatly.  Truth can be found in nearly all of these groups, but the contradictions and arguments between them, all stemming from a belief in the same Bible, to me, makes the coming forth of a second book of scripture very logical.  Those who accept both The Bible and the Book of Mormon as scripture represent one faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There have been groups which have broken away from The Church, but these have come to either resemble prominent Protestant Churches more than the LDS Church, as the case of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or weirdo freak groups like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sort of like this:  The one on the left represents The Bible only.  The lines (or interpretation of doctrine) can intersect the point (The Bible) at multiple angles.  The one on the right represents having both The Bible and the Book of Mormon.  Only one line can intersect both points.

Makes Perfect Yen to me

I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  I know that he saw God the Father in the Sacred Grove near his home in Palmyra, New York in 1820.  I know that the events following that singular event, which had been prophesied and looked forward to for millenia, really happened:  Moroni, the last prophet to write in the Nephite Record before he buried the gold plates in a hillside in New York, visited Joseph Smith as an angel and delivered the plates to him for translating.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the culmination of that marvelous work and wonder, and that it is the true church on the earth.

I feel very strongly about The First Vision.  This was the subject of a sincere and heartfelt prayer I put up to Heavenly Father back on January 24th of 1987.  His answer was powerful and undeniable.  His answer told me several things:
  • Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true
  • The Book of Mormon is the word of God
  • I am a child of God
  • God answers prayers
  • God answers my prayers
  • God loves me
  • Jesus is my Lord and Savior, my Redeemer, my Eternal Friend, and we're on this road of life together.

Road to Emmaus, by Lis Lemon Swindle

Peace be with you.

(Author's note:  I said about the painting up there called "They did treat me with much harshness," by Walter Rane, that the little baby was probably Joseph, which would make the woman Sariah.  When I came across that painting a few weeks prior, my thought was that this was Nephi's wife and child.  I read something about how this was actually Sariah.  My Mom in law yesterday says this is Nephi's wife and child.  So, I tried to find where I'd read that it was Sariah and couldn't find anything.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I'm pretty sure Dottie is right, and this is Nephi's wife and child.)


  1. love the geometry to explain the books! perfect!

    1. Thanks, Becky. The idea was from a talk on the BOM from last conference.

    2. In my rlds version the chapters and verses are off but the words remain the same....(he) being Joseph of old

      7 And (he) obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of (his) loins, the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel;...............

      10 For (Joseph) truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of (my) loins.

      (my)refers to Lehi
      (Referring to Lehi’s loins, otherwise it would read his loins as in verse 7)

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