Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Transformation of Lehi

First Nephi 1 - It sounds as though Lehi was a good man. He had lived at Jerusalem all his days. I imagine he was probably very religious, but when he heard specific prophecies of the destruction of his city, he became more than one of its ordinary citizens. First he heard the words of the prophets. Verse 5 indicates he believed their words, because he was motivated to pray on behalf of his people. Then, he prayed with "all his heart" (a phrase always followed by a great spiritual manifestation). I imagine he was alone, outside the city, in his own arid version of a sacred grove. In answer to his earnest prayer, a pillar of fire came upon a rock in front of him and he saw and heard much, which caused him to tremble and quake. No doubt this pillar of fire reminded him, and those wicked people he would later testify to, of Moses and the Exodus. A testimony that bold must either be accepted or rejected, not ignored. He returned home, cast himself on his bed, and was again carried away in a vision. He saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The premortal Jesus Christ came down and personally taught him. He read sacred things. Verse 18 says After the Lord had shown so many marvelous things to him, he went forth among the people and began to prophesy. Believing the prophets led to becoming a prophet. They mocked him, they tried to kill him, and the Lord delivered him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Nephi 1 Echos the Message of the Restoration

First Nephi chapter 1 is designed to reinforce to first time readers the vision of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration, things the missionaries teach in their first lesson.
- Nephi testifies that his record is true
- Lehi hears the message of prophets and decides to pray about it
- Lehi saw a vision in response to his sincere prayer
- Lehi saw God the Father and Jesus Christ
- Lehi was given a book to read which filled him with the Spirit
- Lehi testifies specifically of Jesus Christ's mission

Putting Lehi in perspective

We know from the first few pages of the Book of Mormon that Lehi:
- Was a "goodly" father
- Was married to a "goodly"woman
- Had 4 sons and 2 or more daughters
- His "language" was Egyptian and his learning was Jewish
- Dwelt at Jerusalem all his days
- Had gold, silver, and precious things
- Believed the prophets who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem
- Prayed with all his heart on behalf of his people
- Saw a pillar of fire
- Saw and conversed with the pre-mortal Jesus Christ
- Had many visions and dreams
- Prophesied without fear of his own life
- Left his home and possessions
- Was obedient to the commandments of God