CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 5.
CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 5 translated from Hebrew.
This chapter is a simple chapter about the reunification of Nephi and his brothers with his parents.
But if you study the layers within it, it is fairly profound as it reminds us of our own epic journey into mortality, and the day when we will be reunited with our Heavenly Parents.
We start just as the boys – along with their new buddy, Zoram – arrived back at the camp in the wilderness, much to the delight of their parents.
Their mother, being the mother, was especially glad. She had been so stressed out about whether or not they were alright. Or safe. Or still alive. She had been complaining to Lehi about what happened to them, and whether they were okay.
He calmly reassured her, saying that he knew the orders of this mission were from God, and it would be God who delivers the boys. They will be home safe, he promises.
“I know that I am a man of vision,
prophecy, and revelation –
but if it were not for what I worked so hard to see
even the very things of God
(mysteries of God —> ordinances of God),
we would not have known His goodness.
We would have remained in Jerusalem,
and perished together with the people there
(and our descendants perished without access to God).
by being obedient and by being faithful,
I am entitled to revelation –
and by receiving revelation,
I have won us a (celestial) destination
of real happiness,
a “land of promise” –
a literal land appointed for us
and the spiritual promise of exaltation,
which is even better than the place
to which we now travel.
These words were a comfort to his wife, and “their joy was full” (verse seven) when the boys arrived safely home.
Their mother testified that “Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them…”
Even the words she uses continue to reflect the mikveh theme, the great deliverance, both alluding to the past and pointing toward the future.
The Temple pattern continues in verse nine, “they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer a sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel.”
They gave thanks! They gave the Lord credit for accomplishing His work.
Lehi then took the records, and searched them. Besides just relishing them and studying the scriptures, he also literally cleaned and repaired them. This is more evident in the Hebrew version:
And after the God of Israel accepted our thanks,
my father, Lehi, took the records
that were engraved
on the front and on the back
of the brass tablets (plates),
and examined them
and repaired them properly
(as they had been neglected in Laban’s care),
and began to study them
(as he inspected them)
from the beginning
(that is to say,
these records were from scratch
and original copy
(not yet altered
by human error
or by priestcraft agreement –
which is why it was these records,
these specific records that Laban had,
that we needed instead of
copies of records
from someone else).
The records contained the five books of Moses (the Torah, or Genesis through Deuteronomy). He specifically mentions the stories of the creation of the world and Adam and Eve. The books have a history of the Jews up through King Zedekiah, who was king of Judah. The records had writings of the prophets of the Old Testaments, and several prophets of which we have no record (as yet discovered). The prophet Jeremiah is specifically mentioned. He studied the scriptures closely to learn from them, and shared with his family what he learned from the scriptures.
Lehi also discovers his own family history in the record, so much as to know he is a son of Joseph, who was the son of Jacob. He remembers the story of Joseph being sold into Egypt, and how he was “preserved” by the Lord for a special role in delivering His people. He teaches his sons how the Lord let the Israelites of captivity back then, and how the Lord has delivered this family now. The Spirit comes over Lehi, and he begins to prophecy about the future as well.
These records are sacred Scriptures, and are to be treated as such. Even Nephi and others begin to study them to learn and improve and understand. Then, like their father, they understood now that it was a top priority to preserve these records for later generations.
“Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.” (versse 22).
I love that verse, because that is how I feel now – that I have been led through the wilderness and into the land of promise, that the Lord still leads me through this mortality of life, so that I might in the future arrive in the land of promise.
That is a God of mercy, and a God of love.
I am grateful.
And that is what this chapter is about: how to “get a testimony”, meaning knowing for yourself what is true about God.
First, there is faith enough to pray and ask. Then, there is some act of obedience. These things together begin the seeds of testimony. As this becomes reality (a “surety” in verse 8), we are moved to respond back to God – of through thanks and expressions of love and gratitude. This helps us to be more obedient, and want to know Him better. We get to know Him by studying the scriptures, and through the scriptures He speaks to us. As we do this, we become more obedient, and He blesses us with provision and protection. It’s an upward cycle where we learn more and more about who He is, and in that way become more and more of who we are meant to be.
In this way,
we achieved our goal
of accomplishing our mission
by getting the records
that the Lord, our Master,
had commanded us
that we must obtain.
Then we investigated
these records(the Scriptures),
and found them desirable
even of great value
to “own” them
by preserving them
with much gratitude
by living according to (what they teach us)
for the sake of our children
and teaching it also unto them
and teaching them also how to live
according to (the Scriptures).
In this way, it was much wisdom
of the Lord, our Master,
that we should carry these records
with us as we journeyed in the wilderness
(or, literally speaking,
as we journeyed
by the word of God)
to the land appointed for us,
even the promised land,
(or, spiritually speaking,
living according to His word
that we may journey through mortality
to what He has promised us,
which is exaltation in celestial-ness).