#LDSConf – 1 Nephi 12

CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 12.

CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 12 translated from Hebrew.

In response to his pondering and seeking understanding, Nephi’s vision continues.

Specifically, in response to his asking for the interpretation of his father’s dream, the angel continues to explain to Nephi what the dream means.

Nephi sees his descendants, and the descendants of his brothers.  He sees them living in a “land of promise”, which refers to the physical and actual place where they live – and also is a metaphor for returning to the presence of Heavenly Father.  Because we know this, anytime you read in Scripture and it talks about “the promised land” or the “land of promise”, etc., you can know it is covenant language happening and that it may be talking about a physical, temporal place, but also is a metaphor for the celestial kingdom.  In this case, he sees the actual land that is promised to his family, but is also aware they cannot live there (or return to Heavenly Father) if they do not keep their covenants.

In his own vision, Nephi sees “wars and rumors of wars”, and many cities after many generations have passed.

I saw there the mass of people,
even their vulgar and common culture,
and that they were not living as a set apart people.
I saw there were as many of them as the sand of the sea.

I saw these vulgar people gathering themselves
to prepare for war against each other.
I saw wars and rumors of wars,
and even wars caused by rumors,
and many cold-hearted killings
by the cold steal of weapons
amongst people already divided by dissension.

Then Nephi sees storms greater than ours: “I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises…”  (verse 4).

When he describes earthquakes and other natural disasters, it is more than just the weather.

It is the earth joining in the warning voices of prophets.

The earth’s voice of warning escalates as the people themselves escalate in their refusal to listen.

It’s a more vivid picture in Hebrew:

I saw lightning and heart thunder;
that is to also say,
I saw prophets and heard their voices
warning the people,
and the earth shook at what they had to say.

Even evil shuddered
against monuments built in the ground;
that is to also say,
evil shuddered against temples built in the land.

Yes, I saw the earth torn,
with rocks and boulders thrown to the ground
like little child-stones.

That is to also say,
I saw a people fallen in pride,
suddenly nothing when they should have known better.

I saw mountains collapse
in on themselves.

That is to also say,
I saw governments fail
and cultural icons shamed.

I saw that fields were broken up.

That is to also say,
I saw political boundaries
change like geography,
and economies collapse.

I saw cities sunk;
that is to also say
I saw families failing
because of spiritual degeneration.

I saw many cities burned with fire;
that is to also say many endured much
to be refined and purified.

I saw many cities fall
because of the quaking;
or, that is also to say
that I saw many families fail
because they were afraid
and not acting in faith.

This is the testimony of nature, the groaning of the Earth, the waiting for the Lord to return so that the Earth may be cleansed and her people gathered.

And the Savior does come, Nephi sees in his vision.

“I saw the heavens open, and the Lamb of God descending out of heaven; and he came down and showed himself unto them” (verse 6).

Nephi also sees the Holy Ghost coming upon “twelve others; and they were ordained of God, and chosen” (verse 7).  The angel goes on to explain that these twelve will judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and that Nephi’s descendants will be judged by them because he (Nephi) is of the House of Israel.  But judgment is not to be feared, for all will understand and agree with their judgments, and the quality of their eternal life will match that which they have prepared for and chosen now – so they will be comfortable and happy with their judgment, knowing eternal life is a gift of mercy.

And those that believe are “righteous forever” (verse 10) because of HIS righteousness gifted in exchange for their sins through the atonement, the at-one-ment, the work of the Savior.

And the angel said to me,
“These generations are made whole
(complete and perfect and peaceful)
in the blood of the Lamb
due to their faith in Him
(as evidenced by covenants kept).”

The angel then continues explaining Leh’s dream:

The “mists of darkness” are the temptations of the devil (verse 17).

The “large and spacious buildings” is pride.

Nephi sees into the future, seeing his descendants.  He sees that when they “dwindle in unbelief”, they become a dark and filthy people who are full of idleness and do not do the things of God.

Then as I pondered further,
I sought to understand more.
And the angel said to me,
“See?  Do you see how
the people atrophied
when their faith wasted away?
They became a decadent
and degenerate people
without faith.”

Then as I pondered further,
I sought to understand more.
And indeed, I looked and I saw
the people waste away
as their faith atrophied,
creating a darkness over them
until their lives were full
of corruption
and dirty economics
and filthy treatment of each other
by overindulgence
at the expense of others
and by violence
and by stealing
and by lying
and by relationships outside the Order of God.
This was the greatest abomination
because they could have been
a holy people of God,
even the House of the Lord,
their offering being Holiness to the Lord.

But there is hope in the symbols already interpreted in the last chapter: the “rod of iron” is the word of God, that is a “light” for the path.

The path leads to the tree, which represents the presence of Heavenly Father, and the happiness we have when we live at-one with Him.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Comments are closed.