Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lehi and Ezekiel 1 Nephi 1

An interesting discovery can be seen in studying the similarity of visions that Lehi and Ezekiel both received from the Lord. It may also be interesting to note that these visions were received during relatively the same period of time.
Look for the similarities in the following comparisons:
Both record seeing the throne of God.
1 Nephi 1:8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

Ezekiel 1:24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 ¶ And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
Not only do both see God sitting upon His throne, but they also see angels singing and praising surrounding that throne.
Both Ezekiel and Lehi are given something to look at, look for what it is:
1 Nephi 1:9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.
10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.
11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read.
12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Ezekiel 1: 27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
Ezekiel 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
9 ¶ And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
Both receive instruction from the Son and are given a book to read.
Look what is contained in both of the books:
1 Nephi 1:13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.
Ezekiel 2:10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
Upon receiving this vision, both begin their prophetic role in warning the people.
1 Nephi 1:18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.
19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
Ezekiel 2:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God.
5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
In both the accounts of Nephi and Ezekiel we learn that the Lord will deliver, in power, those whom He has chosen:
1 Nephi 1:20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
Ezekiel 1:6 ¶ And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
Ezekiel and Lehi were two different prophets, given the same instructions, in the same way, at the same time. The people were slow to listen.
Are we listening?


Michaela Stephens said...

Excellent comparison.

From a certain perspective, Joseph Smith's experience followed the same kind of pattern. He saw God, He was given The Book of Mormon to read, which contains messages of woe and destruction for those who do not listen, and He too had to preach amidst persecution.

Anthony E. Larson said...

If you care to look more closely at the commonalities among all prophetic visions, you may wish to visit my blog. (www.mormonprophecy.blogspot.com)
When seen from a cosmological perspective that holds that the ancient heavens appeared dramatically different than they do today, it becomes clearly apparent that all the prophets had a shared vision of Earth's ancient heavens. They each gave the "one vision" their own personal and cultural spin. That seen, it also becomes apparent that our temple experience has shared elements of that same, standard vision. In the temple, we 'ascend' in a similar manner to that of the prophets in their vision. It's a stunning realization. Check it out.