Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nephi, Prophet, Priest, and King 1 Nephi 2

In some of my previous posts I have discussed the ascension pattern that can be seen when one progresses in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that the steps, or rungs on the ladder, include a noticeable progression of passing from prophet, to priest, and ultimately to king.
To summarize, I believe that a simple way to think of this progression is: a prophet is one who has been given the testimony of Jesus Christ and can testify of Him, a priest is one who administers to others on behalf of Jesus Christ (such as the priests in the tabernacle and temple), and a king is when one has reached a level to be given all that the Father hath. With each level of progression there are more covenants made and, consequently, blessings given. In the language of priesthood ascension it can be termed, Aaronic, Melchizedek, and finally, Patriarchal.
That said, I believe that these certain patterns can be seen in the accounts we have of the lives of the prophets in not only Old and New Testament times, but Book of Mormon times too. Lehi and Nephi are the first we encounter in the Book of Mormon which teach us of the significance of this pattern. I believe that we would see Lehi’s experience more clearly if we had the record he created available to us, unfortunately we don’t have that information but thankfully we can see the progression clearly taught in Nephi’s record too.
Previously we discussed the process Nephi experienced to gain a testimony like his fathers as explained to us in 1 Nephi 2:16.
It is interesting to see what Nephi does as soon as he receives his testimony because of the “visit” with the Lord:
1 Nephi 2:17 And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.
I believe that this is an example of Nephi exhibiting the prophet stage of his progression, as he testifies of Jesus Christ.
Look what he does next:
1 Nephi 2:18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.
In his statement that he “cried unto the Lord for them” he raises to the priest level wherein he “administers on behalf of others”.
At this point the Lord pours out a blessing upon Nephi because of his diligence, and humility. Notice the terminology the Lord uses:
1 Nephi 2:19 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
I believe that the blessing the Lord gives to Nephi is the same blessing he gave to Abraham. That blessing or covenant involves eternal posterity, eternal priesthood, and a land inheritance. I call that the PPL.
Look closely for that blessing in the following wording:
“ye shall prosper”- one with a large posterity was considered prosperous
“a land which I have prepared for you”- a land inheritance
“a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren”- this involves the blessing of priesthood
Because the Lord pronounced Nephi as “Blessed” with these blessings he is elevated to the level of king. A true king is simply a ruler and teacher.
From the very beginning of the Book of Mormon we are taught of this progression. This progression is the same one we all must go through to receive the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now remember the pattern that was given in my last post... where do you think we are, as far as that pattern goes, in Nephi’s progression?

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