Friday, August 6, 2010

Nephi's Land of Promise 1 Nephi 2

Like I previously stated, I believe that 1 Nephi, Chapter 2 establishes the groundwork for the entire rest of the Book of Mormon.
We have seen how Nephi recorded the pattern for gaining a sure testimony from the Lord, through his Holy Spirit, by his righteous desire and humble request. We have also been shown the progression of prophet, priest, and king, needed to arrive at a “blessed” position from the Lord. We have been given the definition of “blessed” as that of the Abrahamic Covenant, or the PPL, eternal priesthood, eternal posterity and a land inheritance. And finally, we are shown specifically that Nephi’s posterity are the ones who are given this land of promise because of Nephi’s righteous actions. (We will explore this further in the next few chapters.)
Let me explain that last statement. Through the blessing that Nephi received from the Lord, he is led to a land of promise that was prepared for him above all other lands, for his posterity for eternity. This land IS Nephi’s land inheritance.

Notice that at this point the blessing is conditional upon one thing; look for what that condition is:
1 Nephi 2:20 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.
Just like Abraham, the blessing Nephi will receive is conditional based on his righteous obedience to the Lord. He is required to “keep his commandments” and for that he will be blessed with all that the Lord promised. As long as Nephi proves himself to the Lord showing that he is trustworthy so that the Lord may have confidence in him, he will retain these blessings forever.
That message is clearly taught from the Lord:
Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
Nephi must be “proven” to make his blessing sure, which I believe he does. We will explore that process too. However, part of that sure blessing is this land inheritance.
Notice how the Lord will use the rebellious as a tool. Who are the rebellious? What is the tool for? What are the seed of Nephi to remember?
1 Nephi 2:23 For behold, in that day that they (meaning his brothers seed) shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they (meaning his brothers seed) shall have no power over thy seed except they (meaning Nephi’s seed) shall rebel against me also.
24 And if it so be that they (meaning Nephi’ seed) rebel against me, they (meaning his brothers seed) shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.
The unrighteous will be a tool in the Lord’s hand to stir the righteous up to remember the covenant He made with Nephi. That covenant is the Abrahamic Covenant that we just read about when the Lord referred to Nephi as being “Blessed”. That is what the righteous are to remember. (Side Note: Anytime we see the wording “blessed” we should return to Chapter 2 to be reminded of just what that means.)
This was the same manner in which the Lord used the different groups of people, to “stir up” the memory of the House of Israel in Jerusalem, when He used the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians as a tool to try and help them remember the Lord. These groups were not righteous, they were simply used as a tool to help the Lord’s chosen people humble themselves, return to the Lord again, and benefit from the blessings of the covenant.
Simply stated, the Lord uses the unrighteous to remind His covenant people to be righteous and claim their blessings.
We are taught a very important message in Chapter 2... and that message is that this land belongs to the remnant of Nephi’s seed, in other words Lehi’s righteous posterity.
Can you think of what Nephi’s Abrahamic test, to make this blessing sure, might have been?

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