Before we look at what happens next to Nephi, after he is taken to “an exceedingly high mountain”, it is important to do some more background studying. I would like to look for a moment at the account in the book of Ether, of the experience that the brother of Jared had with the Lord, so that we can make some important comparisons with the process of events that are about to unfold for Nephi.
Just where did the Jaredites come from anyway? The Jaredites are a group of people that left the Middle East at the time of the confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel. The scattering that took place happened soon after the flood. Perhaps we should look at this as the first great scattering. The confounding of the languages was a result of the acts of some of Noah’s descendants who had set aside true temple worship and attempted to build a “pagan temple”, or “counterfeit temple.” The group of people, known as the Jaredites, was a righteous group who had cried unto the Lord requesting that their language not be confounded like the rest of the people. The Lord’s answer came by way of delivery from the confusion by leading them to a land of promise. The land of promise is the same land that Lehi was led to hundreds of years later, the American continent.
We have the record of the Jaredites because of The Book of Mormon. A Jaredite prophet named Ether, who, having witnessed the last battles of his people, recorded them on 24 plates of gold. He had preserved the record of a people who had lived through many centuries on the choicest land in the world, only to perish by their own hands, all because of lack of humility and unwillingness to acknowledge their dependence on the “one true God.”
I believe that we are given different accounts of the same story, over and over again, because that is the cycle we can see in life. The Jaredites become a type for the Lehites, in the land of promise. In the same way they become a type for study of their destruction, the experiences of their prophets can be compared to see the similarities there also.
I believe that the process, in which the brother of Jared saw the Lord, is the same process in which Nephi sees the Lord.
Look for how Jesus showed himself to both groups:
Ether 3:17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.
I picked up on the words, “even as he showed himself” in the above description. We are taught that the brother of Jared saw the pre-mortal Christ in his future mortal condition, with the body of flesh and blood. When Lehi, and Nephi were shown the Lord, they would have seen Him in a pre-mortal condition. They would have seen Him as a Spirit in the form of a body. They would have literally seen the Spirit of the Lord, in the form of a man.
Now, don’t get hung up on the following statement made by the Lord to the brother of Jared:
Ether 3: 15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
When the Lord explained to the brother of Jared that “never” had he shown himself to man in this manner, this was several hundred years before the experience that Nephi describes. Don’t get trapped in the word “never” because perhaps he was just illustrating that he was the first of many.
Digest this information, and we will explore the process more tomorrow….