One of the greatest stories we have regarding the Jaredites is the story of the brother of Jared as he witnesses the pre-mortal Savior, or more commonly remembered as, sees the finger of the Lord. In studying that story we can recognize some key dialog that takes place between the Lord and the brother of Jared that is similar to the dialog that Nephi has when he is shown the meaning of his father’s vision.
Watch for the reason the brother of Jared is allowed to see the Pre-mortal Christ in his mortal condition:
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
The reason that the brother of Jared got to witness this great thing is because he followed a process. He had a desire, he inquired of the Lord, he had faith that the Lord would answer him, the Lord softened his heart so that he believed every word the Lord spoke, and the Lord showed Himself to him.
Now… notice the similarity in the dialog in the experience that Nephi describes in 1 Nephi 11:
1 For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
2 And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
3 And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.
4 And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?
5 And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.
6 And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.
(Side Bar: Sometimes when the title Lord is used we get confused as to who it is referring to. Remember that one of the names for The Father is also Lord.)
It is interesting to me that in both cases, the Spirit of the Lord, or perhaps another way to refer to it would be pre-mortal Messiah, asks the receiver if they “believe”. After they assure the Lord that they believe they are then shown what they desire.
Now look back at the block of scriptures I posted above in 1 Nephi, what is it that Nephi desires?
Answer....To know the things his father had seen.
What specifically does the Spirit of the Lord ask Nephi if he believes about his father’s vision?
Answer...He wants to know if Nephi specifically believes in the tree.
It is important to understand that the subject of this conversation is centered around the tree… we will explore futher….