When Nephi asked the Lord to “behold the things which his father saw” he was given a panoramic view of the condescension of God.
This is what he saw:
- A virgin.
- The Virgin carried away in the Spirit.
- The Virgin bearing a child in her arms.
- An Angel testifying that the child is the Son of the Eternal Father.
- The Son of God going forth among the people, and many worshiping Him.
- The Prophet who should prepare the way for the Redeemer of the World.
- The Lamb of God baptized by that prophet.
- The Heavens open after His baptism; the Holy Ghost come out of heaven and abide on Him in the form of a dove.
- The Lamb of God going forth ministering to the people in power and great glory.
- This group of people casting Him out from among them.
- Twelve others start to follow Him.
- The Heavens open once again and angels descend upon the people and minister unto them.
- The Lamb of God healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits.
- The Lamb of God being taken by the people and judged of the world.
- He was then lifted up upon the cross, and slain for the sins of the world.
- After his death, multitudes of the earth fighting against the apostles of the Lamb.
- The house of Israel gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
- Destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
All of the above information was important for Nephi to be shown because it had not happened yet. He was viewing it in the perspective of a future event that would take place; a future event that would be central to the salvation of not only his posterity but the whole human family. It was information given to help his people understand who Jesus Christ is and how he would Atone for the world. It provided a way for his posterity to recognize Him when he did come the first time.
For us, the perspective is different. We look backward to the events that took place in the past. We see this information as a fulfillment of divine prophecy. We view it as another testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and his life and ministry. It is given for us to recognize that He did come and Atone for us.
Both perspectives are given to enhance our faith. Nephi had faith that it would happen, and we have faith that it did happen. That faith, when nourished, moves us to action. It gives us the power to apply whatever necessary means in our life to press forward with hope of an Eternal place with our Father. It sustains us through trials, and motivates us to change when change is needed. It allows us to repent and come closer to our Father, thorough the merits of Jesus Christ, and our own efforts.
I am grateful for the perspective that Nephi shared with me, the latter-day reader of his record. I love him for the faith he had, and that he expressed continually. But most of all, I love Nephi because he knew how important his record would be for me.
He knows this because he was shown it in this vision….as it continues....