As Nephi’s vision continues I believe it is important to remember that the emphasis of the information he receives is placed on what happens to his posterity. Everything else he sees in that vision is in some way relating to how it affected them then, and in their future. Remember, Nephi was promised way back in Chapter 2, that those of his seed would ultimately be blessed because of his obedience, similar to Abraham of old, with the promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper”.
With that thought in mind, in Chapter 13 we are introduced to a new group of people and see the role they will play regarding the Nephites, or “remnant” of them. (Don’t forget we have already seen a scattering occur in both Jerusalem and the Americas in Chapter 11 and 12.)
Look for who this new group of people are:
1 Nephi 13:1 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms.
2And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.
3And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.
Who this “Gentile” group is, is easily defined by what Nephi is shown. He sees right off that the “great and abominable church” is formed among the nations of the Gentiles, destroying the saints of God, and bringing them down into captivity. He also sees where the Gentiles come from.
1 Nephi 13: 10 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.
In my opinion it is pretty easy to see who these “Gentiles” are. They are the people from the European lands.
Ultimately these Gentiles are allowed to come to the America’s, or “promised land”, but it is interesting to see why.
1 Nephi 13: 11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.
12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.
Nephi is shown that because the “wrath of God” was upon his seed due to their disobedience, and the “Spirit of God wrought” upon not only one particular man, but on many other Gentiles as well, the Gentiles were led to the Americas and became a tool for scattering his seed. This concept reinforces what he was taught by the Lord back in Chapter 2 regarding the “seed of his brethren”, and how they would become a tool in hand of the Lord to “stir” his posterity up in the ways of remembrance of the covenants they had entered into.
1 Nephi 2:23 For behold, in that day that they (the seed of thy brethren) shall rebel against me, I will curse them (the seed of thy brethren) even with a sore curse, and they (the seed of thy brethren) shall have no power over thy seed except they (thy seed) shall rebel against me also.
24 And if it so be that they (thy seed) rebel against me, they (the seed of thy brethren) shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.
SO basically, Nephi is promised this land as his inheritance. The Gentiles are brought here by the Lord because they are a tool He can use to help Nephi’s seed, or “remnant” of them, remember the covenants that they made with The Father. Don't be dismayed however because you may be a descendant of a Gentile.. there is great promise for you too, even though you are a tool. You will see....
These simple definitions of the following terms, with regards to the Book of Mormon, are important to remember:
- Remnant- Indigenous people on the American continent
- Gentiles- Those who emigrated from the European nations
For a more in depth study of the “remnant” Denver Snuffer has discussed it beautifully in a series of Blog posts on his Blog starting with this post. We will cover it here too. I believe it is impossible to study The Book of Mormon without understanding who we are individually and collectively and what role we are to play.
Just so you know… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is considered the gentile church… more to come!
Oh yeah… knowing these terms now, who do you think the man is that is mentioned in verse 12?