Lehites in Jerusalem and Arabia

Nephi’s Response to Lehi’s Dream

1 Nephi 10:17–22

Nephi desires to understand more fully what his father had said and seen about the Son of God and his gospel.

And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God— and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

for he is the same yesterday, to–day, and forever;
and the way is prepared for all men
from the foundation of the world,
if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

For he that diligently seeketh shall find;
and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them,
by the power of the Holy Ghost,
as well in these times as in times of old,
and as well in times of old as in times to come;

Wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Therefore remember, O man,
for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.

Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly
in the days of your probation,
then ye are found unclean before the judgment–seat of God;
and no unclean thing can dwell with God;
wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

And the Holy Ghost giveth authority
that I should speak these things,
and deny them not.

1 Nephi 11:1

Nephi desires to know to the things of God, and he believes the Lord can reveal them, and ponders in his heart.

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…

1 Nephi 15:1–4

After the vision, Nephi goes into Lehi’s tent, where he finds Laman and Lemuel arguing about what their father’s words meant.

And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father.

And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things my father had spoken unto them. For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought.

And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, and also, because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.

1 Nephi 15:5–6

Nephi, still deeply shaken by the contents of his vision, takes a moment to gather his thoughts and regroup.

And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall. And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations.

1 Nephi 15:7–8

Laman and Lemuel tell Nephi they don’t understand what Lehi was talking about when he referred to olive branches. Nephi asks them if they’ve prayed about it.

And they said:

“Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive–tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.”

And I said unto them:

“Have ye inquired of the Lord? ”

1 Nephi 15:9

They reply that they have not.

And they said unto me:

“We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.”

1 Nephi 15:10–11

Nephi reproves them, and tells them that answers are waiting for them, but they must pray to receive them.

Behold, I said unto them:

“How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—

‘If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.’

1 Nephi 15:12–20

Nephi proceeds to give a detailed explanation of the olive branch metaphor; It explains the process of the scattering and gathering of God’s covenant people.

“Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive–tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel? And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—

“And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?

“Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive–tree, into the true olive–tree. And this is what our father meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles; and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel. Wherefore, our father hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake much unto them concerning these things; yea, I spake unto them concerning the restoration of the Jews in the latter days. And I did rehearse unto them the words of Isaiah, who spake concerning the restoration of the Jews, or of the house of Israel; and after they were restored they should no more be confounded, neither should they be scattered again.

1 Nephi 15:20

Laman and Lemuel, apparently impressed, are satisfied with Nephi’s explanation.

And it came to pass that I did speak many words unto my brethren, that they were pacified and did humble themselves before the Lord.

1 Nephi 15:21–36

Laman and Lemuel then go on to ask Nephi what the elements of Lehi’s dream represent; Nephi explains, and they discuss.

And it came to pass that they did speak unto me again, saying: “What meaneth this thing which our father saw in a dream? What meaneth the tree which he saw?”

And I said unto them: “It was a representation of the tree of life.”

And they said unto me: “What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? And I said unto them that it was the word of God, and whose would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”

Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.

And they said unto me: “What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?”

And I said unto them:

And they said unto me: “Doth this thing mean the torment of the body in the days of probation, or doth it mean the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, or doth it speak of the things which are temporal?”

And it came to pass that I said unto them:

And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen.

1 Nephi 16:1–3

Upon hearing Nephi’s blunt interpretations, Laman and Lemuel say that it is more than they can handle—Nephi realizes that it is hard for guilty people to accept the truth.

And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me:

“Thou hast declared unto us hard things,
more than we are able to bear. ”

And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say:

“Thou speakest hard things against us.”

1 Nephi 16:4–5

Nephi counsels his brothers to be diligent; they agree, and Nephi has much hope for them.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord. And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.