Lehi has prophesied to his family about the coming of the Messiah, the preparation of the way by John the Baptist, and the destruction of Jerusalem.
11. And it came to pass after my father had spoken these words he spake unto my brethren concerning the gospel which should be preached among the Jews, and also concerning the dwindling of the Jews in unbelief. And after they had slain the Messiah, who should come, and after he had been slain he should rise from the dead, and should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles.
This all took place six hundred years before the coming of Christ. While we look back at Christ and have historical documentation of the things He did, as well as the scriptural accounts, Lehi had nothing but his own revelations and those of the prophets contained on the brass plates. He was truly functioning under the guiding influence of faith, and his family was being asked to do the same. Some found it easy, and others, as we’ve read, found it impossible. These concepts are new. Resurrection? Redemption? To take place six hundred years in the future? That kind of faith simply was not present in Laman and Lemuel.
12. Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive-tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.
Olive trees are very common in the Middle East, and you’ll notice many allegories in the Book of Mormon that tie in to olive trees. The care and nurture of the olive tree was part of daily life for the inhabitants of that region, and this was an allegorical tool that they were familiar with.
13. Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.
14. And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.
This part of the prophecy is fulfilled as missionaries go out into the world and preach the gospel, and as we share it with our friends and neighbors.
15. And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book; for I have written as many of them as were expedient for me in mine other book.
16. And all these things, of which I have spoken, were done as my father dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel.
17. 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.
There’s a lot of content in this verse. Nephi hears his father and believes that his father truly did see a vision. He believes that his father spoke by the workings of the Holy Ghost, and then he states that this power is given by faith on the Son of God. By faith we are spoken to by the power of the Holy Ghost, and as we perfect this gift, we then can receive more and more revelation. It’s all based on faith.
Next he states that the Son of God is the Messiah, who should come. Up until that point in history, the coming of the Messiah had been spoken of, but no one knew who He was or when He would come. Lehi has prophesied that He will come in six hundred years. This is one of the main differences between the Jewish religion and the LDS religion – we believe that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, that He came and that He will return. The Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and await His arrival. We both believe in the Messiah, but we have different ideas about who the Messiah is.
Then Nephi goes on to express his desire to also know of the things his father saw, and then he says that if we diligently seek the gift of the Holy Ghost, it can be ours, and that this gift is for all, whether it be now or in times of old.
From today’s reading: What does it mean to diligently seek the gift of the Holy Ghost? How can we seek even more diligently?