After describing a spiritual dream to his family and urging two of his sons to repent, Lehi went on to prophesy about a number of future events. Because he had recently obtained the brass plates, which contained the words of many prophets, it’s likely that his awareness of these events was enhanced by his study of these writings. Here is a list of the events Lehi foretold at this time, according to his son Nephi:
- Jerusalem would be destroyed, and many of its inhabitants would be taken to Babylon (1 Nephi 10:3).
- Some time later (“according to the own due time of the Lord”), they would return to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 10:3).
- In 600 years, the Messiah would come. Lehi referred to Him as our “Savior” and our “Redeemer” (1 Nephi 10:4-6).
- Another prophet would prepare the way for the Savior by preaching in the wilderness and baptizing. This prophet would baptize the Messiah (1 Nephi 10:7-10).
- The gospel would be preached among the Jews, but they would “[dwindle] in unbelief” (1 Nephi 10:11).
- The Messiah would be killed and would rise from the dead (1 Nephi 10:11).
- The Messiah would manifest Himself to the Gentiles by the Holy Ghost (1 Nephi 10:11).
- The house of Israel would be scattered. Lehi pointed out that his family’s journey to their promised land was a partial fulfillment of that prophecy (1 Nephi 10:12-13).
- After the Gentiles received the fulness of the gospel, the “remnants of the house of Israel” would “come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 10:14).
In his description of the scattering and gathering of Israel, Lehi used the imagery of an olive tree whose branches are removed and grafted into other trees. He likely borrowed this imagery from the prophet Zenos, whom his son Jacob later quoted. (See Jacob 5.)
A few observations about these prophecies:
- There are two scattering and gatherings: one before the coming of the Messiah and one after.
- Both of the scatterings and the first gathering are geographical in nature, but the second gathering is a spiritual gathering, an acceptance of the Messiah.
- These prophecies form a pretty good outline for the vision Nephi records in the subsequent chapters. When Nephi tells the angel that he wants to see the things his father saw, he isn’t just talking about Lehi’s dream!
- Lehi’s core message is our universal need to be saved by the Messiah.
Today, I will remember the role of the Messiah as my Savior and Redeemer. Life tends toward entropy and chaos. We have a natural tendency to be scattered. But God is willing to patiently gather us home if we will turn our hearts to Him and receive His saving power.