Nephi’s Vision

The prophet Nephi was so impressed with his father’s dream and his father’s prophecies that he prayed to see what his father had seen. As a result, he saw a sweeping vision in which an angel showed him many future events and used them to explain the symbols from his father’s dream. Today, I summarized the events Nephi saw and identified which symbols from the dream were explained at each point in the vision:

Section Event Symbol from Lehi’s Dream
Life of Jesus Christ
Birth (1 Nephi 11:8-23) The tree: the love of God
Baptism & ministry (1 Nephi 11:24-31) The iron rod: the word of God
Death (1 Nephi 11:32-36) The great and spacious building: the pride of the world
Lehi’s descendants
Many wars and contentions (1 Nephi 12:1-3)
Jesus Christ visits the American continent (1 Nephi 12:4-12)
More wars, Nephites destroyed (1 Nephi 12:13-23) River of filthy water: the depths of hell

Mists of darkness: temptations of the devil

Large and spacious building: pride

Restoration of the gospel
The great & abominable church (1 Nephi 13:1-9)
European colonization and American revolution (1 Nephi 13:10-19)
The Bible (1 Nephi 13:20-29)
Other scriptures (1 Nephi 13:30-42)
The last days
Repentant Gentiles become part of Israel (1 Nephi 14:1-6)
Two churches (1 Nephi 14:7-17)
The apostle John and the book of Revelation (1 Nephi 14:18-27)

A few observations:

  • Out of all the future events that the angel could have shown Nephi, he focused on the Savior’s mortal ministry, the Savior’s ministry to Nephi’s descendants, the restoration of the gospel, and the conflict between good and evil in the last days.
  • Most of the symbols from Lehi’s dream were explained in the context of the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. However, the concepts represented by those symbols continued to be relevant to subsequent events. For example, Nephi recognized early in the vision that the iron rod represents the word of God, but he subsequently learned a good deal about how the scriptures would be written, corrupted, and then clarified and augmented by other scriptures.
  • When Nephi sees the destruction of his descendants, two of the symbols from his father’s dream are highlighted: mists of darkness and the great and spacious building. He learns that this tragedy will be caused by two things: temptations and pride.
  • Nephi ends on a cliffhanger: The church of the devil is attacking the church of the Lamb of God. He doesn’t describe how this conflict will be resolved, but he explains that the apostle John will see and write the rest of the story. The obvious next step is to read the Book of Revelation.

Today, I will remember the importance of the events Nephi saw, including the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, His postmortal ministry among Nephi’s descendants, the restoration of gospel truths through modern scripture, and the empowering of the saints to withstand the attacks of the adversary in the last days. I will be grateful for the love of God and for the word of God which can help me overcome the twin challenges of temptation and pride.

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