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Thursday, June 2, 2011

1 Nephi 15: A Commentary

1 Nephi 15 will be herein commented on.  We will see what other Prophets and Apostles have said to corroborate the Book of Mormon's admonitions.

Rod of Iron
In verses 23-24, we read, "And [Laman and Lemuel] said unto [Nephi]: 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 whoso 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."

The word of God is the scriptures.  Nephi here states that if we cleave unto the scriptures, we will never perish.  I take him at his word, but how is this so?  Presidents Joseph Smith, Junior, and Ezra Taft Benson have the answer.  President Joseph Smith said, "“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. (Book of Mormon: Introduction)"  President Smith was here talking about the correctness of the Book's doctrine - that it would lead the humble follower of Christ to the truth.

President Ezra Taft Benson also elaborated on the power of the word of God, specifically the Book of Mormon, when he said, "Its testimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power.  But it does even more.  Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior.  They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection.  The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those.  It also provides the most complete explanation of the Atonement.("The Keystone of Our Religion", Ensign, January 1992)"

River of Water
Verses 26-30 read as follows:
And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?  And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.  And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.  And I said unto them that it was a representation of that awful hell, which the angel said unto me was prepared for the wicked.  And I said unto them that our father also saw that the justice of God did also divide the wicked from the righteous; and the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end.

The gulf mentioned by Nephi is what divides the spirits in Spirit Prison from those in Spirit Paradise.  Nephi then goes on to mention that the justice of God also separates the wicked from the righteous; this is not to say that they cannot pass out of Hell (or Spirit Prison).  The Lord through Peter has stated that the Gospel is preached to the dead, 

 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:18-21)

Our beloved Apostle Paul also alludes to the fact that the Gospel is preached unto the dead, when he uses the doctrine of baptism for the dead (which the ancient Saints practiced) to prove the Resurrection.  Said he, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Cor. 15:29)"  The words of Nephi in concert with Peter and Paul's words, give extra proof to the validity of the doctrine of baptism for the dead.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and the only true and living Church upon the earth.  I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that if we give heed to His words, we will be led aright.  I know the Lord had provided the scriptures for us to learn of Him and His teachings.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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