Friday, June 23, 2017

The Legacy of the Brass Plates -- 1 Nephi 19

What Happens
"Nephi makes plates of ore and records the history of his people—The God of Israel will come six hundred years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem—Nephi tells of His sufferings and crucifixion—The Jews will be despised and scattered until the latter days, when they will return unto the Lord."
1 Nephi 19 Chapter Heading


Commentary
In our last episode, Lehi and Ishmael's merged families had all arrived in the promised land, and were thankful to be there.  In this chapter, now settled in, Nephi is commanded to make a record of his people, so he goes out and makes plates to record the history.  Then, God asks him to make a new set of plates to record the mainly spiritual highlights to teach his people, and "for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord."  One of the reasons was the missing pages issue when the Book of Mormon was translated--always cool to see God working across the centuries, but it's also cool that he's talking about what we are reading right now.  Maybe a hint of God's perspective, to feel connected across time like that.

The part where Nephi talks about Christ coming to earth is interesting.  He says " they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men" (verse 9).  This seems to apply not only to the literal things that happened to Christ while he was on Earth, but also to how we figuratively treat him when we "set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels" (verse 7).

The prophecy of the Prophet Zenos is an interesting one here, because he predicted the three days of darkness for the people on the isles of the sea (verse 10), as well as them being gathered back in (verse 16).  Nephi came across his prophecies on the Plates of Brass (verse 21), but that isn't something that we have in our version of the Bible.  It will be interesting if someone discovers the writings of the Prophet Zenos someday, not only as a cool indication that the Book of Mormon is legitimate, since we know that already, but it will likely be an interesting read if he knew (as is apparent in verse 21) about the lost tribes. :)

Then, the last part, which might be my favorite part of this chapter.  Nephi teaches from the scriptures.  That's kind of the whole chapter, but this is where he says he is teaching it to others.  We start to see the incredible impact that the Brass Plates have on this soon-to-be civilization starting right here.  I love that Nephi loves the scriptures, maybe because I do too, but also just because here is this little family in the middle of a huge continent, and this is how they start.  This is what gets passed down through the generations, and Nephi is trying to ensure that people will know the gospel and the Lord.

In the last verse, Nephi starts quoting Isaiah, and I know that book can be confusing, but it is also awesome.  Tune in next time as we read along with him.