Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lehi's Last Words, Part Three -- 2 Nephi 3

What Happens

"Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision—He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer; of Moses, who would deliver Israel; and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon."
2 Nephi 3 Chapter Heading


In our last episode, Lehi gave a last blessing to his son Jacob.  Here, he gives a blessing to his son Joseph, his "last-born" (verse 1).

Like the last chapter, it seems clear that this blessing was in the company of his whole family, not just one-on-one, because there are so many hints in the verses, encouraging the whole family.  In verse 2, Lehi consecrates the land unto Joseph and his descendants "with thy brethren" and specifically says "if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments."  I think that final caveat is worth noting, not just in the context of this blessing (as we see much later in history when the land is overrun with people that were not descendants of Lehi), but also in the context of almost all blessings from the Lord.  It takes effort to maintain the gifts that God gives us, or we lose them.

We are reminded of the vision that Lehi and Nephi saw of their seed being mostly destroyed in the next verses.  Lehi promises Joseph that all is not lost, because he is of the posterity of Joseph of Egypt, and explains the prophecy that a righteous branch of that tribe will rise up in the latter days to bring light in the darkness.

A specific seer is mentioned, and it also specifies that it won't be Moses.  This is interesting stuff, because this is a prophecy of Joseph of Egypt, so apparently Joseph knew ahead of time that his people would need saving, and who would save them (verse 10).  I think that is cool, and awesome... and I think it also shows the compassion of the Lord to help us know ahead of time that things are going to be okay.  We all need that reassurance sometimes.

Verses 11 and 12 are powerful predictions of the Book of Mormon and the Bible growing together, and not only confounding false doctrines, but even more powerfully, the laying down of contentions and the establishment of peace.  I like the phrase "convincing them of my word" because it seems to indicate that the truth won't just be there, shunned, but that it will be believed and welcomed by many of Lehi's descendants... perhaps some of us, reading. :)

In verse 15 is when the reader usually realizes that the seer spoken of is actually Joseph Smith, and what would it have been like for Joseph Smith, translating these words?  To realize that he was not only part of prophecy (as most of us are, connected to all of this through our lineage and blood, or adoption into the house of Israel, and perhaps also the family of Lehi), but that he was *named* and know of, as Moses was, well ahead of his actual lifespan.  So much joy. :)  Probably some feeling of overwhelming responsibility as well. :)

Verse 17 talks about Moses again, and you have to wonder, don't you, if Joseph of Egypt prophesied this... did Moses know of the prophecy?  It makes you read the story of Moses with a whole other perspective, thinking that he might have also known his destiny.

In verse 23 Lehi tells Joseph that he doesn't have to worry about his descendants, because they will hearken unto the words of the book, and thinking about that a little bit makes you realize that those very words are IN the book, and that we, today, are hearkening also.  I like that.  So many layers of goodness. :)

Verse 24 talks about restoration, which is a huge theme throughout the scriptures, not only in this giant-sized generation and world-spanning kind of restoration, but also restoration on an individual level: our words and actions will also be brought full circle.  A good thing to remember that we are all part of the interwoven pattern that is life, and the gospel, and the pattern of God.

In verse 25 Lehi says that Joseph is little, so we know that it's hasn't been a lot of years that they have been in the promised land before these events.  He encourages his son to stick with his brother Nephi, and to remember the words of his dying father, which probably would have made an impact on his son at a young age, especially since the blessing was obviously written down, and he had it to read as he grew older. :)

Tune in next time for Lehi's *very* last words.

No comments:

Post a Comment