Lehi's Prophetic Dream
Updated: Mar 7, 2023
I am blessed to share my wild journey with my best friend. And we began a weekly Book of Mormon call. So I have found myself once again in 1 Nephi. And it has been such a wonder to receive new understanding of Lehi’s vision! If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, I recommend familiarizing yourself on this topic here. Chapters 8-15 will give you a good frame of reference.
Jumping ahead to 1 Nephi 15 before we start back at the beginning, Nephi explains that the fruit of the tree is the greatest of all the gifts of God. God’s greatest gift is eternal life; saved in the kingdom of God.
I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 3 Nephi 11:32
Lehi’s dream clearly denotes “a man” appeared in a white robe and told him to follow him. There are other occasions in scripture where the same description of personage appears and it is Christ or one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. What’s interesting is what follows. This is why we must judge the fruit of those who would try to teach or lead us. In this case, it was a false messenger Lehi trusted and he was lead into darkness. This is probably very in line with the state of things in Jerusalem. It was very wicked and about to be destroyed but Laman and Lemuel later protested how righteous the Jews were, regardless of the countless prophets that had been sent and stoned for their testimony.
And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them.
1 Ne 17:22
Assuming that Lehi’s station of wealth meant he was well established in Jerusalem, and Laman and Lemuel were active members of the community, it is not hard to connect his vision to his actual life experience. He followed a false teacher, trusted in the leadership of their religious community, and was in a state of darkness. It was only once he cried out to God for mercy that he was delivered from that and brought to the tree.
We even read about Lehi’s process, his conversion, and being called as a prophet and to prophecy, as recorded in the beginning of 1 Nephi. So, back to his vision, he is led to the tree and partakes. He desires his family to partake as well and sees them and beckons to them. All but Laman and Lemuel come and partake. Notice that there is no iron rod or mist of darkness yet. Lehi’s vision is prophetic. It is showing him his journey up to the point that he is converted and begins teaching his family.
From this point in the dream, we learn about a path that leads to the tree. Along it is an iron rod. There is a river, and on the other side is a great and spacious building full of people mocking those on the path and at the tree. There is also a mist of darkness.
Nephi then seeks his own understanding and through his writings we can expound on some of these components of what he is taught in his vision.
The mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil that blind the eyes and harden hearts and lead us into broad roads to perish, and are lost. What does it mean to perish and be lost? Since we already established that the fruit of the tree is eternal life, to be lost is to not be saved. But to perish too? I sought out the definition of perish and came away with a lot. One in particular was especially fitting: “To be destroyed. To come to nothing.” We MUST watch ourselves to not enter broad paths.
The mist arose over those who commenced in the path which led to the tree, that they did lose their way and were lost. Interesting that the mist is really only spoken of in connection to obscuring the path and the iron rod.
It is expounded to us in Nephi’s vision that the iron rod is the Book of Mormon and the Record of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Neither of these existed in Lehi’s time. His record was the beginning of the records of his seed, and it was still 600 years before Christ would come and for us to receive the testimony of the twelve. This is why he and his family did not come to the tree by way of the iron rod. His dream was not just an archetype, it is prophetic. He saw that Laman and Lemuel never partook of the fruit. And we read the truth of that in the records kept by Nephi long after Lehi’s death.
And the remainder of this prophecy is playing out today.
As we move into 1Nephi13 we read that the Book of Mormon and other books brought forth by the power of God are for the convincing of the Gentiles, Lehi’s seed, and Jews, that the Bible (or records of the prophets and the twelve apostles of the Lamb) is true. The Book of Mormon shall establish the truth of the Bible and make known the plain and most precious things that have been taken from it.
These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth. 1 Nephi 13:40-41
What does the Book of Mormon establish?
To make known to all people that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and Savior of the world. *the original translation manuscript does not contain the word ‘the Son of’ in vs 40 1Ne3:193 RCE that was added in 1908.
All men must come unto him or they cannot be saved
They must come according to the words established by the mouth of the Lamb that will be made known in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11-28) as well as the New Testament (Matt 5-7) I single these sections out, as, in the Book of Mormon, the teachings that echo the NT Sermon on the mount, are the words physically spoken by Christ in the Book of Mormon. They should be paid special attention.
To this end: There is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth and He (not they) shall manifest himself unto all nations.
Now continuing into 1 Nephi 14.
There are save two churches only: the church of the Lamb of God, and the church of the devil. The fruit of the tree is the Kingdom of God (eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God); the world, river, great and spacious building, forbidden paths, etc are all the kingdom of the devil.
The word of God is the Book of Mormon and the record of the twelve apostles of the Lamb established as one to restore the plain and most precious things of God; this is the iron rod.
Let’s examine two distinctions I’ve always noticed in those who reach the tree:
Those who clung to the rod, ate the fruit and were ashamed. They fall on forbidden paths and are lost.
Those who held fast to the rod, continually pressing forward until they fell down at the tree and then ate the fruit were converted and didn’t heed the scorn of the world.
The mists of darkness are the temptations that have led to blinding eyes and hardening hearts. What temptations could lead one to let go of the word of God?
Establishing polygamy, whether Joseph or Brigham, it lead to many false doctrines that are still actively practiced, even though spiritual wifery is no longer the motive, it was the catalyst.
Fearing the world and establishing a church with the government to unnecessarily satisfy unwarranted concerns.
Setting a man as the head of the church. God is the head of his church.
Establishing the precedent that revelation comes only through the head of the church and that he is the mouthpiece of God; that blinds us for we are all to come unto Christ.
Mormon 9:24-27 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth. And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish. O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
Publishing the Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph Smith was expressly commanded not to publish the revelations. They were not brought forth by the power of the Lamb, and only lead to disputations among the sects that have all broken off from the original Church of Christ and continue to uphold them as scripture.
But the words are plain before you.
The words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one.
This is the Iron Rod. This is what leads to the tree. The way is narrow and few there be that find it.
So let's visit point 1 above. What scenario of having the word of God and reaching the tree would leave one not converted to Christ so that they fall away and are lost?
This comes to mind for me, and I will openly confess to having experience here: entertaining the mists while keeping one hand on the rod. I’ve considered the use of the word clinging in so many ways that were never satisfactory in the end result at the tree. This one fits.
The vast majority of those who leave mormonism become atheist. Why is that? The LDS church does not hold fast to the teachings in the Book of Mormon, and points to popular prophets, temples, and works instead of wholly relying upon the merits of Christ who is mighty to save. Our rote recitations of our testimonies are that the church is true and that there is a living prophet that tells us everything God wants us to know. The scriptures plainly point out the fallacy of those ideas. What other LDS doctrine is not upheld by scripture? Polygamy is called an abomination but everyone will use one misinterpreted loop hole verse to rationalize it. How about High Priests? Jesus Christ was the last high priest, and only exists in the BoM during old testament times. Priesthood authority? Find that in the Book of Mormon, I dare you. Actually, I’ll help you out:
And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel. Why? Answer:
3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord— (Interesting that a common condition of not being the Lord’s church is to insist that you are.)
4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. (Have you experienced manifestations of the Spirit? TRUE manifestations?)
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; 2 Ne 28
If you entertain the mists, you will not be converted to Christ. And though you may partake of the fruit of the tree, you will succumb to the world.
Point 2 has several parts:
Holding fast to the rod
There is no trusting in the arm of flesh happening here. There are no manuals, no footnotes, no study guides, listening to men’s interpretation of scripture. It is just you learning to hear the voice of the Lord through studying His Word.
Continually pressing forward
Those who diligently seek shall find. Bonus: The power of the Holy Ghost is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him.
Falling down at the tree
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, we often consider the wheat and tares as people, but they are doctrines too. When the Book of Mormon came forth, many false doctrines were sown into the early church that still affect the entire church, blinding eyes and hardening hearts. But God has promised that the Lord God [will not] suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness 1Ne13:32
HOLD FAST to the Iron Rod as explained herein. And you will be converted to Christ. You will be humbled and bow before Him, as wheat laden with their fruit when they are ripe.
Partaking of the fruit
It fills your soul with exceeding joy and is desirable above all other fruit! You desire for others to also partake, and you invite them to try, and you fast and pray for the welfare of their souls.
In closing, Nephi shares a harrowing view. “I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few (why?) because of the wickedness and abominations of the great and abominable church” (the kingdom of the devil and his doctrinal tares)
The Saints of God are few in number because of the craftiness of the devil. The scriptures say that the whole earth will combine against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Those odds aren’t great. But it is the side to be on:
I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. 1Ne14:14
If you have one hand clinging to the rod and one hand on the philosophies of men, by now you should know which one to release your hold on. Let the Lord take away your stumbling blocks, don’t harden your hearts - that’s what the mists are designed to do! If the Gentiles - (lds people, sit up and take notes, that’s you!)- If the Gentiles repent, all will be well with them. But woes are pronounced against those who choose the mists!
And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—
2 And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.
3 And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.
4 For behold, this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him.
5 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso repenteth not must perish.
6 Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.
7 For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.
Study these chapters of Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s interpretations. There is so much more left to say contained within these pages that I could not write but a part of it. Take the Spirit as your guide. Remove your biases and present understanding and seek to be taught anew. Nephi admonished his brothers who were hard of heart to remember what the Lord has said:
If you will not harden your hearts, ask God in faith, believing you will receive, with diligence in keeping God's commandments (*what has the Lord commanded you to do? Pray and seek to know these things and then do them), then SURELY the things of God will be made known unto you.
The Book of Mormon brings us to the knowledge of the gospel of our Redeemer, and the very points of his doctrine! And those very points are to know how to come unto Him and be saved!
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. 1 Nephi 15:24
How is it ye will perish because of the hardness of your hearts?
Depart from the mists and hold fast to the word of God.