I find it pretty cool that not only does Nephi include his vision and the conversations he had with the angel, he also includes another chapter with the explanation he gives his brothers. I’m totally convinced now that every time he includes explanations of anything to his brothers, it’s just a handy way for him to teach his readers. 🙂 A two-in-one move; more narrative and documentation as well as solid doctrinal preaching for his readers’ sake. Perfect.
Nephi is rather frustrated and upset that his brothers won’t ask God to help them understand. Is that same reprimand being directed at us, too?
After reading everything Nephi saw, doesn’t he sound a bit impatient in verse 12 as he explains this to Laman and Lemuel: “and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?” I want to add some extra ! and ? at the end of that sentence. 🙂
Verse 13 presupposes a lot of foreknowledge about the future. He knows their seed will dwindle in disbelief. Either Lehi talked about that before, and so Nephi is just putting two pieces of the puzzle together in front of them, or else, this is information only gathered after inquiring of God, as Nephi told them they should have done.
Aren’t 12-16 a great summary of his vision? More specifically, aren’t they a great summary of what the olive tree represents? I think Nephi did a pretty good job there answering his brothers’ question.
Verse 17 gets slightly more complicated, at least in the abbreviated form we have here. But verse 18 has a direct reference to Abraham, so I want to quote that certainly:
18 Wherefore, our father hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
I think that perhaps I shouldn’t pass by verse 17 so quickly afterall. I’m thinking a lot lately (as I’ve mentioned in others posts) about how the gospel has to go to the Gentiles before it goes back to the House of Israel. Is this so that the Gentiles have a chance to be included in the Abrahamic Covenant? Is this precisely what it means that “all the kindreds” of the earth can be blessed? A covenant is given to Israel, but then power is shown to the Gentiles specifically in giving them the records of Israelites which contain more detail about the covenant, and they can be adopted in and then they take it back to Israel… this back and forth, first last and last first thing really is starting to make me read this “all kindreds blessed” idea much more clearly than I ever had before!
I can see why Nephi begins to use Isaiah so much. (See verse 20) This really is all that Isaiah is talking about, isn’t it?