As he was praying and thinking about the vision, Nephi was caught up in the Spirit of the Lord. He was brought to a mountain that he was pretty sure he’d never been to before. The Spirit asked him what he desires. Nephi told the Spirit that he wanted to see the vision that Lehi spoke of.
The Spirit asked Nephi if he truly believed that his father saw the vision. Nephi said yes, because he believes everything his father taught.
I think there is a very important lesson here. The Spirit already knew that Nephi believed his father. Nephi had proven his faithfulness many times over. However, the Spirit still challenged his faith, asking Nephi to declare it again.
When we pray, all too often we expect the answers to just fall into our heads and hearts with no effort of our own. I’ve talked to people who said they prayed for an answer about a question, but when no immediate answer came, they just accepted that as either a “no” or that there isn’t a god to hear the prayers, much less one to answer.
Like Nephi, if we truly want an answer to our questions, we have to be sincere in wanting an answer. Sincerity in wanting an answer includes humbling ourselves. If we aren’t humble, we aren’t teachable, and not in a proper frame of mind to hear answer.
Nephi very well could have let the challenge to his faithfulness hurt or offend him. “What do you mean do I believe, haven’t I proven that over and over again?” Just reading that verse reminds me of times that I responded to such questions pretty much that way. I let my ego get in the way of what should have been a teaching moment for myself or someone else.
The Spirit not only showed Nephi the same vision Lehi saw, but made the meanings of all the symbols known to him, and explains them to us.
The Tree of Life in the vision represents the love of God (which is why the fruit of the tree was “desirable above all else”. The people at the tree, partaking of the fruit were those who followed the Rod of Iron to the tree out of a love of God over all else.
The Great and Spacious Building represents the pride of the world. The people in the building who pointed and mocked the ones eating the fruit represented all who put worldly pleasures and love of self over love of God. This mocking led many to feel ashamed for enjoying the fruit of the tree, and turned away.
However, it isn’t’ the fault of the people mocking that the ashamed ones turned away from God. That was their choice. We can’t blame others for our own weaknesses and bad decisions; there actions aren’t our actions.
The Rod of Iron represented the Word of God, which leads a person to love God over all else (The Tree of Life).
The building was high above the ground in the vision because a day will come when it will fall, and fall hard. The fall was representative of when the House of Israel will fight against Jesus and the Apostles. We see this prophecy happen with the Pharisees, Sadducees; who in turn represent all who put pride and tradition (or anything else) between themselves and the teachings of Christ. One day all the things of the world will fall and everyone will confess that Jesus is the Christ and God is the creator of us all.
Another prophecy in Nephi’s vision was the coming of Christ. He saw Mary in Nazareth holding a baby. The baby then grew to teach the Gospel to all who would listen. He saw John the Baptist baptizing Christ, and the Holy Ghost appearing as a dove.
He also saw the betrayal and prosecution of Christ, leading to Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and being crucified for the atonement of everyone who will accept Him. That we will not be left wandering in the mist of Lehi’s vision, nor stuck drowning in the water of the river.
Lehi’s dream is a vision of what we call the Plan of Salvation. All the symbols of the dream represent the “strait and narrow path” to eternal life with our Heavenly Father… as well as all the ways people can stray.
We all have a part to play in our salvation and progress. Our Heavenly Father does his part by creating everything (spiritual and physical) so that we can experience both parts of our development. Christ offered Himself up as the “bridge” between the spiritual and physical, so that the consequences of the fall of Adam can be eliminated for those who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Our part is to continue to learn and grow in Christ so that His atonement can make up the difference between our fallen state we are in and the perfection we are commanded to achieve. We can’t do it on our own, but if we don’t do our part, Heavenly Father will not force it on us.
TERMS OF PARTICIPATION