This year, my new years resolution was to read and seriously study the book of Mormon. Tonight I finished first Nephi, and thought Iâ€™d take a moment to share 10 things I learned that I didnâ€™t know before. If itâ€™s old hat to you, your name is probably Kevin Barney.
1. In the Millennium, Satan is not bound by God in the sense that he is banished and thrown in a dungeon, but per 1 Ne. 22:26, â€œHe cannot be loosed for the space of many years for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousnessâ€ The peopleâ€™s righteousness binds Satan, just as Satan binds the people when they sin.
2. A major theme in 1st Nephi is that Laman and Lemuel (and Isreal in the Isaiah Chapters (1 Nephi 21:14)) are not experiencing the love of the Lord or having personal revelation (1 Nephi 15:9). It is this â€œignoranceâ€ of Godâ€™s dealings that leads them to sin. (1 Ne. 2:12)
3. The first year of King Zedekiahâ€™s reign was also the first year of Babylonian rule in Judah, before that, Egypt had ruled Judah for 20 years (since King Josiah). This explains things like Byblos Syllabic inscriptions (reformed Egyptian)
4. In 1 Nephi 1:1- Nephi notes he was highly favored of God, and had seen many afflictions. This is interesting in a text where a major them is prosperity coming obedience. Prospering thus does not mean a cessation of suffering.
5. In 1st Nephi 4:3, Nephi foreshadows that God could destroy Laban, then when he sees Laban in vs 9, the first thing he does is draw Labanâ€™s Sword. Only then, after saying Laban could be destroyed, and standing there holding an unsheathed sword, does he feel prompted to kill Laban. He thinks through the problem and justifies killing Laban at least 8 different ways before following through with it.
6. Brant Gardner makes a good point about 1 Nephi Chapter 8â€™s fruit. It is not enough that the Fruit of the Tree Exists, we have to partake of it. My wife makes a good point about this also, that we have all at least tasted this Fruit at least once in our lives. The scary thing about the vision is that many abandon the fruit after theyâ€™ve tasted it. One can do all the praxis of the church and still fail to stay with the tree.
7. 1 Nephi 10:12-14 correlates closely with Romans 11:17-24.
8. At the beginning of Nephiâ€™s vision he is escorted by the spirit of the Lord, but in Early on in the vision, the Spirit of the Lord leaves, and the guide is then on an Angel.
9. Shazer, mentioned in 1 Ne. 16:13 is â€œa valley or area abounding in trees and shrubsâ€ in Arabic, and would have been one of the only areas with trees large enough to make a wooden bow on Nephiâ€™s Journey.
10. Jesus is called the God of Isreal in 1 Nephi 19:7-10. This is at least one reason we consider Jehovah to be Christ, though early LDS church leaders used the names Jehovah and Elohim interchangeably.