Sunday, May 15, 2011

Promised Land is the Land of Promise

First of all, the definition of a “land of promise,” is a land that has been promised. In the case of the Land of Promise mentioned in the Book of Mormon, it was the Lord who made the promise—as He did with the children of Israel when they left Egypt: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever” (Exodus 32:13).

As he also did with Lehi and Nephi “ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led,” and “the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 17:13-14). And as he did with Jared and his brother: “The Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind” (Ether 6:5). And also that “they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them” (Ether 6:12).

Thus, a land of promise is a land that has been promised to a person, family, people or group, and is rightly called a “promised land.” Consequently, we find the term “promised land” used continually in the scriptural record, as it relates to both the Jaredites in the land Northward, and the Nephites in the Land Southward, the latter eventually including both of these lands.

As an example, when Nephi saw the vision of Columbus coming to the Americas, he wrote: “And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren. And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12).

Now the “seed of my brethren” were the Lamanites, the literal seed of his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, and more specifically, their descendants living at the time of Columbus throughout the Americas. These are those Nephi saw in his vision. His statement “who were in the promised land” has reference to where Columbus was led. And it should be kept in mind that he was led to the Caribbean islands, South America, and Central America—Columbus never set foot on North America.

As the vision continued, Nephi wrote: “I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten” (1 Nephi 13:14). Now those that followed Columbus “scattered and smite” the inhabitants of Mexico (Aztec), Mesoamerica (Maya), and South America (Inca) in one of the worst displays of conquering cruelty ever known in the Western Hemisphere—perhaps anywhere.

Thus, it can be seen that the promised land, at this point in Nephi’s vision, was the Central and South American areas. However, in this same vision, Nephi’s view was expanded to a larger Land of Promise as he saw: “I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them” (1 Nephi 13:15-16).

At this point, Nephi’s vision was expanded further to see European nations laying claim to the Americas: “And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle. And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them” (1 Nephi 13:17-20). At this point, Nephi’s vision branched out regarding the Bible and its work.

The point is, Nephi’s vision began with the promised land of which he was familiar (the Land Southward) and expanded to include the Land Northward, then expanded further to include all of the Western Hemisphere. This, then, by definition, is the Land of Promise—the land that was promised to the descendants of Joseph, both the tribes of Ephraim (in the north) and Menasseh (in the south).

1 comment:

  1. But Joseph was black, as the Egyptians once were.