Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Lands of First Inheritance

There are three lands given the label “Land of First Inheritance” in the scriptural record, one references the Lamanite land of first inheritance, a second the Nephite land of first inheritance, and the other references the Jatedite land of first inheritance. One of the problems is that some historians and Theorists get these mixed up or consider at least two of them the same. 
When Lehi landed, they “went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23). Here Nephi made plates of ore and recorded the record of his people (1 Nephi 19:1), he taught his brothers (1 Nephi 19:22), answered their questions about the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 22:1, ending with 22:31). Afterward, Lehi preached to his family (2 Nephi 1:1), and prophesied (2 Nephi 1:6), and blessed his family (2 Nephi 2:1, ending 3:25), afterward, Lehi died (2 Nephi 4:12).
    At this time, Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael became angry with Nephi (2 Nephi 4:13), and sought to kill him (2 Nephi 5:2, 4), and the Lord told Nephi to leave and flee into the wilderness, taking all those who would go with him (2 Nephi 5:5). Nephi’s little party traveled for “many days” before settling down and pitching their tents (2 Nephi 5:7) in a place they called “Nephi.”
After planting a first crop along the seashore, Nephi planted a second crop in the area of his City of Nephi
    The time frame of these events is suggested to have lasted perhaps no more than a year, because after planting and harvesting in the area of their landing (1 Nephi 18:24), it appears they planted a second crop in this new area they later called the “City of Nephi” where "they planted again", as Nephi said, “And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind”  (2 Nephi 5:11, emphasis mine).
    The area of first landing became the land of the Lamanites, where Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael remained after Nephi left. This is verified later when the Lamanites are being described as “knowing nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, depending upon their own strength,” and were a “wild and ferocious and blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers” (Mosiah 10:11-12), and this tradition is that they had been wronged in Jerusalem, wronged in the wilderness, wronged crossing the sea, and “they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea” (Mosiah 10:13), Because “they [the Nephites] had taken the ruling of the people out of their [the Lamanite] hands” (Mosiah 10:15).
Mormon referred to this area of first landing as “on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28). Thus, the Lamanites’ fathers, whose fathers were Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael, obtained the landing at the seashore as the land of their first inheritance.
    Later, Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael, or their children (people) followed Nephi northward with whom there were contentions and battles among the Nephites and Lamanites. As Jacob tells us, Nephi wielded the sword of Laban in the defense of his people (Jacob 1:10).
    From this time forth, the Lamanites (Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites [Jacob 1:13]) did “seek to destroy the people of Nephi” (Jacob 1:14; Enos 1:24; Jarom 1:7; Omni 1:2, 10, 24).
    After some 350 years or so, the righteous Nephites in the Land of Nephi and the City of Nephi, were warned of the Lord and under the leadership of Mosiah, left the land and traveled northward to discover the Land and people of Zarahemla (Omni 1:12).
    Not long afterward, a group of Nephites in Zarahemla “who went up into the wilderness to return to the land of Nephi; for there was a large number who were desirous to possess the land of their inheritance” (Omni 1:27). When that group failed, a man named Zeniff took control “begin over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers,” and collected as many as were desirous to go up to posses the land” (Mosiah 9:3). That is, the Nephites in Zarahemla considered the land of their first inheritance to be the land in the area of the City of Nephi, having lived there for more than 350 years.
    This is verified later, when this Zeniff, the leader of those who went back to claim this land and the City of Nephi, sought a man among them who was familiar with the “land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance,” that he could become a spy among the Lamanites and see to their intentions (Mosiah 9:1).
Once they succeeded, Zeniff tells us “And it came to pass that we did inherit the land of our fathers for many years” (Mosiah 10:3). This same understanding is seen two generations later when Limhi, Zeniff’s grandson, states: “Behold, I am Limhi, the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff, who came up out of the land of Zarahemla to inherit this land, which was the land of their fathers, who was made a king by the voice of the people” (Mosiah 7:9).
    It is also verified when Moroni answered the letter of the Lamanite king Ammoron about exchanging prisoners (Alma 54:1), where both Moroni and his armies (Alma 52:15), and Ammoron and his Lamanite armies (Alma 52:2; 54:6) were all in the Land of Zarahemla. Angered at Ammoron’s belligerence, Moroni threatens him with God’s justice and the sword of his almighty wrath unless he “withdraw your armies into your own lands, or the land of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi” (Alma 54:6), and if Ammoron would not, Moroni would “come against you with my armies; yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance” (Alma 54:12).
    Thus, the Land of Nephi was the land of the Nephite’s first inheritance. Moroni goes on to say, “I am in my anger, and also my people; ye have sought to murder us, and we have only sought to defend ourselves. But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more we will seek to destroy you; yea, and we will seek our land, the land of our first inheritance” (Alma 54:13).
    There is no mention of a land of first inheritance for the Mulekites (people of Zarahemla). When they learned that “the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi” (Mosiah 25:13), they joined and became numbered with the Nephites. Thus, the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together; and Mosiah was appointed to be their king” (Omni 1:19).
    The other land of First Inheritance was given to the Jaredites, within the Land Northward, where their barges first landed. This is referred to as the Land of Moron (Ether 7:5), which was where the king dwelt (Ether 7:6), and later, when Shule defeated the king (Ether 7:9), he later lost part of the land to Cohor, who “did obtain the land of their first inheritance” (Ether 7:16).
    However, the Jaredites lost this land of first inheritance when Coriantumr died, for he would only lived to see “another people receiving the land for their inheritance” (Ether 13:21).

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