Monday, October 17, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part VIII

Continuing with this series, and moving on now to Jacob’s description of the Land of Promise, and Amaleki’s coverage of Mosiah’s move further northward. 
    We have written about Jacob’s comments several times, but we will cover it briefly here again in this series since we have new readers and it is important to keep some of this information in chronological order.
When Nephi was untied by his brothers and given back control of his ship at the tail end of the storm that threatened to capsize the vessel, he merely says: “after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it…I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. And I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land. And after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:21-23).
    As they sailed up the Humboldt (Peruvian) Current, the land came into view. Obviously, the southern end would have been noticeable, since that is basically where they landed according to Mormon, along the West Sea: “in the borders by the seashore, and 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).
    How much of the land they would have seen can only be guessed at, and whatever led Jacob to have the opinion he had of the land mass is not stated. However, forty years after leaving Jerusalem (2 Nephi 5:34), when the Nephites were settled in the City of Nephi in the Land of Nephi, after the temple “like unto Solomon’s” had been built, the people, for whatever reason, were evidently feeling that the Lord had forgotten them, that they had been cast off from their inherited lands of Jerusalem and were highly agitated over the issue.
To properly understand Jacob’s eventual remarks, we need to set the stage for a moment of what was taking place and why Jacob said what he did. First of all, during a two-day conference in the temple, Jacob arose to speak. Nephi writes: “The words of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, which he spake unto the people of Nephi” (2 Nephi 6:1). And these were the words of Jacob as Nephi recorded them: “Behold, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a king or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety, behold ye know that I have spoken unto you exceedingly many things. Nevertheless, I speak unto you again; for I am desirous for the welfare of your souls” (2 Nephi 6:2-3). Jacob spoke for some time, covering several points and reading from Isaiah on the Brass Plates, at one point saying, “Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever?” (2 Nephi 7:1), and eventually concluding the first day with: “And now, my brethren, I would speak unto you more; but on the morrow I will declare unto you the remainder of my words. Amen.”
    On the second day, Jacob again rises to speak, saying, “And now I, Jacob, speak unto you again, my beloved brethren, concerning this righteous branch of which I have spoken” (2 Nephi 10:1). During this time, Jacob adds, “this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations” (2 Nephi 10:10-12).
Obviously, Jacob is trying to ease the minds of his listeners that this land upon which they now lived is not only a land the Lord knows and that they have not been forgotten by God, but that this land is favored even over the land of the Jews. Jacob adds, “Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men” (2 Nephi 10:15), Jacob then says to answer everyone’s concern and as Nephi records, “And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off” and after assuring them that they Lord still knew them and where they were he adds, “nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.”
    Obviously, this was not a surprise to his audience. They had been in the Land of Promise for forty years, they had built numerous buildings, at least three cities and probably more, a temple, and no doubt were well familiar with their land. So Jacob goes on: “But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (2 Nephi 10:21). Jacob is assuring his audience that they are not the only ones upon an island in the midst of the great ocean—a fact that evidently had been troubling the minds of the Nephites for some time, knowing they were on an island and well away from the mainland of Israel where God’s people lived.
    Jocob continues: “For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also. Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves -- to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. (2 Nephi 10:22-23).
    Now we need to keep in mind that while numerous Land of Promise theorists with their pre-determined models do not like this idea, since their lands do not equate to an island, either now or during the time Jacob spoke this, the point is the Land of Promise was an island, it was in the midst of the ocean over which they sailed, and its accuracy and importance cannot be diminished by weak arguments of how did Jacob know this, etc. In fact, Nephi continues on after this statement with the comment: “And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me” (2 Nephi 11:1). Isn’t it interesting that of all the things Jacob said in a two days conference in the temple, Nephi chose to record this information—the Lord had not forgotten them, they were on an island in the midst of the sea, but were not cast off, and that this island, the Land of Promise, was a better land than Israel, and had a destiny beyond anything the Nephites could imagine.
It seems that it is time that those who truly seek to know the location of the Land of Promise stop promoting areas that do not match the scriptural record, do not follow the information the Lord’s prophets have given us as to the many descriptions of the Land of Promise.  At the time Jacob spoke and Nephi recorded, the Nephites were on an island in the midst of the sea—this is not an arguable point! No more than any comment made by a speaker at a General Conference of the Church. We call such talks scripture today! Jacob spoke not about geography, but our dealings with the Lord, and how we need to act. He concluded his comment with: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.” (2 Nephi 10:24-25).
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part IX,” for more on the island Jacob describes and Nephi records, that was the home of the Nephites)

6 comments:

  1. Later when ships take people to a land Northward and are never heard of again, this only makes sense in the Andes as an Island model. It makes no sense in the Mesoamerican or any North American model. Why would they need ships to go Northward? What would stop them from hearing of these people again? It makes NO Sense. These two points support each other, so they have to be brushed under the rug together by those pushing for other models.

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    1. Another important point you've made is Alma 22 where is says that the landing place of Lehi was on the seashore of the west sea. What this means is Lake Erie could not have been the west sea because the distance between Zarahemla on the west sea and the land of the first inheritance is hundreds of miles apart. This completely destroys the North American model in this one verse 28 of Alma 22.

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    2. Do not some of them say that the Lehite ship came up the Mississippi and other rivers to lake Eire? Don't I remember Del explaining how absurd such an idea is?

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  3. I want a rich Mormon to finance a contest:

    Every model builds a ship according to their understanding of what Nephi built, and then sails it from where they believe he set sail-- just driven by the winds and currents -- to the place they believe the Lehites landed.

    We can be sure that the only ship that would make it would be the one on Dowdell's model.

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  4. The Mississippi River has always been shallow,requiring flat-bottomed paddle-wheels to negotiate the shallows and ever-changing Mississippi course. Besides, no interior river ever reached even close to the Great Lakes--why the Erie Canal was dug, etc. People look at a map and see what looks possible to them and write about it, but a map puts 1000s of miles within a foot or two and perspective flies out the window. You get a much truer perspective by driving or flying over this land and seeing just how far points are from one another and what lies in between.

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