Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XIV

Continuing with Mormon’s descriptions that enable us to find and locate the Land of Promise today by understanding what was upon the land anciently. As has already been stated, certain things are relevant and even critical in using to define the location of the geographical setting of the Land of Promise, but for a true location, all of these descriptions must be included.
    In another area of scripture, we are told of a situation that looking for the outcome today, would eliminate all areas within the eastern U.S., including heartland and Great Lakes, as well as Baja and Florida as well as Malay, and that is the prophecy made while “in the eighty and sixth year, the Nephites did still remain in wickedness, yea in great wickedness, while the Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God, according to the law of Moses” (Helaman 13:1), and in that year, “there was one Samuel, a Lamanite, came into the land of Zarahemla, and began to preach unto the people” (Helaman 13:2), but the Nephites cast him out and as Samuel started to return to his own land, the Spirit of the Lord told him to return again “and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart” (Helaman 13:3). For his safety, he climbed onto the city wall and “prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart” (Helaman 13: 4).
Top: The rolling, gradually inclining mountain; Middle: The smooth, rounded type of mountain; Bottom: The sharp, sheer mountain that rises up majestically. Obviously, mountains are not the same, and the last of these mountains (bottom) is far more prominent and impressive than the others, especially when it is much higher

    At one point, Samuel yells out: “Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name,” and then he listed a number of happenings, concluding with “thus hath the Lord commanded me, by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing unto you; yea, he hath commanded that I should prophesy these things unto you” (Helaman 14:9) and then foretold that the land would be changed at the time of the crucifixion of the Lord, saying, “there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23, emphasis mine).
    From this we should understand five things:
1. The Lord was desirous that Samuel make these prophesies;
2. Before the time of the crucifixion, there were mountains in the Land of Promise;
3. At the time of the crucifixion, those mountains fell and valleys rose to become mountains that were much higher, far more prominent;
4. The rising of these new mountains would be so swift and abnormal, that the Nephites could recognize them for what they were, a sign of the Lord’s crucifixion as foretold;
5. This event of the mountains rising would be so prominent that everyone throughout the Land of Promise, including in the Land of Nephi (to which Samuel returned and preached the same message) and in the Land Northward, that all Nephites and Lamanites would witness the event and understand its fulfilling of the prophesy.
    We should also understand that this remarkable event would be so understood by its observers throughout the Land of Promise that no one would have an excuse not to understand the death of the Savior, the atonement he brought about, and his great atoning sacrifice. That is, this was not a small, local event that only a few would witness, but one that everyone throughout the land would know about about and understand--it would be undeniable! 
    So what would make newer mountains so much more prominent that those in the land would see that the new mountains were not the same as the old mountains? What would take place that those Nephites, who may not have witnessed the actual collapse of the old mountains or the raising of the new mountains,if any, could not miss the event having happened?
    One thing is for the new mountains to be much higher and sharper defined than the old mountain, which is pretty much what Samuel said. “Whose height is great,” suggests much higher mountains.
Top: The Andes rising high in the background at over 20,000 feet; in the middle is a mountain range of normal height at about 14,000 feet, and low mountains in the foreground at about 10,000 feet. Obviously, those in the far background become quite impressive, and can be seen for quite some distance from about any direction; Bottom: The sharpness of the sheer mountains as opposed to rolling hills and gradual mountain inclines of the past would also have been quite prominent

    One of the most prominent mountain ranges in the world, and certainly in the Western Hemisphere are the Andes of South America, that run from one end of the continent to the other. Andes, from a Quechua word meaning “east,” is the highest mountain range outside Asia, the longest continental mountain range in the world at about 4,300 miles in length and 430 miles wide, with its highest point at 22,841 feet, and containing the world’s highest volcanoes. It has over 50 separate volcanoes above 19,685 feet, and 25 mountain peaks over 20,000 feet. No other area in all the Western Hemisphere can boast of so many mountains “whose height is great”--by most counts, that is, in fact, well over 100!
    The Lord, through Samuel, gave the Nephites and Lamanites a sign to know when the birth of the Savior would be: “this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born” (Helaman 14:3-4). Obviously, the Lord intended for the Nephites to know with absolute certainty when the moment of his birth would be seen throughout the Land of Promise. He also gave additional insight, “And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you” (Helaman 4:5). Yet, he told them that it was not all, “there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven… ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth” (Helaman 14:6-7).
    Now, one might wonder if there was that much notice that the Lord wanted the Nephites and Lamanites to know of his birth without a doubt—and with the destruction foretold at his crucifixion and the rising of the mountains, that these signs, also, would be so significant they could not be missed. Thus, we might conclude from this that those mountains in rising to a vast height would be so spectacular and forever noticed as a sign to all people that they would hold a very prominent place in the Land of Promise. Yet, given this understanding, we find not a single theorist writes about the significance of mountains “whose height is great,” and none draw attention to the Andes of the Western Hemisphere, the only mountains of significance in this hemisphere where the Land of Promise is considered to be located.
Left: Rocky Mountain uplift of solid slab rock; Right: Andes uplift of once solid slab rock now broken up into seams and cracks

    The magnificence and prominence of the Andes is not just in their height, but also in their makeup. As Samuel predicted, “the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath” (Helaman 14:21-22).
    We need to keep in mind that the scriptures are for our benefit, for our edification, for our understanding. Yet it is interesting that when theorists get together to talk, discuss, or write about the Land of Promise, they rely so much on their own thinking and the secular history of the world rather than on the Lord’s word who, by the way, created all that we see and discuss. Seems to be he should be the one we listen to and try to understand.
    We need to keep in mind, that since a mountain is a mountain, and unless moved by the Lord, it is going to remain more or less forever, theorists who write about the Great Lakes and the Heartland or Eastern United States were there basically are no mountains, just low hills, it is hard to understand why any of these theorists keep promoting their model when it does not pass the mountain “whose height is great” qualification of the scriptural record. What is it about the scriptural record that allows theorists to pick and choose what descriptions of the Land of Promise they will accept and what they won’t?
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XV,” for more of the descriptions that should be used to verify a location for the Land of Promise)

No comments:

Post a Comment