Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XX

Continuing with more of the scriptural record statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise, for there can be no question that any Land of Promise must have all these descriptions Mormon and Moroni left us, or that they existed at the time of the Nephites. In this particular article, we take a look at the mighty construction that took place in the Land of Nephi after Nephi arrived from escaping his brothers. 
    In this, we are really looking at three different building programs. The first was with the Jaredites, the second with Nephi when he arrived in what became known as the Land of Nephi, and third was during the major renewal period after the destruction mentioned in 3 Nephi. Then there was the smaller renewal period when Zeniff returned to the City of Nephi (then called Lehi-Nephi), and rebuilt that city and also Shilom.
    The first we know of the Jaredite buildings is found in Mosiah, when Limhi describes to Ammon the report of his 43-man expedition to find Zarahemla who “having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel” (Mosiah 8:8, emphasis mine). Since this is around 200 B.C., and the Jaredites last battle would have been sometime around 600 B.C., those buildings had stood to this time for some 400 years. Obviously, they were not made of wood, but of stone. This can also be seen by the fact that the Jaredites came from a land where the famed Tower of Babel was being built, where stone ziggurats standing today date back to shortly after that period.
Temples in Mesopotamia were originally built on platforms. During the third millennium B.C., these were made higher and bigger. Eventually it was decided to build even higher temples on platforms which were stepped, called ziggurats and by 2000 B.C. mud-brick ziggurats were being constructed in many Sumerian cities. Later, ziggurats were constructed in Babylonian and Assyrian cities; Top: In Sumaria, built around 3000 B.C., before the Jaredites; Bottom: The Ziggurat of Ur was built entirely of brick around 2100 B.C. (about the time the Jaredites left Mesopotamia) by king Ur-Nammu called Etenennigur (House whose foundation creates terror)

    As an example, the Ziggurat of Ur has been visible on the flat Mesopotamian plain for thousands of years. The ruins have fascinated different people passing through southern Mesopotamia. In the time of the Jaredites in Mesopotamia, the ziggurat was the city's center, and was surrounded by a courtyard with homes, storage, and other facilities designated for administrative purposes.
    Obviously, when one looks at or visits one of these ziggurats, the engineering and construction capabilities of these ancients appear astounding. That the Jaredites would have both known and understood their purpose and how they were built would have been obvious since they were the center of life at the time the Jaredites lived in Mesopotamia.
 These ziggurats have stood intact for at least 4000 years, these two are made of cut stone, and certainly such construction of buildings they represent of the Jaredite era would be visible in the Land of Promise, which eliminates all areas for their existence except Mesoamerican, Central America and Andean Peru

    Thus it should be obvious that the many and all kinds of buildings Limhi’s expedition found in the Land Northward would have been something similar in construction and certainly would have lasted over the years sufficiently to recognize today in the Land of Promise.
 And such construction like these  of ancient buildings are found all over Andean Peru (including Ecuador and western Bolivia)

    When Zeniff returned with his group to reclaim the city of Lehi-Nephi in about 200 B.C., they “began to build buildings, and to repair the walls of the city, yea, even the walls of the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom” (Mosiah 9:8). Zeniff’s son, king Noah, “built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper” (Mosiah 11:8), which included “a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things” (Mosiah 11:9). He also had his workmen create all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass (Mosiah 11:10). He also “caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom” (Mosiah 11:13).
    The city of Zarahemla was the capital of the Nephite Nation (Helaman 1:27). Nephi had his house along the highway that led to the city of Zarahemla, and he had a tower there (Helaman 7:10). Zarahemla was called a great city (Helaman 13:12), the “strongest hold,” meaning fortified city, in all the land (Helaman 1:22), it had a prison, was burned during destruction (3 Nephi 8:8), and rebuilt (4 Nephi 1:8). We also see that there were houses, cities and temples, as well as synagogues, sanctuaries and all manner of buildings (Helaman 3:9); they had houses built of cement (Helaman 3:9), and many cities of wood and cement (Helaman 3:11).
A huge mountain top fortress in Peru built anciently and overlooking the entire valley below

    It would seem obvious that such buildings, or remnants of them, would be visible today. Nor were these small areas that could easily have been overlooked for several cities were called “great,” (3 Nephi 8:24-25), even by the Lord (3 Nephi 9:3-5,9). The word “great” was defined in 1829 as: “Large in bulk or dimensions; a term of comparison, as in beyond what is usual; Being of extended length or breadth; Vast; extensive.” The sense of great is to be understood by the things it is intended to qualify; a great city is intended to convey huge, extensive, important; superior, preeminent.
    Again, there should be some prominent cities left to ruin that can be seen today in the area of the Land of Promise. And as such, there are only two areas in the Western Hemisphere where this is found: Andean Peru in South America, and Mesoamerica. There are no such ruins found in North America, or in any of the other suggested Land of Promise locations.
Ancient ruins in Andean Peru of fortified cities

    When Nephi arrived in the area they called the land and city of Nephi, he taught his people how to build buildings (2 Nephi 5:15), and they built a temple like unto Solomon’s (2 Nephi 5:16), which would have been built with cut and dressed stone as was Solomons. It would be unrealistic to think that Nephi would have built a House to the Lord in anything less than what could be the best done and he had personal knowledge of Solomon’s Temple, as did Sam and Zoram. Once again, it is also unrealistic to think that the Land of Promise would not have an abundance of ruins of ancient buildings only 1600 years after the demise of the Nephites.
More ancient ruins in Andean Peru

(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXI,” for more of Mormon’s statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise)

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