Monday, November 7, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXIX

Continuing with this series on the scriptural record statements and descriptions 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, must be reachable by ship “driven forth before the wind” by an inexperienced crew, and qualify for an island as Jacob said, or existed at the time of the Nephites, and all the other scriptural references we have covered here.
In this particular article, we take a look at Lehi’s promises which he prophesied to his family shortly before his death. It is important for us to understand these events and promises of which Lehi speaks. For he told his children just before his death: “we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:5, emphasis mine).
    Note the latter part of the comment stated in future tense terms after the Lehites occupied the Land of Promise: “who should be led,” obviously meaning that no one else had yet been led to this land other than Lehi and the destroyed Jaredites. The Mulekites at this time might have been on the way or would shortly land in the Land North of the Land Southward, where Mosiah would later find them (Omni 1:16).
    To make sure his children understood this promise from the Lord, Lehi added, “I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into the land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:6). Again, Lehi uses the future tense: “who should be led,” saying once again that at that time no one had yet been led to the Land of Promise but he and the Jaredites before them.
    Lehi then goes on to add, “Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (2 Nephi 1:7). Again, Lehi uses future tense phraseology with “who he shall bring,” “it shall be a land,” “shall never be brought down,” “it shall be,” “cursed shall be the land,” and “it shall be.”
    Not finished, and still speaking in the future tense, Lehi explains why this land was to be held from other nations: “it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8).
Now, this is not just an old man talking to his children, but a prophet who has obtained a promise from the Lord. As Lehi put it and still in the future tense: “Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9).
    At this point, Lehi, knowing full well the problems his two oldest sons, and the sons of Ishmael face, gives a warning: “But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them” (2 Nephi 1:10).”
    It is at this future time, when the posterity of Lehi becomes so wicked and rejects the Christ, that other nations would become involved in the Land of Promise. As Lehi states it, still in the future tense: “Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten” (2 Nephi 1:11).
Mormon, by the way, tells us later when the moment came that the posterity of Lehi became so wicked and rejected the Christ. He states it clearly as occurring around 344 A.D. when he wrote in his own time: “I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually, for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land” (Mormon 2:15). From that point on, the Nephites had reached their point of accountability against the prophecies of Lehi and within forty years were all wiped off the face of the Earth.
    Nowhere in all of the scriptural record is there the slightest suggestion that any other people set foot on the Land of Promise until at least the time of the Nephite demise. There is not a single mention, suggestion or indication in all the writing of all the ancient prophets, nor from Mormon who had all the Nephite records at his disposal, that any other people, group, party or band ever set foot in the Land of Promise between 2200 B.C. and 421 A.D. other than the Jaredites, Nephites (including Lamanites), and Mulekites. Nor is there anything that would lead one to believe that Jaredites survived beyond Coriantumr in all the Land of Promise. Yet, some theorists doggedly insist that numerous other peoples existed in the Land of Promise, contrary to the clear and simple language of the scriptural record.
About 1100 years later, we know from history that the rest of Lehi’s children in the Land of Promise, whom we know as the Lamanites, “the judgments of him shall rest upon them,” as the Spanish arrived with Hernan Cortes invading Mexico (1519), conquering the Aztecs, Pedro de Alvarado arrived in Guatemala (1523), conquering the Maya, and Francisco Pizarro arrived in Andean South America (1532), conquering the Inca.
    Never have a people been so brought before the Lord to pay for their sins, and had their power taken away from them, and lost the lands of their possessions, and been scattered and smitten (2 Nephi 1:11). Perhaps no people in all of history, certainly that of the Western Hemisphere, have been so barbarously treated, so completely defeated, so cruelly stripped of any rights, reduced to slavery, and serving under encomiendos, serving as beasts of burden without compensation. They died by the millions from forced labor in the harshest of conditions, as though exposed to a killing plague. In fact, the mitad in Peru alone claimed eight million victims. Thousands more were killed by the Spanish method of strangling, others had tongues torn out, limbs tied to four horses and torn limb from limb, with legs and arms sent to rebellious towns, and many tribes were completely eradicated by the Spanish.
    While this is a morbid tale of inhumanity of the conquering Spanish, it is none-the-less seen as the judgments of the Lord on a most wicked people whose history annihilated the entire Nephite Nation.
    However, the point here is that all of this is meant to show that the promise of anyone other than Lehi and his party coming to the Land of Promise, other than the Jaredites before him and the Mulekites a little later than him, is completely inaccurate as Lehi stated it to his children. 
    The Land of Promise was, indeed, kept from the knowledge of other nations until the Nephites and later Lamanites were ready for destruction as Lehi foretold.
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXX,” for the continuation of this series and how any Land of Promise location must match all the scriptural references)

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