Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Who Were the Nephites and the Lamanites? Part II

Continuing with the questionable FARMS website comments about the Land of Promise and the people there, the second point was partially covered in the last post regarding the names Nephite and Lamanite. The following is continuing with the answer to that point:

Fourth. In Jacob 3, Jacob is quoting a parable of Zenos given to the House of Israel, and is prefaced by Jacob saying: “And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation” (Jacob 4:15), then he goes on to say: “do ye not remember to have read the words of the prophet Zenos, which he spake unto the house of Israel, saying:” (Jacob 5:1) which then covers the parable. After repeating the parable, Jacob concludes with: “And now, behold, my brethren, as I said unto you that I would prophesy, behold, this is my prophecy -- that the things which this prophet Zenos spake, concerning the house of Israel, in the which he likened them unto a tame olive-tree, must surely come to pass” (Jacob 6:1).

Jacob then warns the Nephites, to whom he is speaking, to repent of their evil ways, deny not the good works of Christ, and not to mock the great plan of redemption. Then he says: “Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?” (Jacob 6:9).

The parable of Zenos was not about the people who were called Nephites—it was about the House of Israel, wherever they may be, who reject Christ and become cut off from God because of their evil ways. Jacob preaches this sermon, in which he quotes Zenos in great length, as a warning to the Nephites that 1) they are not cut off, 2) the Lord knows who they are, and 3) if they continue in their evil ways, they will be cut off and will stand before God at some point in “awful shame” (Jacob 6:2-10).

He then concludes with the statement: “O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life. O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:11-12).

This theme of Jacob’s, that the Nephites were not cast off and forgotten of the Lord, is the same used earlier as recorded in 2 Nephi in which Jacob says: “The Lord has made the sea out path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), following up with: “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” (2 Nephi 10:22). Evidently, this idea of being cast off and not remembered was a great concern of the Nephites at that time.

3. “Most of the same principles of naming applied to the Lamanites. One could be called by that term on several bases, such as direct descent (e.g., Alma 55:4, 8), political choice (e.g., Alma 54:24; Moroni 9:24), or a combination of political, religious, and other factors (e.g., 3 Nephi 2:12, 14-16; D&C 10:48). Note that people could choose to change their affiliation by adoption or formal transfer of allegiance (see, e.g., Mosiah 25:13; Alma 43:4; Alma 45:13-14).

The Lamanites were 1) Descendants of Laman, 2) descendants of Lemuel, 3) descendants of Ishmael through his sons, 4) Nephite defectors. The idea of a “formal transfer of allegiance” above using Mosiah 25:13 is inaccurate. This has to do with the Mulekites accepting the name “Nephite” as a religious heritage—prior to this time, the Mulekites had no known allegiance to anyone or anything. The reference in Alma 43:4 has to do with the Zoramites rejecting the religious heritage of the Nephites and joining the Nephite enemy—the Lamanites. This was because they would “dwindle in unbelief and fall into the works of darkness, and lasciviousness, and all manner of iniquities; yea, I say unto you, that because they shall sin against so great light and knowledge” (Alma 45:12). Other Nephites joined the Lamanites for political purposes, and to gain power and control, as in the case of Amalickiah (Alma 47:1,8,16).

(See the next post, “Who Were the Nephites and the Lamanites? Part III,” for more of these comments and responses)

No comments:

Post a Comment