Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part VI

Continuing from the last three posts, listing actual descriptions in the Book of Mormon and how any Land of Promise model should match all of those listed in that scriptural record.     
    Earlier posts in this series have covered 1) Mountains, “whose height is great”; 2) Two unknown animals; 3) Two unknown grains; 4) Plants that cure fever; 5) Land of promise as an island; 6) The four seas surrounding the Land of Promise; 7) the Climate where Lehi’s seeds grew that he brought to the Land of Promise from Jerusalem; 8) Roads and Highways; 9) Driven before the wind; 10) Lehi’s Course to the Land of Promise; 11) Both Gold and Silver and Copper; 12) Hagoth’s ships went northward; 13) Forts, fortifications and resorts; 14) Fortified wall; 15) Narrow neck of land; and 16) Defendable narrow pass or passage.
    Following are more descriptions found in the scriptural record:
An example of a sea dividing, but not separating, a land. That is, dividing one land into two parts, without separating the land entirely
    One of those additional descriptions is the statement about the sea dividing the land. This occurs in Moroni’s translation, when he wrote: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
This statement occurs just after the poisonous serpents blocking the way into the Land Southward were all destroyed (Ether 10:19), and the Jaredites decided to preserve the Land Southward, which was “covered with animals of the forest,” as a “preserve,” that is, a hunting ground. No Jaredite settlements were built in the Land Southward as seen by the following statement: “And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants” (Ether 10:21).
    The question that many theorists struggle with is what sea is being described here? To answer this question, we need keep in mind that the sea that divides the land is mentioned in conjunction with the narrow neck of land. And the city they built, and the sea mentioned, is along by this narrow neck of land. So to understand the sea, we need to understand what made this land narrow at the neck. We also need to keep in mind that this is written by Moroni who is reading the Jaredite record.
    Stated differently, unlike the Jaredites, Moroni knew very well what the Land Southward looked like, how it was shaped, how the land narrowed to form the narrow neck of land, and what waters flowed around these south countries. He also knew how the waters formed around this narrow neck and its narrow passage which had seas on the west and east (Alma 50:34). He also knew about Hagoth’s shipyard and from where the ships that went northward sailed.
Left: The Bay of Guayaquil in southern Ecuador divides the western coast of Andean South America, today leaving about a 25 mile wide corridor, or neck, between Peru (south) and Ecuador (north), blocked on the east by the sheer height of the Andes Mountains, and on the left by the sea; Right: In Nephite times, the Andes had not yet risen and this area on the east was a sea, referred to as the Pebasian Sea (See the post “The Rising of South America—Part III,” dated September 7, 2012)
    Thus, from a viewpoint of knowing this configuration, Moroni wrote the words “where the sea divides the land.” Or, where the sea encroached into the land and divided it. Or where the sea separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward.
    This, of course, is the same sea into which Hagoth launched his ships, which Moroni knew very well from reading the records and knowing what his father wrote and knew. No doubt Hagoth’s shipyards at the narrow neck existed long after the period in which he is mentioned, since the Nephites were involved in shipping and the building of ships (Helaman 3:14).
The sea that divides the land is that portion of the West Sea that flows into the Bay of Guayaquil, separating the northern land from the southern land and creating the narrow neck of land
    No doubt Hagoth’s shipyards at the narrow neck existed long after the period in which he is mentioned, since the Nephites were involved in shipping and the building of ships (Helaman 3:14). And since Moroni was in the narrow neck area during the ten year hiatus of peace (Mormon 2:29; 3:1), and was part of Mormon’s army which withstood the Lamanite invasion through the narrow neck of land (Mormon 3:5) during the following three years. Consequently, it must be understood that Moroni, when writing about the Jaredites around the narrow neck of land some forty years later, was well versed in the area he was describing.
    The fact that this sea had no name is consistent with the Jaredite manner of not giving names to seas; at least the record lists no names, though directions are understood. Take the example of Omer when he departed out of the land and traveled many days, it says he traveled “eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent” (Ether 9:3). Again, “And it came to pass that in the first year of Lib, Coriantumr came up unto the land of Moron, and gave battle unto Lib. And it came to pass that he fought with Lib, in which Lib did smite upon his arm that he was wounded; nevertheless, the army of Coriantumr did press forward upon Lib, that he fled to the borders upon the seashore” (Ether 14:11-12), and also Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore, and there he gave battle unto Shiz for the space of three days” (Ether 14:26).
    In these three uses of the word “seashore,” no name is given to the sea, though a direction, “eastward,” is mentioned. In fact, there are very few directions given in the entire Jaredite record. Moroni uses the term “north country” twice, Land Northward once, the term “southward” once, and the Land Southward four times. The terms “north” or “south” are never mentioned as a direction, and the word “sea” is mentioned only four times, and never with a name, unless Ripliancum, meaning “to exceed all,” is their North Sea.
Thus, when the words “where the sea divides the land,” is given, it should be considered that this sea is the main sea with which Moroni was well familiar and the Jaredites evidently simply called “the sea.” Obviously, the sea Moroni would have associated with the narrow neck of land would have been the Nephite West Sea (Alma 63:5).
    Another consideration is that the wordage “divides the land” is the same terminology used earlier in Ether 2:13, referring to the oceans that separated them from their homeland and the land of promise, when Morsoni wrote: “And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands.”
    Thus, we see that both statements are Moroni’s, and again, Moroni was well familiar with the sea that divided the land in the Land of Promise—the West Sea, where it cut into the land to create the narrow neck.
    Once again, we can see that Mormon (and Moroni) described the Land of Promise as two main land masses, the Land Southward, and the Land Northward, which were connected by a small and narrow land mass he called a neck. And these two lands were divided by the West Sea except for the narrow neck, and within this narrow neck was a narrow pass, which was the only passage between the two lands. And that pass was narrow enough that it could easily be guarded against an army trying to move from one land to the other.
    Obviously, then, any true Land of Promise must match all of the descriptions listed in the Book of Mormon—it is not a pick and choose arrangement in selecting those that agree with your point of view, but must match all of the descriptions, beginning with these first 17 covered in these six posts.
(See the next post, “So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part VII,” for more of these descriptions as listed in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon)

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