(Note: Re-reading this paper, I can tell this is right after my high school AP English course… on another note, wow! I had forgotten(?) that I knew so much about Nephi’s vision of the interpretation of Lehi’s dream. Also my awareness of Nephi’s humility is good stuff. I think I am a lot more arrogant and prideful than I was when I wrote this paper. Some change is not as good as others… Either way, this is some good stuff! I hope you enjoy it!)
After Lehi recounted his vision, Nephi desired to know for himself of the revelation given to his father. Nephi’s desire led to a vision of interpretation of his father’s dream. What other knowledge did Nephi receive to interpret his father’s vision, and how did the Lord know that Nephi was ready to receive that knowledge? In addition to an interpretation of Lehi’s vision, Nephi received visions of the “condescension of God.” The life, death, and resurrection of Christ, along with the visitation of Christ to the Americas, were shown to Nephi as part of the interpretation because he followed the instructions of the Spirit and of the angel and acknowledged his lack of the wisdom which he desired.
The Spirit of the Lord caused that Nephi should be “caught away” into a mountain, which is symbolic of a temple. There the Spirit asked Nephi, “What desirest thou?” When Nephi professed his belief in the words of his father and his desire to know the interpretation thereof, the Spirit rejoiced, and then commanded Nephi to “Look!” This is the beginning of a pattern that continues throughout Nephi’s vision. Nephi responded faithfully to the request of the Spirit of the Lord saying “I looked and beheld…” What Nephi beheld is important, however it is very interesting that each time the Spirit or the angel bid Nephi “Look!” he looked without hesitation, opening the opportunities for more revelation.
At first, Nephi only received the vision of the tree, yet to more fully explain the interpretation of the tree of life and the love of God, an angel showed to Nephi the birth of Christ. When asked “Knoweth thou the condescension of God?” (1 Nephi 11:16) Nephi answered truthfully responding that he did not know the meaning of all things. He was humble and teachable and willing to receive the knowledge that the Lord was ready to reveal to him. To reveal the interpretation of the iron rod, the Lord showed Nephi his ministry among men during which Christ gave his word to the world, for Christ is the Word. The large and spacious building which represented the pride of the world was shown to Nephi by revealing the crucifixion of Christ, for Christ was “judged of the world…and slain for the sins of the world.” (1 Nephi 11:32-33)
Further interpretation was given when the Lord revealed the righteousness of the Nephites for the four generations following Christ’s visit to the Americas and the subsequent fall into iniquity to illustrate the mists of darkness as the temptations of the devil. (1 Nephi 12:17) Also revealed was the interpretation of the “great and terrible gulf” which was the “word of justice of the Eternal God.”
The vision given to Nephi revealed to him the life and purpose of Jesus Christ. The plan of salvation, as illustrated by the vision of the tree of life, is centered around Christ. He is the reason there is a plan and He is the plan. Therefore, that each part of the tree of life was explained by a revelation of part of Christ’s life and ministry confirms that the vision of the tree of life is symbolic of the plan of salvation. Nephi demonstrated his readiness to the Lord to learn these sacred things by being eager to learn, by looking when bid to look. Man is taught in this day through similar ways. The Lord bids one to “Look!” and the more one obeys that command, the more revelation that will be added to him.
What insights do you have about Lehi’s dream? Have you had times in your life when the Spirit has told you to “look” and when you obeyed you were blessed with personal inspiration and revelation?