1 Nephi 13: A Vision of the Latter Days

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 23–25

The vision Nephi received in answer to his “pondering” about his father’s dream is recorded in 1 Nephi 11–14. Chapters 11–12 contain a prophecy about Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry, His Atonement, and His visit to the Nephites on the American continent. Nephi’s vision continues in chapter 13 with a prophecy about what will happen on the American continent after Nephi’s seed is destroyed. Notice how detailed and accurate this prophecy is. Notice also how much Nephi knew about the future of his people on the promised land before they even left the area around the Red Sea.

Understanding the Scriptures

1 Nephi 13

Abominable (vv. 5–6)Wicked, hateful
Harlots (vv. 7–8)Immoral persons or prostitutes
Wrought upon (v. 12)Influenced, inspired
Smitten (vv. 14, 34)Punished, afflicted
Their mother Gentiles (v. 17)The people in the countries they came from
A book (v. 20)The Bible
Pervert (v. 27)Change to evil
Utterly (v. 30)Completely
Remnant (v. 34)Remaining part
Tidings (v. 37)News, messages
Other books (v. 39)The Book of Mormon and other scripture
Tongues (v. 40)Languages

1 Nephi 13:3—What Are the “Kingdoms of the Gentiles”?

Nephi used the word gentiles here to refer to all nations outside the land of Israel. For a more complete definition see the Bible Dictionary, “Gentile,” 679.

1 Nephi 13:5–9—What Is Meant by the “Church Which Is Most Abominable”?

great and spacious building

© Greg K. Olsen

It is incorrect to think that any particular church or denomination is the “great and abominable church” mentioned by Nephi. Any group of people that follows Satan’s ways are part of the kingdom of the devil and are enemies of Christ and His Church (see 2 Nephi 10:16). They are like those who live in the great and spacious building seen in Lehi’s dream.

1 Nephi 13:12—Who Was the “Man among the Gentiles”?

Nephi saw “a man among the Gentiles” whom the “Spirit of God” inspired to sail to where the descendants of Lehi would be in the promised land. Christopher Columbus is a remarkable match for the man Nephi described. Columbus wrote: “From my first youth onward, I was a seaman and have so continued until this day. … The Lord was well disposed to my desire, and He bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring He gave me in abundance. … Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my [enterprise] called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” (from Jacob Wassermann, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, 19–20, 46; italics added; cited in McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 1:91).

Studying the Scriptures

Do any two of the following activities (A–C) as you study 1 Nephi 13.

Activity A iconMake a Comparison

In 1 Nephi 13:1–9 Nephi described an “abominable church” whose goal was to destroy the Saints of God (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section above).

  1. 1.

    As you read these verses, list what Nephi said are the desires of those under the influence of Satan. Then make another list of some of the blessings that are most important to members of the Church.

  2. 2.

    Write a short paragraph explaining why the blessings on the faithful member’s list will bring greater happiness than what is written on the other list.

great and spacious building

© 1977 Dan Thornton

Activity B iconMatch a Headline to a Verse

In 1 Nephi 13:10–19 is a record of Nephi’s vision of the discovery of the American continents by European explorers. He also saw the conflicts the European settlers would have with the descendants of Lehi over their homelands.

  1. 1.

    Copy the following headlines into your notebook. Then, after each one, write a verse number from 1 Nephi 13:10–19 that could go along with the headline:

    • Pilgrims Sail to New World for Religious Freedom

    • Although Outnumbered, Revolutionary Armies Victorious

    • Ships Cross 3,000 Miles of Atlantic Ocean

    • Columbus Sails for New World

    • Native Americans Driven from Their Homes

    • Gentiles Prosper in the Americas

General George Washington
U.S. Founding Fathers
discovery map
Native Americans
  1. 2.

    What do you know about the history of your country that shows the hand of the Lord in preparing it to receive the gospel?

Activity C iconSummarize the Prophecies

Nephi was shown how the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other scripture would come forth in the latter days. Summarize what Nephi saw by answering the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What did he see would happen to the Bible, after it was written by the prophets and apostles, that would cause the Gentiles to “stumble”? (see 1 Nephi 13:20–29).

  2. 2.

    What would the Lord do for Nephi’s seed, or descendants, when the Gentiles came to the Americas? (see 1 Nephi 13:30–31).

  3. 3.

    What would the Lord do to help the Gentiles, the Jews, the descendants of Lehi, and members of His Church today learn the true gospel? (see 1 Nephi 13:32–41).

  4. 4.

    How does the message of verse 37 apply to you and your future decisions?