Lehi’s teachings about the tree of life and his prophecies about the Jews increased Nephi’s desire to see, hear, and know for himself the things his father had seen. While Nephi was pondering the things his father had said, he was “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord” (1 Nephi 11:1) and saw the vision of the tree of life for himself. In his vision he also saw the Savior’s life, ministry, and death—Nephi witnessed the Savior’s love for us. As you study this lesson, ponder what you can learn from Nephi’s example of seeking personal revelation. Also reflect on the life and mission of the Savior and His great love for all of us.
After relating his vision of the tree of life, Lehi prophesied about future events. His prophecies are recorded in 1 Nephi 10:1–16. Read 1 Nephi 10:4–6, and mark the answers to the following questions in your scriptures:
When did Lehi prophesy that the Messiah—the Savior—would come?
What did Lehi say would happen to those who do not “rely on this Redeemer”?
Nephi seeks to see, hear, and know the same truths as his father
Consider the following scenario, and think about how people involved in the same situation can have such different experiences: Three young people attended the same Church meeting. One of them thought the meeting was boring and a waste of time. Another thought the meeting was nice but did not learn anything from it. The third felt uplifted by the Holy Ghost and received personal inspiration and direction beyond what was taught in the meeting.
As you study Nephi’s experience in 1 Nephi 10:17–11:6, notice what Nephi did that allowed him to receive additional revelation beyond what his father had taught.
Read 1 Nephi 10:17, and underline what Nephi felt after hearing about Lehi’s vision.
Read 1 Nephi 10:19, and find a phrase that teaches how the mysteries of God are revealed to us.
According to 1 Nephi 10:19, those who seek diligently receive the mysteries of God. Write what you think it means to diligently seek. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Nephi provided an excellent example of diligently seeking revelation. Read 1 Nephi 10:17–19 and 11:1–6; choose two of the three subjects listed in the chart below—desires, belief, and pondering; and write your answers to the corresponding questions in the chart.
What did Nephi desire to know? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
How do you think our desires affect our ability to receive revelation? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
What do you desire to know from the Lord? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
What are several things Nephi believed in that led to revelation? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
How do you think these beliefs might affect our ability to receive revelation today? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you believe what the Lord has revealed to you? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Pondering (thinking deeply about something; opening your mind and heart to the Holy Ghost)
What happened as Nephi sat pondering? (See 1 Nephi 11:1.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
How do you think pondering can lead to revelation? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
What can you do to ponder the gospel more in your life? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Summarize a gospel principle you have learned from Nephi’s experience by completing the following sentence: God reveals truth to all those who ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Write the answer to one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you felt God answered your prayers or felt promptings from the Spirit while you were diligently seeking help or guidance from the Lord?
What is one way you can more diligently seek inspiration from the Lord?
Nephi witnesses the condescension of Jesus Christ
Nephi continued to ponder and seek divine guidance during his vision. Read the following statement from President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and identify what he said was the main focus of Nephi’s vision:
“Prophecies concerning the Messiah appear in the Old Testament. But the Book of Mormon records a vision of that event which has no equal in the Old Testament.
“After the people of Lehi [left Jerusalem], Lehi had a vision of the tree of life. His son Nephi prayed to know its meaning. In answer, he was given a remarkable vision of Christ.
“In that vision he saw:
A virgin bearing a child in her arms,
One who should prepare the way—John the Baptist,
The ministry of the Son of God,
Twelve others following the Messiah,
The heavens open and angels ministering to them,
The multitudes blessed and healed,
The crucifixion of the Christ,
The wisdom and pride of the world opposing his work. (See 1 Ne. 11:14–36.)
“That vision is the central message of the Book of Mormon” (“The Things of My Soul,” Ensign, May 1986, 60–61).
An angel helped Nephi discover the interpretation of the tree of life and then asked, “Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?” (1 Nephi 11:21). Review the meaning of the tree by underlining the phrases Nephi and the angel used to describe the tree in 1 Nephi 11:21–24.
Read 1 Nephi 11:16 and underline an earlier question the angel had asked Nephi. You may wish to write in your scriptures that the word condescension means to willingly descend from a position of high status to help or bless others.
In 1 Nephi 11:17, identify Nephi’s answer to the angel’s question. What did Nephi know? What didn’t he know? After Nephi’s response, the angel showed him that the condescension of Jesus Christ demonstrates God’s love for us.
After you have learned the meaning of the word condescension, read 1 Nephi 11:13–21, and then read the following quotation from Elder Gerald N. Lund, who was then serving as a member of the Seventy, and ponder how the Savior’s birth shows His condescension and His love for us: “Here was Jesus—a member of the Godhead, the Firstborn of the Father, the Creator, Jehovah of the Old Testament—now leaving His divine and holy station; divesting Himself of all that glory and majesty and entering the body of a tiny infant; helpless, completely dependent on His mother and earthly father. That He should not come to the finest of earthly palaces and be swaddled in purple [a sign of royalty] and showered with jewels but should come to a lowly stable is astonishing. Little wonder that the angel should say to Nephi, ‘Behold the condescension of God!’” (Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Salvation , 16).
Write in your scripture study journal what it means to you that Jesus Christ “would descend from his throne divine” (“I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, no. 193) and His glorious position in the premortal world to be born as a tiny infant.
Read 1 Nephi 11:27, and consider how the Savior’s baptism also shows His condescension. Though He had no sin, He was baptized to show His obedience to the laws of God. It also shows His love for us by giving us an example to follow.
Read 1 Nephi 11:28–31, and think about how Jesus Christ’s life of service to others shows His condescension. Notice who the Savior ministered to and healed.
Write in your scripture study journal how what you read in 1 Nephi 11:28–31 shows the Savior’s love for His people. How do you feel this relates to His love for you today?
Read 1 Nephi 11:32–33, and ponder how the crucifixion of Jesus Christ shows His condescension. Read the following statement from Elder Earl C. Tingey, who was then serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and look for what he said about how the Savior’s Atonement shows His love and blesses you:
“As the one who was chosen to fulfill the requirements of the Atonement, Jesus Christ condescended … to be tempted, tried, mocked, judged, and crucified, even though He had power and authority to prevent such actions.
“President John Taylor described the condescension of Christ in these beautiful words: ‘It was further necessary that He should descend below all things, in order that He might raise others above all things …’ [The Mediation and Atonement (1882), 144].
“Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane epitomizes the most magnificent of all the attributes of Christ, His perfect love. Here we see that He truly loved all of us. …
“The Atonement is an event that enables us to be reconciled to God. … In terms of family, it means to be reunited with one another and with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It means sadness through separation will become happiness through reuniting” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 73–74).
The Atonement of Jesus Christ was an essential part of His condescension and the greatest manifestation of His love for us.
Write in your scripture study journal how knowing about the condescension of Jesus Christ affects your feelings and love for Him.
End today’s study by singing, listening to, or reading the words to the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193). Notice the phrases that testify of what you have studied today. Ponder why the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ are “most desirable” and “most joyous” to you (see 1 Nephi 11:22–23). Like Nephi, as you diligently seek understanding through revelation, you will draw nearer to the Lord and feel the power of His sacrifice in your life and the joy it brings.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Nephi 10–11 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: