In 1 Nephi 1:19 it says that Lehi “testified that the things which he saw and heard [in his visions], and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of the Messiah.”
According to Verneil Simmons, Ezekiel was called to become the prophet to those Jews in exile from their homeland. In his vision of the abomination within the Temple (see Ezekiel 8:1-18), he had been shown a man, chosen by the Lord, sent out into the streets of Jerusalem to place a mark upon the foreheads of the men who wept and were concerned for the perversion of the worship of Jehovah. Then he saw other men sent forth to slay all in the city who did not carry this mark upon their foreheads--men, women, children--old and young alike. The ones to be spared from the coming destruction were only those whom the Lord had marked because they wept with concern for the city and the people (Ezekiel 9:4-7). It is interesting that the Hebrew word for mark is the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, tau, which was a cross. [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places and Prophecies, pp. 60, 62] [See the commentary on Alma 3:13]
“The Coming of the Messiah”
In 1 Nephi 1:19-20 it says that Lehi testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world. And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away.
Joy Osborn notes that in the Jewish Talmud, it is stated that: “All the prophets have prophesied of nothing save the days of Messiah, that is, of the eternal order to come.” Yet when Christ, their Messiah, came, they crucified him for declaring himself to be the Son of God.
“Messiah” is an Aramaic word meaning “the anointed” or “the anointed one.” “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the name “Messiah.” Therefore, in the Greek translation of the New Testament, the Messiah is called Christ. And Jesus, as the Messiah, is called Jesus the Christ, or Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the name of Messiah appears only in the Book of Daniel, when the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and reveals to him the time for the coming of Israel’s Messiah. (Daniel 9:24-26)
That the Messiah would become the sacrificial Lamb of God was known by all of ancient Israel’s prophets. It was known by all that he would be slain as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind and by that sacrifice he would become their Savior and their Redeemer.
When Israel lapsed into a state of apostasy, they lost sight of the promised Messiah, the Anointed One, who would become the Sacrificial Lamb, and be slain for the sins of the world, as foretold by the prophets from the beginning. In their fallen and wicked state, they began to look forward to a Messiah who would come as a great king and military leader, one who would destroy all of Israel’s enemies and reestablish Israel as a great and powerful nation again - someone like king David. [Joy M. Osborn, The Book of Mormon -- The Stick of Joseph, p. 220]
Question* Did this apostasy begin before or during the time of Lehi and Jeremiah? [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 13:28]
1 Nephi 1:20 When the Jews heard these things they were angry with him ([Illustration] “And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him … and they also sought his life,” by A&OR. [W. Cleon Skousen, Treasures From the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 1023]