1 Nephi 12:1-3

Brant Gardner

The scene of the vision shifts from showing the future mission of the atoning Messiah to showing the future of Nephi’s descendants. Perhaps this paralleled in some way Lehi’s concern for his immediate family, but Nephi’s vision is clearly more comprehensive than Lehi’s.

What Nephi sees is the future of his father’s seed, not just his. This vision includes the future Nephites and Lamanites together. Not only is this suggested because he speaks of multitudes of people than cannot be counted, but that he beholds them gathered together to battle against each other. That is clearly a subtheme of Nephite history. Mormon preserves some accounts of battles, and sometimes simply marks conflicts, but there are very few periods of peace that last longer than a couple of years before some contention again occurs.

The next event will be the coming of Jehovah as a resurrected being. It is interesting that Nephi records nothing but conflict before that time. Perhaps this is a Nephite version of the New Testament prophecy that Christ’s Second Coming would be preceded by wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6, Mark 13:7). In the Book of Mormon, wars were a precursor to the First Coming, and the cyclical view of history would expect that they would become the precursor for the Second Coming.

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