Lehites in Jerusalem and Arabia

Lehi’s Prophetic Call

1 Nephi 1:4

During the reign of Zedekiah, a number of prophets emerge, and warn the people of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction.

For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

1 Nephi 1:5

Lehi, a man living in Jerusalem at that time, prays to God in behalf of Jerusalem’s citizens.

Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

1 Nephi 1:6

A pillar of fire ushers in a spectacular heavenly manifestation which leaves Lehi overwhelmed and shaken.

And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly.

1 Nephi 1:7

Lehi runs home to recover from his experience.

And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen.

1 Nephi 1:8

While lying on his bed, Lehi is enwrapped in a vision.

And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, …

1 Nephi 1:8–10

Lehi sees God, angels, a brilliant individual, and twelve followers.

…and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon–day. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

1 Nephi 1:11–13

Jesus gives Lehi a book, which confirms Jerusalem’s future destruction and Babylonian occupation.

And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. And he read, saying:

“Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem,
for I have seen thine abominations!”

Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem— that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

1 Nephi 1:14–15

Lehi praises the Lord.

And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as:

“Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth, and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!”

And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.

1 Nephi 1:18

Having now become a prophet, Lehi goes out and tells the citizens of the content of his vision.

Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

1 Nephi 1:19–20

The people do not accept Lehi, especially not his call to repentance; they set out to kill him.

And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he 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 the 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.

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.