Nephi²

Son of Helaman³, great Nephite missionary

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Nephi²

Nephi, the son of Helaman. In due course, Nephi succeeded his father as chief judge, serving in that office “with justice and equity” until circumstances required that he devote his full time to preaching the gospel among the people, since “they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good”. Both Nephi and Lehi spent the remainder of their lives in gospel service. They obeyed the counsel of their father to act according to the example of their namesakes from JerusalemNephi and Father Lehi—and their successors down through the generations.

O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.

Because Nephi and Lehi made obedience a guiding principle in their lives, they enjoyed great success in their ministry, especially in later missionary efforts among the Lamanite people. “And they did remember his their father’s] words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi”. Nephi, great-grandson of Alma, through his unwavering righteousness, found such favor with the Lord that he was granted the promise of heavenly fulfillment of whatever he might request. “And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will”.

In addition, Nephi was granted sealing powers transcending earthly boundaries. “Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people”. With this power Nephi invoked the intervention of the Lord to bring the hard-hearted people to repentance through famine, and then caused relief to be administered when the people returned to the ways of righteousness. “And behold, the people did rejoice and glorify God, and the whole face of the land was filled with rejoicing; and they did no more seek to destroy Nephi, but they did esteem him as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God”.

History: Nephi served as chief judge in [Zarahemla from approximately 39 BC until 30 BC. Thereafter, he and his brother went from city to city preaching repentance and reclaiming souls for Christ. “And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them”. Through their endeavors, some 8,000 Lamanites were brought into the fold in the land of Zarahemla and its vicinity. Proceeding southward into the land of Nephi, they continued their ministry among the Lamanites, converting “the more part of the Lamanites” to the gospel after they were miraculously freed from prison through the ministration of angelic beings. On that occasion, the Spirit of the Lord was poured out and the voice of the Lord was heard among the people. “Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world”..

Nevertheless, many persisted in their rebellion against righteousness, until a priesthood-induced famine in the period around 20 BC to 17 BC caused them to repent. Later, Nephi still actively served in his ministry during the appearance and prophetic utterances of Samuel the Lamanite around 6 BC. Those who believed and were converted came to Nephi to be baptized, because Nephi was the recognized authority acting for the Lord. “For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that the Christ must shortly come”.

Around AD 1, Nephi’s ministry was completed, and he turned the sacred records over to his eldest son Nephi. “Then he departed out of the land, and whither he went, no man knoweth”. It was shortly thereafter that his son Nephi, buried in prayer over the disbelief of many of the people, heard the words of the Lord, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets”.

(Source: Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen, Book of Mormon Who’s Who)

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