The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Home Scripture PROPHESY Father Lehi.

Father Lehi.

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(C) Copyright by Massimo Franceschini all rights reserved

The greatest and clearest prophesies regarding the Book of Mormon are found in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Ezekiel, who was a priest of the family of Zadok, was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar along with Israel's king, Jehoiachim in 598 B.C. According to Biblical scholars he prophesied to the Jews for 22 years (592-570 B.C.) during his time in captivity. This would have made him a contemporary of not only the prophet Jeremiah but also of Lehi. As such, it is possible that Lehi, Ezekiel and Jeremiah either knew each other or knew of one another. Because of this possibility, let's take a closer look at what Ezekiel prophesied.

In Ezekiel 12:1-6 we read, "The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house. Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house. Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity. Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby. In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight: thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel."

In these verses we see that the Lord commanded Ezekiel to perform some unusual tasks. But before we examine why God had him do these things, we need to keep in mind that during all this time Ezekiel was already living in captivity in Babylon. (According to Biblical scholars, he lived in the city of Tel Abib.) If that is true, then what was the purpose of him performing these strange acts?

Ezekiel was a prophet, and as such, his responsibility was to PROPHECY to the Jews. Therefore, all of these acts which the Lord asked him to perform were symbolic of events that related to the house of Israel.

With that in mind, let's continue reading about this prophecy. In verses 7-11 we read, "And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the evening I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight. And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou? Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity."

Before we continue, we have to first realize that Ezekiel is talking about two different things in this prophecy. He is talking about both those in captivity and those who are in exile. There are some who might think that Ekekiel is only referring to captivity but verses 12 through 16 shows us that this isn't the case. It states, "And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes. My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries. But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

The prophecy concerning the prince and those that were with him was fulfilled almost immediately. This was the part concerning their captivity. But notice there is another part of this prophecy that talks about a few who would be saved "from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence." These people the Lord would "scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries." And these would "declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD." In other words, this is a prophecy of people who would go into exile, rather than into captivity.

In another prophecy, Ezekiel again made mention of these people . In chapter14:22-23 he wrote, "Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD."

In still yet another prophecy found in the sixth chapter, verses 8-9, Ezekiel wrote, "Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives."

Who are these people who escaped the sword, were scattered among the nations and dispersed in various countries? Who is this remnant that shall come forth so that we can "see their ways and their doings" declared the abominations of the Jews and help us know that the Lord has not done these things without a cause?

According to the story found in the Book of Mormon, a man named Lehi, who was a prophet, lived in Jerusalem shortly before its destruction. Like Ezekiel and Jeremiah, Lehi warned the city's inhabitants of the desolation that would be pour out upon them if they didn't repent of their wickedness. In time there were some who sought to silence his message as others before him had been silence. They plotted to take his life.

However, Lehi was warned in a dream to leave Jerusalem. Therefore, Lehi, along with his family, quietly carried some of their "stuff" through the walls of the city and "brought it forth in the twilight" hours of the night where they finally camped out about a three day's journey away in the wilderness. While there, Lehi was shown in a dream a land that the Lord promised to take him to. Shortly thereafter, Lehi and his family packed up all of their belongings and traveled for over eight years, first in a southwesterly direction, and then in a more easterly direction until they came to a large body of water. There, the Lord commanded one of Lehi's sons to build a ship. When the work was completed, they set sail, and after the space of many days they arrived at the land which the Lord had promised to Lehi. That land was here upon the American continent.

Lehi and his family were part of the remnant spoken of by Ezekiel. They were taken from Jerusalem before its destruction, thereby literally being saved "from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence."

But how shall we see their ways and their doings and therefore know that the Lord has not done these things without a cause? How would they declare the abominations which the Hebrews had done? To answer this question, let's ask another one. How do we know what things the Lord has done to the Jews? If it wasn't for the Bible - God's record of His dealings with the Hebrews - only a few scholars would even be interested enough to find out through archeological evidence. It is mostly because of the Bible that we know what God has done. Then how do we know about the remnant that were scattered among other countries?. Because of the books they wrote.

Today, we know about at least one of those remnants of the house of Israel because of the books they wrote. The Book of Mormon is a record of those people. Like the Bible, it is a record of God's dealing with a remnant of the Hebrews who were saved from the sword and from famine and from pestilence. Because of this book, we now have a better understanding of why God brought this evil upon the house of Israel and that He didn't do it without a just cause.

But this record wouldn't have been written if it hadn't been for Lehi being faithful and obedient to the commandments of the Lord. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to leave his beloved country and just about everything he owned. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to travel through wilderness and treacherous mountains for more than eight years. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to settle in a new land that was completely foreign to what he once knew. But, because of his faith and courage, he did as the Lord required of him. As such, he is an example for us to follow.

Like the Jews of old, there are many today who don't want to listen to what the voice of the Lord has to say. Instead, they only want to follow their own ideas. But, if we follow Lehi's example of being humble and willing to do whatsoever things the Lord commands, we too can often be saved from problems, both large and small, minor or severe.

Without his faithfulness, the Book of Mormon would not have been written. For this I am grateful to him.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2011 12:46  

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