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Maidservant

Jerusalem in 1 Nephi

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Below is another in my Book of Mormon essays regarding 1 Nephi; where Nephi introduces Jerusalem as a character. I hope all you smarties add your own insights in the thread. (If you want, you can see in my activity of my profile the earlier two essays, which may make the references to 'deliverance' below clearer, as this is a continuation of those thoughts.)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

. . . the great city Jerusalem . . .” (1 Ne 1:4)

The 'point A' of Nephi's presentation is Jerusalem.

This is not merely a geographical place, but a symbolic element of the template of deliverance. It is important to understand what Jerusalem is in order to know why we are leaving it (and how). Thus, Jerusalem is not merely a place, but a state or condition.

Let me give a couple of notes as a background before a fuller explanation.

First, in v. 19 (and throughout his account), Nephi speaks of “the Jews”. Technically, Jews are descendants in the tribe of Judah. However, Lehi is not a Judaite. And it can be assumed that there were many inhabitants in and around Jerusalem who were from other tribes. So it seems to me that when Nephi uses the appellation “Jew” (or Joseph Smith's choice of it as a translated term), it means 'an inhabitant of Jerusalem', no more and no less. (Thus, it may also be of limited connection to any “Jewish” persons and terminology we use today.) Further, speaking of a “Jew” as an inhabitant of “Jerusalem” I suspect this is a symbolic habitation, at least more importantly than the geographical one. As we learn what Jerusalem is, we can also learn who is still “at” Jerusalem i.e. not taking the journey out with Nephi's family. Thus, those who remain in the previous condition are labeled “Jew”. Thus it's about living, choice-making, and worldview rather than strict genetic heredity.

Second, it has become a habit at the present time to think of atonement and righteousness as a personal project of the improvement of one's being and the experience one is personally having. I assert that that the presentation of the gospel in the Old Testament and in the New Testament do not warrant that conclusion. The OT and NT teach of the reconciliation of the many into one (zion, covenant, church, etc). The Great Law is to love God and love your neighbor and love yourself. All the other laws are, at best, training wheels for love; and, at worst, treading water while we postpone surrendering to the Great Law. And while this does include personal choice-making in order for this union to be possible, those choices might be different than if we were simply trying to save ourselves. Righteousness and repentance is a function of reconciling as brothers, families, and society regardless of our level of (so-called) personal perfection.

Jerusalem is a society. It is a relationship of many people and how they choose to live together. As well, the exodus from Jerusalem (as Lehi's family will take) is a group experience.

Jerusalem as a place, word, and symbolism is very ancient. We to this day, at least those of us bowing to one of the main world religions, are held under the sway of this Jerusalem. That can be a blessing. Studying deeply into 'Jerusalem' could yield many revelations. I'll have to remain brief here.

Jerusalem, both as a city and a symbol, pre-dates Judaism, pre-dates the law of Moses. It pre-dates just about everything. Jerusalem was a place built, maintained, and loved by people other than the Hebrews until King David took it as his, and it became the City of David (and David was tribe of Judah).

Again to be brief, what we need to say about Jerusalem for now can be shown in Melchizedek's Salem that Abraham visited. Uru-salaam: the City of Peace. The Abode of Peace. The Covenant of Peace. The light (ur) of peace. Currently, in Arabic, for both Muslim and Christian Arabs, it is called the House of Holiness. (Sound familiar?)

If you study about the term “yireh” and/or “yara” which is the “Jeru” part; and ponder that while also studying about the hill Jerusalem is on as well as the hills that surround it (each has a symbolism), you may, as I have, get a sense of The Template (the journey, the reconciliation, the faith and deliverance process) set out in the geography itself: 'going through' which reminds me of Moses and the Bene Israel going through a split sea, and reminds me of the verse in Helaman 3:29 “the man of Christ [led] in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery” (see also Alma 26:20, and several other places in the Book of Mormon that use portions of the same imagery). The Template brings to light what in the world and in ourselves we must navigate in order to arrive at peace and zion: in other words, to arrive at each other, as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says “I shall know fully, even as I am known” and as Mosiah 18:21 describes “having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another”. (see also 4 Nephi v 15).

This is all very beautiful. This is the Jerusalem of the Bible, especially the OT.

Oddly enough, the way Nephi describes Jerusalem in chapter 1 sounds more like Egypt to me—the place/symbolism that Moses and his people LEFT in their journey. And as Nephi sets up his presentation structure ('learning of the Jews', by the way), instead of using Egypt, he uses Jerusalem as the place they will be leaving (as, indeed, it was in actuality for his family). He even understood the danger Jerusalem was in of regressing into Babylon (ch 1 v 13; sorry I cannot explain Babylon more here).

I ask myself—is Nephi using Jerusalem as an 'Egypt/Babylon' symbol/pointA simply because it was pertinent to his time and place? Or is there a deeper criticism/correction to the Bible's Jerusalem? I think the answer is both. Again, I think Nephi is making sure we understand we cannot rest on Names, or Bloodlines, or Pasts, or Traditions, or Corporations/Organizations of any kind simply by virtue of it being a tradition—we have to LIVE the principles of deliverance and faith, by whatever name. If Jerusalem—as glorious as it ever was—has become something else in reality, we have to recognize that and move out.

Jerusalem must be destroyed if it does not repent (v4) i.e. renew their covenant of peace with one another. A society must be destroyed if they do not choose and live peace. Which makes plain sense when you think of it like that, because obviously a people that are not at peace with one another are in destruction by definition. It's not something an external God does to us, it's something we do to ourselves if we insist upon it. (By the way, this is the message entire of the Book of Mormon; this is the message of that mad man Mormon (I say that affectionately) who had witnessed the entire gory destruction of his people, and what he wanted future peoples to avoid; when he added the 'plates of Nephi' to his record, he was happy to have found another witness for peace and brotherhood.)

 

In the chapter:

v 7 “his own house in Jerusalem” (Where is your house?)

v 13 abominations of Jerusalem; captive into Babylon

v 19 mock any examination of its/our wickedness; mock redemption (i.e. deliverance i.e. reconciliation to peace)

v 20 angry for wickedness to be exposed

choices they make of how to treat another human being:

    cast out [level 1—leave them alive but not part of the society]

    stoned [level 2—assaulted horribly but might survive]

    slain [level 3—annihilate them from the planet]

 

 

Remember wickedness, like 'atonement', is also not a personal problem per se. It is specifically about how a person chooses to live in the society, with those who ought to be his brothers (regardless of their sameness or difference to them), how a person chooses to treat another person. And who are our prophets? In this case, anything that shows us how we are not doing well—the prophets might be the suffering of our children, the mental and emotional health conditions of many, the dark secrets of abuse and molestation that are carried down and continued from generation to generation—all of those in our society crying and showing us plainly our blemishes—but we will not see.

Until we do.

It sounds like we need to be delivered from ourselves and our inability to make this peace.

Nephi shows us how.

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On 10/1/2019 at 6:59 PM, Maidservant said:

First, in v. 19 (and throughout his account), Nephi speaks of “the Jews”. Technically, Jews are descendants in the tribe of Judah. However, Lehi is not a Judaite. And it can be assumed that there were many inhabitants in and around Jerusalem who were from other tribes.

Why did Lehi and his family believe Jerusalem was the land of their inheritance when the tribe
of Manasseh was alloted another part of Israel?

Thanks,
Jim

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, theplains said:

Why did Lehi and his family believe Jerusalem was the land of their inheritance when the tribe
of Manasseh was alloted another part of Israel?

Thanks,
Jim

Maybe I can learn from you. What was the capital city of Manasseh (since not Jerusalem)? And at that time (purportedly 600 bce), were the tribes living strictly in their land allotments? Honest questions, if you know the answers. Lehi's main home seems to be outside of Jerusalem, but I don't know where. I also suspect that people said "Jerusalem" as a catchall for the entire area, especially as Lehi's family moved farther away from it in their travels, but perhaps you know more about that as well and can let me know.

The essay and the chapter itself does not, in my opinion, require historicity. (Yes, I am one of those.) Rather, it's main purpose is the presentation of a map of progression, namely at this point the principle and promise of deliverance. The template (of Nephi as well as Mormon's later portions of the Book of Mormon) will both draw upon the 'light' side of the law of Moses and the traditions of the Jews/Tribes of Israel, and offer criticism to the 'shadow' side of the same; and by this exercise also offer the same regarding the larger conditions of mankind. This is my own assessment and I am not representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I say it.

I find it likely that Lehi and his family were actual persons having an actual journey, but I don't know that (of course). And, even if the case, that level of story is its least valuable; as it is in the Bible (because the Bible is set up in the same way; and Nephi, or the author, followed suit). I repeat, it is a template of deep symbolism regarding our own journey in earth life and navigating it (together as a society) in peace.

Edited by Maidservant

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16 hours ago, Maidservant said:

Maybe I can learn from you. What was the capital city of Manasseh (since not Jerusalem)? And at that time (purportedly 600 bce), were the tribes living strictly in their land allotments? Honest questions, if you know the answers.

There were several cities in the lands allotted to Manasseh (on the west and east sides of
the Jordan River).  We know that Jerusalem was not one of them.

The allotted lands are defined in the Old Testament (several chapters of the Book of Joshua
and Ezekiel 48 for reference)). So someone from the land of Dan for example, could not claim
an inheritance in the land of Judah or some other brother.

We can agree that the tribes were not living strictly in their land allotments but this does not
mean that their lands of inheritance was changed by God.  For example, the Israelites were
eventually dispersed to various parts of the world.  This does not mean God had given them
new lands of inheritance.

In Christ, believers do not look for earthly lands of inheritance. 

Thanks,
Jim

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48 minutes ago, theplains said:

There were several cities in the lands allotted to Manasseh (on the west and east sides of
the Jordan River).  We know that Jerusalem was not one of them.

The allotted lands are defined in the Old Testament (several chapters of the Book of Joshua
and Ezekiel 48 for reference)). So someone from the land of Dan for example, could not claim
an inheritance in the land of Judah or some other brother.

We can agree that the tribes were not living strictly in their land allotments but this does not
mean that their lands of inheritance was changed by God.  For example, the Israelites were
eventually dispersed to various parts of the world.  This does not mean God had given them
new lands of inheritance.

In Christ, believers do not look for earthly lands of inheritance. 

Thanks,
Jim

Thanks!

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On 10/6/2019 at 9:00 AM, theplains said:

In Christ, believers do not look for earthly lands of inheritance. 

Thanks,
Jim

So where do the "meek" who "inherit the earth" fit into your view of the "believers"?  (See Psalm 37:9-11, 18-22, 34, and Matthew 5:5).  Are there no "meek" among the believers?  Or do you see some sort of separation between those who are "of Israel" and the rest of the believers?  I'm interested in your views on that. 

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21 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

So where do the "meek" who "inherit the earth" fit into your view of the "believers"?  (See Psalm 37:9-11, 18-22, 34, and Matthew 5:5).  Are there no "meek" among the believers?  Or do you see some sort of separation between those who are "of Israel" and the rest of the believers?  I'm interested in your views on that. 

Don’t forget all the promises to other people in the Bible. Abraham believed in Christ and he and his descendants were promised inheritances. As also were, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph and Ephraim, and all the rest. Seems like believers in Christ are often given land.

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21 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

Don’t forget all the promises to other people in the Bible. Abraham believed in Christ and he and his descendants were promised inheritances. As also were, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph and Ephraim, and all the rest. Seems like believers in Christ are often given land.

Exactly, as in:   Gal 3:28-29:  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

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On 10/10/2019 at 9:21 PM, SettingDogStar said:

Don’t forget all the promises to other people in the Bible. Abraham believed in Christ and he and his descendants were promised inheritances. As also were, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph and Ephraim, and all the rest. Seems like believers in Christ are often given land.

I've noticed this, that the covenant always involves land.

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On 10/10/2019 at 11:21 PM, SettingDogStar said:

Don’t forget all the promises to other people in the Bible. Abraham believed in Christ and he and his descendants were promised inheritances. As also were, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph and Ephraim, and all the rest. Seems like believers in Christ are often given land.

I am familiar with Old Testament teachings about the lands of inheritance for the tribes of Israel,
whereas the Book of Mormon teaches about another place of inheritance for the tribes of Ephraim
and Manasseh (supposedly somewhere in America).  It then mentions what appears to be another
form of gathering of other Israelite tribes and non-Israelite peoples into the New Jerusalem (3 Nephi
20:22; 21:23-24).

I found some other church teachings to support this theme.

"Of the twelve tribes, the tribes of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and  Manasseh, will be gathered first and
then direct the other tribes in their gathering
(chapter 24, Religion 430-431 - Doctrines of the Gospel
Student Manual).

"It is essential in this dispensation that Ephraim stand in his  place at the head, exercising the birthright
in Israel which was given to him by direct revelation. Therefore, Ephraim must be gathered first to
prepare the way, through the gospel and the  priesthood, for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time
comes for them to be gathered to Zion
".

"The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the  prophets, who declare
that it is the Zion where the mountain of the  Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the
land.  When elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible,  they will see it
" (Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 362; History of the Church, 6:318-19).

Thanks,
Jim

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On 10/10/2019 at 10:57 PM, InCognitus said:

So where do the "meek" who "inherit the earth" fit into your view of the "believers"?  (See Psalm 37:9-11, 18-22, 34, and Matthew 5:5).  Are there no "meek" among the believers?  Or do you see some sort of separation between those who are "of Israel" and the rest of the believers?  I'm interested in your views on that. 

I see a dual inheritance.  1] A general inheritance of believers in Christ wherever they are on Earth rather than
some Christians being designated a country of Europe while others are designated Australia (as an example).
After the millennium, we could be living on other created worlds.   I could be wrong and maybe there won't be
such an idea as personal property.  2] A special land inheritance for the Israelites (Ephraim, Manasseh, etc -
who eventually come to believe in Christ) in the land of Israel.

Thanks,
Jim

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7 hours ago, theplains said:

I see a dual inheritance.  1] A general inheritance of believers in Christ wherever they are on Earth rather than
some Christians being designated a country of Europe while others are designated Australia (as an example).
After the millennium, we could be living on other created worlds.   I could be wrong and maybe there won't be
such an idea as personal property.  2] A special land inheritance for the Israelites (Ephraim, Manasseh, etc -
who eventually come to believe in Christ) in the land of Israel.

Ok, so when you said “In Christ, believers do not look for earthly lands of inheritance”, you were saying that believers in Christ don’t inherit specific countries, and not that they don’t inherit the earth itself?   

 

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9 hours ago, theplains said:

I am familiar with Old Testament teachings about the lands of inheritance for the tribes of Israel,
whereas the Book of Mormon teaches about another place of inheritance for the tribes of Ephraim
and Manasseh (supposedly somewhere in America).

This is a biblical promise too, see Genesis 49:22-26, "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.... The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."

9 hours ago, theplains said:

I found some other church teachings to support this theme.

"Of the twelve tribes, the tribes of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and  Manasseh, will be gathered first and
then direct the other tribes in their gathering
(chapter 24, Religion 430-431 - Doctrines of the Gospel
Student Manual).

"It is essential in this dispensation that Ephraim stand in his  place at the head, exercising the birthright
in Israel which was given to him by direct revelation. Therefore, Ephraim must be gathered first to
prepare the way, through the gospel and the  priesthood, for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time
comes for them to be gathered to Zion
".

"The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the  prophets, who declare
that it is the Zion where the mountain of the  Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the
land.  When elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible,  they will see it
" (Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 362; History of the Church, 6:318-19).

That “Ephraim and  Manasseh, will be gathered first and then direct the other tribes in their gathering” is exactly what is happening now, because the spreading of the gospel and the “gathering” is to be accomplished at the hand of Ephraim and Manasseh (Deut 33:17 (NKJV):  "His glory is like a firstborn bull, And his horns like the horns of the wild ox; Together with them He shall push the peoples To the ends of the earth; They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh.").  The gathering of the tribes comes through their partaking of the covenants of the restored gospel, and then [presumably at the second coming of Christ] they will inherit the lands promised to them. 

 

 

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21 hours ago, InCognitus said:

This is a biblical promise too, see Genesis 49:22-26, "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.... The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."

Where are these hills?

Jim

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21 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Ok, so when you said “In Christ, believers do not look for earthly lands of inheritance”, you were saying that believers in Christ don’t inherit specific countries, and not that they don’t inherit the earth itself?   

 

What I meant to say is that Christians will not be designated specific lands of inheritance for the meek
will inherit the earth (in general).  But I believe God still has a covenant to fulfill with the Israelites - with
the land of Israel in particular.

Hope this helps.

Jim

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4 hours ago, theplains said:

Where are these hills?

The “everlasting hills” are where his “branches” by a “well” run over the “wall”.  The American Cordillera chain of mountains runs all the way from the top of North America to the southern tip of South America, and it fits the bill.

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4 hours ago, theplains said:

What I meant to say is that Christians will not be designated specific lands of inheritance for the meek
will inherit the earth (in general).  But I believe God still has a covenant to fulfill with the Israelites - with
the land of Israel in particular.

Hope this helps.

That helps, thank you.

In view of Galatians 3:29, do you see the believers in Christ to be partakers of any of the promises given to Abraham that involve inheritance of specific lands?

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On 10/16/2019 at 1:15 AM, InCognitus said:

That helps, thank you.

In view of Galatians 3:29, do you see the believers in Christ to be partakers of any of the promises given to Abraham that involve inheritance of specific lands?

Only for the Jewish believers as they have outstanding promises from the Old Testament.  I don't believe,
for example, that certain Christians are promised Australia as their inheritance while other Christians are
promised Japan for theirs.

Jim

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On 10/5/2019 at 4:50 PM, Maidservant said:

Maybe I can learn from you. What was the capital city of Manasseh (since not Jerusalem)? And at that time (purportedly 600 bce), were the tribes living strictly in their land allotments? Honest questions, if you know the answers. Lehi's main home seems to be outside of Jerusalem, but I don't know where. I also suspect that people said "Jerusalem" as a catchall for the entire area, especially as Lehi's family moved farther away from it in their travels, but perhaps you know more about that as well and can let me know.

The essay and the chapter itself does not, in my opinion, require historicity. (Yes, I am one of those.) Rather, it's main purpose is the presentation of a map of progression, namely at this point the principle and promise of deliverance. The template (of Nephi as well as Mormon's later portions of the Book of Mormon) will both draw upon the 'light' side of the law of Moses and the traditions of the Jews/Tribes of Israel, and offer criticism to the 'shadow' side of the same; and by this exercise also offer the same regarding the larger conditions of mankind. This is my own assessment and I am not representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I say it.

I find it likely that Lehi and his family were actual persons having an actual journey, but I don't know that (of course). And, even if the case, that level of story is its least valuable; as it is in the Bible (because the Bible is set up in the same way; and Nephi, or the author, followed suit). I repeat, it is a template of deep symbolism regarding our own journey in earth life and navigating it (together as a society) in peace.

Nephi seems to think of Jerusalem as a region, not just the city proper, as I reside in the greater Salt Lake City area, though my city is Sandy. 
 

An illustration of this is that he says Christ would be born “at Jerusalem, the land of our fathers.” Ill-informed critics in the past have used this as a bone of contention against the Book of Mormon authenticity, not realizing or understanding that Bethlehem is just a few miles outside of Jerusalem and is definitely in the “land” (or region) thereof. 

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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

An illustration of this is that he says Christ would be born “at Jerusalem, the land of our fathers.” Ill-informed critics in the past have used this as a bone of contention against the Book of Mormon authenticity, not realizing or understanding that Bethlehem is just a few miles outside of Jerusalem and is definitely in the “land” (or region) thereof. 

Yes, I always thought this was the dumbest criticism possible, lol. Especially for people who got on a boat and are an ocean and a continent away, "at Jerusalem" isn't problematic at all.

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6 hours ago, Maidservant said:

Yes, I always thought this was the dumbest criticism possible, lol. Especially for people who got on a boat and are an ocean and a continent away, "at Jerusalem" isn't problematic at all.

I can’t decide which argument is dumber, this one or adieu. 

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8 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I can’t decide which argument is dumber, this one or adieu. 

 I think it's a case of dumb, and dumber.   I'd say adieu is definitely dumber.

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