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1 Nephi 11: Didn't the Spirit Know Nephi Believed?


David Bokovoy

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I personally believe that by asking the question, it gave Nephi the opportunity to confirm to himself that he believed the words of his father.

We are often given challenges in which we already know the answer, but we need to remind ourselves of such. (Tight like unto a dish?)

Or at least, that's how it works out for me.

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From Ether 3:

7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?

8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?

10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.

11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?

12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

...

15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

(I added bold.)

I guess it seems to be a pattern in a divine interview.

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I like these type of verses it makes it more personal. There is the Lord asking Cain where his brother was asking Adam and Eve have they ate the fruit etc many types of this question. I for one think even though they know the answer the power of confession is better than admitting and it is Gods way of giving us that chance to improve our testimonies and belief in the principals of the gospel.

Perhaps like our agency, God knows the beginning from the end and can in a wink place us where we belong but he still allows us to learn from life even though he knows what our answers and reactions will already be.

If I remember correctly in that part of the Book of Mormon It is an angel guide at first then it is the Lord. Well just my two cents. Thanks for the intriguing post.

Anijen

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So why was the exchange necessary? Why would the Spirit of the Lord need to ask Nephi if he believed prior to sharing his message?

I

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Socratic method.

From wiki:

The Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas.

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I've been thinking a lot about this chapter as of late and appreciate all of the insightful responses. It's a fascinating issue, and I believe that in addition to the ideas shared in this thread, there may be another, perhaps fundamental reason for the exchange which illustrates that like the Old Testament, the Book of Mormon views the divine council as the governing administrative entity over the universe.

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So is Genesis 3 an episode of Adam being tried, found guilty and punished in the Divine Council?

"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil...

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever."

Nice connection.

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Notice also that when the Spirit of the Lord can serve as a divine witness regarding Nephi's belief, the Spirit invokes traditional council terminology with a reference to Elyon, the Most High God of the Council over Heaven and Earth:

"And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the aearth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired" (1 Nephi 11:6).

The Spirit's reference to Elyon as the God over all heaven and earth parallels statements in the Bible which denotes the supremacy of Israel's deity in the council. Note Joshua 2:11:

"When we heard about it, we lost heart, and no man had any more spirit left because of you; for Yahweh your God, he is a God in heaven above and on earth below. (See also Deut 4:29; 1 Kgs 8:23; Eccl 5:1; 2 Chr 6:14; 20:6.)

This biblical pattern which appears reflected in the Spirit's testimony reflects the use of heaven and earth as metonymy, i.e. the use of a location to represent the individuals operating within that sphere. In the Assyrian vassal treaties which influenced Deuteronomy, the list of theophoric names invoked as divine council witnesses appears with two subdivisions that create a sense of literary closure:

"All the gods dwelling in heaven and earth, the gods of Assyria, the gods of Sumer and Akkad, the gods of every (foreign) country."

"You are adjured by all the gods of Sumer and Akkad, adjured by the gods of heaven and earth."

In both divisions, the word pair

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David, that's great. Is this the Hebraism you said you found in the other thread?

Yeah, it really is great stuff and so far, this thread has only scratched the surface. Much more council imagery and theological depth to this encounter than meets the eye. The Hebraism I mentioned in another thread was discussed here:

These insights were all basically stolen from Daniel Peterson and William Hamblin. I am but the learner; they are the masters.

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When I hear things like this I think of this story:

Then I almost burst out, "Why, then was Abraham commanded to go to Mount Moriah and offer his only hope of posterity?" It was clear that this man, nearly ninety, had thought and prayed and wept over that question before. He finally said, "Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham."
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Ya know, this is interesting when viewed in light of what Zedekiah's father(Josiah)did just a few decades before.

2 Kings 23:4

4)And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the apriests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and to Asherah(????????????),* and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. *my edit of the KJV, the KJV says "groves".

So the Spirit, a member of the DC, comes down and shows a type of Asherah, Mary. Here you have two things, DC member and an Asherah, that were expunged from the temple cult just a few decades before.

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Ya know, this is interesting when viewed in light of what Zedekiah's father(Josiah)did just a few decades before.

2 Kings 23:4

4)And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the apriests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and to Asherah(????????????),* and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. *my edit of the KJV, the KJV says "groves".

So the Spirit, a member of the DC, comes down and shows a type of Asherah, Mary. Here you have two things, DC member and an Asherah, that were expunged from the temple cult just a few decades before.

incase anyone doubts my edit of the KJV

KJV

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/2_kgs/23

Hebrew

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt09b23.htm

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Wow that's interesting. I had not thought of it from that angle.

Here is a quote from Hieser:

At Ugarit the divine council and its gods met on a cosmic mountain, the place where heaven andearth intersected and where divine decrees were issued. This place was at the "source of the two rivers" (mbk nhrm) in the "midst of the fountains of the double-deep" (qrb )apq thmtm). Thiswell-watered mountain was the place of the "assembled congregation" (ph}r m(d).

he goes on

These descriptions are present in the Hebrew Bible with respect to Israel
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Here is a quote from Hieser:

he goes on

http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/HeiserIVPDC.pdf

1 Nephi 11:1-2

1)For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat apondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.

2) And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?

3) And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father asaw.

4) And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?

5) And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.

8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the atree which my father had seen; and the bbeauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the cwhiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.

Ne. 11: 13-15

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of aNazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

14 And it came to pass that I saw the aheavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?

15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.

18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the aLamb of God, yea, even the bSon of the Eternal cFather! Knowest thou the meaning of the dtree which thy father saw?

So Nephi is cought up to an exceedingly high mountain to speak with the Spirit, a COuncil member. Another Council member comes down. While on the Mountain he sees a vision of an Asherah like tree and the associated divine consort(in this case, Mary).

1 Nephi 11:22

22) And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

I think this may be a play on words. Kevin Christiansen has said something on this before, that the love of God is both a person and a thing.

Song. 1: 15

15) Behold, thou art fair, my love(??????? ????? ?????????); behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves

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