Now the content of this post is going to be more formally introduced, more or less, in the form of a journal entry about some insights I got from hearing this scripture shared to a member family from the missionaries I was visiting with. As a journal entry about the scriptures, I will probably be editing this as more insights come, as I do with my written journal.
As also a common feature of my scriptural notes, most of the insights will be in a spitfire format, and may not have a professional organization, but I will do my best to maintain order in the form that these insights appear.
As a guide to help readers understand the content of this post, I’d suggest a small prayer in your heart for understanding. A small prayer goes a long way in a gospel discussion, and I’d encourage readers to take some time to ponder and then ask for some help of the Spirit to understand. That way, the ideas mentioned won’t be confusing and will edify you in a way unique and necessary for your personal needs.
A General Overview
The verse in question that was shared the last night was 1 Nephi 13:37, and it is quoted below:
And blessed are the they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end thy shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains they shall be.
This is the concluding statement of a quote made by an angel who was guiding Nephi, an ancient American prophet, through visions of our era, referred to in the scriptures as latter days or the last days (hence the name of the Church as Saints of the Latter Days). What is interesting is who he’s quoting: The Savior Himself. The angel, sent on a divine errand as mandated by the Lord and given access to Nephi through his faithful prayer to seek revelation, quotes the Savior during the unfolding of the vision that has an utmost importance to us of this critical time-period.
The angel’s quote is significant, because in this moment, he is not speaking for the Savior, as other angels have done in sacred record (see Revelation 22:8,9,10,11). The Savior has not placed His name upon the angel sent to Nephi, instead, the Savior Himself has it known that the words in this revelation (verses 33-37) came from Him and was delivered as a message from the Savior to Nephi through the angel. The angel does not speak in first person till after the verb phrase “Wherefore saith the Lamb of God” or similar variations. In a personal observation, I feel the Lord meant to make it clear that these words were His and His alone.
Summary of Verses 33-37
A quick summary of the verses preceding the one in observation and study reveals the Lord Himself declaring His mercy to the Gentiles, how the colonists and conquistadors of the 15th-17th century was directed by His hand, and how such people before mentioned would not have the entirety of the gospel because of the missing truths taken from the Bible. He makes a promise to bring forth His gospel unto the colonists and others who were stumbling in error because of the missing truths, such accomplished by means of the Book of Mormon. The preceding verse to 37 is the Lord’s personal declaration of the content of the Book of Mormon, saying:
And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock, and my salvation
The Lord takes personal possession of the Book of Mormon and its contents, through His title as the Lamb, significant since it refers to Jesus being a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. There is interesting purpose in that, the Lord, referred to as the sacrifice, declares the Book of Mormon as His salvation, which would imply directly that the blessings of the Atonement in part is received by reception of the Book of Mormon and its contents.
Verse 37: The First Mention of Zion in the Book of Mormon
Verse 37 ends the Savior’s words relating to the vision of the latter-days to the American prophet.
It begins as a declaration very similar to those found in Matthew and 3rd Nephi, referred to as the Beatitudes. The statement “blessed are” is the standard beginning for all beatific declarations, and the Lord has decided to make the first recorded reference to Zion in the Book of Mormon a beatitude.
According to the footnote entry of the LDS edition of the King James Version of the Bible, it states:
The Latin beatus is the basis of the English ‘beatitude,’ meaning ‘to be fortunate,’ ‘to be happy,’ or ‘to be blessed.’
Therefore, the Lord declares that fortune, or happiness (since both words define the same concept when the word was first used in language) can be found in those who seek to bring forth His Zion in the latter-days.
What is Zion?: A Quick Overview
For the sake of readers unfamiliar with the term Zion, a quick summary of its usage in scripture is needed.
Zion refers to the glorious condition, in various senses, existing whether within the individual, or within the community, that is presided over by the Savior Himself. Many leaders of the Church, both ancient and modern, have helped us understand the Zion condition, which sometimes refers to a place, a specific geographical point, or sometimes refers to a theological and moral standard of living.
President Stephen L. Richards said:
“The philosophy of Zion is humility, not servility, but a willing recognition of the sovereignty of God and dependence on his providence.”
Those who live the principles of Zion in the scriptures and in modern day seek always to establish a community where such principles govern the personal lives and the society of all who dwell in it. And as the Savior declares, they are fortunate, happy, and blessed.
To be continued…
– Jeremy Unitt
- First Quote: 1 Nephi 13:37
- Second Quote: 1 Nephi 13:36
- Third Quote: Matthew 5:3a, (LDS edition of KJV)
- Fourth Quote: President Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, Oct. 1951, pp. 110–11.