This week in the Book of Mormon we’ll look at the only chapter in 4 Nephi - since this is the only chapter in 4 Nephi it deserves our attention. What we see here in 4 Nephi is the formation of a Zion society after Yeshua’s visit. Even though we don’t see it referred to as Zion, all of the primary aspects of Zion are present. Further into the chapter, we see the people corrupt themselves, which results into a slide into apostasy and the lust for wealth. Moreover, we can also see elements of an Endtime scenario here in chapter one. So we’ll review the primary aspects of what Zion looks like here and the sequence of events that takes this Zion into wickedness.
A Zion People
In the first few verses of chapter one, we see the elements of a Zion society. We can use these elements as a measure to see how our own community measures up to being Zion or how our own community embraces the concepts of Zion.
The Doctrine of Messiah/Christ
In the very first verse, we see a church/community/true church formed and the members enter the gate for a sanctified/pure people by executing aspects of the Doctrine of Messiah/Christ – repenting, being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost all of which point us to living the truth – the Law and the teachings of Yeshua.
Peace and Justice
In verses two, 15 thru 18, we see that the people had peace and dealt justly with one another – more evidence of living the Law and the teachings of Yeshua. Central to ancient Israel’s system of justice is the principle of restitution or restoring a person to a pre-offense condition.
All Things in Common
In verse three, we see that there is economic equality, which again is another aspect of the Law. We can say that because when God organized ancient Israel into a nation everyone received an inheritance of land except the priesthood. Everyone in ancient Israel began by being economically equal.
Healing Through the Melchizedek Priesthood
In verse four, we see that this community of believers had the Melchizedek Priesthood and performed healings and miracles.
Promised Blessings of the Law
In verses seven through eleven, we see the blessings of living the Law, which also can be found in Deu. chapter 28. Those blessings here include: prosperity, strength(physically, economically, etc), and posterity. The three primary blessings that we see in the Law given to ancient Israel were – a perpetual inheritance of land, physical protection and an enduring posterity.
Administration of the Law under the Melchizedek Priesthood
In verse 12, we see that the Law was no longer administered under the Levitical Priesthood(law of Moses), but now is administered under the Melchizedek Priesthood, which included fathers of families holding priesthood. In the 40th chapter of Ezekiel, we see the sons of Zadok – Tzedek – righteousness Melchizedek administer sacrifice in Jerusalem’s Millennial temple – v. 46.
Pride, Apostasy and the Lust for Wealth
When we get to verse 24, the tenor changes when pride enters into the community because of their wealth, which initiates a whole series of events that takes our Zion into apostasy and the lust for wealth. Here is what that sequence looks like.
The Endtime Remnant
Chapter one closes with the records being hid up by Ammaron to come forth for the Endtime gathering of Israel, which we will get more into next week when we get to the next book - the Book of Mormon.