In this week’s review of the Book of Mormon, we’ll look at chapters 6 through 12 of 1 Nephi. Last week we saw Lehi ascend to God’s Elect status as a savior and deliverer of his family and posterity. This week we continue to look at Lehi’s ascent, but here Lehi receives knowledge, which is one of the blessings of those who ascend to God. As a person ascends to God, their knowledge of Him grows and the end result of this knowledge is that they becomes more effective in teaching the Gospel and bringing souls to the Messiah. Central to God’s plan to save Humanity is the Savior of Mankind – Yeshua HaMashiach – even the great Yehovah incarnate, the Son of the Eternal Father and here we see Lehi receive a knowledge of Him and the Plan of Salvation.
Love of God
One of the most powerful concepts presented in these seven chapters is an image of the Tree of Life and the fruit it bears, which Nephi receives the interpretation as representing God’s love. Elsewhere in the scriptures – Derash – we see John declare, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – John 3:16. So we see that the Love of God is embodied in His Son – the Savior of Humanity who showed us that by following Him we can return and live in the presence of God. Further, we see in this week's reading a huge emphasis placed on the Messiah.
We see this connection with God in Robert Kay’s analysis of Lehi’s Tree of Life as well, he connects the fruit with receiving joy, receiving His presence and being one with Him. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11)
Moreover, to really be in a Oneness with God and receive a fulness of God's love and life that he offers to all Mankind. we must follow the path Yeshua-Yehovah set for Humanity and be transformed into His full image and stature. Indeed, Yeshua is the Love of God and the way of Life for man.
" I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."
Path of Life
Another important concept we see in Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life is a Pathway in chapter 8. This Pathway connotes a persons actions to “walk-out” or to live the commandments. In Hebrew, this concept is know as Halacha. In Hebrew, Halacha literally means “the walk”. However, this pathway in Lehi's dream does not define how we are to “walk-out” the Gospel. Here we find in Lehi’s dream, we see how we are to “walk-out” the Gospel and how we are to walk out the Gospel is embedded in the representation of the Iron Rod, which parallels this Path of Life.
Moreover, this Path of Life can represent ascension imagery that we see in Jacob's Ladder to Heaven and Isaiah's Spiritual Categories.
Continuing, we see in Nephi's interpretation that he receives in chapter 10, the Iron Rod is the Word of God. The Word of God is directly linked with the scriptures and the scriptures contain the commands, covenants and law of God. The scriptures are our guide for living the Gospel. For an Israelite, the Torah forms the basis for “walking out” a relationship with God. And in a full Gospel sense, being transformed into the full stature of the Son represents the full measure or walk of becoming like God and receiving a fullness of His love and life. So we can summarize these concepts in the following table.
Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life
When we consider all of these concepts, graphically this is what Lehi's dream looks like.