14 December 2010

1 Nephi 19: Zenos' Paradox

It's hard to keep track of all the plates in the Book of Mormon.

Remember the the plates of Lehi? You know, the ones that Lehi forgot when he left Jerusalem, so he had to send his sons back get them? Lehi's plates were so important to God that he sent an angel to force Nephi to decapitate an unconscious man so he could steal his plates.

Then came the plates of Nephi: two separate sets of plates, actually, both confusingly named by Nephi "the plates of Nephi." One for "the more part of the ministry" and the other "for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions."

And now, in chapter 19, God tells Nephi to make another set. I guess you just can't have too many plates.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people. And upon the plates which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father; and also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them. 1 Nephi 19:1

On his third set of plates, Nephi only included the "more plain and precious" stuff, leaving out any unnecessary words, as you'd expect from someone engraving on plates of ore.

And I knew not at the time when I made them that I should be commanded of the Lord to make these plates; wherefore, the record of my father, and the genealogy of his fathers, and the more part of all our proceedings in the wilderness are engraven upon those first plates of which I have spoken; wherefore, the things which transpired before I made these plates are, of a truth, more particularly made mention upon the first plates. And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord. Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates, which gives an account, or which gives a greater account of the wars and contentions and destructions of my people. And this have I done, and commanded my people what they should do after I was gone; and that these plates should be handed down from one generation to another, or from one prophet to another, until further commandments of the Lord. And an account of my making these plates shall be given hereafter; and then, behold, I proceed according to that which I have spoken; and this I do that the more sacred things may be kept for the knowledge of my people. 1 Nephi 19:2-5

Nephi didn't write anything on the plates unless it was sacred.

Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred. 1 Nephi 19:6a

But he admits that he might have made some mistakes, like the guys who wrote the Bible did. Not that he's making any excuses, of course.

And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself. 1 Nephi 19:6b

Then Nephi starts in again with prophecy, repeating the same stuff he's already told us several times before. (1 Nephi 10:4, 11:18, 13:40)

Jesus will be born 600 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem (and 592 years after Nephi wrote the prophecy down in his little brass book.)

And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem. 1 Nephi 19:8

But at least he does throw in a few new names. Zenock, Neum, and Zenos -- Old Testament prophets whose writings were removed by that great and abominable church founded by the devil. (You know, the Catholics.)

Anyway, Zenock, Neum, and Zenos knew all about Jesus. He'd be crucified, buried in a sepulchre, and after his death, there'd be three days of darkness.

And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel. 1 Nephi 19:10

Three days of darkness? Yeah, that's what Zenos prophesied. The entire earth would be completely dark for three days after Jesus' death (See 3 Nephi 8:20-22 and Helaman 14:27 for the exciting details), as a sign to Lehi's descendants in "the isles of the sea" (the Lamanites in America and Polynesia).

Of course that's not what the Bible says. Matthew, Mark, and Luke say it was dark for three hours just before Jesus died. (It's one of the few things those three guys agree on.) But that's because the evil Catholics changed the plain and precious shit in the Bible.

Zenos prophesied further that mountains would be carried away after Jesus died, along with lots of other nutty stuff. (See 3 Nephi 8 where cities sunk, mountains were moved and dumped upon cities, etc.)

For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall visit ... others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up. And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers. 1 Nephi 19:11-12

Then Zenos explains how all kinds of bad stuff would happen to the Jews because they "crucify the God of Israel." They'd be hated by all nations, wander in the flesh, etc.

And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel. And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a byword, and be hated among all nations. 1 Nephi 19:13-14

And finally, after blathering on about nothing for a few verses, Nephi says he's going to swipe a couple of chapters from the book of Isaiah as a bit of filler for his plates of brass.

Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; And it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass ... I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah. 1 Nephi 19:22-23

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 1 Nephi 20-21: I will feed them with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood

1 comment:

twillight said...

Darn, and these plates were not named anything pecific, so these are really just another plates of Nephi!

A minor note: mountain-throwing and more darkness at Jeus' death? But no more zombies? Oh well, at least they did not take that out :D