1 Nephi 15

1 Ne 15:5 I was overcome...because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall

Nephi mourned over the wickedness and destruction of the Nephites. This anguish of soul comes from having a heart full of charity such that the thought of any son or daughter of God suffering the punishments decreed for the wicked brings a heaviness and godly sorrow. This same emotion is seen in a couple of other scriptures. Of the repentant sons of Mosiah, Mosiah records, Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble (Mosiah 28:3). In an unusually plain and precious record, Enoch saw the Lord God Almighty weep over his creations. After the Father had shown Enoch the wickedness of the people, Enoch wept also. The record is as follows:

   'And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

   The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands...

    Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.

   But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

   But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.

   And That which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment;

   Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.

   And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook." (Moses 7:28-41)

1 Ne 15:12 house of Israel was compared unto an olive-tree...and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?

This doctrine will be dealt with more completely in Jacob 5. Suffice it to say that the tame olive tree is symbolic of the house of Israel. The family of Lehi represents a branch that was planted in the nethermost part of the vineyard, And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure (Jacob 5:14). See also Jacob 5:25,43,44,52.

1 Ne 15:15 nourishment for the true vine

One of the most common criticisms of the Book of Mormon is that its themes are anachronistic. In other words, it sounds too much like the New Testament to have been written hundreds of years before the coming of Christ. The image of Christ as a "vine" is an example. It is first seen in the Bible in the New Testament when Christ says, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman (John 15:1). How could Nephi have used this image before Christ did? How could this theme be known to him at that time?

Nephi was a prophet who had just seen an incredible vision of the history of the world including the life and ministry of the Savior. He had the spirit of prophecy and taught Messianic principles that would be contained also in the Old Testament if so many plain and precious parts had not been taken away from that record.

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were examined, both the Jews and the non-Mormon Christians were astonished because the scrolls contained so much "New Testament" doctrine but were written prior to the coming of Christ. This finding doesn't surprise a student of the Book of Mormon. It confirms that the Lord was teaching his Old Testament era prophets the higher law long before it was given by the Savior in the flesh.

1 Ne 15:20 the words of Isaiah....concerning the restoration of the Jews

One of the major themes of Isaiah's writings is the restoration of the Jews in the latter days. This may be because he spent so much time prophesying of the imminent destruction of the Northern Kingdom, that he longed for a better day-a day when Israel would again be blessed and protected by the Lord. This blessing won't come to full fruition until the Lord himself sets his foot on the Mount of Olives and begins to fight Israel's battles.  Therefore, the writings of Isaiah are full of hopeful, optimistic, and happy representations of what things will be like in that day when the Lord saves Israel, The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb...the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord...the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light...Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim...they shall beat their swords into plowshares...he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy...the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads...they that wait upon the Lord shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint...with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee...Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

1 Ne 15:33 if they should die in their wickedness

Spencer W. Kimball

"In an interview with a young man in Mesa, Arizona, I found him only a little sorry he had committed adultery but not sure that he wanted to cleanse himself. After long deliberations in which I seemed to make little headway against his rebellious spirit, I finally said, 'Goodbye, Bill, but I warn you, don't break a speed limit, be careful what you eat, take no chances on your life. Be careful in traffic for you must not die before this matter is cleared up. Don't you dare to die.' I quoted this scripture:

"Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works.

. . . And there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. (1 Ne. 15:33-34.)

"A slow death has its advantages over the sudden demise. The cancer victim who is head of a family, for instance, should use his time to be an advisor to those who will survive him. The period of inactivity after a patient learns there is no hope for his life can be a period of great productivity. How much more true this is of one who has been involved in deliberate sin! He must not die until he has made his peace with God. He must be careful and not have an accident." (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp.145-6)

1 Ne 15:33 if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God

"Both the justice of God and the laws of nature mandate a division of the wicked from the righteous.  The warmth and glory of the noonday sun and midnight's shield of darkness are not compatible companions-light and darkness will never meet, Christ and Satan will never shake hands.  The separation of the righteous from the wicked in the world to come is foreshadowed by their separation in mortality.  This life, like the one to follow, has its children of light and its children of darkness.  The citizens of both kingdoms prepare themselves here for the nature of the society of which they will be a part both in and after death." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 121)