"And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father..."
The whole chapter seems to give a sequence of events. I'll sum them up here, and give Jen's translation after each verse.
- "The Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (vs. 3) -- Don't worry if you speak southern, Australian, or ebonics. God knows how to speak to you, and will give you light to understand his doctrine.
- "...if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water... how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!" (vs.5) -- We need to follow his example and be baptized by water, and immersion (implied).
- "...he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments." (vs.7) -- He didn't question why he had to get in a river and be immersed to keep God's commandments. He illustrated obedience.
- "...after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove" and "then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost" (vs.8, 13) -- How do you expound upon that?
- "...then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel." (vs.13) -- Do any of us truly believe this is possible? Why don't we believe this? Can we do this on a daily basis, once we receive this purifying gift? If our answer is no, why not???
Following this, Nephi gives the "Now what?" for after one is baptized. Is all done? "For ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save." (vs.19) You've showed God you're interested, willing, and obedient. Now what? Nephi tells us: "Wherefore, ye must
- press forward with a steadfastness in Christ
- having a perfect brightness of hope
- and a love of God and of all men.
- Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ,
- and endure to the end,
- behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
I love Nephi's plainness. In the next chapter he continues the doctrine.
"...again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all the things what ye should do." (vs.5) -- The Holy Ghost is a "show-er". He shows us what we should do. I like how if we put "show-er" together it makes the word "shower". More on this idea later.
Nephi finishes the discussion on the "doctrine" by saying,
"Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do."
A few thoughts to wrap this post up.
- Baptism by water symbolic, but done physically. There are physical effects, emotional effects, and spiritual effects.
- Baptism of fire is symbolic, and done by the laying on of hands. It is a physical action, which produces physical effects, emotional effects, and spiritual effects.
- Nephi suggests that after we follow this doctrine, Christ shall manifest himself unto you "in the flesh". This promise is also stated in St. John, among other places. Nephi prophecied that Christ would not come in the flesh until 600 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. Clearly Nephi was not re-nigging on that prophecy. So what does he mean, that Christ will manifest himself unto you in the flesh? Something to chew on. :)