You can read 1 Nephi 10:1-6 here.
Context and General Information
(Same as last time…)
- Lehi and his family are still dwelling in the valley of Lemuel – in the wilderness.
- After Lehi told his family about his dream he told them about the Jews.
- Jerusalem would be destroyed. Many of the Jews dwelling there would be carried away captive into Babylon.
- After some time (according to the will of God), the Jews would be able to return to Jerusalem again.
- Lehi prophesies that 600 years from the time that they left Jerusalem, the Lord would raise up a Messiah – or, in other words, a Savior of the World.
- All of us are in a lost and fallen state, and we will remain so unless we rely on this Messiah.
The Lord Will Raise Up a Messiah
On Saturday, we studied verses 2-3 in depth – about the destruction of Jerusalem, and then about the time when they would return from Babylon and how this related to the Messiah.
So – let’s continue on!
“Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world.”
And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah, of whom he had spoken, or this Redeemer of the world.
Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.” – 1 Nephi 10:4-6
You know…I think that it was important for Lehi to know that the people would go back to Jerusalem. He knew it would be destroyed, and at first – before studying the words of Isaiah and receiving more wisdom from the Lord, it might be easy to think that Jerusalem would have remained destroyed.
But Lehi is taught that the Jews would return to Jerusalem – and they would remain there for centuries. In fact, Lehi learned and then prophesied to his family (and also us!) that six hundred years after leaving Jerusalem, the Savior would come. In this verse, and in the following verses, there are 4 titles given for Jesus Christ, of whom Lehi is prophesying.
Prophet, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer
The title of “Prophet” is somewhat interesting when it comes to the Savior. Mostly because I usually tend to think of a prophet as someone who testifies of Christ. Well, in the Bible Dictionary, we learn:
“The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” – Bible Dictionary: Prophet
The Savior certainly performed this function of a prophet. While He ministered on the earth, The Savior Himself stated:
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:38-40
Christ was the Messenger of God – as a member of the Godhead, Himself. He was a messenger of His Father. He taught the people the higher law, He testified of His divine mission and God’s will – that we can all receive salvation through Christ.
The Bible Dictionary continues:
“It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, such as the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost.” – Bible Dictionary: Prophet
Christ fulfilled all of the duties of a prophet. He denounced sin. he taught the disciples a higher law, he cleaned the temple, he constantly corrected the pharisees.
Christ was a preacher of righteousness – giving the beatitudes, and telling parables.
Christ worked to restore faith and remove false views about God – he gave a higher law, he taught about service on the Sabbath day. He healed people and performed miracle after miracle – according to the faith of many, and to help the faith of many more.
The Savior had a testimony of His role and duty. He didn’t let anything get in the way of what He knew He had come here to do. He was the Prophet prophesied of by Lehi.
Again, the Bible Dictionary can help us to understand the title of Messiah and how it applies to Christ:
“An Aramaic word meaning “the anointed.” It occurs only in Dan. 9:25–26 and John 1:41; 4:25 (Messias). Used as the title of an office, it denotes the King and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting. In the New Testament the deliverer is called the Christ, which is the Greek equivalent of Messiah, and Jesus the Messiah is called Jesus the Christ, Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus.” – Bible Dictionary: Messiah
Christ was anointed – from the pre-mortal realm, to come to earth, make an sacrifice for sin so that we could be atoned. He was anointed – from the pre-mortal realm – to take on death and then overcome it – so that we could then live forever. Christ was anointed to atone for us – overcoming both death and hell. He is the promised Messiah.
The following titles seem similar, but it might be helpful to study each of them individually to see the nuanced differences. In this case, the title of Messiah tells us that He was anointed. This was His duty, his role, his responsibility. It was also His gift. He’d be given the capacity to do what He had been set apart to do.
So – Jesus wasn’t just some random good guy. He wasn’t just some wise rabbi. He was anointed. He was called of God and set apart to do the work that He came to earth to do.
In the Guide to the Scriptures, we read:
“One who saves. Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, offered redemption and salvation to all mankind. “Savior” is a name and title of Jesus Christ.” – Guide to the Scriptures: Savior
Christ was anointed to save us. So, He is our Savior.
I know that this is a common name for Jesus Christ. I often call Him, The Savior. But take a second to think about it. Jesus is called the Savior…because we need one.
We will learn more about this concept later, for sure. But it is critical for us to remember: WE NEED A SAVIOR. Without Him, we are consigned to an endless state of misery and woe. Without Jesus Christ, this world is the best it gets. Without Jesus Christ we wouldn’t be saved from death. So the grave would have been the victor. Without Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t be saved from spiritual death – which is an eternal separation from God (who is life).
We would be forever miserable. Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are the source of everything and anything good in this world. Without the Savior, we wouldn’t experience so many blessings.
We need a Savior, and Jesus Christ is it.
Thus far, we have learned that Jesus Christ is a Prophet – as He testifies of God’s will; the Messiah – he is anointed to do His work; The Savior – as He saves us from the fall – both death and sin. Now, we are learning that He is also the Redeemer.
It kind of sounds the same as Savior, but we learn from D. Todd Christofferson:
“Among the most significant of Jesus Christ’s descriptive titles is Redeemer. As indicated in my brief account of immigrant “redemptioners,” the word redeem means to pay off an obligation or a debt. Redeem can also mean to rescue or set free as by paying a ransom. If someone commits a mistake and then corrects it or makes amends, we say he has redeemed himself. Each of these meanings suggests different facets of the great Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Atonement, which includes, in the words of the dictionary, “to deliver from sin and its penalties, as by a sacrifice made for the sinner.” – D. Todd Christofferson
This explanation by Elder Christofferson suggests another nuance to Christ’s roles – he pays off an obligation, or a debt. We are in debt to God – who grants us daily breath, blessings, and so much more. Christ also sets us free by paying ransom.
Christ didn’t just “save” us – the way a firefighter might rush in and save a baby in a burning building. Yes, that firefighter is heroic and is even taking a big risk. He might be a Savior.
But Jesus Christ – as the redeemer set us free by paying a ransom. The Salvation He offers came at a cost – His blood, His body. He didn’t merely risk his life He gave it.
This is a beautiful prophecy from Lehi, and the prophecies of Christ will only get better as we continue to read the Book of Mormon. We need the Savior. We Need Him. We need to be saved. We need our debts to be paid. And we can’t just have any old joe-schmoe save us. In order to find salvation, we need one who is anointed and empowered to perform this work. It is Jesus Christ – the prophet who tells us the will of the Father:
“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.” – 3 Nephi 27:13-16
These titles: Prophet, Messiah, Savior, and Redeemer – are inspiration to us to do as He instructs: come unto Him, repent, be baptized in His name, and endure to the end. Because of Him we have hope. Truly, the Gospel is Good News.