1 Nephi 8 The Tree of Life
· Do you dream every night when you sleep? · Have you ever been frustrated because something woke you up in the middle of a dream? · Have you ever dreamed about something that actually happened later? · Have you ever had a dream that gave you an answer to a prayer? 1 Nephi 8
Joseph Smith Senior: "I thought," said he, "I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing. I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream, I could see neither the source nor yet the mouth; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it
bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.' Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed. While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it
appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were all filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. I presently turned to my guide and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. The more we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees and scooped it up, eating it by double handfuls. I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy." Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, p.48,50
The central feature in Lehi’s dream is the tree of life—a representation of “the love of God” (see 1 Nephi 11:21–22). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Thus, the birth, life, and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ are the greatest manifestations of God’s love for His children. What is the center of the dream? David A. Bednar, Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod, Ensign, October 2011.
Read 1 Ne 8:1-4 SymbolLehi’sDream Cross‑Reference Interpretation Field1_Nephi 8:7-9 Tree and fruit 1Nephi 8:10-16 1Nephi 11:21–22, 25 Rod of iron 1Nephi 8:19–20 1Nephi 15:23–24 Mist of darkness 1Nephi 8:23 1Nephi 12:17 Great and spacious 1Nephi 8:26-27 1Nephi 12:18 1 Nephi 8
Read 1 Ne 8:1-4 SymbolLehi’sDream Cross‑Reference Interpretation Field 1_Nephi 8:7-9 The World Tree and fruit 1Nephi 8:10-16 1Nephi 11:21–22, 25 Love of God Rod of iron 1Nephi 8:19–20 1Nephi 15:23–24 Word of God Mist of darkness 1Nephi 8:23 1Nephi 12:17 Temptations Great and spacious 1Nephi 8:26-27 1Nephi 12:18 Pride of the world 1 Nephi 8
1st Nephi 8:18 1st Nephi 8:21-23 1st Nephi 8:24-28 1st Nephi 8:30 4 Groups “Father Lehi saw four groups of people in his dream. Three of the groups were pressing forward along the strait and narrow path seeking to obtain the tree and its fruit (one group fell away from the path, the second and third groups both arrived at the tree but only one stayed after arrival). A fourth group did not seek after the tree, desiring the great and spacious building as their ultimate destination (see1 Nephi 8:31–33).” (David A. Bednar, Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod, Ensign, October 2011).
Which of the four groups are you in? Trick question– you only have two choices left. Another symbol: 1 Nephi 8 with Matthew 13. Lehi’s Dream Parable of the Sower Interpretation 1Nephi 8:21–23 Matthew 13:3–4, 19 WAYSIDE (Lost; rejected the Word) 1Nephi 8:24–28 Matthew 13:5–6, 20–21 STONEY (Ashamed) 1Nephi 8:31–33 Matthew 13:7, 22 THORNS (Temptations) 1Nephi 8:30 Matthew 13:8, 23 GOOD (Never fell away) 1 Nephi 8
What obstacles did the people in Lehi’s vision face? What form do those obstacles take today? • What helped the people reach the tree and partake of the fruit? • In what ways is an iron rod like the word of God? • What do you think it means to “press forward”? 1 Nephi 8
“What, then, is the difference between clinging and holding fast to the rod of iron? Let me suggest that holding fast to the iron rod entails, in large measure, the prayerful, consistent, and earnest use of the holy scriptures as a sure source of revealed truth and as a reliable guide for the journey along the strait and narrow path to the tree of life—even to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Clinging vs. Holding Fast David A. Bednar, Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod, Ensign, October 2011.
“Are you and I daily reading, studying, searching the scriptures in a way that enables to hold fast to the rod of iron—or are you and merely clinging? “Are you and I pressing forward toward the fountain of living waters—relying upon the word of God? These are important questions for each of us to ponder prayerfully” Clinging vs. Holding Fast David A. Bednar, Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod, Ensign, October 2011.
What three elements in Lehi’s dream assisted people in making it to the Tree of Life? “The word of God contains three very strong elements that intertwine and sustain one another to form an immovable rod: First, the scriptures. The second is personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. The third part is the words of the living prophets. President Packer said it this way: ‘If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . .Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.)” Three Elements Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Hold Fast to the Words of the Prophets”, CES Fireside for Young Adults • March 4, 2007 • Brigham Young University
Read 1 Nephi 8:36–38 looking for how Lehi handled Laman and Lemuel’s rejection. • Have your parents ever stopped speaking to you or a sibling that wouldn’t listen? • How have your parents tried to convert you to the gospel and Jesus? So what is the tree of life? See 1 Ne 11:4-6, 20-22. Why a tree? Of all things to represent Jesus, why a tree??? Sing “The Iron Rod” (Hymns, no. 274). 1 Nephi 8
1 Nephi 8 The Tree of Life