The angel of the Lord showed Nephi a vision of the future. In the vision, Nephi saw the many nations and kingdoms of Gentiles that would someday fill the earth. Within the Gentile nations a “church” was formed, which was the great and abominable church that was also prophesied of by John the Revelator. This “church” sought to enslave the hearts of men. Torturing people and binding them down into captivity. The “church” was founded by Satan.
The angel showed Nephi the gold, silver, expensive clothing and harlots that the people of this “church” sought after. He explained to Nephi that this was symbolic of these church members putting the love of riches of the earth before God.
The purpose of this church was to destroy the righteous. They used the riches of the earth to tempt the righteous, but if that didn’t work, they used torture and slavery. In the end, if the saints didn’t turn away from the truth, they would be killed.
The “church” in this case is basically Babylon. In general "the Great and Abominable Church is any person or group that fights against God here on earth. The prophecy describes Babylon’s fight against Israel, eventually leading to the fall of Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land.
The angle then goes on to show Nephi events leading to the formation of what is not the United States of America.
12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and awrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. 13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
The “man among the Gentiles” was Christopher Columbus. Contrary to what has become the caricature of Columbus, he wasn’t some bumbling character who couldn’t seem to find his way around the Atlantic Ocean. I can see why people would think so though. Without any context to the contrary, that’s exactly what it seems he was.
However, when you think about it, he wasn’t new to the ocean or to sailing. He was a seasoned Ship Captain who was handpicked above all his contemporaries to lead this voyage. While he didn’t have a lot of good information about where he was headed, he did know navigation; which doesn’t change from one area of the earth to another.
This chapter also speaks to the myth about Columbus “discovering” the Americas. We know that’s a myth because no “discovery” was needed. There were people in the Americas when Columbus showed up. They started calling the people they found “Indians”, since the people didn’t have a common term that referred to all the tribes.
According to this prophecy, Columbus was lead to the Americas by God to bring re-establish religious liberty to the earth. This liberty was necessary to usher in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness.
The people of the tribes of the Americas were a mix of the remnants of the generations of Lehi and Sariah and other cultures that moved into the areas at various times.
The Gentiles of Europe learned how to proper in this “new world” and brought the Holy Bible with them.
20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a abook, and it was carried forth among them. 21 And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book? 22 And I said unto him: I know not. 23 And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The abook that thou beholdest is a brecord of the cJews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the dplates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.
We will cover a lot more about the formation of the United States, as well as God’s purposes for creating it in future chapters.
The angel then moves on to show Nephi revelations about the New Testament. He is shown a vision of the 12 Apostles, who bore record of the truth taught by the Lamb of God. He also shown that the time will come when the great and abominable church will use its influence to get “many plain and precious parts” taken from the writings to pervert the word of God for their own gain.
29 And after these plain and precious things were ataken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.
But, of course, God will allow men to use their freedom of choice as we all see fit, but will not be frustrated by the choices we make.
32 Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that aabominable church, whose formation thou hast seen.
Nephi is being taught why it is important for him and his posterity to continue keeping the record that as he was commanded. A second witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be established through his work. That witness is The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
TERMS OF PARTICIPATION