I don’t have much time to research this right now, but I want to look into 2 questions this week. If you have any insights, please help!
1. There is some question as to the identity of Nephi’s spirit guide in these chapters. I have heard that Bruce R. McConkie and James E. Talmage were at odds as to who Nephi was speaking to. McConkie held that it was the premortal Christ who spoke to Nephi, and Talmage declared that it was the Holy Ghost having taken the form of a man. (See here in the commentary under 1 Ne 11:11.) In chapters 11 and 12 this being is referred to as “the Spirit of the Lord,” “the angel,” and “the spirit.” A description of this personage is given in 11:11–
And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof–for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless , I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.
It seems to me that it would be odd if this personage was the premortal Christ, since Nephi is shown several visions of Christ in these chapters. I suppose it could be possible, though, for Christ to be standing with Nephi showing him scenes of his own life. Later, Nephi begins referring to him as “the angel.” Do you think it’s possible that this is simply a messenger standing in for the Lord with divine investiture of authority?
2. I’m interested in 12:8-10 where the twelve Apostles are discussed in the role of judges in Israel. It sounds to me that these Apostles are given authority to judge at the final judgment. The Angel tells Nephi that the Twelve who were called by Jesus in his Galilean ministry are to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, including the twelve Nephite Disciples. Then the Nephites will be judged by their own Twelve. I have heard it taught that we will be judged by the Apostles of our day. How does this fit with 2 Nephi 9:41 and other scriptures which say that Christ alone will be the judge?