Fairly early in the Book of Mormon account, the reader is notified of the close relationship this account will have with the yet-future Gentile nation. Starting in 1 Nephi 10, Lehi uses the allegory of the olive tree to explain how the House of Israel will be scattered and the branches broken off of the Tree of the Covenant. Later, after the Gentiles have been given the opportunity to enter into the Gospel Covenant, the House of Israel will be gathered back in and grafted back on to the Tree.
Here in 1 Nephi 13, Nephi receives more information about the Gentiles. He sees a vision of the Land of Promise–the land upon which he and his family have recently arrived. He is shown that his own descendants will be scattered, yet another remnant of the House of Israel which will be scattered. Nephi sees how it is that the Gentiles will come to the Land of Promise and be given this land for their land inheritance. Nephi is shown the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and their relationship to the Jews, his people, and the Gentiles is explained.
Several things I found interesting in this chapter were:
1. The Great and Abominable Church–Stephen E. Robinson identifies this as “an immense assembly or association of people bound together by their loyalty to that which God hates,” and goes on to discuss the characteristics of the Great and Abominable Church in 1 Ne 13 and in the Book of Revelation.
2. A Cryptic Quote by Orson Hyde–I came across this quote by Orson Hyde and wished I had my Journals of Discourses handy!
In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones and remains of towns, cities and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world. This same angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammelled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him was with him on the stormy deep, calmed and troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven. Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water (Journal of Discourses, Vol.6, p.368, Orson Hyde, July 4, 1854.)
Of what angel is Hyde speaking? Is he referring to Moroni? Could it be possible that the angel who is speaking to Nephi in Chapter 13 is the premortal Moroni?
3. When do we get to read the other books (v. 39)? In this chapter we are told of other records besides the Bible and the Book of Mormon which will come forth from the Gentiles and be given unto the Nephite/Lamanite remnant, the Jews and the Gentiles to establish the truth of the Bible and Book of Mormon, and to convince these groups of people that Jesus is the Savior.