Super Bowl Special: The Three Watches as Documented in Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

When was the last time you read Lehi’s vision about the Tree of Life, the Iron Rod, and the Strait and Narrow Path?

When you have read it in the past I suspect that you, like me, assumed that the various groups of people mentioned were all having their path experience at the same time, rather than in three chronological time periods.

I got a rather thought provoking email today by one of my readers and thought that we should share it with you.

Please excuse Mrs. Watcher’s initial frivolity despite such a sober topic.

 

 

PS

Note how this new interpretation incorporates the eventual falling away and apostasy of both the saints of the New Testament Church and also the saints of the Restored Church, followed by an account about the success of the final successful attempt of the saints in the Third Watch during the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.

Note: One should not assume that the faithful saints of the first two watches ultimately fail to gain eternal life.  The faithful saints of the second watch who were mingled with some unfaithful saints stumbled when they attempted to redeem Zion.

Yet they were promised by the Lord that they even though they transgressed before the Lord, they would eventually become the jewels of the Lord.

D&C 101

1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—

2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;

3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.

After getting that unconditional promise, they were told that they would be returned to the earth in the flesh during the third watch to receive their inheritance in the land of Zion

D&C 103

1 Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;

2 Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time.

3 For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;

4 And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them…

11 But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.

12 For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.

13 Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren—your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.

Editorial Note: I have been asked to post the entire email on this blog so that the points could be studied.

enjoy.

Watcher,
You mentioned in your YouTube something interesting about the word “commence” and that got me started down a word search that, for me, led to an amazing discovery I’d like to share with you.
As I studied the word commence, I was turned on to the vision of the Tree of Life.
Here’s what I found…
There were four main groups described in the vision.
Group 1
1 Ne. 8:21-23
21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
22 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
23 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.
Group 2
1 Ne. 8:24-25
24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
25 And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
Group 3
1 Ne. 8:30
30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
Group 4
1 Ne. 8:31
31 And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
Of these four groups, three were heading toward the tree and some were lost while one of them never cared to seek the tree and went to the great and spacious building.
You’ll note that when each of the 3 groups commenced their journey to the tree, they entered the strait and narrow path at the fountain head.
1 Ne. 8:20
20 And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by thehead of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
What else is unique to these three groups is that they were all pressing forward.
21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
Where else do we see pressing forward and strait and narrow?
2 Ne. 31:17-20
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might knowthe gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea,ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shallpress forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
It shows that each of these groups in order to enter the strait and narrow path must be baptized.
“then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life… [because] ye have entered in by the gate [been baptized by water]” (2 Ne. 31:18).
Once they’re on the path they press forward. All of them. They “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ [holding fast to iron rod]” (2 Ne. 31:20).
Now that we talked about their similarities let’s look at some of their differences. We see that they’re baptized and feast on the word of God as they’re making their way to the Tree of Life.
Each group has a different struggle.
Group 1 has to deal with the mist of darkness.
“There arose a mist of darkness … insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost” (1 Ne. 8:23).
We know “the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost” (1 Ne. 12:17).
Group 2 had to deal with the mist of darkness and a new threat — the great and spacious building.
“After they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed … on the other side of the river of water, [was] a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people … in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.” (1 Ne. 8:25-28)
Group 3, faced similar challenges, however they never did fall away.
What was the difference?
It was in how they took the word of God in their hands.
Group 1 didn’t have the iron rod to hold on to.
Group 2 “caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness,clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.” (1 Ne. 8:24)
Group 3 Lehi “saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward,continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.” (1 Ne. 8:30)
Group 1 didn’t have the Iron Rod to cling to and were lost.
Group 2 clung to it and then fell away.
Group 3 continually held fast and even though there were people in the great and spacious building mocking them, but they “heeded them not” (1 Ne. 8:33).
It was you who taught me that Joseph Smith revealed that Christ would come during three separate occasions referred to as Watches.
JST Luke 12:41-42
41 For behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in thesecond watch, and again he shall come in the third watch.
42 And verily, I say unto you, He hath already come, as it is written of him; and again, when he shall come in the second watch or come in the third watch, blessed are those servants, when he cometh, that he shall find so doing;
It was you who taught me that the First Watch was during Christ’s earthly ministry and that the Second Watch was during Joseph Smith’s prophetic ministry and that that Third Watch was still to come during what it referred to as the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
So I couldn’t help myself.
I immediately wondered if the 3 groups of people that Lehi saw weren’t just metaphorical groups, but actual groups of baptized members into Christ’s Church who also coincided with the Three Watches as well.
If that were true, a LOT of the pieces fall into place.
Like, how Group 1 didn’t have the Iron Rod to hold on to and how they lost their way due to the mists of darkness.
The Meridian Saints didn’t have the scriptures. Not that that is the form of the word of God, but it’s a main one. And after the gospel was lost in what is universally referred to as the Great Apostasy we have the Dark Ages.
Group 2 had the word of God. The Restoration Saints of Joseph Smith’s day had the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Book of Commandments.
These saints had both the mists of darkness, “temptations of the devil” (1 Ne. 12:17) and the large and spacious building, “vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men” (1 Ne. 12:18) to deal with.
They fought the mists as they made their way to the tree and then they struggled with the scorn from those in the building after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree.
The Lord told Joseph that the Saint’s “minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief … Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.” (D&C 84:54-55)
We see that during the second watch the saints partook of the fruit of the tree but shortly after partaking fell away.
It’s interesting that Group 3 never falls away. This reminds me of the Saints that are gathered in during the Third Watch never to fall away.
When Mormon was compiling the Book of Mormon, he records made a similar discovery. He saw our day and knew that Lehi’s vision was more than just a metaphor.
Hel. 3:28-30
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven [baptism] is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God [iron rod], which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all thecunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil [mists of darkness], and lead the man of Christ in astrait and narrow [path that leads to the tree of life] course across that everlastinggulf of misery [justice of God] which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
30And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven [tree of life]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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