In our podcast on the three watches, I briefly mentioned the possibility that Lehi’s dream contained evidence of the three watches. I got this possibility from one of my readrs named Ryan. In the podcast I did not take the time to fully present and develop what Ryan had observed.
I have decided to develop this concept a little more in this post.
Ryan noted that there were several distinct groups of people that embarked on the journey
More specifically, he pointed out that the dream of Lehi spoke of three different eras where a group of people attempted to embark in the strait way to make it to the tree of life. The last era contained two groups within it
I would interject that the last of the three eras appears to contain two groups because unlike the narrative of the first and second group, which both ended with was the phrase “and it came to pass” to make a dispensational differentiation, the last two groups do not have that separating phrase between.
He also used keyword searches to show that all three groups had exercised faith and repentance and been baptized and received a remission of their sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost in order to enter into the strait and narrow path.
That is what all three groups had in common.
He went on to observe-
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.
He then observed-
Group 1 didn’t have the Iron Rod to hold on to before they lost their way due to the mists of darkness.
The Meridian Saints didn’t have the New Testament scriptures. They only had the Old Testament scriptures which do not provide with clarity what the NT does. Not that the written word is the only form of the word of God, but it’s a main one, and there are indications that the written word is what was being referred to.
He suggested that the first group was lost in what is universally referred to as the Great Apostasy of the New Testament Church followed by the Dark Ages.
Notice how the dream seems to declare that the entire group became lost
“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).
This is consistent with D&C 86 which informs us that after the New Testament apostles fell asleep, the , the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness
The entire church collectively went into apostacy-
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
(Don’t freak out, we have documented in blog posts and in the podcast that the obedient that were mingled among the disobedient saints had their names entered into the Book of Remembrance and will mysteriously and miraculously be brought back in the third watch to successfully establish Zion)
Group 2 had the word of God. Unlike the New Testament Saints, the Restoration Saints of Joseph Smith’s day had the New Testament, Book of Mormon and the Book of Commandments/Doctrine and Covenants.
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)
The whole church both leaders and members were under condemnation and must have a reformation in all thing. Shortly after that they were rejected as a church with their dead.
We see that during the second watch the saints partook of the fruit of the tree but shortly after partaking fell away as a collective group and failed to establish Zion.
(Again don’t freak out, we have documented in blog posts and in the podcast that the obedient that were mingled among the disobedient saints had their names entered into the Book of Remembrance and will mysteriously and miraculously be brought back in the third watch to successfully establish Zion)
This is consistent with the allegory in Jacob which also identifies the three watches.
Ryan observes that the dream notes that the saints of the second watch [collectively as a group] fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.” (1 Ne. 8:25-28)
I am not saying that I necessarily believe this is an accurate interpretation, but if it isn’t, there are some remarkable typological coincidences worth noting.
BTW, I noticed in one of the BYU studies articles that someone created a comparison between Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s vision. I have not taken the time to look for additional verification or possibly evidence to debunk the above interpretation, but thought I would share it for anyone that would like to review the comparison for any reason.