1 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the Spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father.
2 And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them. [The lapse of time between when Lehi shared his dream and Nephi had his vision was not very long.]
3 For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought. [Today, it is common for people to dispute and debate the details of the gospel instead of taking the matter to the Lord, as Nephi did. He received something from his father, who was the prophet, yet he sought a personal witness.]
4 And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness [lack of desire] of their hearts, and also, because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.
5 And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, [distress] for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.
6 And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations. [Came back later and asked them.]
7 And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.
8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? [The next time you have a question regarding a point of doctrine, a decision in your life, anything that presses upon your mind, will you not ask the same question as Nephi? “Have you inquired of the Lord?” Too often in our culture we feel that the Lord will not help us; that we must figure it all out for ourselves. How many have studied Isaiah, yet have never asked the Lord directly to help us understand?]
9 And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.
10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?
11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you. [I don’t know the source of this commandment, but it may have been an unknown commandment in the Brass Plates or directly revealed to Lehi and given to his sons.]
12 Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, [Similar to the words of Zenos] by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; [Part of what Lehi spoke about which doesn’t have a previous reference.] and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel? [Tribe of Menassah]
13 And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural [wild] branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed— [Nephi clearly explains the meaning behind the previous chapter.]
14 And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. [Nephi is prophesying to his brethren based on the vision he had, and the Spirit within him.]
15 And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?
16 Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree. [The one bearing good fruit.]
17 And this is what our father meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles; [Part of Lehi’s vision not included in Nephi’s writing dealt with the scattering of Israel in the last days.] and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel.
18 Wherefore, our father hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [It will be fulfilled when Zion is established and the House of Israel is gathered and receives the fullness of the Lord.]
19 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake much unto them concerning these things; yea, I spake unto them concerning the restoration of the Jews in the latter days.
20 And I did rehearse unto them the words of Isaiah, who spake concerning the restoration of the Jews, or of the house of Israel; and after they were restored they should no more be confounded, neither should they be scattered again. And it came to pass that I did speak many words unto my brethren, that they were pacified and did humble themselves before the Lord. [Remember, he is speaking of a second scattering and gathering, as the Babylonians have not yet destroyed Israel.]
21 And it came to pass that they did speak unto me again, saying: What meaneth this thing which our father saw in a dream? What meaneth the tree which he saw?
22 And I said unto them: It was a representation of the tree of life. [The only other reference they know is the tree in the Garden of Eden.]
23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?
24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; [Cannot be cut off unless they partake of the fruit and follow Satan. Grabbing hold of the rod is holding tight to the Holy Spirit given to them as expressed in revelation, scripture, and the words of others.] neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.
25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, [Nephi was a passionate young man.] and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.
26 And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?
27 And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water. [Lehi didn’t see the filthy water. This is interesting in how we too may see different things in the spirit that others do not.]
28 And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.
29 And I said unto them that it was a representation of that awful hell, which the angel said unto me was prepared for the wicked.
30 And I said unto them that our father also saw that the justice of God did also divide the wicked from the righteous; and the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire, [A description of the glory of God.] which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end. [There is no end to the Elohim.]
31 And they said unto me: Doth this thing [Judgment] mean the torment of the body in the days of probation, or doth it mean the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, or doth it speak of the things which are temporal?
32 And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things both temporal and spiritual; for the day should come that they must be judged of their works, yea, even the works which were done by the temporal body in their days of probation. [Temporal Judgment is when we either are born again in Christ and receive the Holy Ghost, or are ripe in iniquity, having fully chosen to pursue darkness.]
33 Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought [at a future time] to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also.
34 But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. [According to their light and glory.]
35 And there is a place prepared, [It exists even now, outer darkness.] yea, even that awful hell of which I have spoken, and the devil is the preparator of it; [It is his dominion.] wherefore the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken.
36 Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen.
The Tree of Life, spoken in previous chapters, is a symbol of God’s gift to us, as seen through the Atonement of Christ, (There is more to this.) the True Vine, and also to have Eternal Life. If people have “hardness of hearts,’ meaning a lack of desire, they will never grab hold of the rod and likely fall into forbidden paths or filthy water and Satan will have power over them. The question is: where is the heart?