The Tree of Life


Where it is found: 1 Nephi 8-11; 12

Setting: Around 600 B.C. in the Valley of Lemuel outside Jerusalem.

Story Summary

1. Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

Lehi Saw a tree with fruit that when eaten made him extremely joyful and he desired his family to eat. (10-12)

A river traveled alongside the path to the tree and at the head of the river was Lehi’s Family (Nephi, Sariah and Sam) who weren’t sure where to go (13-14).

Lehi beckoned them to come to the tree and eat and they did (15-16).

Lehi then sees Laman and Lemuel and beckons them to come but they don’t. (18)

Lehi sees a rod of iron that leads from the head of the river to the tree along a straight and narrow path. (20)

Lehi also sees a large spacious field at the head of the river. (20)

Lehi sees lots of people start down the rod of Iron and then a dark mist arises causing them to get lost. (23)

Lehi sees some people reach the tree and partake but then become ashamed. (25)

Lehi sees a great and spacious building with people with fine clothing who are mocking those at the tree.   All who heeded the mockers fell away. (28)  (1 Nephi 8)

2. Nephi recounts Lehi’s Prophecies of the House of Israel: Nephi explains that he has kept two sets of records: the larger plates of Nephi contain a secular history of his people and the small plates of Nephi relate to spiritual things. Nephi then tells us of his father Lehi’s teachings on the destiny of the House of Israel.  Lehi prophesied of the Babylonian Captivity and return to Jerusalem, of the preaching of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah.  He also prophesied of the Jewish Diaspora and restoration of the Gospel amongst the Gentiles.  Eventually the Jews will be restored to Jerusalem and accept the Gospel. (1 Nephi 9-10)

3. Nephi is given a vision of the Ministry of Jesus and of the Tree of Life: After Nephi had heard the vision of his father he prayed to know the interpretation of the vision. In response, the Spirit of the Lord took Nephi to a high mountain and showed him the vision and gave the interpretation thereof.  Nephi also saw the Ministry and life of Jesus. (1 Nephi 11)

Key Teachings and Themes

1. Meaning of the Parable of the Tree of Life

What did the fruit represent? (The Love of God or Atonement of Jesus)

What did the River represent? (Depths of Hell)

What did the Rod of Iron represent? (Word of God which leads us to Christ and through temptation)

What is the word of God? (Personal Revelation, Scriptures & Modern Prophets)

Why was the rod on a straight and narrow path? (There is only one path to God-Jesus and His Gospel)

What did the Dark Mists represent? Temptations that blind the eyes and harden the hearts and lead to broad roads.

What did the Large & Spacious Building represent? Vain Imaginations and Pride.  Why was the building in the air? It lacked a foundation.

Heeding mockers lead us astray.

2. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God and His Gospel do not change nor will they ever. (1 Nephi 10: 18)

3. Those that diligently seek will learn the mysteries of God. (1 Nephi 10:19)

4. There will be a day of judgment where the wicked will be cast off forever. (1 Nephi 10:20-22)

5. The Love of God is manifested by the Atonement of Jesus and fruit of the Atonement is the sweetest joy that man can find. (1 Nephi 11)

6. All that fight against God and the Apostles will eventually be destroyed. (1 Nephi 11)

Key Scriptures

1 Nephi 10:18-22

18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

20 Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.

21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

22 And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.