Nephi and the story of Laban
I will discuss the story of Nephi in 1 Nephi 4
6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.He sets the example of a true servant of the Lord. They are guided by the lord, in the Spirit. Not knowing what to do he waited upon the Lord and went and did what he was asked to do. Go get the plates. He followed the direction doing what he thought was best. The spirit finally speaks to him after being obedient to the original command. Would he have been given the next instruction from the Lord if he had not gone and tried to get the plates? This is also the third time he attempted to get the plates.
7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine.
8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
Here is what the spirit tells Nephi to do.
I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.And it came to pass that
And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
It took three times for Nephi to give heed. Was it because he was slothful in listening to the commands of the Lord or was Nephi wise in waiting for the mouth of “two or three” witnesses that it may be established as His word? It was this testimony of three that he was able to tell it came from the Lord and not a deception deployed by Satan.
So what was the justification for killing Laban?
Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
It is better to kill one man than a whole nation to dwindle and perish in unbelief.
Jesus Christ is Crucified
Here is what the Pharisees said in response to wanting to kill Jesus Christ.
Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. (John 11:50)
The reasons are almost identical. Laban was killed that the nation would not perish and dwindle in unbelief, Jesus was killed that the whole nation would perish not.
The reasons why both were killed.
Do we learn anything else to why they were killed? Continuing the Nephi account the spirit speaks to nephi before he kills laban.
And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep mycommandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.
He realizes that without the record, his people could not know about the laws of god thus they would remain in the darkness. Also the holy ghost brought back to remembrance something the Lord had told him previously.
This is the story of Jesus healing Lazarus and what happened after. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
If we let him thus alone, all will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (John 11: 46, 48)
A Council was held. Jesus Christ’s own excommunication was being held by those who claimed to be Gods people but were not (John 8:39). They said, this man doth many miracles, if we leave him alone, all men will believe him.
The last phrase tells us exactly how the nation would be lost “Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation”. Fear of losing their leadership, their nation, from the Romans. They were afraid of the consequences of these Romans who they served under.
Laban: Would not give the records of God to Nephi and sought to kill Nephi. Preserve the records so that his posterity would believe on Christ.
Jesus: All would believe on him and the Pharisees would lose their nation to the Romans. Wealth, fame, leadership, greed, etc…
The voice of the spirit are commandments
I could write a new post for this but since the scriptures are laid out already I will just briefly mention this.
The voice of the spirit is the commandments of God. Nephi to keep the commandments of God obeyed the voice of the Spirit (vs 18). So if we wish to follow the commandments of God shouldn’t we get intune with the voice of the spirit and find out what God wants to “command” us to do? Isn’t salvation personal? Can’t we only deliver our own souls? Than what are the commandments of God for us? Wouldn’t he tell us just like he told Nephi? If we only focus on what commandments are given through the prophet or servant will we miss the commandments from the Lord to us? Could he tell us something different than another person?
Will we all be asked to kill someone to preserve a nation?
3 Nephi with Christs appearance teaches this same principle. Why was it that each time he spoke to the people it says “he commanded them” to do baptize, to bring the children, to partake of the sacrament, etc… Each time Christ spoke to them it and asked them to do something it was almost always considered a “commandment”.
Gods voice, his instructions, are the commandments we should worry about. Not the Law of Moses, for it brings forth dead works. If you want good works, than follow the higher law, Gods voice. Not a “pre-set” law that never changes but an ever changing one based off “righteousness”. Really it may seem to contradict itself it doesn’t. For the law is based off one thing and one thing only, saving souls (eternal life). Following the spirit is how we do that.
That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, 'Thou shalt not kill'; at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.
Dean C. Jessee (editor), The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 507-509