1 Nephi 16:25-31, “up into the top of the mountain”

1 Nephi 16:25-31 

25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.

Nephi has brought us to the critical turning point in his story. We are now at the time of apparent defeat in the chiasmus we described earlier He patterned the entire book of First Nephi after the cosmic myth, that is, after the same pattern as the Feast of Tabernacles temple drama.{1}

As in the cosmic myth, after reaching the point when success seems impossible, Nephi presents us with two critical elements that are the turning point toward their ultimate triumph and victory. Those two are their receiving of the Liahona and Nephi’s finding food at the mountain top to sustain his family. In the subtext, he has also brought us to the top of the cosmic mountain where we find the tree of life and can partake of its fruit. Having the assurance one receives at the tree does not portend an easy time from there, just as the food did not for Lehi’s family in the desert, but it does give the assurance that failure is no longer looming as a possible conclusion of the journey.

{1} As already observed, when written as a chiasmus, a pattern of 1 Nephi looks like this:
.    A. Nephi and his family must leave home
.         B. They are given a seeming impossible task
.             C. They receive all necessary empowerment
.                 D. Rebellion and starvation in the wilderness
.             C. Liahona directs him to mountain top for food
.         B. They travel to Bountiful to complete their task
.    A. They arrive at the promised land


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