How does one become a “special witness” of our risen Lord? Thankfully the Lord gave us an example of what a witness of the Resurrection goes through and is required to do.
- Nephi desired to know the things his father had seen (Vision of the Tree of Life). (1 Nephi 11:1)
- He was carried away in a vision, and asked about his desires. (1 Nephi 11:1–3)
- He was tested to know if he believed the vision of the Lord to Lehi. (1 Nephi 8:2)(1 Nephi 11:4–5) xr (Numbers 12:6)
- He is granted his own vision according to his desires. (1 Nephi 11:6) xr (Numbers 12:6)
- This is given as a sign to Nephi (signs follow them that believe). (1 Nephi 11:7)
- He is told that he will not only see the tree, but also the ministry of the Lord.
- He is told he will SEE the Lord and His ministry, the word “witness” is used twice. (1 Nephi 11:7)
- Witnesses testify.
- As a witness, he will now be able to testify, and he is required to bear record that it is the Son of God. (1 Nephi 11:7)
- The Vision of the Tree (11:8-23)
- The Vision of the Ministry (life, death, post-resurrection visit) (11:24 – 12:6)
- Nephi receives the vision of all. (1 Nephi 12, 1 Nephi 13, and 1 Nephi 14)
- John will write the remainder of these things, and the end of the world. (1 Nephi 14:21–22)
- Nephi saw these things, but couldn’t write them. (1 Nephi 14:24–25)
- Others have seen these things too. (1 Nephi 14:26)
- Nephi bears record that he saw what he recorded. (1 Nephi 14:29–30)
Nephi became a “special witness” of the Lord. He was commanded to testify of the things he saw and recorded many of them. They were not “too sacred” to cast as pearls before swine. This is the pattern. They bear their own testimony and use others testimonies of what they WITNESSED.
Later, Nephi uses the words of others (including the words of an angel) to further describe what HE witnessed.
And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.
And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.
And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel. (1 Nephi 19:8–10)
Nephi saw these things, but is confined to the words of prophets before him. However, Nephi does testify of the things which He witnessed, using his own words throughout his record.
These “special witnesses” should be able to write their own Gospel because they see the Lord’s ministry, and are then commanded to be a “witness.” Witnesses testify.