The children whom thou shalt have, after thou has lost the first
The Book of Mormon teaches
that America’s greatness will exceed the best of her past
The children whom thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the first,
shall again in thine ears say:
The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.
During the European colonization of America, the new inhabitants were continually
pushing their borders out – westward, ever westward, because the place was too strait.
Our current culture believes that we’re suffering from over-population. At this
future time, America will again have inhabitants seeking places to live, in spite
of living in wasted, desolate, and destroyed places. We have many “waste” places,
places inhospitable to humans. Phoenix, Arizona, the 10th most populous city in
America, is really quite a harsh environment. We also have many unpopulated areas
equally harsh. Perhaps they will be populated in this push for places to dwell.
1 Nephi 21:21
I have lost my children
The Book of Mormon teaches
that He has a surprise in store for the beleaguered Promised Land
Then shalt thou say in thine heart:
Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children,
and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro?
And who hath brought up these?
Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been?
Here are other hints, once again presented as flashbacks, as to the severe destruction
that awaits America, the Promised Land. The population will be decimated. Her international
allies will desert her. She will be brought into captivity.
She asks three questions about her new “children:” 1. Who hath begotten them? 2.
Who hath brought them up? 3. Where have they been?
Taken in isolation, this verse looks more like it applies to the house of Judah,
particularly the reference to removing to and fro. At some time the house of Judah
will acknowledge their brothers from Ephraim and the other tribes.
But it does fit the continuous Promised Land scenario, as the righteous from all
over the world flood into the land.
1 Nephi 21:22
Thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders
The Book of Mormon teaches that God will set up His standard among the people
Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles,
and set up my standard to the people;
and they shall bring thy sons in their arms,
and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
This is the Lord’s answer to the questions posed in the previous verse: God initiates
this gathering to the Promised Land by lifting His hand to the Gentiles and setting
up his standard. We are familiar with the idea that His standard is His ensign as
mentioned in Isaiah 5:26 and 11:12, and that it represents the restored gospel, and
the missionaries who preach it to the world. In response, “they” – the Gentiles
– bring “children.” All these new converts come from Gentile nations, but when they
join God’s family through baptism they become – or are identified as – of the house
2 Nephi 21:23
They shall not be ashamed that wait for me
The Book of Mormon teaches that the world will one day appreciate
the Promised Land and the restored gospel which it brought forth
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers;
they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth,
and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord;
for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
The previous verse describes the lower classes bringing the children to Zion – nursemaids
who carry boys, and litter-bearers with the loads on their shoulders. This verse
indicates that the upper classes – kings and queens – will participate as well.
On a literal level, this verse describes how these people will be abased as they
give this service – face toward the earth, licking up the dust of their feet. But
when we plug in the meaning of these symbolic representations, we get a clarified
The “earth” is the kingdom of God on the earth. These people will have great respect
for the Promised Land, and for the Church which was restored on her. (see verses
8 and 13)
(Nephi, who speaks plainly, does not use this symbolism. When Nephi says “earth,”
he means the world, the planet. When Isaiah says “earth,” he often means the kingdom
of God on earth, and when he says “world” he often means those forces and ideas which
are opposed to heavenly principles and practices.)
“Dust” is a special Book of Mormon word, associated with the bringing forth of that
very book. “Feet” refers to the beautiful feet of those who carry this message throughout
the world. These people will appreciate and savor the Book of Mormon, brought to
them by the missionaries. They will feast upon the Word.
The verse concludes with a reminder that the Lord is coming again, and the faithful
are confidently waiting and watching for Him.
 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the
east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall
be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon
 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten
me -- but he will show that he hath not.
 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion
on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house
 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually
 Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee
waste shall go forth of thee.
 Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these gather themselves together,
and they shall come to thee.
And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with
an ornament, and bind them on even as a bride.
 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall
even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants;
and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.
 The children whom thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the first, shall again
in thine ears say: The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.
 Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have
lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? And who hath
brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been?
 Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and
set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and
thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers;
they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust
of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed
that wait for me.
1 Nephi 21:24
For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered?
The Lord asks a question with an obvious answer. The answer is no. The mighty have
all power, and the captive is doomed to his fate. That is the order of this world.
You can’t fight City Hall.
1 Nephi 21:25
I will save thy children
The Book of Mormon teaches that God is mightier
than the worst powers of this world, and He will intervene in behalf of His people
But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered;
for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
The Lord has dismissed without detail the suffering that the Promised Land has (will)
endured, saying those who oppressed her will leave, be far away. But this is not
the end of world conflict and opposition. It may be that there will continue to
be oppression by foreign powers against America. It is more likely that there is
oppression of the righteous, the children of Zion in foreign lands as they attempt
to gather home. God says He will take them away from those who dominate them, and
deliver them to their own society.
As we observe the heavy hand of tyranny increasing in governments throughout the
world, and their use of technology to discover and destroy those who oppose them,
they look invincible – mighty and terrible. But God knows all these things, and
He is prepared in His own way to save His children.
1 Nephi 21:26
They shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine
The Book of Mormon teaches that wickedness is ultimately suicidal
And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh;
they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine;
and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Saviorand thy Redeemer,
the Mighty One of Jacob.
What a verse of dichotomies – pairing the brutality of man with the divinity of God!
The previous chapter, composed of two chiasms depicting the coming forth of the Book
of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, ended
with a warning to the wicked. This chapter, telling the growth of God’s kingdom,
beginning and culminating in the Promised Land, also warns with stern words for the
Those people and powers who fight against the people of Zion, the Promised Land,
will be turned away from attacking the righteous and make war on each other. The
Book of Mormon record of the Jaredites tells of two instances of this sort of savagery.
1. All the Jaredites except two were killed in their final, bloody war. The witness,
Ether, said, “They were drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine.”
(Ether 15:22. He also specifies the source of this anger: “The Spirit of the Lord
had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people;
for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their
minds that they might be destroyed.”
There is no spiritual vacuum. These people thought they were following their own
hearts, making their own rational choices with their minds, but in thoroughly rejecting
God’s way they were falling right into Satan’s dominion.
2. The Book of Ether is a rapid tour through the Jaredites’ long and convoluted
history. In only three distinct time periods are more events elucidated: The beginning
(Brother of Jared, etc.), Akish and the secret combination, and the end (Ether and
Coriantumr, etc.). The monstrous sequence of Akish’s life culminated in an all-out
war which destroyed all the people of the kingdom, except a righteous few who had
(It is interesting that one of his sons, Nimrah, was angry with his father because
Akish killed his brother. How many sons throughout the scriptures and secular history
have been angry with their kingly fathers and rebelled against them! But Nimrah
was different. He escaped to join the righteous people. There does come a time
when one cannot change conditions in Babylon, one cannot in good conscience any more
support Babylon, one is not even safe in Babylon, one must escape to the wilderness.)
Once again, the prophet-historian makes clear the source of the kind of anger that
would cause such a complete war. Moroni takes two columns to explain the evils and
the dangers of the secret combination, “For it is built up by the devil, who is the
father of all lies . . . who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning.”
Akish’s terrible influence, resulting in a war of total destruction, was followed
by a golden age, in which the king himself saw the Son of Righteousness. Of course
it did not last, but it is a type of the pre-millennial wars and the coming of Christ.
Verse 26 tells us that these two Book of Mormon events will be repeated in the world,
and they will have the same source – Satan and his unquenchable thirst for destruction
and death, including his tool, a secret combination which destroys freedom and kills
As a result of this destruction, “all flesh” will recognize God and the superiority
of His way. The world has tried with good intentions to establish a society not
built upon God’s laws. They have rejected a supreme Giver of Truth in favor of living
by “their own” truth, a fickle and shaky foundation. Then they turn to government
as the giver of truth, and the government eagerly takes up the task. Although they
deny God who respects their agency, they cannot escape their own greatest enemy,
This truth will be plain to those who survive. They will be strengthened in their
resolve to follow God’s way. They will know that only the Lord’s way is sustainable;
all other ways lead ultimately to destruction. They will know that the greatest
power is God’s power, and the power of righteousness.