1 Ne 10:1 And now I, Nephi, proceed to give an account upon these plates of my proceedings
This phrase marks a transition between Nephi's abridgment of his fathers record and the beginning of his own history.
1 Ne 10:3 they (the Jews) should return again...and... possess again the land of their inheritance.
Lehi prophesied that the Jews would return to Jerusalem after they were sacked by the Babylonians. This is a well described event in the Old Testament. Jeremiah said, For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place (Jer 28:10). The entire book of Nehemiah describes the return from Babylon to Jerusalem and the unusual penitent attitude of the Jews at the time. The following quote is a more detailed discussion of the Lords dealings with the Jews at this time:
"Lehi, like other Old Testament prophets, foretold the ultimate return of the Jews to Jerusalem. Almost a century and a half earlier, Isaiah had spoken prophetically of the coming of Cyrus the Persian, the man God would raise up among a heathen nation to allow the return and rebuilding of Jerusalem. In speaking of Cyrus, the Lord said: 'He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.' Indeed, the Lord called Cyrus his 'anointed,' and stressed that his 'right hand I have holden.' (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1.) Jeremiah, speaking in behalf of Jehovah, explained: 'And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon [the Persians would garner power], and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations' (Jeremiah 25:12). Jeremiah also prophesied: 'For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place' (Jeremiah 29:10). Indeed, within seventy years Cyrus the Persian would issue a decree allowing the return and reconstruction of the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). (McConkie, Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 64)
1 Ne 10:4 six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem , a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews-even a Messiah
All the great prophets prophesied of the Messiah. The next verse says, how great a number had testified of these things. However, when we read the Old Testament, very few of these prophecies are plainly written. The most Messianic books are Isaiah, Psalms, and Zecharaiah. Although many of their prophecies give detailed descriptions of events that happened in the life of the Savior. None of these prophets were as plain as Nephi when he said, And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white...And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! (1 Ne 11:13,20-21) The Book of Mormon teaches that other Old Testament-era prophets were just as plain in their descriptions of the Messiah. These prophets, Zenos, Zenock, and Neum (see Book of Mormon Index) are not found in our Old Testament. This is another example of the loss of those plain and precious things as spoken of in 1 Ne 13:28.
The chronology of the Book of Mormon is entirely based upon the statement that Lehi's departure marked 600 years before the coming of the Messiah. This dating system was followed until the beginning of the reign of the judges in 91 BC. The dating system from 91 BC to the coming of Christ was based on the reign of the judges, and the dating system after Christ's birth was reckoned after the year of his birth as we do today. Nonetheless, the dating system was followed exactly by the Nephites. Remember the unbelievers were scheduled to be put to death if the sign of the coming of the Son of God did not come as prophecied, Now it came to pass that the ninety and first year had passed away and it was six hundred years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem...And it came to pass that he (Nephi) went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers. And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world (3 Ne 1:1,11-13).
1 Ne 10:6 all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state
The lost and fallen state spoken of is the same as spiritual death. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, they (and all their posterity to come) suffered spiritual death. Spiritual death is to be cast from the presence of God. So with mortality, all mankind, like Adam and Eve, had been cast from the presence of God and would never again be able to return to the presence of the Father unless some kind of redemption was made.
1 Ne 10:11 he should rise from the dead, and make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles.
During the Savior's ministry, He made it clear that His purpose was to minister to the house of Israel. This was made clear to the woman of Canaan when he said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24). After He was resurrected, He only appeared to those of the house of Israel. It was through the Holy Ghost, by the ministry of Paul and others, that the Gentiles heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Christ appeared to the Nephites and explained to them the meaning of the scripture, Other sheep I have which are not of this fold. He also said, and they (the Jews) understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice-that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost. (3 Ne 15:21,23)
1 Ne 10:14 Who are the branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel?
"A detailed discussion of the destiny of the house of Israel (as depicted through the allegory of the olive-tree) will be undertaken in Jacob 5-6. For the moment let us make some simple observations. The Lord chose an olive tree to dramatize the destiny of his chosen people. An olive tree almost never dies. It may be pruned and worked with over numerous generations before the fruit is such as to satisfy the owner of the vineyard; this is often after many and varied cuttings and trimmings and replantings. So it is with the house of Israel. That house is stubborn and often requires constant and enduring care. It frequently requires chastening and pruning, actions painful at the time but ultimately accepted as a blessing and perhaps the only means of preservation. As it is with the dedicated gardener, so it is with the Lord-his mercies and tender regard will simply not allow him to let his chosen people go: he pleads with his people Israel to cleave unto him as he cleaves unto them. (Jacob 6:5.)
"Whose branches should be broken off? The Lord chooses periodically to 'break off' or separate certain branches or groups of the house of Israel from the main body; through this means-that of scattering-the blood and influence of' the chosen people may be spread throughout the earth. The Nephite and Mulekite branches are illustrative of this principle." (McConkie, Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p.69)
1 Ne 10:17 I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things
One of the reasons Nephi was privileged to see the things that he did is that he had a great desire to know the things of the Lord. The Lord blesses us according to our desires (Alma 29:4). Another prophet who was blessed with visions of heavenly glory based on his faith and desires for righteousness was Abraham. Although raised by an idolatrous father, Abraham desired to be a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers (Abraham 1:2). Paul emphasized the other important component which was Abraham's exercise of great faith, For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13). Thus, we see that faith and desire open the heavens to those who diligently seek the Lord.
1 Ne 10:19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them
This is one of those transcendent truths contained in the Book of Mormon, Bible (Matt 7:7-8 and Heb 11:6), and the D&C. Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall he given unto you, that is expedient for you (DC 88:63-4).
Bruce R. McConkie
"The Holy Ghost, as Nephi expresses it in a passage of superlative meaning and beauty, 'is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men. 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. 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.'(1 Nephi 10:17-19.) In harmony with these words of transcendent beauty are those of latter-day revelation that say simply to every member of the Church: 'God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.' (D&C 121:26.) Such is the promise, and the promise is sure. The sole need on the part of any individual is to comply with the law that entitles him to receive the promised revelation." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 489)