I kind of read the Book of Mormon on a loop. I get to the end and immediately start over again. Sometimes I feel a little like Forrest Gump running back and forth across the United States over and over just because.
Sometimes I breeze through, other times it is like molasses because I’m digging deep and finding all kinds of things. It’s different every single time and I really enjoy all the things I find.
Well, this time I found something really cool right at the beginning in verse one of chapter one. I read through the verse and then I read it again, and again even slower. I was looking for patterns, keywords, or anything I may not have noticed before.
That’s when one word stuck out to me:
…having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.1 Nephi 1:1
The word “mystery” only appears in the New Testament and comes from the Greek word “musterion” which means several but related things. It relates to that which is hidden, a secret, such as religious secrets that are confided only to the initiated, and visions or dreams. (link)
So what’s the big deal? Well, as I said, the word “mystery” (and “mysteries”) only appears in the New Testament and here we have Nephi, who didn’t speak Greek, talking about mysteries. How could he conceive of this idea in Hebrew, I wondered.
Could there be a word in Hebrew that is the equivalent of the Greek word “musterion?” A quick search revealed that there was and the context around it juxtaposed with Nephi and his experiences kind of blew me away.
The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word musterion is the word rawz (רָז – Strong’s 7328) which is only used in the book of Daniel in regards to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Obviously, his dream was significant in history in that it laid out a master plan of sorts for the rise and fall of nations and the ultimate establishment of the Kingdom of God with Yeshua as its head. Nebuchadnezzar could not understand his own dream, but Daniel, a man who remained faithful to YHVH even in captivity, did understand it — at least in part. He understood the first fulfillment of that dream, but could not see beyond that, and Bible scholars today are only able to understand it in hindsight.https://web.archive.org/web/20210121030203/https://www.amiyisrael.org/articles/MysteryOfGospel/mystery-gospel.htm
The word raz is Aramaic and means to attenuate (to reduce thickness, make thin) that is hide; a mystery:–secret. (Strong’s) The fact that it only occurs in the Book of Daniel, struck a chord with me because of these connections between him and Nephi.
I recalled a connection between Daniel and Nephi made in the fictional book written by Chris Heimerdinger called “Daniel and Nephi.” I haven’t read the book but it has these two young men as contemporaries who go on an adventure together.
Although Heimerdinger’s book is fiction, at the time this book came on my radar I had not considered that Daniel and Nephi did live in Israel during the same time period and may have been around the same age.
According to the Book of Mormon, Nephi escaped from Jerusalem with his family to inherit a new promised land, while according to the Bible, Daniel survived the destruction of Jerusalem and went into Babylonian captivity.
Both of these young men proved faithful to the Lord under their own unique circumstances, they delved into the mysteries of God and were each delivered through miraculous circumstances.
Daniel interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and Nephi received an interpretation of the tree that his father saw in his dream.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.Daniel 2:36
And [the Spirit of the Lord] said unto me: What desirest thou? And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof…1 Nephi 11:10-11
Both Nebuchandnezzer’s and Nepih’s dreams/visions laid out a “master plan” of the rise and fall of nations and the establishment of various kingdoms. I have yet to analyze these two visions with each other so that may be something to look into further; maybe someone else has already done it.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.Daniel 2:44
And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms. […] And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb;1 Nephi 13:1,37
There are likely many other parallels that I have yet to discover, but I just love finding out things like this thanks to how easy technology makes it to have such great information at your fingertips. The scriptures are just sitting upon a wealth of information that we are likely only scratching the surface of.
Well, that’s just one little facet of the first verse in the Book of Mormon; on we go.