Lehi Did Not Pray and Receive Visions From God
God refused to hear any prayers from all Jerusalem residents.
“ . . . my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.”57
In I Nephi 1:8 we find an intriguing statement that amuses this writer. Joseph Smith recorded that Lehi “ . . . thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, . . . ” If he only thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, then maybe he only thought he was having visions. Maybe he only thought he was praying. The book of Jeremiah will show that long before Lehi’s prayers were alleged to have been spoken God had already cut the phone line to heaven for
of the Jerusalem residents. God had even instructed Jeremiah to cease praying for them because God refused to hear. Only the multitude of deceived people following Joseph Smith’s fairy tale can dampen the humor this writer finds in the idea that Lehi merely thought he saw God sitting upon his throne.
The Prophet Isaiah had no problem discerning that he was seeing God sitting upon his throne, and he could only say of himself:
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips . . .”58
Isaiah’s response reveals the proper attitude for all persons who might find themselves in the presence of God. Humility and repentance before God are the least expected actions one should take. Falling to our knees with our heads bowed in submission should follow. Silence and tears about our sinful condition would be in order except for a heartfelt humble cry for mercy. Repentance of this sort must always precede communication with the Holy God if one desires to have an audience. Only fools assume they are righteous enough to enter God’s presence in any other attitude. Those people who have repented of their sin and accepted Jesus (the Bible Jesus) as their savior can enter God's holy presence boldly only because they have been washed from their sin in the blood of Jesus! Even then, the boldness afforded them should never cancel the humility they had when they first repented and came to the foot of the cross of Jesus asking mercy. We are sinners, and God is righteous (sinless). Repentence by faith through Jesus our mediator must precede communication with God daily!
Joseph Smith neglected to record any repentance by Lehi prior to his prayer. God’s record is very clear that Lehi would have needed it:
Jer. 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be
that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
(The city was not pardoned; therefore we must conclude that Jeremiah was not able to find a man that executed judgment or that sought the truth . . . including Lehi.)
Jer. 2:29 Wherefore will ye plead with me?
ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.
Jer. 6:13 For
from the least of them even unto the greatest of them
given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest
every one dealeth falsely.
Jer. 8:6 I hearkened and heard,
they spake not aright:
no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?
every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.
Chapters nine and eleven have already established Lehi’s need of repentance before God and it was too late to obtain an audience by the time Lehi allegedly began praying. Let’s consider the dead prayer line to heaven as recorded by the Prophet Jeremiah years before Lehi decided to pray. Notice in the three following sections of scripture that the place was Jerusalem and Jeremiah was instructed not to pray for them. (See underlined sections specifically).
Jer. 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
in the gate of the LORD's house*,
and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD,
of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
*(The LORD’s house was the temple in Jerusalem)
Jer. 7:3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
Jer. 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD,
Jer. 7:5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
Jer. 7:7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Jer. 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
Jer. 7:9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
Jer. 7:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Jer. 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen
it, saith the LORD.
Jer. 7:12 But go ye now unto my place which
in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
Jer. 7:13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD,
and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
Jer. 7:14 Therefore will I do unto
house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
Jer. 7:15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren,
the whole seed of Ephraim.
Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
Jer. 11:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Jer. 11:2 Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
Jer. 11:3 And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed
the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
Jer. 11:4 Which I commanded your fathers in the day
I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:
Jer. 11:5 That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as
this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.
Jer. 11:6 Then the LORD said unto me,
Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of
Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.
Jer. 11:7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day
I brought them up out of the land of Egypt,
unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
Jer. 11:8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded
to do; but they did
Jer. 11:9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of
Jer. 11:10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
Jer. 11:11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape;
and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
Jer. 11:12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of
go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
Jer. 11:13 For
the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and
the number of the streets of
have ye set up altars to
altars to burn incense unto Baal.
Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear
in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
Jer. 14:1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.
Jer. 14:2 Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry ofJerusalem
is gone up.
Jer. 14:3 And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits,
found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.
Jer. 14:4 Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.
Jer. 14:5 Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook
it, because there was no grass.
Jer. 14:6 And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because
Jer. 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou
for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
Jer. 14:8 O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man
turneth aside to tarry for a night?
Jer. 14:9 Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man
cannot save? yet thou, O LORD,
in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.
Jer. 14:10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people,
Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
Jer. 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me,
Pray not for this people for
When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them:
but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Jer. 18:17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy;
I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
Jer. 33:5 . . . and for all whose wickedness
I have hid my face from this city.
Had Lehi truly existed in Jerusalem at the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, his prayers would have been wasted breaths. God himself had severed the prayer line from Jerusalem, and no person on earth was able to connect it again until God decided to, especially without true repentance. Jeremiah recorded God’s future repair invoice instructions:
Jer. 29:10 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. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find
when ye shall search for me
with all your heart.
From the time Lehi is recorded as having prayed unto God, the prayer line to heaven was closed and would remain so for at least another eighty years. Lehi had no contact with the God of heaven and therefore received no visions.
Many people today assume they can pray at any time and God just naturally listens. While it is true that God exists everywhere as a Spirit and no voice is outside his ability to hear, the Bible makes it clear that God chooses to hear or not to hear any prayer at his will. It is not that God cannot hear, but that he
will not hear:
“If I regard iniquity in my heart,
the Lord will not hear
“Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid
face from you, that
he will not hear.”60
God is Holy! He hates sin with a furious passion! As humans we are all sinners by choice, but God desires that we choose to turn from sin and hate it as he does. The prayer God desires to hear first from every man is a heartbroken humble cry for mercy on our sinful souls. This prayer coupled with faith in the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ will reach God’s ears. He desires that our hearts turn to him and not just our mouths.
Without repentance God will not hear the most earnest prayer. With repentance and faith in Jesus the windows of heaven open to millions of possibilities:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”61
This writer’s desire is that all who read this book will humbly turn to the TRUE Jesus of the Bible, repent of their sins, confess their sins to God, ask for mercy, and trust him for eternal life.
The story of Lehi’s answered prayers in the book of I Nephi cannot be true, not only because Lehi is not recorded as having repented, but because God had cut the prayer line to heaven long before Lehi allegedly decided to pray. Lehi’s lack of repentance only solidifies that the story did not truly happen.
Let’s consider the gold, silver, and precious things allegedly left in Jerusalem when Lehi's family supposedly fled for their lives into the wilderness. We will discover in chapter seventeen that God had appointed all the treasures of the city to be taken by Nebuchadnezzar. There would have been no treasures in Jerusalem for the four brothers to return for, therefore the story can not possibly be true.
#57 1 Nephi 1:5, BkM
#58 Isaiah 6:5, KJV Bible
#59 Psalm 66:18, KJV Bible
#60 Isaiah 59:1-2, KJV Bible
#61 1 John 1:9, KJV Bible