When Nephi wrote the events of his life, he divided it into two distinct records. One was devoted to the things of God in the form of teaching, instruction, and prophesy. The other focused more on historical events. He took this dual approach to record keeping based on a commandment received from the Lord, but Nephi didn’t know exactly what the Lord’s purpose was in giving him this direction. What he did know, as he expresses below, made him confident to proceed as directed.
“…The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.” (1 Nephi 9:6)
-If there are no unforeseen developments from God’s perspective and He has all power to fulfill His work, how confident can you be in Him and His promises?
-If you know, or came to know, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, how valuable would it be to have the promises of God and the knowledge of His work that is contained within it?
-How can you know whether the Book of Mormon is a work of God or isn’t? (see Moroni 10:3-5)
Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators…
“Sometimes when we are asked to be obedient, we do not know why, except the Lord has commanded. … Nephi followed instructions even though he didn’t fully understand the wise purpose. His obedience resulted in blessings to mankind all over the world” (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Who Will Forfeit the Harvest?” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 51).
“Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life; and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith , 51–52).
“God does not live in the dimension of time as do we. We are not only hampered by our finiteness (experiential and intellectual), but also by being in the dimension of time. Moreover, God, since ‘all things are present’ with him, is not simply predicting based solely on the past. In ways that are not clear to us, he sees rather than foresees the future, because all things are at once present before him” (Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, 29)