Continuing on the theme of creation in 3 Nephi—to identify it and apply it to myself.
First, the earth cleaved. In that destruction, Matter Organized.
Next in Chapters 8 and 9, thick darkness prevailed.
Darkness: Firmament Divided
When the earth shifting ceased, darkness prevailed for three days.
And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
Darkness. Vapor. No light. Mists of darkness.
Vapor is “the gaseous state of a substance that is normally liquid or solid at room temperature, such as water that has evaporated into the air.”
Mist is “a cloudlike aggregation of minute globules of water suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface.”
During creation, the Creator said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.”
Divide waters from waters. Atmospheric liquid is obviously different than waters on/in the Earth, but it’s still “water.” So in a sense, the vapor the people experienced could fulfill the requirement of creation as the waters “divided” back to normal atmospheric and groundwater/ocean levels. The Earth provided “an expanse in the midst of the waters” position.
But later in the chapter as Jesus lamented—”how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not”—I saw a gathering, separating out, dividing between. And for the first time, my mind jumped to a scripture defining waters in John’s Revelation.
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest…are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
The creation declaration is “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.” What kind of expanse separates people?
They Are Willingly Ignorant
One expanse is knowledge.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God.
I love this curiously applicable scripture by Peter.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that of old the heavens, and the earth standing in the water and out of the water, were created by the word of God;
True knowledge/knowledge of the Savior and His plan and purpose/godly knowledge is an expanse between, a divider, and a gatherer of Revelation’s “water.”
Thou Must Commune with God
I love the imagery conveyed through Joseph Smith’s words as he describes the possibilities available when we seek and find knowledge.
Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness….Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.
Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. … In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because He has greater knowledge; and hence He knows how to subject all other beings to Him. He has power over all.
The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.
“Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.” Stretch high as heaven and search the darkest abyss and the broad expanse! There is an expanse! And the Lord’s provided a way to stretch and reach and search until we commune with God.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord…
The Living Water
I love those verses from Jeremiah. I usually cut verse 14 short there, but as I read the verse during my study, the last part of verse 14 really spoke to waters divided. When we find the Lord, He gathers us from the divided spaces back to our original place!!
…and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Water is divided, then gathered and multiplied, like the water in Ezekiel’s dream. He steps into the water and it’s ankle high, knee deep, waist deep, then deeper than him. This living water breached the divisive expanse and flowed from underground past the temple, down to the Dead Sea regenerating the Dead Sea’s water, bringing life to what was dead.
“…I will bring you again into the place…” regenerated, alive, forever.
This “day” reminded me that darkness and divisions and breaches compel a yearning for light and gathering and especially for the “Repairer of the Breach.”