The Iron Rod

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(This is an excerpt from 52 Life-Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon by Brad Wilcox and John Hilton III.

In 1 Nephi 15, we read a question posed by Nephi’s “brethren . . . [as] they were disputing one with another concerning the things which [Lehi] had spoken unto them” (1 Nephi 15:2). They were discussing Lehi’s dream, and they asked, “What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?” (1 Nephi 15:23). Nephi answered that “it was the word of God” Nephi knew that the word of God was vital. He had seen in vision that the only ones who reached the tree of life were those who held to the iron rod (1 Nephi 11:25). He told his brothers that “whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish” (1Nephi 15:24).

It is common to interpret “the word of God” as referring to the scriptures. This is undoubtedly one correct interpretation, but popular Latter-day Saint author Brent L. Top provided another perspective.1 He presented 1 Nephi 15:24, about holding to the iron rod, in connection with the New Testament scripture that reads, “And the Word [meaning Jesus Christ] was made flesh” (John 1:14). Understanding the connection between these two scriptures allows us to visualize grasping the iron rod as taking hold of the arm of Jesus Christ. The only way any of us can make it to the tree of eternal life is by holding on to the Savior and being infused with His power (Philippians 4:13).

(John Hilton III and Brad Wilcox, 52 Life-Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013], 29–30).

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