Although in America, Helam witnesses the star heralding the birth of Christ, and 33 years later he faithfully awaits the promised coming of The Messiah despite persecution for this belief. Helam's son, Jacob, is interested more in the ways of the world, including the lovely Laneah, and when his abilities as an artisan bring an offer to work for the wealthy and powerful Kohor, he jumps at the chance and is estranged from his father's house. Kohor is plotting to destabilize the existing government and become the absolute ruler. In contrast, Amaron, a holy man, preaches to people of Christ, whose ministry and miracles are concurrently taking place across the seas in The Holy Land. As Jacob becomes more immersed in the secular life of Kohor's house, Laneah becomes more interested in the humble faith he is forsaking. Her conversion to Christ, and the death of Amaron at the hand of Kohor's men, brings Jacob to his senses, but he knows of Kohor's plans and is imprisoned when he refuses to join the conspiracy. In Jerusalem, Jesus is crucified and the far away city of Zarahemla is plunged into darkness and destruction as Helam pushes through the crowds and ruins to help his son. All seems hopeless when he is blinded, has not found Jacob, and thinks his quest to see The Messiah has failed.