Destruction of the Wicked at Christ’s Death
READ 3 Nephi 8:3-4
Why would the people look with “great earnestness” for the sign of Christ’s death?
Because not only did Samuel prophesy 3 days of darkness, he prophesied great destruction.
Perhaps there was an element of modern day “preppers” to some of the people (remember almost all are wicked); a fascination with the possibility of a coming destruction and how they might survive it.
The righteous believed it would mark Christ’s atonement, death and resurrection.
READ 3 Nephi 8:5-19
When was Christ’s death?
34 years and 4 days after His birth.
What natural disasters caused the destruction of so many Nephite cities and what is the implication?
A massive hurricane.
It seemed to have been a localized phenomenon; God was targeting the Nephites and Lamanites as per the “Promise/Curse” on America requiring the people serve Christ or be swept off when they have reached a fullness of iniquity.
Why was there so much destruction amongst the Nephites and Lamanites and not among those in Israel?
The destruction happened in Jerusalem, but the Lord waited until 70 AD when the Romans massacred the Jews and razed the temple to the ground in a way reminiscent of the destruction of Armageddon at His return in glory (see JS Matthew 24).
With the Nephites, He destroyed the wicked as per the prophesy of His servant Samuel, also in a way reminiscent of the prophesies of the destruction at His Second Coming; but in the Americas He did it with natural disasters not war.
The Voice in the Darkness
READ 3 Nephi 8:20-23
What was the darkness caused by?
Natural causes: the vapor and debris in the air following such a massive earthquake (3 hours); like the Twin Towers in NYC on September 11th times 1000 because here entire mountains have been flattened.
Spiritual causes: since nothing will light on fire; like the darkness the Lamanites experienced at the time of their baptism of fire (see Helaman 5:28).
READ 3 Nephi 8:24-25
Is this godly sorrow or worldly regret?
They are truly sorry but it is for what they have lost - this is worldly regret.
It is not the spiritual gift of godly sorrow (see Alma 36:12-16).
READ 3 Nephi 9:1-2
What is strange about the voice?
It is heard by everyone in the Nephite and Lamanite nations together; normally when Christ speaks in a crowd, only one or a few select individuals can hear it or see Him (see D&C 76 where Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon received the vision while in a room of 10 to 15 other people who saw nothing).
What does “wo, wo, wo” mean?
It is a damning curse for all eternity – a “three-fold wo”; if they do not repent now.
Does the devil laugh because the Nephites are slain or because they are fallen, and what does that mean?
He laughs because those who have fallen are now slain and their fate is sealed; they are damned to hell and he has dominion over them now.
Fallen means they have already received the “three-fold wo” that the voice is warning the surviving people about; they are damned to hell for eternity because they sinned against the light.
READ 3 Nephi 9:9, 11
Why was wickedness of Jacobugath above that of all the earth, even Jerusalem where the leaders of the Church conspired to kill the Son of God?
In Jerusalem they did not cast out the righteous from among them; there were enough in Jerusalem that thought Christ was the Messiah to force the Chief Priests to take Christ at night and alone because they feared the people.
The Chief Priests and Judges of Jacobugath must have had a great deal more light and knowledge than the Jews in Jerusalem (see Helaman 7:24-25) but had entered into that “ancient covenant” with the devil for power (see 3 Nephi 6:27-29) openly rebelling against God and choosing Satan over Christ – they must have been practicing powerful (i.e. efficacious) occult rituals, i.e. abominations.
READ 3 Nephi 9:13-14
Who were spared this destruction?
Those that were “more righteous” than those who were destroyed.
Those living a terrestrial or celestial law.
A huge majority of the people must have been killed - many cities were destroyed (6 by earthquake, 6 by fire/lightening, 4 by tidal wave/hurricane and many other people were carried away in the tornados).
What will happen to them if they do not repent now?
The three-fold “wo” will be in affect and they will be destroyed and damned; not just in this life but in the life or lives to come.
Implied is that they are sinning against a great deal of light – they know better but prefer darkness to light.
What do they have to be healed of?
The effects of the fall of Adam – the desires to sin.
He will dry the eyes or comfort and succor all those who come unto Him; implying that they have need for healing – physical, emotional, spiritual damage.
The imperfections of the flesh.
Why does the Lord use a “travel” metaphor to describe accepting Him?
This life is a journey; either we are “busy young people who are on our way” to success in life or we are seeking to find our Lord in a world where He is a stranger and foreigner but is nevertheless there to be found but not where you might think to look for Him.
All of us have gone astray, each to our own way and are lost; we must travel to find the shepherd but know He is out looking for us and is calling to us to come unto Him if we will listen for His voice and then listen to His voice and follow Him (Isaiah 53:6; Alma 5:60).
Who will Christ receive and give Eternal Life to and what is implied?
Whosoever will come.
It doesn’t matter how sinful you are or what a mess you have made of your life, as His arm of mercy is extended to all; the only thing that matters is that you chose to come unto Christ.
Implied is that you don’t have to be perfect or sinless to come unto Christ in this mortal life; but you must desire it with your whole soul.
READ 3 Nephi 9:15-18
From what beginning was Christ “with” the Father?
Since there is no “beginning” and no “end” in “one eternal round”, the beginning referred to is the beginning of this eternity before the foundation of this world and mortal probation.
What does it mean that Christ was “with the Father from the beginning”; weren't we all with the Father?
Yes, we are co-eternal with God and like Him, and have always existed in some form or another.
Yes, we were in the Father’s presence at the Grand Council before the foundation of this world.
But Christ’s relationship with the Father at the beginning of this eternity was different than ours; He was “with” the Father or one “with” the Father based on the faith and good works He had demonstrated in the “first place” (see Alma 13:3) which had enabled Him to enter the Holy Order and become a Son of God and continue to progress from grace to grace until He had received a Fullness (see D&C 93:2-14).
What does it mean that Christ is “in the Father, and the Father in” Him?
The Son received glory given Him from the Father.
Glory = intelligence, light and truth.
The Son became precisely like the Father by doing the things He saw the Father had done in a prior eternity (see LoF 7:9, 15-16; D&C 93:12-14; John 5:19).
Christ received a fullness of the Spirit of the Lord (who is also known as the Word – see John 1:1-16) or Mind of God (see LoF 5:2); His words or thoughts were the Father’s words and thoughts, and His works and deeds are the Father’s works and deeds (see D&C 93:2-14).
Who are His “own” that He came unto and how had they become His own?
They had demonstrated a level of faith and good works in the “first place” to merit being called “Christ’s own”.
The Lord doesn’t put people into a situation where they will be automatically damned because they are over their heads spiritually; they “merit” certain blessings by living in accordance with the laws that govern them, but with those blessings come responsibilities that they must be valiant in executing against (see Alma 13:3-5) or they will fall, having sinned against a greater amount of light that was within them.
Why did His “own” not receive Him when He came unto them?
He did not appear to be what they were expecting.
Their pride in their “chosen” status blinded them.
Who received Him if it was not His “own”?
Others who humbled themselves and softened their hearts toward His message.
They might not have been the chosen but they were called and heeded the call; becoming “chosen” in the process as they came unto Christ and became His Sons and Daughters.
Implied is that they had not done what was required to be “His own” in a prior “first place” but were choosing to do it now, on this earth during this eternity.
What is a “Son of God”; aren’t we all already sons and daughters of God?
Not in the context of this world: we are the children of men because we are born of men.
In this world, a son of God is “born” of God and is a member of God’s family, taking upon Himself God’s name, being sealed to Him, and becoming His official heir.
For those who have received Him, how has Christ “given” them “to become” the sons of God?
Christ gives them a promise, from His own lips and upon His own life that…
They are His Son because He has spiritually “begotten” them (see Psalms 2:7) and…
If they remain faithful they will be sealed up to Eternal Life and receive the blessings of being an heir (see D&C 88:75; D&C 76:50-70; Mosiah 5:15)…
But it will take them moving from a small capacity to a great one, from grace to grace, from eternity to eternity, to attain to the resurrection of the dead themselves and be able to dwell in everlasting burnings on their own merit (see TPJS 390-393) to receive a fullness.
How many “Sons of God” does Christ intend to make?
As many as will believe on His name and come unto Him.
This is what the gospel is all about – to be saved we must become precisely as He is and nothing else – we must become Sons and Daughters of God ourselves and His work and glory is to do this (see LoF 7:9; Moses 1:39)
Many (see Moses 7:1).
How does Christ make one a “Son of God”?
By redeeming them by bringing them back into His presence (see Ether 3:13).
By adopting or “spiritually begetting” them (see Psalms 2:7).
By promising them their exaltation (see D&C 88:75); a promise He cannot break.
How is Christ the Alpha and the Omega?
He is our example in all things as He went first and ascended on high to become precisely as the Father is, and as such is our prototype of what a saved being is (see LoF 7:9, 15-16).
He descended below all things so that He could redeem us from death and hell, suffering eternal punishment or all that a god can suffer, and sacrificing His pure life, unjustly for us so that He could attain to the resurrection of the dead and overturn death and hell for us.
Christ is the “omega” or “end” to which we must endure in the doctrine of Christ (see 2 Nephi 31:20; 2 Nephi 32:6) – we must come unto Him at the end of our journey on this Earth.
READ 3 Nephi 9:19-20
What sacrifice does Christ no longer require of His people and why?
The shedding of blood and burnt offerings.
The shedding of Christ’s blood activated the covenant for all; any previous animal sacrifices were in similitude of Christ’s sacrifice.
The sacrifice of temporal death was not required after Christ’s victory over death and breaking of its bands.
The sacrifice of an animal is always a temporal sacrifice where one offers a life, bought with money, to God.
What is the symbolism of the sacrifice of the shedding of blood?
In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were “naked” but not ashamed to abide in the presence of God; they could comfortably stand in the presence of God without the guilt of sin.
After they transgressed and partook of the forbidden fruit out of season and fell, Satan brought it to their attention that they were no longer able to abide God’s presence and they were ashamed because they now knew good from evil and were aware of their newly fallen and sinful state.
They attempted to hide themselves from God and His glory.
In response to Adam and Eve’s fallen state, the Lord made coats of skins to cover their shame so they could bear His presence.
Acquiring the skins required animal sacrifice, thus pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, which would cover the shame and guilt of all humanity.
But with Christ’s successful accomplishment of the atonement and attaining to the resurrection, there was no longer a desire to sacrifice another life, even in symbol – He was the great and last sacrifice.
What sacrifice does Christ require of His people and why?
Christ requires the one thing that mankind has to offer Him that can’t be bought with money and is really theirs to give because it can’t be taken by another, only given by the person = their whole souls, or stated here, a broken heart and contrite spirit (see Omni 1:26) – their wills.
What is a broken heart and a contrite spirit?
"A "new" sacrifice, the spirit of which was always to have been the motivating force behind the earlier symbolic sacrifices - that of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit."
The ultimate symbols of Christ's death, a death that came as a result of the contrition he felt for the world's sins and the broken, sorrowing heart that ruptured as he hung upon the cross.
The terms of the gospel covenant: the offering of your whole soul, the sacrifice of your will, the promise to give up all your sins (see Omni 1:26; Moroni 4:3; Alma 22:18).
What is the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost?
It is the gate by which you enter the gospel covenant (see 2 Nephi 31:17).
It is the sealing of the ordinance of baptism - it is the accepting of that ordinance by God – it is a sign to the mortal that the covenant is now in force.
It is the actual forgiving/washing away and purging of your sins through the refining "fire" of the Holy Spirit.
It is the mighty change of heart where you have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually (see Mosiah 5:2) - and the beginning of your sanctification or quickening, if you will continue to move from "grace to grace".
It is the birth of the spirit enabled by Christ's atonement; it is what enables you to be spiritually begotten by Him and when you become His child, join His family and take upon yourself His name.
Why were the Lamanites not able to recognize this event when it happened to them?
Either, they knew something happened but didn’t know what it was or what it should be called; this is not troubling but is the result of ignorance in their gospel study and vocabulary and experience; they were baptized by fire but they didn’t understood where the gifts of the Spirit had come from; the power was there, but the information about it was not.
This is essential for all of us to understand so that we don't consider the experiences of non-baptism by fire to be the experiences of baptism by fire. If you have not been baptized by fire, and assume you have, and thus unknowingly lack spiritual power and blessings in your life that you should have, you could EITHER erroneously conclude that the gospel is a load of rubbish and, even if it were true, would not be worth the cost OR that this nice feeling that you have when you listen to some speaker in Church tell you how good you are is the promise of God of your salvation and that you (or at least your leaders) can manifest all of the powers of the priesthood, if God ever willed that to happen.
Or, they didn’t realize something had happened at all; this is troubling – what if the baptism by fire is an event so subtle that it could escape detection – how would you know if you’d experienced it?
If one is not spiritually attuned, one may not see all or perhaps any of what is really going on around them and within them beyond the veil of their perception.
However, this has not been my experience: the baptism of fire is something you KNOW about when you experience it – you don’t think the same way ever again – you can’t go back to neutral ground. You may not know what it is called or all of the intricacies of the doctrine and significance, but you now KNOW God lives because He has changed your heart fundamentally. That is my testimony to you, as I’ve experienced this myself.
READ 3 Nephi 9:21-22
If redemption means bringing the soul back into the presence of God (see Ether 3:13) so that they are no longer spiritually dead, what must God do first?
Since no sinful thing can be in God’s presence…
Any sinful being must be forgiven first.
Forgiveness is an act of mercy; we don’t get what’s coming to us so by its nature, forgiveness is undeserved and unfair.
Christ’s ability to forgive sin comes directly from His atoning sacrifice and resurrection – He has earned the right.
What enables you to receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost?
Seeking to come unto Christ – it is your deepest desire. To come before His altar with the intent of offering one’s whole soul.
Being humble, curious, teachable and submissive as a little child.
READ 3 Nephi 10:4-7
Why does the hen gather her chickens under her wings?
To protect them (see also Psalms 61:4).
To comfort them.
To show them love.
Because they belong to her, they are her children.
What grammatical tenses does Christ use in His hen analogy and what is implied?
How oft HAVE I gathered you… Christ has protected, comforted and nourished Israel in the past.
How oft WOULD I have gathered you…Christ would have protected, comforted and nourished them more if they would have come unto Him but they would not – they chose not to come unto Him and were in great danger as a result.
How oft WILL I gather you…Christ’s arms of mercy are extended to Israel until the end, but they must repent and return unto Him.
What will happen to Israel if they choose not to come unto Christ?
Their houses will be left desolate.
They will be destroyed and have to wait until the last days when the fulfilling of the covenant will finally happen – when the last will be first and the first will be last.
READ 3 Nephi 10:9-10
On what day did the darkness disperse from the face of the land?
On Easter morning.
Remember Christ was resurrected while it was yet dark, so with the time change, the darkness would have started dispersing right after they went to bed and by the time they awoke, the sun was shining.
Why did their mourning for the catastrophic amount of death end so suddenly on the morning of the third day?
The darkness had dispersed and having been so dark and oppressive and having lasted for three days, many might have worried it would last a lot longer – they were relieved.
They must have had “tidings of great joy” given to them or at least those who were connected to heaven and that message was then dispersed to all the people – that Christ was risen – and they praised their Lord and gave thanks unto Him for doing what was required to redeem them.
Coming Unto Christ
READ 3 Nephi 10:18
When did Christ visit the Nephites?
At the end of the 34th year.
11 or 12 months after the destruction and voice.
READ 3 Nephi 11:1-2
Who were this multitude of Nephites?
They were not locals in Bountiful, as they were marveling at the physical changes that had taken place there almost a year before – and perhaps were amazed that despite all of that, the Temple was intact; so they had not yet seen or didn’t know about these changes; in other words, they were religious pilgrims who had traveled from far away to the temple at Bountiful.
They included Nephi III and all of those who would be called as Christ’s disciples, and all who were present experienced the Second Comforter, so all of them were seekers who had been born of God and desired with their whole souls to come unto Christ; all of them had been inspired by God to make that pilgrimage but they did not know the true reason why because they were not expecting what happened next.
Why did they gather to the temple at Bountiful almost a year after Christ’s resurrection?
Either it was to celebrate some kind of religious spring ceremony or rite of worship for Jesus Christ - to celebrate His resurrection the year before (having to do with the Spring Equinox or the Passover, perhaps?).
Or a conference of believers who had gathered to discuss this Jesus Christ.
They have dutifully chosen to travel to Bountiful to worship, despite all of the death, destruction and chaotic changes that have affected their lives over the past year; they self-selected to be there – not to see the Lord but to be obedient to the Lord’s commandment to worship by participating in religious obligations.
Unknowingly, they chose to receive the Second Comforter by choosing to worship the Lord, and so the Lord chooses them; how the Lord finds you spending your time is important to whether or not He can visit you – had they not come to Bountiful on this occasion, they would not have had an audience with the risen Christ.
READ 3 Nephi 11:3-6
Did the people hear the voice the first time God spoke?
Although it is described as a “small voice” and not a “loud voice”, they all heard it, they just did not understand it.
Did the voice come out of heaven or was it “as if” it came out of heaven, and if it didn’t come out of heaven, where did it come from?
It sounded like it might have come out of heaven but it did not (otherwise the text would not say “as if”).
God is within us – as He is within everything on this earth, sustaining the creation through His will; the voice came to each of them, simultaneously, but from within.
What does it mean that the voice “pierced” them to the center?
The frequency of the voice resonated so deeply within their bodies and spirits that it penetrated them to the core of their souls.
The physical effect of this was to cause their entire bodies to shake uncontrollably and to burn with the speed of the high frequency – its heat and light.
Why did they not understand the voice the first two times it spoke to them and what is the implication?
They were willing to hear and understand the third time; they elected to listen; implied is that they did not elect to listen or were not attuned to listen the first two times.
Implied is that God speaks freely to all as He is no respecter of persons but it is us not He who determines when we are willing to hear Him or see Him – it is up to us.
You only see what you believe and it is the same in this case, you only hear what you believe.
READ 3 Nephi 11:7
Who is speaking here and what is He doing?
God the Father (Ahman).
He is introducing Jesus Christ as His Son who has accomplished the mission He sent Him to complete – Christ has attained to the resurrection Himself.
READ 3 Nephi 11:8
Who were the Nephites expecting to see next?
Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Why did they not recognize Christ even after being introduced by God Himself?
He did not look like what they expected a God to look like.
He did not blind them with His glory; His appearance did not cause them to fall to the earth in worship.
He is meek and looked so unremarkable they thought He was an angel.
READ 3 Nephi 11:9-11
How do they recognize that this unremarkable person is Jesus Christ?
Through the spiritual power that accompanies Him and bears testimony to the truth of His message; but implied is that spiritual power is not what we mortals expect it to be like.
By looking at the tokens in His hand and wrist, which He stretched forth to them.
How does Christ define Himself?
As the light and the life of the world.
In relationship to the Father:
The drinker of the Father’s Cup.
The glorifier of the Father’s Name by taking upon Himself the sins of the world.
Obedient to the Father’s will in all things from the beginning.
Why does Christ say “I have suffered the will of the Father” instead of “I have done the will of the Father”?
Suffer = to feel or bear what is painful; to undergo or be affected by; to endure; to sustain; to allow or permit; (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
While His will and the Father’s will are one, it is the Father’s work and glory to bring to pass the immortality of man – it was the Father’s plan which Christ enacted.
The Father’s will requires an infinite sacrifice to redeem those who will otherwise not be saved, which sacrifice required suffering to accomplish.
READ 3 Nephi 11:12
What do the people do when they finally recognize who He is?
They fall to the earth.
This is a form of worship, putting the one who is left standing above those who are kneeling or lying below Him.
This is the natural state of all mortals who come into the presence of God – think about the “quaking” that accompanied the voice.
READ 3 Nephi 11:13-14
Now that they understand who He is, what does Christ direct the people to do next and what is implied?
To perform a specific Ceremony of Recognition and Witnessing.
So that they will each KNOW for themselves who He is, as seeing Him (even in person, not in vision) is evidently not enough.
Knowing Christ to be the God of the Whole Earth requires that you feel the proof for yourself; it is not a vicarious activity and you don’t get super-powered blessings by believing alone on the word of another – their testimony might spur you to action, first to receive the baptism of fire and then to follow the path back to the presence of the Lord – but you must know Him for yourself (see 3 Nephi 12:2; LoF 2:54-56; D&C 132:21-25).
READ 3 Nephi 11:15-17
How would you describe the Ceremony of Recognition and Witnessing that the Lord commands them to perform?
Invited by Christ to arise and come unto Him.
They come forth individually to Christ.
Thrust their hand into His side.
Feel the nail prints in His hands.
Feel the nail prints in His feet.
Know of a surety and…
Bear record that…
Jesus is the Christ, the God of the whole earth, that He was slain for the sins of the world and He has risen again.
What is another name for this Ceremony of Recognition and Witnessing?
Receiving the Second Comforter.
Christ is the Second Comforter, and you receive Him when you learn for yourself that He had died for your sins but lives again.
Recognizing who Christ is to you (your Savior and Redeemer) and witnessing for yourself that He did what He was purported to do – and that He will save YOU, for that is why He is come to you to make that promise or give you have hope through the visceral proof of the wounds that He bares – this give Comfort above anything that the world can offer.
Why do they come up one by one?
This is a personal ministration between the Lord and His Son or Daughter; a completely individual experience, between the Lord and His child – there is nothing vicarious about this meeting.
All are invited and equal before the Lord, as He is no respecter of persons, provided you abide the conditions which apply to these things (see D&C 93:1) – men, women and children.
Why do they feel the wound in His side first?
Although it may be uncomfortable to the mortal, Christ’s first wish is to embrace them.
In the embrace, they naturally feel the wound in His side with their hand.
This is the “death wound”; people some times survived the cross but the wound in the side was put there to kill those hanging on the cross so that they could be quickly removed; this is the wound that proves that the person standing before you, embracing you, was once dead but is alive again.
What happens when they step back and feel the prints in His hands and wrists?
They see the effects of the torture of the cross – previously they have felt the wound in His side but did not see it through His clothes; this is the first time they actually see the proof with their mortal eyes.
They then look into His eyes and see the unbounded and perfect love that He has for them – the love which underlies the reason why He did what He did for them, the proof of which they are holding in their hands, as they hold His hands in theirs.
Why is feeling the prints of the nails in His feet the natural last step of the Ceremony?
They are overcome with gratitude, love and awe and fall to their knees before Him.
They assume the natural position that a mortal prefers to be in when being in the presence of the Lord – kneeling at His feet in worship, bathing His feet in their tears of gratitude and love.
What does it mean to know of a surety that Jesus is the Christ?
It means to have a personal, tangible witness that is so powerful upon all the senses, both physical and spiritual, that one cannot deny that Jesus is the Christ; that He was dead but stands before you alive again and in the flesh – as you are touching Him with your physical body – you have temporal or mortal proof, by the scientific method: you feel His wounds, you see them, you hear His voice, you smell Him because you are so close in His embrace – you cannot deny He lives – you know it.
It means to receive the Second Comforter.
It is Eternal Life, to know Jesus Christ by being ministered to Him and sealed up by Him (see John 17:3).
Why does the resurrected Christ have “death wounds” in His perfect body?
So that mortal men and women can know, with a surety, that He lives and did what He said He would do.
So that mortals can bear witness that the wounds killed Him – the wound in the side was a death wound, but He is standing before them, alive.
So that mortals can know with a surety, with physical, tangible proof which cannot be denied by the world, that He lives and is the God of the whole earth.
Why are those who receive this witness asked to bear record of it; isn’t this experience too sacred to share?
So that others can manifest the faith needed to seek and find Christ for themselves – so that they can know the path and receive a witness of what happens if one follows it (see LoF 2:54-56).
They are commanded to share – to be valiant in the Testimony of Jesus – that’s what this phrase means.
Earlier, the Nephites had fallen to the earth in stunned, awed silence when Christ introduced Himself but now they all cry out together in praise; is this behavior irreverent in the presence of the Lord?
They are spontaneously performing the ceremony of the Hosanna Shout.
No, because our idea of reverence and the Lord’s may be in conflict. Here is enthusiasm, gratitude and worship indeed!
The Doctrine of Christ
READ 3 Nephi 11:18-20
What is the Lord doing when He calls you by name?
He is calling you to a work – you have been “called”.
That is what is happening to Nephi III here.
Why did Nephi III have to be called; wasn’t he already the presiding authority?
Christ was the presiding authority!
Everyone else was on equal footing, having been ministered to by Him and having received the Second Comforter.
Christ does the calling; while we can “self-select” through our behavior and choices, it is up to the Lord to call who He chooses.
Nephi III is being called to a new work or new life – to serve the Lord directly and is endowed with the Lord’s anointing voice, which bestows power and authority (see D&C 132:46).
Plus, Nephi III’s humility required that he be called; he wasn’t already “sitting on the stand” ready to go.
What are the others doing when Nephi III is asked to come forth?
They remain kneeling before the Lord.
At this point, only Christ and Nephi III are standing; Nephi III is “standing in the presence of God” (see Luke 1:19).
What does Nephi III, who was asked to arise and come forth (see John 11:43), choose to do next?
To abase himself before the Lord; to humble himself before Him.
He bows himself to the ground, lower than all the other Nephites who are kneeling, to kiss the Lord’s feet.
Kissing the feet is a sign of complete submission.
He is showing the Lord and everyone else present that he is nothing and the Lord is everything.
Again, this is the natural, most comfortable position for a mortal in the Lord’s presence.
What is the Lord’s next command to Nephi III and why is it so difficult?
To arise again and stand before the Lord.
Nephi can and will only do this through invitation.
The idea of standing alongside the Lord – standing in His presence and looking into His face while you would much rather be kneeling or prostrate, is daunting indeed.
READ 3 Nephi 11:21
Why doesn’t the Lord lay His hands on Nephi III’s head when giving him this power to baptize?
His word is enough.
Notice it is “power” and not “authority” that has been given; the authority is inherent in the power but power is not assumed just because someone has “authority” to do something (see D&C 121:36).
Nephi III clearly had held or manifested God’s power (see 3 Nephi 7:17-19), so why give Him “power” again?
This was the beginning of a new dispensation of the gospel where the law of carnal commandments had been done away and “power” or an association with Heaven based on the new rules needed to be (re)introduced from heaven to man (see Hebrews 8:13).
READ 3 Nephi 11:22-26
Do Nephi III and these others hold the “keys” to baptism among the Nephites?
Yes, the Lord Himself has given them, and them alone, the power to baptize.
Why did the Lord lay out in detail the way Nephi III is to conduct the ordinance of baptism?
Because they had been disputing about how best to perform the ordinance.
Because the ordinance is there to teach us about the “real thing” so it must be conducted as the Lord directs, otherwise subtle meaning may be lost.
Because it is an “authorized invitation” from Him or those He has given His power to, to enter into a covenant with Him; and only God can set the terms of a covenant – mankind can make vows or oaths to God but cannot institute a covenant with God because He will not be bound by our finite minds and fallen wills.
Can Nephi III, who holds the keys to baptism, change the way the ordinance is done for any reason whatsoever?
No (see Isaiah 24:5).
Having the keys to an ordinance means having the power from heaven to effectively conduct the ordinance but the Lord is clear about how He wants it done – and tells them to stop disputing about it.
Christ commands the people how to perform the ordinances and they are to be kept exactly in the manner they come from Him (see 3 Nephi 11:28).
Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed (see TPJS 344:4).
What is the Lord’s precondition for baptism?
Repentance of one’s sins – making the sacrifice of the broken heart and contrite spirit or the “attitude” as well as the action (confessing and forsaking) of repentance.
Determining to lay behind the things of the world and move forward in following the Lord and serving Him (see D&C 20:37).
This happens as a result of the word of God being taught to the individual.
What happens if this precondition is not met?
The ordinance will not be efficacious, even if it is conducted by one who has power given him to do it directly from Christ.
The individual has received an authorized invitation to enter into a covenant but has not yet met the terms.
They will not receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, so their sins will not be “washed clean” because they haven’t yet been sanctified, which does the actual “washing”, “purging”, “refining” or “quickening” of the individual’s spirit.
What is the symbolism inherent in baptism by immersion?
Washing away of anything that makes you unclean.
The death of the old man of sin (see Romans 6:4) by being “buried” in the water.
The spiritual rebirth or mighty change of heart that comes when one becomes His Son or Daughter.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ by “coming forth again” from the water or “death”, to a new life.
The role of the officiator, who immerses and then brings the person back up out of the water, is symbolic of the Lord, who holds the keys of death and resurrection (see Revelation 1:18; 2 Nephi 2:8).
READ 3 Nephi 11:27
How are the Father, Son and Holy Ghost one?
They are all perfect, just and holy beings.
They are precisely the same which allows them to share the same dominion, power, authority and glory, which constitutes salvation (see LoF 7:9).
They are made one with each other through the giving and receiving of glory (see LoF 7:13).
They became one by progressing up “Jacob’s Ladder” from eternity to eternity, growing with grace from a small capacity to a great one as they became more intelligent or filled with light or quickened through obedience to Eternal Law.
They are filled with a fullness of the Holy Spirit or mind of God, sharing it or being entangled together within it or in other words, truly being one – think “Unified Field Theory” in quantum physics with its “entanglement” properties and “non-local” effects.
READ 3 Nephi 11:28-30
What do contentions about doctrine imply?
Men have stopped gathering light by righteous behavior or obedience to God’s commandments and when they lose light, they cease to understand truth and are open to human interpretation and reasoning (see Alma 12:9-11); they think that if some doctrine or symbol were important, they would be able to tell - so if it doesn’t seem important to them, it must not important and can be changed to make it easier to understand or more relevant and popular or efficient to perform, etc.
Men have lost the faith to go directly to God for revelations, so they turn to scholarship, philosophy and fuzzy, emotional inspiration from possibly questionable sources; they frame changes as faith affirming inspiration or proof that God is still leading them, when in fact they are being led astray by Satan.
What is Christ telling the Nephites with regard to doctrine and ordinances?
Don’t change them.
Don’t even dispute them.
I command you in these things; they are off limits for argument, dispute and discussion.
If you change them, you will be cursed (see Isaiah 24:5-6).
If you lack wisdom, ask me and I will give answers unto you liberally and will not scold you for asking in faith and humility, since you are a seeker and turn to me in all things (see James 1:5).
Where do disputations lead?
Disputations lead to contention.
Contention leads to anger.
Anger is the devil’s tool because he can turn it easily into hate, the opposite of the great commandment to love God and your fellowmen.
What happens when contention begins?
The Spirit flees.
The devil subtly inserts himself.
People are misled.
Pride hardens their hearts toward their own position or understanding.
Divergence occurs instead of unity.
Anger and hate occur (see D&C 76:33).
Souls are lost through apostasy and failing to come unto and know God.
READ 3 Nephi 11:31-39
Whose doctrine is the Doctrine of Christ?
Christ has completely accepted and embodied the doctrine; He advocates for it; He is the “Word” but it is not His word.
What is the Doctrine of Christ?
Repent – turn again to Him, then follow Him and leave behind your sinful ways, choosing to always remember Christ.
Believe in Christ – His merits (or the results of His works), earned through enacting the Atonement and attaining to the Resurrection – and His ability and desire to save all who come unto Him (see John 3:16); we must come to a knowledge of these things and belief starts the process.
Be baptized by water and receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which proves that God has accepted the covenant you have made when baptized by water.
Endure to the End, in covenant – and the End is Christ, the “Omega” – come unto Christ in this life and be redeemed from the fall.
How important is the ordinance of baptism?
If one has the required belief in Christ to seek to be baptized…
Baptism is the difference between being saved and inheriting the kingdom of God or being damned.
But without belief in Christ and the subsequent baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that accompanies a successful baptism, (which confirms God’s acceptance of the covenant and cleanses, purges and sanctifies the individual), you might as well baptize a bag of sand than a man… (see TPJS 352:4).
What roles do the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have with regards to our salvation?
The Father ordained the plan and presides.
The Son implements the plan through His sacrifice and is the messenger announcing the Father’s plan.
The Holy Spirit activates the plan through its sanctifying power or “fire” and makes the person a new creature and gives them understanding or light/knowledge/glory.
They are “one” and united in their work (see Moses 1:39).
How is our relationship with Christ different in mortality than our relationship with the Father?
There is a formality with the Father that does not exist with the Son.
Christ is directly responsible for us and has contact with us to perform His redemptive service – He succors us as a Comforter; He can appear to mortals without showing His glory or requiring any alteration of the mortal who beholds Him (see John 20:15-17).
The Father is different in status, responsibility, glory and dominion; a mortal must be transfigured to enter His presence (see Moses 1:2); man cannot behold much of the Father’s works while mortal and remain in the flesh afterward (see Moses 1:5).
When does the Father bear record of the Son?
The Father bears record to those He proposes to also adopt as a Son
At that time He bears record that Jesus Christ is His (beloved) Son, and He tells them this in the presence of the Son; He will witness or share His testimony to you of the Son (see 3 Nephi 11:6-7).
It is a confirmation of your salvation or a sealing up to Eternal life (see Mosiah 5:15).
But you must go through the Son to get to the Father (see D&C 88:75).
And the Father’s testimony is that our salvation comes through Christ.
For those who have yet to experience this testimony in the flesh, do we have a “record” of the Father’s testimony of Christ and Christ’s testimony of the Father?
Yes – in the scriptures.
The testimony of others is the beginning of our journey – it opens our eyes to what is real and what is possible for us; it describes the seed of faith you must plant in your own heart.
Is this testimony enough?
It’s enough for those who heard the testimony from God Himself.
But it’s not enough for you, if you wish to be saved yourself (see D&C 132:21-25) – you must get it yourself because it pertains to you and without that testimony, you will grow weary in your mind and faint in time.
But it sows the seed of faith regarding what others have done and what you must also do (see LoF 2:54-56).
What is the role of the Holy Spirit?
To teach mankind about Christ by bringing all things to their remembrance (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit prepares the person to enter into Christ’s presence to receive His testimony of the Father, after which is the medium through which God ministers to the person to bring them redemption so that they can receive the Father’s testimony of Christ and Christ and the Father’s testimony of the person’s exaltation (see 2 Nephi 32:3-7; John 14:21; D&C 88:75).
If our “Ghost” becomes “Holy” through the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father, what does it mean that the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and Son?
We know who they are because they have revealed themselves to us.
We know who they are because they have each born testimony to us of the other.
We know who they are because they have sanctified and quickened us sufficient to understand them by making us more like them (more filled with light or intelligent) and eventually “precisely” like them.
And if we attain to this knowledge, our spirits will be sanctified or made holy; and as “Holy Ghosts,” we are under obligation from both of them to testify of it to the world.
What does becoming “childlike” have to do with repentance?
It is a prerequisite for repentance.
Children are open to change and are willing to learn; they welcome new ideas.
Children feel their ignorance and are anxious to fill it with information and understanding; they know they are unable to cope with the world they live in unless they learn and become more.
While adults believe they already know something and are unwilling to receive more or admit they might be wrong; they try to fit truth into their current paradigm or resist it altogether; they are proud and believe they will be saved while others will not; they have what they have and will receive nothing more (see 2 Nephi 28:29; Mark 2:22; 1 Timothy 6:4-6; Luke 18:11; Alma 31:14-18; 2 Nephi 28:14-15).
Repentance is a change of mind; so the prerequisite is being open to change or “soft-hearted” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) or childlike.
What does knowing, accepting and following the Doctrine of Christ protect you from?
Death and hell can have no claim on you, either in this world or after death (see Alma 12:11; Alma 40:13).
READ 3 Nephi 11:40-41
What does it mean to declare more than Christ’s doctrine?
It means augmenting the saving truths with “fences around the Law” including programs, standards, doctrines or cultural behaviors that complicate and distract from the truth – even if they were well intended by “guardian” types to help the rest of us stay in line.
It means sharing or focusing on things that are not important to salvation from this mortal probation.
It means supplanting the scriptures which teach the Doctrine with handbooks and “inspired” addresses – which are the doctrines of men, mingled with scripture.
It means putting an intermediary between us and the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
What does it mean to declare less than the Doctrine of Christ?
It means to reject the truth of the Fullness of the Gospel of Christ and teach a lesser part or doctrine.
It is a suppression of what needs to be proclaimed for salvation from this mortal world.
It is to be embarrassed of the truth – that we must endure to the end who is Christ – and know Him in this world, and to change the saving doctrine (see 2 Nephi 32: 4-7).