Notes and Quotes on 3 Nephi 11-14

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1 Notes and Quotes on 3 Nephi Nephi 11:3-4 While they were conversing... they heard a voice and they understood not the voice What will be a parallel experience in the last days for people who do not understand the sign in the heavens of the Second Coming of Christ? Note what the Prophet Joseph Smith said: There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east (April 6, 1843). --Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p A Note on Baptism There is nothing strange in the fact that when the Lord came to the Nephites, Nephi was baptized and so was everybody else although they had been baptized before. The Church among the Nephites before the coming of Christ was not in its fulness and was under the law of Moses. The Savior restored the fulness and gave to them all the ordinances and blessings of the gospel. Therefore, it actually became a new organization, and through baptism they came into it. We have a similar condition in this dispensation. The Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized by command of the Angel John the Baptist. Several others were baptized before the organization of the Church. However, on the day the Church was organized, all who had been previously baptized were baptized again, not for the remission of sins, but for entrance into the Church. In each case the reason was the same. Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol 3, pp

2 3 Nephi 12:1-12 Notice in 3 Nephi 12:3 Jesus stated blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me. In verse 4 the words and again are added. Verses 5-11 all have the word and added. What is the significance of this? By closely examining verses 1 and 2 we realize Jesus is teaching the way to come unto him is through baptism and the reception of the Holy Ghost. By stating and again and and prior to each beatitude, Jesus was teaching in each case that baptism and Holy Ghost were implied with each beatitude. This affects the doctrine of each beatitude. For example: v. 3 Poor in Spirit. Jesus is not intending for us to have as a goal to be poor in spirit. He is teaching that those who come unto him through baptism will receive the Holy Ghost and will then no longer be poor in spirit. Jesus taught for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The gate to the kingdom of heaven is baptism. (2 Nephi 31:17.) Therefore, those who are poor in spirit (humble) who come to him through baptism will enter the gate to the kingdom of heaven. v. 4 Mourn. Those who mourn (feel sorrow for sin) who come to Christ though baptism will receive the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is called by Jesus the comforter (John 14:26). By having the Holy Ghost they will be comforted. v. 5 Meek. The meek who come to Christ through baptism will inherit the Celestial Kingdom. Jesus said they would inherit the earth. This earth will become the Celestial Kingdom. v. 6 Hunger and Thirst. The Bible account reads They shall be filled. The Third Nephi account adds with the Holy Ghost since they will have first come to Christ though baptism. v. 8 Blessed are the Pure in Heart for They Shall See God. Does the Savior s reference to seeing God refer to the Father or the Son? Does it refer to this life or the next? See Topical Guide under the heading; God, privilege of seeing, pp Nephi 12:5 Some of the company thought I was not a very meek Prophet; so I told them: I am meek and lowly in heart, and will personify Jesus for a moment, to illustrate the principle, and cried out with a loud voice, Woe unto you, ye doctors; woe unto you, ye lawyers; woe unto you, ye scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites! But you cannot find the place where I ever went that I found fault with their food, their drink, their house, their lodgings; no, never; and this is what is meant by the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. --Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270.

3 3 Nephi 12:13 To understand why Jesus would ask his disciples to be the salt of the earth one must understand the role of salt in the Law of Moses anciently: 1. Anciently certain uses of salt were a symbol of God s Covenant with man. (Lev. 2:13, Numbers 18:19, II Chron. 13:5) 2. The Lord commanded ancient Israel to make sacrifices to him using burnt offerings (Lev. 1:3-4). It was actually the smell, not the meat of the offering that was given to the Lord. (Lev. 1:3-17) 3. Since the smell of unsalted burned flesh was repulsive, salt was used on the offerings so a sweet smell or savor would be emitted. Therefore, salt made the offering acceptable. (Lev. 2:13) 4. In his day, Jesus commanded his disciples to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13, 3 Nephi 12:13), which was a charge to them to do things that would be the equivalent of making offerings acceptable to the Lord. 5. In the last days Jesus said his followers were to be the salt of the earth and the savor of man (D&C 101:39). This has reference to offering the blessings of the covenant to our brothers and sisters. 6. Since Jesus was the great and last sacrifice (Alma 34:10), and all burnt offerings ceased after his atonement (3 Nephi 9:19), Jesus taught the Nephites that the acceptable offering following his atonement to be made was a broken heart and a contrite spirit (3 Nephi 9:20). 7. Therefore, members of the church, through sharing the gospel, figuratively become the salt that makes it possible for others to make the acceptable sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit through the covenant of baptism and reception of the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 9:20). 8. Since salt can only lose savor through contamination with impurities, members should remain free from impurities in their lives so they may act as the savor of men by sharing the gospel with everyone. Adapted from What Does it Mean to be the Salt of the Earth? LeGrand Baker, Ensign, April 1999, pp

4 3 Nephi 12:41 The JST for Matthew 5:43 changes the wording and meaning of this passage And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him a mile; and whosoever shall compel thee to go with him twain, thou shalt go with him twain. In the Matthew account, Jesus was teaching the Jews to obey the Law of the Land in Jerusalem. Roman Law required Jews to carry a Roman soldier s bags one mile. If asked to carry it an additional mile, they must comply. That was the limit that could be asked under the law. Why does 3rd Nephi sometimes read like the King James Version rather than the Joseph Smith Translation? (For example 3 Nephi 12:41; 13:12; 14:1-2; 14:23) Few of the present generation can comprehend the attitude of the Protestant Christian world to the Bible at the time the Book of Mormon was published. Every word in it was regarded as sacred and the word of God. The people worshipped the book rather than the author therefore, not to put fresh obstacles in the way of the honest, the Lord, permitted those portions of the Bible that were incorporated in the Book of Mormon to appear in the identical language to which the people were accustomed. It was only when a change was absolutely necessary that he permitted it. --Improvement Era, 4: Nephi 12:44 I love them so much that if I had it in my power to annihilate them from the earth I would not harm a hair of their heads... I do not love them so that I would take them into my bosom, or invite them to associate with my family, or that I would give my daughters to their embraces, nor my sons to their counsels. I do not love them so well that I would invite them to the councils of the Priesthood, and the ordinances of the House of God, to scoff and jeer at sacred things which they do not understand, nor would I share with them the inheritance that God, my Father, has given me in Zion; I do not love them well enough for this, and I do not believe that God ever designed that I should; but I love them so much that I would not hurt them, I would do them good... --President Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 284.

5 3 Nephi 12:48 See LDS Bible, Matthew 5:48 footnote 48b Complete, finished, fully developed. The original connotation for the term translated perfect means whole, complete, or ripe. It does not mean without flaw. Christ didn t give a commandment we could not attain. In Matthew 5:48 the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means complete.... The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.... [T]he word does not imply freedom from error; it implies achieving a distant objective..... Telephone literally means distant talk. Television means to see distantly. Telephoto means distant light. --Elder Russell M. Nelson, Conference Report, Oct. 1995, p Nephi 13:14-15 An example of forgiving from the life of Heber J. Grant President Grant was ordained an Apostle when he was twenty-six years old. While he was still quite a young man, a very prominent man who had been excommunicated many years before was asking to be reinstated in the Church. John Taylor was President of the Church then, and he referred the matter to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. After hearing all the testimonies, five voted in favor of reinstatement and seven against. The next year the matter came up again, and eight voted in favor and four against. The next year all but Elder Grant voted in favor of reinstatement. When President Taylor asked him about it, Elder Grant said he knew the man had lied to the Apostles in the first place, and he had voted according to his convictions. President Taylor told Elder Grant to stay with his convictions as long as he felt that way. Elder Grant went home for lunch, and when he opened the scriptures to read, the book fell open to this passage: Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:9-10) As he closed the book Elder Grant said, If the devil applies for baptism and claims that he has repented, I will baptize him. President Taylor was very pleased when Elder Grant told him that he had changed his mind. He asked the young Apostle how he felt then in comparison to how he had felt when he left the office an hour before. Elder Grant replied that he felt much happier and that he really hoped the Lord would forgive the man. President Taylor pointed out that this difference in his feelings was the difference between the spirit of bitterness and the spirit of forgiveness. --Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: The Improvement Era, 1969], pp

6 3 Nephi 14:13-14 I d like to append to them the fact and this is a true gospel verity that everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life: if he passes out of this life while he s on the straight and narrow, he s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father s kingdom. We don t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don t. There s only been one perfect person, and that s the Lord Jesus, but in order to be saved in the kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path thus charting a course leading to eternal life and then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship. I m not saying that you don t have to keep the commandments. I m saying you don t have to be perfect to be saved. If you did, no one would be saved. The way it operates is this: you get on the path that s named the straight and narrow. You do it by entering the gate of repentance and baptism. The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that s called eternal life. If you re on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you ll never get off the path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come, and the reason is that this life is the time that is given to men to prepare for eternity. Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you re working zealously in this life though you haven t fully overcome the world and you haven t done all you hoped you might do you re still going to be saved. You don t have to do what Jacob said, Go beyond the mark. You don t have to live a life that s truer than true. You don t have to have an excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing. What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you re on the path when death comes because this is the time and the day appointed, this the probationary estate--you ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure. --Elder Bruce R. McConkie, The Probationary Test of Mortality, Address given at University of Utah. Jan. 10, 1982, p. 11.

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