Did the Book of Mormon have one calendar system or three calendar systems?
The book of Third Nephi is the focal point of the Book of Mormon narrative. Everything has been leading up to the appearance of the resurrected Jesus to the people in the New World. Third Nephi is the record of Nephi, who was Alma the Younger’s great, great, grandson.
3 Nephi 1 The phrase “and it came to pass” is repeated 20 times in this chapter.
3 Nephi 1:1 “NOW it came to pass that the ninety and first year had passed away and it was six hundred years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem; and it was in the year that Lachoneus was the chief judge and the governor over the land.”
3 Nephi 1:2 “And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem.” We know from Mosiah 1:16, that those sacred things included the plates of Nephi, the sword of Laban, and the Liahona.
3 Nephi 1:3 No one knew where Nephi went when he departed out of the land. I guess he had enough for a, while. Alma the Younger disappeared in the same manner (see Alma 45:18).
3 Nephi 1:4 Then the signs and miracles prophesied by Samuel began to happen just as predicted.
3 Nephi 1:5 “But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.” ^The words “be fulfilled, which were” are in Luke 24:44.
3 Nephi 1:6 The people mocked the faithful members of the church saying, “the time is up! The signs of Christ’s birth should have been fulfilled by now!” ^The phrase “began to rejoice” is in Luke 19:37.
3 Nephi 1:7 The faithful began to be very sorrowful.
3 Nephi 1:8 But, they continued to be faithful despite opposition. “But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.” In the 1830 edition page 453 it read “which shall be as one day.” In later editions the word “shall” was changed to “should.”
3 Nephi 1:9 “Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbleivers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.” So, the deadline has been set. This seems like pretty drastic measures. The words “the unbelievers” are in 1 Corinthians 6:6.
3 Nephi 1:10-12 When Nephi heard about the “kill-the-believers-day” plans, he was very sorrowful. He cried mightily to God on behalf of his people. At the end of the day, the voice of the Lord spoke to him.
3 Nephi 1:11 The words “cried mightily” are in Revelation 18:2.
1 Nephi 1:12 The phrase “the voice of the Lord came unto him” is taken from Acts 7:31. In the 1830 edition page 453 it read “all the day” which was changed in later editions to read “all that day.”
3 Nephi 1:13 Here is what the voice said, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I unto the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” If what the Lord is telling them is true, then at this very moment while the Lord is speaking to Nephi, Mary is in labor and Joseph is searching for their accommodations in Bethlehem. The phrase “be of good cheer” is in Matthew 9:2 and “the time is at hand” is in Revelation 22:10 and “sign be given” in Luke 11:29.
3 Nephi 1:14 Next, the Voice says something interesting. “Behold, I came unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son – of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.” The words “to do the will” are in John 4:34. Mormonism teaches that the plan of salvation was taught during the first estate in the pre-existence. It was there that Christ was foreordained to be the Savior. Latter-day Saints believe that the “Father” is Elohim, our Heavenly Father who created everyone’s spirits. But, in this verse, Jesus is calling Himself “Father.” They explain it away by saying that Jesus is the “Father” because He was the “Creator.” That Jesus is both the Son and the Father has been taught to us before in the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 3:8 and Helaman 14:12). The Book of Mormon teaches a, monotheistic God.
Jesus equated Himself with the Father. He said He and His Father are one (see John 10:30). Notice He did not say, “one in purpose.” He said “one.” The Jews interpreted, His meaning to be that Jesus was God, so their reaction was to kill Him for blasphemy in claiming that He was God. Remember when Jesus appeared to Thomas, Thomas called Him “My Lord and my God” (see John 20:28). Jesus did not rebuke Thomas. He didn’t tell him, “Hey, Thomas, your taking that too far. I’m not God, I am the Christ.” If Jesus, was not God, this would have been blasphemy and idolatry. Instead, Jesus accepted the proper worship and the praise that Thomas gave Him at that moment.
3 Nephi 1:15-16 And God’s prophecy came true! Just like Samuel the Lamanite foretold in Helaman 14:3-4. That night when the sun went down it did not go dark. The non-believers were shocked and fell to the ground in disappointment, because now they could not kill the believers.
3 Nephi 1:17-19 Everyone else throughout the land were astonished and fell to the ground, knowing that Jesus was being born that very night.
3 Nephi 1:19 The words “and they knew that it was” are in Acts 3:10.
3 Nephi 1:20 Everything was being fulfilled.
3 Nephi 1:21 “And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.” But how could they see the new star if the night was as bright as day?
3 Nephi 1:22 Soon afterwards, Satan tried to spread lies and harden people’s hearts, but the greater populous did believe and were converted. I have to say, it is interesting that “signs” are often given in the Book of Mormon with differing results. Some people who asked for a sign were cursed and died. Most others were given signs and THEN believed and were converted. There seems to be a fine line with “signs.”
3 Nephi 1:23 “And it came to pass that Nephi went forth among the people, and also many others, baptizing unto repentance, in the which there was a great remission of sins. And thus the people began again to have peace in the land.” The phrase “remission of sins” is in Matthew 26:28.
3 Nephi 1:24-26 There were a few people who taught that the law of Moses was not necessary anymore. They thought the law was fulfilled when Christ was born, rather than being fulfilled by His death and resurrection. But they were converted once they realized they were in error in their understanding of the scriptures. Thus, the year A.D. 1 passed.
3 Nephi 1:24 The words “by the scriptures” are in Romans 16:26.
3 Nephi 1:25 The phrase “must be fulfilled” is in Luke 24:44.
3 Nephi 1:26 The words “the holy prophets” are in 2 Peter 3:2.
3 Nephi 1:27 “And it came to pass that the ninety and third year did also pass away in peace, save it were for the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains, who did infest the land; for so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them; therefore they did commit many murders, and did do much slaughter among the people.” In the 1830 edition page 454 it read “which dwelt upon the mountains, which did infest the land.” In later editions both times the word “which” was changed to “who.”
3 Nephi 1:28 During the next year, many Nephite dissenters or apostates joined the robbers. You wonder how all this could go on after the powerful signs that were shown to them?
3 Nephi 1:29 And many of the Lamanites were persuaded by the Zoramites to join the Gadianton robbers.
3 Nephi 1:30 “And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation.”
3 Nephi 2 In this chapter, we will cover about 11 years from AD. 5 to AD 16.
3 Nephi 2:1 As time went on, the people’s astonishment of the signs and wonders began to wear off. They became hard in their hearts and blind in their minds. ^The phrase “they had heard and seen” is in Luke 2:20.
3 Nephi 2:2 It was getting harder and harder for God to impress these people. They were explaining away in their own minds the signs and wonders as being manufactured by men and by the devil. They thought the doctrine of Christ was foolish and vain. The words “deceive the hearts of” are in Romans 16:18 and “the doctrine of Christ” are in Hebrews 6:1.
3 Nephi 2:3 They grew stronger in wickedness and did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given. These signs leave the wicked without excuse for not believing and totally responsible for what happens after that.
3 Nephi 2:5 “And also an hundred years had passed away since the days of Mosiah, who was king over the people of the Nephites.”
3 Nephi 2:6 “And six hundred and nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem.”
3 Nephi 2:7 “And nine years had passed away from the time when the sign was given, which was spoken of by the prophets, that Christ should come into the world.” The phrase “should come into the world” is from John 6:14.
3 Nephi 2:8 “Now the Nephites began to reckon their time from this period when the sign was given, or from the coming of Christ; therefore, nine years had passed away.”
Up to this time in the Book of Mormon, they had been using a two-calendar system: The first calendar system was based on how many years it had been since Lehi left Jerusalem in 600 BC. up to 92 BC. The second calendar began with the beginning of reign of the judges set up by Mosiah II in 92 BC. and was used till AD. 9. With the signs which accompanied the birth of Jesus, they began a third calendar system, counting the years from that event. This system was used for the remainder of their record. Thus, at this point in the Book of Mormon, using all three calendar systems, it has been 609 years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem, 100 years from the beginning of the reign of the judges, and 9 years after the birth of Jesus, or A.D. 9 in modern terminology. Got all of that?
3 Nephi 2:10 The 10th, and 11th years passed away and the people remained wicked, despite much preaching and prophesying to them.
3 Nephi 2:11 “And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste to so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them.” Nothing is said about the conscientious objector Lamanite converts, who in the past covenanted never to take up weapons again.
3 Nephi 2:12 Things had become so bad, that the Lamanite members of the church united with the Nephites to defend their rights, their church, their worship, their freedom, and their liberty. In the 1830 edition page 456 it read “and their privileges of their church” which was changed in later editions to read “and the privileges of their church.”
3 Nephi 2:13-14 The war commenced, and the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction. The Lamanites were numbered among the Nephites. Now, pay attention to the next two verses.
3 Nephi 2:15 “And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.” Skin color changed – like over, night?
Modern Church leaders have perpetuated this teaching: Brigham Young said in Journal of Discourses Vol. 7 pg. 336, 1859 “…the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into depths of degradation…they will become a white and delightsome people.” Again, in Journal of Discourses Vol. 10 pg. 359, 1864, Brigham taught “…their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes, and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people.” Then, in a General Conference Report, October 1960, Spencer W. Kimball said “The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.”
3 Nephi 2:16 “And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.” At this point in the Book of Mormon, the term “Nephites,” refers to all those who desire to be a member of the church, regardless of whether or, not their lineage is Nephite or Lamanite.
<id=”dark-skin>Now, let’s talk for a minute about this incredible phenomenon of skin color changing almost immediately from dark to white and fair. You recall from a previous lesson, that “the curse” was defined as the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord. This was taught by LDS Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith in his book Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 3, page 122: “The dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so that they could be distinguished from the Nephites and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark skin was the sign of the curse. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord and the Lamanites becoming a ‘loathsome and filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.’ (see 1 Nephi 12:23) The Lord commanded the Nephites not to intermarry with them, for if they did they would partake of the curse.” Recently, President Russell M. Nelson said, “Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent.” If that is the case, then it is probably high time that the Book of Mormon itself repent. Otherwise talk is cheap, even if it purports to be anti-racist.
Often, Latter-day Saints will argue that racism against black people is taught in the Bible where God curses Cain with a mark (see Genesis 4:15-16). But, nowhere is dark skin implied as a curse, nor is this curse of Cain ever passed down to his children. Likewise, the curse of Ham and Canaan (see Genesis 9 through 10) is never said to be dark skin.
3 Nephi 2:17 The war continued until this combined group called Nephites were able to push the Gadianton robbers back into the mountains into their secret hiding places.
3 Nephi 2:18 “And thus ended the fourteenth year. And in the fifteenth year they did come forth against the people of Nephi; and because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, and their many contentions and dissentions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them.”
3 Nephi 2:19 God’s sword of destruction hung over all them, and they were about to be smitten by it because of their iniquity. ^The words “insomuch that they were” are in Mark 2:12.
3 Nephi 3:1-5 In AD 16, the Nephite governor, Lachoneus, received an epistle from Giddianhi, the leader and governor of the Gaddianton robbers. Using much flattery, Giddianhi compliments the Nephites on their cause to defend their liberty and property. However, he argues, it seems foolish that Lachoneus and his army would take on the robbers in battle since the Gaddiantons are highly motivated by their hatred towards the Nephites because of the many wrongs which have been committed against the Gaddiantons. Giddianhi sarcastically expresses his concern for Lachoneus’s welfare and makes a ridiculous offer to end the war. In the 1830 edition page 457 it read “therefore I have wrote this epistle” which was changed in later editions to read “therefore I have written this epistle.” The word “epistle” used in this verse and others in the Book of Mormon is an obvious copy from the King James Bible. The word “epistle” was left in its original Greek form (epistolos) but given an English ending. This shows the writer of the Book of Mormon was not very careful in selecting his words.
3 Nephi 3:6 “Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come down upon you.”
3 Nephi 3:7 “Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us – not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.” The obvious problem with that offer is that if the Nephites agreed to become partners of all their substance, how would Giddianhi’s people survive after that? There would be no one to rob and plunder any more.
3 Nephi 3:8 “And behold I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.”
3 Nephi 3:9 Giddianhi claims, that the works of his ancient secret society are good and have been handed down to them.
3 Nephi 3:10 “And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government, and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.” In other words, he will bring justice to them because of the wrongs they have done to his people. In the 1830 edition page 457 it read “And I wrote this epistle unto you” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “And I write this epistle unto you.”
3 Nephi 3:11-12 When Lachoneus received Giddianhi’s epistle, he was exceedingly astonished at the boldness of the letter. But Lachoneus couldn’t be frightened by the demands and threats of a robber. Instead, he made the Nephites and the white-skinned Lamanites to pray to the Lord for strength against the robbers.
3 Nephi 3:13-16 Then Lachoneus sent a proclamation among all the people to gather their women, children, flocks and herds into one location. They built fortifications around them and put guards around the fortifications to watch for the robbers, day and night. He told them to repent in order that the Lord would keep them from falling into the robber’s hands. They did exactly what Lachoneus instructed them to do.
3 Nephi 3:15 ^The words “except ye repent” are in Luke 13:3.
3 Nephi 3:17 Lachoneus appointed chief captains over the armies.
3 Nephi 3:18 “Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni.” In the 1830 edition page 458 it read “Now the chiefest among all the Captains.” The word “chief” was omitted. In later editions it was corrected to read “the chief captains.”
3 Nephi 3:19 “Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for the chief captains some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.” The words “a great prophet” are in Luke 7:16.
3 Nephi 3:20-21 The people wanted Gidgiddoni to ask God if they could attack the robbers in their own lands, but Gidgiddoni refused to do so and said they should wait for the enemy to attack first.
3 Nephi 3:22 Notice the anachronisms in this verse. “And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.” More talk of “horses” and “chariots” at a time and place in which neither existed. Horses became extinct around the same time as the wooly mammoth and were reintroduced in the Americas in the 15th century by the Spanish. And, there has been no evidence that ancient cultures used wheeled vehicles, such as chariots in South or Central America.
3 Nephi 3:23 The place appointed for the battle was the land of Zarahemla between the land of Bountiful and the land Desolation.
3 Nephi 3:24 Lachoneus avoided the land norward – the land Desolation – because of the great curse. They must have been superstitious about the place where Jaradite civilization once existed. Apparently, it was still covered with the bones of men and beasts, and ruins of buildings (see Mosiah 8:8 and Alma 22:30-31).
3 Nephi 3:25 Many thousands of Nephites and white Lamanites fortified themselves together in one place and repented of all their sins. They prayed that God would deliver them from their enemies in battle. ^The words “in one body” are in Ephesians 2:16.
3 Nephi 3:26 Here are yet more anachronisms. “And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction.” A buckler is a small round shield held on the forearm.
3 Nephi 4:1 “AND it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate.” The phrase “to sally forth” is an idiom that means “to embark” “to launch” “to start out” in a sudden or violent manner. It comes from primarily a military noun, which has been used since the 16th Century. To use this phrase in AD. 18 would make it anachronistic.
3 Nephi 4:2-4 The robbers found no food in these lands that had been left deserted by the Nephites. There was no opportunity for the robbers to plunder from the Nephites, who had enough provisions themselves to survive for seven years.
3 Nephi 4:2 In the 1830 edition page 460 it read “But behold there was no wild beasts.” In later editions it was changed to “But behold there were no wild beasts.”
3 Nephi 4:4 In the 1830 edition page 460 it read “therefore there were no chance for the robbers to plunder” which was changed in later editions to read “therefore there was no chance for the robbers to plunder.” ^The words “for the space of” are in Acts 19:8.
3 Nephi 4:5-6 Giddianhi found it necessary for the robbers to attack the Nephites in order to obtain food.
3 Nephi 4:7 Before the robbers attacked, they put on their war costumes to make themselves look scary and intimidating. “And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had headplates upon the; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.”
3 Nephi 4:8 Next, the robbers will think their appearance has frightened the Nephites into submission. “And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.”
3 Nephi 4:9 “And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies.”
3 Nephi 4:10 Turns out, Giddianhi was mistaken. “But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.” The robbers mistook the Nephites action as expressing fear of battle, but instead the Nephites feared the Lord.
3 Nephi 4:11-14 The battle commenced, and it was the biggest slaughter among all the people of Lehi since Lehi arrived in the New World. The Nephites beat them as the robbers retreated. Gidgiddoni commanded his armies to pursue them and kill every one of them. Even Giddianhi was overtaken and slain.
3 Nephi 4:14 ^The words “with boldness” are in Acts 4:31.
3 Nephi 4:15-16 There was peace for a couple of years for the Nephites in their place of security. But then the robbers surrounded the people of Nephi in their lands.
3 Nephi 4:17 “Now they had appointed unto themselves another leader, whose name was Zemnarihah; therefore it was Zemnarihah that did cause that this siege should take place.”
3 Nephi 4:18-20 Unfortunately for the robbers, they were starving and running out of wild game for meat. While the Nephites still had plenty of provisions to sustain themselves.
3 Nephi 4:18 ^The words “it was impossible for” are in Hebrews 6:18.
3 Nephi 4:20 ^The phrase “perish with hunger” is in Luke 15:17.
3 Nephi 4:21 “And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their enemies, and cutting them off by the thousands and by tens of thousands.”
3 Nephi 4:22-26 Eventually, the robbers decided to give up their plans on the siege and Zemnarihah ordered them to withdraw and march northward. But Gidgiddoni had his Nephite army cut their army off during the night so the next day the robbers realized they were surrounded and could not escape.
3 Nephi 4:27 “And there were many thousands who did yield themselves up prisoners unto the Nephites, and the remainder of them were slain.”
3 Nephi 4:28 “And their leader, Zemnarihah, was taken and hanged upon a tree, yea, even upon the top thereof until he was dead. And when they had hanged him until he was dead they did fell the tree to the earth, and did cry with a loud voice saying:”
3 Nephi 4:29 “May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been felled to the earth.” ^The words “this man hath” are in Luke 23:41.
3 Nephi 4:30 “And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying: May the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall call on the name of their God for protection.” The phrase “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” is from Matthew 22:32.
3 Nephi 4:31 They began singing and praising God.
3 Nephi 4:32 “Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God.” The phrase “the Lord God Almighty” is from Revelation 21:22.
3 Nephi 4:33 “And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.” The words “everlasting destruction” are in 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
3 Nephi 5:1 “AND now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.” ^The phrase “it must needs be that” is in Matthew 18:7 and “must be fulfilled” is in Luke 24:44.
3 Nephi 5:2 “And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.” This is no doubt referring to Jesus’ resurrected visitation to them soon.
3 Nephi 5:3 “Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.”
3 Nephi 5:4-5 The Nephites cast the robbers they captured into prison and made them listen to the word of God. They were a captive audience, so to speak. Those who repented and entered, into a covenant not to murder anymore, were set free. Those who would not repent and not make the covenant, were condemned and punished according to the law – probably executed.
3 Nephi 5:5 The phrase “breathing out threatenings” is from Acts 9:1.
3 Nephi 5:6 “And thus they did put an end to all those wicked, and secret, and abominable combinations, in the which there was so much wickedness, and so many murders committed.” In the 1830 edition page 463 it read “in the which there were so much wickedness.” In later editions it was changed to “in the which there was so much wickedness.”
3 Nephi 5:7 Five more years pass away. It is now just 8 years before the great destruction and the coming of the resurrected Jesus.
3 Nephi 5:8 “And there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous; nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book; yea, this book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many people in the space of twenty and five years;” less than 1% of the cool things that happened in the last 25 years can be included in this record.
3 Nephi 5:9 Mormon tells us that a great many records were kept by the Nephites over the centuries. “But behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a shorter but true account was given by Nephi.” The Small Plates of Nephi.
3 Nephi 5:10 Mormon speaking of his own abridgement says, “Therefore I have made my record of these things according to the record of Nephi, which was engraven on the plates which were called the plates of Nephi.” Referring to the Large Plates of Nephi.
3 Nephi 5:11 “And behold, I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands.” One must consider what it would take for Mormon to produce these records: From the accounts given by Joseph’s mother, we understand that Mormon’s abridgement consisted of a set of gold plates, weighing about 60 lbs. (more likely 200 lbs.) with dimensions of about 7 inches Wide, 8 inches in length, and 6 inches thick. It also included the Small Plates of Nephi. Such a set would contain a rather large number of individual thin sheets or plates. Imagine how much effort and time it would take for Mormon to maufacture the delicately thin metal plates upon which he could carefully engrave his abridgement of the Nephite records. He would first have to find a source of gold needed for the plates. He would have to build a bellow to blow fire hot enough to melt the gold, find iron ore from which to manufacture tools required for pounding the plates to the proper thinness. Then, he would have to produce tools for the engraving process. Consider the time it would take to sort through all the records kept for centuries by different record keepers and condense their stories, teachings, and histories into one concise abridged book.
3 Nephi 5:12 Mormon tells us more about himself. “And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression.” (see Mosiah 18:4). The words “which was established” are in Hebrews 8:6.
3 Nephi 5:13 “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” Once again, in Mormonism, “everlasting life” is interpreted to mean “exaltation” in the highest degree of glory. Remember, Mormon is writing all of this here in 3rd Nephi about AD. 385. The phrase “of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” is from Mark 1:1 and “have everlasting life” is in John 3:16.
3 Nephi 5:14-16 Mormon says it was necessary for him to make his record for the prayers of past prophets to be answered, who prayed that these records would be preserved for their descendants.
3 Nephi 5:14 The phrase “according to the will of God” is from 1 Peter 4:19.
3 Nephi 5:17 “And then I do make a record of the things which I have seen with mine own eyes.” These are recorded in Mormon chapters 1 through 7.
3 Nephi 5:18 “And I know the record which I make to be a just and a true record; nevertheless there are many things which, according to our language, we are not able to write.” He was supposedly restricted in his writing in Reformed Egyptian. Why not write some things in Hebrew, his native language? To be “Just” means right or lawful, and “true” means correct, reliable, and trustworthy. Better yet, in King James English, which would have made it much easier for Joseph Smith. Mormon will explain his reasons in his own book (see Mormon 9:32-34). In the 1830 edition page 464 the word “nevertheless” was spelled “neverthelers.” But it was corrected in later editions.
3 Nephi 5:19 Mormon says, “but enough about me, let’s get back to the story at hand.”
3 Nephi 5:20 Okay, maybe one more thing – he wants to remind the readers of his pedigree. “I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, (and no one knew it save it were himself and those whom he brought out of that land) and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls.”
3 Nephi 5:21-22 Lehi’s descendants are among the house of Jacob and Jacob’s son was Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. Mormon ties the descendants of Lehi into the blessings promised by Joseph’s posterity.
3 Nephi 5:23-26 Mormon envisions a time in the future when a remnant of the seed of Joseph will encounter the knowledge of the Lord their God, being gathered from the four corners of the earth. They will know the covenant made with the house of Jacob, that their redeemer is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
3 Nephi 5:25 ^The words “the covenant wherewith he” are in Hebrews 10:29.
3 Nephi 6:1-2 A few chapters ago, the Nephites gathered, together in one location with a seven-year supply of provisions. Now that the robbers have been destroyed or surrendered and joined them, the Nephites returned to their original homelands.
3 Nephi 6:1 ^The words “and all things whatsoever” are in Matthew 21:22.
3 Nephi 6:3 They even gave land to their former enemies, who had covenanted to be peaceful. In the 1830 edition page 465 it read “keep the peace, of the band which were desirous to remain Lamanites.” In later editions the word “band” was changed to “land” and the word “which” was changed to “who.”
3 Nephi 6:4 “And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth and seventh years passed away, and there was great order in the land; and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice.”
3 Nephi 6:5-9 The people began to prosper, having great political leaders. They built new cities, repaired the old ones, and constructed many highways throughout the land. They were enjoying continual peace.
3 Nephi 6:10 “But it came to pass in the twenty and nineth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.” Oh, no, here comes that cycle of apostasy again, beginning with the Nephite disease of Pride.
3 Nephi 6:11-13 There were many merchants and lawyers, and government officials. People were divided into a class system according to their wealth and education. Some were ignorant because of their poverty and others were educated because of their riches. Some were prideful and others were humble. There was a lot of criticizing and persecution.
3 Nephi 6:13 The phrase “railing for railing” is from 1 Peter 3:9.
3 Nephi 6:14 “And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.” The words “steadfast, and immovable” are similar to 1 Corinthians 15:58 and “all diligence to” are in Jude 1:3.
3 Nephi 6:15-17 And of course Satan was behind all this iniquity, stirring up the people, tempting them and leading their hearts away to do all kinds of wickedness.
3 Nephi 6:15 The phrase “power and authority” is in Luke 9:1.
3 Nephi 6:18 “Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.” They were in open rebellion against God.
3 Nephi 6:19 All this was happening during the leadership of Lachoneus, the son of the righteous leader Lachoneus. ^The words “it was in the days of” are in Luke 17:28.
3 Nephi 6:20 “And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.” Remember, it is only a few years away until Jesus appears on this continent. So, the people are given the urgent message to repent.
3 Nephi 6:21 “Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.” Those people whose livelihoods and positions of power were threatened if the people became righteous.
3 Nephi 6:22-26 The only person who had authority to condemn any one to death was the governor of the land. So, secretly many of the prophets were taken and put to death unlawfully by the judges. When the governor found out about it, those corrupt judges were brought before him to be tried.
3 Nephi 6:23 ^The words “things pertaining to” are in 1 Corinthians 6:4 and “unto the governor of the” are in John 2:8.
3 Nephi 6:25 In the 1830 edition page 467 it read “the prophets of the land” which was changed in later editions to “the prophets of the Lord.”
3 Nephi 6:27-28 But the accused judges had many friends and relatives who came to support the judges being tried. They unitedly entered into a covenant which was given by them of old and administered by the devil.
3 Nephi 6:28 The words “by them of old” are in Matthew 5:21 and “all righteousness” are in Matthew 3:15.
3 Nephi 6:29 “Therefore they did combine against the people of the Lord, and enter into a covenant to destroy them, and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice, which was about to be administered according to the law.”
3 Nephi 6:30 “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.”
3 Nephi 7 This chapter will take us up to the time of the destruction of the wicked people in the western hemisphere.
3 Nephi 7:1 “NOW behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.” Alright, this is the year AD. 30. and, we know that on the other side of the world – Jesus is just beginning His mortal ministry to the Jews.
3 Nephi 7:2-4 After the chief judge was killed, the people divided up according to their families into separate tribes. Thus, they destroyed the government of the land. Each large tribe had their own leaders. This is the first and last mention of the term “tribes” in the Book of Mormon, which has a direct reference to the Native American tribes in Joseph Smith’s day.
3 Nephi 7:5 They yielded themselves to the power of Satan. The phrase “Now all this was done” is from Matthew 1:22 and “the power of Satan” from Acts 26:18.
3 Nephi 7:6 All of the government laws were destroyed because of their secret combinations. In the 1830 edition page 468 it read “of them which murdered the prophets.” In later editions the word “which” was changed to “who.”
3 Nephi 7:7 There was great contention in the land, and there were only a few righteous people left among them.
3 Nephi 7:8 “And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire.” The last part of this verse is practically copied from 2 Peter 2:22 “The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
3 Nephi 7:9-10 This secret combination of people appointed a man by the name of Jacob to be their king. He had been the most outspoken against the prophets who testified of Jesus.
3 Nephi 7:11-13 Being outnumbered by the various tribes, Jacob commanded that his people should flee to the northern most part of the land and build themselves a kingdom there.
3 Nephi 7:14 Everything was peaceful between the tribes, each following their own laws. But their hearts were turned away from God, and they stoned any prophets among them. ^The words “out from among them” are in 2 Corinthians 6:17.
3 Nephi 7:15 Mormon now turns the reader’s attention to Nephi, who over 30 years ago (in 3 Nephi 1:12-13), had been told by the voice of the Lord that He, Jesus would be born the next day. “And it came to pass that Nephi – having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eyewitness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations;” ^The words ^“of Christ, and also” are in 1 Peter 5:1.
3 Nephi 7:16 “Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds – went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The phrase “being grieved for the hardness of their hearts” is from Mark 3:5 and “the blindness of” is in Ephesians 4:18 and “remission of sins” is in Matthew 26:28.
3 Nephi 7:17 “And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.”
3 Nephi 7:18 The people were angry because Nephi had greater power than they did. ^The words “not possible that” are in Acts 2:24 and “on the Lord Jesus Christ” are in Romans 13:14.
3 Nephi 7:19 “And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.” His dead brother’s name is Timothy (see 3 Nephi 19:4), who later along with Nephi become two of Jesus’s twelve disciples. Greek names would not have been known to the Nephites at this time in history. The name “Timothy” is from the Greek “Timotheos.” The phrase “cast out devils” are from Matthew 7:22 and “unclean spirits” are in Mark 3:11.
3 Nephi 7:20 Nephi did many more miracles that angered the people. ^The words “more miracles” are in John 7:31.
3 Nephi 7:21 The number of converts to the church declines. “And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed.” ^The words “in Jesus Christ” are in Galatians 2:16.
3 Nephi 7:22 ^The words “their infirmities” are in Luke 7:21 and “had been healed” are in Luke 8:22 and “miracles among the people” in Acts 6:8.
3 Nephi 7:23 “Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.” The phrase “repentance and remission of sins” is from Luke 24:47. It is now the final year of Jesus’s mortal ministry in the Holy Land.
3 Nephi 7:24 “Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.” ^The words “unto repentance” are in Matthew 3:11 and “baptized with water” are in Acts 11:16.
In the 1830 edition page 470 it read “which were not baptized.” In later editions the word “which” was changed to “who.”
3 Nephi 7:25 “Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.” First, of all when we read the Old Testament there is never reference to water baptism. Not for the living or the dead. Here Mormon teaches that baptism is necessary in, order for a person to be forgiven of sins. That is simply not true. The Bible teaches that all a person has to do to be forgiven is to believe in what Jesus Christ has done for them on their behalf. He has already paid for the sins of the whole world, and all we have to do is accept that work on our behalf. Mormonism teaches there is a seven-step process for repentance. And if there is ever a repeat of those sins, it is as if you have never repented. The truth is this – after truly accepting the Lord’s atonement on our behalf, it is up to the individual if they desire, to be baptized. But keep in mind, it is not a requirement for salvation.
3 Nephi 7:26 After a drop in the number of convert baptisms, immediately before Christ’s coming, there was a significant increase in conversions followed by baptisms. “And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance; and thus the more part of the year did pass away.”
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Remember, Jesus is enough!