Jesus descending down to the Nephites
“Alpha and Omega”
3 Nephi 8 This is the chapter in which the signs of the Savior’s death are given to the Nephites, as prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite from the wall in Zarahemla (see Helaman 14:20-28). This is Mormon’s description of these events.
3 Nephi 8:1 “AND now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record – for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity –” Mormon is talking about Nephi, here.
3 Nephi 8:2 Mormon says – so unless Nephi made a mistake in his record keeping, it was the year 33 BC.
3 Nephi 8:3-4 The people were looking earnestly for the sign of three days of darkness but began to have serious doubts that it would ever happen.
3 Nephi 8:5 “And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year; in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.” The phrase “there arose a great storm” is in Mark 4:37. Mormon will now describe what took place.
3 Nephi 8:6 “And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide usunder.”
3 Nephi 8:7 “And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.”
3 Nephi 8:8 “And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.”
3 Nephi 8:9 “And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.”
3 Nephi 8:10 “And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.”
3 Nephi 8:11 “And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.”
3 Nephi 8:12 “But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth.”
3 Nephi 8:13 “And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.”
3 Nephi 8:14 “And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.” The words “great and notable” are in Acts 2:20.
3 Nephi 8:15 “And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.”
3 Nephi 8:16 “And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.”
3 Nephi 8:17 “And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.”
3 Nephi 8:18 “And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.” The words “rent in twain” are in Matthew 27:51 and “insomuch that they were” are in Mark 2:12. The New Testament certainly provided the raw material for the Book of Mormon story. There are parallels here found in Matthew 27:51 which says, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”
3 Nephi 8:19 All of this geological destruction occurred in the space of about three hours.
3 Nephi 8:20 “And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;” This is similar to the description of one of the ten plagues caused by God through Moses, in Egypt – that of “thick darkness” for three days (Exodus 10:22). The vapor could have been created by the ash, smoke, gasses, dust and debris rising into the air. The darkness that came to the Western Hemisphere signaled that Christ had been crucified.
3 Nephi 8:21-22 The surviving Nephites and Lamanites were unable to create any light at all. For three days there was absolutely no light – not from candles, torches, campfires, the sun, the moon, nor the stars. They would have had to go without food and water for 72 hours. How could all those men, women, and children have survived that?
3 Nephi 8:23 “And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.” The three days was to symbolically, represent the three days Christ’s body was in the tomb. The phrase “for the space of three” is in Acts 19:8.
3 Nephi 8:24 “And in one place they were heard to cry; saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zaramemla.”
3 Nephi 8:25 “And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children haven been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible.”
3 Nephi 9:1 It is in this darkness that the people hear a voice. “AND it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:” The words “a voice heard” are in Matthew 2:18.
3 Nephi 9:2 “Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they have fallen!”
3 Nephi 9:3-12 As we will clearly see, the Savior Himself claims responsibility for causing the destruction of 16 specific cities. Because of their secret murders and combinations and the fact that the inhabitants rejected and killed the prophets, He burned the cities of Zarahemla, Jacobugath, Laman, Josh, Gad, and Kishkumen. He sunk Moroni, Onihah, Mocum, and Jerusalem in the depths of the sea. He covered Moronihah with earth, and sunk Gilgal, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, and Gimgimno in the earth. And some people were carried away in the whirlwind, like a tornado.
3 Nephi 9:5 The phrase “the blood of the prophets” is in Matthew 23:30.
3 Nephi 9:9 In the 1830 edition page 473 it read “by the people of the king of Jacob.” It was changed in later editions omitting the second word “of.” It now reads “by the people of the king Jacob.” The words “of their sins” are in Luke 1:77.
3 Nephi 9:11 The words “none righteous” are in Romans 3:10.
3 Nephi 9:13 The voice tells those who were not destroyed that the reason He spared them is because they were not as wicked as those that were destroyed. He then invites them to repent. “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?”
3 Nephi 9:14 “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you and whosoever will come, him I will receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” The words “have eternal life” are in Matthew 19:16 and “whosoever will come” are in Mark 8:34 and “blessed are those” in Luke 12:38.
3 Nephi 9:15 Now, the Savior introduces Himself as the voice in the dark. “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God, I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.” The phrase “I am Jesus” is in Acts 22:8 and “was with the Father” is in 1 John 1:2 and “I am in the Father, and the Father in me” is taken from John 14:10 and “hath the Father” is in 1 John 2:23.
3 Nephi 9:16 Speaking of the Jews in Israel, “I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.” He is quoting John 1:11 which had not been yet been written.
3 Nephi 9:17 “And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.” His coming to the earth fulfilled the purposes of the Law of Moses. The words “become the sons of God” are in John 1:12.
3 Nephi 9:18 “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” He is quoting from the Gospel of John, which has not yet been written. Besides the Nephites and Lamanites would not know what “Alpha and Omega” meant, since they were the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and would not be found in an authentic ancient text from the Americas. It would have been Greek to them. “Alpha and Omega” are the English spellings of Greek words found in the Bible (see Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Since the Book of Mormon was not recorded in Greek, why were these words used? The simple fact is, they were copied from the King James Bible. The phrase “I am the light” is in John 9:5 and “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” is taken from Revelation 22:13.
3 Nephi 9:19 This is interesting. “And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.” There is in fact, no verses or passages in the Book of Mormon that mention this practice of offering burnt sacrifices, other than just a few oblique mentions of sacrifices and burnt offerings (in 1 Nephi 5:9; 1 Nephi 7:22; Mosiah 2:3), which are meaningless. It is obvious that the author of the Book of Mormon did not know what the Jews practiced, or even what the different types of sacrifice were. The Book of Mormon people are described as practicing the Law of Moses dozens of times, however no Jewish customs or practices appear at all in the Book of Mormon. In the Old Testament, we find the following offerings: trespass offerings, meat offerings, drink offerings, wave offerings, and peace offerings. These offerings are mentioned over 500 times in the Bible. The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, does not have a single place where any of these important offerings are mentioned. The author of the Book of Mormon seems to have been oblivious to the importance of sacrifices and offerings under the Law of Moses in ancient Israel. The words “shall be done away” are in 1 Corinthians 13:10.
We read back in Mosiah 2:3 “And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses.” The words “of the firstlings of their flocks” is similar, to Genesis 4:4. The Nephites were still living under the Law of Moses – while at the same time, teaching and believing in Jesus Christ. If you were an avid reader of the Book of Mormon – and for the first time in your life read the Old Testament – it would cause you to wonder, why no one under the Old Covenant knew who Jesus Christ was! Why did the Jews in the New World know all about Jesus – when the Jews in the Old World knew nothing about who Jesus Christ was? The only logical conclusion is – that the author or authors of the Book of Mormon were living in the 19th century and were reinventing history. They anachronistically, included many Christian aspects well before the time of Christ.
Instead of helping the case for authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:3 shows that the author of the Book of Mormon did not understand the law of Moses at all. According to the law of Moses the “firstlings of their flocks” were never offered as burnt offerings or sacrifices. All firstlings belonged to the Lord and could not be counted as a man’s personal property. Whereas, all burnt offerings, or sacrifices for sin was selected from one’s own personal property. All the firstlings of the flock, as the Lord’s property, came into the hands of the high priest, And through the high priest it could offered up as a peace offering – but never as a burnt offering or sin offering. (See Exodus 13:2, 12 and Exodus 22:29-30). This mistake in the writing of the Book of Mormon shows that the author was unfamiliar with the Jewish law concerning offerings.
They are supposedly keeping the Law of Moses and yet there is no reference in the Book of Mormon to any named Judaic activity, feast, celebration, custom, or way of life – other than a few mentions of “sacrifices” and “burnt offerings” which are meaningless. No Passover, no circumcision, etc. So, in covering an entire 600 year-period under the Old Covenant – all the writer of the Book of Mormon came up with were four passages (1 Nephi 5:9; 1 Nephi 7:22; Mosiah 2:3; 3 Nephi 9:19). It is apparent that the Book of Mormon was written by someone who was not at all familiar with the ancient Jewish religion and chose to simply leave it out of the entire narrative.
It said back in 2 Nephi 25:24-25 “And, notwithstanding, we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled. For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.” We can see the contradiction here within these two verses. The Nephites believe in and describe themselves as “alive in Christ” and yet they keep the Law of Moses – a law which has become “dead” to them. This is a very strange way to behave and is not consistent with the Jews in the Old Testament.
3 Nephi 9:20 Next, Jesus explains the type of sacrifice He wants in place of animal sacrifices. “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” This is recounted in Helaman 5. How did those Lamanites get “baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost” and not know it? The words “cometh unto me” are in John 6:45 and “I baptize with” are in John 1:26 and “with the Holy Ghost” are in Matthew 3:11.
3 Nephi 9:21 “Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.” The words “to save the world” are in John 12:47.
3 Nephi 9:22 “Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth and be saved.” The phrase “as a little child” is in Luke 18:17 and “the kingdom of God” is in Matthew 6:33 and “and be saved” in Luke 8:12.
3 Nephi 10:1-2 The people had ceased lamenting and howling while the voice was speaking. Suddenly, there was complete silence that lasted for many hours. And it was still completely dark.
3 Nephi 10:1 The words “there was silence in” are in Revelation 8:1.
3 Nephi 10:3 “And it came to pass that there came a voice again unto the people, and all the people did hear, and did witness of it saying:”
3 Nephi 10:4 “O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.” This metaphor is nearly identical to the one in Matthew 23:37. But, in this case, the Nephite and Lamanite “chickens” would not gather, so He had to kill them.
3 Nephi 10:4-7 Jesus repeats his refrain three more times, inviting those who survived this mass killing to repent and return to Him. But if they do not repent, then He will have to destroy them also. This is not the loving patient resurrected Lord we see in the New Testament. This Book of Mormon Jesus is out for vengeance.
3 Nephi 10:5 The words “ye that dwell at Jerusalem” are in Acts 2:14.
3 Nephi 10:7 The words “the fulfilling of the” are in Romans 13:10.
3 Nephi 10:8 After the people heard these words, they went back weeping and howling again over their dead family and friends who Jesus had just killed.
3 Nephi 10:9 Mormon continues, “And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning , and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away.”
3 Nephi 10:10 “And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer.” They thanked the Lord for not killing them like He did so many of their families and friends.
3 Nephi 10:11 “And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.”
3 Nephi 10:12 “And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared The phrase “the blood of the saints” is in Revelation 17:6.
3 Nephi 10:13 Mormon mentions that besides being buried, drowned, burned, and blown away – the wicked were destroyed “by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.”
3 Nephi 10:14 “And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets.” You have, to understand that according to the Book of Mormon, Jesus had to kill these people in these horrific ways or else the scriptures would not be properly fulfilled. The phrase “whoso readeth, let him understand” is taken from Matthew 24:15.
3 Nephi 10:15 “Behold, I say unto you, Yea, many have testified of these things at the coming of Christ, and were slain because they testified of these things.”
3 Nephi 10:16 Next, Mormon tells us that both Zenos and Zenock were killed because they prophesied of Christ’s coming to the Nephites and the destruction of the wicked which would accompany it.
3 Nephi 10:17 Mormon then refers to the prophecies about the descendants of Joseph of Egypt, who came to the New World in Lehi’s group. In the 1830 edition page 475 it read “those things” which was changed in later editions to read “these things.”
3 Nephi 10:18 “And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them – “ There seems to be some confusion as to the timing of the Savior’s visit to the Nephites and Lamanites. Here in Verse 18 it tells us that “in the ending of the thirty and fourth year” Christ appeared to them. But, according to 3 Nephi 8:5, the destruction and three days of darkness began “in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month.” Here in Verse 18 Mormon says that the visit came “soon after the ascension of Christ.” So, which is it? Did He appear right after His ascension into heaven, or not until about a year afterwards? LDS leaders and Book of Mormon scholars all agree that Christ’s appearance to the Nephite and Lamanite survivors happened immediately after His ascension on the day of His resurrection. So, either verse 18 is wrong or Mormon is wrong in stating that was the end of the year.
3 Nephi 10:19 Mormon concludes this chapter with a rather abrupt ending. “Showing his body unto them, and ministering unto them; and an account of his ministry shall be given hereafter. Therefore for this time I make an end of my sayings.”
(no reference) The appearance of the resurrected Lord to the righteous Nephites and Lamanites is recorded in chapters 11 through 26 of 3 Nephi. It is the most extensive section of the book which is devoted to recounting what happened in the first two days of Jesus’ three-day appearance amongst the Nephites.
3 Nephi 11:1 Try not to become annoyed at the number of times a certain phrase is used in these coming verses. “AND now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.” Mormonism teaches that LDS temples are built to stand and will never fall. We will read in 3 Nephi 17:25 that this “great multitude” consisted of about 2,500 men, women, and children. The Book of Mormon has always talked about large numbers in the thousands and tens of thousands of warriors, not including women and children. So, 2,500 people does not sound like a significant amount in comparison. The words “they understood not the” are in Luke 2:50 and “insomuch that there was no” are in Mark 2:2.
The Nephites built a total of three temples that we know of in the Book of Mormon. One located in the Land of Nephi (see 2 Nephi 5:8, 16), one located in the Land of Zarahemla (see Mosiah 1:18), and this one in the Land of Bountiful.
Unlike the Jewish temple, where priests were engaged in sacrificial rituals, it seems that Book of Mormon temples were used mostly for open assemblies or a gathering place to hear the word preached. There was no restricted access or mention of sacred ordinances being performed such as marriage sealings or ordinances for the dead.
3 Nephi 11:2 “And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.”
3 Nephi 11:3 “And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to their very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.” Like the burning in the bosom as the Latter-day Saints describe having.
3 Nephi 11:4 “And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.”
3 Nephi 11:5 “And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.” The words “the sound thereof” are in John 3:8.
3 Nephi 11:6 “And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:”
3 Nephi 11:7 “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name – hear ye him.” This time the voice wasn’t Jesus, it was His Father! The Father has introduced His Son as He has done on other occasions (see Matthew 3:17; 17:5) The phrase “my beloved Son” is in Matthew 3:17 and “I have glorified” is in John 17:4. This is the crowning spiritual event in the Book of Mormon.
3 Nephi 11:8 “And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.” The phrase “descending out of heaven” is from Revelation 21:10 and “stood in the midst of them” is taken from Luke 24:36 and “wist not” is from Acts 12:9.
3 Nephi 11:9 “And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:” The words “he stretched forth his hand” are from Matthew 12:49.
3 Nephi 11:10 “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” The phrase “come unto the world” is in John 16:28.
3 Nephi 11:11 “And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.” The phrase “the Father hath given” is in John 5:36 and “the sins of the world” from John 1:29 and “the will of the Father” is in John 5:30.
3 Nephi 11:12 “And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.” It finally occurred to them what was happening – that the prophecies about Jesus’ appearing were being fulfilled in front of their eyes! The phrase “when Jesus had spoken these words” are in John 18:1. All of this contradicts the Bible. Of the ascension of Christ to heaven, God said, “Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstools” (Acts 2:34-35). How long was Jesus to be in heaven at God’s right hand? “For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (see 1 Corinthians 15:25-26). How could Christ come to the New World if He was to be in heaven since His ascension.
3 Nephi 11:13 “And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:”
3 Nephi 11:14 “Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” He is the great “I AM” as he told Moses (see Exodus 3:14 and John 8:56-58).
3 Nephi 11:15 “And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth the, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.” To get a perspective as to how much time this would take – if we were to suppose that each of the 2,500 men, women, and children only took an average of thirty seconds with the resurrected Savior – it would take over 20 hours for all of them to have that experience. Does it really seem reasonable that this even occurred?
The Lord’s apostle, Thomas had a similar experience when Jesus appeared to him (see John 20:27-28). “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.” Now notice how Thomas responded, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” Thomas called Jesus, God. And without correcting Thomas, Jesus accepted the proper title of God.
3 Nephi 11:16 “And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:”
3 Nephi 11:17 “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.” The word “Hosanna” is used in the LDS temple dedications. They wave a clean white handkerchief three times during the “Hosanna Shout.” “Hosanna” means “save now.” In Psalm 118:25 it says, “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord.” During Jesus’ mortal ministry from His birth to His resurrection, He was worshipped by many – from wisemen, lepers, His mother, His disciples, etc. (Matthew 2:2,11; Matthew 8:2; Matthew 9:18; Matthew 14:33; Matthew 15:25; Matthew 20:20; Matthew 28;9,17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:38).
However, President George Q. Cannon in Gospel Truth, vol. 1, page 135 warned: “We know also that our Father in Heaven should be the object of our worship…He will not have any divided worship. We are commanded to worship Him, and Him only” So, who can we worship? Do we worship the Father or the Son or both? Who did the Disciples worship in the Bible? Who did the Nephites worship in the Book of Mormon (see 1 Nephi 11:24)? Since they worshipped Christ, why don’t we worship Christ? If we worship Christ along with the Father, are we worshipping two Gods instead of one? Or, is it all one God? Remember, Jesus never rejected worship in either the New Testament or the Book of Mormon.
We read in 2 Nephi 11:7 “For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.” I have, to emphasize what Nephi is saying – that Christ is God. Remember in the Introductory Pages to the Book of Mormon lesson, we read from the Title page – written by Moroni – what the purpose of the Book of Mormon was. “And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD.” That statement along with 2 Nephi 11:7 here, confirms that Jesus Christ our Savior is in fact, God. I would bet most Latter-day Saints today would tell you otherwise – that Eternal God is referring to Heavenly Father. Always keep in mind that Joseph Smith was monotheistic in his beliefs when he wrote or translated the Book of Mormon.
In 2 Nephi 25:29 we find “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” But this conflicts with counsel given by modern LDS Church leaders, who teach that Father in Heaven should be the object of our worship – that God will not have any divided worship.
The words “the feet of Jesus” are in John 12:3.
3 Nephi 11:18-20 Then Jesus commanded Nephi to come forth, who first bowed down and kissed His feet. Then he stood before the Lord.
3 Nephi 11:20 The phrase “And he rose and stood” is in Luke 6:8.
3 Nephi 11:21 “And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.” Wait a minute! Hasn’t Nephi been baptizing lots of people for years (see Nephi 1:23; 7:24-26; 9:20). In addition, why would he need to baptize this people again who he already baptized? In fact, they had been baptizing people all along in the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 18:16 and Helaman 16:4). The LDS explanation is that up to this point with the appearance of the Savior, the people had been living the Law of Moses and were being baptized in conjunction with it. But the Law given to Moses in the Old Testament did not include baptism. See the contradiction? The phrase “ascended into heaven” is from Acts 2:34. He was giving Nephi power to re-baptize those same people into the new covenant. How did He give them power? Did He simply appoint and authorize them, or did He lay His hands on their heads and conferred the priesthood? None of that is recorded here. Neither is it recorded in the Bible. Modern LDS revelation clarifies that baptism may only be performed by a person who holds the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 20:46) or who has the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 20:38-39; 107:10-11). As we have covered in previous lessons, the Aaronic priesthood did not exist in the New World since none of the Nephites were of the tribe of Levi. Make sense?
3 Nephi 11:22 “And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.” He wanted them to know how to perform baptisms, so there would not be disagreements as to how to do this. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:72-74 the Lord supposedly gave Joseph Smith exact instructions as to how to baptize and the prayer which was to be used for baptism into the Church. However, we will notice the prayer in the Doctrine and Covenants is different than the one here in the Book of Mormon.
We know from the New Testament that Jesus didn’t baptize anyone. We don’t find any passages that tell us His twelve apostles were baptized. But He commissioned His apostles in the New Testament as recorded in Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Did you catch that? He said to baptize “in the NAME” – not NAMES of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are talking about One God here. He continues saying, that Jesus came to the House of Israel. He was sending His disciples to reach the House of Israel – the Jews. They were not to preach or convert any non-Jews, or Gentiles for years to come. The Jews would show their willingness to receive the promised Messiah through baptism – in the name of the Father, Son (now finally added to the equation), and Holy Spirit. There would be an entirely different process for Gentile converts in the future. As we continue to read in Acts and through the epistles of Paul, people were baptized only in Jesus’ name. All of this brings us to an understanding that God is One. He is monotheistic.
3 Nephi 11:23 “Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins, through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them – Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.”
3 Nephi 11:24 “And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:”
3 Nephi 11:25 “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” The phrase “Having authority” is from Matthew 7:29 and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” is from Matthew 28:19. Notice: it’s “in the name of” (singular) not “in the names of” (plural). It is being consistent throughout the Book of Mormon – that there is only one God.
3 Nephi 11:26 “And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.”
3 Nephi 11:27 “And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.” The phrase “verily I say unto you, that” is in Matthew 21:31 and “I am in the Father, and the Father in me” is from John 14:10.
It is said back in Alma 11:39 “And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;” This is saying that Jesus is both “the Son of God” and “the very Eternal Father.” Joseph Smith’s monotheism once again shines through. This teaching was first introduced to us in the Book of Mormon on the Title Page which still reads: “And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations.” Mosiah 16:15 says “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.” 2 Nephi 26:12 says “And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.” The Testimony of the Three Witnesses still includes: “And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.” And Mosiah 15:1-4 are undeniably the most convincing verses in the Book of Mormon that the Father and the Son are one God. Look it up.
Latter-day Saints want to interpret these passages as meaning “one in purpose” because they are taught that God and Jesus are separate beings with bodies according to modern Mormon theology. They have no idea that when Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, he still believed they were indeed one and the same being, just as every reference states. Latter-day Saints are persuaded differently, because of Joseph’s First Vision claim. However, the final version of Joseph’s first vision was not penned until 1838, eighteen years after that supposed event and eight years after the Book of Mormon was published. Any rational thinker would recognize how confusing and contradictory all of this is.
3 Nephi 11:28 “And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.” He wants His instructions about baptism to be the final word.
3 Nephi 11:29 “For verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” There is a difference between contention with anger – and contending for the faith. The Latter-day Saints are hyper-sensitive about this issue. They believe any contention or disagreement drives the Holy Ghost away. Even when they feel uncomfortable in a discussion with someone, they will quickly use this as an excuse to stop the conversation. The words “verily, verily I say unto you, he that” are in John 5:24 and “is of the devil” are in 1 John 3:8.
Of course, this is ignoring the biblical directive found in Jude 1:3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” God encourages a robust respectful open-minded discussion over topics of faith.
3 Nephi 11:30 “Behold, this is not my doctrine to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” It’s when personal attacks and anger enter conversations that they become unhealthy and hurtful.
3 Nephi 11:31 He will now teach them His doctrine. “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.”
3 Nephi 11:32 He declares as His doctrine – to repent and believe in Him. The words “the doctrine which” are in Romans 16:17 and “the Father hath given” are in John 5:36 and “believe in me” are in Matthew 18:6.
3 Nephi 11:33 “And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Latter-day Saints interpret the “kingdom of God” to be celestial glory. The phrase “believeth in me” is in John 11:25 and “inherit the kingdom of God” is from 1 Corinthians 6:9.
3 Nephi 11:34 “And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.” LDS interpret “damned” to mean stopped in their eternal progression towards gaining exaltation.
Question: Is baptism necessary for salvation? Answer: As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches through the filter of what we know the Bible teaches elsewhere on the subject. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by any works, including baptism (see Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to, the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation is a faulty interpretation.
Great Commission given in Mark 16:16, does it teach that baptism is required
for salvation? The short answer is, no, it does not. In order to make it teach
that baptism is required for salvation, one must go beyond what the verse says.
What this verse does teach – is that belief is necessary for salvation, which
is consistent with the countless verses where only belief is
mentioned (see John 3:18; John 5:24; John 12:44; John 20:31; 1 John 5:13).
3 Nephi 11:34 is in conflict with what Jesus taught His Judean Apostles. It says in Mark 16:16 “He who believeth and is baptized will be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” This verse is composed of two basic statements. 1—He who believes and is baptized will be saved. 2—He who does not believe will be damned.
While this verse tells us something about believers who have been baptized (they are saved), it does not say anything about believers who have not been baptized. In, order for this verse to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, a third statement would be necessary, as it does 3 Nephi 11:33-34. Mark 16:16 does not say a believer must be baptized. The verse states as fact about baptized believers (they will be saved), but it says nothing about believers who have not been baptized. There may be believers who have not been baptized, yet they, too, are saved.
One specific condition required for salvation is stated in the second part of Mark 16:16: “but he that believeth not will be damned.” In, essence Jesus has given both the positive condition of belief (whoever believes will be saved) and the negative condition of unbelief (whoever does not believe will be condemned). Therefore, we can say with absolute certainty that belief is the requirement for salvation. More importantly, we see this condition restated positively and negatively throughout Scripture (see John 3:16; John 3:18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:53-54; John 8:24; Acts 16:31).
mentions a condition related to salvation (baptism) in Mark 16:16. But a related condition should not be
confused with a requirement. Nowhere in
the Bible do we find a statement such as “whoever is not baptized will be
condemned.” Therefore, we cannot say that baptism is necessary for salvation
based on Mark 16:16 or any other verse.
Throughout the Bible, in every dispensation, people have been saved without being baptized. Every believer in the Old Testament (Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon) was saved – but not baptized. The thief on the cross was saved – but not baptized. Cornelius was saved before he was baptized (Acts 10:44-46).
Baptism is a testimony of our faith and a public declaration that we believe in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us that we have eternal life the moment we believe (John 5:24), and belief always comes before baptism.
3 Nephi 11:35 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” In other words, the Father will testify of this to them through the Holy Ghost. The words “with the Holy Ghost” are in Matthew 3:11.
3 Nephi 11:36 Jesus states that the Father, and He, and the Holy Ghost are one. The LDS will say “one in purpose”, but that is not what it says here. It says, “are one.” One what? One God!
3 Nephi 11:37-38 He repeats His doctrine, telling them to become like a little child and repent and be baptized in His name.
3 Nephi 11:37 The phrase “And again I say unto you” is in Matthew 19:24.
3 Nephi 11:38 The words “repent, and be baptized” are in Acts 2:38.
3 Nephi 11:39 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” The phrase “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against” is take from Matthew 16:18.
3 Nephi 11:40 “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”
3 Nephi 11:41 “Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
And, this concludes our study for today. Please subscribe, so you will not miss any of the future episodes. You can also catch us on YouTube, Apple podcast, and Goggle podcast. Or, you can go to our website at Talking to Mormons.com – where you can download this script and learn much more.
Remember, Jesus is enough!