3 Nephi 27-30

3Nephi 27 – Jesus talks to the disciples that the name of the church should have His name in it. He talks about His gospel and about being like Him.

VS 1-2 – Disciples engaged in mighty prayer and fasting

President Spencer W. Kimball highlights a few circumstances in which we should pray for help:

“We each have so much need for his help as we seek to learn gospel truths and then live them, as we seek his help in the major decisions of our lives, decisions involving schooling, marriage, employment, place of residence, raising our families, serving with each other in the work of the Lord, and seeking his forgiveness and continual guidance and protection in all we do. Our list of needs is long and real and heartfelt. …

“After a lifetime of prayers, I know of the love and power and strength that comes from honest and heartfelt prayer. I know of the readiness of our Father to assist us in our mortal experience, to teach us, to lead us, to guide us. Thus, with great love, our Savior has said, ‘What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always.’ (D&C 93:49.)” (“Pray Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1981, 3, 6).

Q – How can you increase your faith in the power of prayer? When have you and your family received answers to your prayers?

VS5–6 -“Take upon You the Name of Christ”

1. When we become members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we take His name upon us because it is His Church. In President Gordon B. Hinckley’s (1910–2008) first conference address as President of the Church, he spoke of the sacred association of the Church, its name, and its accompanying responsibilities:

“This church does not belong to its President. Its head is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name each of us has taken upon ourselves. We are all in this great endeavor together. We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said:

“‘Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (see D&C 81:5).

“‘And in doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).

2. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the relationship between taking upon us the name of Christ and the law of obedience and receiving the blessing of the companionship of the Holy Ghost:

“When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding.

“How many of our children—how many of us—really understand that when we were baptized, we took upon us not only the name of Christ but also the law of obedience?

“Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant. We promise to do as the Savior did—to be obedient to the Father and always keep His commandments. The blessing we receive in return is to always have His Spirit to be with us” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 8).

VS8 – The name of the Church

The First Presidency stated:

  1. “The use of the revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, we ask that when we refer to the Church we use its full name wherever possible” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 23, 2001).
  2. President Harold B. Lee taught:

“When he [the Lord] revealed the name by which the Church was to be called, he used some interesting expressions. He said, ‘For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ (D&C 115:4.)

“The word the is significant: not just Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because to say ‘The Church’ distinguishes this as the only true church on the face of the earth. He didn’t say Mormon Church; he didn’t say LDS Church, but the clear, firm, unequivocal statement, ‘even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’” (“The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 13).

Q – What message do we send when we use the full name of the Church instead of a nickname?

What might you say to a person who asks if you are a Mormon? Why?

VS13–21 – The gospel of Jesus Christ

1. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the central message of the gospel of Jesus Christ: The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 49).

2. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“The word gospel means ‘good news.’ The good news is the Lord Jesus Christ and His message of salvation. [See Bible Dictionary, “Gospels,” 682–683.] Jesus equated the gospel with both His mission and with His ministry in mortality. In His mission statement, Jesus said:

“‘This is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

“‘And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross.’ [3 Nephi 27:13–14.]

“The Savior’s mortal mission we know as the Atonement.

“The Savior’s mortal ministry includes everything else that He did—His teachings, expressions of love, attention to ordinances, patterns of prayer, perseverance, and more. He lived to be our Exemplar, which He also equated to the gospel in His ministerial statement. ‘This is my gospel,’ He said, ‘… for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.’ [3 Nephi 27:21.] Thus, faith; repentance; baptism by water, fire, and of the Holy Ghost; the gathering of the elect; and enduring to the end are all part of the gospel” (“Senior Missionaries and the Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 81).

3. Jeffrey R Holland said, “The ‘good news’ [is] that death and hell [can] be escaped, that mistakes and sins [can] be overcome, that there [is] hope, that there [is] help, that the insoluble [is] solved, that the enemy [has] been conquered. The good news [is] that everyone’s tomb [will] one day be empty, that everyone’s soul [can] again be pure, that every child of God [can] again return to the Father who gave them life” (“Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 8, 10).

4. True to the Faith says: “The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. … In its fulness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 76).

Gospel of Jesus Christ Scripture References
The Atonement of Jesus Christ 3 Nephi 27:13–14
Faith 3 Nephi 27:19
Repentance 3 Nephi 27:16, 19–20
Baptism 3 Nephi 27:16, 20
Holy Ghost 3 Nephi 27:20
Endure to the end 3 Nephi 27:16–17
Resurrection 3 Nephi 27:14, 22
Judgment 3 Nephi 27:14–16

Other helpful scriptures:

VS24–26. The Lord Will Judge the World out of the Books

1. President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) defined the role that written records will play in the Judgment:

“The Lord will make a record also and out of that shall the whole world be judged. And you men bearing the holy Priesthood—you apostles, presidents, bishops, and high priests in Zion—will be called upon to be the judges of the people. Therefore, it is expected that you shall set the standard for them to attain to, and see that they shall live according to the spirit of the gospel, do their duty, and keep the commandments of the Lord. You shall make a record of their acts. You shall record when they are baptized, when they are confirmed, and when they receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. You shall record when they come to Zion, their membership in the Church. You shall record whether they attend to their duties as priests, teachers or deacons, as elders, seventies or high priests. You shall write their works, as the Lord says here. You shall record their tithings … ; but we shall judge the people, first requiring them to do their duty. In order to do that, those who stand at the head must set the example” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 157).

VS27 – Becoming like Jesus Christ

1. President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

“That man is greatest and most blessed and joyful whose life most closely fits the pattern of the Christ. This has nothing to do with earthly wealth, power, or prestige. The only true test of greatness, blessedness, joyfulness is how close a life can come to being like the Master, Jesus Christ. He is the right way, the full truth, and the abundant life” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations” [BYU devotional address, Dec. 10, 1974], 1, speeches.byu.edu).

2. Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy focused particularly on the word ought in the Lord’s teachings to become as He is. Elder Madsen described the Lord’s words as more than an invitation, but a requirement of our covenants:

“To receive Him and know Him, we and all mankind must, as Moroni exhorts, ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32; italics added). In other words, we must come unto Christ and strive to ‘become’ like Him (see Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 40–44; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32–34).

“Said the risen Lord: ‘What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am’ (3 Nephi 27:27). The meaning of the word ought, as used in His question ‘What manner of men ought ye to be?’ is crucial to understanding His answer, ‘Even as I am.’ The word ought means ‘to be necessary’ or ‘to be held or bound in duty or moral obligation’ (Noah Webster’s First Edition of an American Dictionary of the English Language, 7th ed. [1993], ‘ought’; see also Luke 24:26), suggesting—and the holy scriptures, ancient and modern, confirm—that it is ‘necessary,’ and that we are ‘bound,’ as by covenant, ‘to be,’ as He declared, ‘even as I am’ (3 Nephi 27:27; see also 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48; 1 John 3:2; Moroni 7:48)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2002, 93; or

3 Nephi 28Some of the Lord’s Faithful Servants Have Been Translated So They Can Continue Their Ministry on the Earth

VS1-5 – Desires of the disciples

1. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

“What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity. …

“Righteous desires need to be relentless, therefore” (“According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 21–22).

2. President Brigham Young taught:

“The men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle with the enemy of all righteousness every day” (“Remarks,” Deseret News, Dec. 28, 1864, 98).

Q – Why do you think we have to battle every day in order for our righteous desires to be fulfilled? When have you felt that the Lord has blessed you because of your righteous desires?

VS6 – John the Beloved

The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) and Oliver Cowdery received specific revelation through the Urim and Thummim regarding the circumstances and subsequent blessings of John’s request to tarry in the flesh. This information was from a “parchment” written and hidden by John himself, but apparently lost. In April 1829, Joseph’s and Oliver’s specific questions on this passage of the Book of Mormon resulted in the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants section 7.

VS7-8 – Three Nephites will never taste of death

The phrase “ye shall never endure the pains of death” (verse 8) is often misunderstood to mean that the Three Nephites would never die. As Paul taught, “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). This refers to everyone, including translated beings. However, translated beings pass through death very quickly and then become resurrected beings. They do not experience the separation of the body from the spirit for any appreciable length of time, as most of us will experience. This change will happen in what the scriptures call “the twinkling of an eye” (verse 8). In this sense, they do not “taste of death” (verse 7).

VS9-10 – Fulness of Joy

Q – What joy have you felt in sharing the gospel with others?

VS9–10, 36–40. The Doctrine of Translation

The following definitions help clarify the doctrines of translation, transfiguration, and resurrection. Notice the difference between translated beings and the more temporary state of transfiguration:

1a. Translated beings. “Persons who are changed so that they do not experience pain or death until their resurrection to immortality” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Translated Beings”).

“Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:210).

1b. Translated beings are “persons who are changed so that they do not experience pain or death until their resurrection to immortality” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Translated Beings,” scriptures.lds.org; see also 3 Nephi 28:7–9, 20–22, 37–40). Their purpose is to bring souls to Christ (see 3 Nephi 28:9). The scriptures contain accounts of people who have been translated, including Enoch (see Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5), Moses (see Alma 45:19), Elijah (see 2 Kings 2:11), and John the Beloved (see John 21:22–23; D&C 7).

2a. Transfiguration. “The condition of persons who are temporarily changed in appearance and nature—that is, lifted to a higher spiritual level—so that they can endure the presence and glory of heavenly beings” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Transfiguration”).

2b. Transfiguration, which is mentioned in 3 Nephi 28:13–17, is “the condition of persons who are temporarily changed in appearance and nature—that is, lifted to a higher spiritual level—so that they can endure the presence and glory of heavenly beings” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Transfiguration,” scriptures.lds.org; see also D&C 67:11; Moses 1:11). The scriptures tell of people who have been transfigured, including Moses (see Moses 1:9–11); Jesus Christ, Peter, James, and John (see Matthew 17:1–8); and Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20).

3. Resurrection. “The reuniting of the spirit body with the physical body of flesh and bones after death. After resurrection, the spirit and body will never again be separated, and the person will become immortal” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Resurrection”).

VS27-28 – Shall know them not

If you hear stories of people seeing the three Nephites, they most likely aren’t true because nobody will know when they are in their presence.

3Nephi 29 – The Book of Mormon is a sign that God is gathering Israel.

VS1–4 -Covenants with the Children of Israel

1. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote of the role the Book of Mormon plays in the fulfilling of God’s covenant with respect to Israel:

“Mormon concluded his description of this majestic season [the visit of the Savior among the Nephites] … by testifying that when a record of [Jesus Christ’s] visit would come to the Gentiles (in the form of the Book of Mormon), then all might know that the covenant and promises to Israel of the last days were ‘already beginning to be fulfilled.’ …

“God’s covenant will be kept with all of his covenant people. No one will be able to ‘turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left’ on this matter. And the call to the Gentiles, for which Christ’s visit to the Nephites published in the Book of Mormon is the ultimate latter-day declaration, is for them to claim the same covenant and promises” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 308).

2. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“The Book of Mormon is a tangible sign that the Lord has commenced to gather His children of covenant Israel. …

“Indeed, the Lord has not forgotten! He has blessed us and others throughout the world with the Book of Mormon. … It helps us to make covenants with God. It invites us to remember Him and to know His Beloved Son. It is another testament of Jesus Christ” (“Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).

Q – How is the fact that we have the Book of Mormon a witness that God will keep His promises?

3. Elder Russell M. Nelson, who lists promises that are part of the Lord’s covenant with His people. “The covenant God made with Abraham and later reaffirmed with Isaac and Jacob … contained several promises, including:

  • Jesus the Christ would be born through Abraham’s lineage.
  • Abraham’s posterity would be numerous, entitled to an eternal increase, and also entitled to bear the priesthood.
  • Abraham would become a father of many nations.
  • Certain lands would be inherited by his posterity.
  • All nations of the earth would be blessed by his seed.
  • And that covenant would be everlasting—even through ‘a thousand generations.’

“Some of these promises have been fulfilled; others are still pending. …

“Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings—if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments. …

“… Brigham Young said: ‘All Latter-day Saints enter the new and everlasting covenant when they enter this Church’” (“Covenants,” 87–88; quoting Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 62).

4. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), the 13th President of the Church:

“Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls … , then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 6–7; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 7).

Q – In what ways do we participate in gathering Israel, or, in other words, inviting others to come unto Christ? In what ways can the Book of Mormon help us in our efforts to invite others to come unto Christ?

VS4–8 – Do Not Spurn the Words of the Lord

In 3 Nephi 29 the words spurn and hiss are used to warn Book of Mormon readers in the latter days to not treat lightly the Lord’s covenants with Israel. Spurn means “to reject with disdain” and hiss is “to express contempt or disapprobation by hissing” (Noah Webster’s First Edition of an American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 [1967]). The use of such terms suggests that in the time of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon there will be a pronounced lack of understanding, belief, and reverence for both the reality of the Second Coming and the work of the Lord in gathering Israel (especially the tribe of Judah).

3Nephi 30 – The Gentiles are commanded to repent and be baptized in order to be numbered with the House of Israel.

VS1–2 -The gathering of Israel

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

“The gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church and their coming to a knowledge of the true God. … Any person, therefore, who has accepted the restored gospel, and who now seeks to worship the Lord in his own tongue and with the Saints in the nations where he lives, has complied with the law of the gathering of Israel and is heir to all of the blessings promised the Saints in these last days” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 439).

VS2 – Turn from Your Wicked Doings

At the conclusion of the Savior’s visit among the Nephites, Mormon returned to what was a major theme of the Lord’s instructions among the people—that in the last days the Gentiles will reject the teachings of the Lord and grow rapidly in wickedness to their destruction (see 3 Nephi 16:10; 21:14–21). The writings in 3 Nephi seem to have had a profound effect upon Mormon. In his final testimony, Mormon revisited the Savior’s teachings and prophecies condemning the wicked and perverse and the pollutions and hypocrisies of the last days. In the last verses of 3 Nephi, Mormon offered the only antidote to these destructive conditions—come unto Jesus Christ and have faith in Him, repent of your sins, be baptized, and be filled with the Holy Ghost “that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 30:2).

 

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