3 Nephi, Chapter 11

Stand in holy places

If I had survived all the destruction that the Nephites had experienced, I would look to see if I could find any of my family first.  I think that is what most would have done and I am sure the people would talk about how they felt as they experienced it and how amazing it was to hear the voice of the Lord.

“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 (v. 1).  And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death (v. 2).”  Many gathered around the temple.  I think one reason would be because the temple is a house of the Lord and they may have been anticipating Him coming there.  The temple is also a place of refuge and peace to many.  I am sure that being there with people who had all just experienced what they had, brought the spirit very strongly.

In D&C 45:32 we read, “But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.”  The disciples of Jesus Christ will stand in holy places, while the wicked will think of their own misery, cursing God, and die.  In D&C 87:8 we read, “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.”  We should remain in holy places until the Lord comes.  In D&C 101:22 we read, “Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;”  Those disciples who pray to the Lord and worship the gospel of Christ should stand in holy places.  These scriptures teach us that we should be constantly striving to remain in holy places.  We can make wherever we stand holy as long as we have the spirit guiding us.  We need to be firm in our commitment to Jesus Christ and His gospel.  These things will prepare us for His second coming in these last days.

The Savior appears at the temple in Bountiful

“And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of 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 the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn (v. 3).  And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not (v. 4).  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 (v. 5).”  Even in the temple of the Lord, we can find ourselves not listening with our spiritual ears.  We may not truly be paying attention to the still small voice, when it tries to speak to us.  It wasn’t until the people opened their ears and focused on the voice, that they realized where it was coming from.

“And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them (v. 6):  Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him (v. 7).”  The voice was that of Heavenly Father.  When I think of this, I think of the times when I have something important to say to my daughter.  I will try to get her attention, and until I know she is listening to me, I will continue to try.  Heavenly Father was trying to get their attention, because what he had to say was of the most importance.  There are times in my life, when the spirit has had to repeat something multiple times before I have realized what it was and that I should follow it.  This is how the Lord communicates with me directly, and sometimes I am not listening well enough to understand it.  If we want to hear the spirit more in our own lives, we need to live righteously, recognize the voice, and be prepared for it by having our spiritual ears open, often.

What would it be like to hear the voice of God?

God has spoken to children at other times than this.  In footnote 7a, it tells of the time when Jesus was baptized and the voice of God was heard, the time when Jesus was transfigured before his disciples and they heard the voice of God, and also when Joseph Smith was in the grove of trees and the voice of God spoke to him.  In all of these times, God introduces his Son, Jesus Christ, and tells them to listen to him.  It shows that Heavenly Father feels the words of His Son are important for us and that He loves and respects His Son.

“And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up 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 (v. 8 ).”

I think in a time like this, it would be easy to wonder why I would have been chosen to experience something like this.  To have heard the voice of the Savior already, to hear the voice of God, and then to see a man coming from heaven to where I was, would have been absolutely wonderful and amazing.  I would hope that I have lived my life in a way that if the Savior came tomorrow, that I would recognize him as my Savior.  I am so grateful for all that He has done for me personally in my life.  I am so grateful that He has made it possible for all of us to return to our Father in Heaven, and especially that through Him, I have the opportunity to be with my family, whom I love, forever.

A most important event / What was the Savior’s initial message when he appeared to the Nephites?

“And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying (v. 9):  Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world (v. 10).”

This was truly the moment that the righteous had been waiting for.  This was fulfillment of the most important prophecy that all the prophets had talked about.  The Savior was appearing to the Nephites.

“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 (v. 11).”  The Savior was willing to drink from the bitter cup, because of His love for His Father and for His love for each of us.  In D&C 19:16 we read, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent”.  I think the Savior wanted the Nephites to know that He had done all that the Father had asked him to do, being completely obedient, so that they could understand what was expected of them.  The only way for the Lord to expect us to live righteously, is by having lived it himself.

“Thrust your hands into my side”

What an awesome blessing it must have been to stand in the presence of the resurrected Jesus Christ.  “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 (v. 12).”  The Nephites fell to the earth in worship of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  In the past, this has always been a sign of respect, reverence, and worship.  We see it a lot less today, but I can see myself bowing down before the Savior, if he were to come at this time.

“And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying (v. 13):  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 (v. 14).”  I think the Savior invited them to feel the prints in his hands and feet and the wound in his side so that they would have the physical proof that he had been crucified and that he had been resurrected and was real.  I am sure that I would have done as he said, if I had been there then.

“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, 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 (v. 15).  And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying (v. 16):  Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him (v. 17).”  All the Nephites who were there at the temple, felt his prints and wound, so that they could be a witness of his coming.  In 3 Nephi 17:25 we learn that there were about 2,500 people there to witness this.  I imagine that it would have taken a long time to have that many people personally touch the Savior.  This shows that the Savior truly loved these people and was willing to allow all of them to touch him, so that they would believe in him.  I know that this is the way he loves each of us as well.

Baptism

The ordinance of baptism

The Savior them called Nephi to come forward, and Nephi bowed and kissed the feet of the Lord (v. 18-19).   The Lord told him to arise and then said, “I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven (v. 20-21).”  He then gave others the power to baptize also and then taught them how to baptize (v. 22).  “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 (v. 23).  And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying (v. 24):  Having aauthority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen (v. 25).  And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water (v. 26).  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 (v. 27).”

I think that baptism was the second thing the Savior taught because it is the the first ordinance of the gospel.  “… and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me (v. 32).  And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God (v. 33).  And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned (v. 34). . . 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 (v. 35).”  Baptism is the first ordinance that we must do in order to live with God again, this is why it is so important.  Those who are not baptized will be damned.  Those who are baptized will be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things (v. 37).  And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (v. 38).”  The Savior focused on repentance next, because without repentance we also cannot return to God.

“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 (v. 39).”  It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that those who repent and are baptized will be able to stand strong against the adversary.  “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 (v. 40).  Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth (v. 41).”  Now the Savior wants Nephi and the other people there, to teach these principles to all people.  This applies to us as well.  When we learn the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are expected to share with others, so that more souls can be brought into His gospel.

The Savior commands the Nephites not to contend

When my family is getting along and we are enjoying being around each other, there is true joy in my home.  When there is fighting and quarreling, it is hard to feel the spirit, and it is hard to be around one another.  Contention is obviously not a good thing, but something that Satan enjoys instead.

“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 (v. 28 ).  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 (v. 29).  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 (v. 30).”  Just before the Savior’s coming to the Nephites, they were fighting about the doctrines of the church, and consequently many had fallen away from the gospel.  Here the Savior was telling them that they were not to fight over these things any longer.  When we have the spirit of contention, we are choosing to follow Satan.  The Savior’s gospel is that contention should be “done away”.  Any contention, even when we feel we are right, is of the devil.  We need to remember this, instead of allowing ourselves to get caught up the emotions of defending ourselves to the point of arguments.

I am grateful for the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ as he gives it here to the Nephites.  There is no gray areas, but only black and white.  If we want to inherit the Kingdom of God, we need to believe in Him, repent of our sins, be baptized and build on the rock of his gospel in our lives.  When we build on this rock we can avoid the temptations of Satan that try to drag us down away from God with things such as contention, because we will have the guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives.  (see also Article of Faith 4)

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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