If It So Be That They Shall Believe These Things Then Shall Greater Things Be Made Manifest unto Them

In about 34 AD, Jesus Christ visited and taught a group of Lehi’s descendants living in the Americas. In about 385 AD, Mormon, the Nephite prophet who abridged the record that became the Book of Mormon (after Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God), describes how only part of what Christ taught to Mormon’s ancestors was allowed by God to become part of the Book of Mormon. The remainder of what was taught would be revealed by God only if the smaller part offered in the Book of Mormon was accepted and believed.

“…There cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people; And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.” (3 Nephi 26:6-11)

Questions:

-Does the condemnation referenced by Mormon fall on those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have professed to receive Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon (another testament of Christ) but do not take it’s teachings to heart?

All People Will Be Judged According to the Mercy, Justice, and Holiness Which Is in Christ

When visiting a group of Lehi’s descendants in the Americas (soon after His resurrection in about 34 A.D.), Jesus Christ taught them about all things from the beginning of Earth’s existence until it’s end.

“…[Christ] did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away; And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began.” (3 Nephi 26:3-5)

Questions:

-What would it have been like to be taught about the whole existence of the Earth by Christ Himself?

The Eye Hath Never Seen, Neither Hath the Ear Heard So Great and Marvelous Things

Jesus Christ visited a group of Lehi’s descendants in the Americas (shortly after His Resurrection). After teaching them and healing their sick, He asked them to bring their children to Him. He then knelt with the group who had congregated and prayed to the Father. Those who witnessed this event bore the following testimony:

“…[Jesus] prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him. And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father; And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.” (3 Nephi 17:15-17)

Questions:

-What would it have been like to hear and see the Savior’s prayer as described above?

-Can you imagine the Savior praying for you as you read these verses?

These Sayings Which Ye Shall Write Shall Be Kept and Shall Be Manifested unto the Gentiles

When speaking to a group of Lehi’s descendants in the Americas (shortly after his Resurrection), Jesus Christ taught that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon within the boundaries of the United States would mark a great gathering of those lost from the house of Israel. The prophet Joseph Smith and the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would have been considered Gentiles by those Christ was speaking to (around 34 A.D.) as these early members of the Latter-day Church of Christ (living in the 19th century) were not closely tied — culturally or genetically — to the people of Jerusalem and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Most of those who founded the United States, and those who have since lived within its boundaries would have also been considered Gentiles for the same reason.

Once the 19th-century Saints received the fullness of the Restored Gospel and were baptized and confirmed to receive the Holy Ghost by priesthood authority from Jesus Christ, they became part of the house of Israel. All living now who repent and become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — through the same covenant of baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost – also become part of the house of Israel in God’s eyes regardless of their genetic ties thereto.

In the passage below, Christ teaches how vital it will be for the Gentiles living in the United States to receive the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel.

…These sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of [the house of Israel’s] seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel. And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father. Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them. (3 Nephi 16:4-7)

But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles…At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.” (3 Nephi 16:8,10-12)

“But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that has lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me—that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.” (3 Nephi 16:13-16)

Questions:

-Have the people of the United States, by and large, rejected the fulness of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon?

-How many realize, or believe, that acceptance of the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel is key to the survival of the United States as a viable and cohesive nation?

I Have Other Sheep

When visiting a group of Lehi’s descendants somewhere in the Americas (shortly after His Resurrection), Christ revealed that He would also be visiting other people who originated from the House of Israel but were now found in a different part of the globe.  

“And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.” (3 Nephi 16:1-3)

Questions:

  • Do these verses suggest Christ was going to visit just one other group after leaving Lehi’s descendants? Or, could there be many groups?

I Have Given You the Commandments Therefore Keep the Commandments

After teaching His gospel to a group of Lehi’s descendant’s (shortly after His Resurrection). Jesus Christ made the following statement:

“Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep the commandments.” (3 Nephi 15:10)

Below are all the commandments that Christ gave to the group:

“…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.” (3 Nephi 9:19)

“…Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 9:20)

Repent , and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” (3 Nephi 9:22)

“…On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. 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. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: 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. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall be baptize in my name…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.” (3 Nephi 11:22-28)

“…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.” (3 Nephi 11:30)

“…The Father commandeth all men everywhere to repent and believe in me.” (3 Nephi 11:32)

“…Ye must repent and become as a little child and be baptized in my name…” (3 Nephi 11:37)

“…Go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.” (3 Nephi 11:41)

“…I give unto you to be the salt of the earth…” (3 Nephi 12:13)

“…I give unto you to be the light of this people.” (3 Nephi 12:14)

“…Let you light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:16)

“…Ye shall believe in me, and…repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 12:19)

“…Thou shalt not kill…” (3 Nephi 12:21)

“…If ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.” (3 Nephi 12:23-24)

“Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him…” (3 Nephi 12:25)

“…Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” (3 Nephi 12:27-29)

“…Swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God’s throne; Nor by the earth for it is his footstool; Neither shalt thou swear by the head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; But let your communications be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatever cometh more than these is evil.” (3 Nephi 12:34-37)

“…Ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.” (3 Nephi 12:39-42)

“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you…” (3 Nephi 12:44)

“…I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48)

“Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them…Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men…But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; That thine alms may be in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:1-2)

“And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father who is in secret…But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:5-8)

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (3 Nephi 13:9-15)

“…When ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast…But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who seeth in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:16-18)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (3 Nephi 13:19-20)

“…Judge not that ye be not judged.” (3 Nephi 14:2)

“…First cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (3 Nephi 14:5)

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine…” (3 Nephi 14:6)

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (3 Nephi 14:7)

“…All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (3 Nephi 14:12)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction…” (3 Nephi 14:13)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (3 Nephi 14:15)

 “Look unto me and endure to the end, and ye shall live…” (3 Nephi 15:9)

Questions:

-Are the above commandments in force now in our time?

-How many of them only apply to those who have made a covenant to follow Christ?

Behold, I Am the Law and the Light

Shortly after His Resurrection, Christ taught a group of Lehi’s descendants (who up to that point were living the Law of Moses somewhere in the Americas) that the Law of Moses was fulfilled. The pre-mortal Christ (Jehovah) was the One who gave the law and the One who fulfilled it as the resurrected Christ. The Savior also made clear that His fulfillment of the Law did not negate the prophecies that extended beyond his coming as the Messiah or His covenant with the people of Israel.

“Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end. Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled. And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me. Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Nephi 15:6-9)

Questions:

-What do the above verses say about Christ’s continuing covenant with ancient Israel and their descendants (including the Jewish people)?

-Do some believe that God’s covenant with the Jewish people ended with the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah)?

-What does Christ mean when He says that He is the law?

Whoso Remembereth These Sayings of Mine and Doeth Them, Him Will I Raise Up at the Last Day

After teaching the principles of what has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount (found, for example, in Matthew 5-7 of the New Testament) to a group of the descendants of Lehi somewhere in the Americas, Christ reiterates their value as foundational spiritual truth.

“And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.” (3 Nephi 15:1)

Questions:

-How important is it to remember and do what Christ taught in His Sermon on the Mount (which he again taught to the descendants of Lehi)?

Whosoever Heareth These Sayings of Mine and Doeth Them, I Will Liken Him unto a Wise Man, Who Built His House upon a Rock

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passage below shows the words from verse 24 through 27 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

“Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (3 Nephi 15:24-27)

Questions:

-How are these verses tied to Lehi’s dream? Specifically, the fall of the great and spacious building as his son Nephi saw it (1 Nephi 11:35-36)?

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passage below shows the words from verse 15 through 20 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.” (3 Nephi 14:15-20)

Questions:

-How common are people who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves?

-Are they more common among those who seek power and attention?

-How quickly can a person’s (or organization’s) fruits be discerned as good or evil?