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?

All Things Whatsoever Ye Would That Men Should Do to You, Do Ye Even So to 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 12 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” (3 Nephi 7:12)

Questions:

-How is this verse related to the first and second great commandments (see Matthew 22:37-40) to love God and to love your neighbor?

-Does what one wants others to do to him or her change when that person loves God with all their heart, might, mind and strength?

-This question is more obvious, but…Does a person become better equipped to do to others as that person would have done to him- or herself when they love God (as Christ taught was the first commandment)?

Seek, and Ye Shall Find

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 verses 7  through 11 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11)

“Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seekth, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (3 Nephi 26:7-11 [italics added to show word variations from King James Version])

Questions:

-Does the Savior define the timetable by which the asker/seeker will find?

-Does He leave any doubt that the acts of faithful asking, seeking, and knocking will bear fruit (even if the expectations of harvest in a person’s mind may not be exactly aligned with God’s actual blessings and timetable)?

Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon

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 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passage below shows the words from verse 24 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” (3 Nephi 13:24)

Questions:

-Are you moving towards loving God in increasing degrees? Or, are you moving toward loving the idols and materialism of this world?

-Is it possible to be neutral in the direction you are going according to Christ’s teaching above?

When Thou Fastest, Anoint Thy Head and Wash Thy Face

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 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 16 through 18 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Moreover 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. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

“Moreover, 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. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 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 is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:16-18)

Questions:

-Can the principle of anointing one’s head and washing one’s face be applied to religious service in general? Is this part of giving a good gift to God when we seek to do His will by serving others?

Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father Which is in Heaven is Perfect

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) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 43 and 48 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; But behold I say unto you, 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; That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled. Old things are done away, and all things have become new. Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:43-48)

Questions:

-How difficult is it to extend love to evil-doers in as indiscriminatory and consistent manner as God sends sunlight to all the the Earth?

-Is letting go of all anger and malice the same as being naïve about interacting with evil people in an unguarded fashion?

Whosoever Shall Say, Thou Fool, Shall Be in Danger of Hell Fire

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) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 21 through 24 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that they brother has aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:21-24)

“Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that you shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, 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 12:21-24)

Questions:

-Given the versus above, is there any question how seriously God views our attitudes (and language used) towards others?

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, For They Shall Be Called the Children of God

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 Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the seventh of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (3 Nephi 12:9)

Questions:

  • Is peace one of the main results created in the world by those who Christ calls His children?

Blessed Are All the Pure in Heart, For They Shall See God

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 Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the sixth of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (3 Nephi 12:8)

Questions:

-What is the relationship between having a pure heart and seeing God?

-Does this apply to one’s heavenly destination as well as to one’s ability to see God’s beauty in this mortal life?

On This Wise Shall Ye Baptize

Christ called priesthood holders in the Americas (around 34 A.D.) and taught them the specific way in which baptisms should be performed:

“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 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. And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize.” (3 Nephi 11:23-28)

Questions:

-Why did Christ, while visiting a group of Lehi’s descendants, focus on teaching the correct manner of baptism?

-What does this say about how important the proper baptismal ordinance is to God?