And Thy Father, Who Seeth in Secret, Himself Shall Reward Thee Openly

3 Nephi 13:1-18

The title phrase that I have chosen for this entry is a promise that the Savior repeats verbatim three times in this passage of scripture, emphasizing the spiritual importance of how some personal elements of discipleship ought to be kept to ourselves. For if we do these things to be seen of men, then in the praise of the world (which is actually no praise at all), we have our reward.

May this truth [service] guide our lives. May we look upward as we press forward in the service of our God and our fellowmen. And may we incline an ear toward Galilee, that we might hear perhaps an echo of the Savior’s teachings: ‘Do not your alms before men, to be seen of them’ (Matthew 6:1). ‘Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth’ (Matthew 6:3). And of our good deeds: ‘See thou tell no man’ (Matthew 8:4). Our hearts will then be lighter, our lives brighter, and our souls richer.
Loving service anonymously given may be unknown to man—but the gift and the giver are known to God.

Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1983, 55–57

Do Alms unto the Poor

Contrary to the account of the Sermon on the Mount found in the book of Matthew, this section starts with a commandment: “Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor;” (vs. 1) This then becomes the premise for how to do alms, or give of our money and goods to the poor.

There is an obligation on our end to give, but I feel that the Savior is then teaching us to not dwell on it; don’t think about it. Don’t do it for the glory of the world; don’t even do it for your own glory. This is like taking pride in our own “righteousness”. The Savior says don’t even let your right hand and left hand know what each other is doing in giving to the poor.

When Thou Prayest

The Savior admonishes us to not be as the hypocrites, praying in public to be seen. What does it mean to be a hypocrite? Hypocrisy is a term that is found repeatedly throughout the scriptures (appearing perhaps the fewest times in the Book of Mormon).

I have spent the morning studying the origins of the word: hypocrisy. This, of course, should lead to personal reflection on the subject and on ways in which I tend to behave hypocritically. I’m not done with this topic.

The Manner of Prayer

Jesus first teaches to avoid vain or meaningless repetition, stating that the Father already knows what we need before we ask. How do the two correlate? What is the purpose of prayer? Why do I pray?

Everyday, at least twice a day, I am on my knees praying to the Father. I know it has started as an obligation. (It has been since as long as I can remember.) This sense of obligation or duty though has a tendency to obscure what this really is.


I’ve read Elder Brook P. Hales’ recent conference talk: Answers to Prayer. This was brought to my attention in a search for the phrase “your father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” My life up to this point is actually a testament of the truths spoken his talk, especially this concluding thought:

I know that as an all-knowing, loving Father, He answers our prayers perfectly, according to His infinite wisdom, and in ways that will be to our ultimate benefit and blessing.


So if the Father knows what we need before we ask Him, how does that change the way that we approach prayer? It changes everything. Because the Father knows already what we need, prayer is a matter of our wills being aligned to his, and seeking for the cleansing, purifying power of the Atonement so that we can come to know what the Father already knows. The Father has the answers to our deepest heart-felt desires. It is worth every effort then to adjust ourselves to Him and His holy will, so that we can know the same.

See “Watch Over and Strengthen” by Elder Henry B. Eyring

After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye

I am reviewing this today and realize that I have not taught correct principles concerning prayer. When the Savior taught how to pray, he first emphasized that this isn’t a matter of rote repetition. Here is what the Savior chose to emphasize when teaching how to pray:

  1. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
  2. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  3. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  4. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
  5. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

These are the principles. How do I teach this to my children? (I want to categorize these things, and place labels on them. But that dumbs down the doctrine, which strips it of its full power.)

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

This suggests reverence for Heavenly Father. It also has been explained to me that this is an acknowledgement of the Father’s supremacy. “Hallowed be thy name.” Hallowed means to be made holy or consecrated. In Spanish, the word for hallowed is “santificado” or sanctified. This suggests to me then both an immediate acknowledgement of his preeminent and holy state of being and also a looking forward to that time in which all will hold holy His sacred name. It is a reminder to me of the sacred realm into which I ascend when I call on Him, the Father of my immortal soul.

This introductory point of prayer cannot be over emphasized enough. To grasp and attempt to comprehend the nature of this Divine Being to whom we all must approach in prayer is worthy of great effort, of our very best efforts.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Sincere Submission. I’ve already addressed this and study this point. But here is a quote from Henry B. Eyring that emphasize it:

The servant with a testimony that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ feels joy in its progress and a desire to give his or her all to build it up.

The Savior Himself exemplified the standard set by these next words of the prayer: “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2). That was His prayer in the extremity of offering the Atonement for all mankind and all the world (see Matt. 26:42). The faithful servant prays that even the apparently smallest task will be done as God would have it done. It makes all the difference to work and to pray for His success more than for our own.

“Watch Over and Strengthen”, Henry B. Eyring, April 2000

Continue to study “The Will of God”

And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ;

Words of Mormon 1:7-8 (emphasis added)

This particular set of verses connects the workings of the Spirit to knowledge of the will of God, and echoes back to the Savior’s instruction in John 3. There is a footnote that takes me over to Ecclesiastes 11: we don’t know the nature of the seed when we go to plant it. We plant in the morning and collect in the evening. There is much to be learned in this routine or process.

If the Spirit of the Lord be with you, and it will not act in defiance of the Father’s holy will, then are we privy to the will of the Father for us.

He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.

Doctrine & Covenants 46:30

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Forgiveness

Joseph of Egypt looked at the grave injustice extended to him at the hand of his brothers and saw the greater good that God had accomplished through him. See Genesis 50:15-21. A secondary thought that occurs to me is that forgiveness is a required tool in the forward progression of God’s work. Forgiveness enables love.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The first part of this phrase has been translated elsewhere to say “Suffer us not to be lead into temptation” or “Do not let us enter into temptation.”

The word “deliver” has its origins in the word “liberate,” and can mean “to set free” or “rescue.” This particular supplication then is critical in our efforts to follow God by avoiding the snares of the adversary. We are absolutely dependent upon God for protection from the adversary. His protection is in the commandments. And should we choose not to follow God’s commandments, then are we delivered or given into the hands of the evil one for him to do with us as he will.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

There are no footnotes in the 3 Nephi account, but over in Matthew, there is an obscure reference to a verse in 1 Chronicles from when David was about to die. It’s almost as if the Savior is giving reference to this verse:

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29:11

The reality is that the kingdoms and the governments of this world are temporary. The kingdom of God, which was and is and will be from all eternity to all eternity, is the objective and overall goal. The verse from 1 Chronicles has several other references. This one in the Doctrine and Covenants, resonates with me:

If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:13 (emphasis added)

If Ye Forgive Men

And then the Savior adds this postscript about forgiveness upon teaching the correct manner of prayer:

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.

vs 14 &15

Forgiveness is such a central tenant of the gospel of Christ that this additional emphasis is well merited. Not only is God willing to forgive us, but in order for us to participate more fully in the communal experience of the Atonement and its resultant salvation, our participation in the acts of forgiveness are also requisite. Bitterness, rancor, vengeance, brooding, and anything else that accompanies us in our unwillingness to forgive must be put away in order for us to fully enjoy the blessings of the Gospel in everyday living.

When Ye Fast

God’s secret weapon to mortals; it is in fasting that we cut straight to the Source for divine assistance. Perhaps that is not as readily evident here, because the promise is the same for giving to the poor, and praying in general, but Isaiah reminds us of how potent fasting is slicing through layers of wickedness and heaping upon ourselves the riches of eternity. In fasting, we also combine the activities of giving to the poor and prayer. This triad of alms, prayers, and fasting, properly performed all lead to the same outcome: blessings from the Father.

There is more from Isaiah on this subject. In fact, a great many blessings are spelled out here. There is one that catches my attention this morning: ” thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;” In my mind and to my reasoning, this is the blessing of family and posterity and being able to lay a foundation for them to build on in the future.

Thy Father Who Is in Secret

Why can’t we see God? Perhaps it is the great trial of our faith. But the Savior here is also reminding us of things that are not seen, of Him whom we cannot see. Isaiah and Brother Joseph add some very interesting insights on this point:

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Isaiah 45:15

But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me;

Doctrine and Covenants 38:7

We sit in darkness, it is us that cannot see. God who dwells and is light, can see us. What are the proofs of this around us? There are many.

Conclusion

I am coming at this conclusion for this section of scriptures the day after having just completed a fast. So my knowledge is not exclusively based on what I am reading or reasoning out of the scriptures, but rather, I know from personal experience the veracity of this teachings. What the scriptures do for me here is give definition through the written word to the feelings that are in my heart this morning. They are expanding my understanding of experiences that I have personally had.

I’ve already kind of highlighted the point above, but the last time that the Savior teaches this promise about the Father rewarding us openly for things that we do in secret (see vs. 18). It is worded just slightly different, emphasizing that the Father is in secret. Fasting should be done in complete ignorance to everyone around us. It should be a secret issue of the heart between you or I and the Father.

Isaiah 58:8-12
articulates the blessings of a successful fasting effort, which is extremely important to understand. There is one blessing in particular that I had never before seen. Namely, that our posterity will be the ones to do the work of restoration and building a foundation for many generations to follow.

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;

Isaiah 58:12

Truly, the Father who IS in secret, shall reward thee openly.

I Would that Ye Should Be… Even as I Am

3 Nephi 12:21-48

In the title, I am deliberately leaving out the word “perfect” as it is a source of much stress for many. Though I have come to look at it in the terms of “completion” not perfectionism. The Savior takes pains to spell out his definition of perfection, which is not after the appearance of things.

Yet, what Savior is really saying here is that He wants us to be as He is. He goes on to include His Father in that statement. These are our standards of measurement, the one unchanging, universal rule of truth. This is how we are to be!


On a new morning, it strikes me even more amazing that Christ is not only inviting us to become as He and the Father are, but that he has the power to articulate on what principles and in such exhaustive, yet universally applicable, detail.


I am like hardened earth against some of the council in these verses. I cannot receive it. It doesn’t resonate with me. And it is as nothing to me. I do not know how to remedy this. For this is the council that the Savior gives just right before he makes his final declaration in this chapter to “be perfect”.


Elements of the New Law

  • Anger – “whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. “
  • Name Calling – “And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca… Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
  • Provocation – “if ye… shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee— first be reconciled to thy brother…”
  • Conflict – “Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him”
  • Lust – “whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.”
  • Unclean Thoughts – “suffer none of these things to enter into your heart. For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell. “
  • Divorce – “whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.”
  • Swearing/Communication – “swear not at all… let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.”
  • Revenge/Generosity –
    • “thou shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;”
    • “if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;”
    • “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.”
  • Enmity/Love – “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;”

The above categorical approach is incorrect or incomplete.


I have spent a lot of time on verses 27 to 30, wrestling with some very personal feelings. I end with the footnote on “cross” in verse 30.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

This phrase “deny yourself” seem to be the clarifying point. I’m looking for something more of explanation here, something that offers more insight and instruction, and presently I cannot find anything. Thus I am wrestling.


I’ve dug deeper on the words “adultery”, “lust”, and their Spanish counterparts. The thing that is really throwing me for a loop is that the old law was to not commit adultery, which is to participate in extramarital sexual relationship. But the new law is different, it is to not lust after a woman. There is no qualifier of any marital status or relationship. Lust is an interesting word. “Codiciar” is it Spanish counterpart and one definition of the word means to take more than one’s fair portion.

It is suggested also that the term “lust” used in these scriptural verse has its origin in more general covetousness, rather than to be exclusively focused on sexual desire.

But the final thing that has given me pause for consideration is this: the Savior says “suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” It is plural. Why?


So why the plural “these things”? What are these things? The footnote on “none” points to a verse in Doctrine and Covenants that literally repeats almost verbatim the same commandment to not look on a woman to lust after her. So how else could this have been said?

  • Suffer not this thing…
  • Suffer none of this thing…
  • Suffer not these things…

But the commandment is suffer none of these things? What are these things? The lustful thoughts. And how many are we allowed to let pass through? Answer: NONE. Not even one. The mind is no playground for perverse thoughts. The plural seems to suggest that there will be multiple attempts from the adversary to tempt us with the same repeated thoughts.

How bold of the Savior to venture into the internal realms of the soul, and give strict instructions on how to keep our houses clean, perfectly spotless!

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Acts 8:22

The following verse repeats the plural statement “these things” and connects the denial of “these things” to the act of taking up our crosses. One footnoted verse in Luke reminds me that this is a daily activity: “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)


Reviewing prophetic quotes on divorce puts these statements more inline with the previous declarations from the Savior. The cause for most troubles in marriage is selfishness. The remedy for most problems in marriage is repentance, not divorce.


Swear Not At All

At the heart of this counsel to not swear is the principle of honestly. We covenants with the Lord. We faithfully fulfill those covenants. Then in our honesty, there is no need to swear, for we are truthful in all our communications. (See verses 33-37)


Ye Shall Not Resist Evil

(27 Feb 2020) – The date here is significant as it is now two mornings after a harrowing personal assault that took place on our family. Rachel and I were victims of a vicious extortion scheme that took a large sum of money from us while pretending to put our family member’s life in great danger.

I had read the verses 38 – 45 prior to this event, but this morning the Spirit is so much stronger in emphasizing the reality of these statements:

But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also…
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain…
…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.

vs. 39, 41, 44, 45

Anyone else except for Christ could have said this with less authority. But these are the words of Christ, who suffered the great, most horrific cruelty and injustice imaginable. This resonates with me so deeply this morning. I’ve yet to pray for my enemies. The children need to hear me do this too.


New day, I am spending a little more time in verses 44 & 45 studying the footnotes. “Do good to them that hate you.” Footnote to the topical guide entry for Benevolence. I think few things describe the true nature of God better than this idea: that God is love, not just love, but unconditional love or love without limits. When I think about my relationship to the Father, or rather His relationship to me, benevolence is the attribute that perhaps best captures my feelings about His generosity towards me. It is familiar to me, because I have been the recipient of this benevolence repeatedly and often.


In the final verses of this chapter, the Savior goes on to explain that all things are fulfilled in Him. The old law of Moses has been done away. All things are become new, again. In reading that, it strikes me as a critical transition then. Christ has spelled out in this chapter how things used to be, and then how we ought now to comport ourselves in the new law of Christ (which was actually the original law from the beginning of time).

In this context, there is an imperative requirement for us to become as Christ has come, because the reality is that Christ did come. The higher standard has been set. Now it is left to us to comply or be left out. Therefore, let us complete the race that is placed before us. Christ suffered all that we might be and become like Him and the Father.

Be the Salt… Be the Light

3 Nephi 12:13-20

The Salt of the Earth

I give unto you to be the salt of the earth;

vs. 13

I began today’s study by looking at the footnotes on this phrase. I quickly learned about a “covenant of salt” that existed in ancient Israel. It is referenced twice in the Old Testament: once with Aaron and the Levites, the other with king David. Then I found this through a search:

This answered so many questions on this one-page fact sheet, but also gave context to why Christ was using salt as a comparison.

Those who are baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ make covenants. In modern revelation the Lord declared, “When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men” (D&C 101:39). To perform our covenant duty as the salt of the earth, we must be different from those around us.
This requires us to make some changes from our family culture, our ethnic culture, or our national culture. We must change all elements of our behavior that are in conflict with gospel commandments, covenants, and culture.

Repentance and Change, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2003

The quote from then Elder Oaks illustrates the connection with being different from the world, why that is important, and then how we can become different. This is why Christ says, Ye are the salt of the earth. We can become the salt of the earth. When we truly convert to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are becoming that savory salt that Christ desires that we become.

A Light unto This People

In the New Testament version of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ says “Ye are the light of the world. It it is curious to note that elsewhere the Savior also says that He is the light of the world. So out of His own mouth, He is making us equal with Him, at least in this regard. The Nephite account is yet more verbose, ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be a light…” Indeed, emphatically is saying in essence: as I am the light, you are also the light. We together are the light.

This unifying invitation from Christ to be a light with Him is instructive and reassuring. When we stand out as a light, we stand beside Christ; we are not alone.


Is there anything of a connection between verses 16 and 17? In verse 16, the Savior is counseling us to let our light shine so that the Father may be glorified. In verse 17, He then goes on to say that He is not replacing the law or the prophets, but fulfilling their words. Is there a connection between the two statements, as I have always read and associated them as separate, unrelated thoughts.

Is there anything in this council to let our light shine that is a direct fulfillment of the law, and the prophets?


A new day, and yes, I see a connection between salt & light and laws & commandments. What gives the salt its savor? What gives the light its power? Obedience to law. And here is what we are to do with these commandments; this is the reason we have been conditioned, trained, and prepared to be obedient and faithful. It is so that we can be salt with savor and so that we can be light that shines brightly in darkness.

There is another thought that accompanies this: These commandments and our faithful adherence to the law of the Lord is what enables us to do our work among the children of men, whatever that work looks like on the surface. There are thousands upon thousands of professions and vocations, but our ability to shine in any occupation or external duty, any responsibility that is given to us, rests squarely upon the condition of our internal selves. It is the cleansed purity of our hearts and minds that gives us clear ability to see things for what they really are.

Blessed

3 Nephi 12:1-12

Additional Resources

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.

Doctrine and Covenants 56:17–18

That’s quite a promise! They shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.

The study of the Beatitudes is an opportunity to grapple with realities that I know to be true.

Blessed Are All They that Mourn

I haven’t given this much thought, but I include it in the list now (near the end of my study) because it is brought to my attention that this list of eight beatitudes is sequential. That is also comforting, because it represents steps in a process of becoming. We are not being told here that you must perpetually mourn. Rather, the Savior is telling me that I will experience suffering and have cause for mourning, but that comfort will also come.

Blessed Are the Meek

I’ve spent the bulk of my study reviewing past studies and scriptures on the term “Meekness”. I am much strengthened by the reminders and promises made to the meek. My desire is to be among them, to qualify or to be found among the meek things of the earth.

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness

The promise is that they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

How do I hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do I have an appetite for the things of righteousness? The promise is that those that do shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. What a strengthening reassurance! God will not leave us comfortless.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:16-17

Blessed Are the Merciful

Which is the better motivator? Love or fear? Mercy or judgment? Is mercy synonymous with love? Fear with judgment. Love of mercy. We don’t fear mercy, and who loves judgment, especial when executed against one’s self. The promise is a simple one. Be merciful, receive mercy. No other attribute is more reciprocal.

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

This topic of purity, or being pure in heart, seems to be an end goal of discipleship. But there is no timetable attached to it. The promise is causal: seeing God is the result of a pure heart. Nephi and Lehi’s accounts are perhaps the best demonstration of this that clearly illustrate how one can obtain this promise. Seeing God in both cases was the inciting incident for what subsequently transpired.

I am being beckoned here.


A new day of study, and this has been on my mind for the last 24 hours, especially as it relates to Nephi and Lehi and it being starting point, not the end, for both of them.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Preaching the Gospel is what brings peace. Preachers (teachers) of the Gospel are also peacemakers.


Blessed Are All They Who Are Persecuted for My Name’s Sake

And this is the evidence of progress. It is brought to my attention that the beatitudes are a progression, with this statement being the final proof. If you are on the right path, there will be opposition.

Blessed Are Ye When Men Shall Revile You…

So there is actually nine beatitudes or statements where the Savior begins with “Blessed…” This last one seems to be akin to the second-to-last one, only with a stronger sentiment. It is as if the Savior is reminding me that things can get worse when I follow Him. However, when it gets to this point in discipleship, we are told to rejoice exceedingly, I think for two reasons: 1) the promise is that great shall be our reward in Heaven, and 2) we are now in company with the prophets who also endured such persecution.

… And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Acts 5:40-41

Final Thought

The introduction to this chapter in the Book of Mormon Student Manual (see link at top for “additional resources”) points out two items that are worth repeating:

  • Seek ye first the kingdom of God.
  • Follow the living prophets and apostles.

“Having Authority Given Me of Jesus Christ”

3 Nephi 11:18-41

In the second half of this chapter, the Savior organizes the structural foundations for Gospel of Jesus Christ to be administered among the Nephite people. He calls Nephi and others and commissions them to teach and baptize those that will believe in their words.

Christ is clear and direct in his instructions to the Nephites. This clarity of instruction avoids misunderstanding and contention. (see vs. 22, 28-30)

The phrase “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ” has given me pause this morning. What is the significance of that statement? We are in fact acknowledging that Christ has authorized our performance of this ordinance. This was indeed true of the Nephite leaders who received this council. It is also true of those that are given His Priesthood today.

Yet because it comes through men acting as agents or representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ, today this truth is frequently overlooked. We have no authority in this Church except that which was given to the prophets from Jesus Christ himself. Those men acting in the office of their priesthood, extend that authority and power to others who worthily qualify for it.

No Disputations Among You

Simplicity of doctrine, unity of purpose, repetition of core teachings – these are the calling cards of the Prince of Peace. “…This is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” Such things as contention and fighting over the correct points of doctrine. These disputations that the Savior alludes to are not recorded anywhere else in the scripture.

The Savior repeats this later in his ministering:

And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you.

3 Nephi 18:34

Origin of the Word: Baptism

The word “Baptism” is Greek for “washing,” having reference to the ritualistic washings. This makes a lot sense now. This may explain why the word “baptism” doesn’t actually appear in the Old Testament. However the word “washing” or “wash” appears multiple times in a search result for the Old Testament.

It’s very possible that the two might have been used interchangeably, especially since washings have very close association with a remission of sins, being cleansed from sin. For example: Isaiah 1:16, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;”

“Thrust Your Hands into My Side”

3 Nephi 11:12-17

Physical proof! That is what the Savior is offering to this group of believing saints. They are being given first hand evidence of his Atonement. The invitation is to touch his body; see and feel it for yourself… “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.”

There is something about this that is jarring for me today, in a good way. I am told, maybe falsely in my own mind, that the Gospel has to do primarily with the Spiritual and the intangible. But here is empirical physical evidence of Christ’s Atonement and he is physically demonstrating the effects of that Atonement to a group of people. All very real physical experiences.

“We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen;” John 3:11 We are not making things up here. We speak of knowledge of things as they really are. (See Jacob 4:13)


Continuing on this thought just a little longer, the Atonement of Jesus Christ was for him as much a physical act as it was also a spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or social act. It required him to have a physical body to perform the Atonement. This suffering could not be done in the spirit only, just as our spirits alone could not obtain salvation alone without our physical bodies.


I took a brief detour into John 12. I got there by studying the phrase “Hosanna”. I found the bulk of the chapter instructive on several accounts. 1) As John begins his account of the Savior, he focused on the theme of light. Chapter 12 continues with this theme of light, almost as a book end here as his mortal ministry is drawing to a close. This chapter also contains more proof of Christ’s fulfilling the words of the prophets. Finally, the separation between true disciple and those who believe but would not forsake the praise of man is illustrated here again. (I have already left the praise of man, would I return?)


“Behold, I am Jesus Christ”

3 Nephi 11:9-11

Having previously analyzed the Father’s introduction of the Savior, I now venture here to analyze the Savior’s own words in introducing himself.

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
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.

vs. 10-11

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ”

When the Savior was questioned about His identity in the New Testament Gospels, he was at times less direct. John 8 is one of the few times were he was fairly direct.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 8:58

This is Jesus identifying himself as Jehovah, which is why it evoked such a violent response from the crowd.

See also John 4:26


“Whom the Prophets Testified Shall Come into the World”

Here are the words of Nephi:

But the Son of Righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him, until three generations shall have passed away, and many of the fourth generation shall have passed away in righteousness.

2 Nephi 26:9

Alma also records:

And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection; and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.

Alma 16:20

These two particular prophecies have reference to his post-mortal ministry in the New World. But what of the ancient prophecies? Was there an Old Testament prophet that didn’t testify of the coming of the Savior?

Prophecies about Jesus Christ

This connection between Christ and the prophets is so strong that it almost feels like part of His mortal ministry and mission was to fulfill all that the prophets had prophesied concern him. Is it Christ’s duty to corroborate the words spoken of the prophets?

He did say:

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him:

Matthew 26:24

…how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Mark 9:12

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

John 5:46

It strikes me that as I am reflecting upon how well Christ knew the prophecies concerning His coming, how he as a child must of have been taught the scriptures, and then how he fully embraced and studied these things on his own.


” And behold, I am the light…”

The Savior’s declaration in John is what first comes to mind:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12

Another passage where Christ refers to himself as the Light is found in the following chapter of John. In that context, there is an interesting admonition as to how we should use this Light:

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Romans 13:12

“…and the Life of the World”

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:33,51

Christ is the source of life; there is no life without Him. He told Thomas, his disciple, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and earlier he said, ” I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

I, being so close to it all, sometimes can forget how abundant that life is. How generous is that God that give us life both physically and spiritually!


Now, what follows in verse 11, appears to be completely contradictory statements:

  1. I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and
  2. [I] have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world,
  3. in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

This is a direct reference to the Savior’s Atonement. It seems to extend beyond a momentary event. When he says “I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning”, what do we have here? Was it suffering for the Savior to follow the Father’s will, or is this another way of saying that he allowed (or suffered) that the Father’s will had priority over his own.

In the sufferings of the Atonement, there is an eternal, retrospective/prospective, all-time-inclusive element that makes it possible for his one-time suffering in the garden to cover all time, any sin that needed to be compensated for. This was the will of the Father from the beginning, that the Son would atone for the sins of any and all who would repent of their sins.

What is most critical to understand about these statements is that 1) this was the will of the Father to have the Son suffer for the sins of the world, and 2) that Christ was obedient to his Father’s will in completing this process of suffering. Numerous other scriptures also validate this point. This one capture the essence of them all:

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Luke 22:42

Become as a Little Child

3 Nephi 11:8, 37-38

What will it be like when Christ comes again? The answer is right here. And we have an extensive detailed account of it. It will not be dramatically different or unlike what is being described here among the Nephites. (see verse 8)


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.

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.

vs. 37 & 38 (emphasis added)

How does one “become” as a little child? What do the scriptures teach us?

In chapter 9, the Lord phrases this invitation just a little differently:

Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God.

3 Nephi 9:22

From the Gosepl of Mark:

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Mark 10:15

Then we mustn’t forget King Benjamin’s insight:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Mosiah 3:19 (emphasis added)

What does it mean to yield?

yield – to give up possession of on claim or demand: such as… to give (oneself) up to an inclination, temptation, or habit.

Yield (Merrian-Webster)

If the Holy Spirit is to be the principle instrument of instruction on how to become more like a child, I have got to work to become more receptive to that influence.

And what do we not do as children?

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

1 Peter 2:1–3

“A Voice… Out Of Heaven”

3 Nephi 11: 1-7

(I am finally here!)

Three times it took the people to lend an ear toward the voice that they heard from the heavens, and this is what they hear:

Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

Vs. 7

The Father’s form of introduction of His Son, the Savior Jesus Christ, is both signature and instructive in its significance.

“Behold my Beloved Son”

There are four passages of scripture where we hear the voice of the Father testifying of His Beloved Son:

Of the four accounts, this is perhaps the most inviting and instructive. The Father’s title of choice in presenting the Savior of the world is “my Beloved Son”.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10:17-18

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:9-10

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

John 17:26

“In Whom I Am Well Pleased”

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Matthew 25:21

Finding references that immediately corroborate this statement are tricky. But the sentiment is an important one. I know I’ve heard others talk about hearing the voice of the Father at the Final Judgment.

The feeling of being accepted by someone we love is a basic human need. Being accepted by good people motivates us. It increases our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Those who cannot find acceptance from desirable sources often seek it elsewhere…

Even in the Church we are not always free from this type of thinking. Seeking acceptance from the wrong sources or for incorrect reasons puts us on a dangerous path—one that is likely to lead us astray and even to destruction. Instead of feeling cherished and self-confident, we will eventually feel abandoned and inferior.

Elder Erich W. Kopischke, Being Accepted of the Lord

(I have read the whole of his remarks.) Christ as the examplar has his Father’s witness that his actions, his life and his example have been accepted of the Father. Just the statement alone suggests that we should also seek to be properly accepted of the Lord.


“In Whom I Have Glorified My Name”

How did the Father glorify His name via the Son? What does it mean that the Father glorified His Name through Jesus Christ?

To glorify is to praise or honor something or someone to an extreme degree. If you like someone, you might compliment or praise them, but glorifying takes that a step further. When something is glorified, it is praised to the highest degree possible.

glorify – Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com

Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?

3 Nephi 23:7 (emphasis added)

With the definition in context, this scripture above points to a time or a day wherein the Son glorified the name of the Father. That day appears to be the fulfillment or the completion of the Atonement.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Moses 1:39

The Atonement of Christ glorified the name of the Father. It exalted the Father and His work above all other purposes and activities. It made God’s plan for his children effective and opened up the only way for their salvation to be realized.

But why does he say “my name”? Why didn’t the Father say, “in whom I have glorified my plan” or “in whom I have glorified my purposes” or “my objectives” or “the ends of my creating you” ? What is it about all this that is so inseparably connected to his identity or his name?


“In the Name of the Father”

But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.

Ether 12:8 (emphasis added)

This whole book of Ether is a very interesting and compelling discussion on faith. Man is the volitional agent in terms of faith.


One final thought on the phrase “in whom I have glorified my name”: Out of the four recorded instances where the Father’s voice is heard bearing witness of His son, this is the only time where this phrase is added. It is a reference to the Atonement, and the addendum here is fitting because Christ had just completed the requirements of the Atonement.

Verse 11 in this chapter offers more of an explanation on how Christ has glorified the Father through his sufferings and obedience.


“Hear Ye Him”

An invitation to act. When I think of “hearing the word” I am reminded of the parable of the sower, and the Savior’s interactions with his disciples. That the Father ends this brief declaration with an invitation to do something is important and characteristic of true gospel messages.

Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;

Alma 5:33-34 (see also vs. 62)

Unto the Fulfilling of the Prophecies of Many of the Holy Prophets

3 Nephi 10

Today’s thoughts are more a commentary on the need for scripture study. Before my studies today, I was easily provoked, angry, and vengeful. During my scripture study, I am comtemplating the need for patience, forgiveness, and continuance in the course laid out before me.

This particular set of scriptures is curious on two points: that these things are all come to pass according to the words of the prophets, many of which were stoned for so saying. The other was the binding conditionals of the covenants made by the fathers and their affects upon the children.


Vs. 13 & 14. “…unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets.”

These verses take pains to point out that all the destruction that came upon those that were destroyed were foretold in the prophecies of the holy prophets. There is also an injunction here to search the scriptures to see that they were foretold.

Now Samuel the Lamanite prophecied of the storms and physical changes that would take place. He mentioned little of the human loss of life that would take place, only stating that there would be many cities left desolate. (Helaman 14:23-24)

  • were not sunk and buried up in the earth; (1 Ne 19:11, 2 Ne 26:5)
  • and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea;
  • and they were not burned by fire, (1 Ne 19:11 , 2 Ne 26:4)
  • neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; (1 Ne 19:11 , 2 Ne 26:5)
  • and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; (2 Ne 26:5)
  • neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness. (1 Ne 19:11)

I am left pondering how this applies to our day. It is true that the words of the holy prophets in our time have been given to protect us from the destruction of our days. At the Lord’s second coming, will the wicked suffer a similar fate as those in the America’s at his first coming? Is this book not given as a warning of what is yet to come? But where are the two compared or contrasted.

In my own home, my children have ignored the prophecies of the holy prophets at their own peril and suffering.


3 Nefi 10

Cuatro veces la voz del Señor dice que Él desea juntar a su pueblo como la gallina junta a sus polluelos bajo las alas. Nunca fue el propósito del Señor que sufríamos todos los dolores y penas de esta vida. Más bien, Él desea que Él pueda protegernos de los dolores del mundo.

Estoy parado en este punto. El Señor no quiere que sufrimos. El propósito de la vida es que aprendimos vivir de la mañera de felicidad. Estamos creados pare tener gozo.