Many Saints Should Arise from the Dead… Was It Not So?

3 Nephi 23

The Savior is revising the Nephite record and discovers that the prophecies of Samuel, the Lamanite, are not found in their record. Particularly the prophecy that many saints should arise from the dead and minster unto many. Then he asks Nephi: “Was it not so?” Nephi acknowledges that it did happen as the Savior had said it did.

So here the Savior states this fact after it had happened. Samuel, the Lamanite, prophesied of it before it happened. And yet, in the Book of Mormon, this event is still not recorded otherwise. Only a brief cursory reference is found in the book of Matthew of a similar event took place in Jerusalem.

So there is minimal documentation about the resurrection of the Saints immediately after the Savior’s own resurrection. But with the three reference points (Matthew, Samuel the Lamanite, and 3rd Nephi), this historical event is established as fact. The question I am asking myself is why? Why did the Savior feel that this particular event, of which there is no other records made, was of particular importance?

There were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them.

Verse 9

This event demonstrated that the Resurrection was not exclusive to Christ alone. The resurrection of Christ initiated the resurrection of all, starting with the saints. “Many saints” suggests that this was not an exclusive event for a privileged few church leaders, but rather an event of much broader scope, perhaps even down to the level of family (from what I know of other doctrines pertaining to the work for the dead). These resurrected beings came with the purpose of ministering, and not to just a few select. Rather, they appeared unto many. On both sides, the doctrine of inclusion is demonstrated.

This chapter ends with a brief explanation that after Jesus had edited and added to the scriptures that the Nephites had available to them, Jesus then expounded the scriptures to them.

Expound – to explain by setting forth in careful and often elaborate detail

(See also Expound)

Then after Christ had expounded the scriptures to them, he commanded them to teach the people these same things which he had expounded to them.

I am sitting with this idea of what it means to expound the scriptures. This is the work of apostles, missionaries, and all gospel teachers: to take the scriptures and bring them to life for their students.

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