Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book of Mormon Sunday II- 3 Nephi 1-5

    Ninety two years after King Benjamin the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth as a infant finally appeared. Those who had been faithful rejoiced and those who scoffed and even desired to kill the believers, felt afraid. All the people in the New World had time to discuss and marvel at the signs given them and for a while their collective experience brought them peace.

    3 Nephi 1:26 "And thus the ninety and second year did pass away, bringing glad tidings unto the people because of the signs which did come to pass, according to the words of the prophecy of all the holy prophets."
   But as time passes, memories fade and the rising generation, not having had the spiritual experience, is tested as to whether they will believe in their parents words.
    3 Nephi 1:30 "And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation."
    The Gadianton's had a strong hold on the economy and many were led astray by their provocative claims to power and influence.
    3 Nephi 2:2 "Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing."
   The only way the Nephites could come out from the bondage placed on them by the Gadianton's was to unite and form a central body of saints. They had to repent and with faithful hearts call upon God the deliver them. 
    3 Nephi 3:25 "And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle."
   The words "in the strength of the Lord" are pivotal in the success of these people. The Gadianton's had much mortal strength and could only be defeated by the power of God.
   3 Nephi 4:10 "But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them."
   Surely these tested saints would be some that would bath the Lord Jesus Christ with their tears when he appeared to them in a few short years.
   3 Nephi 4:33 "And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction."
   Mormon, who is editing this story, writes his own testimony in Chapter Five. The records he has been guarding must be like a panoramic view right back to Lehi. His gratitude for Lehi and his sons spills over into the pages of history, the history of his own people.
  3 Nephi 5:20 "I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, (and no one knew it save it were himself and those whom he brought out of that land) and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls."
  And we are not left out of this panoramic view, since Mormon sees into the future, as well. As the Old Testament prophets, Mormon, sees in vision the great gathering starting with the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This view must be a beacon as he struggles in a war-torn world where destruction is coming in the short term.
  3 Nephi 5:26 "And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen."

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