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3 Nephi Chapter 26

Scripture Mastery

3 Nephi 26:14 The Savior did teach and minister unto the children, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people.

1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had told these things he expounded them unto the multitude; and he did expound all things unto them, both great and small.

verse 1 "he did expound all things unto them" To "expound" means to explain. We will learn in verses 3 and 4 that Jesus delivered to the multitude a great discourse which included "all things" from the beginning to the winding-up scenes of the world's mortal existence and even beyond, to the final judgment.

One may well wonder if Jesus even taught the people all of the contents of the great vision of the brother of Jared (see Ether 4:2).

2 And he saith: These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations.

verse 2 The Lord reiterates that it was the Father who commanded him to give them those scriptures that were not available to them. While there may have been others, we know of only Malachi 3 and 4.

3 And he 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 a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away;

verse 3 Wrapt means wrapped; wound; folded; enclosed. This verse, of course, describes the great destruction of the telestial elements of earth at the time of the Lord's second coming. At this time the old earth shall pass away making way for a new millennial earth. This destruction is the burning up of the telestial elements of the earth that will occur at the time of the Savior's second coming. It is often referred to as "the end of the world." The term "end of the earth" is usually reserved for that time, following the millennial thousand years, when the terrestrial earth will be further cleansed and become celeltialized.

4 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-

5 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.

verse 5 Mormon here refers to two resurrections. Please review the complete sequence of resurrections in the commentary for 2 Nephi 9:15.

"the resurrection of damnation" This is the "second resurrection" as discussed in 2 Nephi 9:15-the resurrection of the telestials and then the resurrection of those mortals bound for outer darkness. See the brief discussion of what it means to be damned in the commentary for 2 Nephi 9:24.

"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" These phrases may seem to be superfluous. The Webster's 1828 Dictionary contains one definition of the word parallel that is "to compare." It could be that the Savior used these phrases to invite the hearer to a careful comparison of the everlasting implications of the two resurrections.

6 And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;

7 But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.

verse 6-7 The prophet Mormon reminds us that the large plates of Nephi contained the "more part" (the large part or majority) of Christ's teachings to his disciples and to the multitude, but Mormon's abridgment of those plates onto his plates of Mormon, which we have in our present-day Book of Mormon, contains a greatly abridged version-not even a "hundredth part."

8 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.

verse 8 "that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles" Mormon has written a part of the teachings of Jesus that they may be made available to the remnants of the Book of Mormon people ("this people") through the Book of Mormon. This book will be delivered to the Book of Mormon remnants by the "Gentiles"-the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-citizens of the "mighty nation among the gentiles" (1 Nephi 22:7).

9 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 the greater things be made manifest unto them.

verse 9 Here is an exciting promise-that those who receive and accept the Book of Mormon's limited version of Christ's teachings ("this" and "these things"), will one day receive "greater things."

Here is also an important gospel principle. The "greater things" are made manifest unto us in the Lord's due time, in accordance with the faith with which we receive what has already been revealed.

In the Lord's mercy, he has revealed to us what, in his wisdom, he knows what we need and what we will accept (Alma 29:8). If we feast upon and believe what has been revealed already, more will be revealed to us, either through the inspiration of the Spirit or through the revelation of more scripture. Is it any wonder that modern prophets have counseled us repeatedly to make scripture study an important part of our lives?

But there is a downside of this principle (see verse 10).

10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

verse 10 This principle was taught eloquently by Alma: "And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell" (Alma 12:9-11).

11 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.

verse 11 Your author humbly proposes a "conjectural emendation" of his own in this verse. I would suggest that the verse flows more clearly if the comma following the word "them" were moved to follow the word "all."

The principle here is clear. One way the Lord tests or tries a people is to provide them with limited knowledge or information on a spiritual topic. This tries their "deliberate faith" by requiring them sometimes to obey his commands with limited insight into the reasons for and implications of that commandment (See Deliberate Faith and Revealed Faith in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume one, chapter 10). Deliberate faith-deliberate obedience, however, will inevitably result in greater understanding.

12 Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to write the things which have been commanded me.

verses 11-12 It is fascinating to learn that Mormon intended to enter all of the Lord's teachings to the Nephites from the large plates of Mormon, but the Lord forbade him. This, so that the Lord could test our faith with the lesser portion of his teachings contained in the Book of Mormon according to the principle discussed in verses 9-11 above. This process of "trying the faith" of the people is actually a loving and merciful act on the part of the Lord. It is important that we begin to develop faith in "small things" and progress on to greater things as are spiritually prepared. The Lord declared, "For I will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith" (D&C 98:12). Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, "Just as there will be many more church members, families, wards, stakes, and temples; later on there will also be many more nourishing and inspiring scriptures. However, we must first feast worthily upon that which we already have!" (CR, October 1986, 70).

13 Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them.

verse 13 The Savior ministered to the Nephites daily for three days and then visited them from time to time as need and circumstance warranted.

14 And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.

verse 14 "they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people" Here is a most remarkable occurrence. It is difficult to imagine that the utterances of these children could be greater that those things which the Lord had taught to their parents and the rest of the people there gathered. We are left wondering how this might be possible. Was the veil parted to allow them to speak of life in the premortal state? Were they able to discourse about life in the celestial environment? Did they express an understanding of doctrinal mysteries which today's world could not receive? One is reminded of a prophecy of the prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy" (Joel 2:28; see also Alma 32:23).

15 And it came to pass that after he had ascended into heaven-the second time that he showed himself unto them, and had gone unto the Father, after having healed all their sick, and their lame, and opened the eyes of their blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf, and even had done all manner of cures among them, and raised a man from the dead, and had shown forth his power unto them, and had ascended unto the Father-

verse 15 Note that this verse is an incomplete sentence. It will be completed in verse 16.

This verse concludes the activities of the second day of the Lord's ministering to the people.

Thus begin the activities of the third day of the Lord's ministry among the Nephites. Apparently we are told about the third day's activities only briefly and in general terms. Subsequent to verse 18, Mormon's comments become more general and probably apply to that period of time after the third day when the Savior appeared among the people only intermittently as they needed him.

16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

verse 16 See the commentary for verse 14.

17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written.

verse 18 It is not entirely clear whether Mormon's reference here is to the twelve special witnesses or to those who were baptized into the church of Christ (see verse 21). The latter seems more likely as is evidenced in the following three verses.

19 And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.

verse 19 "all things in common" This phrase does not mean that everyone pooled all resources and shared everything in common, all having equal amounts. It means, rather, that every person and family had an equality according to their needs (cf. Acts 2:45; Acts 4:32; Acts 4:35; D&C 51:3).

They lived successfully the law consecration and stewardship. As we learned earlier in this dispensation, this system can only work if the participants are filled with the pure love of Christ and are inclined to deal "justly, one with another."

20 And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them.

21 And they who were baptized in the name of Jesus were called the church of Christ.

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