3 Nephi 29


 



MDC Contents

 

 

 3 Nephi 29:1

1  And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.

 

As Mormon concludes his discussion of the appearance of the Savior to the saints in Bountiful and later to the disciples, he reiterates the material concerning the last days. Mormon understands that the very text he is writing is the one that will be delivered to the Gentiles. He must have felt an incredible responsibility as he wrote the prophecies of the future function of his text. It is not surprising, therefore, that as he closes the record of the Savior’s visit that he should end with the future importance of the record as well as the coming of the Triumphant Messiah.

 

Textual: Mormon led into this discussion of the events of the end of the world with information on the three Nephites. This verse is the first verse that returns to the planned theme after the interrupted section found in 3 Nephi 28:37-40. It is interesting that this verse repeats a phrase from one of Mormon’s original transitions out of the three Nephites and into this eschatological material:

 

3 Nephi 28:29

29  And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. (italics added).

 

Either we have a coincidence in the repetition of the phrase, or more likely we have Mormon returning to a script for his text after the unscripted insertion. When he returns to the topic, he mimics here the transition used originally. We have seen other indications that Mormon is writing his text after having created at least an outline, and perhaps even a complete draft. However, in this final redaction, he allows himself to add material that was not in the original outline/draft. This has just happened, and the repetition of the phrase appears to be a return to the script. Since this turns on a specific phrase, it is likely that the outline was robust, containing phrases. It would have been closer to draft than terse outline, based on this evidence.

 

3 Nephi 29:2

2  And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.

 

Mormon reiterates the function of the Book of Mormon as a harbinger of the beginning of the final days. He also picks up on the apparent reason that the saints in Bountiful were concerned for the timing of the last days. Mormon states: “ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.” That was the import of their implied question about their reunification with the rest of the House of Israel. It had already been six hundred years, and they were wondering why the delay occurred. Ironically, that delay continued for another 1800 years before the “beginning of the end” began. It has now been another nearly 200 years. While that is certainly some delay, it does not yet compare with the combined 2400 years delay from the time Lehi left Jerusalem to the time when the Book of Mormon was revealed. Clearly we are dealing with the Lord’s definition of time, not ours.

 

3 Nephi 29:3

3  And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel.

 

Just as the implicit question of the Bountiful saints was “when,” there is an implicit question when  the Lord delays fulfillment of any promise whether or not the promise every will be fulfilled. Mormon testifies that even though the promised events are in the future, that they are “delayed,” that they are not forgotten. The Lord has made his covenant, and he will keep his covenant: in his own time.

 

3 Nephi 29:4

4  And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.

 

[when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you]: When the Book of Mormon is brought forth. “These sayings” is the text of the Book of Mormon.

 

[ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord]: This refers to those who would use the excuse that since the Second Coming is long delayed that it will never come. Mormon tells us that the very fact of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon will serve as a reminder that the Lord keeps his promises, and that the Second Coming will happen.

 

[for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.]: This long phrase hinges on the “sword of justice” that represents the destruction of the wicked when the Triumphant Messiah comes. At that day when the Book of Mormon comes forth, it will be the sign that the last days are upon us, and we no longer may delay the consequences of our actions. If we “spurn his doings,” or reject the gospel, then justice will have claim upon us, and we will be among the wicked destroyed at the coming of the Triumphant Messiah.

3 Nephi 29:5

5  Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!

 

Mormon has presented “these sayings,” or the Book of Mormon, as a witness of the truth of the prophetic promises concerning the Triumphant Messiah and the last days. There will be those who not only reject those prophecies, but who will not accept “these sayings” as witnesses of the truth of the prophecies. To those people who receive the promised witness, but refuse to accept it, Mormon pronounces a series of prophetic “woes.”

 

3 Nephi 29:6

6  Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!

 

Those who reject the Book of Mormon will be those who cannot accept that the God of miracles still performs miracles, or still “worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts…” To those who deny the Spirit, they will find themselves on the side of the wicked in the last days.

 

3 Nephi 29:7

7  Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ!

 

Mormon makes a very specific “wo” against those who created a philosophy that denies the mission of the Triumphant Messiah for the purpose of personal gain. This is preistcraft, and the Nephites had had long struggles with priestcraft. Mormon would have understood from his sources that the Gadianton influence that destroyed the Nephite polity was one that supported priestcraft. His identification of the Gadiantons of his own day would reinforce the dangers of priestcraft. From personal experience as well as prophetic inspiration, he warns future generations against such priestcrafts.

 

3 Nephi 29:8

8  Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn.

 

The issue that underlies Mormon’s closing testimony was that of the future days when Israel would be redeemed. This point was made in the Savior’s sermons as well, but Mormon reiterates it here. The ultimate redemption of Israel will come, but it comes after the Book of Mormon ushers in the final scenes.

 

3 Nephi 29:9

9  Therefore ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel.

 

[Therefore ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left]: This is an idiomatic expression from the Old Testament that references changing. In this context, we are to understand that the Lord does not change. In the following passage the phrase indicates that we should not deviate from following the law and statutes of God:

 

Deuteronomy 17:19-20

19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

 

[that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant]: This is what the Lord will not fail to do. He will be undeviating in the fulfillment of the covenant with Israel.

 

Textual: This is the end of a chapter in the 1830 edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Brant Gardner. Copyright 2002